K23 Side Story

K23 Side Story: The Importance of Receipts

Arnoldo Kramer stormed into his local Stolen and Smuggled Goods Market, or S&S Mart for short, carrying a laser pistol.

The four specially armored avian guards standing towards the front lifted their own guns.

“No. Trouble,” one said from behind a specially-made facemask. Avians normally didn’t wear armor,  it was too heavy to fly. The ones who guarded S&S Mart locations wore armor for added protection because they stayed on the ground.

“I bought this a few days and ago and it doesn’t work. “

“Counter. In back.”

Arnoldo made his way past the purchasing kiosks. There were several people buying the array of stolen and smuggled goods the Mart sold. A few criminal types like himself, a few poor people looking for cheap goods and even a well-dressed man who was probably looking to buy back what was stolen from him.

Half the goods were unloaded by thieves cashing in or others disposing evidence. The other half was stolen by the Mart themselves via a network of theft rings. The government would’ve loved to put them out of business but they paid their taxes and provided needed food and goods to the poor. The Avian Syndicate protecting them to keep their food source safe didn’t hurt either.

Arnoldo made his way to the laser-proof cage built into the back wall. Behind the clear barrier sat a bored-looking troll female. S&S Mart liked to hire orcs and trolls. They were fearsome, yet could actually speak clearly unlike most ogres. Troll females had the added benefit of being gorgeous which tended to help sway male shoppers.

“I’d like to return this,” Arnoldo said through the intercom.

“Reason?” The troll, named Grixla the Steady, asked.

“You sold me a defective weapon! I was going to shoot a defaulting borrower’s knee caps out, but it jammed and didn’t fire. One of my buddies had to do it. It was embarrassing.”

A drawer slid open. “Let me take a look.”

Arnoldo slipped the pistol into the drawer. Grixla pulled the drawer back. She took the pistol and typed the special S&S Mart serial number into a console.

“Mr. Kramer, the Markok pistol you purchased was clearly marked as “Defective, good for parts.”

He banged his fist against the glass. The avians turned their heads. “It wasn’t marked like that when I bought it two days ago!”

It was marked “good as new.” The designation was burned into his mind. He wouldn’t have purchased an obviously defective weapon.

“I’m sorry sir, it’s marked that way now and therefore cannot be returned. And I think I trust the computer over you.”

Arnoldo put his face up to the glass. “Let me talk to your manager.”

Grixla did not flinch. “I am the manager on duty at the location, but if you’d like to go above my head, the Avian Syndicate members are over there.” Grixla pointed while smirking.

Arnoldo took the pistol out of the drawer. “One of these days, I’m going to bring my buddies and teach you bastards a lesson.”

“You do that, sir,” her eyes glimmered. “I look forward to it. Have a nice day!”

Arnoldo grumbled out of the store. Served him right for looking for a cheap gun at a place that didn’t provide receipts.

He should have known better.

—-

K23 Detectives Three Pack with Bonus Novels

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