“There’s a chance this acquisition could be difficult,” The handler said, frowning down at the sheets of paper in front her, shifting them around to take a closer look at the names, dates, ages of everyone involved. “The client is requesting two extralegal acquisitions, same-day occurrence, in homes known to utilize armed bodyguards. This isn’t just a tranq and yank, Director. This could get people killed.”
Karen sat with perfect posture in her chair, watching the handler from across the desk, hands folded neatly in her lap. She hadn’t had time to check before she’d left this morning, and had noticed some of dex’s blood had dried under her fingernails.
She’d always had a standing rule not to use knives before breakfast, but it had been… she had needed it, so badly, just to get on an even keel.
Ah, well. The risks we take, she thought idly, to have our needs met.
“I understand that, Handler…” Her eyes flicked down to her open laptop screen, where a profile of the handler sitting in front of her was open. “Mariella. But we are looking at more than 5 million dollars into company coffers, after it’s been split and put through the appropriate mazes. The company is prepared to absorb any losses.”
Mariella swallowed, hard, and then leaned forward. “I’m saying handlers might get killed, Director. Are you okay with having that kind of blood on your hands?”
What’s a little more? I have plenty Dex will scrub out of my office floor today, Karen thought, and had to hold back her smile.
“Of course I am,” She said smoothly instead. “But I expect your worries are unfounded. Bring in the boys. They’ll be bonded, trained as Romantics, and sold. Within six months, preferably three. The client is anxious to ensure they are taken to his secondary residence before that country closes its borders to the pet trade. They will both be recorded giving their consent.”
“What if one of us does get killed?”
Karen considered the answer.
“Well, I suppose I shall send incredibly elaborate floral arrangements to your families.”
She let the moment draw out, and then leaned forwards.
“Joking, of course. We have two weeks to train the selected Acquisitions Team. Pull John Ferrick in on this, he’s got the experience you need. He can help you select a team that can pull this off. The client is a very good friend of a member of our Board of Directors. I expect nothing less than success. You are dismissed.”
Mariella nodded tightly, and pushed herself up, taking the folder and papers with her as she left. Karen leaned back in her chair, tapping fingernails on the curved wooden arm, looking at the brownish-red old blood crusted so deeply into her fingerprints it felt sometimes like it might never come out.
If only she could bathe herself so deeply in blood that she was never clean again.
Then, she might be satisfied.