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Tonight Harmony coaxed me to come be her sparring partner at kickboxing.   After she broke the last guy’s rib.   Don’t ask.

When I got there she was waiting for me in the gym foyer, draped in the corner of a couch with her arm flung over the back and one leg crooked up on the cushions in a non-plural defiance of the ‘No feet on furniture’ sign above her head.   Only Harm would exercise with lurid striped stockings under her shorts, and multitudes of black eyeliner.   She was flipping the lid of her cigarette carton lazily.

As I entered, she threw the carton at me in part-remonstrance, part-affectionate greeting, and we joined the class.

I was holding the pad as she assailed it with this front kick/round kick combo thing when Harm asked:

“So what’s the deal with Py?”

Her smudged eyes were linked up with furrows of concentration.   Her neck was slick with persperation.   Syllables of the ensuing conversation were punctuated with a barrage of loud hits connecting with the poor defenseless kickbag, while the hapless Jonathon braced himself for the assault.

“The deal?”

“Geez – I knew you blew some days off the last week or so, but did you skip every history class?”

She paused for breath, then started on the side kicks.

“We’ve had a substitute the last four classes, dickhead.   Mrs Keech came in and explained Mr Harbinger had had a death in the family and needed some time off.   What’s the story with him?”

She stopped, and we swapped.   The instructor passed by on his rounds and made a valient attempt to correct my appalling technique (my feet are not my usual fucking weapon of choice, okay?) – and then it was time for me to give it a go.

“He didn’t say anything to me about leaving town, but I haven’t seen him around for a couple of days.   Guess he felt he had to – make some arrangements for her – his ‘relative’ I mean – after he sorted out things around here…”

The thuds against the tough vinyl  suddenly sounded like amateur heartbeats.   It was the dull sound of what used to be Carly first hitting the floor; the impact of recognition.   It was the uneven rhythm of the steps Py would take to again begin the hunt for Amelia.  

And now it was realization being drummed in.   He hadn’t said anything to me because I’d just be underfoot.   Fuck.

I was still thinking furiously on my feet as I gave the pad a last half-hearted kick – but it was Harmony who unwittingly got in the final blow.

“Did you know the dead woman?”

“Oh yes….”

But thank fuck the instructor called end of class before I put my foot in it, and added: 

“…I knew both of them.”





  1. Incredible as always Mr.8! Am I the only one that would like to see Py on twitter? I remember when he hijacked your blog last time. Scratch that..he’s scarier than you..If that’s possible.

  2. I’m sure it’s better that you didn’t go with him.

    Any Valentine’s Day plans? Seems like it might suck for you, in more ways than one…just saying.

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