Who Is the Fish?
"Damn you, Kurtz," he whispered back, whispered to
the darkness, the woman, Christy, the Black Wall... "I don't
want to go... I love you..."
"I love you, too, Bertram." She pulled him close and
rocked him till they both returned to sleep.
The alarm... Bertram opened his eyes; a telephone was
ringing faintly from the next room. He untangled himself
from the still-sleeping Christy, slid out of the bed, and
slipped quietly from the bedroom. He pulled the door
gently closed behind him.
He snatched up the phone. "Do you have any idea what
time it is?"
A moment of silence. Static.
"Yes, Mr. Diebold. I know what time it is. If I'm
Bertram glanced down at his bare wrist. He scanned the
walls and table for a clock. Nothing... A band of light
where the drapes met: it was, at least, morning.
"Sorry," he said. "It must be later than I thought.
Christy's asleep, but I can take a message..."
"No," the voice on the line cut in. "I'm calling for you,
Mr. Diebold. I run Tollbooth Collectibles, Tenth and
Pershing, Downtown. You were here yesterday, looking for
H.F. Kurtz's Reconciliato. I've got one for you. First
"They only made one edition," Bertram grumbled.
Something in the voice made Bertram's teeth hurt.
"Even better. Come on down."
More static, a series of clicks, a dial tone.
Christy shifted under the covers, even threw her arms
around his neck once, but she refused to wake up. He