Boss knew what he had to do. This meeting would be make or break and it required precision. But he had found precision was coming to him more naturally lately when he didn’t overthink.
The door opened and Whisker came in.
“Whisky!” Boss greeted him with boisterous joy. He stood up and clenched the man’s shoulder with his left hand as he shook his right. Whisker was rigid as ever. “How have you been?”
“Good, sir,” he replied robotically
“Good! Good to hear.” Boss made to sit, pausing, “Please,” he gestured to the seat opposite his desk. Whisker obliged. “So do we have anything on Walter?”
“Yes. He was picked up waiting for a train at Salmon Hills. Apparently he was heading to turn himself in anyway.”
“It’s suspected that Dr Blues has a place around there but the exact location was never known. We had a man there.”
“Excellent. Great news!” Boss clapped his hands together, “And any news on when the extraction can begin?”
“You haven’t spoken with Sam, sir?”
“No.” Boss said, unflinching.
“The lab is ready. There might be a slight delay for streamlined product.”
“Who’s going to take that first hit, huh?” Boss inhaled as if he were pinching a joint. Whisker remained unfazed. “C’mon Whisky, have a little fun, show some fight. Don’t tell me that if you had the pure potion of happiness that you wouldn’t be excited!”
The agent did not offer a direct response. His broad frame still seemed to maintain an imposing height even while seated.
“Do you even know happiness, Whisker?” Boss said, adding a hint of spite.
“That depends, sir. I know it as a concept; as a motivator.”
“But not as a feeling?”
“No. Do you, sir?”
Boss felt the atmosphere thicken, as if the presence of an enemy was just recognised amongst the crowd. He narrowed in on Whisker, still smiling; still calm. “Would you like me to describe it to you?”
“That won’t be necessary, sir.”
“Ha!” Boss leaned back in his chair, spurred on by his arrogance. “Well they train you well – let’s hope the loyalty is maintained this time round.” Whisker didn’t stiffen up, didn’t take an irregular breath, didn’t even clench his teeth. Boss imagined if he was trained to that degree he would enter a poker tournament. “Speaking of loyalty,” he said, leaning forward again, “how is the situation with our friend?”
“Tank may be a problem.” Whisker was blunt.
“Don’t-” Boss stopped, regathering his composure. “Problems,” he began, desperately searching for the right phrase, “are to be fixed, are they not? Isn’t that why we are here?”
“In a sense, yes.” Whisker was uncharacteristically vague. Boss stared at him. “Sam did not agree with your instruction.”
“What?!” Boss snapped. “My instruction,” he hissed, “is above Sam’s authority!”
“I’ve received different orders, sir.”
Boss’s head reeled back in a daze. He barely saw Whisker stand up by the time the fist connected with his face. There was a brief, blissful lightness before the pain registered. His nose had barely healed from his altercation with Sammy and now it was crushed with even more force. Whisker leaned over the desk in one swift motion, taking Boss by the scruff of his shirt, lifting him over the desk and slamming him on his back. It was an incredible feat of strength. The next blow was to the sternum. The wind left Boss like a vacuum had been shoved down his throat. He stared up at Whisker.
The agent looked gigantic as he looked back down with his lifeless eyes; cold and calculating. “Mr Tank sends his best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
The cold chill of fear coursed through Boss’s veins. He knew no escape from what was coming. He kicked meekly as Whisker lifted his leg slightly and dropped his knee into the side of his calf.
Boss screamed in pain. It was unbearable. He stared down at his leg, it was bent at a sadistic angle just below the knee. Boss wanted to be brave and curse the man’s existence but he felt too weak. He wanted his mother.
“Mr Tank also hopes you enjoyed the line about the speedy recovery. He thought you would appreciate the “gangster” nature of it.
“F- f- fu-” Boss spattered.
Whisker stepped around Boss’s body and looked down at the left leg. He raised it in a similar fashion.
“No! Fu- Fu- FUUUUUUCK!”
The pain was real for a moment of divine sensation before Boss’s brain spared him any more suffering and he passed out.