#8 in the third series of Mouse stories. Read the others here.
Mouse Befriends a Dumbwaiter
My eyes shift around quickly, noting that the doors are closed with the guards who’d been stationed there now inside, sitting on the floor and tied up. That was quick work. Tom is still with the blonde, but I see that tightening of his jaw that means he’s probably pissed at me. Of course. Yes, dear Tom, I know it would have been smarter to stay under the table and text the outside.
And yes, now they have one of the women collecting all of the cell phones.
I look at the back of Mr. Alex. “I don’t suppose I can keep my cell?” I ask, not even trying to sound demure. I mean, please. I’m a Mouse, but I’m no mouse.
He turns his head and evaluates me swiftly. “Just eat your cheese and cause as little trouble as you can and we will get along smashingly.”
“Smashingly,” I say, grinning. “Lovely.”
He winks. I grin. He winks very nicely. He’s had practice, probably hours in front of the mirror as a teenager, or an adult, at least I hope not the latter. With a shrug, I surrender a cell phone. It’s a burner that I keep handy. My real one rests next to my gun strapped to my thigh. Yes, it’s a very good thing that no one patted me down.
The man I hit isn’t giving me much leeway though. He continues to eye me suspiciously. I don’t blame him. I’d be eyeing me suspiciously too.
I amble to get another glass of wine. I see people watching me. They probably think I’m a traitor, for the moment. That’s okay. I’ve never much cared what most people think. When you’ve been a hacker and faced jail time, a lot of that stuff goes out the window.
“What’s wrong with you? Flirting with terrorists? Drinking wine?” A very thin woman of around sixty-five asks, her tone definitely judging.
She rolls her eyes. “You’re disgusting, like so many of your generation.”
I smile at her and then take a sip of Gewürztraminer. I sigh. People are just so crazy quick to lash out when they don’t know the circumstances.
“You’re just white trash,” she says her tone bristling.
I’d love to say: if you only knew my blue-blooded mother’s pedigree. Of course, there’s dear dad living in a bunker in West Virginia reading survivalist books and eating cold canned beans. Alas, I think her terming me white trash says more about her than me. Not that she knows me, I remind myself. Who really has the right to call someone else “white trash?” Oh, well, really this thought isn’t worth pursuing, especially since it’s taking me out of the moment and I really need to pay attention.
I glance back at Tom. He’s trying so hard not to look like ex-military, even trying on a slouch, as if that would help. The blonde is leaning into him, looking petrified, and taking advantage of the moment. Or is she? Now that looks a little off. She’s doing some hand gesture behind his back. I notice one of the men carrying an uzi is watching her. She’s pointing at Tom.
He yelled when I hit that guy, didn’t he? I have a feeling this is about to be an “oh, shit” moment. I nonchalantly place my plate on the table and look around when I notice of gift from the “saving Mouse’s derriere gods.” Again, I look to see what mischief the blonde is making. She’s going to an awful lot of trouble to make certain that people don’t suspect her. Why not just shout out if she’s with them? Unless she’s some kind of plant to play victim.
No one is watching me. I move to the “gift,” open the door of the dumbwaiter, punch a button, and fold myself up neatly inside, and realize that this was really not one of my brighter ideas as the dumbwaiter lurches slightly and starts its descent. There are yells above me. The dumbwaiter lurches again, I suppose someone is trying to call it back. Even though I’m small, I may not be small enough to unfold myself from this thing. In the facility’s kitchen a swarthy man opens the door and gasps when I try to pop out. He stands back slightly, trying to figure this situation out, and then extends his hand to me.
“Thanks,” I say brightly as my feet hit the floor.
All of the kitchen staff are staring at me now. I shrug.
“It was the worst party I’ve ever been to,” I say.