Sunday, July 19, 2009

SUNDAY morning breakfast serial?

Okay, I'm having a harder time with JoAnn than with Sahara. But last night I had it take off in my head on me. SO, ready or not. . . .

I slid the ring on my finger, making sure it was point side up. I mean, how bad would that be? Survive the assassin and then poison myself accidentally by clenching my fist. Besides, as weapons go it was a sweet one, and NOT cheap. And when I got to my apartment, I was going to run a few tests on it, see if I could trace who had provided it to Adonis.

Oh, and feed my cell phone. Chocolate. She'd earned it.

The one thing I wasn't going to do was go up to the hotel room Celeste had provided. Lords only knew what nasty surprises might be waiting for me there.

I thought I knew who hired Adonis. But I wanted to be sure. Because, well, while I'd love to blame everything on my co-worker, I do have other enemies. Serious, dangerous enemies. And even worse allies. I wouldn't have made it to adulthood otherwise.

I took the subway. It's cheap. And it was early enough in the evening to still have plenty of passengers. Safety in numbers actually works for the most part.

I live in a rooming house in one of the "iffy" sections of the city. It's a three-story Victorian with porches, turrets, ghosts and a pair of gargoyles that stand guard on either side of the stairs leading up to the front door. All of the tenants are women. All of them have the kind of problems that leave them leery of strangers. My kind of place.

I was about half a block from the gate when a pair of men stepped out of the shadows in front of me. I didn't need to hear my cell phone squeak to know there was another pair behind me. Four men. Just for little old me. It was almost flattering.

"Hello Casper, Luke." I greeted the two in front of me by name.

"Jo." Luke spat my name like a curse. No surprise. He's the type to hold a grudge.

"I take it Snake wants to see me?"

"He does." Casper smiled with saccharine sweetness.

"But why send four men? He could've just called. I'd come."

"Well, he's a little peeved about losing the Spook." The gravelly voice behind me sounded familiar. I glanced over my shoulder to find Georgie two-toes and someone I'd never met.

"Hey George. What happened to the Spook?"

"That's what Snake'd like to know. He sent him here to collect you, and *poof*" he made a little gesture with his hands, "he disappears. Snake figures you had something to do with that."

I stood there and blinked a little. The Spook was one scarey bastard, and sneaky enough for twelve. What in the hell could've happened to him? Unless . . . Nah. "No. Actually, I didn't."

"You expect us to believe that?" The new kid snorted. Without even looking, George swung around, giving him a good, solid blow to the solar plexis. The kid folded like a card table, gasping for air.

"Thanks George."

"No problem. The boss may be pissed, but he made it clear that nobody does nothin' to you if you come along nice."

Luke coughed pointedly and gestured toward an arched trellis. The space between it was shimmering like an oil slick. A portal. The Snake had actually paid somebody enough money to build him a portal. Damn. He must want to see me really bad. And I bet I knew why.

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