“What grad school?” I asked. It wasn’t as if I’d know if he were lying, but maybe he’d stumble.
“Georgetown,” he said.
“Yeah? What professor?”
“Why? Are you in the program? Don’t get me wrong, but you don’t seem like a scientist type of girl.”
Compared to Nick, neither did this guy.
“What type of girl do you think I am?”
“The ‘having fun’ type.”
“Whatever. So… Who’s your professor?”
“I’m taking a class from Dr. Blake. So, are you going to take the test or not? It’s just like an allergy test. I drop a little on your skin, and we see what color it turns.”
“Fuck, no,” I said. “I’m not the ‘taking tests from random strangers’ type of girl.”
His expression? A snarl. He looked like he wanted to hit me. And my thoughts? Go for it.
The blond guy (Rod) said, “Dr. Blake? Do you mean Dr. Donald Blake?”
“Sure, that sounds right. You want to help me out?”
“If you change your mind, I’ll be around.” He paused, gave me a look, and walked further down the line, stopping next to a couple girls around my age. They let him put three dots on their forearms with an eye dropper.
I’d been too busy talking (and maybe too pissed off) to notice, but there were a lot more people lined up than when I’d arrived, probably more than fifty of us standing on the sidewalk.
I watched him out of the corner of my eye. Meanwhile Rod started talking to Sam. I didn’t quite hear him, but it sounded like he’d said, “… he’s full of crap… Donald Blake is Thor in the comics…”
She said something too quiet for me to hear, but I didn’t need to. The way the man had tried to deflect my question about his professor told me enough.
Rod said something else to Sam, but now he was whispering too. I stopped paying attention, looked for the guy with the power juice, and I didn’t see him any more. Had he left?
I kept on watching, and I did see him half an hour later. Two guys were following him into the alley on the far side of the building, and even though the alley did lead to the parking lot behind Vee Club, it set off alarm bells in my head.
“Hold my spot,” I said, and not waiting for a reply, I sprinted down the sidewalk, pushing through the crowd.
Even with the sun low in the sky, it wasn’t dark yet, and so I could see down the alley. Maybe one hundred feet down the alley they turned right, disappearing. Vee Club’s parking lot was on the left—behind Vee Club. Where were they going?
I ran down the alley, passing the building to Vee Club’s right, a red, brick, plumbing supply store that had to have been closed since the 1950’s.
I didn’t even try to hide what I was, running as fast as I could, taking steps more than ten feet long.
I caught up to where they turned—another alley between brick buildings. I had no idea what they were. Neither had signs (unless you counted “No Trespassing”).
Not that I wasted time reading.
I made a wide turn staying roughly five feet from the building, guessing they might have someone hiding at the corner.
They did—another buzz cut guy wearing a trench coat. For real. I’d have laughed at the stereotype except he was pointing a 9mm pistol at me.
Seeing the surprise on his face as I passed him. I reached out, grabbed his hand, and squeezed.
Bones cracked under my fingers.
Then I punched him in the face with my left hand, letting go with my right. He flew backwards, hitting the wall, and falling to the ground.
Turning my head to look down the new alley, I saw the people I’d been chasing. They stood next to the back of a green van. The guy with the power juice held a pistol, and he must have been telling the other two guys to step inside.
As I began to run at him, he turned the gun away from them and toward me. Well, he tried.
My first step covered half the distance between us, and put me slightly to the left of him, meaning he had to turn even more if he wanted to hit me.
He fired too soon, and missed.
I turned my second step into a side kick, hitting him in the solar plexus, and knocking him backward. He fell, landing partly inside, his back hitting the bumper, and his head hitting the floor of the van.
I grabbed the pistol out of his hand, and bent the barrel. I felt a little bad about that when I noticed I’d bent a Baby Desert Eagle.
Oh well. It wasn’t as if anybody was going to let me keep it.