Chapter Sixty Nine
Three weeks later, Dasha removes one thing from the list, “Dahfoney, enough gymnastic.”
“Okay, I can take down a couple of hours off the weekly schedule, losing interest?”
“Not gymnastic, only class. Practice here, bahlance beam, parkour. Teacher give me gud technique enough. You got me uneven bar for roof, better home. And you will work on me wiz chee dummy.”
“You filled up those two hours quickly.”
“Better, you get me, not gymnastic coach.”
She is so funny, she’s like Amaya with Chloe. Amaya can’t say she has to be with Chloe, rather that Chloe has to be with Amaya. Suppose it doesn’t matter, we adore our precious prima donnas.
Chloe, “She’s just about ready, you guys are going to the temple today?”
“Yep. We started on the texts a week ago, first, it’s lesson time with Janah, then to Tan’s hut for an hour, then an hour in meditation, lunch and they rest, watch hard gung fu practice for a bit, they usually want to go back to the hut until it’s time to leave.”
Chloe, “Daria likes it there, she says the world is gone.”
“It’s true, as if Tan left a small mysterious space, it’s certainly a fond reminder of his work with us.”
“You and Janah are creating fond memories for the girls. They may not be Shaolin, but they are warming to contemplative mysticism.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Daria and Dasha see auras, not quite like Zi and I. For Daria there is more, words and numbers have colors, part of the reason for her memory. There’s something else though, she’s tried to describe it to me, she doesn’t quite understand it herself yet.”
“She says time has colors.”
“Okay,” I shift to mental, Janah, you getting this?
Yes, we will explore it today. I don’t want to guess what it means to her.
“Dasha, do you know about this, the time thing?”
I hadn’t asked her to explain, so she doesn’t. If you want her to expand on something, you have to say so.
“Chloe, when you talk with Daria, do you have to keep the questions open ended, not just yes/no?”
“Now you’re doing it.”
She giggles, “It isn’t my nature, I wanted to see how it felt. Unlike most of us, she only answers what she’s asked, in as few words as possible.”
“Might be something to that.”
Dasha, “Sister ees finding out something, not talk.”
“Then she is practicing what we preach, don’t let someone else tell you, find out. And if you do ask, don’t assume the answer is correct, question it.”
Dasha finishes touching up eyeliner, brushes her teeth and adds lip gloss. We’re going to the temple, hardly need makeup, but Amaya has infused us with her penchant for clean, sharp lines, neat, bordering on obsession, and appropriate makeup. Even Zi, after years with no makeup at all, now goes out like Shaolin Barbie.
Amaya comes out of her room to examine the girls before we leave, makes miniscule adjustments, wipes a speck of dust off one of Dasha’s wedgies, then changes Daria’s lip gloss. The girls stand obediently, accustomed to Amaya’s fussiness.
Amaya, “Now, perfect. You must realize that all of Manhattan is aware that you are under my tutelage. If you are less than flawless, it is a reflection on me. My reflection does not permit flaws. Daphne, before you return, it is your job to insure they are put back together properly after a day sitting around in that hut. Last time they came home with dirt on their butts. I nearly fainted.”
“We made adjustments, they will change into plain robes when we get there and back into street clothes when we leave.”
“Excellent,” she examines Janah and me, in our robes, pulls out a brush and fixes something only she can see about Janah’s hair, must have been a single hair flying away, “have a splendid day, I am taking a ludicrously rich Chapman's mom shopping at ten, lunch at Le Bernardin for one, back here for four. Chloe will accompany. For some inexplicable reason, having a popular model along reinforces my recommendations. I have no idea why, Chloe’s taste is tasteless.”
Chloe, “Fashion bias, I’m a fashion model, ergo, I know fashion. It’s ridiculous, of course. Most models dress like coeds at a state college.”
Janah, “We’ll leave you to sort out the complications of fashion disability and get on to the more mundane matters of compassion and enlightenment.”
Amaya, “If people dressed better, compassion would be a given and enlightenment would follow, anyone knows that.”
Dasha, Eemaya ees adorable ridiculous, Vesnushki ees happy to be wiz Eemaya. Sister says what make Vesnushki happy ees gud.
Dasha, Chloe understands that being happy with whatever happens is the only thing we need to know. She is happy to be here, she is happy that Amaya is happy, she is even happy when we deal with bad people. She is happy because they will no longer make other people suffer. She understands suffering better than the rest of us, she suffered far more than I ever did.
Daria know Vesnushki suffering, protect Eemaya and Vesnushki, bad man will not want to see sister.
I don’t doubt it.
At the temple, I take the girls to the kitchen while Janah checks in with Master Kahn. While I’m chatting with Armando, our current Mystic of the Kitchen, Janah is covering the new arrangement with Master Khan.
“Master Khan, you have undertaken responsibility for our temple for the last several years, we are grateful for your care and guidance, me particularly.”
“Not too bad, you and Master Sylk have done your part. I am getting too slow for it though. You have a plan for my replacement I assume.”
“Daphne and I will be spending more time here. You are not so simple to replace, the last of the Masters from China, from a temple that was not a tourist attraction.”
Kahn brightens, “It will be good to see more of our Abbess and her companion. Master Sylk raises the intensity of gung fu by her presence.”
“She will be happy to hear it.”
Khan smiles, “She no doubt heard it when I said it.”
Janah, acknowledges his comment with a nod, “There is no need to announce anything, you remain Abbott. Simply withdraw from any duties you wish. I have one suggestion, if I may.”
“You have a depth of understanding of gung fu beyond anyone I’ve encountered. Daphne is a physical marvel, but does not bring the subtlety of knowledge and insight to it you do. It would be an irreplaceable addition to our Shaolin library if you were to write the definitive book of gung fu training.”
“I know nothing of computers.”
“Monks will line up to take your dictation. So many years of training, you have a system in your head already, a matter of putting it in words.”
“It is our duty to share what knowledge we possess. One thing, there are things only for the temple, and some of those only for masters.”
“Then start with the basics, as the project develops we can have one text suitable for any student, another for disciples, and a third for select masters, which cannot leave our private library. Qualified masters from elsewhere may come to study, no copies. We may even make that digital only, Daphne can make it so it cannot be printed, saved or forwarded.”
Khan sighs, “A shame these things weren’t possible fifteen hundred years ago. So many wars, burned temples, lost records.”
He isn’t bemoaning the loss of paper, or even artifacts, it is the shared wisdom, some of which is relearned in new generations, some of which is ashes and irretrievable.
Janah, “All the more important it is memorialized now, permanently.”
“Who do you recommend to do the writing?”
“David would love to be asked, there several scholars and contemplatives, some in our temple, some in the area. We will select two or three and they can organize their time. They will type it as you dictate it, you will want to review the work as it accumulates, Daphne will be most anxious to read it, she’s good at organization and clarification. Our scholars are not gung fu students at her caliber, she will know what needs clarification on technicalities. The scholars will know how to explicate the mental side.”
Khan, “You have been thinking this over for some time?”
“Actually, it just popped in my head when I brought it up. It’s such an obvious benefit, I’m embarrassed I didn’t mention it years ago.”
“Then let’s see if an old man has anything to say worth study.”
Janah, “Thank you Master Khan, Daphne is already looking forward to the first drafts.”
Khan stands, they bow, I check in, Geez, I feel stupid not bringing it up a long time ago, duh.
Janah, Things move along, it simply never occurred to us. I suggested Hue write the herb book, it didn’t translate over into gung fu. At least we thought of it now, before he’s gone and the opportunity evaporates. He didn’t think of it either.
Perhaps he did, I recall seeing him writing in the library over the years. I bet he has something already. It would be great if he did or there might be things he’s forgotten. Khan isn’t much for tooting his horn, it would be more like him to leave a legacy to be found only after her passed. But, since you suggested it, he is simply responding to a request.
You know, you’re right, that would be how he’d handle it. Guess we’ll find out.
I’m done here, are you ready to take the girls for study?
Let’s do qi first, then you can go to gung fu this afternoon, we have two hours before lunch. While you’re training, I can go over the texts with them.
We’re in Tan’s hut, cross legged on the floor, I have bamboo mats down and cushions to avoid sitting in the dirt. The girls changed to simple monks garments when we arrived.
Janah, “Daria, I’m curious about something Dasha said, that you experience time in color. Dasha doesn’t, so getting a description from her isn’t quite the same.”
Daria, “Color is not so important, Dasha sees color in my head, but it is not the main thing.”
Janah, “Don’t make me pull it out of you. If you care to explain, I would find it educational at the least, just like you want to study things. If you don’t want to discuss it, we can move on to qi training.”
Daria, “If it is a normal day, each thing comes and goes. Water runs out of faucet, down drain. Sometimes it runs backwards, or bird flies back to tree, then back to ground. Other times, I see water running, but every drop is separate, or a bird flies in jumps, first here,” she has a hand out, “then here,” she makes her hand chop a foot to the right, “then here,” another chop.
Janah, “Do you know how a movie film works?”
“Da. Each little picture, the frame, is still, when it runs though projector fast, it looks like things are moving.”
“Yes, so if I understand, you see the individual frames, even though the water is flowing or the bird is flying.”
“And sometimes the film even runs backwards, so the bird that flew to the ground, flies backwards to the tree, then back to the ground.”
Janah, “Why do you think you see that way? I mean, have you thought about it, do you have a theory?”
“Nyet, I am thinking about.”
“Good. I’ve not read of any such thing, nor do I have any ideas about what it means or how it works. To satisfy my curiosity, I ask you to keep me posted on your thoughts, and let me know if other similar experiences occur. You are not an experiment, I want to know because it is interesting and I don’t understand it.”
“I will say, I am as well curious.”
“One more thing then I’ll drop it for now. Does it just happen, or can you make it happen?”
“I never thought to make it happen, it just happens. Is a good idea to see. I will find out.”
We’ve exhausted that subject for now, it’s the most I’ve heard Daria say in one session, remarkable in itself.
I work with Dasha, Janah with Daria. We’ve long given them qi assignments, just like when we started a million years ago, hot hand, cold hand, heat water, put out the candle, light it. They’ve done pretty well and haven’t set the house on fire. Now, we’re going to do transmission light, as I did when I started with Chloe.
The girls have some characteristics of Sensitives. We don’t want qi tricks to interfere with their natural abilities. Dasha and Daria got transmissions from the owl and eagle, their eyesight is remarkable, they can see long distances, and in the dark, grips are vise-like. The birds said they would only enhance, not create interference, we trusted them, they delivered.
What we are doing involves freeing up pathways in the brain, channels for qi unrestricted by other neuronal activity. It could take many months, perhaps years, and we may stop if it seems to adversely affect other skills or their normal brain activity. We also want to see how they use the skills. Given that they’re already antisocial, it wouldn’t be a good idea to have them become psychopathic Shadows, we have enough roaming around already.
Lunchtime comes, we eat at one in the temple. There used to be no evening meal, but I’d changed that years ago. There’s no dinner as such, but there is tea, soup, granola, yogurt, fruit, cookies and whatever else Armando decides to put out around five thirty. We have growing young people here, everyone works hard, they need calories.
Silence is observed at breakfast and lunch, suits the twins just fine. They always have appetites, like Janah, and today is pizza day, the temple favorite. I know, we aren’t supposed to have favorites, we’re Buddhists, it’s a small thing and we also teach enthusiasm for life and work. We’ll say they’re more enthusiastic with pizza once or twice a week.
After lunch is rest and digest, monks go to their rooms, walk the garden or sit on the benches and talk. Janah and I take the girls to our room, we keep quarters here, Janah as Abbess gets more elbow room. We lay on the mats, upgraded from thin nothing to Thai mattresses and pillows for everyone. Thai mattresses are handy because they roll up and can stand in a corner, about two inches thick, a series of fabric tubes, the mattress is three and a half wide and six feet long. Not a bed and box spring, it’s a Shaolin monastery, not a hotel.
We lay down and drift into a relaxed twilight, it is remarkably quiet here. Despite our location in the back of busy Chinatown, surrounded by noisy city life, little street noise drifts over the walls.
The rest of the day Janah and the twins are reading and discussing Buddhist texts, sutras and Shaolin history. Janah doesn’t require them to study it, Daria has a natural curiosity about things, heightened, Janah thinks, because it’s so much a part of our life. Dasha is not much of a student, but she’s with her sister and she pays attention.
While they discuss the intricacies of peace and compassion, I’m swapping poundings with talented gung fu monks. The yin and yang of Shaolin. After nearly two hours, I’m sufficiently banged up, afternoon class is hard training, they practice forms in the morning, sometimes a sparring demonstration. We wind down examples of how to wail on Master Sylk and finish off with long stretches to de-knot tight, tired muscles.
Chapter Seventy One
On the walk home, Dasha asks, “Dahfoney, you do not haf to beat up, why do it?”
“What pains, trains. There is no way to learn the real thing without the real thing.”
Janah, “There’s another reason. The monks appreciate an instructor that mixes it up with them. Lots of masters stand around and instruct, but you never see them having to do what they say you have to do. Not that they can’t, but it is never demonstrated. One reason Daphne’s classes are so energetic is because the monks know she’s taking it just like they have to take it.”
I add, “It is also true that one with many years experience, like Master Khan, may offered excellent training, but age prevents him from doing himself what he instructs. This respects the Master’s wisdom and teaches the student that no matter what, eventually time will overcome ability.”
Dasha, “Ees gud that Dahfoney does not get old, she must show monks many things.”
Janah, “You have seen the essence of Shaolin, Dasha. We are obliged to share what we have. This is compassion.”
Dasha, “We do not haf compassion. We will think of it. If question, I ask Dahfoney.”
Janah, “Good enough.”
My dear Dasha blinks up at me, I haven’t the slightest idea how she feels, or if she feels. She feels physical pain and pleasure, when she falls of the balance beam, or when she is sexually stimulated. I can be in her head to mental, but only to converse. With Janah, Chloe, Amaya or Nikko, I can tell how they feel about the subject. With Dasha, I can only hear her, or see what she sees, there is no emotion attached.
We arrive at the condo, I shower, grimy from gung fu, I sense Dasha arranging tea, she asks, Dahfoney, ees already five thirty, what ees dinnertime?
We’ve had a pretty busy day, I’m calling for take out, so it can be anytime.
Dasha, Only tea then.
Good, see you in a bit.
Girls wander in, Nikko and Zi got home while I was in the shower, Chloe and Amaya in their room, chilling from a couple of hours of dance at Lacy’s. We recap each other’s day, I have a gel pack strapped to my shoulder, sore from a monk’s kick.
Amaya, “Mayumi and Katsumi are joining us for dinner, expect them at six thirty.”
“Good, I’ll get Marconi’s to deliver,” I locate a phone, call and shoot the breeze with Dominic, order and rejoin the group.
Nikko is summing up leasing activity, two new tenants, “We have near full space, occupancy is over ninety percent and the next leases don’t expire on commercial for another year. As far as we know, apartment tenants are renewing, I’ve not increased rents, cash flow is good and we won’t have any expense to refurbish. If I raise rents, some tenants are bound to leave, then we have to repaint, repair. Our apartments don’t have carpet to contend with, and we have high traffic stuff in the commercial spaces. The amount of increase the market will bear doesn’t offset potentially empty space.”
Janah, “Excellent, fits in well with the Society having new projects. Do you and Zi have time for a road trip? I doubt it’s more than a night or two.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Guys hassling a girl. She made bad judgment calls, sent him a photo of her topless, thought she was in love, gave it up for him. He turned her over to his friends, she’s now tagged with the usual, slut, whore. She changed schools, he’s following her around online.”
Nikko, “How old is she? How old is her stalker?”
“Fifteen and seventeen. She was fourteen when it started. I just want him off her case, we’re pulling down the web stuff, but he reposts. He’s using public networks, coffee shops, library, and he’s annoyingly persistent. Plus we can’t monitor every site he posts her photo on. She’s going to have her little breasts on display for a long time. We have Google deleting her stuff when their web crawlers come across it.”
“The photos go up, people download to their own drive, even when we get them off the sites, people have them. Some repost, it’s viral. She’ll grow up and the photos won’t seem like such a big deal, but she has to grow up first. Right now she’s caught in the thought that the world despises her.”
Zi, “Why can’t Janah talk to her, or Chloe?”
“First, we don’t know her, how do we just show up and stick our nose in? Second, even if we figure that out, it would be coincidental to the stalker’s rehabilitateing. It’s a long shot that anyone would connect it, but it’s not out of the question. At any rate, we need to get this guy to drop it, and help his pals understand that girls aren’t for passing around to amuse themselves.”
Nikko, “We going to do this one at a time?”
“There’s the puke and three other pukes. So you know, their story is the girl came along and wanted it, they’ve stuck together on that. Surveillance has monitored them, privately they laugh about how stupid people are to buy it, we have the audio. As far as method, I favor doing them all at once.”
Nikko, “Why not just post the audio, or send it to the cops, or send it to the boys’ parents?”
“As evidence it’s useless, a layer will say it’s a digitally altered compilation. We know it isn’t. It would cast doubt, but doesn’t accomplish much. I’m thinking over sending it to the girls’ parents, but after you’re done. Might make her feel better. Besides the rape, which is bad enough, it’s the continuing torment magnifying the cruelty.”
Nikko, “They hang out someplace together?”
“The one doing the internet stuff lives in a wealthy neighborhood, all four come from upper middle class homes, his folks are several steps up. Mom thinks sonny boy is just perfect, dad is a non-factor. He’s there to supply cash. Parents travel a lot, at least once a month to a second home. Our prime target has his friends over, usually there’s a party involved, pool, booze, coke, dope.”
Nikko, “I have a plan.”
Chapter Seventy Two
Rather than give the boys the courtesy of names, Nikko decides on Eeny, Meany, Miney and Mo. The house is on a millionaire’s row in a Houston suburb. Surveillance reports the parents gone, it’s Saturday, party prep is underway. Nikko and Zi pass by the house around five thirty, two of the others show up, then the fourth a half hour later.
They return to the hotel to wait on Surveillance to call when the party is in full swing. They have a light room service dinner, then start to dress.
When they finish, they look like cosplay. Big contacts give them oversize eyes, hair done up with curls, ribbons and braids, Zi’s wig is ginger, Nikko’s blonde. Pale faces, Nikko shading to Goth, pastel satins for Zi, knee high boots and chains for Nikko. Nikko has pigtails. They resemble the girls we saw in Japan. They leave the hotel room in long coats, sunglasses, scarves. A Minder drives them to the party house, the pool has maybe twenty five kids around it, music pounds, but mostly inside. The place is walled around the sides and back, still not a good idea to blast the neighborhood and draw complaints. Cars line the drive and up the block.
The point of the costumes is threefold, first, adorable girls in short skirts are always welcome, second, they need to be disguised anyway, and third, the novelty will attract attention quickly.
Nikko makes a call to Surveillance, “Where are the targets now?”
“Two outside, others have to be in.”
She clicks off.
They stroll right in the front door, hip hop on the sound system, dancing teens all around. Must be another twenty or twenty five kids in here. Girls from fourteen to seventeen, made up to look twenty, lots of skin, more girls than boys, maybe sixty forty. The boys are all WASPS, not even a token black, Asian or Latino. It’s Houston, the new millennium hasn’t reached this far south.
The crowd kind of parts, taking in the two, some giggles, guys gawking, a girl squeals, “Eddie, you order some entertainment? Eddie!!!”
Eddie is Meany, our stalker, he comes in the room, Eeny trailing behind him, He yells over the music to Nikko, “Who are you guys, what’s the deal?”
Zi turns off the music, a chorus of complaints, then Nikko goes into her act, robotic in her movements “Hello American teens,” her arms cross over her chest, “a good friend sent us to entertain you.”
Her head bobs from side to side, like a metronome, “We will have a lot of fun,” she doesn’t smile, it’s more convincing to be doll-like, her expression never changes, big eyes barely blink.
Zi sways up, hips making the short dress swing, she curtseys, “We have music to play, please enjoy.”
She hands an IPod to Meany, he says, “What is this shit?”
Zi’s head cocks left and right, her white gloved hand out in front of her, palm facing the growing audience. Kids are streaming in from outside now.
Zi, “Please play,” she looks at the audience, “everyone want s to have fun, right?”
From the crowd, various voices, “Play the thing Eddie, let’s see what the babes have for us, maybe more than music,” and “Yeah, Eddie, let’s see the hotties show their stuff,” various other encouragements ensue.
Eddie shrugs, “What the fuck,” he plugs the IPod into a computer, there’s a few seconds of Japanese pop, then the voice of Meany, ‘Godamn kids are so fucking stupid, those assholes at school actually bought it.’
Zi is guarding the player, Nikko’s hand goes to her mouth, acting like she’s a shocked doll, then she points to the crowd.
Meany tries to get to the machine, Zi holds both hands up, sways from side to side, the next voice is Miney, ‘Fuck yeah, we fucked that bitch black and blue and you made the fruitcakes at school thinks she begged for it…cool.’
Nikko points to Meany, the crowd, not yet that drunk or high, is catching on, it’s quiet.
Mo, ‘The dumb cunt shouldn’t have waved her bitty titties on camera, I still can’t believe you talked her into it, she was such a goody girl.’
Meany, ‘She’s not goody now, the slut, I made her think I looooved her,’ laughter, Eeny, ‘We all fucking looooved her, she got a pussy load of love,’ more laughter.
Meany tries to push Zi aside, she sweeps her foot through his ankles, he’s butt down on the floor.
She turns to the crowd, big eyes, hands next to her cheeks, mouths an ‘Oops!’
Eeny goes for the player, Nikko smashes her elbow into his nose, he joins Meany on the carpet. Miney and Mo are trapped in the middle of the room, looking around, easing backwards.
Zi points, “Boys! Do not leave now,” spreads her hands wide, waves them to her, ‘fun is just beginning, everyone, bring them up, welcome to our special guests,” claps her gloved hands like she’s the MC inviting them up to the stage.
There’s general talking, almost whispering, guys start pushing Miney and Mo forward, the CD keeps going, more joking about the girl, the dumbass kids at school, many of whom are in the room, cracks about girls in attendance who offer blowjobs like Halloween candy, there are screeches and denials. The crowd is more than restive, Miney and Mo are offering up their own denials as fast as their lips can flap, it isn’t working.
They’re facing Nikko, Zi unplugs the IPod, holds up a dozen MP3s, “We have many more,” she Frisbees them to the crowd. There’s a general scramble to grab copies, then attention returns to the front.
Now the room is staring at the four, not happy, curious to see what happens next. Phones out, cameras busy.
Nikko resolves the question, “Come on bag of shit, let’s see what you’ve got,” she punches Miney in the nose, just enough to sting and draw a little blood.
Zi follows suit with a sharp kick to Mo’s shin. He hobbles around while Zi does a robot doll dance, arms up, in, out, down, shimmying her hips, steps to one side and sinks her knee into his gut. Mo folds forward, Zi pulls her knee back and smashes his face, he flips flat on his back.
Meany is up, coming at Nikko from behind, she front kicks Miney in the nuts and same leg back kicks Meany in his, so fast they double over at the same instant. She turns sideways, leaps in the air to a full split and snap kicks the both of them square under the nose, blood drips from split lips and cracked teeth.
Eeny jumps up and tries for the kitchen, Zi kicks him in the spine and he does a face plant hard into the door jamb, bounces back, she sweeps his feet from behind. Eeny is on his ass again. His face rearranged to mashed and bloody.
The crowd breaks into applause, shouts from across the room, “Wipe those assholes, did you see that! Man they know some fucking karate shit…like kicked ass, dude. The pricks raped that girl, man”
Nikko announces, “This one, Eddie, has been stalking the girl, don’t get too self righteous, some of you pussies have been getting off on it,” she kicks Meany in the head, not hard enough to break his brain, enough to feel, “Eddie, if the girl gets another nasty comment from anyone on the planet, I’m blaming you. Then I’m coming again, just you and me. You won’t be able to post jack because you won’t have any hands, have a taste. She stomps her boot heel on the back of his hand, there’s a wet crunch, the crowd gasps, Meany screams.
She looks at the others, piled almost together on the floor.
“”Do you little fucks get it? If you don’t, I will happily continue to explain.”
There is moaning, painful agreement from Eeny, Miney and Mo.
Nikko, “By the way, I expect a check for half a million, five hundred thousand dollars to show up in apology to the girl, in less than a week. I don’t care whose daddy pays it, it fucking better show up and it better clear. If not, I come back. Your mommy and daddy will get a copy of the audio, your friends here, the ones you think so stupid, they know who’s on the recording. And some of them have been helpfully taking video of our time together tonight. You’re going to be internet sludge tomorrow, congratulations.”
The two dolls walk through a knot of stunned kids and out the front door.
As the Minder pulls off, there are red flashing lights coming down the street behind him, he hooks a left, screeches up a block, then a right, pulls to the curb, douses the lights. They sit, no cars come around the corner, the cops are headed to the house.
The Minder eases down the street with the lights off. A couple blocks along he turns on the headlights, takes the circuitous way through the subdivision. During the drive, they slip back into long coats and head scarves, and by the time they are dropped off at the hotel, they are again anonymous.