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A picture of a skinny twitchy white guy who looked like he'd been constructed from a bunch of hastily assembled birch saplings popped into my head. Bobby Locane. The Bug. Yeah, I knew him. I knew him well enough to know that, if he was in deep shit, he probably deserved it.

"Who's us?" I said.

Me and Queen,” said Bobby through the static.

Oh, great. Queen Babs and freaking Bobby the Bug Locane. Just what I freaking need at three fucking o'clock in the morning.

Why do these idiots always come to me when they get in over their heads? It's not like I can do anything to make them smarter or faster or capable of telling the truth. And why in the hell do I always let them in?

"Yeah, all right," I said into the speaker. "Two minutes."


Bobby the Bug was just like I remembered him– short, skinny and running a twitch that would make an epileptic look like a statue. His girl, a piece of Goth jailbait named Barbara something who made everybody call her Queen, towered over him the way a big lump of vanilla ice cream towers over a dish. They both looked and smelled like they'd been spit out the wrong end of a sewer pipe.

"Jesus," I said, taking a step back. “Bathe much?”

It was useless. Their stench was like a live animal, clawing at me, trying to pull me in with them.

"Sorry," said Bobby the Bug.

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