She was beautiful. She was dark, curved in all the right places, and had a monster of a smile. She just promised a treat. I wondered what the girl would think when she was picked up in it.
Yes, the reason (or at least one of the reasons - he was also paying me a really neat packet) I’d agreed to Martin’s proposal was parked outside his ridiculously small house on Arbuthnot Road. She was a custom MG XPower SV. We’d always called her the MXT. She looked a bit like a Batmobile, especially with the aerodynamic side grills. And she drove even better. She didn't have a choice really, seeing as she'd cost Martin a quarter of a million credits. I got green just thinking about it. Damn he was rich.
I went down into Martin’s den and saw him painting. He was a really talented painter, but even Da Vinci would have thought twice before buying a C250,000 overcraft on a whim. Martin had simply thought he needed something nicer than his Saab and had somehow gotten in touch with MG, drawn a redesigned XPower, and gotten them to make it somehow.
Maybe I should tell you what Martin did for a real living. He painted incredible forgeries and sold them to less scrupulous art collectors, mostly deposed dictators who Interpol had allowed to keep their assets in return for their abdication when the entire world had gone strangely democratic. Those African and Arab bastards kept Martin well paid and in the lap of luxury. My job so far had been to move the paintings to the international carriers, and that's how I'd become reasonably wealthy in my own right. I still wasn't the tiniest scratch on Martin though.
Enough of my envy. It won't tell the story anyway. So in short, I got the keys from Martin, hopped into the MXT and started driving. New Cross to Peckham. The plan was to pick Alizé, the girl, up from Argos in Peckham and take her to Argos in Lewisham. Which to me was just the silliest idea I'd ever heard. Brilliant for a kidnap, because no one would ever think to take a hostage INTO Argos if they hadn't been there before, but silly because there's always a ton of people in Argos, anyone of whom could become a hero. Whatever. That wasn't my concern. I was going to pick her up at Argos and take her to Argos. Simple.
I was thinking all this as I was driving, and by the time I focused on the mission again I was already in Peckham. I stopped and looked for an unobtrusive place to park the eye-popping car. I decided on a side road opposite a shop selling brandless ancient Italian shoes. I walked into Argos and looked around. The normal queues, some people buzzing around catalogues wondering what on earth brought them into the store but determined not to leave until they'd bought something utterly useless.
Then I heard someone call my name and turned around and stared into the very composed stare of a girl in her late teens. She asked me if I was ready to leave because she was tired of waiting in the store. I didn't say a word and I'll tell you why.
She was beautiful. She was dark, curved in all the right places, and had a monster of a smile.