While Heinrich and Aphrodite Were Preoccupied

  • by Kentcoughing and spewing and afraid to move
  • And the salt.
  • near constant tabloid surveillance
  • supposed to sever the jugular
  • made little use of his arms in speaking

Tune in next time part 63                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

While Heinrich and Aphrodite were preoccupied I made a break for it, scurrying from beneath the truck and into a narrow aisle of wooden crates. Creeping to the end of the aisle on my belly, I peered around the corner. I strained my ears for signs of pursuit, but all I could hear was Aphrodite hectoring Heinrich about letting himself take a blowdart from his contortionist floozy, and Heinrich whimpering in reply. Their spat was occurring at the main entrance, meaning if I wanted to get out I’d have to find another doorway. Finding the coast clear, I wormed through the intersection and into the next aisle.

Svetlana peered down from atop a stack of crates, malicious delight shining in her eyes. I tried to tell her using hand signs that we had to work together, but she calmly undid the catch holding the side panel of the crate on which she perched. It swung out dumping greenish water onto me, a stinking low-tide sludge infested with jellyfish pressing the air from my lungs as it mashed me into the cement floor. I lay there, coughing and spewing and afraid to move lest I get stung. I gagged from the rotten smell. And the salt.

Svetlana plopped lightly into the mess, standing over me with a raspy giggle. She wore the same scandalously skintight outfit that had been a signature of the side-show act with her sister all those years ago, before John decided he couldn’t stand to be near constant tabloid surveillance and estranged himself from his family, uttering sharp words that were supposed to sever the jugular that carried blood so much thicker than water. Although probably no thicker than the slimy muck now covering me.

A resounding boom from the far end of the building indicated the slamming of the door. “Get up,” Svetlana said. She marched away, pausing to glare when I didn’t follow. We soon came into sight of the main entryway, where Heinrich lay on the floor alone. As we drew near, he mouthed words that we couldn’t hear. Svetlana knelt close, trying to discern his message. His torpid stillness made it harder to make sense of the faint sounds. Even when he wasn’t paralyzed, Heinrich made little use of his arms in speaking.

Suddenly he made full use of them in seizing Svetlana by the throat. In full voice, he said, “You should have known better than to leave your darts laying around where I could wipe off the poison!” Aphrodite slid from the shadows beside the door, her pistol aimed at my midsection.


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