The Raven Haired Rogue by John Zakour, Illustrated by John Dallaire

ZNJRavenHairedRogue26Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Zach somehow angered Merinda’s personal assistant, Alicia who now has a knife to Zach’s throat.

Episode 26

“Alicia what are you doing?” Merinda asks, her voice strong and unwavering.

Alicia presses the knife a bit closer to my throat, her hand is shaking, sweat beating on her brow. “I’m sorry, Merinda!” Alicia says never taking her eyes off of me.

I take a deep breath. I act relaxed and calm hoping it will rub off on Alicia. “So, Alicia, what’s on your mind?” I say slowly and calmly.

“Ah, ah, nothing,” she stammers, knife still to my throat.

“Your mouth says nothing but your knife says something else,” I tell her.

Smooth,” HARV says cynically in my head.

Agreed,” Carol chimes in.

Hey you two, it’s hard being extra witty with a knife to your jugular,” I think back hard.

You should be accustom to situations like this,” HARV says. “Jobs and Gates know you are attacked enough.”

Agreed,” Carol chimes in again.

Yeah, I know it’s probably not the best practice to be ignoring the angry lady with a knife to my throat. But something tells me that even though Alicia is worried and scared she isn’t a killer. It’s a lot easier to draw a knife than to end a life.

HARV look at Alicia’s salary and expenses and see if anything doesn’t add up.”

Curious, she makes a modest 3000 credits a pay cycle yet she has well over a million credits in her accounts. She’s not even hiding it all that well,” HARV replies.

I need to play this right. Just because Alicia’s not the type of lady who is use to stabbing people in the neck doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it, especially if pushed too hard. I slide my left hand up slowly near Alicia’s right arm. If she reacts violently to my next question I need to be able to deflect her knife away from my body.

“So, Alicia how does a low paid personal aid get over a million credits saved up?” I ask.

Oh, you probably should have left out the low paid,” Carol thinks to me.

Agreed,” HARV says in my mind.

Alicia drops her head she lets the knife fall. She turns to Merinda sobbing. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” she cries tossing herself at Merinda’s feet.

See guys that’s why I am the professional PI and you guys work for me!” I think back to HARV and Carol.

I don’t get paid so technically I don’t work for you,” HARV says. “But I do find you entertaining.”

I work WITH you,” Carol says.

Bringing my attention back to the lady that had had a knife at my throat and the other lady whom I am here to protect. I tell Merinda bluntly, “My PI-gut tells me Alicia has been e-embezzling cash from you.”

Merinda looks down at Alicia sobbing at her feet. “Alicia, is this true?”

Alicia nods, eyes welling, tears streaming down her face. “Yes, the budget allocates a hundred thousand credits a month for flowers. Since I am so efficient I am able to purchase lovely arrangements for a fraction of that cost.”

“What are you planning with the extra cash?” I ask walking up next to Alicia. (I thought about saying dough instead of cash but figured that would confuse her.)

Alicia looks up at Merinda, eyes swollen and pleading. “I’ve been saving for a dark market bionics implant. I want my arms to be bionic so I can be strong for you. To protect you as well as serve you…”

“I have confirmed that Alicia has had two appointments with a doctor Ferguson from Orbital City….” HARV says. “He specializes in bionic implants in the arms, butt and lips.”

Merinda kneels down and rubs Alicia gently on the shoulder. “Oh, my dear, Alicia you don’t need to do that for me.”

Maxxx and Tezza head over towards us. I can’t help but to notice Maxxx is flexing his muscles some.

“Don’t worry, I would never let any harm come to Merinda,” Maxxx assures Alicia.

“Neither would I,” Tezza says. “That would be terrible PR.”

Merinda smiles at Alicia. “See, Alicia I am perfectly safe. You don’t need to augment yourself for me.”

Okay, was that it? Was that really all Alicia was guilty of – caring too much? Or could this all be an act? Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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