“Did you see where my boyfriend went,” Kitty inquired of the front desk clerk. The girl pointed at the exit, and Kitty exited the building, stopping briefly to say, “Would you have the kitchen hang onto our orders, until we get back, please and thank you?” Done.

Lance was sitting on top of a picnictable, staring at his phone, but that was no deterrent to the Kaboodle girl. “You okay?”

Lance’s eyes stayed stuck to his phone for a couple seconds, just long enough for Kitty to get a bit pissy. “Hey! I’m talking to you.”

The boy held up his index finger, and said, “You were rigt. Rupert Murdoch has just announced the print editions of all his Aussie newspapers are closed. No ad revenue. And, Spain just announced they are bringing in universal basic income.”

“It will spread. It has to.”

“Gimme a couple seconds.” When Lance finished reading what he was reading, he said, “Sorry, I was just reading about this Trump Trudeau spat. Check this out. Says that Trump has ordered 3M to stop selling surgical masks to Canada.”


“Yeah, but listen to this, ‘Canada is the only country in the world that exports the particular grade of paper pulp that is used in the manufacture of surgical gowns and masks. So, when 3M pushes back against Trump it’s because without Canada, the US couldn’t manufacture any of those PPE masks at all.”

“Well, The Donald is doing a great job of making America great again, isn’t he?”

“What is it that the road to Hell is paved with?”

Kitty nodded. Lance pointed at a billboard across the highway and said, “Looks like Trump and Trudeau have something else to worry about. Cross border vandalism.”

Kitty looked at the billboard. “Interesting. They’re trying to keep the virus from crossing the border, but they can’t even manage to keep questionMark from crossing.”

“Or us.” Lance had already been told not to ask about what Kitty had to do to get them into Canada, and he knew she wasn’t going to answer, if he did. He also knew that if he did ask, she could get pissed. Even though he very much wanted to know, he knew he would never know, unless she told him, and she couldn’t tell him anything if she wasn’t talking to him. Or she decided to kill him. So he let it go, wondering if he should have brought it up at all. “Looks like questionMark is on a mission.”

“So it seems,” Kitty said, relieved that Lear decided against asking what she’d already told him not to ask about. “And so are we.”

“Maybe we are. Maybe you are. Maybe I’m not joining your mission. I’m not even sure the stated mission, undefined as it is, is rigteous. Appearances can be deceiving, and it’s not as if he’s some kinda knight in shining armour. Gallant knights don’t fuck and run, leaving damsels out of dress in distress, with a bun in the oven.”

Kitty moved sideways quickly, to prevent Lance from getting further downfield. “Agreed. But I grew up without a father, too.”

“Sure, but not quite the same. Your father is dead.”

“The big man did not man up. He never claimed me as his daughter. Then he got himself killed, because whatever it was he was working on was more important than me.”

There was no denying that Kitty, too, had gotten the shitty end of the daddy stick, so Lance gave her the arms extended, finger wiggle Corona hug. Kitty moved in, pushed Lance’s arms wider apart, threw her arms around him, and squeezed until he reciprocated, which he did immediately.

They hugged each other as hard as they could, both of them feeling the positive energy radiating, and expanding. Twenty seconds in, Kitty broke the embrace, pulled back far enough to look into Lance’s big brown eyes, and said, “You know what’s weird?” Lance shrugged. “He calls you Stephen when you’re not around.”

“That’s why you said, ‘Wrong,’ when I told you my name was Lance, when you picked me up.”


“Onset of dementia?”

“Maybe. If so, it’s the only indicator I’ve picked up.”

“Scarey to think what would come out of his mind, if dementia pushed all-in on him.”

“It is. Maybe we’ll find out. We’ll have front row seats.”

If we go along with this.”

Kitty grabbed the boy’s hand. “Hey. This is our mission. Those two are not long for this Earth, no matter how fit they are. Their days are numbered, and unless they are characters out of one of his books, there is more sand in the bottom half of their hour glasses of life than there is in the top halves. How much more sand? Who knows?  But make no mistake, this is our mission. They are just along for the ride. To open doors. To introduce us to people we can’t get near, without them. To aid and abet.”

Lance pondered. He liked the sound of it. Loved the sound of it. It was a great storyline, and writers live for great storylines. But in such a story there are heroes and villains. “What if they’re not kosher? What if they are working with the bad guys. What if they are the bad guys?”

Kitty smiled. And laughed. And said, “Silly, silly boy. Simple answer to your silly question, silly, silly boy; we kill them.”




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kitty killer