Forty Nine

‘The hundred grand was released, I have it bouncing around a few corporations, maybe I should leave it in bitcoins. I bought bitcoins when they were new, I was already a multi-millionaire, then I became a bitcoin millionaire. It was stupid lucky. I bailed and stuck the money in the brokerage account.’
Zero, ‘Money seems to find you, how does that work?’
‘No clue, I never started out to make millions, I made apps, or the people I hired did. I got most of the ideas, but I couldn’t write an algorithm if my life depended on it. You’ve been practicing, how’s it going?’
‘Not bad, I hacked the DMV, government sites are like a colander, full of holes.’
‘I trust you are careful, if they get onto you, we’ll have Feds knocking.’
‘I don’t take anything, don’t add viruses, I just do it to see if I can. I don’t need to steal money, or patents, or corporate secrets. Not going to sell government secrets, all governments are corrupt, power is corrupt. America may be the most hypocritical government on the planet. Doesn’t mean I’m giving information to another corrupt government.’
‘I guess they aren’t likely to prosecute a twelve year old girl, or what they believe to be a twelve year old girl.’
‘I am twelve,’ she giggles, ‘sort of.’
‘You are immortal, you probably don’t know how old you are.’
‘We don’t celebrate birthdays.’
‘Good thing, your candles would require a fifty foot cake.’
She smiles, ‘You’re catching on. I knew you were more than a pretty boy muscle hunk.’
CC is posing nude in front of the three way, ‘God I’m fabulous,' she kisses herself.
Zero, ‘Her ego is infinite, but she’s right.’
We have an enjoyable stretch of routine. The girls trampoline, tumble, yoga, Zero writes, CC edits. We go to the range, practice with the Glocks, then the Ruger Precision. We’re up to five hundred yards with accuracy in good weather. One rainy windy day we made the trip, got drenched and got better at hitting something in poor weather, at least for two hundred yards. I doubt we’ll do much long distance shooting, doesn’t hurt to practice though.
My exercise routine is basic, crank out five on the treadmill, alternating days with sprints, the treadmill can go faster than I can run for distance, but I can crank a quarter mile at its top speed. 
Then martial arts practice, which follows no set of proscribed rules, a street fight has no rules. The girls can take a significant amount of punishment, techniques for dealing with bigger heavier men has become second nature. No strenuous exercise two days a week, we give ourselves permission to do nothing; almost nothing, general housekeeping and grocery shopping in between lots of lounging. We did make one more ski trip, short, three ski days surrounded by a day of travel up, another back.
Zero, ‘I checked the site, we have work.’
‘Pay or pro bono?’
‘Pay.’
‘Details?’
‘A preacher of all things, I looked up his name, if he’s done something illegal he hasn’t been busted for it. His church is active in the anti-abortion thing, and they want all homosexuals to die yesterday.’
‘How big is the church?’
‘It isn’t one of the mega things, the listing said five hundred. They show up at abortion clinics, rainbow marches, ugly Christian signs that say God hates fags. I’d kill him for free.’
‘Better to get paid. How far?’
‘Plane trip unless you want to drive fifteen hundred miles.’
‘Any deadlines?’
‘No, but the contact said to check the church’s website, he travels sometimes, but not often. He’s a limited version of a Taliban boss, send nobodies to blow up the building, never themselves. Our target sends his minions to protest, so far no actual bombs.’
‘Check the site, arrange the flight.’
‘Should I take the big Ruger?’
‘Take one of the smaller rifles, the mini-mag will do, two ten round magazines, box of ammo. Plus the Glocks of course.’
She goes off to plan death. CC and I sit at the kitchen island and think about dinner. She’s in her customary t-shirt, uncrosses her legs and lets one long lovey drop to the floor. My job is to study the bare beauty of her legs and what lies in between.
I look up, she’s grinning at me, ‘Nice isn’t it?’
‘I was thinking exquisite.’
‘Thank you, you have excellent taste.’ 
Zero comes over, ‘CC teasing again?’
Her fingers run along the inside of CC’s extended thigh, then a finger swipes the slit, ‘Wet, what a slut.’
She kneels, kisses along the inner thigh, then kisses the magic spot, sighs and slowly licks. CC bites her lip, head falls back, breath quickens. A few minutes and she’s shake and shimmy, Zero’s blonde trapped between luscious legs. A final squeal of delight. Zero stands and they tongue swap.
Zero, ‘You can satisfy my need tonight.’
‘My pleasure.’
‘Any dinner thoughts?’
Z, ‘We have pizza crusts and the toppings, I’ll put them together later, it appears to be cocktail hour, you want nibbles?’
‘Not me, pizza will be sufficient,’ CC concurs, Zero makes my drink, pours red for her and CC.
Zero, ‘We travel tomorrow, I checked the account, our money is there, sooner we send the preacher to hell, the sooner we collect.’
CC, ‘I can sort of get the abortion thing, but why do those people despise queers? Z and I are queer, any God that doesn’t want us is no God of mine. If I had a God, she would appreciate the wonder of us, we’d get a front row pew.’
‘What is your take on abortion, that you sort of get where they’re coming from?’
‘Not this particular crowd, they’d have women giving birth to brain dead babies, incest babies, rape babies, ridiculously irrational. That aside, it’s the twenty first century, not the Dork Ages. If a woman has unprotected sex, she must know that pregnancy is possible, even likely. When, exactly, does a woman’s right to choose start?’
‘I presume when the bit they pee on reveals they are pregnant.’
‘So they fail to choose protection, a condom, the pill, the morning after pill, but they want the right to choose abortion. That doesn’t speak well of a woman’s so-called right to choose. Choice when they don’t like the outcome of a previous bad choice.’
‘Fair enough. But people make stupid choices all the time, particularly when hormones spike.’
‘Granted, so okay, better to abort than have a kid she can neither afford or raise a kid when she’s fifteen. That begs the question of how long does the fetus gestate before she has it sucked or scraped out? Let’s say she’s particularly slow, doesn’t realize she’s pregnant for two months, eight weeks. Then a decision, keep or abort. If she gets a month to decide, that’s now twelve weeks. Seems to me that’s long enough. If she hasn’t made up her mind by then she has made a choice, to give birth.’
Zero, ‘Stupidity has consequences.’
‘Right.’
‘Good points all. Now, what about the gay thing?’
‘That’s just fear, or denial. Fear because they recognize homosexual tendencies in themselves, it scares them, they project that fear onto homosexuals. Denial because they think homosexuality is a choice. That gays can just decide not to be. It’s like saying we can choose not to breathe.’
Zero, ‘Religion is superstition, nothing good comes from superstition.’

Fifty

God’s House of Redemption and Tax Exemption

We touchdown at the near empty municipal airport, our rental, a Saab Existential, is waiting, it doesn’t find meaning in being driven, doesn’t care if you drive it or not. We toss the luggage in the trunk, toss ourselves into the passenger compartment and drive to the Preacher’s church.
Zero, ‘Down three more blocks, there it is, on the right.’
The sign says Assembly of Suffering, then the title of this week’s sermon, ‘Don’t Suffer Sinners, Make Sinner’s Suffer.’
CC, ‘Compassion has lost its way.’
Zero, ‘What do we care about compassion? We kill people.’
‘It’s compassionate to kill rabid dogs, we may be up for the Mother Teresa Prize, Killing Evil Category. Kiss my ring,’ dangles her hand in front of Zero.
‘Buzz off.’
CC giggles.
‘Nobody around yet.’
‘There’s a car on the left side of the building, not the one we got from our employer.’
A woman comes out the side door, gets in the car, after the usual female fooling around with purse, mirror check, phone check, second mirror check, cranks it up and drives off.
Zero, ‘Try the house.’
‘Don’t they call them parsonages?’
‘Yeah, but it’s only sticks and bricks, like every other house, go straight for a half mile, then right, Preacher lives a half mile down.’
I drive slowly past, ‘Preacher is doing better than his church, it’s a medium mansion, not like the compounds with a pool and tennis court like the mega-church megalomaniacs.’
Z, ‘He’s at least got a Mercedes, a new one too, the Nerd, essentially a rolling computer.’
‘Nice color combo, black and blue.’
‘Exclusive to the Nerd, the Bruise Package, like when the football team corners the geek. There’s a more expensive version, the Brutality, it’s black, blue, and blood red, bumper sticker says, I brake for nobody.’
CC, ‘Park over there, see, just past his place, the one under construction. No workers today, if someone sees our car they’ll assume we’re doing something inside, measuring for window treatments or whatever.’
I start to back in the drive, then it occurs that going front end appears more normal and gives us a bit of cover
Zero takes the listening dish out, turns on the device and points the dish at Preacher’s parsonage. Rather than headphones, she has the thing plugged into a small speaker so we can all hear.
Zero, ‘Music, Rob Zombie of all things, Pussy Liquor from his movie House of 1000 Corpses.’
She sings… 
Tim had a baby
Otis was his name
White as a ghost totally insane
Otis loves the girls
Young and clean
Drowning in a bucket of gasoline
One, two, three, who should I kill?
Every motherfucker running up the hill
One, two, three, what should I do?
Get fucked up and fuck up you…

CC, ‘Zero listens to strange, Zombie is a favorite.’
‘How can you not like a song titled Pussy Liquor?’
‘She has a point.’
‘What would Preacher think if he knew two of Satan’s Whores were right outside?’
‘My question is, who’s playing the music? I mean, his car is here, unless he’s off in someone else’s ride, he’s got to hear the music.’
Zero, ‘Music’s off, maybe we can find out who’s home.’
A girl’s voice, ‘Like my lap dance daddy, your thing is sticking up.’
Man, ‘Sit here, I’ll lick your little luscious while mommy is out.’
‘Can I suck you after?’
‘Uh huh.’
CC, ‘Welcome to bizarro-land.’
‘Maybe mommy wants him dead.’
A car pulls in Preacher’s drive, it sits there for a bit, then a woman gets out, goes in the front door.
Zero, ‘This could get interesting.’
Girl’s voice, ‘Hey mommy…daddy’s licking my pussy, you want to lick it?’
‘Later, I prefer sex in bed.’
‘Daddy, it feels sooo good…oohh, I’m getting all tingly,’ giggles.
It’s quiet for a bit, then, ‘Watch me play with daddy, mommy.’
Zero, ‘More interesting than I thought, mustn’t be mom who wants him dead.’
‘Maybe she wants him out of the way, gets the girl for herself.’
CC, ‘That’s devious.’
Male, ‘That’s it, you’re getting to be a pro cocksucker.’
Muffled giggle.
Female, ‘Swallow all of the holy lotion, Lucretia.’
CC, ‘Holy lotion? That’s a new one. Commandant, did you know you had holy lotion?’
‘I’m not a man of God.’
Zero, ‘I wonder if this is preparation for the church’s parenting class?’
We laugh.
‘I wonder how old she is, a child, child or a teenager acting like one.’
Female, ‘Clean up honey, I need to run a couple more errands but I have frozen stuff from the grocery that needs to be put up. A quick stop at the dry cleaners, then you go for a haircut and style.’
Small sounds of movement, no conversation. Fifteen passes, front door opens. The woman comes out followed by a girl of seven or eight. Mom is dressed in jeans and a white blouse, the kid is in a mini, a half t-shirt and platform shoes. She’s thin, pretty, looks like her mother.
Inside another song.
Zero, ‘Nine inch Nails, Closer.’
We listen for a bit, Zero joins in the chorus..
I want to fuck you like an animal
I want to feel you from the inside
I want to fuck you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed
You get me closer to god

CC is laughing, ‘That is sooo perfect.’
‘She didn’t lock the door when she left.’
Zero turns to CC, ‘You want this one?’
‘Sure,’ she takes the Glock, pulls the slide and checks the chamber, releases the magazine, ‘five and one,’ reinserts the magazine, slips on gloves and gets out of the car, turns and leans in.
‘What if it isn’t him?’
‘I’d say shoot him anyway, but it will put the target on alert. Make up something and leave.’
She walks down the block, crosses the street, her jacket covers the gun in her waist holster. No ski mask, that could be a giveaway, a watch cap and death dark sunglasses instead.
We watch her knock, door opens, she takes a moment to confirm. It’s the same rat face as the photo our employer sent, down to slick backed hair and a goatee.
CC sends him sprawling with a sharp push kick, follows his body into the house.
The listening device is still on, there’s no pop from the Glock, there is a crash, then his voice.
‘What a little pest you are, I’m going to domesticate your pretty little ass. What did you come here for anyway?’
Nothing, then, ‘You are going to obey me….what’s this, a gun? You planning to kill.. ‘
That’s all we hear, we’re out of the car, the front door is closed but not locked, I bang in, Zero behind me.
CC is on the floor in the middle of what used to be a coffee table. Preacher has the Glock pointed at her, looking between her and us.
I catch her eye, roll my hand with a finger pointed, she rolls and keeps rolling, Preacher looks at us, raises the weapon, earns two nines in his skull. He drops the gun, falls to the side.
Zero goes to CC, ‘You okay?’
‘Bruised, nothing broken, I have no idea what happened except my gut hurts.’
‘You remember landing on the table?’
‘Yeah, but how, he never touched me.’
‘You couldn’t shoot him,’ a statement, not a question.
‘No, my brain blanked, what’s my gun doing on the floor?’
‘He took it.’
‘What? It was in my hand, then I went flying, what is this asshole?’
‘Let’s go, we’ll sort it out later.’
In the car, ‘Zero, same drill, find a hotel at least a hundred miles, with an airport.’
She searches, I pass a drug store, pull in the lot, ‘Getting pain reliever and instant ice packs, back in a minute.’
On the highway in ten, Zero has CC stretched out across the back seat, two packs on her tummy. I bought ibuprofen and a couple of cold Cokes. 
‘Any other injuries?’
‘Nothing I can feel, just my stomach, the cold is helping.’
‘Pills will kick in soon, when we get someplace clean, go in and pee, if there’s blood, there’s a problem.’
I spot a hotel, ‘Zero, take her in, hotels like this keep the restrooms clean.’
They’re out in five.
Zero, ‘She’s good, needs to lie down again though. Her tummy has an ugly bruise just above her navel.’
She rests two fresh cold packs on it, CC says, ‘The cold feels delicious.’
‘I also got the kind that need to go in the freezer, first we need a hotel room with a freezer, something with a full kitchen and refrigerator. Cripes, I need to find a quiet spot and change the plates back.’
I’d taken my own advice and lifted some poor schmuck’s plate, swapped the rental plate. Now I need to swap it back.
‘Take the first exit, you can change the plate someplace less public.’
The exit is to a commercial road, lots of strip centers, I back next to one, hop out. I didn’t screw the plate on tight, use my fingers to get it off, stick on the rental plate and toss the one I borrowed in a dumpster that smells like several people threw up then died in it.
In two hours we’re pulling into an extended stay hotel, The Traveling Pants, wasn’t there a movie? I go in, hand them my corporate credit card and a license. The license says I’m Fred Summers, the photo might be me or the man behind the tree. Fred has black frame glasses like the ones I slipped on and is otherwise so bland he could be yogurt.
Return to the Saab, ‘Key card, take the bag from the drugstore and one of the rollers, no, two. Leave my suitcase, I’m going to get groceries and turn the car in. I’ll catch a cab back here. We aren’t going anywhere, if we leave tomorrow, we can take a cab or Uber to the airport. Oh, call the airline, flight tomorrow at ten. Or do you need more time CC?’
‘No, let’s get home tomorrow. I still don’t understand what the hell happened.’
Zero, ‘When we’re settled and Commandant returns, I think I can explain it.’
CC doesn’t ask questions, the girls are good that way, they don’t get hyper and babble.

Fifty One

I got enough for dinner, supermarket roast chicken, beet salad, box of tomato bisque soup, bag of ice, vodka and wine.
‘How’s she doing?’
Z, ‘Fine, CC is tough, grappling and fight training has made us relatively insensitive to pain. Sometimes I think there’s a layer of calluses under our skin. In my long years, I never trained so hard.’
‘You must not have been in the murder for hire business.’
‘No, that part is new.’
‘She asleep?’
‘Yeah, and the gel packs are in the freezer, probably need another couple hours. There’s one more pack of instant, I’ll use it when she wakes.’
‘Lay down someplace, we had a surge of stress, rest will level us out.’
She goes off to the bathroom, I stick the beets in the refrigerator, vodka in the freezer with the ice, wine in the refrigerator. Go to the bedroom and undress.
Zero is exiting the shower, I hand her a bath towel, climb in, wash hair and body, brush my teeth and join her in bed.
She scrunches next to me, I stay on my back, her head next to mine on the pillows.
I’m not sleepy, Zero drops off in minutes. I drift in the twilight of partial sleep. 
After an hour, I nudge her.
‘I’m awake, getting hungry.’
‘I’ll get things organized, check on our girl.’
CC is awake as well, still on her back, book in hand.
I bring glasses of wine, make myself a large vodka filled with ice and a splash of cranberry.
‘CC you want to sit at the table, or I can bring a plate to you.’
‘I need to get mobile,’ she eases up, ‘ice packs did a good job.’
Zero, ‘The gel packs will be cold by now, after dinner you go back in the freezer.’
We eat while Zero explains what she thinks happened with Preacher.
‘In my past, before the last idiots Commandant rescued me from, I’ve seen a few people who can move matter with their mind, it’s called telekenesis. A couple of them could take a mind and control that person’s behavior.’
CC, ‘Get out, with their brain?’
‘Yes. The ability, for some, has side effects. You can imagine the sense of power it brings. They can control matter, people’s brains are matter. It’s not unlimited, never seen anyone lift a car with their mind for instance. Still, they feel god-like, no empathy or sympathy, only what strikes their fancy, amuses them.’
‘So Preacher decided it would be fun to make his daughter perform sex acts and her mother encourage them.’
‘I doubt the girl is his daughter, but she looks too much like her mother not to be her daughter. He scripts their behavior, or perhaps the mom is also capable but I don’t think so. She’s attractive, he’s a weasel. If she had those powers, he isn’t someone she’d agree to be with.’
‘How does he control them when he isn’t around? Like when she left to run errands with the girl.’
‘He can’t, at least the ones I saw had to be near to the victim. I got clues though, they blank the people under control, so, as in hypnosis, the subjects have no idea what he got them to do.’
‘In Preacher’s case, his power extended to fomenting hatred, it must delight him to see his congregation with God Hates Fags signs, threatening women going to abortion clinics.’
‘You don’t mean he controls his entire congregation.’
‘No, he just uses the insecurities they already possess, fear of queer on the one hand, self-righteously punishing women who need abortions. They fear the objects of their hate, angry people are always afraid. They join religions to cover their fear. If you believe you’re doing God’s work, you can justify anything. Preacher could give a damn about queers or abortions.’
‘What happens to mom and the girl?’
‘Unknown. If I’m right, at least they don’t remember the child rape. I can’t explain why, if he blanked them, she stays with him…wait, maybe I can explain. She isn’t his wife, or even girlfriend. My bet is she’s more of a maid, housekeeper, an employee. He takes their minds when he gets in the mood, the kid thinks he’s daddy, the woman thinks she’s his wife, only for as long as he wants to screw with them.’
‘That would be the best news, woman comes back, finds him dead, she and the girl are out of it. In their normal state, he’s just the man mom works for.’
‘Could they, subconsciously, be relieved without knowing why?’
‘Good point, we’ll never know, and they may never know, or even question, why they don’t feel bad about him getting shot. It doesn’t matter, we took a job, resolved the conflict. The rest is not our purview, we don’t do Jesus Therapy.’
CC, ‘Zero, when you talk about your endless life, do you mean past lives, like reincarnation?’
‘No, reincarnation in popular belief is ridiculous. There’s no you that is born over and over. To the extent we’re all stardust, death recycles the body into the Earth. We become worm food, which becomes bird food, bird gets killed for food, or just dies and is recycled like human bodies. If you want to call that reincarnation, okay.’
‘So what happens with you?’
‘I lived with various families. My age changed to conform to the family. With one, I was a toddler, another seven or eight, sometimes ten or eleven. I didn’t actually change my age, I changed what people saw.’
I ask, ‘When I met you, you were eight, since you’ve been with me, you have aged to appear twelve. Is that an illusion?’
Zero, ‘No. I grew tired of finding families, they were all the same, full of petty jealousies, ambitions, rules, always rules. I reached out for someone different, who wasn’t afraid, who didn’t have rules. Commandant came along.’
CC, ‘Why did you accept, include, me?’
‘Rather than find an existing family, I decided to build my own. No hierarchy, nobody is dad or mom, no rules.’
‘Are we it then?’
‘No, there will be more, who and when are unknown, I can’t control that, but I will know when they show up, that they are part of us.’
CC grins, ‘This is kind of exciting, uncertainty keeps life interesting, fun even.’
‘Most people crave certainty.’
‘Most people are idiots, sheep, petty people with petty lives.’

Fifty Two

We don’t much keep up with what happens in the aftermath of our resolutions, we aren’t curious in that way. Someone wants a conflict resolved, they pay us, we resolve it, go home. In the case of our last outing, mom and daughter are better off, particularly if they have no memory of Preacher’s manipulations. 
Zero explains, ‘Of the ones I’ve seen, the abuse escalates, they habituate to one level, then it’s just boring repetition. Their solution is to bring in other victims, or get the current victim to engage in ever more bizarre behavior. Maybe a third party comes into play, male or female, adult or another child, depending on what strikes the Preacher’s fancy.’
‘Which won’t happen since you put a bullet in his brain.’
‘I wasn’t able to do anything about the ones I saw before, I didn’t have a Glock or Commandant’s training.’
‘Do you have a name for these people? You haven’t called them anything special.’
‘No, any suggestions? When I see their aura, it’s black.’
‘Wait, this is new, auras?’
CC, ‘I read about it, people are matter, which is made up of energy, but people, all living things really, have a life force called Chi, or Qi, Q is pronounced ch in Chinese. The energy surrounds them and some claim to be able to see it, colors.’
‘I heard about Chi in the Far East, it comes up in martial arts as well. First time Zero has mentioned reading auras.’
Z, ‘It’s how I knew you would rescue me, I saw it as soon as you got out of your car. Yours is fire and ash, except with us, then a royal blue, maybe space blue, a bit darker.’
CC, ‘And mine?’
‘Violet, with sparkles when you’re mood turns to sensuality.’
‘Like when I look at you?’
‘Or when you admire yourself in the mirror.’
CC giggles, ‘I turn myself on, it’s a gift.’
‘A shadow is black.’
Z, ‘That’s it! Shadows, we’ll call them Shadows.’
‘Are they psycho?’
‘We’re psycho, but not Shadows. A Shadow is a psychopath, but not all psychopaths are Shadows.’
‘Are there a lot of them, Shadows?’
‘No idea. I’ve seen a few, but over many years, I don’t see black auras on every corner. Lots of people have dark auras, there’s a ton of anger out there, but they aren’t psychopaths, they can’t control their own mind, much less someone else’s.’
‘Parents try to control their kids all the time, men try to control women, women learn manipulative techniques to try and control men.’
‘Yes, the religious are particularly guilty, but that kind of control isn’t taking a mind and operating it like a puppet. You make a good point though, how is taking a mind different from parent, church, or political brainwashing?’
‘Maybe a technicality, but those manipulators do it with some level of cooperation from the believer. The kid believes the parent knows, the religious believe the book and the priest, the citizen believes he’s being patriotic by following so-called leaders. It’s a misguided effort to belong, either faux-prestige or the false comfort and illusion of safety of the group.’
Zero, ‘For a gorgeous girl creature, you have more brains than you’re supposed to. Men don’t usually like their women to be smarter than they are.’
CC, ‘Aside from Commandant, I have no use for men, certainly don’t care what they like or dislike.’
‘Enough of Shadows, believers, and the lesser of the species, let’s trampoline, then I’ll fix lunch.’
‘I’ll fix it, I have time to get in a few miles on the treadmill, then I’ll make up chicken and roast beef sandwiches.’
‘Do finger sandwiches, no crust, minimal bread.’
They go out to bounce and flip, I crank up the machine and pound out the miles.
A shower, into casual pants and a t-shirt, then to the kitchen to prep lunch. The girls come in huffing, to the bathroom to get clean and shiny, come out in wet hair and nothing else.
CC, ‘We decided to spend the afternoon ultra-casual.’
I eyeball the smooth and tight, no need to comment, they know what they have, what they are; my visual admiration is all that’s required. Pleasant duty.
I’ve laid out a platter of fingers, bag of chips, ‘Coke or iced tea?’
Tea today, we eat at the island, I never got around to buying a dining table. 
Girls are hungry, they cleaned out the sandwiches, ‘Get enough?’
Zero, ‘Plenty, you round up steaks, I’ll work the grill, maybe baked potato, anything else you want.’
To the grocery, I shop a bit, wind up getting peppers, red and yellow, fresh mushrooms. A few staples, milk, coffee, butter, the French bread was still warm so I got a loaf.
When I return the girls are napping, maybe they got frisky, but they aren’t frisky now, curled up like kittens. I dash Worcestershire, salt, and pepper on the steaks. For variety I picked up two twelve ounce filets and a fat ribeye.
Zero’s head pops up from under the sheets, ‘There’s demi-glace in the freezer take out one of the containers and I’ll make marchand de vin sauce for the steaks.’
‘Already on the counter, I decided to make grilled peppers and mushrooms for the potatoes, we have a lot of steak.’
She comes over, ‘And French bread, good, buttery crusty bread dipped in the sauce is almost as good as the steak itself. We’ll skip nibbles tonight, want your drink?’
‘Yes, I’ll open red, cabernet or merlot?’
‘First one you grab.’
I cheat a little, cabernet will blend with the steak better, spot one of the Mondavis we stock, take it out and open it.
CC is up, ‘Steaks, you going to make that amazing sauce?’
Z, ‘Yep, pour us a glass of wine, set the stage for sizzling steak.’
CC and I park at the island, Zero is chopping peppers, she turns to make sure we’re examining her assets. Of course we are, she grins and turns back to her task.
An hour later we’re eating rare, coating of sauce, hot garlic bread and stuffed potato.
‘Good job Zero, this is delish.’
‘Thank you. I was wondering, what do we do about Shadows, I mean, if I spot one?’
CC, ‘Can I just shoot them?’
Zero and I laugh, CC has a two track mind, one is self-admiration, the other is murder. Three tracks, sex with Zero, which may be the main line.
Z, ‘Sex with me better be the main line.’
CC, ‘She in your head again?’
‘I was thinking about your three track mind.’
‘What are the other two?’
‘You and murder.’
CC giggles, ‘You know me so well.’

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