>NEVER A FRONTWARD STEP, PART EIGHTEEN

>I walked in under the red and yellow arch without so much as a thought. I had not showered or shaved. I stunk of the seaside and an hour-long bus ride.

Big Red Reg looked up from a burger. “Julian.”

“Yep.”

“How did you know I was here?”

“Well, I was up in a satellite, I found the Great Wall of China, then went left.”

“What happened to you?”

“All my wishes came true.”

“Did you go to the house?”

“Me and a friend paid a visit.”

“So the target’s here, then.”

“My Brisbane visit was worthwhile, yes, if that’s what you mean.”

“So what happened?”

“His brother tried to drown me.”

“Why aren’t you dead?”

“I’m not sure that I’m not.”

“So you tail the brother.”

“It’s not that easy. He might have taken someone.”

“Someone who?”

“A friend of mine.”

“From Brisbane?”

“A new friend.”

“Ah.”

Big Red Reg put down his burger. “I don’t want to say the word compromise.”

“So don’t then.”

“You’ve got to do the job and get out. That’s it. That’s all you’re being paid to do. You can’t worry about her.”

“How do you know it’s a woman?”

Big Red Reg chuckled. “Do you have to ask?”

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