One Hundred Forty Five

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
John Cage

After breakfast, Fin goes to Alice’s place, they’re going to meditate, or at least sit quietly, while Alice directs telekinetic intent to Fin. They have no idea if it will do anything, only one way to find out.
Zoe takes Morshchiny for a run, or a lumbering trot, the big dog doesn’t do much flat out. Zoe says it’s because she’s too dignified to go racing around like a terrier.
Fin and Alice come in around ten, CC comes down, ‘Going to the airport.’
Zero, ‘I’ll go with, do we need any groceries Zoe? I didn’t see anything on the message board.’
‘We’re good. I’m heating the gumbo for lunch if everyone’s okay with that. Pick up a couple loaves of French.’
‘Get it on the way, let’s go Zero.’
‘Coming, I needed to put on jeans, although I’d love to hit the market in just a
‘Thank you, in fact let me grab a waist chain, it will look like a short dress,’ up the stairs, back down, it could pass for a dress, she changed to platforms, perfect legs enhanced.
Alice, ‘Kisses.’
Zero takes one cheek, CC the other, then CC kisses her on the lips. Not a tongue swap, but longer than a peck. Alice is grinning.
Alice goes to the kitchen, ‘What can I do, Zoe?’
‘Gumbo is heating, make rice, I need to surf the freezer for dinner,’ she digs around, comes up with breaded tilapia filets, six in a box, she takes out two boxes.
‘Good, these are tasty, do we have enough potatoes?’
Alice, ‘The red ones, want me to boil them and make mashed later?’
‘Yes, and creamed corn, that will do,’ she writes the menu on the board.
‘You didn’t trade today.’
‘No, twins coming home, I did a pass through their room, changed sheets and swapped towels for fresh ones.’
‘Do you think they were hurt, like bad?’
‘The twins don’t complain or exaggerate, they don’t downplay either. What did Nikita say?’
‘Cracked on the head by a ceramic something, and a cut.’
‘We will know soon enough, and don’t ask a bunch of questions, they will tell us when they are ready, or they may not say anything.’
I’m flipping through the news on a tablet, Alice climbs in my lap.
‘Why so much politics?’
‘The papers need fresh content, politicians are always ready to provide it, they get free exposure, the paper fills its pages. It is true that journalists, real ones, not some bubblehead with a blog, keep an eye on politicians. Without journalists, the clowns would steal everything in sight. Even with scrutiny, they manage to hide a lot. Like where does military money go? Do taxpayers really want a fruitcake museum? How did the country get over twenty trillion dollars in debt?’
‘How much is twenty trillion?’
‘A billion dollars is one thousand million, a trillion dollars is a million times a million, a million, million or a thousand billion.’
‘How can they pay it back?’
‘They don’t intend to pay it back, they pay the interest, then when the debt comes due, they issue new debt in the form of Treasury Bills or Bonds.’
‘Who do they borrow from?’
‘Investors, banks, foreign countries that believe their money is safe in US debt.’
Alice hops up, ‘They’re home.’
Morshchiny requires a sniff check, in case the twins were captured by aliens and replaced with identical, identical twins.
Natasha takes of a soft cap, she has an egg sized lump on her temple, it’s purple and yellowing. Nikita’s cut is a slice, not a puncture, about three inches along her left deltoid. It’s been coated in iodine, a string of butterfly strips holds the skin together.
I look it over, ‘Leave a scar, but it isn’t infected. Stitches might have been better, I understand you couldn’t show up at an emergency room.’
‘Sister got Lidocaine for her bump and my cut, we took aspirin, it is okay. Ice helped a little.’
‘Did you eat?’
‘Zoe made gumbo. I have a few packs of Indica and Sativa gummies, the Sativa will both relax and zone you out. Indica will help you sleep. From what I see, sleep is in order.’
‘We will take it now, then eat, then go to room.’
After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, the gumbo is thoroughly flavored. We demolish the pot, the twins had healthy bowls and a hunk of French bread. 
Nikita, ‘I will tell story maybe later, right now, sisters need to slip.’
‘Leave the luggage, we’ll take care of it, do you want me to wake you later?’
‘Da, eef not down in three hours.’
They go up, Fin and Zero take the luggage and gun case, empty one for laundry, the other for guns.
Zero, ‘We have a list of RSOs, a few really egregious, or to put it simply, rancid ugly.’
‘Who’s on the top of the list?’
Zero Enemy Number One has been arrested for torturing children and putting the video on the dark net. He also had a collection of forty other videos and a ton of photos, most leaning to the sadistic.
‘He out of jail, what’s the status?’
‘Jail was determined to be too risky, judge might have been right. Put him in jail, subsequently prison, either another prisoner or a guard is going to make sure he leaves horizontal.’
‘Sounds acceptable to me.’
‘Yes but. They want to grill him for other sadistic pedos, and disclose how he got the children. Some people on the child rape side sell the kids to whoever meets the price, no questions.’
‘No point to questions, what are they going to do, ask if the buyer has plans to torture and kill the kid? Nobody says yes.’
‘He’s facing a death sentence, all they have to do is park him in the violent offender hotel. So, they offer a life of solitary, best they can do considering his crimes. A more lenient sentence that allows for parole will be a political death sentence for the DA.’
‘So he’s where?’
‘Lockdown in a safe house, no way he could go home, someone would burn down the place with him in it. There’s no simple way to handle the situation. The state looks bad for not imprisoning him already, and they would look bad if they park him in a cell ultimately to be tortured and killed by inmates. Prison isn’t safe for non-violent offenders, guys like our target are just meat to play with before it’s cooked.’

One Hundred Forty Six

We work on how to go about eliminating the target. 
‘He’s going to have a couple of guards twenty four hours a day. When they move him, it will be another set of guards, three or four minimum. The big question is, what house, where?’
Zero, ‘I’ll find out when he’s due in court, then we follow the car back to the safe house.’
‘I can’t think of any other way. If I call a connection and the target is dead three days later…’
‘No, no good, let me look up a court date.’
‘They will be careful about making it publically available, there might be people like us looking to put the rabid dog down.’
Zero grins, ‘I’m not going to any public site. Natasha and I will hack the system tomorrow. I already know what court he went to the first time, they’re going to use the same judge, judge hopping only confuses things.’
We’re in my bedroom, door closed, haven’t decided yet how or when to clue in Alice on our murder jones. 
Zero, ‘Unless you have other questions…,’ she strips off her t-shirt, ‘I would love something creamy, know anybody I can use?’
I start by doing a tongue on tush, flip her for tongue on puss. When she’s suitably lubed, ease in the fun stick and slow stroke until I hear her groan and feel her shudder. I roll off, she flips between my legs and licks her lotion off the shaft, then in her mouth. 
I sense her urgency, do my duty and release, watch as she swallows just in time for the second shot which splits between mouth and face.
Zero rolls off smiling, wiping the extra over her cheeks, nose and neck. I’ve been privileged to have a number of women before Zero took over my life. I never had one that liked it so much. Most of them spit, which is fine with me, a few swallowed, none used it for a facial treatment.
Zero, ‘Good work Commandant, I vibed when you tongued tush, vibed again with you inside, now I’m humming like a ten penny finishing nail hit with a greasy ball peen hammer.’
I laugh, ‘Where in the world…?’
‘An ancient southern comedian, more of a funny story teller, Brother Dave Gardner. He worked the southern club circuit back when gambling was done in the secret room behind the club. I heard one of his albums in a former life. By today’s standards it was mild, genteel comedy, I found much of it funny, some only amusing but it was worth a listen. No idea why the phrase stuck in my head.’
I refresh, get in my slacks and shirt home uniform, Zero pulled on her t-shirt and went to the main room. She has Alice in her lap. Zoe is on the kitchen side, don’t know about CC and Fin, but I have my suspicions. I need to wake the twins.
Alice leans into Zero’s neck, I can see she’s sniffing, she kisses Zero’s face then slowly licks one cheek.
She giggles, ‘You’ve been playing with Commandant.’
Zero, ‘We don’t discuss our liaisons, Mouse. I don’t mind you knowing, just don’t make it a family conversation.’
‘Got it Mama Z,’ she proceeds to lick the other cheek.
‘You know what you’re tasting?’
‘Yes,’ she smiles, ‘you and Commandant, stick your tongue out.’
Zero does, Alice takes it between her lips, then runs her little tongue around it.
Then she hops off, ‘I need to see my silver friend,’ she scoots out the door to her RV.
Zero looks up at me, ‘Eight going on eighteen.’
‘Well, we live in a sexually charged environment, she might not be ready for the real deal, but she’s going to play around the edges. I’m not going there, excepting her fiddling around. I don’t get the sense she wants to do anything but tease.’
‘Go up and wake the twins, Zoe’s made tea, let’s gather the crowd and whatever.’
As she goes up, CC and Fin come down, flush with the aftershock of fun and frolic. CC moves behind Zoe, hugs her and kisses to the neck.
Fin reads the board, ‘Breaded tilapia, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, sounds lovely, the same kind of fish we had last time?’
Zoe, ‘Yes, Trader Joe’s. It’s baked, not fried, the filets are uniform and a decent size, plus there’s actual fish, not pasty breading hiding a tiny slip of fish. The cod is good too, but tonight tilapia, it’s all white fish and tastes the same to me.’
‘Particularly by the time we dip it in ketchup, horseradish and whatever else you add.’
‘Olive oil mayo, lemon juice, black pepper, ground mustard.’
She puts out a plate of deviled eggs.
CC, ‘Yum, you haven’t made these in a while.’
‘We eat eggs for breakfast most days, tomorrow it will be Miso soup, smoked salmon, chopped onion and capers. Haven’t thought up tomorrow’s lunch or dinner yet, any requests?’
Fin, ‘Lunch can be cold cuts, do we have those brioche buns, they’re good.’
CC, ‘Veal marsala or osso buco, or do you not feel like fussing with it?’
‘Commandant will get veal in the morning, I need to check what other ingredients I might need, I think we’ll go with a couple of fat sourdough boule rather than French bread.’
The twins arrive with Zero, Alice comes in from her playtime.
‘Sit at the table, right pot is green, left is black.’
Zero, ‘Deviled eggs, good idea Zoe.’
Zoe, ‘Wipe the board Alice, tomorrow is cold cut lunch, veal marsala with rotini for dinner. We haven’t had cake in a while Commandant, get one when you grocery tomorrow.’
I tap the various items in my phone, check the refrigerator for staples, we need milk, heavy cream, eggs along with the other things.
Nikita, ‘Sisters found Shadows, but we did not anyway know there were three until the last moment. Natasha shot the one creating accidents, the others were at the house but een a bedroom or office. That ees when ceramic pot flew across the room and got sister, then the kitchen knife cut me. We emptied both magazines, left them without recognizable faces. Search of the house turned up cash, sixteen thousand, a fair amount of gold jewelry which we left, and a bag of cut and polished stones, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. We took those, thought CC could figure out some use for them.’
CC, ‘Absolutely, I will design settings and make necklaces and bracelets. I’ve also been thinking over a navel piercing, I can use the colored stones for that. Anyone else that wants one or two let me know. Where are the stones?’
Nikita, ‘Our room, on dresser.’
‘Cool, I’m excited, we will all be glamorous.’
Alice, ‘Can I have something?’
‘Of course, you want your navel pierced too?’
She grins, ‘Sure!’
I’m impressed, she doesn’t ask if it will hurt. Considering what she endured before we rescued her, a piercing is child’s play.
I ask, ‘Is it something you can do at home, or do you need to go to a tattoo place?’
CC, ‘They sell home kits, it isn’t that complicated, more a matter of cleanliness and care until things heal. I’ve already researched it, it will actually be better here, we know how clean we are, a shop is guesswork.’
‘We got sidetracked, sorry Nikita, is there anything else we should know?’
‘Da, one of the Shadows was maybe twelve or thirteen, the other was a woman.’
‘A teenager experienced in telekinesis?’
‘Which is why we hesitated, then the pot and knife.’
‘Could they both have come from the woman?’
‘Sister shot her first, knife came after, we thought boy might have been abducted, like we haf seen before. Plus sister said boy’s aura was black, she did not recognize at first, our mistake, we assume young boy ees not a Shadow.’
Zero, ‘How did a young teen learn? Or perhaps like Alice, just had it.’
Alice, ‘What about you? You can do it and you’re a teenager, were you like me, the ability just there?’
Zero doesn’t reply, I figure Alice needs to know, ‘Zero is over two hundred years old, through several bodies and many decades.’
‘Funny, you don’t look a day over a hundred, granny. You’re not a vampire are you?’
‘Sleep with one eye open, Mouse, I lived on the blood of children.’
‘Ha ha, very funny, I’m taking Morshchiny to the RV tonight, she’ll protect me.’
Zoe, ‘Everyone get lost, I have to clear and start dinner. Alice the potatoes are boiled, start mashing, skin and all. I’ll make the creamed corn, the tilapia only takes twenty. Seven thirty, is still an hour and a half away, cocktails when you wish.’

One Hundred Forty Seven

You want the truth and you want the truth and when you get it you can’t take it and have to turn away.
Amy Hempel The Dog of the Marriage

Over cocktails, Zero tells the others about her discovery, ‘We have a potential target to the south. Arrested for making torture and snuff videos of children. Alice aged and younger. Natasha, if she’s up to it, and I will track down his next court date. I don’t know if it’s public, or if they keep it a secret for obvious reasons. For his own protection he’s not in jail, and he’s not at home with a monitor, he’s in a safe house with cops.’
Alice, ‘You mean people like us might show up and kill him.’
‘Who said anything about killing him?’
‘What else would you do, maybe torture him first?’
‘We don’t do torture,’ I’m fudging a little, if we need answers we have been known to use intense physical persuasion.
‘Then you shoot him. You think I believe you have all those guns just to waste bullets at the range? I’m young, not dumb.’
Zero laughs, ‘You may be too smart for your own good, but that’s for you to deal with. We don’t ‘fix’ our rescues, we listen, the girls fix themselves. All of us are psycho to one degree or another, that helps because a strong inner focus is better than guilt or fear. Besides, it goes faster without third party interference. I have no idea what’s good for anyone else, even you, Mouse.’
Alice, ‘When can I kill one?’
‘Think you can?’
‘No, I know I can.’
‘We’ll see. This particular case may need CC and her Ruger. We have to figure out how to get to him without anyone getting to us. We have these projects frequently, if you want in, your time will come.’
Natasha, ‘I can look tonight.’
‘Up to you, I’m not getting into what may be a lengthy hack tonight. We will find out when and where tomorrow. Like I told Commandant, we know the judge he saw at his arraignment. We know her name and her court’s location, it’s a matter of figuring out when our target is due to appear.’
Natasha is tapping her tablet, ‘Here it is.’
‘You mean they made it public?’
‘The People v Burkhalter, no jury, case to be heard by the judge only. They must have a plea, I think a capital case would require a jury. The courtroom will be closed to the public, only the prosecution and the defendant’s legal counsel.’
‘Can’t be an insanity plea then, that almost never works. Then again it may be worth a try, at the least he drags things out. First, shrinks examine him, then if he pulls it off, he goes to a criminal asylum, not prison. I’m drifting into speculation though. We don’t care what he pleas, or whether or not he gets a better deal than death. His future is terminal.’
‘If they have video he made, why would the DA accept a plea? Doesn’t sound like a good way to get reelected.’
‘It’s a career death sentence for the DA unless Burkhalter tries for insanity, that buys the DA a pass. He can blame it on the system. Again, it doesn’t much matter, Burkhalter is a dead man walking.’
‘We should take the drone, maybe follow the car to the safe house.’
‘Good, get a photo of him, mugshot and look him up on images. They may try to load one man in one car, which won’t be Burkhalter, then wait a couple of hours after the media has gone home empty. Bring him to the safe house when the dust settles.’
‘Then the drone will be doubly useful, the camera can zoom in and see if it’s the target or a decoy….or, we scope out the courthouse beforehand, find a spot CC can park and sight in the Ruger. Her scope will tell her if it’s the target.’
Natasha, ‘Here are both the mugshot and two other photos.’
Zero looks over her shoulder, ‘Sheesh, he looks like a retired accountant, thick glasses, pussy moustache, black mole on the side of his nose the size of a marble.
Look at that in the mirror every day, no wonder he’s sadistic, one hugely ignorable invisible nobody.’
‘Online, he is invisible, hiding in the dark net he becomes powerful, Satanic, look at my works and marvel.’
‘Kind of Shadow behavior.’
‘I wonder, but why would a Shadow sit still for arrests, arraignments and a safe house?’
‘He wouldn’t, unless he’s planning a demonstration of his magnificence.’
Nikita, ‘Ees only one way to find out, sister or Zero haf to take a look.’
‘Which is what we’re going to do, when is the next court date?’
‘Monday, nine thirty, criminal court, Judge Jeffs presiding.’
‘Good, we need to be there for Sunday, preferably all day, which means fly in Saturday, day after tomorrow.’
‘Who goes?’
This is where I come in, ‘CC, twins, Zero and me. A carload of girls isn’t necessary for this.’
The girls who aren’t going don’t complain, all they would do is hang around a hotel room. The town isn’t interesting, our tourist trips are generally limited to Canada and the Caribbean. Which gives me an idea.
‘Fin, if you want, arrange a trip to St. Martin’s, Bermuda, someplace. You guys can fly out the same day we do, we’ll join up with you when the business is finished.’
She looks at Zoe, ‘What do you think?’
‘Let them do the job first, we can fly out then, collect them on the way. No point in going early, we have plenty to occupy us here.’
Fin, ‘Okay by me, Alice, any opinion?’
‘Nope, a few days doesn’t matter.’
‘Zoe, you dropped third person?’
She smiles, ‘It was interesting, as I discovered, it’s a way to step aside from myself. If there were any fresh insights I missed them. For now I’m stepping back into me.’
‘It occurs that we will be carrying a few Glocks and the Ruger. We can’t deal with those at Customs. We have to get the weapons home before we travel out of the country and I don’t much want to ship them to our mailbox.’
Fin, ‘Then we wait here, when you get home we can decide about a trip. Zoe’s right, we have no shortage of projects.’
Zoe, ‘Dinner is on, Alice, get the mashed from the oven, pay attention everyone, the dish it’s in will be hot.’
Oven door opens as if it was on remote, then a Pyrex baking pan floats out and settles on the dining table, followed by a serving spoon. Zoe puts down a platter of fish and a spatula, bowl of steaming creamed corn.
CC, ‘For frozen fish this is quite good, buttery mashed with sour cream, and murder.’
Alice giggles, ‘Did anyone feed Morshchiny?’
Zoe, ‘She cleaned out her dish an hour ago, I should let her out,’ she opens the patio door, Morshchiny disappears into the dark.
‘Zero, I was online listening and reading about current thinking on consciousness. One side says it’s generated by the brain, a smaller but growing group says it’s external, some vague force, like gravity, another phenomenon nobody can explain.’
Zero, ‘Gravity as a warp in spacetime is about as close to an explanation as there is. You’ve seen the rubber sheet thing, where they drop a ball in the middle causing the sheet to sink. Then whatever passes close enough gets sucked into the indentation. The object’s momentum and mass causes it to circle the bigger ball, enough momentum to keep it circling, but not so much as to escape the indentation. Even light gets bent passing a star, it just doesn’t get sucked in, it continues on its original path. That makes gravity less of a force and more like a state, in the sense that gravity isn’t pulling on anything. There’s just an infinite stretch of spacetime with indentations caused by stars and planets. Any object passing close enough winds up in a dance between the bigger object and the smaller one.’
Natasha, ‘So gravity isn’t holding the universe together, but without it there would be no galaxies or solar systems, or moons circling planets.’
‘Yes. But Commandant asked about consciousness. I think consciousness as commonly described is merely an attempt to make people believe they’re special, collective narcissism.’
CC, ‘There’s only one uniquely special human, me, the rest are wannabees, present company excluded.’
‘A variation of solipsism, which is the view that the only thing one can truly know is that they exist. Everything outside the mind may or may not be real.’
CC, ‘I’m good with that. If it’s true then I create my world every minute of every day. It can’t be the world,’ she extends her arm, palm up, ‘out there, that world is flawed, imperfect, I could never create such a mess. God is an amateur compared to moi.’
‘If God created everything in six days, the universe was a rush job and the cracks show.’
Nikita, ‘So you fall into the camp that says consciousness is external.’
Zero, ‘No, I now fall into the camp that says consciousness isn’t, that there is no consciousness, only a state of being awake and aware, no different than a lizard. Nothing happens in the brain that requires a separate thing called consciousness, nothing happens outside the brain that requires consciousness as an explanation of anything. In short, I think they are arguing over nothing, researching nothing. There’s nothing to explain.’
‘So basically consciousness is when we’re awake, unconsciousness is asleep, or knocked out, or anesthetized.’
‘Yes, it seems like an insult to the brain to say it needs something extra internally or externally to make it work. David Chalmers, a philosopher, calls it the hard problem of consciousness. It’s only a problem if you believe consciousness is more than simply being awake. I suspect labeling it a hard problem is a way to make it sound like science, thus providing lots of grants, institutes, symposiums, conferences, and giving post-docs something to pretend they’re studying seriously.’
‘You once thought consciousness was everywhere, you’ve changed your mind.’
‘Only a dead mind never changes, good for mold and mushrooms, otherwise trapped in habit. I do think there is Qi, life force, because we can use it, Shadows as well, unfortunately. I use it for my minor ability to move objects, Alice is more adept, also uses Qi to move objects and movement implies a force, or energy, which we can call intent since we haven’t a better word.’
Fin, ‘Maybe she’s hyperconscious, super connected, the next slice of evolution.’
‘Can’t be ruled out.’
Alice, ‘Are you going to send me for tests?’
‘No, absolutely not, never. It can’t be done anonymously, your ability would leak, some assistant whatever couldn’t resist talking to a friend, who talks to a friend, who talks to the media. We need that splashed around the media like we need a meteor to hit the house. It is your life however, when you’re grown, you can do as you please. You just can’t live here, Commandant will get you an apartment. You can be on TV, get poked and prodded by neurologists, researchers, be interviewed by the New York Times. Be famous. Just don’t mention us, we don’t want fame, or even recognition.’
‘Betray my rescuers, who included me in the family psycho? Isn’t happening. If I do, you have my permission to shoot me.’
‘Nobody here will kill you…well, best not to irritate the twins.’
Alice giggles, ‘Never.’
I spot Natasha’s hand sliding up and down Nikita’s bare thigh, lucky hand, lucky thigh. 
Zero glances at me, grins, must be in my mind again, lucky mind of mine.

One Hundred Forty Eight

To avoid all disturbance of things as they are is to have the harmony of the graveyard, which is well kept and orderly, but full of buried putrefication.

Consciousness aside, we have to fly south and arrange a death. It’s Saturday, the trial Monday, more like a hearing since Burkhalter confessed; he could hardly do otherwise. Whatever his attorney has cooked up will spare him the death penalty, he thinks, he hasn’t met us. 
First, to the courthouse, a new complex, located convenient to nothing, the surrounding area has only parking lot, grass and shrubs.
CC, ‘I don’t need to be this close, the problem is obvious.’
‘Yep, front or rear. There are emergency exits on each side, but taking him in one of those doesn’t accomplish much, you can see anyone going in or coming out from the front of the courthouse.’
Zero, ‘We need to find spots for both alternatives. I’m guessing, but I think we can’t decide until Monday. If there’s a crowd out front, they’ll take him to the rear, if not, no reason not to use the front. No, I’m wrong. The back. I’m betting all prisoners go that way, then to a holding room next to the courtroom. Other defendants, like those out on bail, show up like everyone else and use the front entrance.’
‘What happens if he does plead guilty and is sentenced immediately? He doesn’t go to the safe house, he goes directly to prison.’
‘All the more reason to try and terminate before or after the hearing. We don’t have much choice if it’s directly to jail, we can follow and see if an opportunity shows up. There won’t be any chance to locate a spot for CC.’
CC, ‘I can do it from the back of the SUV, let’s not get to snarled up speculation, we can only plan so much.’
‘Okay, then we find a spot with a clear view of the back door. If we miss our guess, or the target isn’t open from the car to the door, it’s no big deal. We follow the car to wherever and see what happens.’
Zero, ‘Hotel on the highway, up there,’ she points, ‘are those balconies? I think so, even better.’
CC, ‘Let’s take a look.’
I drive us to the Incarceration Inn, sign outside says, ‘Jailhouse Rock Free Breakfast Buffet, visit Shackles, Best Burgers Behind Bars.’
‘Interesting theme.’
‘Wanting to tie me up?…no, handcuffs?’
‘Not into domination play, does the thought turn you on?’
‘Not really, seems childish. If I want pain I spar with one of the twins.’
The parking lot of the hotel surrounds the building. Each room has a small private balcony.
Zero, ‘What do you think Commandant, which floor?’
‘I don’t think it matters, the courthouse is down there, any shot is going to be on an angle, and the hotel overlooks the courthouse from the side, gives us a view of both front and rear. We do need to make sure we get a room on the courthouse side and we can hardly ask for one, prisoner dies the next day from a sniper shot, cops all over this place. What are the room numbers on the side we want?’
The place is built so you have to go in to get to your room, even on the ground floor which has no balconies, I presume the ground floor is lobby, meeting rooms, the restaurant, the bar, maybe a small exercise room.
Nikita, ‘Wait, I will go in and find out.’
She walks to the lobby entrance and goes in. Ten minutes later she returns.
‘Rooms on the courthouse side are two twenty to two forty, third floor, three twenty to three forty, fourth and fifth the same, no rooms on the ground floor. One third floor room was open, I went in to see from the balcony, nothing obstructs the view of the courthouse from any floor.’
Zero, ‘I’ll book a room, tell them I prefer the backside for the quiet, away from the road noise. Take us to our hotel.’
She calls while I get us to the hotel, The Lapsed Catholic. I have no idea what the owner had in mind, you don’t have to claim you’re a lapsed Catholic to get a room. The lot is three quarters full, must be a fair number of people who think lapsed Catholic is a good thing. 
We’re in the Purgatory Suite, top floor, includes black robes resembling nuns’ habits, except short, butt short. There’s a picture on one wall, not a painting, a two by three foot photo of a slim nude young woman on her knees praying, a priest stands next to her, with an open book, his hand rests on her head.
CC, ‘Now that’s a study in contradiction, or maybe irony.’
Zero, ‘Right on both counts, according to dictionarydotcom the essential feature of irony is the indirect presentation of a contradiction between an action or expression and the context in which it occurs.’
CC, ‘I am more than a hot sylph with perfect everything.’
‘So much more.’
‘Are you being ironic?’
I change the subject, ‘What do you want for dinner?’
Zero, ‘Our travel take out runs to Chinese, pizza or supermarket chicken, easy to heat, no buns to get soggy.’
Nikita, ‘Sisters do not care, get vodka while you are out.’
CC, ‘I’ll ride with, there’s a supermarket three blocks down, don’t see any Chinese nearby, maybe the market has deli stuff.’
They do, we get sixteen pieces of fried chicken, bottle of orange sauce, the coleslaw looked lame so we went with antipasto, two bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies and a can of mixed nuts.
After hot showers, the twins and I are enjoying vodka while CC and Zero sip a red blend CC guessed at, it turns out to be decent, full body, mild bite.
A movie plays we only sort of watch. I read, the twins either side of CC, warming her up for bedtime. Zero is next to me, one eye on what I’m reading, pulp crap, and one on the movie, a predictable kidnapping where the victim outwits the kidnappers.
Twins and their prey move off to one bedroom, Zero and I snuggle into ours. You’ve read about our play before, suffice it to say I found her and it splendid as always.
This morning we decide to shower again, I use the opportunity to lather the right spot, I take her from behind while she supports herself with her arms against the wall. After she’s well orgasmed, she turns and drops down to get what she calls her reward for being a salacious slut. The shower is still running, this time she swallows it all. 
‘I didn’t want to waste it running down the drain, besides, I wore you on my face all night. My skin actually glows.’
I look at her, it does. Might be from the sex, I feel like I’m glowing after we roll and tumble, but she swears sperm is good for her skin. I looked it up once, the research is mixed, but Zero likes it and her face is always creamy smooth.
In the main room, Nikita has coffee going, ‘I brought pastries and yogurt from the buffet, if you want more we can go to fast place later.’
‘Thanks, where are your sleeping partners?’
‘Sleeping. We make luf to CC, she ees most responsive girl. Then Nikita goes to slip. Natasha was hungry for more CC.’
From behind me I hear, ‘Close, CC was hungry for more Natasha, she makes the most filthy demands, her demands get me quivery.’
Nikita, ‘Sister ees gentle wiz Nikita, CC ees her girl to play rough.’
CC grins, ‘Lucky me. Speaking of dominance, Mouse has begun to get bossy, with me anyway.’
Zero laughs, ‘Now that she’s taken the family temperature, the part of her personality she’s held back is beginning to emerge. Alice is smart, and sly. I suspect we have an emerging drill sergeant on our hands.’
Nikita, ‘Alice ees most smart girl, Natasha says, picks up on math instantly, learns Russian, sister will teach her to hack and write algorithm. Eef she wants to be bossy girl, sisters do not mind.’
‘I don’t think she’ll go far with you two. Alice is in awe of Natasha, and she gets that you are the same being in two bodies. Not much can be shocking to a girl that can move matter with her mind.’
CC’s phone dings, it’s Alice.
‘Hello Alice N, what’s doing at home?’
‘Zoe painted my toes yesterday while Fin did my nails. You weren’t here to dress and undress me so I made Zoe do it last night and Fin do it this morning.’
‘Can’t have taken long, all you wear at home is a shirt and socks.’
‘Fin got to bathe me, Zoe got to dry me, I like to spread my charms around.’
‘You’re eight, how many charms can you have?’
A giggle, ‘Enough to keep those two fascinated. They’re hands-on, like you.’
‘Let me talk to Zoe.’
Zoe, ‘Hey sweet, still working?’
‘Yes, we kill time today, the hearing is tomorrow. From what Alice said, she’s keeping you and Fin busy.’
A laugh, ‘And a new development. Mouse can make us do things without saying a word. Now I know how Shadow victims feel…well, she’s not abusive, out of the blue we feel compelled to do…things.’
‘We dress and bathe her, but that was just taking up your job while you are gone. I had an urge to lick her feet for instance. Not something I’m into, but I felt dreamy on my knees licking her tiny toes. Here, talk to Fin.’
‘Hey CC, yes she can capture a mind, at least it’s for play and focused on her. I don’t get the sense she makes us do anything unrelated to her, maybe she can’t.’
‘Or maybe the skill is developing, not fully formed yet.’
‘I followed her to the bathroom, she sat on the toilet, spread her legs wide and pointed to the seat. Without thinking, I knelt and rested my chin on the seat while she pee’d. She put two fingers under the stream, then stuck them in my mouth. I got a rush, realized Zoe was standing behind me watching the submissive show.’
‘Not done, Mouse stood up, I felt compelled to wipe her, with my tongue. Not only is that weird, I got an orgasm, I wanted it, I liked it.’
‘I doubt there’s much more she could do to express her power than have you lick her pee.’
‘Is that what this is about?’
‘We were just talking about it, Zero says Alice has decided she can trust us, and that allows her to reveal more of her dark personality. Besides, a little pee won’t hurt anything.’
Fin sighs, ‘Thing is, now I want to do it again.’
‘Just wait, she’s found an amusement, you’ll get to ride the water slide again, maybe even in the shower where she can aim directly.’
‘Oh god, now I need to find my toy, I’ve gotten warm and squishy.’

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