A Toy For Henri

Glen cruised the rain-slicked streets, his eyes darting here and there. Another slow Tuesday night, boring and predictable. He was reaching out to change the station when his cell phone rang.

“Glen.”

“Ah, Glen. I can just picture you now. Bored out of your mind. Counting the minutes.”

“Henri my friend. What’s up?”

“We are here, Glen, and we are in need of amusement.”

“What happened to your toy? Has it expired?”

“Sadly, yes.”

“I’ll see what I can do. Usual fee, yes?”

“Of course. A bonus even if the quality is high.”

Glen chuckled and hung up. It wasn’t going to be easy. It really was a dreary night and only the foolish and the needful were about. He turned onto the main road and stepped up his vigilance.

Not far up the road someone tried to flag him down but a close look told him it was probably a junkie and he wasn’t in the mood. Besides, he was now on a mission that would be much more profitable. He sped past and saw the man give him the finger in his rear view mirror.

He drove on for a couple of miles then did a u-turn and went back. It wasn’t looking good. Half an hour later he still had no prospect and was about to give Henri a call when he saw a car ahead with it’s hazard lights on. He crossed his fingers mentally and slowed as he approached.

It was a young woman with a flat tire. He couldn’t believe his luck. He pulled up behind her and got out, putting his collar up against the rain. He went to the driver’s window and tapped.

“Hi. Flat tire, eh? Bad luck.”

“Hi. Yeah, and that’s not the worst of it, the spare is flat too. Don’t know how that happened.”

“There’s a garage a few miles back, want a ride?”

“Oh, I don’t have any money on me. I was just on my way home.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m overdue for doing a good deed. It’s your lucky night after all.”

He gave her a winning smile and after a bit of hesitation she gave in. He hefted the spare out of the trunk and put it in his own while she got in the cab. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. She looked promising.

He got in and flashed her another smile in the mirror. “Off we go then. We’ll have you fixed up in no time.”

They made small talk as he drove. Her guard was up but he didn’t mind in the least. In fact it would make things easier. He was experienced in all the ways of playing a situation. He drove past an open garage and he saw her turn her head and then look back at him.

“Um, excuse me, but what was wrong with that garage? Why didn’t you stop there?”

“Oh, that one? Well, um, it didn’t look all that reputable. I know a better place.”

“But I just need to get my tire fixed. Why go further than we have to, especially since I can’t pay you?”

“Relax, we’ll be there in a few minutes.”

He turned left down a quiet street and he could see the fear in her eyes. He allowed himself a smile. That did the trick.

“Look, you know what, you can just let me out now.”

“Now? But there’s no garage here, what are you gonna do with your tire? Just relax.”

“No, I want out. Just stop the car.”

Only two blocks to go. “Okay, but it’s not safe right here. I’ll just take you a little further.”

“I really want out.”

“Okay, fine. Hang on.”

He pulled over and she got out and pulled her tire out the trunk. “Suit yourself lady.”

He pulled away and she looked around. There was a café across the street with its lights still on. She could see a couple of people in there. She headed across the street rolling the tire.

Glen turned the corner and stopped. He picked up his phone and hit a number on speed dial. “Your package will be knocking on the door any minute. You can thank me later.”

“Excellent Glen. Thank you.”

As she raised her hand to knock the door opened and a suave gentleman with a handlebar moustache opened the door and bowed.

“You look as though you could use some help. Do come in.”

She peered inside and saw two other men drinking wine at a table. They raised their glassed to her. She left the tire outside and went in.

“Thank you so much. I just need to use your phone.”

“Certainly.”

Henri closed the door, locked it and drew the blinds.

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