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Eren’s Challenge, E019 part one, Red Rundle Rent

Eren’s Challenge

Written by Kenneth Shumaker

Episode 019, Red Rundle Rent

With InUPress

February 12, 2018 

Part one published with Virily on February 27, 2018.

We now continue with Eren’s Challenge episode 019, ‘Red Rundle Rent,’ on …

Lezmor 26 of 78 

As I watch Havar drools over the cocoa bar; I frown malignly. “Excuse me Havar, your drooling. Is there an issue?”

Wiping spittle from the corners of his mouth, Havar reaches with one hand. “May I?”

Looking down at the bar then at Havar, I grin easily and offer him the bar. “By all means, sure.”

Grasping the bar’s wrapper, Havar takes a large bite from the cocoa, taking two bubbles from the bar. He grudgingly hands the bar back.

I take the bar and lay it on the plate in front of me. “Tell me what documents you need.”

“Our expense invoice claims from Kren of 77 say you spent twenty-thousand credits on a new vehicle. The tax forms say you paid cash for this vehicle.”

I shake my head as I frown. “I made no such report as I never purchased a vehicle in 77, nor in the last five terms. As you’ll see my vehicle is now seven terms old.”

Opening his file case, Havar retrieves a tax return and offers it to me. “Is this not the tax return which you filed in 77?”

I scan over the return carefully. Coming to the last pages, I read the expenses claims and almost go into shock, jolting as I sit back, setting down the plastisheets.

The numbers were inflated by 35,876 credits of false expenses. “This is not my tax claim which I submitted in 77.”

Smiling, Havar leans to the side. “My friend, it is the official return on file. Do you dispute it now?”

Gasping slightly, I sit stiffly. “It is not my tax claim that I filed. This is a false document. Where did you get it?”

Looking at the bar and nodding toward the treat. “It matters that it is the official document on file, Master Eren.”

I push the plate toward him.

The assessor manager picks up the cocoa bar, pulling the wrapper farther back; he bites off two more bubbles. He moans as he chews the smooth, creamy cocoa with its butter sauce inside it.

Placing the last two bubbles, still in their wrapper, on the plate, he says, “the file can get tangled in processing for a while if you aid me.”

Seeing the issue here, I was set up for ransom blackmail. I’m being blackmailed into working for the bastard. Obviously, he suspects me for the work I do. Or does he? “I’m confused … how can I be of any use to you?”

Tapping the table twice, Havar grins evilly. “I need a clean soul to do a diplomatic job for me. If you do this, I might find an original tax file. If not, you may be looking at court time with a possible sentence of five terms in the goal of filing a false Royal Tax Claim.”

I avoid chuckling at this, knowing I can fight this as I file duplicate claims with an insurance firm, with a frightened expression of eyes wide, I shudder. “Tell me what happens if I agree.”

Nudging my arm, Havar answers, “hey buck up Eren. This file will be lost in the limbo of the assessment office, as long as you do what I tell you when I tell you.”

I visibly shiver, shaking in my seat, not feeling it inside. Inside I’m laughing. I just found my buy-in with Havar that Angel wanted me to find.

Bowing my head, I mutter, “I’ll try, Master Havar.”

Closing his file-case and eating the last of the cocoa bar, Havar is grinning big, ear-to-ear. His eyes shining happy, believing he’s won.

“When do I start, and with what?” I ask timidly.

Standing abruptly, Havar places a small mailing plastivlope on the table which he took out of his briefcase. “Instructions are in there.”

Touching the plastivlope, he bows. “I’ll show myself out, no need to escort me.”

I watch the oaf depart then I turn to Es as Tol joins me. I say, “so, you all heard that blackmailing?”

Tol pats my shoulder. “As you humal say, ‘you have big shoulders, big boy.’”

We laugh.

Tol is aware of Angel’s Amber Calendar requests upon Es and myself.

Joining us at the table, Es looks at the plastivlope, pointing, she narrows her eyes. “So!”

Raising my eyebrows, I look at the plastivlope. “So?”

She groans, and also, for the first time I hear a gnoll’s frustrated groan.

“Ambassador’s staff don’t show emotions, you two.” I cheekily utter.

They both laugh in unison, in their frustration.

Lifting the plastivlope, I hold it up to the ceiling light, quizzically staring through it. Chuckling, I unzip the top, opening it. Removing the single sheet from inside, I read the two paragraphs out loud, sharing the contents with Es and Tol.

Es grins smugly as I read.

Setting down the document, we shake hands.

Es utters, “good luck … good pull.”

We embrace.

I remark, “we’ll see how your Ambassador responds.”

Watching and listening, Tol offers his paw to shake. “Good luck, Eren.”

Lezmor 27 of 78

I open my front door, outside I see a tall, light build, attractive woman with almond-shaped emerald eyes, a finely featured wrinkle-free long thin face, neatly accoutred long grey hair. This humal female is of about sixty-terms old.

I bow and say, “good evening. I assume you are Ambassador Violoi?”

The woman offers her jewelled hand, which I take and place a proper gentle kiss on her fingers.

Eyeing her body-fitting knee-length black silk strapless dress. I smile lustfully. Then step aside motioning her in. As she strides in on her three-inch stiletto heel black three-strap sandals which display her perfect toned feet and calves to my wonder. She carries a small eight-inch Doaurvier black and gold glitter jewelled clutch in her hand.

“Come sit in the living area before we eat. Esmelda is already waiting.”

“Thank you, Engineer Eren. It is such a pleasure to finally meet the husband of my assistant. I’ve heard so much about you. I hope it’s not all true.”

Walking into the living area together, Es has Earl Ferrent’s music playing from last season’s High Peak Orchestra recordings. This was recorded from the downtown High Hall. The pieces were first performed over 200 terms ago by the composer Gusten for his Earl.

“These are my Earl’s favourite performances; how did you get a recording, Eren? They were restricted to three private collections.”

I nod to Violoi once, offering. “I have connections and friends.”

She sits on the sofa and accepts the offered fluted drink from Tol.

Peering at Tol, Violoi says in curiosity, “A gnoll servant as well?”

I nod again, as Tol bows to her then offers me my drink.

We chitchat a bit about weather and the evening news and idle politics then looking at the com timer I sniff.

Smiling, I say, “Well, if everyone will take seats at the dining table, I’ll serve the meal I cooked. It’s roast goose with lemon and thyme, a hot-spiced riced vegetable dish and creamed corn. I hope you’ll save room for the apple-rhubarb-strawberry pie with cinnamon sauce. I also brought in a bottle of Frewque Wine for the meal.”

Whistling, Violoi asks, “for me? You needn’t have. I have simple tastes, but I will appreciate the extravagance. How did you obtain the wine? … I know … connections.”

This ends this Eren’s Challenge episode 019 part one, ‘Red Rundle Rent,’ written by, Kenneth Shumaker.

May the words stay with you!

To be continued in the next Eren’s Challenge episode 019 part two, ‘Red Rundle Rent.

© 2018 by Kenneth Shumaker with Inevitable Unicorn Press

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