Moscow Mule: A Chuck Wendig Challenge

Posted: June 17, 2014 in Fiction
Tags: , , ,

This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge. I decided to go with a Stale Beer in a Martini Glass sort of tale. I like Ewan (he was a character I used in a Spycraft game a few years back), and he’s the kind of character I’d like to come back to. Not sure what else I’d add here, so without further ado…

(Oh, if you are looking for a musical accompaniment, I recommend the following.

Moscow Mule

Ewan sat in the Lucky Monkey bar sipping a Yamazaki whisky, his third of the night. Girls had stopped coming by, leaving the expat Brit alone after he waved them off without even doing them the courtesy of buying them a drink. He was wearing a light cotton shirt, but thanks to the heat of summer it was sticking to him like a second skin. He’d placed his jacket on the back of his chair. On the table in front of him were his cellphone, a pack of Silk Cut cigarettes, and a silver plated lighter. His fingers itched to light a cancer stick, despite the smoking ban. He thought fondly of the days when smoking was allowed in places like this, but those days were over. Might was well wish the British still had control of the city, too.

The Lucky Monkey wasn’t Ewan’s favorite bar, not by a long shot. The drink selection wasn’t the best, the girls average at best, and the music loud and blaring. It was off the beaten path however, and tended to attract more locals than sailors. It meant Ewan stuck out a bit more, but it also meant fewer people were likely to try and strike up a conversation with the old expat.

“Mister Doyle?” The voice was thick with Russian, and Ewan could smell the cheap vodka from where he sat.

He turned slowly, fixing a tired smile on his face. “Roman Andreyvich. I was beginning to think you weren’t coming.”

The Russian scowled, taking the seat next to Ewan. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, dabbed at his sweating forehead and neck. “Customs, you know? I hate coming to Hong Kong. Always so many questions.”

Ewan nodded in sympathy. “You could have called. Can I get you a drink?”

“They have vodka here?”

Ewan wrinkled his nose.  “I recommend the baiju, instead.”

Roman nodded and started to pull a roll of bills from his pocket, but Ewan waved him off. “I’ve got this, and put that away. The girls see you have that much on you, we’ll never get any business done.” Ewan waved over one of the hostesses, ordered Roman his drink.

Once it was in front of him, a clear liquid with ice floating in it, Ewan tapped the table. “I take it you were able to bring it?” he asked.

Roman nodded, a tired sigh escaping his lips. He picked up the glass and sipped it cautiously. “Huh. Not bad. What did you say this was?”

“Baiju.” His fingers tapped against his glass. “Well?”

Roman shook his head, slumping back in his seat. “Always business with you, Ewan. Don’t you ever relax?”

Ewan narrowed his eyes, downed the rest of his whiskey. “I’ve been known to on occasion. Not when I’m working though, and right now I’m on the clock.”

“As you say, Doyle,” Roman said. He pulled a cellphone from his pocket. He took off the back, removed the battery, and slipped the sim card out. He picked up the pack of Lucky Strikes from the table, and slipped the card inside.

“My payment?” Roman asked, setting the pack back on the table.

“Under the table, you’ll find a suitcase.” Ewan picked up the cigarettes, lighter, and his phone, slipping them into his pockets. “Gemstones which should be equal to the amount agreed upon, plus proper documentation.”

“All above board, as always, Mr. Doyle.” Roman grimaced down into his glass.

“Don’t look so glum, Andreyvich. You’ll be a rich man.” Standing up, Ewan slipped his jacket on. “Until next time.”

Roman snorted. “Don’t you think we’re getting too old for this, Doyle?”

“Only every day. Only every day.”


Ewan picked out the tail two blocks after he left the Lucky Monkey. It was after midnight when he left, and the streets were still crowded with working girls, sailors, expats, and tourists. Ewan slipped through the crowd easily, checking behind him now and again out of habit. They tried to be inconspicuous, but they stopped when he stopped, started up when he did. Their squared shoulders and heavy brows marked them as muscle. Roman hadn’t even bothered to contract out to locals. Ewan cut left through an alley, and one of his tails followed him as the other continued on, probably trying to get in front of him.

Ewan knelt down, ostensibly to tie his shoe. He could only hope his tail didn’t notice he was wearing loafers. The big man came up, breaking out into a run, arms outstretched to tackle Ewan. Ewan stood up, his bad knee screaming in protest as he drove the knife up with a backhand strike. The big Russian clipped Ewan as he stumbled past, blood spurting from his wound. His attacker fell to his knees, clutching at the hilt of the knife, before falling face first in the alley.

Ewan caught his breath, waited for his heart beat to slow down. He rolled over his attacker and pulled his weapon free. He wiped the knife off on the Russian’s jacket before searching him. No wallet, no identification. Ewan did find a PSS Silent pistol in a shoulder holster, however. He gave a low whistle as he pulled it out. It wasn’t exactly common corporate bodyguard equipment, instead typically issued to Russian Special Forces.

Dragging the dead Russian behind a nearby dumpster, he pushed some trash over on top. It would be a few hours at least until the body was discovered, more than enough time for Ewan to distance himself from the body. He headed back the way he came, disappearing back into the crowd.


Roman tapped is foot on the ground and checked his watch for the third time in fifteen minutes. The suitcase with the emeralds sat on the dock next to him as he waited for the fishing trawler. It was late, which made him nervous, though not as nervous as Gavriil telling him Vlasiy was dead, stabbed through the heart and left under a pile of trash. Gavriil had no choice but to leave him there, using a disposable cell phone to call in an anonymous tip to the police as to where they could find the body. Roman had told both Gavrill and Vlasiy not to underestimate Doyle. You didn’t get to be an old man in this business without being good at your job.

“Ahh, there is the boat.” Roman heard the chugging of the motor as the trawler came out of the fog, its lights shining across the dock. He’d made these arrangements months ago, back when he’d first decided to double-cross Ewan. The information he’d provided the Brit had been completely bogus, and he’d been offered quite the sum of money from the Chinese government to deal with the British expat who’d been a thorn in their side for so long. They’d wanted someone that couldn’t be tied back to them, and the offer had been very generous.

Two men hopped off the boat, carrying lines to secure it.

“All set?” the captain of the boat called out.

“About time you got here,” Roman shouted back. Gavriil hopped across first, his pistol out. Roman waited as he disappeared below decks, then got nervous when he didn’t reappear.

“Gavriil? What is going on?”

He froze when he felt the barrel of a pistol shoved in the small of his back.

“A double cross, Andreyvich? Really? After all these years?”

“The money was good. Enough to retire on. Can you blame me? You would have done the same.”

Ewan pulled the trigger twice, and Roman collapsed on the deck. Ewan wiped the gun off before dropping it into the water. The fishermen, having weighed down Gavriil’s corpse, tossed him over the side of the trawler.

Opening the suitcase, Ewan picked out two of the larger stones, handed them to the captain.

“Pleasure doing business with you, Captain Wen.”

“Pleasure was all mine, Mr. Doyle. Until next time?”

“Until next time.”


  1. […] said, I like Ewan, and, in fact have used him before. He’s the kind of character I really should do more with. Probably didn’t help (or hurt) […]

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