About Henry Fellows
On Killing and Innocence: The Chronicles of Henry Fellows
Chapter Six Continues
Finally, I arrive and buzz for his flat. Wave to the security camera angled at my face and the door pops open just enough to let me know I’m welcome. There’s a lift but I take the stairs, still needing to stretch my legs. On the landing of the third floor I’m met by my old mentor. It’s been too long. There’s a pause, something in the air, the need for an embrace. At least for me. I go in for a hug but am met with a handshake. Floyd looks rugged and lean like always, just a little grayer. Two or three inches shorter than me, shorter than I remember. He’s still looks good for a guy his age. Tight, strong jaw. Thick salt and pepper mustache, the kind that works for hipsters or guys in westerns.
“You frigging codger,” I say.
“Well you know,” he grumbles, smiling and slapping me on the back in a way that reminds me of my grandfather. He’s wearing worn out jeans, clod in black biker boots. I wonder if that was his Triumph I saw parked out on the street.
As we go inside I see there’s still sheets covering some of the furniture. He didn’t beat me here by much.
“So how’s it going, Deer? Let me see that face. Still in shape I see,” he says, sizing me up with a few touches on the chin and shoulders.
“Well, I left my ‘I paid twenty million dollars to break out of jail and got a new identity’ shirt in my other bag, but other than that, fairly good, Boss.”
“Boss,” he laughs.
Like a shot it occurs to me. This is Floyd’s first time to behold the new look. Me waving to the camera must’ve been the dumbest thing… Thus the truncated laugh. Thus the arrested hug. How could he not be circumspect in manner? He had to adjust to my shorter, flatter nose; my new, thinner, green eyes. The slightly raised hairline. The dimpled chin. He knew it was me, but clearly that wasn’t making it any easier for him. I stop talking and watch Floyd watching me. His probing blue eyes are refusing to yield.
While trying to comprehend Floyd’s state of mind, I feel someone grab me from behind. Forearm around the throat, brutally tight squeeze. My old handler’s just watching, right there in his living room. Weird. I’m starting to get lightheaded, to go all foggy. Can’t exactly ask questions, so I figure it’s time to try to not die. Throwing my head back tells me that my attacker is short—strong and short—that’s about all I know. Reaching with my free arm behind won’t get me any leverage so I decide to crash backwards into the wall, throwing all the weight I have in order to sandwich the assailant between me and the drywall. A grunt accompanies the concussion; the grip is finally loose enough for me to turn out of the choke.
My eyes are cloudy, but I know who this is.