The Variant Effect by G. Wells Taylor
The old furrier building in a rundown part of Metro was the perfect place to find a body, and Joe Borland knew they wouldn’t have dragged him out of retirement to see it if something hadn’t eaten its skin. It’s been twenty years since Borland battled the Variant Effect, and twenty since he let his partner get skinned alive. Now both of them are ordered back into action to meet the new threat.
It was an old building in a rundown part of town—the perfect place to find a body. And it was the perfect place for Joe Borland to come bitching and moaning out of retirement. He wasn‘t complaining at the moment because he was half-cut, still drunk from the night before.
The peppermints he chewed did nothing to hide the smell of cheap whisky on his breath. He preferred a blended scotch, but had learned to drink anything he could afford on his pension. There was a time that being drunk was part of the job, but that was then. Since he got the golden boot, being drunk was part of doing nothing at all.
The patrol car pulled up to the building and Borland struggled out of it adjusting his belt where it slung under his belly. His hernias were acting up again. He kept postponing the operation to get them fixed because his health insurance didn‘t cover non-life threatening injuries and illness, so he had to save for the surgery himself.
When he weighed the issues of needing a drink and needing his hernias fixed, the drinks came out on top. The hernias only bothered him when he walked or rode in cars and he didn‘t do much of that anymore, but needing a drink bothered him every damn day in paradise.
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