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Dmitri checked his reflection in the mirror and chuckled at old wives’ tales. He ran his slim, pianist’s fingers through slick blond hair and winked at his own wry smile. A vibration originating from his wrist alerted him to the fact that Piotr was late. They met like this four times a year and had a gentleman’s agreement that if the other hadn’t arrived by the appointed hour then the meet was cancelled.

The last of his Glenfiddich slid down easily and he paid the tab, tipping very well. He looked in the mirror again and checked to make sure that not a piece of his finely tailored black suit was out of place. Satisfied, he snugged his black leather gloves in place more for their fashion appeal than to protect his nimble hands from the bitter weather in the Netherlands this time of year.

It didn’t even occur to him to worry about his friend. If anyone could take care of himself it was the big Russian. He stepped out onto the brightly lit street and hailed a cab. A car pulled up and he slid gracefully into the back seat. “Take me to the Crown Plaza please.” His Dutch was as flawless as his teeth.

The driver attempted to pass the time, in the time honored cabbie tradition. “Did you hear about the big dog that they caught trying to break out of the Rijks Museum two nights ago?”

Dmitri’s eyes narrowed a bit. “Big dog? No I didn’t. Tell me.” He didn’t like coincidences, but centuries had proven to him time and again that they happened with greater frequency than they had any right to.

Yeah, they caught this big black dog that must have gotten closed up in the museum somehow. It bit three guards and one of them is in intensive care. Almost took off his arm.” The cabbie shook his head. “Crazy world.”

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