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The Comeback

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“Well, Hickey?" Henry rolled his cigar through his fingers and kept his posture casual, eyes on the room.

Hickey snorted, a pleasantly bland smile on his face. "A chance to shoot you free and clear? I'm in.”

"Thanks a ton." He tipped his glass.

Hickey eyed him. “So when're you tellin’ the kid?"

Henry hid his grin in his drink.

 

“Keep it simple, no theatrics.” He tossed Hooker the blood packet.

“No sweat.” He smirked. “I’ll try and die with dignity.”

Henry shook his head, muttering, “No such thing.”

 

Thing was, a mark like Lonnegan, fraying ends were deadly, let alone loose ones. You needed more than a cover-up. You needed bodies, morgue reports, the whole nine yards.

Not that he'd tell the kid that. Had to keep something back, didn't he?

He checked his gun, cleaned it, loaded it. Tossed his own bag of fake blood in the trash.

 

It was almost hard to keep a straight face when he pulled the revolver. Hooker went down in a heap on the step, air punched from his lungs in a huff of surprise. Then Hickey did his part, pain punched through his chest, and everything went dark.

 

Henry gasped for breath, jerked, and cursed as he fell halfway off the table. He rubbed his eyes and looked around, relieved to be alone. Nothing quite so fun as coming back in front of a room full of doctors. Hooker was on the next table over, still dead. Henry chuckled and patted his shoulder as he hobbled to the telephone, stretching his still-stiff limbs.

“Yeah?”

“Ready for pickup."

"For two?" Hickey asked dryly. "Or has he clocked you and stormed off yet?”

"Not even up." He heard a quick intake of air and a choking cough behind him. "Never mind. Make it fast.”

"See you in ten."

Henry leaned against the desk and crossed his arms, watching Hooker's panic go to confusion, then alarm, then calculation.

"Welcome back, kid."

"Henry. What -?" He looked around the room, then down at his naked body. He rubbed at his chest - untouched, but then the bullet probably hadn't gone through, anyway. Hooker shook his head. "Never mind, I get the what. How?"

"That, kid, is a hell of a story. Right now, let's just say we're good and dead as far as Lonnegan’s concerned, or the Feds, or anyone else. If you can learn a thing or two more, we might just have a bright future ahead of us. A really long future. You interested?"

Hooker's wicked grin was answer enough.