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"You don't think so?"
"Is that your goal in life? To have some guy keep you in an apartment full of
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dead men? Those guys came with whatever is going on in her life."
She had to think about that. I finally got some quiet.
It didn't last. "You notice she had real glass windows in that fancy sitting
"Yeah." That I'd noticed. Real glass is expensive. I know. I've had to
replace a few panes. Those had impressed me.
"The other apartment had them, too."
"Yeah. So?"
"So somebody was watching us from there when we left."
"Oh?" Interesting. "What did he look like?"
"I couldn't even tell if it was a he. All I saw was a face. It was only there
for a second. Plain luck I saw it."
I grunted, not giving her my complete attention. The trail was getting harder
to follow, like maybe the guy doing the bleeding had had most of the juice
squeezed out. The going was getting slower.
The trail led into an alley so narrow a horseman would lose his knees if he
tried to get through. It was not an inviting place. I shone the light in but
couldn't see anything.
"You're not gong in there, are you?"
"Sure I am." I fished out my brass knuckles. I hadn't brought my favorite
head-knocker. It hadn't seemed appropriate dress for a dinner date.
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"Is that smart?"
"No. Smart would be to throw you in first and see what eats you." Either Maya
had begun to wear or I was getting crabby. "How come you're following me
around, anyway?"
"So I can learn the trade. So I can find out what kind of man you are. You
put on a good show but nobody is that decent. There's something weird about
you. I want to find out what it is."
Maya was wearing real thin. Weird! No woman had called me that before. "Why's
"I'm thinking about marrying you."
"Hoo!" I went into that alley without throwing rocks first. There was nothing
in there that scared me now.
I found the dead guy ten paces into the darkness. Somebody had set him down
with his back against a building, had made him comfortable, then had gone on,
presumably to get help. He'd bled to death there.
I squatted, checked him out. Maya held the lantern.
He was still dead. He didn't have anything to tell me. I figured he was even
less happy about the situation than I was. But he wasn't complaining.
I took the lantern and moved on.
There was more blood, but not much.
Poke had put him up a hell of a fight.
The trail petered out in the next street. I gave it my best look but couldn't
take it any farther.
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Maya asked, "What're you going to do now?"
"Hire a specialist." I started walking. She caught up. I asked, "Doesn't any
of this bother you?" She'd stayed cooler than Jill Craight.
"I've been on the street five years, Garrett. Only things that bother me are
the ones people try to do to me."
She wasn't that tough, but she was getting there. And that was a shame.
Sometimes it seems Morley's place never closes. It does, but only during
those hours of the dawn and morning when only the most twisted are up and
about. Noon to first light the place serves its strange clientele.
It had thinned out, but forty pairs of eyes watched us from the entrance to
the serving counter, eyes more puzzled than hostile.
Wedge was behind the counter. Of all Morley's henchmen he's the most
courteous. "Evening, Garrett." He nodded to Maya. "Miss." Just as though she
didn't look like death on a stick and smell like it, too.
"Morley still up?"
"He's got company." The way he said it told me the company wasn't business.
"That resolution didn't last long."
Wedge flashed me a smile. "Were you in the pool?"
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"No." They would, that bunch.
Wedge went to the speaking tube, talked and listened, talked and listened,
then came back. "He'll be a while. Said have dinner while you wait. On the
Maya said, "That sounds great," before I could turn him down. "I could eat a
I grumbled, "You won't eat one here. Horseweed, horse fennel, horseradish,
horse clover, yeah, but . . ."
Wedge yelled into the back for two specials, then leaned on the counter.
"What you need, Garrett? Maybe I can save you some time."
I glanced at Maya. She smiled. She knew damned well Wedge was being nice
because I had a woman along.
How do they get that way so young?
"I need a stalker, Wedge. A good one. I'm trying to track a guy."
"Cold trail?"
"Not very. And he was bleeding. But it's getting colder."
"Back in a few. I know what you need." He went into the kitchen. Another
human-elf breed took his place. He was younger. He plunked a couple of
platters on the counter, tossed up some utensils, looked at Maya like he
wondered if it was catching, and went to the end of the counter to take
somebody's order.
"That one's no prince," Maya told me. "But the old guy was all right." She
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eyed her platter.
The special looked like fried grass on a bed of blanched maggots, covered in
a slime sauce filled with toadstool chunks and tiny bits of black fur. I
muttered, "No wonder vegetarians are so nasty."
Maya assaulted her meal. When she stopped to catch her breath she said, "This
ain't bad, Garrett."
I'd begun nibbling the mushrooms out of mine. She was right. But I wasn't
going to admit it out loud, in front of witnesses. I muttered, "Wedge is no
prince, either. He takes people out on the river, ties rocks to their feet,
dumps them in, and tells them he'll race them back to shore. Tells them he'll [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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