Forty Five

Friday evening, Gerard shows up on time, bearing a magnum of chilled French champagne.
Ellen, “Now that’s real sweet honey. Come on in, let’s pop the cork and see what’s what. Twins are in the courtyard, just go on out, I’ll get this baby in ice and bring glasses.”
Katya, “Welcome to our home.”
Gerard, “Splendid place, such a refreshing choice in furnishings. Most of these places are full of fake antiques or just furniture from garage sales. You have chosen quality furnishings with a nod to muted elegance. Tasteful.”
“Ellen found a decorator and explained what we wanted, she went to work and this is what we got. We are satisfied.”
Ellen, “While you’re in here, take a glass outside, I’ll keep the bottle cold. I have Beluga blini for appetizers. Dinner is mixed greens with vinaigrette, filet mignon, Marchand de Vin, southern style green beans and sautéed mushrooms. Naturally accompanied by Leidenheimer’s finest. Feel free to dip the bread in the sauce, we aren’t fussy.”
Gerard, “Oh my, sounds delightful.”
Ellen returns to the kitchen, Gerard asks, “She is self taught, as a chef I mean?”
Katya, “She learned southern cooking from a grandmother, then wanted to go to a cooking school. She took classes, then another wine course that included liqueurs and various distilled beverages. She enjoys it. When we discovered the food and the ambiance of the French Quarter, we decided to buy a residence.”
Gerard, “Plan on opening your own place?”
Katya, “No, Ellen does not want the long hours of the restaurant business. She is happy to cook for us. We have other interests, travel a bit. Ellen is not our cook, it is something she does out of her personal interest. We are three girls together, she isn’t an employee.”
“No, that’s obvious just from the café. I get the sense she is more like taking care of you. I can’t say I’ve seen anything that requires taking care of, but apparently she see it as her responsibility.”
Katja, “Ellen ees good girl, works hard. She ees always look out for sisters, it ees her way. But she ees equal girl here, owns this place with us. She ees not hire help.”
Gerard, “Stunning young lady, and a talented chef, quite a find. These blini are incredible. I haven’t had Beluga caviar in ages, it is superb.”
Ellen comes out and refills glasses, “Gonna put the steaks on, suggest you go to the table and start salads.”
Gerard, “And you, my dear, you will of course be joining us.”
“Sure thing, how do you like your steak, we’re all barely medium rare, we see a little blood as a good thing.”
“Perfect.”
“Be there in ten, go on inside, gonna smoke up the courtyard.”
She clicks on the fan standing next to the grill to blow the smoke away from her and the house.
Just as they wind up salads, Ellen comes in with a platter of steaks. While they select and dish up green beans and mushrooms, she adds the Marchand de Vin in a gravy boat, then takes her place.
Gerard, “My God, steak melts in the mouth, sauce is perfect. I have no words for the green beans, it’s been ages since I’ve had them like this, cooked down all day, ham pieces, diced onion and potatoes, all peppery delectable.”
Dinner discussion revolves around the typical New Orleans topic, favored restaurants. Then Ellen brings out chocolate soufflé, drops vanilla crème inside the hot gooey center, pours more champagne.
“Ellen, you are a genius. I am so glad you don’t have your own restaurant, I have a gourmet dinner with no reservations fuss and don’t have to leave a tip. Yours would be gigantic.”
“Aw, how sweet. I like the process, shopping, preparation and cooking, it’s a pleasure to feed my girls. And I’m real happy to have a new fan. I think you might like a pipe about now, so hop on out to the courtyard with Katya and Katja. I gotta clean up, be out with you in a jiffy.”
Gerard, “It’s okay, I can light up in the courtyard?”
Katya, “Da, yes, sure. We don’t mind. Haf big fan and pipe isn’t anyway unpleasant.”
Ellen comes out in ten with a tray of snifters and a bottle of Cognac, “Now I get to sit and enjoy, we got hooked on Cognac in Envie’s coffee, now it’s an after dinner staple.”
She pours, they swirl and sniff.
Katja, “Gerard, you will tell us about occult things.”
“Are you interested? I can go on.”
Katja, “Eef you are boring we can always shoot you.”
He laughs, “Just change the subject, I’ll get the idea. I came to it in a normal way I think. As I mentioned to other day, I am certain there is a form of energy, untapped by most humans. I am also sure there are a few that are able to use it. I have no use for charlatans, mere magicians. In my world there is no rising table, no voices from the departed, no fortune telling. But there are spells, hexes, that can operate in one’s mind, cause the victims to behave in ways they would never consider. Energy can move matter, and if a mind can channel that energy, it too can move matter. Already it is possible to put electrodes on one person’s head, run them through a computer to electrodes on another’s head, causing the second to raise an arm, select a certain object. Just by the first thinking about it. A brain operating directly on another brain, aided by technology. I think it can be done without the tech support. I also know there are twins who are so in synch, one starts a sentence, the second picks it up in the middle and the first finishes it. I can’t prove it, but there must be some element of the same brain in two people. Or I should say, the same mental energies operating.”
Katya doesn’t mention the she and Katja can communicate mentally now. He seems trustworthy, but she sees no advantage in him knowing.
Katja, “And what experiment do you do, wiz yourself?”
Gerard, “I have time, always had lots of time, no job, no personal entanglements. I traveled, that got monotonous soon enough. So I decided to stay put. I parked myself in my home, studied the occult, most of it is gibberish. I would tire of reading, having nothing else to do I learned to sit still for long periods of time. I didn’t call it meditating, perhaps that what it was, but I wasn’t after a mental high. I just wanted to see what happened if I did nothing. Thoughts came and went, I would get fidgety, first after twenty minutes, then thirty, then a whole hour. I once spent twelve hours sitting in a chair, no music, no TV, no nothing aside from a couple of trips to the bathroom. The clock ticked, I heard my heartbeat. In repeated sessions of three to four hours, I began to notice waves in the air. I thought it was my brain occupying itself. I started to see if I could push the waves around, make them flow left to right or back to front. It took two years, but I did it.”
“Maybe you make it up in your head.”
“I wondered the same thing. So I lit a candle, tried to make the air in the room as still as possible, no fans, no air conditioner. If there was a draft from under a door or window, I couldn’t feel it. I found I could make the candle flame bend in whatever direction I made the waves flow. If I could have, I’d have done a back flip. I did treat myself to a particularly good Pinot Noir.”
Ellen, “That’s cool. You got some real patience, workin’ it for years.”
“It seems such a small thing, but to do it at all, it was most gratifying to have even a small payoff for the effort.”
Katja, “What now, or ees there more?”
“Good question. My little mental gyrations don’t have any use, it isn’t like I can stop a bullet, or even knock over a wine glass.”
Katya, “You must work with something bigger. No need to break a glass. Bend a straw maybe, can you focus the waves to a particular point?”
“I think so. I need to try it. You think it might improve, like exercise builds a muscle?”
“Why not? Try, find out. This is not occult like a witch, it is paranormal maybe, but no reason to label it anything.”
“You make a good point. I tagged it occult I suppose because that’s the subject I have most studied. It is only occult if the energy manipulation causes a person to behave out of character. Even then, occult implies unexplained, I see the waves, I can push them a bit. The fact is there, how I do it is unexplained.”
Katya, “You intended to do it, does it need more explanation? Consciousness is accepted as fact, but nobody knows what it is, how it works.”
Gerard fires up another pipe, “Quite true, you’ve opened up a new avenue. I can veer away from occult, even paranormal. It is a science experiment now. You have helped me see that. Although it was sexier when I thought of it as occult, more mysterious.”
Katja, “Ees okay eef you call it occult. Ees just a word.”
“No, no, I must move away from it. It has a rather ridiculous connotation. Now, I shall say I have studied the occult extensively, and found nothing to it. I will not tell anyone about the new experiments, you will not say anything?”
Katya, “We do not jabber. People in Quarter and New Orleans are nice, simple people, uncomplicated, mostly superstitious. Does not help to talk of serious matters with superstitious people.”
Gerard laughs, “You figured out this town quickly.”
“Voodoo and Catholicism are the same thing, New Orleans has a lot of both. Throw in the evangelicals, the whole place is insane. Only the Quarter has a few people with open minds."

Forty Six

Their guest takes his leave with thank yous and another appreciation for Ellen.
Ellen, “He’s a real sweet man, wouldn’t hurt a fly, like a old style Southern gentleman.”
Katya, “We do not get into sister and I, you understand?”
Ellen, “A’course, I know how to talk and not say much. Hell, we shoot people we don’t even know. Hit girls gotta keep their lipsticked lips shut.”
Katja, “You make good dinner Ellen, steak was peerfect, you haf touch wiz food. Now you will go upstairs and sister and I will touch peerfect body.”
Ellen, “Now you’re talkin’ girl.”
That’s pretty much the last talking they do, aside from mumbled noises, gasps and groans. Katja and Katya double Ellen, cover the taut territory, and recover it just to be thorough. Then Katya uses a strap on, on Katja, followed by Ellen doing Katya with a second toy.
They lay on the bed post orgasmia, Ellen in the middle, her girls snugged close against her. She recalls a recent morning with Katja on her knees doing her twin while she and Katya made out. She grins to herself, recalling how steamy it was. She feels herself warming again.
To her pleasant surprise, she feels Katja’s hand tug her thigh. Slide across and  she’s in between Ellen’s legs, tongue having a second go on the soft sensual. Ellen briefly wonders how idiotic her grin looks, then no thought at all, only the sparking plasma of ecstasy.
This morning, coffee and tea in the courtyard. Ellen toasts bagels, adds cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Ellen, “What do we get up to today?”
“We go to Destin and fulfill contract. I’ll find a hotel, you and sister can pack us up.”
An hour later, they’re on the road, it’s all I-10 except for the last sixty miles or so. Katya books them at Henderson Park Inn, biggest suite they have. It’s not peak season in February, the nicest room was available so she took it.
The drive is boring, just flat land and interstate, but Destin is nice enough, overloaded with high rise condos. People pay fat prices, use them for a few weeks a year and rent them out the rest of the time. If you get lucky, most of your mortgage is covered by the rentals.
Ellen, “Nice beaches, white sand. Good spot to work on a tan.”
Katya, “Maybe we will come in the fall. While I was shopping for a room, I found another place further along call Seaside. It’s not as built up, same sand, fewer people.”
Ellen, “Could be more our style, it’s not like we’re tryin’ to meet guys and party.”
She pulls the SUV into the lot, “Smaller place, that’s good.”
Check in, to the room, Ellen says, “Dang, cool spot Katya. View of the beach, big ass private balcony. King bed, separate living and dining. Look at this bathroom, dual head walk-in shower, flipping towel warmers.”
Katya, “I booked two nights. We need to track target, best to complete job on the day we leave maybe.”
“What’s he do?”
“Plays golf.”
“Retired or what?”
“No, he teaches golf, runs a shop at one of the courses.”
“Oh, a golf pro.”
“Yes, golf pro, that’s what Penny called him. We will drive by the place and see what it looks like, then by his house.”
On the way to the course, Ellen asks, “He married, got a girlfriend, boyfriend?”
Katya, “No information. She didn’t say why someone wants him dead either.”
Katja, “Maybe lessons no good.”
Ellen laughs, “Be funny to have a guy killed because of bad golf lessons.”
Katja, “Maybe we beat him to death wiz golfing club. What would be best club?”
“I don’t know jack about golf. One of my mother’s endless boyfriends played, I saw his bag of clubs a coupla times, but he mostly kept ‘em in the trunk. I suppose a whack on the head with one of the metal ones would do it. Probably gotta bash him mor’n once, sounds messy.”
“Shooting man in head ees messy, but anyway we don’t bash wiz golfing club. Best way, one shot, go home, haf vodka and sex.”
They’re at the course, one building is the pro shop, another bigger place where they store golf carts. It’s a Saturday, place is buzzing with golfers wrapping up rounds.
Katja, “I will go see eef he ees een shop,” she gets out of the car and walks across the parking lot.
It doesn’t matter if he sees her. First, she’s mildly disguised, fedora, oversize sunglasses, in ordinary loose fit jeans and a long sleeve pullover. Second, he’s going to be dead soon.
Five minutes later she back, “He ees inside behind counter, they close shop at six today.”
Katya, “We will wait. We need to see his car, Penny did not send that. We also can follow him home.”
Katja, “Sign also says course ees close Monday. So he will not be anyway here.”
Ellen, “Maybe he comes in to do shop stuff on the day it’s closed. Might be able to pop him right here if the lot’s empty.”
Katya, “Two hours to close, we will check out his house, then get tea and come back.”
After they pass the house, nothing fancy, a ranch style in a vanilla neighborhood, Ellen drives to Starbucks. They return with black tea and coffee. Business is winding down, lot more than half empty, golfers are sticking bags in trunks, hand off the cart to one of the teenagers.
Finally it’s six, lot’s got four cars. Only one is fairly new, a two year old Infiniti. A man comes out of the shop, it’s the target, mid thirties, dark curly hair, slim, looks to be in decent shape. He gets in the Infiniti, cranks it and pulls away. His assassins follow at a discrete distance.
He turns in his drive, garage door winds its way up, there’s a second car.
“He’s either got two cars or a girlfriend.”
Before the door closes, a man comes out of the garage entranceway, he hands the golf pro a drink and kisses him.
Ellen, “Well, dang, a gay golf pro. Ain’t America great?”
Katya, “Person who hired us is a woman. Target is gay.”
Ellen, “Maybe an ex for a closeted dude who opened the closet, or she opened the closet and found him in it with the boyfriend. That might piss off some women.”
“We won’t know. We don’t want to know. All targets have bad blood someplace, is how they get to be target.”
Ellen laughs, “Good point, some people just got no sense of humor, or proportion. Like you find out your stud is gay, so what? There’s another stud in line to take his place. Hell, might not be it at all, maybe he owes her money, or has an interest in children. Gay men aren’t auto-peds, but some do go for kiddies. Might be a hostile mom.”
Katja, “Ees no mahter, we will keel eef he ees good guy or bad guy. We keel anyone, race, gender, sexual orienting. We are not prejudice assassins. ”
Ellen laughs again, “Katja, you are a trip. But you’re right, pay us, your problem goes away.”

Forty Seven

They return to the hotel, shower, time for a drink and dinner. Henderson Park has a quality upscale restaurant and it’s right on the beach.
They share two appetizers, Kung Pao shrimp and foie gras with pecans, arugula and crème fraiche.
One entree of pecan flour crusted grouper, oven roasted, crispy mashed potato cake, honey Worcestershire and chives.
Two orders of filet mignon, served au poivre, pepper crusted and pan roasted with a Maytag bleu cheese brandy reduction.
Ellen has the fish, Katja cuts off a chunk of steak for her, Ellen feeds her a fork of fish.
“Feesh ees gud,” Ellen puts piece on Katya’s plate and swipes a bit of garlic mashed potato that accompanies the steaks.
Ellen, “Dang, this place has a good rep for a reason. Fine food, well presented.”
She pours another round of Charles Heidsieck champagne, “Glad they have this on the wine list, I learned about it in wine class. This and Gosset are the two best in my book, authentic French champagne. Heidsieck grew up around vineyards, his uncle had a champagne house. He founded his own and wanted to go bigger than just France. He brought champagne to America in eighteen fifty two, spent some time in New Orleans actually. Went back to France, then introduced it in England and Belgium. People called him Champagne Charlie, he was your basic socialite type. Charming, over the top personality they say.”
Finish off the bottle, skip dessert and walk to their suite. They undress in the bedroom, Ellen asks, “Want a nightcap?”
Simultaneous ‘da.’
She goes off to pour vodkas. When she returns to the bedroom, Katja is leaning against the dressing table looking down at Katya doing her lesbian thing.
Ellen grins, she hands Katja the glass. She does the shot, takes the second glass from Ellen and pulls Katya’s head back, pours the liquid in her mouth, swallow, right back to pleasuring.
Ellen drinks hers, then sits on the bed across from the twins, leans on one arm while a finger on the other works its way between her long legs. Katja watches Ellen play solo, hands hold the back of Katya’s head.
Ellen takes her wet finger from its task, puts it in her mouth and slides it out slowly, staring at Katja staring at her. Katja stiffens, then shakes, low groan, a second shudder and a gasp. She pulls Katya up for a long deep kiss, turns her to face Ellen and runs her hands gently down Katya’s chest, tease the nipples, then to hips. One hand slips between her legs, slow strokes. Ellen is on the edge of the bed, beautiful legs spread, leaning back on her hands.
Katya walks to Ellen, strokes her cheek then pulls her forward. Katja kneels between Ellen’s legs.
Ellen thinks, “Jaysus, one hot twin licking me while I do the other. And we get to shoot someone and get paid for it. I fell into a perfect life….oh,’ then a long ooooohhh, she and Katya sensationally simulgasm.
Katja, “Peerfect timing,” she’s kissing Ellen’s legs, Katya’s working her lips.
Ellen, “That was so sweet, God I’m still tingly. Thank you honey-babies. I got the best girlfriends on the damn planet.”
Katja looks up, “You haf peerfect legs, I could kees all night.”
Ellen giggles, “If you insist.”
Katya, “Eleven, we have to get up for six, go to sleep, kiss beautiful legs tomorrow, you kiss them everyday anyway.”
Ellen, “One of my favorite things, and, um, who used to stare at them while I worked in the donut shop?”
Katya, “I still stare at them.”
“Another of my favorite things, and my two total favorites get off on me and get me off. How cool is that?”
Sexually sated, at least for now, they do bed prep, then to sleep. Busy assassins need their rest.

Forty Eight

“Well, he’s not an early riser.”
Girls are having coffee and donuts, it’s just seven. They have no reason to think he’ll leave the house with the golf shop closed on Monday. But if the boyfriend has a job, he may leave for work. Then the target is home alone.
Quarter to eight, the garage door rumbles up.
“Well, well, honey bunch has a day job,” a blue Toyota sedan backs out, it’s not the target. He’s wearing a white shirt with a black tie.
Ellen, “Who wears a necktie in Destin?”
Katya, “Waiters, morticians, insurance salesmen, Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
“I don’t think there are gay Witnesses, not out anyway, but then I don’t know jack about their religion.”
Katja, “Who gets to shoot?”
Ellen, “Can I do it, please? I’ll do anything sex thing you want, long as you want it.”
Katja, “You do anything we want already.”
Ellen giggles.
Katya, “He left garage door open. Maybe target is going someplace also. Door to inside should be open.”
Ellen exits, walks down the street. It’s dead silent, must not be many kids, no one waiting on a bus. One car passes, a woman and a kid in a car seat. Doesn’t matter, Ellen isn’t Ellen, frumpy jeans, sweatshirt, boots, watch cap and fat sunglasses.
She turns down the driveway, five feet from the garage, the interior door opens and the target steps out. Her Glock is silenced, but she’s out in the open. Point and shoot isn’t the best option.
“Hey mister, I was just comin’ to knock on the door, I am so flipping lost, my phone is out of juice, got no idea where I am.”
“How did you get here?”
“Walked from some main road, I thought I could cut through this neighborhood, but a bunch of streets are dead ends or those ones that just have a circle, whattaya call ‘em?”
“Cu du sac.”
“Yeah, that.”
“I can give you a ride to where you came from, or do you know where you’re going?”
“Beach, anyplace. I gotta find work, I can tend bar, waitress.”
“My partner is a waiter, his place is always looking for help. Destin is seasonal, people go off in the winter when business and tips slow down.”
“Man, that would be so great.”
“Hop in, just leaving.”
He’s dead before he gets the keys in the ignition, she checks his wallet. There’s a hundred bucks. She takes the money and cards, wipes prints from the car door handle and the wallet, leaves the wallet on the floor. How to get the garage door down from outside, the remote. In the drive, she clicks it and the door starts down. Swipes it on her sweatshirt, tosses it into the garage and walks to the waiting twins.
“Seemed like a real nice guy,” she reiterates the conversation.
Katja, “Nobody ees asshole all the time, now ees only eight o’clock, what to do?”
Katya, “Go home,” she pulls over to a closed minimart, backs the car in.
Katja gets out and changes the license plate. It’s a rental, but they didn’t keep the rental plate on for obvious reasons. They lifted a plate in New Orleans, put it on when they got to Florida. The likelihood of anyone taking down a plate for no reason is ridiculously slim. There was no gunshot anyone heard. The car wasn’t near the house and it’s a plain SUV, a Hyundai Santa Fe. Still, better to be cautious.
“Car has been a good ride.”
Ellen, “Hyundai has a good reputation and a fantastic warranty, ten years a hundred thousand miles, bumper to bumper.”
Katya, “When we get home, go online and buy one Ellen. Get the best.”
Ellen, “Glad you don’t like to shop, I get to do the girl stuff.”
Katya, “You have good taste, and know we don’t like things that are show off.”
“I know what you like, I’ll get photos anyway. It’s good, we should keep a car in New Orleans.”
“We also need to find someone to look after the house when we’re gone . Find a college girl or something. She gets free room and board, has to clean, run errand, like that. Has to be in town over the summer. We will also pay salary in cash, how much?”
“For free room and board, a hundred a week?”
Katja, “We haf lots of money, what eef we pay two hundred?”
“For that you get a slave. I think we need a confidentiality agreement.”
Katja, “What ees confidential agreement?”
Katya, “It is a good idea. They sign a legal document saying they cannot talk about anything that happens with us, nothing about what they do or we do, nothing about the house or what’s in it. It is common with famous people, rich people. We are rich people. Ellen, you will deal with. Find good lawyer, maybe ask Gerard, he will know someone. Sister and I will go to Houston for a couple of days, maybe next week. I need to collect our money and look over the shops.”
“I’ve been checking online, we have a video feed. They been opening on time, keeping things clean, closing up tight. You have good managers and happy employees, they don’t want to screw the pooch.”
Katja, “What ees screwing pooch?”
“A phrase, it means messing up, fucking around, being lazy.”
Katja, “Da, ees gud, employees do not fuck dog.”
They collect their stuff, check out, they aren’t charged for the unused night. That would be bad for business, particularly for guests who rented the Presidential suite and spent big bucks at dinner. It didn’t hurt that Ellen made reservations for the late spring, four nights in the same plush suite. And at the high season rate.
“Next time we come, we can go further down and check out Seaside.”
The ride home is five hours, just far enough to be tedious, but they make it by three with a short stop at a Subway.
Ellen unpacks everyone, they didn’t use much, most of it goes to drawers or hangars. The rest to the laundry room. Katya cleans Ellen’s gun, then puts it and the others away.
Ellen, “How’s chicken sound for dinner? I can bake or fry it, put together potatoes and a salad.”
Katja, “No cooking, you did driving, laundry, enough. We will go to Irene Cuisine at opening. We will not haf to wait.”
Ellen, “Cool, I’m gonna have veal marsala.”
“You haf every time.”
“And you always get soft shell crab when they have them.”
“Ees too good for passing up.”
Irene’s Cuisine is two blocks away, they’ve eaten there more than a dozen times. Three hot girls, two of them twins, are memorable on their own. Good bottles of wine, top shelf liquor and fat tips make them unforgettable.
“Katja, Katya, and Ellen, what a pleasant surprise, table right back corner downstairs. The customers can admire how you brighten up the place.”
Ellen, “Aw, Tommy, sooo sweet. If I wasn’t queer, you’d be my man.”
“Honey, if you weren’t queer, I’d go straight.”
They laugh, it’s their standard joke, they’re seated, no menus.
Waiter comes over, “Helloooo angels, the usual?”
Katja, “Da, yes, vodka first.”
Waiter, “Well of course vodka first, and here’s Chandelle with them now, chilled double shots of Russian Standard, teensy drop of orange bitters. Appetizers will be out in a bit, enjoy.”
They always get the same thing, two appetizers, paneed oysters, shrimp and crabmeat gratin. And the same three entrees, fish amandine with Mèuniere sauce, soft shell crab battered and fried, served over pasta with crawfish sauce, and veal marsala, with rich marsala sauce, mushrooms and the veg du jour. If soft shell is out of season, then it’s roasted crispy duck with raspberry demi glace and pecans.
There is no bad dish on the menu, Irene’s has become an institution and has never let its standards slip. In a food town like New Orleans, you aren’t good, you’re closed.
Irene’s stocks Russian Standard for them, and they keep it cold, in a freezer actually.
Tommy comes over, “Everything good?”
Ellen, “Everything is always good, if I wasn’t such a good cook myself, we’d eat here three nights a week.”
Tommy, “Menu isn’t that extensive, you’d get bored. But I got to say, it’s always a day brightener when les trois perfections come in.”
Ellen, “Where’d you hear that?”
“EnVie, I go for a late breakfast sometimes. In this business, I’m never home before two. I was telling Michael about three gorgeous girls who started showing up, a set of bookend twins. He said, ‘You mean les trois perfections.’ French Quarter’s a small place, lot of tourists, but not so many residents. We tend to know each other.”
They don’t linger, the place always has people waiting, short walk home, nightcap in the courtyard. It’s wintertime, New Orleans weather is like Houston, same latitude. Three days of cold, then warmer for a time, rain, another icy blast. Tonight it’s maybe forty five.
“Glad we bought that heater, night like this, we’d have to stay inside.”
Katya, “Sister and I will fly to Houston so you can have a car here. The drive is monotonous anyway, better to fly.”
Ellen, “Big airports are a bitch, glad we signed up with Blue Sky. Lakefront airport here, straight to Sugarland there. No security checks, plane to car in a few steps. After I drop you at the airport, I’m gonna go to University of New Orleans and get them to post the job. Airport’s right by the school. Before I go to Tulane or Loyola, I’ll see what we find at UNO. We have a good gig for a college kid, don’t need a flood of phone calls.”

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