99. A Strife Aquatic

“Watcha doin’, Lucifer?”
“Holyfuckingshit! Don’t creep up on me like that, Scorcher! I swear, you’re going to kill me one of these days!”
“I can’t help it, mate. Stealth is in my nature. They reckon I could have made an ace assassin, what with my stealth and that.”
“They reckon, do they? Who are ‘they’, hmm?”
“You know. ‘Them’.”
“Ohh, them! Why didn’t you say!”
I turned back to my computer.
“Yeah, they said I’d be a perfect killing machine, being a person naturally gifted wiv a silent approach and a steely calm.”
I looked at him again.
Steely calm. He had a face like a bloodhound on morphine and he was picking his undies out of his arse.
“So how come you work in a shit hole like this, Scorcher, rather than swanning around Europe bumping off heads of state?”
“They said it would be irresponsible to put such power in the hands of a man of my potential. They were frightened that if I turned double agent, I could’ve killed the whole government within firty days. Tony Blair wouldn’t know what fuckin’ hit ‘im.”
“David Cameron.”
“David Cameron. He’s prime minister now.”
“Is he? Well ‘im then.”
Scorcher mimed creeping up on David Cameron and slitting his throat.
“I’m sure he’s breathing a sigh of relief as we speak.”
“Yeah, I espect so. So wotcha doin’ then, Lucifer?”
“Funnily enough, I’m looking on the internet for a new job.”
“Watcha wanna new job for? What’s wrong wiv this one?”
“Because I hate it, because I’m rather shit at it, because they’ll probably fire me soon.”
“Fair enough, I suppose. What sort of job you want then, Luci?”
“I’m not sure Scorcher. I’m just looking, but I don’t see anything I actually want to do. I’ve never known what I want to do, if I’m honest.”
“Why not be a frogman?”
I didn’t even bother looking at him this time.
“The list of reasons why I’m not going to be a frogman are endless, Scorcher. I’m not going to even try to list them. I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you fuck off and be a frogman?”
“I’ve tried it, Luci, but to be honest frogmanning is a young man’s game.”
Here we go.
“Are you honestly trying to tell me you were a frogman?”
“Yeah, fifteen years, man and boy.”
“Go on then. Where were you a frogman? Bahamas? Great barrier reef? Galapagos?”
“North Sea Ferries.”
“Oh. So you were a frogman for North Sea Ferries?”
“Not for them. Off them.”
“What? You’ve lost me now, Scorcher.”
“Well, y’see, we was part of this little treasure hunting team, but we reckoned we didn’t need all that outlay on boats and shit, so what we’d do is board the North Sea Ferry to Rotterdam in Hull as a passenger…”
“In your frogman outfits?”
“Yeah, in our frogman outfits, then we’d wait until we were in the right place out in the North Sea and over the back we’d go.”
“Off the back of the ferry. You just lobbed yourself off the back of the ferry.”
“And the captain and the crew weren’t the slightest bit suspicious that the blokes in rubber who boarded the ferry in Hull had gone missing by the time they’d got to Rotterdam?”
Scorcher tapped the side of his nose.
“The skipper were in on the game. Owt we found we split with him and his crew. Besides, we needed them to slow up a bit when they were on there way back to Hull on the return leg.”
“Why did you need him to slow up?”
“So’s we could grab a hold of the anchor as the ferry went by, and get a tow back to shore.”
“Fuck off.”
“For real! Look, I found this on the last dive I did. I kept it as a memento. I always keep it wi’ me as a reminder o’ those days at sea.”
Scorcher dug around in his pocket. Found something, dropped it in my hand.
I looked at it.
“Scorcher, this is a pound coin.”
“Aye. But look at the date, it’s an old’un.”
“It says nineteen ninety one.”
“Yup. They don’t make them no more.”
I gave him it back.
I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes tightly.
I stayed like that for a bit.
When I opened my eyes Scorcher had gone.
I carried on looking for a new job.

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