“What kind of crew?” Briggs asked.

“We need a screwsman,” Roake said. “That’s why I got you.” Then, he looked at the map. “One more. To help carry and watch.”

“Three?” Briggs asked. “That all? I’d bring one more.”

Roake shook his head. “Only three. Each of us has a job. The other two can look. That’s all we need.”

Briggs frowned. “Seems too tight.”

“It’s a fast job. In and out.”

“That’s what you said about the last one.”

Roake nodded. “This time’s different.”

Briggs thought about it. “You could do it with three. I’d prefer four. But I guess we could do it with three.” He picked up more bread. “Who were you thinking of for the third?”

“Someone you worked with on your last job,” Roake said. “Who did you like?”

Briggs put his hand on his chin. “Tinsen. He was good. Talked a lot, but he shut up when it was important.”

“We need someone who can carry,” Roake said.

“He’s not a big fellow,” Briggs said. “But he’s strong. He was a soldier. A pikeman.”

Roake nodded. “If you vouch for him, he sounds good.”

“I know where to find him. He’ll like working again so soon.”

Roake rolled up the plans. “Do that. Meet me here again tomorrow.”

“When’s the party?” Briggs asked, picking up the invitation again. “Two days. Not a lot of time for planning.”

Roake shook his head.

Briggs said, “Just tell me one thing, Roake.” Both men paused. “Tell me this isn’t about revenge.”

Roake looked at Briggs. “I needed the paper before the last job went sour. I need it more now.”

Briggs spent a moment watching Roake’s eyes. Then, he said, “I remember now why I never play cards with you.” He stepped back one step.
“If I smell something sour, I’m out. You know that.”

Roake put the parchment in his bag. “That’s fair.”

Briggs nodded. “Tomorrow then.”


Briggs left the room. Roake finished his wine and grabbed a piece of bread. He locked the door behind him and went down the stairs and out into the City.

Fantasy Noir 8
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