The Loophole (Excerpt)

The Loophole is a funny name for a bar. A loophole in law is an ambiguity. Something that shouldn’t be there. Something that allows people to get away with things that should otherwise be illegal. Most commonly are tax loopholes but there are other kinds. Superheroes and Supervillains fly around the world all day every day. Villains don’t get leniency, but if a hero steals your car to chase a villain, that’s just a lost car. It’s a loophole, they won’t do any time and you might not get your car back. Occasionally a hero will murder a villain to save the day. Loophole. 

That’s why I laugh every time I enter the bar. Mercenaries have become popular because of loopholes. Technically, we’re just heroes who take charitable donations. Make no mistake, we aren’t good guys. Sure, we all have limits but for the most part we’re willing to do anything for money. I take my usually seat in the back and wait for my first client of the day. Usually some business man who has found out his trophy wife is cheating on him. He’ll want her secret lover beat up and I’ll make a quick thousand. I’ve somehow become known for that.

I order a beer and strike up a cigarette as I wait. The other guys and girls are trickling in. Ready to make some money today. None of us are shy about our vices this early in the afternoon. Some do a little cocaine; they usually get the job done fast. The downside is they’ll make a scene out of everything and the work will be done sloppy. There are the pill poppers, they’ll take just about any job and hold you up for more cash. The needle users, never hire them. Unpredictable, unreliable, unrealistic about their prices; if it starts with un, they are it. Me, I’m a drinker. We’ll get the job done and we’ll get it done right. We just might not take the job because we’re sleeping off last night.

Speaking of turning down a job, a dirty kid takes a seat in the booth across from me with a piggy bank. The kid can’t be more than ten at the most. I don’t even know how he got into this bar. I don’t even need to hear him out. I don’t work for kids. Kids don’t really know what they want. If you take a job from a kid you’re usually pretty low on my totem poll of decent humans.

“Hey Sam,” I holler out to the bouncer hoping to get his attention. He looks at me. I point to the kid and he turns his back. Does this kid have some kind of dirt on Sam? Why would Sam let a kid in then just ignore me when I want him gone?

“I need you,” the kid says staring directly into my eyes like he really wants to hire a mercenary.

“I don’t work for kids,” it’s that simple.
“I have money,” he instantly responds.

“That piggy bank there?”
“Yes sir.”

“It’s not enough. I don’t even get out of bad for less than a thousand.”

“You can get more from my dad. I know where he keeps it.”

“I don’t want your dad’s money either. I just don’t work for kids. No offense.”

“This is really important. Can’t you make an exchange?”

“Do you mean exemption?”

“Yes sir, that’s the word,” such a polite kid. I still can’t help him.

“Do you know why I don’t work for kids?”

“No sir.”

“Kids can’t handle what I do.”

“I promise you sir, I can handle anything.”

Full Story Available in Super Shorts
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