Sometimes pearls of wisdom just irritate people and you never know who might be listening.
| "If you don't take chances," said the man in the striped pajamas, "you might as well not be alive."
Hanging by rapidly tiring fingers from the rain slicked window sill of the twenty seventh floor with strong wind driving the rain almost sideways, Panda had to question the veracity of these particular pearls of wisdom, given her current circumstances. In fact, from where she stood (or hung), it sounded like complete bullshit. Indeed, it seemed to be the exact type of bad advice that could get a girly into exactly this type on untenable situation.
It was supposed to have been an easy job. Get in, snatch the files, get out. Simple for a shadow as accomplished as Panda, Jones had said; a quick rappel from the roof down to the twenty seventh, spray some Freon into the lock, then crack it with a sub-audible sonic burst from her handy dandy wrist unit. Then in the now conveniently open window, quiet as a Vole, grab the files, out again, back up to the roof, then gone.
Only freaking Jones hadn't thought to freaking mention that the damn Jap would have brought along his ten-year-old daughter, or that he would choose the middle of the night for some Saki fuelled Mr Miyagi-esque lecture on how to be a good little Yakuza. Honestly, it was almost too much to bear. And these ridiculous pyjamas the Yakuza boss was wearing were the final insult, I mean really... At least, Panda thought, if I have to get killed by the Yakuza, they can be in badass ninja black, all Katanas, Glocks and throwing stars. But no, she had to get some half-assed guy, pissed as a newt and decked out in fluffy white PJ's with broad pink stripes.
Panda's reverie was broken as the same wind that had blown her rappel line far out of reach, peeled a particularly cold and voluminous stream of runoff from the sheer surface of the building and directed it maliciously straight into a small gap that had opened where her Ventile balaclava and jerkin overlapped. The deluge poured down her neck, coursing chill and shocking between her shoulder blades and down the small of her back before finally finding a home in her suddenly sodden and frigid underwear. The unwanted and unexpected intrusion brought an involuntary gasp from the beleaguered thief, who now swung crazily by one hand as she struggled to close the weather seal in her kit with the other. Of course it was at this precise moment that the wind caught the unlocked window, wrenching it open with a dull boom that drew, judging from the sudden silence within the room, not only Panda's complete attention.
Panda knew she was now faced with two equally unattractive possibilities, she could either let go and try to slow her fall enough on the way down by grabbing onto window ledges and any other protrusions so that she didn't end up as pavement pizza, or she could go in through that window in to the room with the drunken Yakuza boss and daughter. If it had just been those two Panda would have liked her chances, but Jones had estimated that the rooms adjoining the Boss' suite contained anywhere between six and twelve Yakuza bodyguards, hard-core individuals who would happily slice up their dear old grannies like salami before letting any harm befall aforementioned boss.
It could have been the pink PJ's, the bogus advice, the icy almost-enema or perhaps the fact that Panda was at that particular time surfing the crimson tide, but whatever the reason, Panda's simmering irritation flared into a sudden anger that overrode her fear (or perhaps good sense) and with a muttered curse she flexed shoulder muscles earned with long hours on the parallel bars and flipped her sleek body feet first through the window, arcing into the room and landing in a squat directly in front of the flabbergasted Yakuza boss.
For an instant nobody moved, but then the boss sucked in a big gulp of air, ready to shout for help or an ancient battle cry or whatever, Panda didn't really care. All that came out however was a startled squeak, followed by a high pitched wheeze as Panda's left heel connected forcefully with his happy sacks. For a second it seemed he was on the point of a heroic rally, but then his pain filled eyes rolled up in his head and he crumpled to the floor in a pink and white heap. A slapping noise behind her caused Panda to spin round and she saw that the fickle wind had blown her rope back to the window she had come in. With reflexes born of desperation she dove for it and was rewarded with the feel of her hand closing round the rope, accompanied by a sharp pain has her ribs smashed into the window sill. Getting shakily to her feet she climbed onto the sill, ready to climb to safety.
The young girl sat very still in her bed, covers drawn up around her, wide eyes watching Panda intently. Before swinging back out into the safety of the night Panda somehow couldn't resist a parting shot.
'Hey kid,' said Panda, wincing as the effort of talking made the pain in her ribs catch, 'don't listen to your dad hey, he's full of it. Be an accountant.'
Then she was gone.