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21 Cello Slink

Culhane pauses at the window of a shop selling rifles, ammo, body armor, birdfeed. Tweettweet! Using the glass to watch the street behind. 

Dead dog, sick frog, out for a jog. Live humans, zero. Seeing nothing, confidence thrusting. Guard down, not a frown. Culhane turns away.

Busted hydrant, flooding, rippling puddle, Kindred emerging, rising to reveal eyes only, blinkless. Or was it a mannequin's plastic noggin?

Culhane shifts the box to his other hand, reaches into his pocket for coins. Tosses them upward, clatterrattling on a fire escape landing.

Metal door groans open, bare feet with painted toenails, making an entrance. Or was it an exit? Curved calves, flexing. This is Cello Slink.

Hispanic smooth springyskinned, black eyeglance, muscularity singularity. Prancerdancer, probably. Romancer, likely. No secondchancer, sure.

Culhane takes the metal steps threefour at a time, hungry, almost desperate. Kindred watching with extreme interest, eyes squintglinting.

Cello watches the street intently as Culhane goes past her and inside. Third floor door. Kindred motionless, his shadow etched in redbrick.

She turns, rotates really, and delicately steps inside, trail of lavender reaching Kindred as he moves, assaulting steps, violent climbing.

He catches the edge of the closing firedoor with his thumb, holds it open one eighth of an inch, sliverpeeking inside. Motorcycle, gas can.

Culhane disappears around a corner 30 feet away. Cello black hair cascading, just behind him, catlike, female. Kindred tightens his thumb. 

Opens the door, smell of gasoline, Vasoline, Valvoline, gunpowder, chilipowder, babypowder, clamchowder. Nose knows those. Kindred, wraith.

Sound of violins played by musicians with doublechins. Sweet sad lingering dust motes hovering in a soft quivering cluster mark his passage.

Motorcycle hotsteaming like a cappuccino, stained wood floors, coffee, mud, oil, blood. Kindred ran an appreciative finger along its flanks.

Drifting imperceptibly, landing toe first on catfeet, soundless. CIA assassin training post Nam. Black ops. Dead kill no thrill. Just do it.

Warhol originals on the wall, crudely hammernailed in with four inch spikes for security. Grunting pigs, barnyard lovers under the covers.

Cockroach scuttling, exits bedroom, seen enough. Kindred scooped it up and swallowed it. No witnesses. No misses. In and out, no trace. 

Culhane atop Cello, bedbound unbound springbanging. Kindred impassively eyedrinking copulative athleticism. Unseen, clean, he takes the box.

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