Another teaser from W.I.P.

Wine Country, France

Charlotte woke with a chime in her ear, a message from Roy saying he’d pick her up in 45 minutes — not the notification she expected, from a ride-hailing service, scheduled for an hour before dawn. Radium-painted hands on an alarm clock said it was shortly after 4:00 AM. Momo was breathing softly, dead to the world — and whatever opportunity there might have been for a passionate goodbye was out the door.

She gathered up her clothes, crept into the parlor, dressed under her drones’ watchful eyes, thought about subvocalizing a reply and changed her mind, deciding to call from the kitchen. Roy sounded chipper, like he’d been up for an hour. “Hey, boss-lady; do you have clothes for Boston?”

“What’s in Boston?”

“A railroader.”

“Oh; that guy.” Her eyes wandered to the table, where she found a note next to a white tube made from card stock. “Are we going to shoot him, or what?”

“Echelon wants us to ask a few questions first.”

The note was from Isabel, saying the tube contained a watercolor Momo wanted her to have. She considered looking to see what it was, but then she’d have to put it back. “Come on, then.”

“Are you packed?”


“Ten minutes.”

Breakfast was a chicken-salad-stuffed croissant seasoned with horseradish dressing, washed down with iced tea from a bottle decorated with a scrap of satin ribbon, her name written upon it. Small gestures, enough to foster ambivalence.

Roy arrived in a newish PMI Commuter, graciously popping the rear hatch so she could load it up. He was all smiles and boyish enthusiasm. “What’d you do here?”

I said ‘no’ when I should have said ‘yes’. “Family business.” She thumped him on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: