Mindful that Margot needed time to prep herself for Wuhan, and knowing that a discussion about the poor white trash Bard of Blunder Bay could go on and on, Kitty announced that she would take her leave. Before Kitty could call out to Daisy, to say it was time to go, Margot warned, “Be careful with Madonna.”

“Why’s that?”

“Nothing major, I don’t think. She has a big heart, and it’s in the rigt place. But she’s a woman who wants what she wants, and she’s used to getting what she wants, one way or another.”

“Oh, I know what she wants,” Kitty replied. “And believe me, Margot, she ain’t gettin’ it.”

“She wants Lance, doesn’t she?”

“And me, too! She wants everything. Do you know Faith No More?”

“The band?”

Kitty nodded, and sang,

You want it all

but you can’t have it

It’s in your face

but you can’t grab it!

“Who made the call on how the four of you will split up into pairs? Why isn’t Lance going with his father, and you going with Madonna?”

“You know, I was lost in thought when that was brought up, but I signed off on it rigt away. I can get more out of Stephen than Lance can, because Stephen wants to fuck me. Same thing with Lance and Madonna. It ain’t rocket science.”

You know what Einstein said about the splitting of the atom?”

“Refresh my memory.”

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save man’s modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

Kitty was confused. “And?”

“On a smaller scale, he could have been talking about the power of the mighty panty hamster.”

Kaboodle considered it, and came back with, “You know what Oppenheimer said when he finished in the New Mexico desert what Einstein started in his head?”

“Refresh my memory.”

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Margot considered that, and came back with, “That’s one mighty and ambitious panty hamster you’ve got. You have power, girl. Enormous power. Be judicious, be just, and be very careful with it.”

“Have faith, “Margot, I was born for this. I know what I’m doing.”

Thunder babe let it go, and moved on. “What do the two of you want from the two of them, that they’re not already freely giving?” Margot asked.

“Maybe nothing. For all I know, from what I’ve seen, they’re playing straight. But information is a commodity, and a weapon, and the more of it you have, the better your chances of succeeding. So, I want to know everything they know. I may see things that they overlook. Same with Lance. And we have a better chance of getting it all out of them if they are slaves to their dicks, which, evidently, they both still are.”

“Okay, Kitty. You know what you’re doing. Stick on the ice, but don’t be afraid to throw an elbow, if you have to.”

“Thanks Margot. Good luck tomorrow. When can we expect a call from you two, from Wuhan?”

“It takes about a half hour from the time you enter the labyrinth, until you get to the tunnel. There will be no cell signal underground, so I will call when we start. So, a half hour, or so, after my first call. If it comes to pass that I can’t get a call off from Wuhan, for whatever reason, you should hear back from me around an hour after I make the first call, when we are back at the entrance, because I plan to get in and out of Wuhan in under five minutes. If that doesn’t happen, if you don’t get a second call, within about an hour … send lawyers, guns and money, honey, because the shit has hit the fan, in Wuhan.”

“Lawyers, huh? Your brother?”

“He will be expecting a call from me, too. If he doesn’t get it, he knows what to do, and he will contact you.”

“Wait. You’re going to the virology lab; do you have PPE gear?”

“We will make a stop along the way. We will look like we are from the World Health Organization, and be sufficiently protected to inspect any lab, anywhere in the world.”

“That’s almost disappointing. I was hoping you’d be wearing the Thunder Bay N95s.”

Laughing, Margot asked, “You’ve seen them?”

“Both versions, when we stopped for gas. Daisy tells me they are everywhere in town.”

“Yeah, ain’t nothing weird about weird around here.”




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