‘I gotta job!’
‘Finally! You must be chuffed.’
Simon was indeed ‘chuffed’. When the nightclubs closed, all the bouncers – sorry, ‘Security Hospitality Managers (External)’ – were thrown on the scrap heap and contrary to their informal title, hadn’t in fact rebounded.
Greg, his brother-in-law, had been making ends meet by driving a taxi, but Simon knew he hated it – hated all the curfew drunks wanting to be somewhere else, preferably somewhere that sold booze – and the car wasn’t even his. Nor was the insurance. So, Simon was hopeful of putting some legit work his way.
‘They’re still hiring.’
‘What’s the gig?’ asked Greg. His sister’s husband wasn’t the brightest so there was probably a catch.
‘Security. Just watching over this, like, factory type thing.
‘Yeah, there’s like this squillionaire. Like Eton Mess…’
‘Elon Musk,’ corrected Greg, thinking Eton Mess was actually a good name for the bunch of muppets in government. The thought was fleeting and he didn’t grasp hold of it.
‘Yeah, he’s got his office there. They got those little golf carts to get around in, An’ they got a railroad, like a monorail dooberry, for sending bigger items along. ‘An it’s up in the mountains, but it’s really tucked away.’ Simon could see Greg beginning to object. ‘They provide a bus from town.’
‘Shift work too. You have to sign a… non-disclosure thingy, but the pay’s alright. Uniform provided. A bit Jetsons, you know, all shiny and a bit tight-fitting, but I’ve worn worse. You have to do firearm training, but it’s nothing we didn’t learn in the army. Or that you don’t practice on Play Station every day, heh heh.’
‘What does this squillionaire guy do?’
Simon knew that Greg thought he was two batteries short of a TV remote, so he was happy to reply, ‘Er, non-disclosure, remember?’
But he was also fairly scrupulous – which is why he wasn’t driving around in an uninsured private hire vehicle, ‘Nah, I just dunno.’
‘Just, you know, wouldn’t want to end up being perimeter security for a, ha ha, supervillain.’
‘Ha ha ha.’ Simon laughed, then sighed. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, there you are, earning a living, putting food on the table. Doing nothing illegal, nothing evil. Hero comes along and ‘pop’ you’re dead.’
Simon digested this.
‘This squillionaire ambitious is he?’ continued Greg. ‘Maybe building a rocket, or a submarine, or ooh, I dunno, developing nanobots and a poison garden?’
‘I think that is what this job is,’ Simon conceded.
‘Thought as much.’
‘But if he’s a hero, why does he kill the hired help. We’re just doing a job.’
‘Funny, they never seem to ask themselves that.’
‘Hmm. Got any spare shifts at that taxi place?’