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See Jack Die (PART 5)


CHAPTER 58
MS. JOSEPHINE'S SHOP.
17 SECONDS LATER . . .
Ms. Josephine already had three chairs set out around the small wooden table of smoking
things. She always seems to know what we're up to. No matter how clever and devious we think
we are, she's one step ahead of us.
“'ello, boys,” she says politely, bringing us small cups of something that might or might not be
tea.
“Is this going to make me infertile?” Ricky jokes.
“'opefully,” Ms. Josephine answers as we head back to our rickety thatched seats.
We sit, and for a couple of seconds nobody says anything. I sip at the tea-like substance,
wondering what she'll say. She looks across the table at both of us and laughs to herself.
“What kind of mess are we?” And then she smiles. A big, grand, full-on smile. And I realize
that I've never actually seen this side of her. She looks so pleasant and nice that I have a hard time
connecting this glowing face with the woman who communes with the dead and chops up live
animals to make skin paint.
Ms. Josephine, I start, I want to know where you stand on all of this.
“But it ain't my decision, child. Whatever you decide to do, I'll be on your side.”
I understand, I tell her. And that is a comfort. But I want to know how you feel about all of
this. I mean, this is really your field of expertise.
She put her elbows up on the table, her chin sinking into her hands as she contemplated. “I'm
worried about all of dis. I'm concerned dat we don't 'ave all of da facts.”
This is not what I expected to hear her say. Definitely not what I wanted to hear from her.
“We have the book, we've read it cover-to-cover,” Ricky said. “Well, he has.”
She nodded, “I understand dat. But, to me, it feels like somethin' is missin'. I can't put my
finger on it. I've been listenin' to the other side da last couple days . . . and da voices is quiet, right
now. And dey ain't never been quiet before. Dat bothers me.”
Yeah, me too. What would put a gag order on the Deadsiders?
“ . . . but den,” she says, her eyes lighting up, her face softening, “ . . . I know you love dis girl,
Kristen.”
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