Hastur Page 11

almost seems like you should be chipping in for my expenses," he laughed nervously, "but no, it's alright. How much? Is $5 cool?"
   Again Juan twitched his eye; then he broke the spell. "Twelve thousand."
    Light traffic passed by on the sleepy street in front of Wink's. Overhead a condor could be heard screaming his hunting song. Fifty feet away a herd of grandmas were making their way from the restaurant to their Buicks. They were all watching him and Juan. Suspended animation.
    "I wasn't --" began Schlitz, "I mean, The Doctor, he didn't say anything about --"
    Juan impersonated a monolith.
    Inside the Justy, Fair Harrington had a sudden inspiration: soon, very soon, he was going to move. But not just yet. He also wondered what was going on outside, who

those people were and why it was morning yet he was not at his job.
   Outside the Justy, Thurgood Schlitz was flailing and blathering along the lines of, "I'm not sure why he didn't tell us that payment would be due, not sure why he did not endow me with these funds, but I am sure that The Doctor will pay you in full, and very quickly; he is a man of status, a man of means. And a man of honor. And a man of his word. He wouldn't --"
    "Shut up!" barked the fattest man in Nogales.
    Schlitz was a man who was known to never lose his cool. He was Mr. Fucking Cool as a Cucumber, all the time. Come hell or high water, this guy was Sade's original "smooth operator." But at the present moment, if truth be told, he was about a hairsbreadth away from getting down on his knees and weeping and begging that Juan wouldn't