“How do we unload this?” Maddock asked his partner.
“Oh, I know a guy,” Tharin replied. His smirk , confident and proud, put Maddock at ease. Their haul from the truck heist had gone wildly against plan, but at least Tharin could still right the course.
They drove a borrowed moving truck to a warehouse district known more for vacant building fires than commerce. This part of town had died years ago. There were no civilians, no cops; no one to ask questions. No one to care about a couple of goons trying to make a buck the only way they knew how.
Graffiti’d walls and cracked sidewalks flew by Maddock’s passenger seat window. “This fence of yours; he any good?” His question seeped with nervousness. So much had already gone wrong, a novice fence would just add to the trouble bound to head their way.
Tharin did not seem to have the same worry. One hand on the steering wheel and an elbow out his window, he was still carrying that devilish smirk that had made such a good con-man. “Maddy, I’ve seen this guy off load a truck of printers in a day. No questions, no gettin’ on any cop radar. He’s who we need to see,” Tharin said.
The truck came to a stop in front of a doorway that read “Bail Bonds, Pawn Shop, Shoe Mending.” Maddock was completely confused.
“This guy has the worst front I have ever seen,” he said stepping down from the truck.
“Dude cobbles a mean shoe though,” Tharin said.
“Really?” Maddock asked. Tharin scoffed, but gave no answer.
The pair walked into the store front and were hit with a smell of old books and wet dog. A counter with a classic push button cash register on top let customers know where they could and could not step and instructed patrons to ‘ring bell for service’. Tharin gleefully complied and a sharp ding rang through the front of the building.
A moment later a creaky door swung open and a slow walking, slightly hunched over, whispy haired man stepped before the two young criminals in a bind.
“You two need a bail bond?” The old man asked. He sounded younger than his body let on and his tone had an edge to it that Maddock recognized. It was a tone his father had; a man with a past of pain and survival. Maddock knew Tharin had brought to the right place.
“We need some help with our land’s perimeter,” Tharin asked.
The old man looked Tharin up and down. He saw the sunglasses hanging from a deep-v style t-shirt. He saw a forearm tattoo that read “You’re Greatest Adventure Is Yet To Come”.
“You will not be talking anymore,” the old man said.
“Well, okay,” Tharin said, slapping the counter. At least he knew when to be quiet.
“We need your fencing prowess. A job went weird and we have to unload some stuff quick and quiet,” Maddock said.
“What’s the haul?” The old man asked.
Tharin and Maddock exchanged an awkward, uncomfortable glance.
“We thought we were taking a truck of expensive knives,” Tharin tried to explain.
“What did you two get?” The old man asked.
“The knives were across the street,” Maddock said.
“Not my question,” the old man was growing impatient.
“We got 70 boxes of rubber ducks in Santa hats,” Maddock said.
“You two need to find a new line of work, you know that?” The old man asked.
“We’re realizing this, yes,” Maddock replied.
“Bring the boxes in. I’m not paying you.” The old man walked back to his office.
“See, told you this guy can move anything,” Tharin said. Maddock shook his head and went to unload a truck full of stolen festive rubber ducks.