Spacer Iron Butterflies 64
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    "I have to go talk to someone," Scott burbled, and left the room as well. I set the paper down and stared at the lead photograph without really seeing it. It was brazen and brilliant and had been pulled off literally under our noses by a pair of septuaginarian supervillains, and I can't be mad about it, though Hans obviously is and I probably should be—if I had taken a moment, had thought to "look" more closely.... But that kind of style is rare, and after all they hadn't hurt anybody.
    Brilliant. Just brilliant.
    Lucky was watching Promethean go, snarling under his breath about lawbreakers being lawbreakers and that was that; she gave me a raised-eyebrow look.
    "And you want me to tell him about my past? I don't think so."
    I didn't have enough conviction to argue with her long, besides being a little freaked out myself over Chandler's implied warning. Maybe I'm being naive; just because he's one of us doesn't necessarily make him trustworthy.
    "Fine, all right," I said at last. "If you don't feel comfortable telling him anything, I'm not going to either. We'll just take it one day at a time." It wouldn't do any good if she didn't do it herself anyway.
    "Thank you."
    Coffee. I needed coffee. Cupboard, coffee, filter, coffee maker. Sink, water, coffee maker. Steps I could perform in my sleep, trying to get a handle on the day ahead, to make sense of the tangled web of bizarreness which had been the previous one, wonder which parts of it could be dealt with quickly, feeling optimism stir—if nothing else there was plenty to do, and for the moment I was certain we'd be up to all of it. I poured three spoons of sugar into the mug and settled down to reread the robbery story, this time with my brain fully operational and capable of appreciating its nuances, never mind that it didn't exactly make us look good. Ms. Shapiro is going to have a field day with this.
    Lucky made a quiet sound behind me and pointed.
    "Now what?"
    She was trying to get me to read one of the page two stories, one that caused my mood to crash and shatter in a matter of seconds.
    Another shooting, just like Ellis. This time the victim was Matthew Lesobeck, a retired judge. The pattern was the same, the multiple gunshots at close range, the mental patient off medication. Different patient, of course. I grabbed the paper and my coffee and headed down to do a computer search.
    "So I hear you ran into an old boyfriend yesterday," Lucky remarked after a moment, follwing me.
    "What?" I hadn't really heard her, concentrating on the significant details marking the two murders.
    "I heard you ran into an old boyfriend."
    My fingers paused over the keyboard. "That's the last time I tell him anything. I don't want to talk about it." She must have seen Chandler last night on her way back from Mort's place. Presumeably he'd asked her to keep an eye on me. I suppose I ought to be grateful.
    "You don't have to be that way."
    "What way?"
    "I was just going to say that if you wanted to talk about anything, I'd be willing to listen."
    "Thanks, but I don't."
    She didn't seem to like my tone, and we went around for a few increasingly frustrating circles until I interrupted whatever she planned to say next and stated, with crystalline enunciation, "Look. I'm not mad at you. I'm not even mad at him for telling you. I don't know what's going on. And I don't want to talk about it."
    "I wasn't even going to say anything about that," she muttered.
    "What were you going to say?"
    "I was going to say, what about figuring out about this killing?"
    "That's what I've been trying to do, if you'd let me concentrate." After a moment I added, "You know, you really have no mastery of tact."
    "Isn't that the same thing as lying?"
    "I thought you didn't want me to lie to you."
    I gave up. Her view of the world is so black and white that sometimes there's just no talking to the woman.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson