[2Dets] Good Morning, B (BC 01)

edited March 17 in two-detroits
You wake late in the morning. Last night was another bout of fitful sleep and unpleasant dreams. Dumah visited you in them, you think. What does Dumah the angel normally say in your dreams? Have you ever asked him about them when you meet him in the flesh?

The "alarm clock" today is the low rumble of the pizza oven downstairs. Evidently Vamonos Pizza got another big office order, which means either Sasha or Duncan got to work around nine. It must be nine.

You aren't alone this morning. Who's in your apartment this morning, and were they here when you went to sleep?

What do you do?


  • edited March 17

    Pretty sure it's not Sasha downstairs making pizzas, because she's right here. And at some point, though, she must've gotten up and started the coffee, because I smell it. God bless her for that.

    Speaking of God... In my dreams, Dumah is like some fucking cabbalistic numbers station, reciting letters of the Hebrew alphabet in some pattern that seems to form neither words nor significant numbers. Of course, when I wake up I don't remember. When I asked him... he just looked at me with those fucking eyes, like he was gazing out onto a beautiful but desolate frozen landscape.

    I roll over, nudge Sasha. "Oven's going. You're not supposed to be downstairs, are you?"

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    Sasha stirs, "Not for... not for a bit. Ten, I think? Big order... sales meeting or something." She rolls over to face you, opening her eyes and grinning. "Want something nice for breakfast, B? Drunken caramel French toast? Blueberry scones? Pumpkin pecan crunch muffins?" She scoots closer so that her face is the only thing you can see, her hand comes up to rest on your hip.
  • I think about that. "Can't eat too much. Alpha Mom client at 11, and her sessions are almost as much work for me as they are for her. But... I could go for some muffins." I reach around to grab her ass and squeeze.

    Moment of clarification: I am not a romantic. Sasha's one of the few that even stays the night at my place, and that's mostly because it just seems mean to make her leave when she has to be back downstairs in a few hours. Rules? Never two nights in a row, and whatever she needs for the next day comes up from her locker downstairs. I don't need anyone colonizing my space, and I'm... busy a lot at night, anyway.

    "But yeah, something in the muffin family would be great." I grin and roll off the bed, naked and not worried about it. "Thanks for making coffee. Was I thrashing around a lot?"

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    Sasha squeals with sudden laughter when you squeeze her butt. "Not too bad." Sasha replies, and yes, she's watching you from the bed for a few moments before she sits up. She groans a little as she bends down to pick up her silky top and pulls it over her head before getting up to head to the kitchen. "What were the dreams about last night, B?" She immediately gets to work pulling out ingredients. Sasha has an almost magical sense of where everything is in your kitchen. "Oh, and can I bum a shower? Or... you know, share it?"
  • I almost wave away the question about my dreams, but decide to just provide the usual line of bullshit. "Same old shit, different night. I'm a kid, watching my parents get gunned down by some thug, and then... well, you know, the whole Batman thing. It's weird, right?" Dad died of prostate cancer at fifty-two last year, living in Tucson with some pharmaceutical rep that used to work for him, and Mom's on her third husband and her fourteenth plastic surgery, down in Miami. Sasha knows this, and I'm pretty sure she knows I'm not having Batman dreams. The small sanity-and-space-preserving fictions, right?

    "I'm gonna shower quick while you throw stuff together, okay? I'll keep it short so there's hot left, but I want to check email while the muffins are baking."

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    Sasha has no objections as she works. You do get a peek at her muffins when she reaches up to get some flour and her top rides up. What's the tat she has for her "tramp stamp" and what do you like about it?

    What's your place like, Bianca?
  • edited March 17

    Sasha's tramp stamp doesn't really require me to explain why I love it. It's kind of self-evident.


    As to my apartment? Bedroom, "living room" (about the same size as the bedroom), galley kitchen, bathroom. Ta-fuckin'-da. I have a queen sized bed (Ikea) and some comfy if ratty furniture (thrift stores and, well, Ikea... also some Ikea via thrift stores). It's clean, but not neat, if you know what I mean? I don't much care where I put shit, but I don't love dirty dishes or smelly underwear. Speaking of which, I'm a laundromat girl, no washer/dryer in the apartment. So that takes planning. Which sux.

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    You head into the shower and get the water running. It heats up pretty quickly, so you're in the shower before Sasha's got the oven pre-heated. You're a hunter of demons. Do you have any "equipment" around? Where do you keep that kind of stuff?
  • I revel in the hot water. Always do, despite the amount of figurative "hot water" I always wind up in. Let the spray loosen the muscles in my shoulders, ease the fading bruises from my last hunt.

    A lot of my gear is in the truck, a Ford F-150, top of the line, that I bought with most of the money I inherited when Dad died. Some in an underseat lockbox that has both conventional and, well, metaphysical protections, and some in a built in toolbox in the bed that has the same. "Clare," my Bowie knife (named after the main character in some anime I watched), and my baton go with me everywhere, which means I carry a shoulder bag even when it's a little awkward.

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    By the time you're getting out of the shower and drying off, the apartment is filled with the smells of blueberries, muffins and bacon, with the accompanying sound of Sasha frying up the aforementioned bacon. She's turned on her phone and is listening to this:
  • I dance along with Bruno back into the bedroom to grab some clothes. UnderArmour all the way to start, since I'm meeting Alpha Mom and have to cover the gym for a while after. Put a pair of jeans and a tank top in my bag. I'll grab my ancient and oversized leather bomber jacket on the way out the door.

    Still dancing, head out and into the kitchen. "Smells good, Sasha!" Another rule... I don't do cutesy names like "babe" or whatever. "Shower's open. I can take over the bacon if you want." She knows I like mine near-burnt, I'll let her decide.

  • edited March 17

    Sasha takes a pair of tongs and pulls two strips out of the skillet and places them on the plate with paper towels she already set up. She grins and offers you the tongs, "Burn the hell out of 'em, B." When you take the tongs, she turns to the oven, "Oh, the muffins are allllmost done. And they should not be burned." She opens up the stove and bends over, and yes, that's quite a sight, to check on them, poking one with a fork. "I'll set a timer. When it goes off, pull them out, ok? I'll be back after I run you out of hot water." She sets an egg timer for two minutes and prances out of the room, leaving you alone with your tongs.
  • I let my bacon cook a little longer and take the muffins out when the timer dings. Once things are done and the muffins are cooling, I open my laptop and check my email, chewing on the charred remains of what used to be pig.

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    You've got an email of the DM Dustin sent you around 3 AM

    Hey BI-anca, grrl,
    Got real windy here at the Westin* last night. I thought about
    changing hotels in case it's Madame, but didn't. Call me
    when you get this. Not sure if I'm bored or scared.

    (*Westin - The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, five star hotel downtown)

    Sasha's singing in the shower, this song by Farruko (she's bilingual):

    How is her singing, by the way? Oh, and since we're on the subject (sort of) how did Sasha end up here last night? Did she just come up after a shift, or see you out and about or what?
  • I re-read Dustin's message, decide to wait to call him until after breakfast so I don't ruin my appetite. I sip on my coffee and surf a few sites as I listen to Sasha singing. She's pretty good, really, but it's usually just a shower thing unless she's pretty drunk. Which she was, last night, at the dive down the street where I usually hang out if I'm not actively on a hunt. It's one of those places where people know me well enough that I can be comfortably anonymous unless I choose otherwise. Last night I was feeling social, and there were shots involved. Sasha loves her some Fireball, and things just sort of happened from there.

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    Sasha must have thrown some light spices on the bacon because it has an interesting little kick to it, even though it's mostly char due to your proclivities.
    Sasha comes out of the bathroom dressed only in a towel. She is humming Papi Champú (also by Farruka) as she comes up to check on the muffins, "Good work, B. Want to eat in the living room?" She takes the plate of bacon and muffins and carries them that way to sit them on your coffee table. "Hey, I have a change of clothes in my locker downstairs. Mind if I borrow some sweats and a tee so I don't have to wear last night's clothes downstairs? I'll wash them before I return them. Pinkie swear."
  • "Not a problem." I follow her into the living room. "I'll just grab some." I run into the bedroom, grab a pair of grey sweats and an Agent Orange t-shirt, bring them back and then sit down on the couch.

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    When you get back, Sasha's munching happily on her muffin, bobbing her head to a song she isn't humming. "Big plans today?" she asks with her mouth full. She holds a hand up over her mouth when she realizes it, then grabs her glass of milk to drink. "After getting this big order up and working lunch rush, I'm heading out to a gallery. My cousin's putting on some weird performance art sculpture thing. I just hope he doesn't get arrested. Again. You training?"

    She takes the sweats, mumbles thanks, then stands up to pull off the towel and step into them. You know her body pretty well by now, so the weird tattoos and scribbles are familiar. There's a kind of timeline on them as the artist, the same cousin putting on a show, improves with each piece. Marceline is one of the most recent.
  • "Yeah. I only have three clients today, though." I don't talk about my other thing with "civilians," so I don't mention that I'm probably babysitting Dustin for a while, too. "Your cousin gets into some interesting trouble, at least. There's that."

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    "Ambrose is amazing, he's just careless." Sasha says, defending her cousin like she always does. She really believes in his talent, her body the permanent testament of that faith. She slips her bra on and snaps it deftly before sitting down to munch on a muffin.

    She considers for a moment, then floats the balloon of, "If you've only got three clients... you could totally come to the gallery and check out Ambrose's thing. It's at three at 4731. Well, just outside of it."
  • edited March 18

    "I'll be there if I can. May have some personal biz to take care of, but it'll probably be later on." I smile. I do like Ambrose, and a "weird performance art sculpture thing" sounds like a good diversion. I take a slightly too-big bite of muffin, crumbs winding up on my shirt. Mouth still full-ish, I say "Muffins are balls-out delish, by the way."

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    Sasha chortles at the "balls out" mention, grins and continues munching on her less-crispy bacon. "Cool. I hope you can make it, but no pressure. I should probably head down to help Duncan with the 'zas. Not that he'll thank me, since he's an ass, but it'll get me another fifteen minutes on the clock." She grabs her plate and the empty bacon plate to head to the kitchen, then washes them quickly, leaving them to dry before she heads out to leave.
  • edited March 19

    Goodbye kisses are a gray area in my principles of "romance." I decide to go for it this time, giving Sasha a pretty hot goodbye. "Thanks for the muffins. Hopefully I'll see you at the thing."

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    Sasha hums her pleasure at the deep kiss, playfully grabs your "muffins" before heading out. The door closes, and you're alone in your place.

    What do you do?
  • I gave up doing kata in the apartment after an unfortunate incident with a lamp. Just not enough room. So I clean up the rest of the breakfast stuff, put two muffins in a ziploc bag in case of later peckishness, and head to the gym to warm up.

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    gym You come into the gym to the grunting of Syd as he maxes out on some dumbbell presses. How long until Alpha Mom comes in for her workout? Your boss, Xoan Uxio, sees you when you come in, and he heads over your way like he'd like to talk to you. What did Xoan do to betray your trust? Is he aware of it?
  • I've got nearly an hour until my nightmare client comes in for her session. Fucking John. He wants us to say Zhoohan, but that's a lot of work when his name really just means "John." He threw Alpha Mom at me, knowing that she'd really prefer a male trainer. Whatever, dickhead. Pretty sure he did it to fuck with me, but whatever. "You have something on your mind, John?" Yeah, I said it that way. "John."
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    Xoan does a subtle shake of head like he could declare "no" to what name you're using. He doesn't correct you aloud, though. "Hey, you've got Alari in an hour, right? I need you to try and get another session a week from her." He holds up a hand when he sees a forthcoming objection. "Or, from your other clients, your call. We're nearing a month end crush, and I need to hit some numbers to make the books work. You get one of them to sign up, I've got a nice little bonus in it for you, alright?" He offers a smile like he's offering something grand.
  • Great. A carrot on a string. Still, though, I could use the money. In a sort of chronic kind of way. "I'll work on it." I wait a second, see if he's got anything else. If not, I'll put my bag in my locker, grab a towel and a bottle of whatever power drink we're promoting this week and start my warmup.
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    Xoan's satisfied with your agreement and heads out with a towel and a spray bottle to wipe down some of the equipment, leaving you to head to your locker. So tell me about Alpha Mom. What's the most unreasonable thing she's asked you?
  • It's not any one unreasonable thing. It's like every disappointment in her choices in life, every "I could have been..." or "I should be..." or "I deserve better..." come out in the ferocity and intensity of her sessions. I even suggested she try out some martial arts, thinking that hitting things might be a better fit than flipping over truck tires and the like, but she still keeps coming back. Hard. I'm better and more fit by far, but she's so driven it's all I can do to keep up.

    I put my stuff in, grab a towel and something to drink, then head into the open space to do my kata and warmup.

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    How busy is Relentless when you work normally? Is this a big, successful fitness club, or one that's a bit more scrappy? How's the amenities? Does it have a wet sauna? Any rumors about the place on the street?
  • We're not a typical fitness club with rows of machines for bobdybuilding and muscle isolation, but a strength and conditioning gym built around the CrossFit model but without being affiliated with the CrossFit brand. The building used to be a garage, actually, with pretty high ceilings, and it still has the industrial look if not the grease and grime. We only have just the equipment we need to run a twelve-person class, and most workouts are supervised by a trainer/coach who's been through an intense training course and gotten certified. Days are mostly individuals, evenings are for classes of from eight to twelve people. We don't have a sauna, or "amenities." We have just what we need to do the work, stay hydrated, and clean up afterwards.

    Rumors? We're good. Some of our people win contests, and if they stick with it, they wind up in far better shape than they started. The minimum wage yahoos at the Gold's a neighborhood over don't like us much, but we don't poach from them, or anything, so it's not like there's going to be a rumble in the streets.

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    Five minutes before her scheduled time, Alpha Mom comes up in a new outfit. "Hello there, Claremont, she says, using your last name. Sometimes it's "Coach Claremont", but today, just last name. "I'm ready to tackle the world. Can we do some climbing today?" She's bouncing lightly, already eager to get started.
  • "Sure." I give her an evil smile. "But the main event is kettlebell clean-and-jerks and muscle ups." I walk over and grab a jumprope. "Jumprope first, though. 100 reps."

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    "You got it, Coach." is her reply as she grabs a jumprope and gets to her reps. No hesitation, a definite eagerness to her movements, ready to break a serious sweat.
    Anything noteworthy that happens during today's workout?
  • She actually has a breakthrough on the body-ups. Over the last few months we've gradually been realigning where the muscle-mass is in her body, and her shoulders and core are finally to the point where pulling her heavily-muscled (but leaner now than before) legs is less of a torture and more of a challenge.

    That makes this easier. "Hey, you're really showing some improvement across the board. How are you feeling, day-to-day?"

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    "Thanks, Coach, Alpha Mom says, her body drenched with sweat after a long hour of intense work. "Feeling great. Some aches in my left ankle, achilles, I think. But I push through. That's what we do, right?" She gives a determined look, the "never say die" look. Then she starts doing push-ups.
  • "You getting that ache next-day or just after workouts? Either way, you should come early next Monday, let Bonnie have a look at it." Once she's done with the pushups, I hold out a hand to pull her to her feet. "You know, we're going to be hosting a fitness competition for independent gyms in a few months. Any interest?"
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    "After and next day." She says, letting you help her up. "I'll talk to Bonnie, sure." Her eyes flash when you mention the competition. "That sounds interesting. I'm down for it. What do we need to do to win this damn thing, Coach C?"
  • I dig the enthusiasm when it's pointed in the right direction. "You'll have to make sure you stay healthy, and up your game at home, without pushing too hard when you're on your own. And, if you can see your way clear to an extra session a week, we can focus on likely scenarios."

    The advantage of all of this is truth. She's pushing so hard and really achieving, and I think the competition will be good for her, give her a reason to stay healthy and try to excel at the same time.

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    "An extra session a week?" Alpha Mom bites on that right away. "I'll need to chat with my sitter. Can you work in a weekend for me? It'll be easier to get things situated, but if you don't, I can make it work."
  • "Nah... I can be here on a Saturday or Sunday, or if I've got something going I can get someone to fill in for me. Any problems working with Xoan or Tone? I'll set the workout if I miss."

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    She grabs a towel and pats her face and arms, "I'd much rather train with you. If you have to miss a session, I can live with Tone, as long as he sticks to your plan." She looks up, "Not Xoan, though. I'd rather work out at home if that's the case." After a moment, she senses the question and answers, "He's too much of a damn salesman, always pushing product. I'm here to work. I'm here to kick ass and take names. I'm not here to be sold to."
  • edited March 21

    "I get that, but Xoan actually knows his... okay." I give her a smile. "I get it... and I'll make it happen. You commit to another session per week, and I'll be there... let's say 10 AM Saturday? as often as I can. Otherwise... me or Tone will make sure you get the work in."

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    Alari doesn't spit in her hand, but her nod is a solemn contract from what you can tell. "I'm going to hit the showers. Thanks again, Coach C. See you in a couple days." She trots off for the showers.
    Anything else you need to do before heading to 4731? Or did you have other plans?
  • I head to the desk, make sure whoever's there catches Alari on her way out to put her extra session officially on the books. I've got fifteen minutes before my next session, so I munch a muffin and drink some water, then grab my phone and call Dustin.
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    Second ring, he answers. A track from Yeezus by Kanye is playing in the background, loudly. "Yo Bee, what's up with your hotness? It's like afternoon. Where've you been?" You hear him move, walk a little, "I'm feckin' starving. I haven't even ordered room service. You know. In case it's one of them."
  • "Daylight hours are supposed to be on you, Dustin." I take a breath. "But I'll stop by after my next session with some food. I've got a thing at 3, though, so it's just a drive-by."

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    "Drive by? Sure, whatever. Hey, you think she's only a night-time freak? Maybe I can go out? Save you a trip. I'm feckin' hungry, like I said. When can you make it?"
  • "I think it would be a bad idea for you to go out, Dustin. She's got friends, and her friends have friends. I'll be by in an hour and a half." I think for a second. "Remind me... why haven't you skipped town yet?"

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    Dustin huffs an annoyed sigh, "Because mums has an awards dinner Friday, and I just have to be there. Also, how can I tell them I'm leaving? Gee, mums, I accidentally killed a monster, and her monster pimp wants to kill me back? See? Doesn't work. Only you deal in the crazy. So, ninety feckin' minutes? Please get me a steak or something. Tell me where you're going, I'll order ahead. And pay for it."
  • "Pick someplace close to the hotel and text me. Don't put the order in your name or use your card. I'll add it to the tab."
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    "Oh shit, yeah!" Dustin reacts. "Feckin' good idea, Bee. You're good at this stuff. I'm doublin' your pay, but only after you get that bitcha offa me, right? So, hour and a half?"
  • "Yup. Like I said. Text me the restaurant." I hang up before this drags on any longer. 'Feckin' Dustin. There's nothing to it... if I'm going to get this monkey off my back, I'm going to have to talk to Madame L'Infer, make a deal or make it clear it's just too much of a pain in the ass to do whatever it is she wants to do to this pain in the ass.
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    He ends the call and you get a text for a restaurant, a five star place, his order will be hella expensive. Your next session comes and goes, it's Tom Eckland, a middle-aged divorcee who is trying to "get in shape again". You think he's probably just waiting for the courage to ask you out, but he pays. Once that's done, you're free, right?

    What do you do?
  • I give Tom a smile, but not a simpering one. At least he does the work. I don't hit him up for an extra session, he shouldn't do more than he is, and he'd take it as encouragement. After a quick shower and a change into my jeans and top, I head out to the truck and make the food run. Should've had him order me something, too, dammit. Stupid me. I pull up into the loading zone in front of the restaurant and hop out to get the food.

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    Dustin ordered "all the tapas" and a "bunch of other shit" from Vincente's. It's about six bags' worth of food, so you can probably snag some of it. The order also includes a few bottles of wine, fried sweet plantains, yucca sticks, soup, and a few meat dishes. It smells incredible. And it rings up at $350.
  • Ugh. That would strain my debit card beyond forgiveness, so I put it on my one Visa, which is a little bit magically altered to always work, even if it exceeds the credit limit. I'll still have to pay the bill, mind you. So, another reason to keep d-bag Dustin alive until he pays me. I have no idea what to tip on $350 worth of takeout, so I add 50 bucks and smile at the hostess. "Thanks." Once I get back out to the car, I rummage through and grab out the Spanish tortilla, which is really a sort of omelette, and one of the orders of croquetas.
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    A $50 tip seems to be just perfectly fine with the hostess, and she carries a couple bags out to your car with you, then bids you a good day. The food is heavy, practically needing one of those luggage carts, but you get it to a suite (not a penthouse like he wanted, he does listen, sometimes, and Dustin answers right away.
    "Holy shit, I love you!" he says as he opens the door wide and grabs a bag (the smallest) and takes it in to a coffee table. He opens it up, tearing the paper bags, "I ate all the shit in the fridge, even drank the little bottles. I was drinking sink water, Bee. Thought I was gonna die." He starts eating quickly.
    What do you do?
  • "Okay... eat up. I'm going to go see Madame l'Infer tonight. We need to wrap this up. What are you willing to offer, Dustin?"
  • edited March 22

    He looks up with lettuce hanging from the corner of his mouth, answering with his mouth full, "Stocks? Bonds? Bitcoin? Is there a feckin' blood price for monsters, maybe? Saw that on History Channel. An hour ago. Vikings and shit." He takes another bite and makes lewd sounds of enjoyment. "What would a monster pimp want?"
  • "What she really wants is your heart, grilled with lemongrass and maybe some noodles. Not metaphorically." I give him a hard look. "And I kind of hate myself for protecting you, because you didn't pay attention, Dustin. You're going to have to give up something that really matters to you. What would hurt? It's got to be a sacrifice, and don't fucking lie to me."
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    Dustin ponders that for a few minutes, "Well, I dunno. I have a bunch of money, so anything I have, I could, you know, get again." He munches a few more bites, then swigs some wine, "Wait, is this some figurative matters? Like my mom or getting a hummer?" He wipes at his mouth with the back of his hand.
  • Stay shallow, Dustin. Stay shallow. "Like that, yeah. Listen, I'll come back in a few hours and we'll move you, then I'll go see her. When I text, do not check out of your room. Just take a few days' worth of clothes and one bag, go down the service elevator, and meet me at the loading dock."
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    "Yeah, I can do that, no problem." He digs in a bit more, quiet while he eats. "Hey, you think you can bring me some company when we, you know, move? All work and no play makes Dustin a lonely boy. And no," he looks up, "I won't hurt her. Learned my lesson"
  • There are no words sufficient to explain what I think of that idea. So, I just give him a flat look and let myself imagine the feel of The Preacher's hilt in my hand, the sheen off James Black's miraculous blade. Then I turn and leave.
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    "Heyyyy," Dustin says as you walk away. "It's too much, I get it." You open the door and he calls after you, "Thanks for the food! Remember to take of Madame Lifter or whatever and I double your fee!"
    The door closes and you're done with him. What is next?
  • I'm off to some performance art of a less... sordid variety. I feel scuzzy, just talking to Dustin for 5 minutes, but no time for a shower or a Scotch.
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    End Scene
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