Part 10 – Kiss the snake

Calling men with guns cowards typically is not a wise idea.  If they’re not cowards it doesn’t help certainly, but if they are cowards calling them out on it might give them the gumption they need to put their cowardice on hold long enough to shoot you down.  There’s probably a small selection of men with guns who can be cowed by being called cowards (hey, that’s where that comes from!) but unless you know that for sure that’s what they are going in its probably not worth the risk of throwing out the C-word.  Very risky.

Nevertheless no one shoots Grace.  Not Baby, not Barry Bonds, not Kid Greasy, not Officer Nasty, not Fake Cop #2, none of the bunch.  Thirty percent of the reason is confusion.  When Grace showed up at Andrea’s apartment and Huddie tried to fry him and he shot himself in the foot he panicked and called “his” crew to grab Andrea said crew thought they’d have time to figure the rest out later.  Before they could figure out anything here comes Grace right on their asses.  They don’t know if shooting her is a good idea or not.

Thirty percent is cowardice.  The idea of all bullies being cowards is a myth, but it’s one of those myths that are kind of true, like smiling makes you feel happier.  Grace has an outsized rep with this particular clade of dark magic jerkasses, in particular the tale of her confrontation with them during the California blackouts has been greatly exaggerated.  You and I know that it was Sanaa that killed Meat not Grace, but that’s not how they tell it.  Grace has become something of a very localized boogey-woman for this group.  What if you shoot and the bullet bounces right off and then she rips your heart out and eats it?  That would suck.

Thirty percent of the reason is that even with black magic at your disposal there’s no guaranty that you can blow someone away extemporaneously and get away with it.  People like to complain about police efficacy but they take murder pretty seriously.  And the last ten percent is that most people, even black magic jerkasses, have to work themselves up to a cold blooded murder.  Even if you’ve done it before.  Especially if you’ve done it before sometimes. 

Grace takes a few steps forward and reaches out her hand to Andrea “Come on now, let’s go.”

Baby sets his gun down and exchanges a glance with Barry Bonds before looking back to Grace “We don’t need to shoot you to stop you.”

Grace looks around and snorts “You sure about that?  Who wants to take the first swing?” Grace guides Andrea behind her and walks them both backwards towards the door “How about you Officer Nasty?  You want to get this party started?  Huh?  How about you Big Head?  You want a little?”

Grace and Andrea stumble back into the actual storeroom for doughnut stuff where the kid in the apron is waiting for them – waiting in this case to scramble aside when Grace tells him to move the fuck out of the way.  The black magic quartet trails behind them as they head out the front door doing their best to look menacing and dark magicky while having no clue what to do. 

For a moment Grace is just as confused herself once they get out in the parking lot since she ran here and what’s she going to do, pick up Andrea in her arms like a baby and run away with her?  Since she just saw Huddie do it she tries the reverse of her malfunction spell on the fake cops Corolla and to her surprise it works – it starts right up.  She and Andrea get in and Grace smoothly pulls out into traffic – say one thing for Grace, she always respects the rules of the road, even in a tough situation.

Grace spares a glance at her passenger “Are you alright over there?  Did they give you something, like drug you, or mess with your head with their magic?”

Andrea shakes her head “No . . . I don’t think so.”

Grace nods, mostly to herself “Alright, good.  I’ll find someplace to stop, I don’t know where Cassie went so I’ll find a place to stop here in a minute and cast my finding spell.  Then we can figure out what to do next.  You know what Dale was behind all this right?  In your sober moments you have to know that he’s a dick.”

Andrea looks like she’s considering jumping from the moving car “Um . . . who are you?”

“Oh shit, sorry, I figured you knew.”  Grace extends her hand cross body awkwardly “I’m Grace, we talked on the phone once.  Magic is real, you know that right?  You know the whole deal with Cassie and the murders?  I know your sister wasn’t big on trusting people with information but she had to have told you the basics.”

Andrea looks at Grace’s offered hand like she’s holding out a venomous snake and asking her to kiss it on the head “I don’t know what’s happening.”

Grace blows you a breath “Whoo, okay, let’s start at the beginning.”

Published by sopantooth

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