Sixty Nine

Katja eases to the left side of Thompson Courts according to the unlit neon sign. It’s getting dark, the sign blinks on, now it says T omp on ourt. Place could use a bit of spruce up, or a demolition.
CJ is in number six, two rooms appear occupied, the other is number eleven. It’s a straight line place, like a strip mall. The office is the first on the right, then one thru fifteen to the left. There’s only fourteen rooms, someone superstitiously skipped number thirteen.
His truck is parked outside, Katja walks past the door, the TV is going.
Katya, “Wait there, I’m coming. We need to get his done, the prostitutes will start showing up soon.”
She gets out of the car, slings on a small backpack. They’ve parked on the far end of the place, along the side. Walk down the weed grown cracked sidewalk, past eleven, TV on in there too, loud. Then to number six.
Katja knocks, bangs the door hard, nothing. She gives it another go, maybe he’s on the toilet, or asleep, or needs to get dressed.
The door cracks open, “Fuck is it?”
Katja is in a micro miniskirt and platforms, tight shirt with perfectly rounded tits stretching the fabric, she’s doing a drunk thing, “You ain’t Freddie, ..wha ..whar’s Freddie, fuck I got the wrong fuckin’ place….sheeyt.,” she starts to stagger away.
CJ’s focused on tight thighs and curvy calves, his man brain has overtaken what’s left of his brain, brain, “Hang on honey, fuck Freddie, he don’t keep a close eye on a fine thing like you,” he steps halfway out the door…oops.
Katya has the barrel of her Glock at his temple, “In the room, do anything stupid, your brains paint the walls.”
CJ backs into the room, Katya is step for step, “Sit on the bed.”
CJ goes for stupid. He swipes at the gun, then goes for a left hook to Katya’s jaw. She ducks, he hits air, she stands, quick knee between his legs. He gasps, bends over, the butt of the Glock meets his temple, Glock wins.
Katja comes in and shuts the door.
CJ falls next to the bed, Katja puts a Converse steel toe hard in his ribs, crack!
They stand and stare while he regains a semblance of sensibility.
“Fuck’s this? Look like I got any money?”
Katja pulls picture wire from Katya’s backpack.
“Whachu gonna do with that, geezus,” fear starts to kick in.
With her free hand, Katya flicks open her serrated blade, parks the point under his chin, “Shut up.”
Katja wraps his wrists, he’s conveniently barefoot, she wraps his ankles. If he moves, he’ll cut into his skin, if he moves a lot, he’ll sever a tendon.
“What’s this about? I don’t know you, what…”
Katja sticks duct tape on his mouth, wraps it clean around his head twice.
Katya shoots him in the foot, silenced Glock is just a soft pop, “Shut up means shut up.”
CJ’s shriek is buried in his throat, his eyes bulge, sweat pops out on his forehead, he’s near hyperventilating.
Katja backhands him hard with the knuckles of her gloved fist, “Pay attention.”
He blinks back into his present nightmare, CJ is most assuredly in the moment.
Katya, “We heard about an abuser stalking his ex girlfriend, making threats against her and her child, turns out to be you.”
He shakes his head no, no.
Katya shakes hers oh yes, “Don’t lie asshole, I will make this much worse,” she nods at Katja.
Katja pulls her flick knife out of the backpack, flips it open, it’s a really nasty blade, serrated on both sides. Need to slice through bone? No sweat. She takes his little finger, the whole thing, it plops down to the seldom vacuumed carpet.
A long, what..groan scream combo from CJs taped mouth.
Katya, “Your girlfriend doesn’t know us, she didn’t ask us to fix you. We do this dance with asshole boyfriends all the time, it’s a hobby. Here’s what happens next, well, after minor adjustments, but I need to tell you now, you may pass out before I’m done adjusting.”
His head is shaking no, any faster and he’d break his neck.
Katya, “Man up fucker. It didn’t bother you to beat your girlfriend. Didn’t bother you to threaten her child, to rob and bully people. This is what will happen. If you survive tonight, you will leave Houston. You can do break ins and sell meth all over the country, but not in Houston. You will never call, write, e-mail, text or think about your girlfriend or the kid, ever. If I ever have to look at you again, I put one in your head. Do you understand?”
He’s blank, processing, she breaks his nose with the heel of her hand, “Well?”
Yes, yes, yes, yes, his head bounces like a bobble doll on the dashboard.
Katja takes a big toe, it joins the companion appendage on the filthy carpet, although, strictly speaking, it was already on the filthy carpet. She carves a thin line from one cheek, across his nose to the other.
She studies him, looks in his terrified eyes, says with an almost more terrifying calm, “That’s going to leave a mark,” she smiles at him.
Blood covers the entire bottom half of his face, lost finger, lost toe, bullet hole in his foot, a broken nose and a cut that will leave him with a scar across his face for the rest of his life.
Katja snips the picture wire around his wrists, Katya says, “You might want to call 911, looks like you might bleed out.”
They leave a tortured CJ sitting on the bed, he has to get picture wire off his ankles in the agony of his injuries, then get to the phone and hope the 911 drone doesn’t ask so many questions he dies trying to answer them.
In the car, they pull off the latex gloves, leave them inside out, they’ll be shredded later. Katja has the shell casing from the Glock, and the bullet. It went through CJ’s foot to the carpet, mashed up but intact. She’d cleaned her knife on his shirt, when they get home, it will be bleached and washed. At the moment, it’s in a plastic bag in her pocket.
Forty five minutes later, they walk in the door.
Ellen, “Got a cold vodka for ya, dinner is warm in the oven, perfect roasted chicken, big ol’ baked potato. Here, give Mani the Glock, she can clean it while you tell us how it went down.”
Ellen and Mani laugh and applaud the story, told in Katja-speak, even more entertaining.
Mani, “So Katja completely loses the accent?”
Ellen, “Absolutely, and Katya loses her slight one, they sound like they’re from the Midwest, no noticeable accent at all. Wigs work out?”
Katja, “We do not look like us, I am whore girl in stack heel and meeney skirt, sister ees in baggy jean and sweatshirt. We haf beeg sunglass. He does not recognize eef we stand in front of him tomorrow.”
Mani, “You think he’s going to give it up? Stalking the girl?”
Katya, “He would be insane to continue, but he is already insane. No way to know. If Penny hears about him again, then we will find him and put him down like a rabid dog.”
Mani, “Wish I could have been there. Chop off a toe, maybe lop off his sick dick.”
Ellen, “You think you could handle torture?”
Mani, “I like beating you up, just think how horny I’d get torturing a man.”
Ellen, “One way to look at it.”
Katya, “I said one time we didn’t do torture. I was mistaken. We don’t do torture for money, as a sideline for abusers, I can work with that.”

Seventy

Penny calls a week later, “Whatever it is you didn’t do, the man is gone.”
Katya, “If he stays gone, good enough.”
Penny follows protocol, doesn’t ask for details, “You can do it more often if you’ve a mind. Women gettin’ shit stomped all over the place.”
“Same rules, no money, fine, but we resolve conflict peacefully, as in we won’t kill the target, “If they want more, they pay our price.”
“Sure thing, I want a payday too. This other business may not come up that often, this was a fluke conversation. I don’t want women comin’ to me to fix their bad decisions. I only pass it to you when I find out accidental like.”
“And with clear information about who and where, I don’t want to play detective. And be careful about women with vendettas or other motives, we don’t beat up a guy because he’s screwing the woman’s sister.”
“Fair enough.”
Penny clicks off, Katya sticks the phone in her pocket, “What is for breakfast?”
Ellen, “Café Envie, it’s Saturday, no classes for Mani. She has a bit of housework, first, we’re going shopping, get our wardrobes updated.”
“Da, okay, don’t bring home things for sisters, we have enough already.”
They make the short walk, Michael smiles, “Les Quatre Perfections, welcome, you must have been traveling, oui?”
Katja, “Da, we will haf usual order today, you remember?”
“Two coffees, two black teas, two steak and eggs, farmer’s omelet, shepherd’s omelet.”
Lady Mary, local trans, blasts in with two of her friends, boyfriends, acolytes, with Lady Mary it’s hard to tell, “Helloooo girls, Michael’s four perfections, I’d be jealous if I wasn’t so fabulous.”
Katja, “Da Mary, you are most fabulous person.”
“How sweet, and next month, I complete my transition, the caterpillar between my legs becomes a beautiful butterfly and I will be fabulously fabulous.”
“You will be all girl then, good, you haf people to help while you make recovering?”
Lady Mary, “You make it sound like something you do to a ratty sofa,” she laughs, “I guess in a way it is. Yes, dear one, I have Renaldo and Raymond,” she turns to her companions, “twins, I need at least two of everything you know.”
Katja looks them over, “Fraternity tweens, da?”
“Fratern..,” she giggles, “fraternal, exactly, not exact copies, no twins in the world could be as identical as you and Katya. I didn’t know you, I’d think you were cyborg identical, but you kept the accent, Katya lost most of hers. Why is that? Don’t tell me…so you can tell each other apart! I am correct, just say it.”
“Da, and for Ellen and Mani.”
“Well keep it, you are adorable wiz achzent splendid Russian doll.”
Plates arrive, “Enjoy angels, and be sure to come and see the show when I’m recovered. I am actually being recovered, all the outfits, songs and sets will be changed to reflect my completed divine feminine. I shall be amazing.”
Katja, “We will sit een front row and make best applauding.”
Lady laughs again, “I could listen to Katja all day, bye girls, got to get my big boys fed, they need the stamina,” she sashays off to a table outside.
Ellen, “That woman knows no strangers, warm as a summer breeze.”
Katya, “She had tough time of it, parents hysterical, throw her out. Found a therapist in New York. Work as drag queen at night, see therapist, spend a fortune on hormones and transition doctor. Final step, she is tough girl for sure.”
Mani, “Must be a psychological nightmare.”
Katya, “If parents are sensible, home life is fine, some trouble maybe with school, other kids. If they care for child and protect, it works out. Stupid parents try to force physical gender on child, then there is trouble.”
Mani, “This place is so good, I love steak and eggs, Thai girl, go figure.”
Katja, “Michael runs good place, like Katya Donut, clean, good product, people are friendly wiz customer.”
Michael comes over, “Good?”
Ellen, “Always good, you run a nice shop.”
“Merci, I have a lot of regulars, like you guys, must be doing something right. Ah, Gerard, you are in late today.”
Gerard, “Up late, very, two or two thirty. Hello girls, I see you have finished, can you linger a bit?”
Katya, “Ellen and Mani have to be off, sister and I can have another tea while you have..breakfast, lunch.”
Ellen, “We’re off clothes shopping and I don’t want to be all day at it.”
Gerard, “Where to?”
Ellen, “In the Quarter, a couple boutiques I like, maybe Magazine Street but probably not today. Got housekeeping to do.”
Gerard, “Then revoir mes jeunes amis, always a pleasure.”
Ellen and Mani take off, Gerard has an almond liquor au lait while waiting on his ham and brie panini.
“Changed my habitual order, usually in here at eight or nine, not ten thirty.”
“Mani came to us, now she and Ellen are steak and egg girls.”
“Mani is such an adorable little thing, so sweet, like dear Ellen.”
Katja, “Da, sweet,” she won’t be filling Gerard in on their murderous side.
Katya, “What is respectable gentleman doing up at two thirty?”
Gerard, “Well, I wasn’t practicing telekinesis, progress on that score is like swimming in mud. Still only fluttering bits of paper.”
Katya, “Anything worth doing is tedious and troublesome. Then all of a sudden, a breakthrough. You must persist.”
“You know, you’re exactly right, thank you,” his sandwich arrives, he takes a bite, “tasty, I call Michael’s food casual comfort gourmet. Anyway, I was up late commiserating with a friend, more of an acquaintance really. We meet up at this or that dinner party, or Galatoire’s, sometimes the Bombay Club.”
“Must haf problem to talk at two een morning.”
“Simply put, he believes he is going insane.”
Katya, “Insane people do not know they are insane, if they did, they would be sane.”
Gerard, “Good point. I shall mention it to him.”
“So what ees insane?”
“He’s a writer, had some decent publishing success, a bit ghostly romantic for my tastes, but he has found an audience. He’s Spanish, publishes in English and Spanish, his stuff is generally set in Spain, he’s made some forays into New Orleans though. He writes on a typewriter, two finger typist. Smokes incessantly, drinks, but only after the day’s writing is complete. I tell you this to make it clear it isn’t an alcohol problem. He drinks like the rest of us, and to excess occasionally, but he eats full meals, perhaps too full, he’s not slim. He’s having visions, I assume like a schizophrenic might, but they aren’t telling him to do crazy things. He says it sounds like prophesy, an audible foretelling of the future. He’s not religious, raised Catholic, but he’s Spanish, they’re all raised Catholic. He would not call himself religious. What is troubling him is that the prophesies have come true.”
Katya, “So he is not having vision of end of world, or predict earthquake or flood?”
“No, nothing like that. He said he knew that his housekeeper would have an automobile accident, and she did, the very next day. Fortunately just a minor collision, nobody hurt. Another time the child of a friend would become ill and die, and she did. There have been two other instances. A casual acquaintance with cancer and woman he knows got an unexpected proposal of marriage.”
Katya, “It it specific? Or vague, like horoscope?”
“Quite specific, he saw the wreck in his head, he saw the child in the hospital just when the monitor…oh, what do they call it, flatlined. Same for the others.”
“And this information is of no use to him, he cannot do anything with it, or about it.”
“I suppose he could have warned the housekeeper, but how do you tell a friend his child will die? If neither happens, you look strange, if it does, you look even more strange, or become a suspect. We think we would like to have information about the future, it sounds fascinating, but the reality is troubling, disturbing. He’s done nothing to encourage it, has no idea where it comes from. He was quite distraught.”
Katya, “He writes ghost story?”
“Yes, there was a movie, before your time, a boyfriend dies but comes back as a ghost the woman can sense. I forget the name. It was all quite touchy feely. He had nothing to do with the movie, but that’s his genre, ghosts, allegedly real or metaphors for ghosts of the past. No ghosts of the future though.”
Katya, “No reason to believe in ghost, or that a ghost could see the future anyway.”
“So no theories on what might be happening? I gave up on the occult, maybe I gave up too soon.”
“Ask him, if you can, has he taken any drugs? Experimented, like LSD, even marijuana. Writers maybe looking for a different view, a what?… perspective.”
“See no reason I shouldn’t ask, just do it in the context of casual conversation. I’ve done them myself, in the midst of my occult research. Marijuana made me sleepy, LSD was only interesting, light show, blended visual environment. No blinding insights, didn’t feel at one with everything.”
“And ask if he remembers the dates he took them, do those dates have anything to do with the visions?”

Seventy One

Twins return home, time to kill before Ellen and Mani return. Katja unburdens herself of clothing, goes back downstairs where Katya is on a laptop reviewing numbers from the donut shops. She clicks down the top, turns to see Katja reclining on the couch, checking to see what might be worth watching tonight.
Nude Katja makes Katya frisky, which is the intent. Katya sits on the edge of the couch, stokes satiny skin while they check movie channels.
Katja, “Nothing, we will look at Netflix….later.”
She pulls Katya’s head to her, long kisses, finger busy warming. Katya kisses down the smooth torso, over tight legs. Then on to the point of attack, Katja groans, small shiver, settles in for a lovely thought free spiral of sensuality. Then the bodyquake and accompanying hormone hurricane.
Brief break to regain sensibility, then Katja deconstructs Katya and they start in again. The finale happens upstairs in bed, Katya strapped up, Katja on the receiving end. A simulgasm, twin tsunamis so to speak.
Katja, “Sister ees fuck brains out.”
“Ellen bought good strapping on device, vibrates against me when I fuck you. Double buzz.”
Katja is de-strapping Katya when Mani sticks her head in the door, “Oops, sorry.”
“No ees problem, you haf seen already.”
“Now I’m horny, tonight I’ll make Ellen fuck me, after I go down on her, she’s so….steamy hot.”
“You haf new clothes?”
Mani, “Yes, couple of dresses each, pair of shoes, I got a mini skirt that may be illegal, except it’s New Orleans. The clerk in the store made a pass, she’s cute too, and high school yummy young.”
“Did you make a connection?”
“Got her number, if we decide to hook up, can I invite her over?”
Katya, “Check her out first, local, out of town, has she been arrested? Better not to have surprise.”
“Ellen said the same thing. She talked while I tried on stuff, made it sound all friendly girl chat. Ellen’s good at getting the guard down.”
“Remember, you are student, we have real estate, do not talk about Houston, no Katya Donut. She will think we make money from property someplace.”
Mani, “Simple. If you’re done with the toy, I’ll take it, I have to clean your bathroom anyhow.”
“We will shower first. Tea in half an hour.”
Everyone is downstairs, Ellen pours tea, a plate of sugar cookies for nibbles.
Ellen, “Sarah, the salesgirl. She’s a cutie, all into her school’s track team. The shop belongs to her mother, they live uptown, the Garden District not far from Commander’s Palace. I got the smell of money, dad’s a surgeon. I think the shop is for mom to feel like she’s doing something. Tomorrow, I’ll look up the parents, Sarah probably has a Facebook page. She’s goes to McGehee, private girls’ school.”
Katya, “How old?”
Ellen, “Sixteen, can’t take her out drinking. She’s into Mani, who’s still seventeen. We aren’t currently in the equation.”
Katya, “Just as well, Mani knows the rules, no meaningful information. To the girl, she’s in college and gets room and board for housekeeping.”
Katja, “What ees dinner? Something een slow cooker, smells like Mexican.”
Ellen, “Homemade chili, the real kind, with chunks of beef, not ground meat, jalapeno cheese cornbread, nacho appetizer. Ice cream for dessert, you’ll need it to level out your gut. New Orleans Ice Cream I get from Rouse’s. Tonight is vanilla bean, chocolate or satsuma dreamsicle.”
Mani, “I need to get those baths cleaned,” she scurries off to her duties.
Ellen, “She’s keepin’ up with her jobs. Baths are pristine, beds made, laundry don’t pile up, is folded and put away. She sweeps the courtyard, no dust accumulates in here, and there’s a load of stuff to be dusted.”
“You are helping as well.”
“Well yeah, geez, this is a big place. I’m around all the time, don’t hurt to run the mop over the floors, or use the Swiffer cloths on the blinds. If we keep after it a little each day, things stay neat and orderly. I tell her what I did, she tells me what she did, we don’t wind up doin’ the same job twice. It’s workin’ out fine.”
To set a chili atmosphere, tonight cocktails are cold Patron shots and a side of Sapporo, lime wedges and salt. Ellen has nachos basic, shredded cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo.
They move to the table for bowls of steamy fragrant chili, slab of jalapeno cheese cornbread. Ellen’s chili is bean free, properly prepared, chili does not cohabitate with beans.
Mani, “Ellen, the meat is fall apart tender, chili has a nice spice bite too.”
“We like warmer, hope I didn’t go overboard.”
“I’m Thai, we put chili sauce on everything.”
Katja, “Best number one cornbreading cake also too.”
Ellen, “Thank you, pretty basic recipes, that slow cooker is the bomb, gets all the flavors mingled better than marinade.”
Katya relates Gerard’s story, the man who sees the future.
Mani, “What! That’s amazing. Makes you want to believe in ghosts. Thai culture is full of ghosts, shamans, magic spells, demons. My aunt does all kinds of rituals. A ghost is called phi, and there are spirit houses where people leave offerings to prevent bad luck. There must be fifteen or sixteen different kinds of ghosts or spirits. Asians are full of superstitions.”
Katja, “Are you superstition person?”
“No, when I lived with my aunt, I honored her beliefs, at least I didn’t dis them. And I participated in rituals when she expected me to. I was living there, she wasn’t going to be talked out of her ways.”
Ellen, “Actually, I think it was nice of you, didn’t make a fuss over nothing, ‘sides, it isn’t just Asians, Christians and Muslims believe all kinds of crap.”
Mani, “So what do you think is happening?”
Katya, “I asked Gerard to find out a few things first. If he gets back to me, we will see. First, another beer.”
An hour later, they’re on the couches watching Wallander, a popular series about a disillusioned Swedish cop. This is the third episode they’ve seen.
Ellen, “Damn, that is one incompetent detective, he gets everyone killed or maimed with his bulldozer approach. Dude needs to give it a rest.”
Katja, “Da, he ees supposed to be so smart, but ees always let criminal get away.”
Ellen, “Bathroom break, then we’ll see how many more screw ups he can accomplish in the last forty minutes. What’s your ice cream preference?”
The twins want half chocolate, half vanilla bean, dreamsicle for Ellen and Mani. They enjoy frozen fat and sugar while Wallander stumbles his way around the backwaters of Sweden. Then it’s up to bed. The twins do bedtime things and are asleep in fifteen, just about when Ellen starts making Mani’s head spin.

Seventy Two

Two days later they’re at Café Envie for breakfast when Gerard walks in.
“Hoping to find you here, I have the answers to your questions.”
Katja, “Sit, we will haf breakfast and you can tell us.”
“Yes, he was experimenting with LSD and Ecstasy. He uses marijuana regularly, but he has for years, so that’s likely irrelevant to fortune telling. And to the second part, as best he can recall the dates he took LSD fall around the dates of his prognostications. Ecstasy he only took twice.”
The girls’ breakfasts show up, Gerard has an almond au lait, orders an omelet and continues, “So, do you have any theories? Or should I revisit my occult studies and start a regular regime of LSD?”
Katya, “Waste of time. He is not predicting anything. He is remembering, but he thinks what he remembers hasn’t happened yet. A reaction to the LSD. It is called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, HPPD. A version of flashbacks common with LSD.”
Gerard, “Wait, you are saying everything that happened had already happened, but his brain didn’t recall it that way, he thought it was going to happen.”
“It would be a little like déjà vu. You see a scene you are certain you have seen before, exactly the same thing, same people, same words. What you are experiencing is a delayed playback in your head, you did see it, but didn’t consciously process it, then you get back in the moment and think you are seeing it a second time.”
Gerard, “Katya, that’s nothing short of astounding. How did you figure it out?”
“I have no use for ghosts, and there is no predicting the future, there had to be something. Either he had a tumor in his head, or some neural failure that made him forget he saw something, or did not process consciously, or there was a drug involved. If he did not take drug, then he has to go to neurologist for brain problem.”
“My dear girl, how on Earth do you know these things?”
Ellen, “Katya eats information like a shark, feeding all the time. She’s like Google.”
“Well, most impressive. Any advice for him?”
“Quit taking LSD. He could wind up psychotic, depressed at least. If he keeps on with the problem anyway, he needs to see a psychiatrist, they have drugs to help. But only if he keeps having problem or you think his behavior is changing, depressed, does not go out anymore to restaurant, talk with friends, like that.”
Gerard, “I shall certainly go and see him, right after breakfast. The poor man, he hasn’t been so much depressed as distraught, wondering if he could have prevented some of the problems. He will be delighted to learn, he did not know about them until they were a fait accompli.”
Mani, “What’s a fait accompli?”
Ellen, “A done deal.”
Gerard laughs, “Succinctly put, exactly correct, already over, horse out of the barn as they say.”
Gerard reaches for his wallet, “I insist on buying breakfast, least I can do. You may have kept my acquaintance from losing it entirely, and I’ve had the pleasure of Ellen’s cooking and your fine wine on three separate occasions.”
He settles the tab, they part ways at the door, he’s off to visit the writer. Gerard never offered a name, the girls didn’t ask, likely he thought the man would want to retain some anonymity.
Ellen, “Never did say who the guy was.”
“Does not matter, romance ghost story writer who is Spanish and living in New Orleans would be easy to find. We do not need to know.”
Mani, “I know who it is. He came out to the university to do a talk. I didn’t go, but the announcement was on the student website. He’s pretty popular with female readers. Like you said, doesn’t matter.”
As they are entering the house, Katya’s phone rings, it’s Penny. She listens, clicks the phone down, for the short conversation, she didn’t say hello, didn’t comment, didn’t say bye.
“We have a contract for conflict resolution, a big one.”
Ellen, “Hot damn, what?”
“Someone has issue with district attorney in New York, Brooklyn. Penny charges two hundred to resolve conflict.”
Ellen, “Cool, twenty five apiece, and a trip to flippin’ New York.”
Mani, “I shouldn’t get a quarter, not until I’ve done the business end of the work.”
Katya, “Mani, we do this because it is interesting, we do not need money. Take your end and be happy, no more talking.”
Katya trusts Mani, to a point. Taking equal pay puts her at equal risk, she can’t say she wasn’t in, coerced or only a flunky.
Katya, “We will go to New York tomorrow, I will call Blue Sky, book room and car. Ellen, pack the weapons, we will need two rifles, small Glock for everyone.”
Ellen, “On it, come on Mani, let’s get the cases organized.”
Later, over cocktails, Katya relates what she knows.
“These are photos of target, he is to testify against two developers and a New York City council member from Brooklyn. In New York, each of the five boroughs has representatives on the New York City Council. We do not know if indictment has anything to do with the conflict we are resolving. Maybe man has an angry ex-wife or owes money to the wrong people.”
Ellen, “If that was it, why pay two hundred?”
“Penny is smart, she checks target every time before agreeing to terms. She tells client job costs because of notoriety, client agrees. He never said it was because of the case, but did not deny it, just sent first payment.”
Mani, “Wonder why they pay the second payment, it isn’t like we know how they are?”
“Because there is always someone who benefits or is looking for revenge. We will visit anyone with motive, and make them tell us what they know.”
Mani, “Ah, that would do it. Ever had to chase down a deadbeat?”
Ellen, “Mani.”
Mani claps her hand to her mouth, “Shit, I didn’t ask that, some Thai ghost made me do it. Sorry, I’ll try to avoid being stupid from now on.”
Ellen, “That would be a good idea. You are young, enthusiastic and curious. We get it. Stick to young and enthusiastic, when it comes to the past, skip the fuck out of curious.”
Psychopaths don’t cry, and Mani doesn’t, she’s more frustrated with herself than a rebuke from Ellen. All well and good to be excited over a trip to New York, and the prospect of killing a locally well known name. But to go where she knows not to go, been told not to go, too impulsive. Not a sign to encourage the twins’ trust.
She thinks, ‘Come on Mani, shut your mouth and follow instructions, Jesus, it isn’t hard.’

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