Second-Hand Rumors~ chapter 2

     Every good thief knows that for each job, you must always locate the ideal tool. When you’re spying on a banker, the most important tool is an ability to act natural around positively gargantuan amounts of money. It’s not as though Liam never handled enormous amounts of money in his work, quite the contrary. Normally when he held money, it was in the form of stolen objects and it only belonged to him until it belonged to the shady buyer he fenced it to. Then, he took his real hard earned money and went home to place it under a mattress. People who dealt in money for a living might as well spend their lives standing next to an industrial pipe pouring out money straight from the reservoir called the stock market. If Liam didn’t resemble a wet rat with stringy hair, he would have become a big shot banker as well. Because Liam resembled a wet rat with stringy hair, spying on a banker while he was surrounded by his high class banker friends would never hold up. Someone was bound to take one look at him and realize that he didn’t belong in a five star restaurant or a high powered business center and kick him out.

     In this case, he needed someone with him who would take all the attention from his less savory features and plant it squarely on her. Liam knew two women stunning enough to pull it off, but only one of them had the training to stand up to the snooty scrutiny. Sam Goodbody was stunning, without a doubt, but having spent the majority of her life on the road, she was more at home in dive bars than in fancy lounges. Jenny, on the other hand, had trained to blend in no matter where she was. The first time they met, he never would have guessed she was an assassin. Thanks to his job stealing from Charles Beaufort, he knew where she lived. That just left the problem of asking Jenny without getting caught by her father.

    In any other circumstance, Liam would have tried to visit at night, but that was just a recipe for disaster. It’s not like the Rever family used their eyes anyways, since they almost always covered them with their ritualistic scarves. Their sense of hearing and smell were downright unnerving, so in order to sneak in, Liam chose the middle of the day when the most people would be out and about, in a vain effort to drown out his distinctive musk.

     Liam had first come across the Rever family home without even knowing who lived there. It piqued his curiosity because even amongst their paranoid, drug baron, blood diamond selling neighbors, they still came across as paranoid. Taller walls surrounded their house, with more aggressively uses security cameras mounted on the gates, which looked as though it could withstand a small siege. The good fortune in being a thief is that thieves never siege anything.

     After having arrived in the neighborhood, and carefully giving Charles Beaufort’s house a wide berth, he watched the Rever home for around an hour. Once he felt he had the turning security cameras and their unintentional patterns down, he scaled the wall and sat atop one of the stone pillars. Easy as taking candy from a baby. Or so Liam thought, until he surveyed the front yard. Patrolling the yard, with frantic movements, were a small pack of Yorkshire terriers. Liam could tell they were Yorkshire terriers because he had so recently been stealing diamond necklaces from around the neck of a miniature version. These beasts were around the size of Saint Bernards. They shivered nervously as they wandered around the yard, clearly on the prowl for fresh meat.

     “YIP,” one of them rumbled.

     “I don’t know,” Liam declared to himself, “if this is the best security system or the worst.”

     It quickly became apparent that the best course towards staying alive and un-chomped was playing a rousing game of the-yard-is-lava-and-filled-with-giant-Yorkshire-Terrors. Sadly, Liam’s plan to stay out of chewing distance was somewhat foiled by two disconcertingly clever designs of the Rever family yard. The wall, although taller than the surrounding walls, never touched the house or came close to it in any way. There were no trees in the yard either, no safe havens of any sort from the cute, enormous maws of angry teeth roaming the yard beneath him.

     After weighing his options for a long time, Liam left to gather supplies. No amount of potential money he could make on the side was worth the countless rabies shots his future contained if he got bitten by those guard dogs. Big dog teeth with tiny dog chips on their shoulders meant Liam wasn’t going in there without a plan, and he had already thought of two surprisingly simple ones. The first involved some raw meat and the second involved something far more simple than that, even if it was a long shot.

     Returning to the Rever home, Liam scaled the wall once more and surveyed the yard. The dogs awaited his return, sitting in a loose group with tongues hanging out and ponderously large eyes regarding his every movement with shivering suspicion. Liam tossed the meat in first and the dogs went bananas. Unfortunately for Liam, even if he had bought out the entire deli worth of meat, it wouldn’t have provided enough time for him to reach the house. As it stood, it only provided enough time for him to reach the ground and that’s when he became dead meat.

     Grasping into the back of his pants, Liam retrieved his other weapon of choice, a rolled up newspaper. He had gone with the New York Times for the extra thwacking sensation one received from bopping with such a weighty paper. He had often employed the very same publication on the Dirt Gremlins in his apartment, with limited success. He had a theory that he wanted to test on these enormous tiny dogs. You might be able to take the dog out of the tiny, but Liam doubted you could take the tiny out of the dog? Raising his newspaper high, he brought it crashing down on the nose of the nearest guard terrier and the result was instant.

     “YIP! YIP! YIP!,” with that one whack, all the dogs ran for cover, looking over their shoulders as though they were being chased by an enormous monster. Their running triggered something in Liam which he had never felt before. He needed to run after them. It was stupid, he knew, to stick around with all this commotion going on because if he waited much longer, someone would come out to find out what the dogs were all worked up about.

    After having chased the dogs around the yard three times, the door burst open and Liam’s cover was blown. It would be far more difficult to get Jenny to come with him if he had to drag her away from her father.

     “Who the hell is messing with my dogs!?” Liam caught a flash of pink mask before he went flying into the wall. It certainly was Jenny Rever, but Liam couldn’t even be sure if she had kicked him or punched him. Everything went black.

     When he came to, Jenny had him cradled in her arms. She was waiting for him to stir with a patient little smile crinkling the corners of her lips. When she felt him move, she hugged him so tightly he could hardly breath, “Oh, Liam! Why are you bullying my cute doggies? They’re not mean!”

    Liam tapped her back until she finally let him go and he took a few deep breaths to dispel the spots in his vision, “They’re enormous and they have giant teeth, I think I’m more scared of them then they are of me.”

     “Liam, they’re not just scared of you. They’re also terrified of thunder and the mail man.”

     “I think they’re pretty shitty guard dogs.”

     “But they make really cute house pets.”

     “They look like they poop a lot.”

     Jenny hung her head, “They really, really do. Anyways, what do you want Liam? You’re here to see me, right?”

     “Well, I have to do some work for Simon and I was wondering if you could help. You see…”

     Liam got no further before Jenny leapt to her feet, letting Liam’s head hit the ground hard, “Ok! I’ll be right back!” And suddenly, she was gone, leaving Liam alone in the yard with the small herd of enormous pocket dogs. They surrounded him in a circle, yipping and shivering valiantly against him. It only took a minute for her to return, any longer and Liam would have been forced to hit them with his rolled up newspaper again.

     When she returned, she was wearing a pair of dark pants tucked into boots and a grey shirt that would have helped her vanish into nothingness in almost any light. That was all for naught, because her hot pink bandanna, which she still had wrapped around her eyes, could be clearly seen from space, “So who are we killing?”

    “Oh right, you’re an assassin. We’re not killing anyone. I need to follow someone around and learn everything there is to know about him.”

    “And then we kill him?”

    “Then I take you home and I report everything I learned to Simon. So no killing and that means you’re going to need to change into something classy. You do still get to spend a week with me, though.’

     Bounding back up, Jenny skipped back to the front door and back inside. This might take longer. Liam began to calculate how much time it would take him to get back up the wall if the newspaper didn’t work this time. Watching how quickly Jenny reacted to him, Liam realized that if he was going to turn a profit this trip, it would probably be best if Liam kept Jenny in the dark about his ulterior motives for taking on this trip. Simon didn’t send him to steal, he sent him to spy. If Jenny caught him stealing, she would tell anyone and everyone she met because she had no filter. Leaning back against the wall, he waited patiently for Jenny to come back out so they could get to work.


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