While taking a stroll upon my return to Naptown, I encountered Hector as he emerged from Picasso's: An Urban Bistro with a woman on his arm.
"Hello, dear fellow!" I cried. "Hello, Rocky!" he responded. "Rocky, this is my darling Sinistrella. Sinistrella, this is my dear friend Rocky."
Hector's pallid gal pal and I nodded at each other. My eyes lingered longer than my aesthetic sense required to adequately take in Sinistrella's McGothic appearance, her garb seemingly an assemblage of all that is black and faux vintage that one can acquire from an outlet mall. I was not feasting my eyes upon her implied doomed beauty, but, rather, staring while I endured a moment of cognitive dissonance.
Hmmmmm, I thought, the memory of poor dead Angelique evaporated quickly. And this Sinistrella, with her lopsided bird's nest of a goth-chick hairdo ... there's something "off" about her, something I can't put my finger on ...
"So, my dear Hector," I said, "what have you been working on lately?"
"Rocky, as you know I utilize my Language-Cruncher machine in an annual census of our country's decline into totalitarianism. The Language-Cruncher collects news articles from online and print media sources and compares them with the text of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. Ninety-seven percent of the incidents recounted in that book have had analogues in the United States in the past year."
Sinistrella furtively pulled a small notebook from her handbag and quickly jotted in it. The speed and stealth with which she undertook such a mundane task bothered me. And those beady eyes ... and that hair! It seems somehow to levitate, off kilter, just above her head ...
"What about you, Rocky? What have you been up to?" Hector asked.
"Not much, the usual ... kidnapped by the CIA, tortured on a U.S. naval vessel, pissing on Bush, that sort of thing," I said.
"Yes, we know!" Sinistrella said, then quickly put her hand over her mouth.
"But darling, you've just met Rocky! How would you know anything about him?" Hector asked, tickling her chin with his forefinger.
"I meant, we should go! Come, Hector, we need to get to the bus stop!" she blurted.
The two disappeared.
to be continued ...