Don toggled his microphone again. “Thanks for the advice, K4AAA. I’m going to beat feet down to your neighborhood right now. This is AB3GD, 73s.” He shoved the microphone to the back of his desk and slumped in his chair.
“Well, shit,” Don breathed. “I don’t know what to think, now. I always knew that I needed to listen to my radio with a grain of salt. Lots of nuts out there, make up all kinds of crap about themselves. Tons of lottery millionaires, tons of war heroes. That was the first time anybody tried to lure me into a death trap on Ham Radio, though.”
“This means everything we hear is suspect,” Mike said, pensively. “One plan is good as another, now. We can’t make any kind of informed decision. We risked our necks killing that bird for nothing.”
“Not for nothing,” Kat reminded him. “The kitties will eat tonight.”
“Oh, right, well let’s make war on all giant birds for the sake of cat food,” Moira growled.
We all trooped out of Don’s radio room. BJ looked at us pitifully from the sofa. “BJ,” I said, “I’m sick of seeing you. This is your last chance to find somewhere else to go. Do you understand me?” He nodded frantically. “Un-strait jacket his ass. Get him out of here,” I said.
Don gave Kat and Kate a little lesson on strait jackets, and BJ was free and staggering out the door with Mike as his escort to the lobby. Bethel gave him a low parting growl. “I agree,” I told her.
“Don, thanks for everything,” Jill said. We all gathered around to shake his hand and pat his back. Moira pressed a pack of cigarettes into his hand. Don glowed, briefly.
Out in the hallway, the three eggs were gone. Nobody had asked for them, but they hadn’t exactly had our names on them. I hadn’t wanted them, anyway. I might have to crack a giant bird egg, someday, but I wasn’t going to do it until I had to. I’m a fan of omelets. I’ll eat eggs about any old way. I’ll even eat them runny. But the idea of the smell of that much egg turned my stomach. Never mind the idea that the egg was produced by something that dined on people. I might have eaten people, but just a little bit and I hadn’t intended to do it. And nobody was going to be eating my eggs. Hopefully.
Back in Mike’s apartment, we all threw ourselves onto sofas and chairs. Mike came in a few minutes later, looked at us, and threw himself onto the floor. We no longer had a sense of purpose. It was weird to just sit around. We started glancing at each other and then glancing away, waiting for someone to say something.
Kate finally cleared her throat as a preface to speaking. We looked at her gratefully. “Kat and I are going to leave tonight. Our cat is home alone. We never planned to be gone this long in the first place.” We all deflated a little more.
“I sure wish you would stay with us, but I understand,” I said. “I wouldn’t leave Bethel and just desert her.”
“If things are crazy in midtown, we’ll come back,” Kat said. “If we can,” she added. She stood up. “No time like the present, I guess. We’ve still got a lot of night.”
We helped the women roll their bikes into the elevator for the trip downstairs. The lobby winos watched us quietly as we escorted Kat and Kate to the door. Mike pushed the lock button as Kat and Kate handed out hugs. Then, they rolled their bikes out into the street, fired them up, and roared away in plumes of smoke.
Our mood actually became more subdued after the departure of the witches. I think that even Moira was going to miss them, although she’d never admit it. We quietly made and ate our canned dinner. While we had the safe open, we packed the remaining supplies into several bags. Nobody had brought up the subject again, but our plans drifted around us like a mist. We weren’t going to stay. We were going to head for uptown and the Hudson River.