see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
It was probably her attitude
toward Trowa, and his toward her, that made me reserve my judgment more
than anything. She seemed honestly to be at least mildly fond of him,
and he seemed to hold her in some kind of regard, even if there was more
than a hint of humor in it. I had found, in the last few months, that
I respected and trusted Trowa's opinions as much as I did Heero's. Hell;
in some things I probably trusted his thoughts more than Heero's.
He tended to be more... pragmatic than Heero when it came to things that
had to do with me. Less likely to assume that what I wanted was necessarily
the best thing.
Somewhat less likely to call the National Guard if I confessed to a headache.
Before I knew it, I'd taken myself back home and was parked in front of
my own front steps. I don't recall a lot about the journey there. I dislike
when things throw me so much that I fall into 'autopilot' mode; I don't
always end up where I intended to go.
But home had been my goal that day, both consciously and sub-consciously
apparently, and I took myself inside, mind fairly churning in my skull.
I went to the stereo in the first part of what had become almost a ritual
since Heero'd been gone, and queued up my music. I had yet to wire the
house the way I had planned to, and knowing that I was most likely going
to end up in my studio before long, I just jacked the volume up a touch
to be sure I would be able to hear it there.
Then I went into the kitchen and spent my several minutes staring at the
portrait of Allison and me that she had given me for Christmas. Sometimes
I like to have my goals clearly in mind. Like to put things in their proper
So maybe Aleyah Winner made me stutter and blush. So maybe she made my
mind blank from the sheer power of her personality.
She didn't have shit on the sound of a little girl's voice telling me,
'I got scars, Mr. Duo!'
Then I went upstairs to change out of my dress clothes and into something
I didn't care if I got paint all over. The superman cape was only in my
imagination. As was the approving nod and slightly feral grin I got from
Solo's portrait over my dresser. Though I nodded in return anyway. It
was at his elbow that I'd developed my need to guard the children in the
first place, after all. He understood. Solo had always understood.
I missed him, sometimes, with a pang that had diminished not overly much
through the years. It was a wound that had never quite healed, and that
trip to L2 still had it a bit raw. I rubbed a hand over my line of physical
scars as I made my way down the stairs, and sighed as I realized that
Solo had gotten caught up in the whirlwind of thoughts rushing through
And it was in that frame of mind that I went to stand in front of my brand
new, never really used, expensive as holy-hell easel. The canvas was still
sitting on it from my one attempt to actually paint at that scale. The
attempt that had ended with me covering part of the damn wall in a brain-dump
all of whose parts and pieces I had not yet identified. That canvas bore
little more than a couple of parallel lines that had meant to frame in
Heero's window, before I'd abandoned it all unknowing.
I found my lip caught in my teeth as I worried with the notion that I
couldn't paint on anything smaller than a dreadnaught, and wondered
what the seemingly unflappable Ms. Winner would do if I showed up with
my paintings on sheets of plywood.
I wasted five whole minutes looking at that idea from different
angles, before I gave it up and decided it probably wasn't feasible. Then
I decided that the first order of business was logically, figuring out
what the subject matter was going to be; 'what' before 'how', and all
The 'what in the hell...?' thought was enough to bring hamsters scrambling
forward from every nook and cranny in the room, little suggestion banners
flying. All of them pushing and shoving and jockeying for prime positions
to present their ideas to me. Everything from sunsets to still lifes,
landscapes to abstracts. I think I groaned out loud.
I sent the ones with the more mundane ideas packing immediately, not even
considering about seventy-five percent of them. I somehow didn't think
Ms Winner was looking for floral studies or butterflies. She didn't strike
me as the landscape type.
And of course, that begged the question; just what type was she?
I thought back over the afternoon and tried to remember which sketches
had drawn her attention. She hadn't commented on a lot of them, but I
could remember her lingering over several, and they all fell into the
category of... different. The portrait of Hayden in free-fall; his body
moving in a way that would not have been possible anywhere else. The destroyed
Leo. Toria's hands. She had commented in some form, on all of those, but
when I thought about it, there had been a couple of others that she had
looked at just a bit longer than average. There had been a strange thing
I'd done of a view of the ocean off one of Howard's ships. It had been
just a slice of sea and sky, framed between the legs of Deathscythe, and
in the middle of that calm, quiet, view soared a sea gull.
Yeah... I guess it was a given that Aleyah Winner was not going to be
satisfied with bowls of fruit.
'Try again, guys,' I muttered to the hamsters and the little buggers did
their best to oblige. After ten minutes of staring at the canvas and dismissing
hamsters, I decided to go get myself a soda. Maybe the caffeine would
engage my brain.
The minute I stepped into the studio doorway, intent on heading down the
hall to the kitchen, alarm bells went off in my head and I found myself
flattened to the wall. There was someone on my front porch; I could see
the movement of shadows through the window. I didn't know whether to curse
my music for masking whatever noise I might have picked up out there,
or bless it for masking any noise I might have made myself, but either
way I used it to my benefit and darted on down the hall to the kitchen
door closest to me. I ducked in, silent as a thief and snatched up a butcher
knife from the block on the counter, intent on going through the kitchen
into the dining room for a glimpse out the window.
That was when the doorbell rang, and it kind of took the wind right out
of my sails. I started feeling pretty stupid, and I just stood there blinking
for a second. The war was a long damn time over, after all, along with
the days of having to go to the corner store armed to the teeth. I wondered
at my own over-reaction; it had been a long time since I'd let myself
get set off that way. Still... hearing Heero cursing me six ways to Sunday
for being 'careless', I crept on in to the dining room and took a look
out the window before going to answer the bell.
I decided I didn't need the knife, and left it lying on the dining table
while I went to open the front door. No point in traumatizing a couple
of kids, after all.
There were two of them, an older boy and a younger girl, siblings by the
look of them, and almost as jumpy as I was. I grinned winningly as I opened
the door, watching the boy blush and the girl peek around him from where
she'd sheltered. 'Can I help you?' I asked, trying to sound as harmless
The boy cleared his throat self-consciously and drew himself up to his
full height. 'Hi we live down the street and my Mom wanted to know if
you had a couple of eggs she could borrow because she's in the middle
of baking a cake and ran out and it'll be ruined if she has to stop now
and go to the store and it's for my Grandma's birthday.'
It took me a second to decipher the run away sentence and while I was
working it out, the little girl stepped out from behind her brother and
kind of rolled her eyes. 'Introduce us,' she stage whispered in exasperation
and her brother blushed even more hotly than he had been.
'Oh yeah,' he muttered, and then a little more firmly. 'I'm Bobby and
this is my sister Ruthie. We live down the street in the white house.'
I nodded at them, still feeling the tick of adrenaline fading from my
system. 'I'm Duo,' I told him. 'Hang on a second and I'll see if we have
They nodded back at me, almost in tandem, and I could see the eyes of
the little girl searching curiously past me. I left them standing on the
porch and retreated to the kitchen.
I couldn't help grinning; what a bizarre ass moment... my neighbor had
sent her kids over to borrow eggs. It made me want to laugh. I had neighbors.
Who did not think twice about knocking on my door. For eggs. I was relieved
to actually find some; I hadn't been sure.
I returned to the front door, eggs in hand, and grin toned back down to
something that I hoped wouldn't be scary.
'Be careful getting these home,' I warned them as I opened the front door.
'I don't have any more.'
Bobby looked a bit hesitant then, but gravely took the things when I handed
them over. 'Thanks a lot,' he told me. 'My Mom will really appreciate
'No problem,' I replied, and was trying to think of something else to
say when Ruthie suddenly piped up.
'Don't cut the rose bushes,' she commanded rather imperiously.
'What?' I said, just as her brother hissed at her.
'I heard Mom tell Dad!' she informed him haughtily. 'She said she hoped
the new neighbors weren't too stupid to know what the rose bushes were.'
I thought Bobby was going to pass a kidney stone right there on my front
porch, and while watching him sputter and hiss and look like he was contemplating
strangling his own blood kin was kinda fun... I started worrying about
the eggs making it in one piece, and decided to interject something.
'And just where are these rose bushes of your mother's?' I asked, rather
proud of the level tone of voice. I would not laugh at the child on our
She turned toward the porch swing and pointed in the general direction
of a million things. 'They grow all along the fence row. My Mom says that
Mrs. Dent planted them all herself and she doesn't want you to cut them
down just 'cause you think they're weeds.'
I looked where she was pointing now that I had a general idea of just
where that was, and had to grudgingly admit that I really had thought
that tangle of vines was just weeds. 'I promise not to cut them down,'
I told her solemnly, and that seemed to be enough to make her happy.
'Thanks, Mr. Duo!' she beamed at me. 'I'll tell my Mom!'
If I hadn't been so thrown off guard by her use of the name the kids at
Maxwell's called me, I might have suggested that telling her mother about
our little conversation might not be the best idea she'd had all day.
'We gotta go,' Bobby prodded, obviously just wanting her to shut the hell
up. 'Mom needs these eggs.'
'Ok,' Ruthie agreed and turned to jump down the steps, stopping at the
bottom to wave back at me. I returned the wave and grinned, not able to
hide the amusement. She didn't seem to notice. Bobby, an interesting shade
of red, muttered an apology.
'Don't worry about it,' I waved him off. 'I really didn't know they were
He looked relieved and unbent enough to tell me, 'They're yellow ones...
my Mom's favorite. Mrs. Dent used to let Mom come over and cut some.'
'Your Mom used to know the lady who lived here?' I asked, my interest
piqued despite myself.
'Yeah,' he told me. 'Mom says they used to be friends.'
'Well,' I smiled at him. 'Your mother is more than welcome to come over
and cut all the roses she wants when they bloom again. And if there's
anything else I should know about, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.'
'Cool!' he grinned, and looked like he might have said more, but Ruthie
gave him an exasperated, rather theatric sigh.
'I thought you said we had to go?' she demanded, hands on hips
and all but tapping her foot.
'All right? all right!' Bobby returned, and then they were leaving.
I just stood in the door for a minute, watching them walk off down the
street, and tried to stop grinning.
It rather hit me all at once then... we lived in suburbia.
I, Duo Maxwell, product of the colonies, ex-Gundam pilot, ex-Spacer, ex-terrorist...
was gonna need a lawn-mower, and would probably be buying Girl Scout cookies
before the year was out. I managed to get the front door shut before I
burst out laughing.
What a totally fucked up concept.
I retrieved the butcher knife on my way through the dining room and put
it away with a pang of guilt, wondering what those poor kids would have
done had I actually answered the door with it in my hand. I'm sure it
would have been the last time their mother sent them over to 'the new
neighbor's' place. I stopped to get my bottle of soda out of the fridge
and then wandered back to my studio.
God; kids are so... adaptable. No, that wasn't quite what I meant. Accepting? A
little closer, but still not quite right. Maybe there just isn't a word.
Bobby looked to be about thirteen or so. Looked like he probably played
baseball or soccer or stuff like that. Probably had to be made to do his
homework and had to take out the trash to get a little bit of an allowance
that he probably spent on video games and candy. A lot of probablys, but
you know what I mean; just an average, run-of-the-mill kid.
If you happened to have an even semi-normal family life. If you had somebody
who made you do that trash thing, and withheld that allowance when you
didn't, and showed up at all your ball games and cheered even when it
was only a base-hit and not a homerun. The kind of kid who didn't think
twice about knocking on a total stranger's door.
Davey was thirteen too, or had been, not all that long ago. Could not
have been less like Bobby if he tried. Davey would probably have balked
at knocking on my door, but would have made Ruthie wait on the side-walk
had he gone through with it, and would never have expected those eggs
without giving something in return. If Bobby was the 'this is what thirteen
looks like' yardstick, then Davey came off looking seventeen at least.
And then there was me. By thirteen, I'd been training to fly a Gundam
into the middle of a war. I'd have laughed out loud at the notion of going
up to some complete stranger and asking for eggs. I would never have bothered
because I could not have been convinced there was any point. Might have
stolen them, had I really wanted them, but would not have bothered to
ask. By that same yardstick, I suppose I would have looked a little bit
like... thirty? A slightly jaded thirty?
You see what I'm trying to say? All those kids... all the same age...
and how much more different could they possibly be? Made by circumstances
into... whatever the hell they had to be. Whatever the hell they could be.
Damn. One little 'Mr. Duo', and look where my brain was off too.
But I found my brush in my hand and my paints on my pallet, in a room
suddenly devoid of helpful little banner-toting fur balls, so I just went
Wonder what Heero had been when he was thirteen?
Wonder why I couldn't quite let go of the hurt that he wasn't willing
to tell me?
Then I wondered what Aleyah Winner had been like at thirteen and I think
I broke my brain. I don't think the woman had ever been less than thirty-five.
Had probably sprung full-blown from her poor father's forehead, like some
trendy Athena, spouting cultured opinions on the poor man's décor.
I had to sigh, realizing that somewhere down inside I'd pretty much made
up my mind that I wasn't all that fond of the woman, even while my conscious
self tried to convince me that she wasn't so bad.
But really, it was all about Allison, and how I felt over the whole thing
shouldn't enter into it. This was all for Allison's sake... my little
And that thought brought my conscious brain into contact with the part
that had been painting all afternoon and I blinked the canvas into focus
for the first time in... quite a few hours, it seemed.
Sometimes -- every once in a great while -- I get a little bit nervous
over my ability to do things without really noticing. If you understand
what I mean? Not that I'm not aware... I'm just not always aware.
It was Allison's face looking back at me. Staring back at me. Or
most of her face. The bits of window frame that had been on the canvas
from before had metamorphed into a half open closet door. Inside the closet,
it was black as pitch, and outside it was very bright and sunny. My Alley-cat
was caught between, sitting in the dark with her face half obscured with
that fall of chin-length, cropped hair, the light illuminating the unblemished
half of her face... and the tear track running down her cheek.
That Superman cape got kind of restrictive then, because I choked just
'One'a yours?' Solo asked near my ear and I nodded.
'Yeah,' I told him, with a certain amount of pride behind the pain.
'Ya gonna let her down twice?' he pressed, in that way he had that minced
'Fuck, no,' I growled and he chuckled as he faded away.
'At's my Rat-boy,' he approved, and there was the breeze of a punch on
my shoulder that never connected.
'Fuck, no,' I repeated, not able to tear my gaze from Allison's,
but it was mostly for my own reassurance.
When the phone rang a second time, I jumped like it was a shot, set aside
my pallet and brush, and ran for the kitchen phone.
The fading daylight registered with me enough that I realized it might
actually be Heero, and I snatched the receiver up with a 'Hello?' that
managed to sound not only breathless, but kinda hopeful.
'Duo?' his well-loved, much-needed voice came, sounding somehow both happy
to hear me and concerned all at the same time. 'Are you all right?'
'I was...' I tried to explain, still seeing that child's piercing gaze
boring through me. 'I was painting... I don't think I heard the phone
right away... I...'
'I'm sorry,' he said. 'Did I interrupt? I can call back later?'
'No!' I exclaimed, a little more vehemently than I'd either intended,
or was probably wise. 'No? I was done. I... please don't go, ok?' Then
I started thinking a little more clearly, started wondering about where
he was and who he was with. 'Uh... where are you, anyway?'
He somehow seemed to keep up with my sporadic thoughts, and soothed, 'It's
all right; we came back to our room for the night and Wufei is in the
shower. Now tell me what's wrong?'
I sighed, swallowed, and made a conscious effort to drag my sorry brain
back into the here and now. 'Nothing's really wrong,' I told him, pleased
that my voice had steadied. 'I just... miss the holy hell out of you is
He chuckled softly. 'I miss you too. But are you sure everything is ok?'
'Just been a weird day,' I sighed, aware on some level how much I was
relaxing just from the sound of his voice. 'I got to meet Quatre's art-blooded
'That was today?' he asked, and I could hear the trace of guilt behind
a weariness that I was suddenly very aware of. 'Damn. I wanted to be there
with you. How did it go?'
'Well,' I chuckled, trying to sound a little less needy. A little more
together. 'Let's just say that I am apparently poised on the brink of
a gallery début.'
'She's going to sponsor you?' he asked, and a bit of excitement crept
into his voice. I imagined the smile and things were a little better.
I suddenly felt the need to sit down and took the handset with me to the
living room couch.
'Sponsor me?' I quipped. 'At one point I was afraid she was going to abduct
me... Heero, that woman is seriously scary.'
He laughed, and it was a good sound. 'She does usually get what she wants,'
'No shit,' I muttered and then decided I didn't want to talk about it
anymore. I leaned my head back against the cushions and sighed. 'Hey,
wasn't today the day you were going to interview Mrs. Gray?'
'I can't tell you too much,' Heero said, but I could hear a certain feral
tone in his voice. 'But let me just say this... it's the Ex-Mrs.
'Oh that has to be good,' I speculated. 'Right? I mean... she probably
isn't too disposed to defend the man if they aren't married any more.
Though... that may mean she doesn't know very much, I suppose.'
There was an uncomfortable silence and then he finally said, 'Duo, love...
you know I can't?'
I sighed, a little dejectedly, and cut him off. 'I know... I know. I'm
sorry; I shouldn't ask. It's just...'
'Frustrating?' he supplied, a touch of his humor back.
'Yeah,' I agreed. 'Frustrating.' I suddenly felt the press of the day
on my shoulders and turned to sit sideways, stretching my legs out on
'You sound tired,' Heero said.
'So do you,' I replied and made him chuckle.
'I guess I'm getting frustrated too,' he confessed. 'I didn't think it
was going to take this long.'
It made me want to ask a million damn questions that I knew he couldn't
answer over an open line, so I just bit my tongue.
'I just want to come home,' he suddenly told me, and the quality of his
voice had changed. I imagined that he was lying down too.
'How much longer, do you think?' I ventured, proud of the fact that I
didn't let it sound petulant.
'Depends on whether I... we can keep it from going to trial,' he
told me, and sounded irritated. 'Honest to God, Duo... I expected one
of them to crack before now, but they're sticking to that damn story like
a pack of ticks!'
'It'll be ok,' I soothed. 'Lies are lies no matter how well they're told...
somebody will make a mistake eventually. Maybe letting it go to trial
isn't such a bad idea; the pressure might just make somebody slip up.'
That comment was greeted with nothing but dead-air and I stared at the
ceiling for a minute, waiting for him to speak.
'I just didn't want you to have to testify, love,' he said softly, and
I could almost feel his concern. I closed my eyes and smiled.
'If I have to, I have to,' I reassured. 'I won't let that bastard get
away with this... I don't care what I have to do.'
'I know,' he sighed. 'Doesn't change the fact that I don't want you to
Damn, but he sounded so tired. 'My white knight,' I murmured and got to
listen to him rumble a laugh.
'Does that make you my damsel in distress?' he asked and I didn't have
to imagine the wry little smile.
'Hardly,' I snorted, and then we were quiet for a moment. 'You know I
love you... right?' I asked softly.
'I do know,' he replied, voice fading. 'And I love you?'
I heard him drifting off and I just let him, lying there on the couch
listening to the gentle sound of his breathing until Wufei came and picked
up the phone.
'Maxwell?' he asked softly.
'How'd you guess?' I chuckled.
'Well, I was hoping he didn't fall asleep talking to the Commander,' Wufei
quipped, his voice so soft it was hard to hear him.
I let him win the soft chuckle, but then had to ask, 'Is everything all
right?' I didn't have to tell my lover's partner just how unlike Heero
'He's just pining for you,' Wufei tried, but I wouldn't let it pass.
'Wufei,' I warned and heard him sigh.
'He just wants this... very badly,' he told me. 'And can't quite keep
his fingers out of any part of the investigation.'
I had to sigh, knowing how Heero got. He never quite trusted that things
he wasn't keeping an eye on were getting done properly.
'Fei,' I asked softly, 'you'll take care of him for me?'
There was an uncomfortable moment of quiet in which I wondered that I'd
actually said that, and then Wufei told me, 'Of course I will, my friend.
As best I can.'
'Thanks,' was pretty much all that needed to be said to that, and we bid
each other good night.
I was not disposed to move, feeling as content as I had all day, and just
curled there around the memory of Heero's voice and went to sleep. I hadn't
been sleeping all that well myself, since he'd been gone. Too many long
hours to do not much of anything but think. And remember. And brood.
I had gotten to the point where I never bothered to turn the stereo off
unless I was actually leaving the house.
I remember reflecting, just as I dozed off, that Heero would not have
been pleased to come home and find me there.
I'm not sure just what woke me Sunday morning, my belly telling me I'd
skipped dinner the night before, my bladder telling me I needed to take
a hike upstairs, or just that pinch you get from sleeping in your clothes.
There was just a vague awareness that I wished I could roll over and go
back to sleep, followed by the resignation that it wasn't going to happen.
Bladder won over my other concerns and while I was in the bathroom anyway,
I decided I needed to shower and change out of the clothes I'd just slept
in. With those two irritations tended to, I went down to find some breakfast.
Through the majority of my years piloting and living on my own, I had
subsisted on 'Spacer food' or what amounted to military rations. Most
spacers stock them; they are inexpensive, nutritionally balanced, have
an incredible shelf live and take no preparation what so ever. The perfect
Unless you're talking to Heero. Somehow or other, in his mind, the things
equate to my 'not taking care of myself'. Which made no sense at all,
if you asked me, but there was just no arguing with him about it. Just
because the stuff doesn't always taste good, doesn't mean it isn't good
for you. I don't get it, but Heero hates seeing me eat it. So I had rather
gotten out of the habit of maintaining a stock, something that I seriously
regretted at times like that, when Heero wasn't around anyway. I hated
wasting a couple of damn hours out of each day cooking and eating. It
was just so ridiculously inefficient.
It crossed my mind that morning, as I stood with the refrigerator door
open, eating lunch meat straight from the deli package, that I should
get my ass down to the space port while Heero was gone and stock up on
my rations. It was the best opportunity I was likely to get. Maybe I could
even buy a case and stash it in the basement somewhere. I swear I suspected
he'd thrown some of my last batch out, because I just didn't think I'd
gone through them that fast.
Thinking of the basement made me think of laundry and I decided I should
probably do a couple of loads. While washing dishes had not been an issue
because I wasn't dirtying them, I was still wearing clothes.
Once the washer was going, I decided to just go ahead and gather the trash
up to set out for the next day's pickup, and it was while I was standing
by the curb with the bag in my hand, looking at the fence row and debating
walking out to look at the rumored rose bushes, that I finally had to
admit to myself that I was stalling going back into my studio. I sighed,
set the trash down and made myself go in the house.
I hadn't had much chance to really study my latest work before the phone
had rung the previous night, and decided I needed to go face whatever
my twisted little psyche had dealt me this time.
Though I managed to kill another ten minutes cursing myself for forgetting,
again, to clean up my brushes and pallet. At the rate I was going
through brushes, I was going to have to start stocking disposable ones.
Maybe I should just learn to paint with my fingers and be done with it.
But then it was just me and Allison's portrait and I had to meet that
My first, rather knee-jerk reaction was to paint the hell over the damn
thing. She certainly wouldn't have thanked me for painting her like that.
But then a thoughtful little hamster with one of those silly barrettes
on, wandered up and titled the damn thing and that was that... it was
'Lost Faith' his banner read, and I thought about smashing him under the
pallet. Aleyah would be proud; I'd titled one all by myself. Well... me
and the hamster.
I sighed out loud and muttered, 'Great. Just great.'
Then I thought about it some more. No one would have a clue who she was.
Probably not even some of the people who knew her. It was a very dark
and shadowed painting; part of her face obscured in hair and darkness.
But it was a powerful piece... even I could feel it, and I'm something
of a rather hard to please critic. Not that I was pleased with the damn
thing in any way, but I could kind of look at it and tell Ms. Winner would
be delighted with it.
It would make a somewhat appropriate centerpiece. Though no one would
understand just how fitting. Except Heero. I knew he would understand.
I could imagine him in the room with me then, looking at the painting
and slipping his arm around me from behind, settling his chin on my shoulder
to softly ask if I was all right.
Made me shiver almost hard enough to give myself whiplash.
I took the picture off the easel and set it aside, placing a new canvas
in its place. I'd just freakin' decide later what the hell to do with
the damn thing. It seemed odd that there was no fate available for it
between trash and art gallery.
I alternated my morning between staring at the blank canvas and chores,
before I gave it the hell up; frustration is an even uglier beast than
guilt. At almost noon exactly, I threw my head back and yelled, 'Fuck
this!' at the ceiling, went to get my coat and got the hell out of the
house. Another five minutes and I'd have been painting the dismembered
corpses of all the people who were currently frustrating me, starting
with Ms. Aleyah Winner and finishing with Captain Gray.
I don't remember making the decision to follow through on my earlier thought
to go out and buy ration bars, but that's what I suddenly found myself
doing. Guess just driving around was too self-indulgent and my conscience
needed something for me to be accomplishing.
Believe it or not, in my previous life, I had been a fairly organized,
McMurphy's place is open twenty-four/seven with the exception of a couple
of holidays. McMurphy himself works a kind of second shift, coming in
around noon and leaving sometime in the evening. It sometimes seemed sporadic,
but at the same time, in perfect sync with the guy who covered the night
shift. Spacers just don't keep hours regular enough to try running a business
that revolves around them, on any kind of ground-bounder schedule. Ships
launch when ships launch; you eat when you're hungry and socialize when
you can. It's just the way of the trade and McMurphy understands that.
So I had no fear of not being able to get what I wanted on a Sunday afternoon.
It had actually been one of the harder adjustments I'd had to make when
I went from pilot to invalid and then mechanic. Learning to think in terms
of day/night and weekday/weekend. I just expected what I needed to be
available when I needed it.
[cont] [back to Sunhawk's