Annals of a Dangerous Handyman
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by Geoff Geauterre
Description: "The Annals of a Dangerous Handyman," portrays the tale of Henri Chabron, a mercenary for hire, in the often-times art of commercial and personal salvage. However, it doesn't just lie there. This story shows how the child, becoming a man, in a world of lies, deceit and betrayal, is able to preserve his soul. Son of a woman who was driven to the brink of madness by a family who disowned her, he fights to contend with poverty, ignorance and hard labor, showing that bitter wit and courage may be just the right tools to shield one from disaster. If you want a glimpse into the face of the macabre, where truths are too dangerous to know, and to important to ignor, then this work will teach lessons that will grip you.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2007 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: April 2007
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [440 KB]
Reading time: 268-376 min.
* * * *
He was killing me. I knew Henry Talbot was heavy, but this was ridiculous.
"Henry, you bastard, when we get back, I am personally putting you on a diet!" My back felt as if it was going to crack under the strain of his weight, but there was a comforting gurgle over my shoulder and I kept moving as fast and as quietly as I could.
I came to the gully we had entered earlier and took the turn to the left, down the incline when a sudden movement caught my eye. The 9mm Heckler and Koch shot up, but then relieved, I put it away. A deer. Three hundred yards further on, I had to stop. I couldn't go any further, but then I needed to assess the damages and most of all--I needed to rest!
I'd been listening for any sounds behind me, but there were none, and surprisingly it seemed as if the installation we'd been scouting, aside of the few technicians there, was unmanned.
"Cannot believe our luck."
A spot of soft grass offered us a moment and I twisted around to get another look, but the late evening starlight showed nothing more than rambling Kentucky countryside. His left hand gripped my shirt as I let him down, and then for the first time, I saw the magnitude of his wounds.
His white face tightened with a smile. I dropped beside him, and realized how the left side of my jumpsuit was covered in blood. The med kit came out, but the cotton wadding wasn't up to the task, so I pulled up handfuls of grass and used what I could of that and the adhesive tape.
I took out one of three emergency morphine tubes, unscrewed the cap and gripping his wrist slid the needle into a vein and squeezed half in. He tried to talk, but couldn't. His chest had been opened and shrapnel punctured his stomach. It was surprising he hadn't screamed when the blast let loose. Another moment more and I knew half wouldn't do either and squeezed in the rest.
It took a couple of minutes before he was able to whisper, and the first thing he gasped ... was a joke.
"Did you ... hear the one ... about the priest and his pair of shoes?"
I shook my head. "No. What about the priest and his shoes?"
"It was the time ... of a christening, you see."
"They ... chose him to have ... his feet washed by the Pope."
He grimaced. "For bein' so damn holy."
"So ... he took his shoes off ... a month in advance!"
I laughed. I couldn't help myself. The irreverent bastard was at it again. He chuckled and looked down at himself.
"You know," he said hoarsely, his voice a little stronger, "there was a time ... when I could have taken something like this ... and thought nothing of it."
"You and me both, pal."
"Now, all I can think ... is what's still to be done. An' I won't be doin' it."
"Yes, you will. What do you want? I'll do it for you."
He looked at me, and then nodded with a harsh grin. The price of a debt was a debt to be paid.
"I've got these two kids. Nice kids. Stuck 'em ... in a boarding school ... under my mother's name."
"What do you want done?"
"Take 'em out. Their stepmother found 'em. Court will give her custody if..." He took a deep breath to get it said. "If they find out how I died!"
I had to hold him down.
"I told you I'd take care of it."
"Grandfather's trust. Signed over to them."
"I understand. You want them out or the bitch drains it dry."
He smiled grimly. "Henri ... you always had a way with ... words!"
"Henry, their names. I need their names and where I can find them. Then I'll need their papers, or a will or a trust. I will need all that."
He nodded with a jerk as I took out a penlight and pad and began jotting down my instructions. I didn't have a chance in the thing at all. He'd taken the explosive charge of a booby trap I should have anticipated. But it was supposed to be nothing more than a reconnaissance mission. Nothing more than to find out what the discontinued weather station in Kentucky was still doing, beside tapping satellite information systems. Therefore, I took it for granted and failed to see the lure and my namesake took what was meant for me.
Five minutes later the pain hit him so hard I gave him the second tube ... and stood over him, refusing to believe what was going to happen, refusing to believe how I'd been suckered by those I should never have trusted.
The deal was simple. A light probe into a station that should not have been tapping into information systems, and someone upstairs wondered where that information was going and that probably a light probe was all that was necessary to find out. A light probe. Something any F.B.I geek could have done from his own computer terminal, but they wanted no trace, and that meant a walk-through in person, pictures, tapes if any, and a stroll out the door once penetration was effected.
The first inkling I had something was wrong with Intel was the fact that the place seemed deserted except for a small number of computer personnel. There were no wires, there were no monitors, there was nothing but a pressure switch and a claymore. I had walked right into it. Henry and I...
Then he gripped my hand, staring up, breathing torn, and ragged and whispered: "I'm ready now."
Without another word, I shoved the third tube straight into the carotid. A few seconds later, a brief smile, and his eyes rolled up and he was gone. I'm not sure how long I crouched over him, half expecting he'd wake up and tell me another joke. Then, when he didn't, and I knew for sure ... I began digging a shallow grave.
I didn't look forward to what I'd have to do next. I didn't look forward to facing his children, telling them lies, or letting them wonder if they'd just been abandoned. Yet I had a debt to pay and I'd pay it. No matter who I ended up having to kill to get it done. This was my life.