Moira and I raided Jill’s medicine cabinet. We weren’t looking for medicine. We were after make-up. We found a few items, and Moira was immediately in my face, daubing darker circles over dark circles I already had under my eyes. Mike appeared in the bathroom door.
“If you are trying to achieve a ‘Lipstick Lesbian’ look, you might want to go lighter on the eye shadow,” he suggested.
“Put your bird shit clothes back on, Mike,” I said.
“NO WAY,” Mike exploded. “I just got clean! Those things reek! Why would I put them back on?”
“Because,” Moira said, “they reek. People repellent.”
Mike slumped out of the doorway like a man headed for the gallows. He reappeared just as Moira started pummeling my face with a powder puff. “Ow,” I griped.
Bethel ran for Mike like he was her husband returning from war. The little orange cat appeared. Apparently cats were interested in bad smells, too.
“You know what?” I couldn’t stop looking at the little cat.
“What?” Moira leaned away from me to view her handiwork.
“That cat doesn’t make sense. Kat and Kate didn’t tell us the truth. Strippers don’t take their cats to work. Where did the cat come from?”
Moira and Mike turned to look down at the little cat.
“Shit, I don’t know,” said Moira.
“Let’s look around a little before we leave. Maybe we’ll find something interesting,” I said.
Mike checked the toilet tank, Moira checked the freezer. They both came out with plastic wrapped packets that we decided to examine later.
In the bedroom, most of the stuff seemed to be Jill’s, with the exception of some of Kat and Kate’s “work” clothes piled on the foot of the bed. Mike reach out to paw through them. “Don’t touch those, you animal,” Moira said.
On a hunch, I dove face down on the bed and swept my hands under the pillows. “Pay dirt,” I said. I pulled a gun from under one pillow and a box of bullets from under the other one. I scrunched off the bed and we walked into the kitchen, examining my finds.
“What kind of gun is that?,” Moira asked.
“Revolver,” I said, “at least, I think. This part looks like it revolves.” I spun the round chamber. “It revolves,” I confirmed.
“Well, if we want a game of Russian Roulette, we are all set,” Mike said. Mike took the gun from me. “‘We gotta play with more bullets Nick,'” he whispered as he pointed the gun at an unseen opponent. “POW.”
Mike’s spoken “POW” was accompanied by a real bang as the gun went off. A hole appeared in Jill’s framed print of Dali’s melting clocks. The orange cat bolted. Bethel jumped straight up in the air two feet, which was a full foot higher than her head, and broke into a cascade of barks.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Moira said.
“Who cares?,” I said. “We are already being evicted.”
The gunshot did put some urgency into our packing. We finished making the cable hamper into a gurney by throwing a big sofa cushion over the food, cigarettes, and beer. We still had the gray sofa cover from the Manhattan Plaza apartment, and I draped that over the hamper in hopes of making it look less hamper-ish. We grabbed our backpacks, the stuff we’d stolen, and Bethel. Without a last look, we left. It didn’t seem like Jill’s apartment, anymore.
“We don’t even know where we are going,” Moira said in the elevator.
“We’ll just have to figure it out,” I said. “Hard to plan ahead when we don’t know what we are going to find.”
“We could try my place,” Mike said.
“Don’t know about that, Mike. That’s over a mile uptown, but it’s probably a goal to shoot for, if nothing else presents itself.”
The elevator doors opened. It was time to hit the streets again, and we had a long way to go for the first time.
Mike and Moira had to wrestle the hamper down the steps by themselves. After they’d bounced down to the sidewalk, Moira guarded the hamper. I waited in the lobby for Mike to come back for me.
“I have to carry you out,” he panted, then he grinned broadly at me.
“Great, I’ll really be able to smell you, that way.”
“I know.” He grinned some more.
I tried to hold my breath, but Mike was jouncing me around and Bethel was struggling to tunnel through me so she could better press her nose against Mike’s shirt. I gasped in a big breath of Eau de Bird Shit before Mike reached the hamper. Unfortunately, Moira already had company.
“Sweetheart, we’re going to see what you got under that gray sheet right now,” a couple of tattered-looking businessmen were struggling to shove Moira out of their way.
“Oh, good, Moira, you’ve found help,” Mike shouldered through the men and plopped me into the hamper. “Fellahs, we need you. You’ll help us push this to the hospital, right?”
The men immediately backed off. “Hospital?,” asked one.
“Yes,” Mike said. “We want St. Luke’s, but we’ll settle for St. Claire’s. Our friend needs help bad.”
The men all stared at me with queasy fascination. I tried out a moan, to see how it sounded. “What is wrong with her?,” asked one of them.
“Oh,” Mike said, “nothing contagious, I’m sure. Nothing you could catch. We think it’s allergies, don’t we, honey?”
Moira looked confused for a second, then she nodded. “Oh. Yes. Allergies. I think.” Moira coughed.
“Shit,” one of the guys said. “They’re SICK!”
We stayed in front of the building until we couldn’t hear their fleeing loafers slapping the pavement anymore.
“At least we know this works,” Moira said. She and Mike started to push.