His landline woke him. No one called him on the cell after midnight and the old number was one only a few people knew. After the third ring he pulled himself from the tangle of the covers to trudge downstairs to the kitchen.
“It’s Rick, you still play medic?”
“It’ll cost you,” he fumbled at lightswitch nearby. “What needs patching?”
“A couple of cracks, some knicks, and a hole.”
“Where and when?”
“Starlight Hotel, room sixteen,” there was a pause. “Haul it. Use the old code so I don’t get itchy.”
“When did you start packin’?”
“It’s a keepsake.”
“The old crew didn’t fare too well, eh?”
“Higgs,” Rick sighed. “You’re the only one who hasn’t tried to kill me. Yet.”
“Wait ’til you get my bill.”
He hung up the phone and went about the task of finding clothes to wear that weren’t soiled from his day job. After that he simply had to find his tool kit and work gloves before heading out. The thirty-eight tucked in his waistband wasn’t anything personal. Rick just tended to attract all sorts of trouble and if things sounded as bad as they were a little preparation would pay off in the long run.