Dirty Blue Gene in The Organ Harvesting Blues
I woke up in a bathtub filled with ice, medical staples in my side. Fresh incision, right where the old ones were. Even after the third time it still freaked me out. I grabbed the phone and voice-dialed the doc.
“Doctor Lansing speaking.”
“Doc, it’s Gene. I’m going to need a new kidney.”
“‘Fraid so. Looks like I got jacked again.”
Six hours later I was coming to in the recovery room of the doc’s private clinic when the man himself came in with a bottle of Soju and two shot glasses.
“What’d you give me, doc?”
“Latest LG model, straight from the factory.”
“You couldn’t get Samsung?”
“Not at such short notice. So what happened this time?”
He handed me a full glass. I downed it, then shuddered and grimaced.
“They used a lure. Young girl, told me she was a crime writer, wanted to hear some old war stories.”
The doc flashed a cynical grin. “Don’t tell me – she was wearing a low cut dress and kept playing with her hair.”
“That’s right. Went back to her place, she gave me a drink, and the next thing I know I’m waking up on ice.”
“Christ on a stick! How many times are you going to fall for that?”
I poured out a shot, drank it, then poured another.
“This is the last.”
That evening I had dinner with Figpicker Tommy at the New Royal. We were sat near the window overlooking the hover-road. I watched a couple of spinners cruise by in low rent tankjobs, lights flashing like christmas trees.
“Three times in as many months? That’s some serious bad luck,” said Tommy. I looked over at him. He was finishing off the last of his steak.
“Luck’s got nothing to do with it.”
“You think they were targeting you?”
“Everyone know that city workers get the best medical cover.”
“Even the ones that were blackmailed into resigning?”
A waiter came over and started clearing away the plates. Tommy asked him for the dessert menu, then turned back to me.
“Maybe you should try using disposable ones? My uncle swears by them.”
“Screw that. Those things cut out if you put too much booze in them. You ever had a kidney fail during a night on the town?”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going going to put these fuckers out of business.”
“How are you even going to find them?”
“They’re going to come to me.”
“You’re going to set a trap?”
“That’s right. I’ll need someone to act as bait.”
Tommy smiled at this, then realised something and stopped smiling. “That’s why you bought me dinner, isn’t it?”
The door opened and light spilled in from the hallway. I could hear the woman giggling as she reached in and flipped the light switch. It was a different girl than the last time, or maybe the same one with a different face. She walked in to the room, Tommy behind her, both of them staggering semi-drunk.
“Put some music on. I’ll make us some drinks.”
Tommy walked over to the music centre in the corner and spent a couple of minutes browsing through the menu screens before choosing what sounded like a smooth jazz version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. The woman came back with two glasses filled with some kind of brown liquid, handed one to Tommy. They clinked glasses and drank, and Tommy was sprawled out on the floor a moment later. “Man, that stuff works fast,” I thought. The woman took out her phone and voice-dialed someone called Mr Jakes.
“Mr Jakes, it’s Linda. Everything went through fine. How long? No, that’s fine. Goodbye.”
Half an hour later there was a knock on the door. Linda opened it and two men walked in. One of them, the younger one, had the look of a med school dropout. The other looked like a call-centre manager. “Mr Jakes,” I thought, then stepped out from behind the camo-shield and shot him in the head.
The dropout looked like he was going to faint. “You killed him!”
“Rubber bullets, dickhead. Now go see if my friend is okay.”
While the dropout attended to Tommy I made Linda drag Mr Jakes onto the sofa, then took a ball of twine out of my pocket. Ten minutes later everyone but me and Tommy was tied up, and Mr Jakes was just starting to come round. He moaned loudly, then vomited on Linda’s lap. After she stopped squealing I walked over to him and slapped him in the face a couple of times.
“Mr Jakes! Mr Jakes!”
He shuddered, shook his head and looked up at me.
“Do you know who I am?”
He nodded, too dazed to speak.
“So you know why I’m here. The way I figure it, you owe me for three kidneys. Tell me, what does one of those fetch on the black market these days?”
He told me. It was a lot. I grinned down at him. “Multiply that by three and we have a settlement figure.” I placed a scrap of paper with bank details on it in his lap then held up my phone. “Call your bank. Authorise an instant transfer to this account.”
By now Mr Jakes appeared to be fully recovered. He looked up at me, making eye contact for the first time. “What if I don’t?”
I walked over to the camo-shield, reached behind it and took out a portable meat-grinder. “Then we start making sausages.”
Ten minutes later the transfer was complete. Mr Jakes sneered at me. “Better start enjoying it while you can. You won’t have much time to spend it. We know who you are, man. In 24 hours everyone in our organisation will know your face. You’re a dea-” I hit him with a tranq-gun, and the other two for good measure, then turned around and walked over to Tommy. He was just starting to wake up.
I voice dialled the doc from the car. “Doc it’s Gene.”
“Don’t tell me you need another kidney already.”
“Not this time, doc. This time I’m gonna need a new face.”