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D & L
by brendanlee;05222007;1748
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______ Love - - at least, the way I work the angles - - has got some explaining to do.

See, Death’s after Love, three feet off her heels; he’s riding flat-out like all the saints and the ghost of Moses was three feet behind him . . . and he’s hungry. Hungry, hot-chained and reckless, on a bike half Harley and half Hell Itself, tires hovering half an inch above the ground.

And you might think that would be enough, to catch a little thing like Love all there alone by her lonesome, but get this: she’s on God’s own moped, that girl, and she’s pushing that holy chunk of tin on high-octane rainbows and unicorn farts, and it’s always just fast enough to hold the distance there.

Barely.

And so it goes down on down the road, as fast and steady as you please, through the sun and the bugs and the dust and the rain, the ever-loving grind of single-minded obsession and single-minded indifference. And then . . . hell, when they finally meet - - when Love finally digs her spiked pink heels into the dust, and jackknifes that damn moped right there in the middle of the road, and there’s that final conflagration of dust and grease and she looks Death full in the face and screams What. Do. You. Want . . .

Well.

That’s something Death hasn’t quite been prepared for.

I mean, he’s looked at the situation from all possible angles at that point, and it’s frankly kind of baffling, to a guy like him. He thought he’d readied himself for any eventuality - - everything from a cup of coffee to a quick rape behind a disused toolshed - - but now, actually face-to-face with her, there in the road . . . he finds himself very much the Dog That Caught The Car.

She flips back her visor. She’s a pretty thing, ‘course, better than Death could have imagined in his loneliest nights, and she’s got a little heart tattooed on her right cheek, right below the eye. He coughs a mess of grime into his fist.

“Uh . . . ”

“Yeah?”

Death wiggles his toes around in one of his boots.

“Was . . . well, was kind of wondrin’ if you’d like to maybe . . . ah, hell Clarence, you are fucking this up . . . I was . . . well, wondrin’ if you maybe could see clear to finding your way to a cup of coffee or somethin’. With me. I . . . uh, know a pretty good toolshed near hereabouts . . . ”

Love looks at him and blinks, just once - - long lashes and a perfectly balanced sense of the very most cosmopolitan corners of the modern cosmetics industry. She makes herself a damn unfriendly face.

“God! No!”

And then she’s off again - - fast, blinding fast, and at the same time taking it just a bit easier, because she knows what a man is willing to do for Love, and she knows what a man like Death is willing to do for Love, and she knows that a man like Death would rather die on the very spot than mount his hell-cycle again and take up the same old hunt.

And Death . . . he stands there, in the sun and the heat and the dust and the bugs, and he kind of holds his hands there at his sides, and he kind of balls and unballs his fists for a good little while, and then there’s a scream, a good fucking manly kind of scream, and a couple of vultures fall from the sky.

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