Scene starts with two people laughing.
TWO says, "And I want you to have it."
ONE says, "Great."
TWO says, "Great."
Neither moves a muscle for a beat, by the end of which, ONE is no longer laughing.
TWO says, "I need you to do just one more job, first."
ONE sighs deeply, head dipping almost to the knee.
TWO says, "You can't be 'retired'. This job's too good to pass up. And it calls for the best."
ONE says, "What about Prab?"
TWO says, "Prab's too self-absorbed."
ONE says, "I'm too self-absorbed."
TWO says, "But it doesn't make you careless."
ONE says, "Eric could do it."
TWO says, "His standards are low."
ONE says, "Are they?"
TWO says, "Remember the bank job?"
ONE says, "Vaguely."
TWO says, "Turned out ugly."
ONE says, "...that was ugly?"
TWO says, "You didn't notice?"
ONE says, "How careless of me."
TWO throws hands up sarcastically, as if in fake surrender.
ONE says, "Get Tony then. He's a closer."
TWO laughs, "Oh God. Tony. Where is he now?"
ONE says, "The Big Hotel. Don't know why you're laughing. He's careful. Skilled. Impeccable standards."
TWO says, "Is that so? How would you know?"
ONE shrugs, "He worked for you, didn't he?"
TWO says, "That's pretty sweet of you, you feeling OK?"
ONE says, "Tony's pretty sweet."
TWO laughs, "But not honest."
ONE says, "Who needs 'honest'?"
This is sarcasm, but TWO exploits it as an opportunity to steamroll.
ONE says, "Is she."
TWO says, "She is. Tony will just tell her what she wants to hear and pray she's dumb enough to buy it. She definitely isn't. I know you'll tell her the truth and somehow convince her to like it. For this type of client, I need a closer in that league, and there are not that many of you, which I know you know. How could you not? You just want me to admit it, and now that I have, can we please stop wasting my--"
ONE says, "Okay, okay. So what's the payoff?"
TWO says, "Usual amount and routine."
ONE says, "...I could still say no."
TWO says, "It'll go a little faster this time."
ONE says, "That's what you always say, and then it's, 'too little activity'. So how's the activity?"
TWO says, "We're using a fully anon chain now instead of the mixers. It's untraceable, so we don't need to wait for high activity anymore. But the new chain is experimental, so try not to flip your shit if there are still a few kinks. Useability will improve bit by bit."
ONE laughs, "That's almost word-for-word what you said the last time..."
TWO picks up a cel phone off the table.
ONE says, "...and of course, you were right. You're always right."
TWO puts down the cel phone.
ONE says, "No."
TWO says, "What else can I offer you?"
ONE says, "Well you could start with what I asked for."
TWO says, "Which was?"
ONE nods. TWO does an eyeroll.
ONE says, "Yes. I'll have it back, please."
TWO says, "Must you, really?"
ONE says, "Yes."
TWO says, "Fine, then."
TWO hands ONE a bottle of ketchup that had been hidden. ONE opens it and eagerly pours it over some pasta or something otherwise inappropriate. Watching it, TWO exhibits an exaggerated shudder.
TWO says, "Can we just wait a bit?"
ONE says, "What for? I'm in. Let's do this."
TWO says, "I just can't talk to you while you're doing... THAT."
ONE looks down at the plate.
TWO says, "Yes."
ONE says, "Fine. Don't talk to me."
And there is a silence for a while as ONE eats a bowl of pasta.
ONE says (looking back), "Why not?"
TWO says, "We are being stalked."
ONE says, "Here?? But I thought you said the new chain was 'untraceable'??"
TWO says, "Keep your voice down. Stay here. I know a way to find out exactly how our stalker found us and what they're after."
ONE says, "You do? How??"
TWO's face spreads into a distortedly 'evil' grin.
FAREWELL, READERS! NOTHING FURTHER HAS YET BEEN WRITTEN BY THIS WRITER. THAT MIGHT BE BEST: YOU WOULDN'T WANT US TO CONTINUE EDIFYING YOU, WOULD YOU?
YOU CAN, HOWEVER, HELP CROWDFUND THE NEXT CHAPTER, IF YOU WISH. NOT THAT YOU'D EVER ENCOURAGE MANTHINKING. MAYBE IT'S ABOUT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. THAT'S THE TICKET.
REGARDLESS, WE ARE ON IT BUT WE NEED SOME EXPENSES COVERED OR WE'LL JUST BE FORCED TO GO BACK TO OUR FORMER JOBS AS FULL-TIME JACKANAPES. TOUGH BUSINESS! THE LEAD ON THIS CASE HAS ASKED FOR A CONTINUATION ANTE OF TWENTY BCH NICKELS (1.00 BCH), OR SIX LITE QUARTERS (1.50 LTC), OR 8 MEGANEX (8 MNEX), OR 375 CARDS (375 ADA), OR WHATEVER PERCENTAGES OF EACH ADD UP TO A HUNDRED.
AS OF LAST UPDATE, THE ANTE TO CONTINUE THIS CHAPTER IS 0% FILLED. IF THE REST HAS NOT BEEN SENT TO ONE OR MORE ADDRESSES BELOW, BY THE ANTE DEADLINE, MARCH 25, 2023, WE WILL PUT THIS PAGE 'ON ICE' FOR A TWELVE-WEEK EMBARGO PERIOD, MINUS ONE WEEK FOR EVERY 10% OF THE ANTE FILLED. SO IF THE ANTE DEADLINE WERE TO ARRIVE ONLY 59% FILLED, FOR EXAMPLE, THE RESULTING EMBARGO WOULD LAST SEVEN WEEKS, AFTER WHICH TIME, THE AUTHOR MAY RE-OFFER THE CHAPTER, WITH A POSSIBLE RE-EDIT (AND THE FUNDS ALREADY DONATED TOWARD IT, PRE-EMBARGO, WOULD STILL APPLY TOWARD THE NEW ANTE). IF, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ANTE DEADLINE ARRIVES AND IT'S 100% FILLED OR MORE, THE AUTHOR WILL BE EXPECTED TO POST THE NEXT CHAPTER WITHIN TWO WEEKS AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE SAME AUTHOR'S MOST RECENTLY PREVIOUSLY FULLY FUNDED GOAL AT bitcoinmars.org or cryptonoir.org, AND THEN WE'LL RESTART THE NEXT CONTINUATION ANTE (IF ANY) AT 0% FILLED, SO THAT EACH CHAPTER WILL BE CONTINUED (OR NOT) BASED ON ITS OWN MERITS. THESE ARE THE RULES OF cryptonoir.org