“Don’t worry about the E-Z Inn/E-Z Out Motel,” Kunstler said. “I’ve seen the manager. A weak man, skulking about sucking money from those who have nowhere to go. A good, firm grasp is what’s needed.”

“Good, firm grasp, eh?” Sexton said. “You going to rough him up?”

“I’ll just tell him that if he breathes one word about this to anyone, I will lash him to a telephone pole with razor wire, facing his wretched little establishment, so that he can watch it burn to the ground as the life dribbles out of him.”

Mercifully, Sexton’s phone buzzed before Kunstler could further elaborate. “Okay, I need to take this call,” he said. “From the boss.”

Kunstler grunted and walked onto the balcony; a moment later, he could be heard lifting one of the metal deck chairs like a dumbbell.

“You did well, Sexton,” Fairburn said. “It will take the authorities weeks to figure out that the body in Kunstler’s cell after the fire was not his, if indeed they ever do. My analysis has so far proven correct, which is why I have your third and final recruitment ready. Complete this, and statistically speaking, your team cannot fail–you, and they, will all have their lives back and be none the wiser.”

“Who is the third one,” Sexton said. “Let’s get it over with.”

“Are you familiar with internet videos, Sexton?” asked Fairburn.

“I’ve seen some, mostly with cats,” Sexton replied. Kidnapping a celebrity cat would be a nice change of pace after two impossible jobs.

“I need you to acquire for me Crys Appleby, who is probably better known as Crystal_Apple or Crypple. They are a singing star of online streaming videos, which they record, edit, and promote themselves.”

“Easy enough,” Sexton said. “Live in mom’s basement?”

“Currently, the subject is on tour with a number of other internet celebrities as part of a marketing stunt. However, security is very tight due to an assassination attempt against another star late last year. There have also been noises that the subject is due to be signed by a major record company and/or a major film studio. This is immaterial to their value to this enterprise.”

“Which is?”

“For the time being, also immaterial,” said Fairburn. “Get it done.”

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