Subject: Re: Let's try this again

Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 14:36:23 -0500

From: jimvan@NOSPAMgate.net (Jim Vandewalker)

Organization: CyberGate, Inc.

Newsgroups: alt.slack

References: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4

 

In article <jimvan-ya023080000909972104230001@news.gate.net>,

jimvan@NOSPAMgate.net (Jim Vandewalker) wrote:

{ Traffic was completely stopped now and the battered Renault was on the turn

{ ramp above the mouth of the underpass that conducted the road below the end

{ of the bridge. "Looks a little worse than a fender-bender," said Testa.

{ "Can't even tell what kind of car it was -- just big and black. Jesus,

{ look at those photographers swarming around." The underpass was garishly

{ lit with popping white flashguns and whirling blue emergency lights.

{

****

Proffit threw a copy of the International Herald-Tribune on the table among

the pain complet and the croissants.

 

Testa put down his coffee and opened the paper. "So that's who that tall

blonde was. I knew I'd seen her somewhere before." He looked at the story

below the huge headline. "Huh. 'Dodi.' I thought she was calling him

'Dopey.'"

 

Proffit sat down at the table and pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket.

Testa picked up his coffee again and slurped meditatively. "Hrm. Two limos.

They must have been in that second one that went by us last night in the

Place Vendome just when -- uh oh."

 

"Yeah. 'Uh oh.' The car got just about five minutes down the road. And now

at least four different security services are going to be going over it

with a molecular-toothed comb and they may find something. We need to get

out of town before they do. Here." He put the thick envelope in front of

Testa.

 

"The French flics could never trace anything to us. Neither could British

intelligence or Fayed's goons. Unless you've still got -- "

Proffit poured himself a cup of coffee. "That went into the Seine as soon

as I saw the papers this morning. But both British and French intelligence

leak like seives, and if our employers get a hint of what happened before I

put things in the proper perspective -- "

 

"I get the idea. We may have a little trouble with our benefits package."

He looked into the envelope and whistled softly. "Well this is a long way

out of town all right. Are we going together?"

 

Proffit put his cup down and stood. "I've got some things to clear up here.

I'll meet you in Calcutta on Friday. Try to stay away from any more

accidents." He left Testa chewing a cold croissant and staring blankly at

the Saturday morning foot traffic on the Boul' Mich.

 

****

His passport and cash in a pouch behind his belt, Testa left the Capitol

Guest House and breasted the crowds along what was variously called

Bentinck Street, Jarlahawhal Nehru Road or Chowringhee Road. He came out

onto the Maidan, a broad expanse of green, nearly as crowded as the streets

but with red and blue painted sheep added. He found a piece of balustrade

to lean against in Strand Road overlooking the railway and Howrah across

the brown Hoogly.

 

The morning's stench was far worse than it had been on the way in from the

airport Wednesday afternoon or during yesterday's pouring rain. He could

see partially burned bodies from the ghats floating around the bend in the

river under Vivekenanda Bridge. He turned back into the Maidan and crossed

toward Park Street Station and the Indian Museum. There were nearly as

many western tourists in Calcutta as there were Americans in Paris.

 

He stopped in front of the Museum and saw Proffit dodge a rusty white

municipal ambulance as he crossed Nehru Road. Traffic ground to a halt

amid a blare of horns and the Babel of all India's languages. Proffit

joined him on the steps of the Museum, and looked back at the traffic.

 

"It looks like at least a week before we can get a visa for Nepal.

Apparently all the paperwork has to go to somewhere called Writers House,"

Testa said. "Cripes, look at that -- that ambulance just stopped right in

the middle of the road."

 

"You can familiarize yourself with this while we wait. It's a replacement

for the ordnance we had to abandon in Paris." Proffit held up a small

black vinyl case.

 

Testa unzipped the case and pulled out a small video camera. "The total

tourist look. How's it work?"

 

"The mike boom swings over like this. Aims through the viewfinder with a

laser sight."

 

Testa put his sunglasses up on his forehead and sighted through the

eyepiece at a group of women in white saris bordered in blue clustered

around the ambulance. "Yeah, I can see the laser marker. What does it

shoot?"

 

"Crystal dart. Load it with anything you want: poison, plague, whatever.

Veejay gave me some heart-attack darts." Proffit could see a tiny red dot

nearly lost in the sunlight, jerking over the nuns' saris.

 

"Uh oh," said Testa as the smallest of the nuns slapped at her shoulder and

then climbed into the front seat of the ambulance. "Bad place to put the

trigger." He zipped the small camera back into its case. "How long?"

Proffit frowned and chewed the inside of his cheek. "Could be a couple of

hours. Could be less. She looked pretty scrawny. I'll go see if some

baksheesh will speed things up at Writers House. We'd better get to

Kathmandu before anything else goes wrong." He thrust his hands into his

pockets. "I hope Veejay can keep his mouth shut."

--

Jim the Prophet

Licensed SubGenius Preacher

jimvan@gate.net