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Stalking the Average Man


Working his jaw to pop his ears, Horst looked at his watch. -Too late to feed the bird, | he
said to no one and everyone...
Bonnie looked at me questioningly.
-The second bomb kills the crowd and medics who were attending to the casualties of the
first one. Birds are satellites. |
She nodded, and continued reading:
Hakim casually wiped condensation from the base of Bartholomew Edwards‘ glass, while
he sheepishly picked himself off the floor onto which he had plummeted as if he‘d seen a
thousand dollar bill fluttering by.
-When is cut off? | Bart said, reaching for his drink.
-Eight-thirtyish, | LeeAnn said, painfully swishing a piece of lemon through her Perrier
with a bandaged finger. -Depends on the kind of day, and the condition of the driver. |
Tilting his drink toward Edwards, LeBlanc toasted a supportive, -Tick-tock, mate. Cheers. |
' | Axe? | Nikki and Jolynn said together, seeking a translation.
-Two mice ran up the clock. The clock struck the one who stopped to ask, what's that
noise? The other one dropped to the floor and escaped without injury. |
Edwards nodded his appreciation toward Robbie.
Bryan, who had forgotten more about the Middle East than any three of us put together
would ever know, nudged my elbow. -I can‘t remember why hitting the deck was a good idea. |
-Me neither, | I said.
Turning to Edwards, he said, -Cheers, we all needed that, | meaning we should have been
picking up thousand dollar bills as well.
Edwards nodded at us, his expression changing to uncertainty as the first wisp of a pungent
odor arrived at bar level.
Bryan lowered his eyes to read a beer label printed in four of the five languages he could
negotiate in a pinch.
Everyone's eyes soon inspected the architecture, or their fingernails, lest they influence the
decision the multimillion-dollar anchorman had to make in the brief stretch of time before
another round of sirens echoed through the downtown core.
-I'll be fucked, | Edwards said, shifting from one foot to the other, -I shit myself. |
-Not anytime soon, | LeeAnn said, blandly.
-Jockeys or briefs? | Hakim said, seriously concerned about his bar stool.
Turning toward the elevators, Edwards said, -Put that strange fellow's tab on room nine-
twenty. His translator's, as well, | he said, nodding toward me as I finally remembered to -pay |
Robbie the $120 he had left at Julie‘s Mansion in the spring.
"Stairs, | Nikki said, not raising her voice.
With a chop-step, Bart angled toward the stairwell: -Hakim—everyone who‘s ever done
this gets doubles. |
Horst glanced toward LeeAnn, who shrugged at Jolynn, who ordered gin ahead of everyone
else who had eaten a salad washed in hotel tap water. Or who otherwise weren‘t strangers to an
unexpected shit; it was the way it was, and not a big deal in places where death was so busy.
Bonnie placed the pages on her lap, and a shallow smile faded into contemplation as she
closed her eyes. And there she sat. Tick. Tick. Tick.
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