THE SECRET JOURNAL OF NEIL PATEL #21
WARNING: NEIL'S MIDDLE NAME IS TYPO
They seemed to have come to a consensus and were soon marching back to stand in front of me. One of them gave the Russian a kick in the leg, just for good measure.
I felt like telling them that only one of my legs was whole, but decided against it. Pity’s not my thing.
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” said Big Boy #1. “You’re going to tell us what information we need, and then WE are going to beat it out of the guys in the van.”
Crap. More violence. I’d really hoped to do this without, but as they say about plans…
“Okay,” I said, thinking while I rattled off the information I would need. I honestly believed that there wasn’t a chance in hell that they could get it. Probably some high level gangster account held that info, but it was worth a try.
At least that made the bikers happy. They put on fresh grim faces and made for the door. Then Big Boy #1 turned to me. “Keep an eye on him,” he said to me, pointing at the Russian.
“Sure. I’ll take good care of him.”
Big Boy #1 laughed and that and then there we were, the pathetic schemer (me) and the pathetic target.
“Who are you?” the Russian asked.
I didn’t know what to tell him. Hell, I didn’t have to tell him anything. But I was nervous and sometimes when I’m nervous and don’t have a computer to tap on I need to talk.
“My name’s Neil.”
“My name is—“
“I know who you are.”
Instead of nodding, the Russian stared at me. Long and hard. Until finally, his eyes lit up.
“You brought them here.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“But you did,” he said.
What was I going to do, lie?
“You’re a criminal,” I said instead. “I figured I’d use you to get them off my back.”
Now he nodded, like he was working it all out in his head. I tried to remember the guy’s full dossier, but whether it was the nerves or a momentary disconnection in my brain, no details came.
“Okay,” he said. “You think I’m a criminal.”
“That’s what I said.”
“That’s good. That’s very good.” And then something very strange happened. The next time he spoke, any shred of an accent disappeared. “You look like someone I can trust, Neil, mostly because we’re in the crosshairs together. So tell me, did you know that I’m an undercover DEA agent?”
I did not. I did not at all.
Crap. Now what to do?
More soon, Diary,
Neil “stunned silent” Patel
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