This Great Society November 2009: Contents
This Great Society - Creative Writing
Illustration: Linnea McNally Jenkins
D. A. Weiss: Comrade of Thy Wanderings - Part Two of Three

The shadow stuck on me like a barn cat looking to upgrade. I didn't catch sight of him, but my gut told me he was there, and my gut was the only thing I trusted. I hobbled along, ignoring the pain shooting up from my right foot. It turns out you can kick a man too hard when he's down.

My true memories were fading already, replaced by the muddled thoughts of this drunk lout I had been dropped into. I knew I had arranged one physical connection to my true self before my drop, I knew, smuggling it into my host's wallet by some means I couldn't fathom. But I wasn't about to go peeking at it with a tail only a few blocks behind me. Besides, I wanted to find out if he could help me piece together why I was here.

I turned a sharp right down another of the expanse of streets, and spotted a large barrel against a wall, perfect for an ambush. Slipping past and then squatting with the barrel between myself and the shadow's inevitable path, I waited for him to come by. He didn't. I was starting to get impatient. Finally, I glanced at my wrist for the time, but realized my host wouldn't have a watch—few in these parts would.

"The time? A few seconds 'ta midnight," laughed a voice above me.

I started, throwing myself away from the barrel and the voice, but my bad foot crumpled beneath me and I sprawled out clumsily. Leaning with one elbow on the barrel, not inches from where I had been squatting, was a lithe man wearing foppish but well-tailored apparel of purple and black, a laughing smile almost breaking out of his pursed lips, beneath a hint of a moustache and a long, tapered nose.

I tried to find something to say as I failed to get to my feet, but was saved the trouble by the sound of bells ringing in the distance.

"See?" he laughed smugly, and held his hand out to steady me. I didn't take it, and crouched in a three point stance, regaining my composure and feeling out my injured foot. He shrugged. A cigarette appeared in his fingers, and then a light.

"Care for a smoke then, friend agent?" Agent. The word hit me like my first shot of momma's tequila. I'd heard it a thousand times, but it was out of place here. I reached up for the cigarette he offered, and took his wrist instead. Shooting my left foot out to sweep his legs and break his balance, I dragged him down by his wrist and was squatting on his chest a half-second later. The smile was gone from his lips, but not from his eyes. I'd take care of that soon enough.

With my free hand, I grabbed his throat and squeezed. My fingers almost met around the back of his neck, and I realized how enormous I—or this body, I reminded myself—must be. He felt like a child beneath me.

The smiling eyes got big and very serious very quickly. “In 'bout five seconds,” I growled, “the light’s gonna start goin' out.” I sounded like a fool. Was that really my voice? No matter. “Is 'at what we want, or we wanta start ansin' some questions?” He just shook, and his eyes starting to roll back in his head. Blast. I let go. He gasped and convulsed beneath me.

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This Great Society November 2009
This Great Society November 2009: Contents
This Great Society November 2009: Contents
This Great Society November 2009: Contents This Great Society November 2009: Arts This Great Society November 2009: Creative Writing This Great Society November 2009: Thoughts and Analysis This Great Society November 2009: Formalities