With my shirt tied to the back of my motorcycle, I hopped on, kickstarted the monster and headed down Wilson Boulevard to do my business.
I saw what I expected to see as I went along: broken windows, bloodstains, and the signs of people who were moving about in a hurry. The Metro station at Clarendon was a minefield of broken glass, and restaurants that weren’t in business anymore. Hell, from the look of things, they’d been looted down to the furniture.
How silly is that? If you don’t have electricity to refrigerate your ill-gotten food, you and your people get one day of serious feasting… and nasty food poisoning the next.
The exception to that, of course, are canned goods and shelf-stable staples. I’d done my own share of looting in that department, as well as taking it in barter, and for blood-soaked services. My personal stash, locked up in Marvin’s basement, was pretty extensive—God knows, it needed to be!
All reminiscing aside, the drive down to the apartment building was pretty quick and completely uneventful. I stopped about two blocks away and took a good look around for potential places to settle in. There were tons of options, including the wreckage of my former-favorite steakhouse, right across the street.
Ultimately, I decided to make a pilgrimage to the restaurant and use it for my observation post. There was enough crap around that I could hide myself and my bike without a lot of effort, and reasonably expect to not be bothered…unless they saw me arrive.
No one appeared to confront me, so I went across the street, rolled the motorcycle behind the wreckage of the bar, and checked my shirt. It wasn’t dry. I let it be.
There were still a few chairs strewn about, including a gently water damaged leather armchair. In my humble opinion, stakeouts should be as comfortable as possible, so I pulled it over and sat down. It didn’t make any squishing noises when my ass landed on the cushion, and that was more than enough reason to smile.
A few minutes later, I decided I could get a better view if I shifted closer to the broken windows. I moved, and started to watch in earnest.
I could see the dumpster that Miss Malley had mentioned, just beyond the decorative wall that ringed seventy-five percent of the property. Some time ago, the section near the dumpster was as white as the rest of the wall, but not anymore. That day, it was the color of dried blood, spread about in Rorschach blots and Pollock spatters.
Some of the blood on the cement glistened, which meant it was probably still wet. My target, or someone like him, had recently made a kill there.
The clue brick descended from heaven, and landed on the peak of my skull.
Louise Malley never said what the zombie did with his victims. Based on circumstantial evidence, my guy brought his dinner home. It was possible he didn’t dispose of his victims at all. If that were the case, the people he attacked and killed revived nearby.
Then again, the recently re-animated were probably less than thrilled at running into the dude who killed them so soon after the event. It didn’t leave many options. Either they left, before or after trying to kill him, or they stuck around.
It didn’t matter which was the case; both possibilities led me to the same conclusion. There was a non-zero chance that my target had reinforcements/friends/cohorts/insane, munching pals. That could make my hit (let’s call it what it is, shall we?) a little dirtier than I usually prefer.
Maybe Marvin had a point about the situation, and my client? I suppose I might have been distracted by the pale canyon between her pectoral dim sum, and failed to be effectively cynical about her request.
“Hello, Frank? This is your libido speaking.”
“Well, Señor Quixote and the Panza twins are feeling under-utilized. As their duly appointed representative in these negotiations, I would like to point out that getting laid could help your attention span dramatically… in situations where female clients are involved.”
“Excuse me, but are you telling me that my junk has joined some kind of organized labor union?”
My libido didn’t have anything else to say after that exchange. Sure, I’d been lax in securing warm companionship over the past… more than a year… Shit. I supposed I’d been paying more attention to staying alive and killing reanimated, formerly dead, people.
There wasn’t anything to be done for it right then, so I turned my train of thought back to more practical matters. Does my target have buddies? My angst obliged me by returning, louder than before, so I crossed my legs, gripped the arms of the chair, and waited for something to happen.
After what felt like an eternity, my stomach growled, and my target made an appearance across the street, all at the same time.
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