Saul Davidson narrates:: THE MAP

One of the parlours thickly floored in the blue wool of Saudi lamb  has trapped me. "How many colors Andrew?"

" Why ...  six colors  Mr. Davidson. Three red three blue."

"And how many needed to ensure no adjacent colors?"

"Painted edge to edge you mean?" Andrews Ivy League grin broadens. "That's topology Mr Davidson. I Aced the course junior year." He points up to the  silently leering wide-screen. "The dual graph has  chromatic number  4."  Then smugly. "Easy to paint with 5  hues, but a clever colorist can  without adjacents do with 4."

"Adjacents ... ?" I murmur,  shaking my head.

"Ignoring vertex!"

Distracted ...  I cannot ignore distraction by a subtle patter. It rings through  chrome legs of my lounger,  a  patter ringing from the outside, as I know vibrations of my own casino ferro-cement floors as well as the shuddering  pleasured flesh of my lover. I rise silent, pad to a subtle doorway masked by tapestry --- enter a code and slip into a narrow walkway.  Broadly colored murmurs amplify.  Fingertips trace ceramic edges till they touch glass. My face presses to the plexi-quartz window, a rain-swept view  that sweeps past Customs House and   Captains Marina palms,  and along the pale brick-crusted mansions of  lower Battery. No person walks that street ... no lost soul no assassin ...  and  scattered chauffeured livery make passage in spews of brine.  Yellow light seeps weakly atop swaying lamp-posts.  I see a vengeance-minded world. Billows of sleet chew at the quartz, at my face like an envious, hungry swamp-cat attacking a fawn; a fawn frozen to its nest in fear. Cold sweat rings my collar.  How the world will pull you out, ever out into chaos ... I push back from the horror,  feeling the safety of close tiled walls , retracing  my path ... cursing mindless intrusions of a careless world ... thinking  tis a bad night for guests ...

Composed. Dry hands quiet I slip into  The Map parlour.  "Have any guests arrived," Andrew?

Surprised, he turns quickly. "Noone, but Hricko, Mr Davidson.  Jerry did cell-phone, stuck at the Wappo Cut Bridge. His limo will be late."

Jerry!  Indeed! My lips do not tighten ...  How  easily Andrew may dismiss his betters ... Ibn Ali Jerrahi ...   Very well.  The drive from Wioka  Isle always tires.  "And the salon?"

"The  circular birch table is set-for-six; our best silver and crystal for the ... ah ..."

I smile. How much Andrew wants to know ... I  ask, "and the lobster?"

"A dozen  just delivered  from Shem Creek, iced below crab-pots.  Deckmen had a miserable time getting their Butter-Boat across the harbor."

"You have not assigned waiters, Herr Davidson. I can  ..."

... turning ... "No need Schvindler. Find two young women waiting in my office.  New people. Introduce them to Pierre  and the kitchen staff.  The women are well trained in food preparation and have my instructions for the night. Ensure  the staff follows them.  As for  arriving  guests ...  see I'm  promptly informed."

"Promptly," clips Schvindler yet  waits , an expectant set to his jaw.

I will not hurry a confused servant.  Now, Jerry late, but  not DeLeon and Levine, I think  ... they are city people.  I look about. Even on such a night, the creame of Charleston society plays at my tables; more than 100 already, plus those still  eating in the restaurant.  I have my lounger again and leather feels like a fawn-skin glove. Shouts from a craps table break between us;  our alcove glows in silent pastel.  If I look beyond,  across  the spread of poker and blackjack  tables,  over the swirl of gowns and tuxes the dice-pits melt simpering into red Moorish soft wall sculpture.  I frown ... they ought to do better than 50 db. Distracted. "Our rugs were fluffed only last month ..."

Schvindler  clips . " Ein neues Dienstleistungsunternehmen, Herr Davidson voller Schwarzer."

Andrew  chews on a lip and carps. "Some retired Navy have re-enlisted. With the new Boeing hires, and militia recruitment gone public you can't find an unemployed  walking white man in Charleston."

Indeed. I will speak to Sarah  ...  straighten my black bow-tie as the Samsung monitor draws me back. Solid clumps of red and blue states dominate the  election map.  Admitting Pennsylvania and Florida and Wisconsin blush or pale daily. Not only atoms move ... yet  predictions of-course ... only predictions ... which  singularly may change color!  On  such a map may German, French and Italian Boeing engineers lose fortunes;  may and can and will. The casino has subscribed $45-million in bets on the 2020 elections, elections rushing toward us fast as the  New York and California legislature pass  new  protected-class restraints on investment and speech ... the  ACHU or so-called sneeze  laws.  As a gambler sees it ... and I have gambled not one nickle since fifth grade the more random outcomes are violated the more  dealers profit.  Our EASY_RAKE software predicts tripling $45-million before the election.   Cold sweaty thoughts wash over me. Wishing ... imagining ... betting ...  better, much better than the threatened civil war I muse ...

Schvindler sneers catlike.  " Dunkle gedanken herr Davidson? Besser fürs Schlafzimmer aufgehoben."

A bright  flash ... MOMAs MONEY and  THE GREEKS smothered in acrid orange fire as State Street Geeche rioters  revel ... the Detective kicking though flames, shooting ... my Astra-900 pissing hate in another Jerusalem 1948 spring. "No Schvindler, no ... never ... nothing of the sort."

"Mr Davidson believes we got moneys-worth for the election betting venue ...  color display included with all its subtle hues," chirps smiling Andrew.

My chosen apprentice and confidant;  did he mean to smile? What ravages the three tribes would bring to Charleston in a civil war. Militia consider the Low Country their  southron birthright; they will shred home-landing Bantu;  butcher-out  Antifa incells without quarter.  Geeche nurse their wounds ... Grendels arising ... will try slicing off the fairwind islands for Federal masters; cloying arrogant bastards them.  Over-reaching all  the  military  generals -- choosing a rough neutrality I believe --  some constitutionalists, all Centurions they will defend-in-blood  their port;  steel hulls, wooden recruits and  our newly installed Boeing  F-35  production.

Andrew finds me unmoved, and  pauses, reflecting on ignorance. "At least the California and New York colors never change."

OH, but they might I ponder. Already three sanctuary-city mayors have been cut-down by militia gunmen,   A transition among Militia  from angry amateurs to hard men. And  finding a bead of sweat on my chin turn to the one salvation, the one piece of certain sanity ... the casino  and Andrew.  He lounges in Swedish leather. I dig at his certainty. "If 5  colors make the  mappers' task easy,  presumably  6 colors produce a trivial task  ... doable by random draw?" Andrew frowns while I push on. "Why do you think 19  Trump states and 15  states Hillary-safe are paired or tripled with same colors side-by-side ?"

Andrew shrugs casually. "It's an East-coast / West-coast / Fly-over  thing."

"Oh." A chuckle slips out. "So you believe  flow-of-history not people determines power? We are both Ha'vard Phi Betas ... I did not take you for a Marxist!"

Andrew blushes furiously. "I meant that ..."

I wave  him away, stretch out of my lounger, smooth a wrinkle in my starched shirt  and approach the glass wall, pacing its length and noting the near invisible control-pix at the top of each state.  So like the ancient Mechanical-Turk! So like Andrew and Sarah. So appealing to the human desire for mystic salvation.  "What probability Andrew that  random  choice produces such a map with 48 elements and 6 colors?"

Andrew ... a quick study ... "microscopic Mr Davidson. But, for a few elements it's 100%!"

"When does it break even?"

Smugly. "At six elements.  An approximate formula is  P = N*(2/3)^N ."

"An admirable formula, Andrew." I pause before the screen. "Trump  with 279 electors imply the latest polls." My voice sharpens. "If you aren't frightened, why not !"

"My money is on Hillary. Trump can't win both Michigan and Pennsylvania. Too many voting illegals in both those states."

Perhaps ...  if they  still breath on election day. Blue wool rugs reflect  the  9' screen and election map. It lechers  colored light  from a brick wall  into  our  velvet enclave, polluted by vodka martinis, smothered in local silence and frequented by card-counters, policemen and fem-d-jour. Forget the  chat-able, well-dressed election book-maker sitting at the corner table;  within you might forget the casino about you.  Forget the odds and bet a fantasy.  von-Claus has just replaced  Schvindler  at the desk.   Again, shouts from a crap table and a croupiers squeal.

"Arbeit macht mich frei mein Fuh ... Herr Davidson." He coughs without blush. Begs pardon of a  full-breasted gown and  suit that brush by,  corsagued and flushed young by early sex I surmise, endorphin misted  and drawn-in-afterlust to a roulet wheel. Schvindler never just a dealer, never just a clerk ...  never a deaf and dumb German  his eyes fall to the far table  and voice draws the straight line.

"Herr Hricko  does well ..."

Hricko ...  the name brings bile to my throat.  His Slovine name hides pure Junker blood   --  blood blue, cold, certain and  without mercy; a Militia sympathizer if not agent. A Jesuit tempered anti-Semite. Far away a  pitch of  dice  tumble  the velvet run and rattle high against a curved maple corner. My idea decades unchanged for  waxed-wood sides to the crap tables.  Emotionless Croupier shouts " 8  the hard way ... a winna ..." His stick gathers chips and the ivory cubes  beside  a leathered Isle-of-Palms claw;  I know without seeing those bright eyes worn glim, guiding that claw from the lubricious bare knee of a peach blonde shiksa not old enough to be his daughter to the raft of black chips.  He cups them ... mounds them up ... lets them ride.   My  eyes  squint,  stomach clenches at the thought of  Hricko  beating my odds ...  immaculate casino hands cuff  the tables house-rake into a  velvet slot.

"Field player doubling-down," croons the croupier.  "Place your bets ladies and gentlemen  ... plaaace your  bets."

A  steel-blond face and square chin rarely dissemble.  I  choose a holiday face.  "Work indeed Schvindler. Ho ho  you're in fine fettle this evening.  A dozen smiles light  your face passing under our   chrome ornaments ...  chin and cheek and nose each smile a border, a nation.  And  that tuxedo ... tailor Rosenstein has done well by a hefty figure.  How white silk catches green and red lights; Father Christmas could do no better."

"Danka Herr Davidson.  Was die Weihnachtsgötter spielen, geben sie als Geschenke zurück."

I scan the marbled passages between parlours, passages narrow enough that willing  bodies must touch, yet wide enough for security ... "And your compatriots Klass and Zimmer, they patrol  in style without  detection  or the least embarrassment of appearance."

Schvindler smiles.   "Unter der Seide schmiegt sich Glock wie ein Baby an die Brust."

I nod. Indeed, when we replaced Browning-38s with Glock-40 autolites both comfort and function leapt-ahead.  Not every German design is a thought-crime. Yet ... I quip ..."English, Schvindler ... please speak English on the floor!"

"Jawohl, mine Herrn," clips Schvindler and  checking his watch  paces  to the security door  vanishing  into the bar .  The cigarette girl he bangs every Monday night will be waiting. I smile.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht ... I think of that Christian song swelling the hearts of peasants, faithful and poor and murderous. Such silence ... It startles me! "Your man hasn't spoken English since Kristallnacht !"

"Not every Nazi was there ... "

"Nor every Jew."

A bullet-shot voice and  spare-framed body move near,  Swiss Army  leather-strapped Tyrwhett cuff aligned to the screen.  Skeptical weathered-thin face.  A singular man. Peachy rides shotgun, mink capped floating a sea foam green gown. It swells  beneath flawless emerald earings  and peach-blonde hair  styled a  grasshopper-pinned Grecian curl.  Her right hand  spreads on Hrickos hip fingers splayed like sapphire-tipped shrapnel.  That hand directed 3 lead slugs into Hrickos back, or some say only encouraged ... I bow, and kiss her other hand.  "Eine schöne Frau ist die Freude des Mannes" Peachy demures beneath Hrickos grin.  How well my casino matches this couple.

As a shy man might, Hricko kisses her ear and turning approaches the  map. He  snarls. "Funny that ... the Militia states in red. Spreads like blood!  Ever notice how pale-BLUE states blush whenever local Militia cut down a DemoRat traitor?"

"Only for a week." Andrew defensively, snatching at truth. "And only in Nevada and Minnisota where badlands hide the perps." For all his Ivy-Leauge simp a good soldier, Andrew. He would die quickly in battle.

Hricko sneers dismissing the soft edge. "They're coming for the Trotsky-sluts Saul .  While migrant beaners and  sand-Niggars  pour in like turds in a broken sewer-pipe  two more  440-K power-towers  were blown at the Oregon border, or so claims that HRI guy  Scranton.   La. gonna have a cold Christmas.  Doesn't stop! Bernero and  DeRemer  were taken last month by 270-cal chest-mashers --- a hunters bullet -- but Monday,  simpering Schaff  blown-away by a  223-cal head-shot.  Capisce ?  The transition at 400 yards from   3" to 0.5" CEP   Militia loads  sparked  your New York JDL into building  expanded  Jewish ghetto perimeters." Hricko chuckles meanly.  "Bearded Haredi patrol  Manhatten with Belgin FLNs;  IDF guided some mouse whispers in my ear.  Your cup-of-tea, Saul ... you want a perimeter?"

Poisonous words. "Why celebrate, Hricko, you a rational man, an investor who measures each loss ? Civil war is the worst of all crimes against caution and law."

"Worst?" Hricko taps-out a Camel Straight, Zippos the tip red and blows a long thin stream of grey smoke toward the screen.   "Kumbiya baby," the sneer returns.  "Worst perhaps, until the bad-boys come for us, both worldly men." He looks for my reaction ... and finds none.  Then ... "We both live water-side on IOP,  I on the marsh, you on the ocean two blocks  from my hive;   you sail a Jenneau, I a Classen; you shoot the same  nickle-plate Dan Wesson  I do;  same plexi-quartz house windows;  your daughter is married to the Detectives ... ."

"Enough !" So  viperous Hricko appears.

It paints  each face.  Eight loungers  crowd  the election map with Hricko and Peachy to my left, while Andrew right.   Ends  remain empty.  Only sitting do I notice Peachy wears leather moccasins not stilettos.  Beaded moccasins our hat-check lends to customers with wet feet.  Eyeing the change casually I tease her.  "Thenthank G*d  our flooded parking lot  is  not  knee deep. My shrimpers togs are belly-high."

"Broke a heel, Saul in Bens pick-up.  Off-the-beach I hate pink sneakers.  But, Saul to the rescue;  your hat-check gal is a dear."

"Problems during the drive, Ben? Bridges north side of the harbor safely open?"

"IOP bridge is closed, both directions. Two Molson SUVs drove into each-other, each speeding visibility zero in the wrong lanes. Body count gonna run high. We  swung over to Sullivans Island and  luckily crossed the draw-bridge."

"Wappo Cut bridge is ... hesitant tonight."

"Ben Sawyer not much better. The bridge was locked open when we arrived."

"Not another fool passage?"

"The worst! A  pilot-house schooner  had tried  running the bridge  and hung-up on riprap beside middle pilings. Mast sticking  up from the Inter-coastal right through the roadway;   two sailor-babes screaming  at their keel." His hawk-nose points up. " Rain beat merciless on  us, Saul,  a growing line of cars behind.  Yeah we bitched!" Hricko bites  smoke from his Camel. " You know how people are.  After  sharp  discussion  over relative social value the bridge-op closed the draw, clipping  the schooner mid-mast while pulling the hull past the bridge-line." Hricko chuckles snidely. " Solved that problem. Everybody has insurance ... I hope."

I  force a laugh. "You were first over, then ..."

"Second. An old Beemer sat first,  roared across  and weaved down Ben Sawyer, some  punk Niggar throwing coke-cans out the  open window."

An electric passes  'round. Hricko is always armed, and I feared ..."And you did ...?"

"Would'a  done nothing, if a Coke hadn't hit the pickup that ol' Geeche gal drives who lives  swamp-side, across from the fort.  Smokes cheroots. Uses the F-150 to deliver her woven baskets, and  this gawdawful night prolly returning from a customer.  Last year I  had to clean out a rattlesnake nest under her pilings, but generally she's a pretty independent  lady.  Doesn't deserve a beer-can broken window. I got plenty pissed-off."

"And you did ..."

"Well couldn't help the Geeche-gal just then, but we drove up along-side the Beemer, and pushed him off the road, into the swamp.  My pick-up's a heavy item;  kiss-and-tell more than enough. High tide, so the bastard  tumbled once, then bellied into pluff-mud  brine up to  the  windshield.  Bantus are exempt from seatbelt laws, cause  black soul is sensitive  and  belts remind  Niggars of slavery.  Bastards head  smashed  through the windshield. Hope the mocs get him before the gulls ..."

Hricko leans back and lights into a new Camel Straight.  Pinch-face I  smile ... muse a little ... frown.  Hrickos story carries a long dark tail, like a die that goes out-of-square every 10-th throw.  "Fair Dinkum  tale, eh Hricko?" He says nothing.  "Scratch your  '67  Chevy?"

"Not at all. Peachy has a very light touch on the steering wheel."

"Peachy ...?"

Peachys'  hands spread wide in exclamation and blush favors her cheeks .  A foolish man will miss the cold steel  glint behind warm emerald eyes.  Green sparklers shine.  "Raining  geese and gosling, you must know. Couldn't see the  main-beams, only amber fog-lights Ben installed.  And Punko weaved every time he threw a can.   That's how I broke my heel, Saul, stomping on the accelerator when we pulled alongside. Damned Hricko made the gas a hard-punch pedal ... and  while he was giving me poochy-dog eye-rolls I had to punch it !"

Caught-up in Peachys' tale I am,  but  from behind comes the  squeak . "That ain't nothin' for a dame. I had a client stiff me once, always wore hi-fashion blueberry silk shorties to the office, but covered them with shin-high black Doc Martins. Said she had to elevate to stay out of debt and I should get on the ladder. Was she promising me something?"

"Sammy! How many months?  ...  you look wonderful," squires Peachy, slinking from her lounger to greet him. "Ben says hospital nurses treated you like a hero; same floor  same ICU that saved  him."

Levine blushes at the cheek-pek. "It was nothin', rain-water , chocolate eclair  Peachy-pie like your ball-N-chain  went thru wet marl. He took a pound-a-lead. I had one crocodile tooth in the liver. Dr.  released me two days early said he ain't never seen such a tough piece-a-meat!"

"You will never be late .. will you Samuel?"  Nor  I think ever produce value, a PI specializing in  grift-ridden family law! So  enters laughing  Samuel Levine,  bottom-feeding bed-weasel, my  useless BIL and Sarahs brother. "No doubt, Sam the strumpet paid you what you earned.  Better I invited her ..."

"Nobody calls me Sam!"   Sam tips a sodden pork-pie hat and removes the  pea-coat weathered ,  dripping  and threadbare. Orange tie and vest clash with decency. Only his brown wingtips advise success. "And  bet'cha climb her ladder in a Detroit minute."

I spit. "Broch! Low-life!"

"One mans canape is another mans dessert."  He  slouches into a lounger.  Broken glass touches his voice. "I spoke with Sarah, Saul and she is not happy." His face a few pounds less than chubby twists. "She suffers a good wife; mebby  like the Rabbi says G*d watches ...  while a rat bites your ass. I know a couple ..."

"Oh lordy, but you dare-not Samuel.  Mercy sakes the PETA people will see you pilloried!"  Schvindler hurries toward  the womans deep southron drawl. Hurries and  ... for a flaw worthy of replacement ... hurries behind ... behind Eve DeLeon.

"The ravishing Eve," I exclaim!  Her boots of Spanish leather move in silence;  a flawless woman  young women envy in  naked  black pearls and white wool Peck-&-Peck.  The Detective , trailing muddy boot-prints  is on her arm. Eve notices ...

"What a mess we've made of your rugs, Saul. Nicolas would have worn his peacocks, but Mr Betters guarded our front door ...  insisted on the weatherproofs. Such a dear ..."

"No problemo Misses D.  Nicky might'a hadto kick a duck out'a the road. I got steel-toe special built for that!"

DeLeon laughs. "That's OKey, Sammy, animal cruelty is only  dyke screws, no heat and  a month-of-dogs  at County Detention.  Of-course ...  Department has a lil'  off-site job in Costa Rica just waiting for a volunteer.  Call it a vacation ... cause Cartel's  been serving American tourista watered tequila.  A bed,  three squares and a check ... if  you return. Even comes with life insurance ...  insurance for a man one step slow ..."

"Nooo I ain't goin' to Casta Riccico.  Sounds like the tarbaby gig Sargent Bowers and I played in La ... except  betcha most  Costas speak English.  City Station  took a month returning my Nikon; remember that Detective?  Besides I hate new hemispheres;  traveling south gives me hives like swarthy Jakes-on-a-plane.  Makes ya dizzy  ya know, the coreolis force spinning you around.  And I  choke on burritos; Uruguay steaks too. All meat  no fat!"

Eve DeLeon  pouts at her husband, turns flashing a Cheshire-Cat grin. "And Sammy, you would never find as good a martini as these ..."

"As  they ought to be," I add remembering the quip:one martini at table, two at the very most. three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host.  Smartly divided between very dry gin and  smoked salmon,  both chrome trays as  in appearance and quiet movement  the  silk-vested , sequined  black haired beauties at service.  "Jane and Jill, my friends. Both ladies  on exchange from Haifas'  finest  3-star Michelin, they will provide both enigmatic smiles and our needs  for the evening.  Liquor, lobster,  she-crab ...  or prudence  ... you will  find no skill lacking  in them."

Warily. "Skill like you wouldn't believe," gapes Samuel,  too  obvious seeing something that makes his eyes bulge. Have the Detectives eyes narrowed?

Rarely do I dissemble. An honest man, and a smart one  has no need for such liberties. Indeed, both young women had worked at 8,    restaurateur Roths epicurean 3-Star. "One on the right, Samuel, with 3 olives.  Beefeater I believe is your preference."  An execrable gin ... Jane holds out the icy crystal and Sam bolts from his lounger.

"She's not holding  olives, but they float. 'bout time this boin  didn't skimp on the liquor."

"Detention Center inmates brew their own from cabbage and turnips," quips the Detective handing Eve into a lounge.  "Cheers Saul. Baby Jesus loves you," he  tones, hiding well his distaste for anything , but Wild Turkey & ice.

"Who's missing," queries Eve, eyeing the empty loungers and  busy  smoothing and straightening her husbands tie. Manicured  fingers glide, one over another.  Both wear plain gold wedding-bands.  Eves invisible  ROCK,  its source and care is a rumor  among  Battery  and yacht club matrons  about which the Detective  will  yield no privacy.  MS PEEPERS --- the  weekly gossip column Eve writes for the Charleston Gazette --- will allude to a Detectives Follywhen scolding Charleston excess, but whether the ROCK ... or  DeLeon himself is meant ... or  wayward friends  always remains obscure.

"Two," queries Nicky?  "By the loungers we expect 2 more."  Stiff-shoulder before a judge, or  casually comfortable in Swedish leather lux, I  have noticed  DeLeon sits like an expectant  leopard.  A deadly man,  Detective Inspector Nick DeLeon, eyes aware,  crystal in his left hand right never far from the open  lapel of his pale linen evening-wear .   He turns to me. "David and Ms. Ducks say 'hello' "

Dregs!  DeLeons vile nickname for Daniella; my stomach churns, like the wasted life his son gives my  precious  daughter.Cold sweat on my lip; I say nothing. Then ... "where are they?"

DeLeon eyes me coldly. Say nothing. Then ..."Major DeLeon in somewhere in Bengal; says the locals  are fierce.Daniella's stationed in  Haldia, loaned out to  DNI. She of-course can say nothing."

Daniella my starlite, my disowned beauty  with  suitors eager and wealthy and powerful  abounding on either coast. A law school graduate who can say ... nothing, but follows a mercenary into ...Gotterdammerung!"And you know this ...?"

DeLeon chews on  the possibilities. "People talk."   Whispers abide a waterfall sound, as hush falls upon our parlour and noone will breath.

"You want to talk about THAT," pipes Andrew, breaking into a  hopeless whorl-pool and pointing at the election map. "Trumps people tripped! Wisconsin  just faded from blush to sky-blue.  As I weight them, Trumps elector count dropped to 258."

Clatter of dice return and the call of field-bets. "Meat-packers  gotta wear cheese on their heads shouldn't be electing Presidents."

"Between  two Great Lakes ... I'll give them winter."

Eve. "Wisconsin Congress-critters?"

Andrews  hand-wave brings a new screen. "Republicans  equal or favored ... are likely to pick-up District 3."  He returns the presidential screen. "But, we don't take wagers on Congressional races. Too local ... too provincial ... too risky for the  cosmopolitan gambler with a big nickle."

Unspeakable simplicity  ... "I'm sure our guests understand  casino wager systems." I check my stainless Rolex:  a confident dial reads 9:20:20 PM, Dec 21.  "Andrew ... any word from Jerry?"

An iPhone appears ... fumbled ...   Andrew hesitates ...  "Jerry ... Ibn Ali ... He's close. Seems his driver got  lane-slammed  and lost somewhere off the Cross-Town."

"What's he doing there? He'll be in Mt. Pleasant before his Lincoln Town-car can turn 'round. "

"Something about a passenger."

"Passenger ... a girl. Jerry the ol' goat is bringing a girl, " exclaims a breathless Eve !

"Don't count on it, Sweet-pea," chuckles DeLeon. "Whatever Saul has in mind tonight, Jerry will scotch the obvious.  Count on it!  Passenger  might be his astrologer or heart-surgeon."

"Or assassin," muses Hricko who ... as a sworn enemy knows Jerry better than most.

"Astrologer ... gal-pal ...  bones ...  mechanic ... such confusion so unlike Jerry," sings  Eve standing and beckoning to Peachy. " Predictable him,  always a smart dinner-jacket,  staid as a dromedary. Won't you come with me, Peachy?  With Wappo trying to swallow him, Jerry's bound to be a frightful  fright and we can  rescue  his pigeon-du-jour  when they enter ; find her the bar. We'll powder our nose till they arrive, or perhaps Sarah is at baccarat."

I cringe. "Unlikely. She feels unwell this evening and  most likely retired until the storm ends."

"Poor dear ... my regards ... Jerrys' dove will due."

Peachy is biting her lip. "We just accost them at the front door? I've only met the man once,"  she cautions. "Something overweight in casual clothes I imagine."

"Jerry's a ... a diplomat of sorts.  Diplomat or a spy,"  Eve whispers smiling.

Peachy eyes Hricko, who I believe knows too much. She say, "diplomatic  gravitas, or  polite to a fault; too polite for my taste."

Eve croons. "A woman is sooo much easier to ambush than a man."

"Benji says he's a schemer."

Eve demurs.  "Perhaps ...  scheme away the Saudi sybarite may,  but maybe  on such a godless night this fem  spills Jerrys guts  ... spills and trills  after the 3rd Tanqueray."  She giggles wisely. "No no not a chance  Jerrys'  chose a Burka-bound Saudi for companion."  Eve winks at me.  "Perhaps frisky as soft-17!  Expect amusement, if not surprise from the Arab." Eve touches Peachys arm smartly.  "His Government  after-all employs him  neither for his patience  nor  beliefs!"

Womanly smiles follow them from the parlour, across deep, silent  wool rugs  and into the maze of   heart-pine cross-ways.  A synthetic if not decadent venue ...  women alone ...  intent on mischief say the faces of DeLeon and Hricko.  Men  can worry.  A lightening crack, and thunder search the casinos stout walls for entry. Lights flicker  in the blackjack parlour. I summon Andrew. "See to the generator. We may  soon be the only light in the city."

Indeed  without electricity the City of G*d has gone  dark,  our perimeter cameras recording one column of light after another winking out.  Harbor House remains a briskly lit  solitary torch.   Our  300 diners, gamblers  and service have  steadied hands and nerve with complementary Manhattans and a change from Reno to Las Vegas odds.  Wisconsin remains blue.

"Lobsters to the grill," announces Jane in a  comforting OxBridge clip only Mossad would train into its people.

We  make amends to the last round of martinis.  Ibn Ali Jerrahi arrives  15 minutes later, just as we leave the map parlour.  His Lincoln waddles  entry,  water above the hubs and  our doormen find him  barefoot, bow-tie  dangling,  cuffs muddied ...  delegating  sharply to not one, but three  retainers and squiring a spectral goddess  onyx-black as the heart of Charleston.

"My physician, Davidson,"  the Arab fires coolly  through the open doorway , "and by Allahs' 3rd beard do not remove her Beretta."

Jerrys City Station escort wails-off in streams of flashing blue.

The women gush ... all, but Sarah ... pealing-away both thuggish henchmen, swooning-away the Somalian spectre her scarlet scarf flying behind ... giggling now at a sisters secret past hat-check 'cross the marble foyer through a frizzed-glass obscure to the VIP lounge where old wine and impeccable Zimmer await their pleasure.

"This way, gentlemen." A casual visitor does not find the wood-frame elevator nesting rear of the baccarat parlour. Kerned for gamers of substance fine grain chestnut -- subtle in patina, wood recovered from a sunken Lake Michigan log-buss -- panels parlour wall. Silvered mirrors intersperse; a bamboo curtain floats teasing behind. Pass through ... rather a window, one of those mirrors and touching it slides open an elevator door. More chestnut panel inside, under bright LEDs and a brass rail on 3 sides. My fingers find a plate ; it supports code and pressed glows mint green. We slide upward to the muffled grind of rarely used gearing, Nicks wish for an equally secure City Station and Jerrys gentle swearing that such a confined if glorious space had better lead to cyclopian lobster.

If doom happens, I think Hrickos IOP bunker ... or mine lengthens the end by days. Otherwise the Casino provides what safety threatened men allow. End of a short bright corridor Jane and Jill guard the frizzed glass entry. "Oysters are served, gentlemen," tones Jill and heavily the panel slides aside.

"I seen rooms like this in Biloxi," Samuel cranks. "It's where they shave dice and vacuum coke off the Benjamins."

Half-shell oysters rest in silver ice. Amber light shows an oval room looking out upon swaying palms and skirling rain-bursts ... a storm-ravaged Battery. An empty oak hat-rack gropes for purpose. Closer a bare pale wood table more oval than round centers; service set-for-six ... and away from us a single man in tweed jacket and tan travelers togs sits nearest the windows. Smoke from his Pall Mall straight twists thinly 'round his right arm like a Greek code-stick.

"Here sleep lobsters," Jerry cackles and the glass slides shut behind us ... Samuel, Jerry, DeLeon, Hricko moving to place.

Hrickos eyes sweep the room, fixing on the tanman. "Chicken lobster , Jerry all shell no meat ... or sea-snake. Or eel; when he opens his mouth we can tell."

I feel for tanman, under so many eyes, but I do not feel sympathy. Sammy just stares making way to his name-tag nearest the door and so full viewing storms engagement beyond , a chewing living creature raking lifeless Charleston streets. His eyes squeeze shut ... then ..."where's Tony?"

"Gone to the farm; he's had enough."

"Too bad ... he knows everybody ...."

"Not spent time in Seattle, have you," the Detective menaces draining the last of his second martini and nodding his white Panama at the tanmans Cavu cap. "Low Country people protect their Haberdash like their wives. Seattle hats are penny-a-peak. It's subtle." The tanman says nothing.

"Champagne or Perrier?" Nicky takes the Perrier, speaks something under his breath to Samuel who insists nervously Jane fill his water-glass with Moett.

Dumbwaiter bell rings, slides open and the girls remove six salads, cut yellow and green and in the Low Country winter style sprinkled with radish and beets. Peach and key-lime relish surprises. "Better than oysters for what ails you," Sam snips. "Heh tanman you blew-off the first three shells like they grow on trees. Ever been in pluff-mud?"

"I think he knows a dime," scratches Hricko puddling his 2nd oyster with globs of Tabasco. I grimace -- wonder how a rail-thin body ... and a punctured one ... can arbitrage the heat. "Know what an FNH: PS90 costs in Port-a-Prince ?" Oysters slide away into both men. "Near $7900 delivered hull-to-hull. Box-of-four minimum. Two-dollars a pop for 140-grain FMJ. But, you knew that ... right ?" Hricko tears into a shredded green.

"Cuba patrols common trade-routes these days, Ben. Kommis tit-to-jaw with our Coast Guard -- left-over Holder people pimped the entree. Give them credit ... can't just slip a black-market schooner into a Carib docking without risk."

"Don't we all wish for unexpected allies," Jerry speculates over a fresh tumbler of Hakushu malt. "Perhaps tanman is such, and knows no better than I why we are here?" He grins toward me. "Well, we assume Saul does ... but, by the grip tanman has eaten raw oysters before and knows better than to drop-dead from them."

"No Harbor House oyster has ever killed a man;" chuckles 'round the table. Yet ... too fast, I think. Approaching awareness too fast. "None of us would waste an evening, Jerry though what algorithm can measure price ... what rule defines time casually spent with a friend?"

"Casual ... friend?"

"The Christian Bible tells us of the good Samaritan, an unknown Jew hated by Jews."

"A good Samaritan, Saul ... who might that be ?"

Jerry charms. "If states are people, then good deeds may be credited. I see the American Government has seen fit to eliminate Soleimani and al-Muhandis, both Shiite infidels ... Iranian fiends. A divine blessing even so late as today. But, will anyone care pray-Allah enlighten me why these same American leaders eliminated Irans sworn and able enemy Saddam Hussain?"

"Not the same American leaders ...?" And DeLeon passes-'round a plank of crusty sourdough, and a jade jar of persimmon butter.

"Jerry grins. "As passenger pigeon differs from turtle dove ..." And snatches a wedge. His salad and soup vanish beneath the crust.

Samual skeptic. "Or hawk from hummingbird !"

"Global politics still demand the local." Hricko spears a piece of she-crab ... swallow ... chased by streams of Wild Turkey. "Iraqi war most likely an Ambassadors child." He smiles at Jerry. "USA ambassador to Kuwait just before the Iraq war was the lover of Saddams oldest son. They met during Ascot, some say. She with a gynecologist in Frankfort, he an optometrist in London. Their weekend flights crossed in Cairo, where they fucked like mad puppies in a poppy-house run by the Chinese military attache. As matters arise she commented to party guests that Iraq might consider decadent Kuwait as a wandering Iraqi province fit for return. OOps! That's a big-bone for Saddam and his son to ignore and the father barked, invaded innocent as a Berber lamb, sure of American support. Now, Saddams son kept a racing camel in Cairo, whether because his Cyriac jockey made it home or because the camel favored blossoming Egyptian cotton remains a mystery. The love-struck USA ambassador grew as fond of it ... some say fonder ... as she was the son. Then a lovers spate intruded ... prompted perhaps by an Israeli tart. The ambassadors knees locked shut! Never the disciplined warrior his father managed the son had darling-do racing camel butchered for a STATE DINNER. Camel ribs, both roasted and boiled. She went Postal! The rest, as many assure us is history."

Samual tips back his pork-pie hat. "Ha ha I'll believe that Hricko when Peachy shaves her head bald as yours."

"Will a good story vanquish evil truth?"

Hricko sets aside an empty chowder bowl. "Bloody-handed MusIims ... is that why we're here Saul, to debate the virtue of butchering bloody-handed Muslims? Butchering, rather than pimping their migrant hordes?" If so, then what debate ... ?"

"Good enough, Ben for the incidental Koranish martyr. Yet not really the issue boiling waters." The Detective pauses, reaching I feel for presence in a time most comfortable to him. "Charleston streets steam with the broad culture conflict. Citadel and CoC no longer share professors. Eve says sides are being drawn, among the women in ways that even slavery didn't produce." Nicks last bit of salad vanishes. "Skin's long gone ... we're down to bare bone. Does American butchery stop with 15-th Century sand-shucking kfirs, or does it reach into our cradles and gut the innocent?"

"Lobster is served."

"They're alive !"

"Jumbo lobsters indeed, all of them alive and kicking ass ... or snapping claws as it may be," I pronounce. "Well all perhaps, but for the least dominant."

"Allah preserve us the shells are tinted blue! Is it tones of the mollusk royal purple"

"Exactly! Robins-egg thru heron. "

"Weakest gets boiled 1st," quips DeLeon, snatching a glance at our un-named guest. "Anyone favor yellow?"

"Dominant lobsters ... that's one claw above my job description," snarks Samuel. "But, I never seen a politician who didn't believe herself top-claw!"

Sniggers run table-round like a pool-room sharpsters run to the 9-ball. Casually ..." notice the 6 divided cages , and wedged fish-heads; lobsters only claw at the left-hand fish-head ... and never conflict directly. That's dominance gentlemen ... !" And with the word gentlemen our entrance door blackens, a jig sliding down revealing another large-screen display ... of the election map ... its manufacture CYBERDYNE LTD flashing away leaving a colorized USA peopled by 6 deep blue states each boundary swimming among pixels , titled with a lobster unique in its size, hue, squirming and claw-snapping seeming to reach out from the screen daring the approach of flesh and blood. Engraved over all ... water-marked ... floats a pewter knife-blade.

It catches the eye ... "I seen snakes with better attitude," moans Sammy burying his face in a pair of frosted olives.

"I believe that's a Wusthof 8" blade , which German steel our dear Jill is now twirling and what's this behind her," croons Hricko. "An oak butchers block and hibachi !" His laugh slides out ice-cold as a stropped edge. "Lobsters are in for a rough night, Saul, say nothing of your liquid crystal !"

"Sharp as burnt barley if the gentleman must know," chirps a lubricious Jill who no longer sports a black cocktail dress, but has buttoned-up in a stiff white chefs cassock and crisp French beret. She twirls the blade from one index finger to another. "One stab behind the eyes will do for a Carolina lobster, but ..." her eyebrows raise toward the screen .. "for the Monterrey Bay variety ..."

"Yes ... it's a mystery ... like the choice of lobster-blue states. Cali, NY and Illinois I understand ..." Hricko chews on a salt-crusted lip. "But, my dear dispatcher-of-lobster Florida, Washington and ..."

"I understand it perfectly," blurts Sammy gulping the last of three olives in a wash of BeefEaters. "Where the bar-babe serves vodka in her martini she deserves boiling in her shell!" BOOM a lightening flash cuts through the window and screen pixels flicker.

I hate foils and props, both marks of under-mensch! Marks like black-face and chorus-girls they signal a faux-clever sniveling Diaspora Jew. And yet ... suddenly the water-mark knife disappears to be replaced by an ivory dice-pair 1-1 and a chatting lobster complete with croupiers visor and rolled sleeves: screen-display snaps. "Player craps out ... new table roller. Place your bets ladies gentlemen, fields-a-winna ... 10-the-hard-way plaaace your bets ..."

My dinner table goes silent as a Russian winter birch. Jane frocked in white meringue that cannot taste as good as she towing a chrome trolley secrets from behind the screen. "She-Crab soup is served, and in this course claws are hot from the pot !"

"Damn we each have two ..." as the steaming China bowls are passed around. A small stained oak cask sits aside with lettering ... JACK BLACK 115 PROOF KENTUK BOURBON which in all justice holds old sherry of the same age.

"Damnation," the Detective mutters, forking a yellow-green mix from his salad. "This Geeche leaf can bite." Chews cautiously. "Some Yankee RHINO didn't get his hands on the peppers, did he?"

I demur. "Surely a wicked seed. Colder fall on Johns Isle puts an edge to the collards," and I return to my own plate. Yes ... quite an edge. Horticulture calls the hidden villain face-melter, though by another name -- Carolina Reaper -- its fame endures. Chefs instructions were to create a pepper-mash, then blow-over an air-puff onto each plate. Life, like salad may require such subtle introductions.

Nickys surprise recovers quickly. "Claws, Sammy ya know about them; grab one. These open easy as a pair of blueberry shorties. Crack with your fingers and suck them dry."

"Not the ones that write my checks," Samuel snaps at the Detective grinning into a dripping wooden spoon of broth.

"Nor the lobsters," trills Jill ... prompting her hibachi before the broad glass window and tempting it into flames ... "should claws be unbanded." Orange heat licks at the glass pairing outside sleet whipping at stray tendrils ... Jill persists ..." as I'm told it's the same in politics." She snatches without ceremony each lobster from its cage , caching them by strump-pins upon the oak butchers block and laying her cold steel blade among them.

Jerry chuckles meanly, adjusts his silk turban and accepting a Turkish fag from Hricko ... "The screen objects to a meat-land bias."

Immediately the screen-display changes, panning into New York where the lobster-icon bears a striking resemblance to that hoisted high by dear Jill. "Call the dominant lobster New York," she croons lifting its 5 crustaceous pounds high above her head. All eyes follow ...

"lil Mikey," The Detective shoots hip-side. "After Democrats United campaign bus drove off the only cliff in Kansas and flame-burst killing both Biden and Sanders."


"Arkansas mafia!" DeLeons thin southron face narrows, leans back from his shecrab lighting a Camel Straight and blowing a thin-grey stream of irritation toward the window. "Rotted brake-lines says the NYT, and a wetback driver hi-on-weed." He chews on that. "Cut rubber the local badges claim ... another Jodie Foster!" Jill appends with a silver ashtray and DeLeon stubs out the fag. "But, only pink-Bernie died with a bong in his mouth."

Hricko gleefully "... on their way to a Lincoln/Douglas style debate in Wichita." The white crease on his chin widens. "Can a pig debate a vulture?" Eyes narrow into weathered skin. "Bloomberg became a DemoRat great-white-hope. Manhattan stud, Jew-with-a-view, hard-shell-huckster ... then he gave that field-side interview to a reporter from Kansas Gamrs Limited suggesting 71/2 refers to a dildo size, Fox was an animal and implying his rat-pack of 10 machine-gun armed IDF-trained security thugs was more needed than roasted free-range pheasant and corn-cobs. Guess he identified Kansas gamers as nerdlings not upland bird hunters. Then the law of unintended consequences gutted him! Gourmands incensed world-wide shipped thousands of fresh-pheasants to NY state tax collectors who, all being piscatarians became en-mass violently ill. Revenues tumbled ... petted Guat illegals starved ... the Gub'mnt union was not pleased and lil-Mikey became cooked-goose overnight. Who remains, but the unspoken one ... Billary haha!"

"Not Michelle?"

"She does now what any corporate shyster does. Why should she do more?"

"Well yes there's that. Shame about SLOWJOES brake-line ... what about the Nancy-boi mayor?"

Hricko again. "Got arrested on a domestic violence charge ... his husband complained about crotch-slot color and --- for the trouble --- got a steaming-iron face-plant from Hizhonor. Reconstructive surgery is said to take years!"

SLAM goes the Manhattan lobster onto the butchers block, snicker-snak slices the German steel blade, flip sends spurting entrails into a waste-pot and toss tumbles halved lobster tails among hibachi flames where the now-soul-less crustacean twitches and spits and sizzles. Faithfully wide-screen pixels mimic the blue-toned torment.


"Pocahontas was caught weaving wool Indian blankets with Mexican polyester ." SNAK ... FLIP ... TOSS. "Entitled illegals pimping strumpet doesn't know her betters ... her supporters godless, violent, man-hating brainwashed morons as a wise observer notes, while yet another Kennedy is running ..." pixels whorl.


"Poltroon Betos 37-cal Colt can't quick-draw --- though his cartel fence-jumpers revel --- and he won't eat Pace with his burritos" ... SNAK ...


"Lakers are moving to China where NIKE comps hoes and koke. Hollywood Babylon dreamers lush, but Kamala misses Slick Willie ... once you redact, you never ..."


"Last real dick in town was Scoop Jackson ... in-the-day. Times change. Gates wife spanked him for hiring American coders." Skin on DeLeon forehead tightens. "Ya know Seattle Muzzis and fags have a love/hate relation. Seattle fags love Muzzi dick ... and MuJad despise atheist, libertoon fags. Blood between them will go bad -- count on it."

"Ya spent time there, Detective?"

"Once ..."


Jerry awakes. Snatches a bit of sauce into the lobster-belly. "Old ... very old our Saudi culture, whose citizens indeed free themselves by quiet service to our Prince ... sub-serving to Allahs rule. But, for America consider the words of your own historian: the lowest of people are rude and uncivil because they daily contact the enlightened. The sight of their own hard lot and of their weakness and their own inferiority excites in their hearts sentiments of anger and fear. They become at once both insolent and servile toward their betters. Wisdom compares this insight to your Niggar bitch Mayor Lightfoot who trumpets all ... she lubricates child-molesting criminals ... foreigners. They vote for her ... until some outraged parent drills her ... as Ben would say drills her a 3rd eye!"

Hricko smiles at Jerry and snarls. "Land-O-Lincoln rotted top-2-bottom. Skinny Guat hoes b-creamin' and fat Ratchets screamin' ... battling for commerce sites inside McDonalds. Make feed-lots look like fern-bars. Chicago Exchange pork-belly market's in tatters since housewives decided they liked sheared-dog better than pulled-pork."

"So it's not just us ..."

"Oh, very much so just us ... pass the paprika will ya ...?"

Republics so depend for stability on the virtue of their citizens. Stalin knew that, and tried substituting his own for the vagrant Russian soul. I had been standing beside the display, pointing out obscure lobster variants as chances boiled away for one Democrat candidate after another. But, all six grilled lobsters had hit the china-plate and mine steamed flavor with the best. Something about rosemary butter and the infinitely small dose of Carolina reaper infused into each shell. Or perhaps the Hawaiian surfer-gal entertains with scents of coconut and salted lime. Growing wiser, our world fills with mystery. No matter ... She-crabs cool sadly as tails-and-claws one-after-another are torn apart. Somewhere in the 2nd half-shell I manage. "About those corporate lawyers ..."

Obscure ... silent ... unmoving ... the man-in-brown brushes a last bit of sauced-lobster from his plate and speaks. "Militia will not spare them, no more than the Trotsky-slut progs." There's Spanish lilt to his voice, but perhaps he will say pollution is inevitable.

Spoken so softly, the rant becomes every-mans 5-th column. "Smoke a Red?" Sams match lights it. "so lawyers and big-biz-bites ... how amazed am I?"

"Amazed that Westinghouse, Packard and Woz don't get born again? Matters not. Escape rejected for the cosmopolitan globalist mercantile tribe ... escape or mercy ... "

Bemused, perplexed, forever watchful Ibn Ali poaches the brown-mans anger. "My tribe of Saudis traded the Silk Road while the Sphinx was still Pharaohs wet-dream. Had the Venetians not interfered we would have owned the Mongols." A dark, run-soaked Habanos appears from an inside pocket and he sniffs it willfully. " So my brown-tinted friend what post-modern Silk road do you block ... what tribes do you take down?"

Brown-man grins sadly. "I'd be lucky to take down a hot-dog stand. But, the nationalist militia doubles-in-size each month, matching globalist outrage. You need a list of bad-guys ? Disney, Apple, Boeing, Cargill, Microsoft, Koch, Alphabet, BofA, Amazon, Facebook , Twitter ... to mention a few of the worst. All went-to-bed humping madly with power-sucking emotocents of American Academ, femi-nazis and metro-politicos. Exported IP to China dime-to-the-dollar. Screwed the able American worker ... designer, builder, tester ... to butt-fuck Asian wage-slaves and Incel clerks." Brown-man draws heavy on the Pall Mall. "Too late for Henry Fords ghost, or power to excuse liberty; too late isolating yeomanry contagion west of the Great Basin."

Samuel snarks. "Yeomanry, huh ... left-coast . Like Robin Hood? Are they dominant? What have they done, open shooting galleries at Disneyland ? And how would you know one-way or another?"

"Young men approaching battle for the 1st time like to talk ... sing the warriors paeon. I listen to these left-coast yeomanry newly awakened from Reganesque slumber by the SNEEZE LAWS. Intolerable to a free man ... ACHU ... Absolute Control of Human Utterance regimes pimping thought-crimes , wett-back sanctuary and affirmative-action. Anathema to a patriot, but custard-pie to biz-nazi monopolists and ad-pumpers ... for vote-herding tyrants."

"Okey mebby ... but, 12 patriots and a rabbi can't shout too loud against an empire."

Brown-man chews on that, pinches a bit of lobster-claw, hunches a shoulder like it had taken-a-bullet and hurts now. "Speak with a whisper, Sam before the whip-crack. White nationalist camps scatter throughout the Wasatch, Sierra and Wenatchee ranges. Leaderless resistance equally deniable under casual inspection though armed, celled and chandlered. Along the Appalachian Trail civil war re-enacters have marshaled officers, raided supply trains and traded muskets for M-16s. Fifty well-maintained posts ... perhaps sixty supported by a sea of local Scot partisans. Participation of colored and Semite fire-teams at these camps may shock you, but choice of a white ansatz appeals broadly to citizens valuing Constitutional government, uniform justice and fair-play ... appeals to groups whose cultural weakness prevents their own solution." Brown-man pauses ... "weakness, or failure to cull their own herd matters not to a man facing each day. "

Brown-mans point flicks to the election map. Colors flee the screen, replaced by topology of plain, lake, river and mountain, from sea to shining sea. A growing scatter of yellow points appears, most aligned with mountain ranges; each point coded by a rattlesnake image; winking stars populate many valleys, as if heralding ambush or battle-zones. Again the pointer flickers, over two bright red stars. "LaRaza and MuJad compounds were destroyed here & here ... arms caches discovered and sympathetic local politicians captured and executed." He pauses ..."patriots died in the firefights ..."

Silence . "HLS & NSA would pay plenty for that map." DeLeon ponders, biting casual into his Camel. "Bobby Lee considered, but did not choose this solution."

How well the map displays a random dispersal of forces and actions ... if indeed avoiding Federal centers of power it did not plan them. "How current ...?" Brown-man says nothing. The screen-wide displays the paper-mark DONT TREAD ON ME. Tones of viperous rattle fill the room. "An unexpected intrusion, gentlemen," I croon, "but these too are votes! Count the rattles, count the votes by 100!"

"You!" Samuel speechless, gulping his gin ... like a madman enlightened staring thru me. Then ..."does it always take a Jew?"

"Yes ... never again." I turn to the Brown-man. "What can we expect?"

A sinuous curl of grey streams from the Red. "Snarl of the war-dog ... rivers of blood!"

"Christ-on-the-Cross you're ..."

Days pass. Sun low in the west, boiling heat into chilling shadows. Sunset ... that purple globe dominating the western horizon ... looking very much the unblinking cyclopian devil from beach-side or Intercoastal marsh. More skeets & gaters this-side ... I laugh, but Makos will bite-your-ass either way. And that Caroline sun will roast your eyes ... masts of a Bulls Island shrimper cross-it moving north. I wave; steam-horns return two blasts. High tide washes below my feet and cool evening onshore ruffles my shirt collar; the Intercoastal shell-line gleams white. Can't harvest a damned oyster while the water's this high, but the low muck becomes hidden. I stand hidden, stray wind cutting through my jacket, trapped outside on an empty dock, beyond the rational. No pit-boss to detect the wired grifter, no croupier to polish my wisdom. Raw oysters are so damned funny ... so Isle-of-Palms ... and this day will pass. A siren wails hopeless far to the south ... near Sullys ... a long walk for a stale beer , I ponder ... my sandals scruff redwood planks near the docks end ... I'm watching Redfish slash among Pogies ... Bens 51' is in for a new yard, but the helpless Bayliner twists lines and grinds at timbers.

Turning to shuffle. There ... marsh-line meeting the anchor-posts of concrete ... a freshly discarded rattlesnake skin ... one of Bens pair ... Detectives grating voice ... "Ben's yapping again ... making sense this time like a cash register." Yanks my face up.

"Jerry and Samuel ?"

"Sammy's drunk ... Jerrys Gulfstream flew-off to Saudi-ville yesterday evening. Gulfstream Ultra ... that's a long pair of legs even for a Saudi Prince, but even if America had them, where will we run? Capish? Anyrate, something about malaria. You know about that?"

I shrug. "Best for them ... " I pause at the unknown. "Something of a gamble for us coming here, a wager in the time of plague. " DeLeon grunts unsatisfied ... palmettos whisper ... a door slides opens behind us, groaning, heavy with layers of quartz and plexi. Peachys jeans are knee-ripped and plaid Pennsylvania hunters shirt frayed at the collar. She calls my name.

PLEASE GARGLE UPON ENTRY MR DAVIDSON. FIRST THE YELLOW, THEN THE ORANGE. It's cold in the bedroom ... infirmary, now. California king pushed to a corner trapping oaky mirrors and rocking-chair. Every wall ... vidscreens cover half ... the election maps cover half of those, election map , block of the patients vitals and low-down a little prize pic-in-pic and self-named BATTLEMASTER.

Midroom, a hospital bed and its wiring entombs Hricko. Nick and The Brown Man sit quiet , beside Peachy and me. Only Ben has gone down to Wuhan.

"Clever bastard , our POTUS, the bankruptcy expert ..." HACK HACK HACK and coughing runs-on forever like the IVs dripping gore into Hrickos veins. Above his head hangs a ventilator mouthpiece; he gulps a draught, then turns spitting blood into a stainless bowl. "Bankrupt the damned country pimping every citizen $5000 dollars. Ain't he a marvel!" Humping to raise shoulders. "Damned Democrats would have only given three ... WRACHK ..." he wretches. Head falls back onto the white pillow. Face turns toward me. "But, he did the dirty fast, Saul, grift Trump a point for speed. Pelosi & OAC would have taken weeks to write every faggot, Guat-13, niggar and wettback wet-dream into a bill ... but not THEDONALD. He spent money out-from-under illegals ... left them shit-jerking for koke & mercy and gave the bankrupting payments to USA citizens HACKHACK ..HACK.. " DeLeon jabs a Pall Mall into his mouth and Ben sucks the ash glowing red before it's snatched away. "Nothing left for DemoRat traitors to give-away! One-point-five trillion ... about what the Feds gave banking after the mortgage crash ... bankrupt the US Treasury not that biz-Nazis care , but it ought to slick Joe citizen and American producers thru this Wuhan crap." HACK ...HACK ...

"The fag doesn't help," barks DeLeon, leaning back in his lounger.

Hrickos arm shakes NO ... reaches out weakly for Peachys hand; she takes his knuckles leaning across the bedsheet and kisses them. "What's my temp, sweetheart ...?"

"Jenny says it's 103-F, and if you don't stop smoking she'll trickle nitrous-oxide into your Chloroquine cocktail. What's that other juju ... Rifampin? Jenny thinks it's got a spare methyl-group and is prepared to ..."

"I'm a dead man ..."

"NO! Funeral postponed while my ass is still alive."

"Really, I can't die? It seemed so easy ... show the map, Jenny!"


Pixels dance main panel of the wall-screen. Random, eh ... then dissolving, reforming into a bubbled layer display. Top-layer Wuhan virus infections, next rates-of-increase and at-the-base mortality. Together patterns don't shout, but scream.

Turning with pain ... "See dear lovely I'm right there ..." Peachy jams a chalk-colored squirt-tube between his lips and squeezes ... Hricko explodes into silence.

Brown Man chews at a Camel Straight. "No surprise the La and Seattle bubbles ; globalist cesspools locally pimped by the glitter-people. Yes ... we understand ... but streaming outflow from NYC toward the Mississippi shocks. The bubble-strands might mark airports ... or universities ... Do NYC Trotsky-sluts rule? Manhattan-ites usually see no farther than the end of their martini shaker."

"Or gold-plate dildoe! Who sent the seeds," slacks DeLeon. "Who packaged them who manages them ... chain-of-command ... ?"

"Gotta love academics; they litter the Ivy League and IL wannaBeez. But, we have our own vipers nests at UCLA, Stanford and Berkley." Brown Man walks to the window overlooking the dock and peers intently toward a sun-fringed horizon fading darkly into a false red sun-rise. Trapped ... his wharfmans face tightens ... no escape ... while he imagines something ... how can he possibly imagine the whore Tepy pulling-in the tide? Does he imagine or does he measure? Then ... "Left-Coast yeoman started small, in bergs & hamlets rough-hewn where nationalist support broods, where god and guns and guts steady the uncertain hand. Given such a seed, yeomanry then let rising tide carry them deeper into cosmopolitan metro."

"Follow the line backwards eh ... roll-them-up from Gainesville, Memphis and Cleveland to ..."

"Not talking about Wuhan virus, are we Detective ?"

"Bugs, parasites ... virus ... penny-a-whack!" DeLeon turns to the screen. "Jenny ... Jenny is it, a machine?"


"Heh heh ... and sensitive also." The Detective ponders, then ..."Jenny, will ya over-write current disposition of Federal troops on the Wuhan infection map?"

"Whose print is DeLeon trying to lift", I mumble. A dripping blue-white icicle flashes cross-screen. Smatter of blue-stars follow, spiraling out from Carolina, Texas, California ... damnme from air-force bases ... all SAC mebby ... paratroops ... tanks ... None of the blue-stars superimpose on red circles-of-infection. "Looks like the military got their people out of harms way." Sweat traces my forehead. "Looks like none of the military units can move quickly to protect prog-mayors in big cities."

DeLeon counting fingers ... "Not New York, Not La., not St Louis, not Seattle , not Boston ..."

I feel dice slipping between my fingers. "IDF will never allow Spartacists, the NYC Trotsky pimps no matter how hell-bent, no matter how they letch upon power, never permit them to be herded -- branded -- butchered ... traitorous sons-a-bitches they be. Blood simple ... they'll invade first."

"Invade the USA? New Israel ?"

"We are talking New York City ... and whatever remains after the tide rises."

"Ha ha! Bread rises without a tide, but moonstruck water needs no yeast!" Hricko gulps at his ventilator. "Where the Hudson flows the Mohawk goes. Jenny, where fuck-all HACKHACK does the tide start to rise? Eh , riddle me that ... the beginning ... the alpha-point ... the tipping value when noise cascades into chaos ."


"Everywhere, you silicon slicker." Images of a long-tressed sys-mistress shimmer across the screen. Hricko snarls, "send the damned INETD daemon, I will after your smarmy GTK! Take me out to the pier, will ya Peachy? Give me a last free breath. Show our left-coast Brown-man a Carolina sunset frost a virgins tit !"

"Bed has a motor?"

"Motor fuck-all. Take my arm, Nicky ... Saul, here, the other. Shoulder up! March me west , catch my stumble gawd-sakes parts of Tepy still buried just over the piers end." Hricko chokes down a sob. "She stayed there, didn't she Nicky .... ?"

"Parts of her, yes," DeLeon snaps ... rolling his legs from the lounge and approaching the bed. "The parts under plank not ... not sleeping ..."

Hricko wretches into the stainless bowl. "Let me walk those planks , a hellish place to watch the devil die. Please, here, lift my arms ..."

"Heavy, damn-you."

"Watch the cable, damn-you. T3s crush like glass."

"Feather-bones, but lead ass."

"See there, the door-sill where new stainless got welded ..."

"Oak-stump for his brain."

Thump thump ... "Here, near the post ... I can stand ... damn-meee ..."

"Legs of mush."

"That's better. Wool shirt feels good against dallying wind. Let me sit ... damn wet legs. I dare the damned blue pointer nibble my toes." Waves slick from his splash in the viscous brine.

"The sun, gentlemen is setting." Sunset, I believe has never accorded human folly. What fails will fail all night like delusions of a nation bright yet unfit for power. What has succeeded ... dice rolled in chestnut dark among the watering blood.

"See the last bright edge HACKHACK shimmer ... gone to ice that edge. Beyond us, yet we prize the hunt. I hunted ... once I killed a fox lil' bastard was trailing two young buck. Not a chance golden-red foxy could claim either , but ... what will we claim, Nicky when we hunt down the progs? What are they chasing that so enrages us? "

" Mary of Guise rode under a banner of two stags addressing the army of poxy Liz...."

"Virtue my friends. So the banner sets over PCG, Nepenthe ... Ventana ..."

"Without the chills, Brown Man ... without the chilling human graveyard men imagine over the Inter-Coastal, or the Hudson. It flies doom as it dies 'cross the Hudson into the heartland."

" damned we are ... "

"Ben ... Ben."