Final Target (Triskelion Team #1) - Zara Keane
St. Patrick’s Church, Kilpatrick, Dublin
Of all the sights Lar Delaney expected to see when he wrenched open the door to the confessional booth, a man jacking off wasn’t among them.
“Jaysus,” he said, taking a step back, momentarily off his guard.
Spoons Maginty’s weasel face turned chalky white. His beady eyes dropped to his crotch, then widened when he registered the gun pointed at his chest. “Ah now, Delaney,” he said, struggling with the zipper of his stained trousers. “Surely you’re not going to shoot a man for having a wank?”
Lar swore beneath his breath and flexed his shoulders. The sooner he got out of the enforcing business, the better. No amount of money was worth having to deal with wankers like Spoons. He grabbed his prey by the arm and hauled him out of the confessional. The familiar church smells of incense and dry rot warred with the small man’s body odor. Spoons licked his thin lips and attempted to wriggle out of his captor’s grasp.
Lar held tight and leaned in close. “You owe Big Mike Reynolds five grand.”
“I told you I’d pay him next week,” the man whined in a squeaky voice that reminded Lar of his little sister’s hamster.
“No. You said you’d take care of it by yesterday evening. Big Mike is not impressed.”
Spoons bounced on the balls of his feet. “What am I supposed to do? I don’t have five grand. Now that the missus has thrown me out and changed the locks, I can’t even rob my own house.”
“You know the score. You knew it when you asked Big Mike for a loan. Either you pay up or you pay in another way.”
Spoons wiped his runny nose with the back of his free hand. “I’ve got a job tomorrow night. Me and my mate Batesy are planning to break in to that new jeweler’s on Harcourt Street. You know Batesy, right?”
Yeah, Lar knew Batesy. He was a brawny man with a short fuse, ready fists, and the smarts of an amoeba. “If you two get nicked, Big Mike will never get his money back.”
“If I don’t do this job, I’ll never scrape enough dough together to pay him. Besides, the security system is shite. They’re practically begging to be robbed.”
Lar considered this proposition for a moment, weighing the odds of Spoons getting arrested against the chance of reimbursing Big Mike in full and getting to keep a slice of the loot for himself. He’d opened his mouth to ask for more details when the church door creaked open.
Both men whirled around. An elderly woman came in, genuflected, and shuffled toward the devotional candles.
Lar shoved Spoons into the confessional and crammed in after him. The wooden booth was narrower than he remembered from his last visit to a church, and the space barely accommodated his long legs. Spoons squirmed, trying to move away from the loaded weapon pressed against his ribs.
“If I negotiate with Big Mike on your behalf, I want a twenty percent cut of the takings.”
“That’s daylight robbery,” Spoons said, oblivious to the irony of his words.
“Take it or leave it.” Lar squeezed one of Spoons’s bony knees and leaned close to the small man’s ear. “It’s been a while since I kneecapped a man.”
Sweat beaded on Spoons’s upper lip. “Fine. I’ll give you twenty percent.”
“Plus whatever you’ve got in your wallet.”
Spoons’s face fell. “Ah, come on now. A man has to eat.”
“If you expect him to wait until after the robbery, Big Mike will want a deposit.”
Muttering, Spoons reached into the pocket of his soiled trousers and extracted a battered wallet. Five crisp hundred-euro notes emerged from its grubby interior.
Lar whistled. “Robbed an ATM?”
“Got lucky on the horses.”
Yeah, right. Pickpocketed some poor unsuspecting eejit is more like it. Lar pocketed the money and the pistol and reached for the door handle. “I’ll be in touch once I’ve had a word with Big Mike.”
Free from captivity, Spoons shot out of the confessional and made a dash for the exit.
Ambling down the nave of the church, Lar pulled his phone from the pocket of his leather jacket and scrolled through his contacts until he found Big Mike’s number. He wasn’t fond of the man, but Big Mike was influential in the Dublin underworld and could prove useful to Lar in the future. Plus the extra cash would help fund his new venture.
“If your mother were alive,” said a raspy voice behind him, “she’d box your ears for entering a church with a loaded weapon.”
Lar spun around and found