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“Naturally,” Bidden replied.
Thompson was silent for a while. When he spoke it was with the
last dregs of his courage: “You are evil as the biblical Ahab, Mr.
Bidden. He would not stop until he had everything, even the tiny
garden of his neighbor. And he killed to get it. But I believe in my
religion, despite what you say. And I believe in The Coffee Vine. I will
not give up on either.”
“Then you have placed your faith in illusions, and I regret to
inform you that you will soon be one yourself. So long, Joe.”
Bidden stood up, smiled, and walked leisurely out of the room.
The lawyers followed him. Leona trailed behind. Before reaching the
threshold of the doorway, she glanced quickly back at Thompson,
still seated, staring and unmoving. His skin had become translucent;
he was already starting to disappear. She smiled at him as she closed
the door behind her.
3. Chant Down Babylon
After a long walk through the desert and a couple of days vacation by
the pool at a cheap hillbilly motel, Colin, Bennie, Sprout and Izzy
finally found themselves back home. Colin opened the door with his
key. “Still works!” he said in mock-surprise. “Time to get back to
business as usual.” He ducked under the low entrance.
But he hadn’t realized how unusual their business had become.
Undergrounds was no longer. It had been blackened and bruised by
some sinister force. The walls were painted over, and the furniture
too. There was nothing but uninterrupted pitch; even the lamps were
outfitted with black lights. The bar was littered with empty bottles of
Jack Daniel’s whiskey. A smattering of white cigarette butts cut
through the darkness like a constellation of unlucky stars.
“Who did this?” Sprout said.
“Enemies of color,” Colin supposed. They heard a crash and
shuffle and watched as a young man dressed completely in black
stumbled into the room, vomited, and then collapsed face-down into
the vile puddle he made.
“Shit. We’ve got anarchists again,” Colin said.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” Sprout urged.
“Shhh,” said Bennie, lowering his voice. “They must be expecting
us. This could be dangerous. Follow me.”
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