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"Putting up a resort motel," said Remo.

"Hey, wise guy, you know where you are?"

"From time to time," said Remo cryptically.

"It's not safe here for white men."

Remo shrugged.

"Hey, I know you," the sergeant said. "No. It couldn't be."

He got out of the squad car, putting his revolver back in his holster.

"You know, you look like someone I used to know," said the sergeant. And Remo tried to remember the man. The sergeant's name tag read Duffy, William P., and Remo remembered a far younger man who, as a rookie, practiced quick draws with his gun. This one's face was fleshy and his eyes were tired and he smelled richly of his last meat meal. You could feel his senses were dead.

"You look almost exactly like this guy I used to know," said Sergeant Duffy. "He was raised in that orphanage. Except you're younger than he would be and you're skinnier."

"And better looking," said Remo.

"Naah, that guy was better looking. Straight as hell, that guy. Poor guy. He was a cop."

"A good cop?" asked Remo.

"Naah. Dumb, kind of. Straight, you know. They framed the poor bastard. Got the chair. Oh, more than ten years ago. Gee, you look like him."

"What do you mean he was dumb?"

"Hey, any cop what goes to the chair for doing in a pusher and then screaming that he never did it, I mean, that's stupid. There are ways to get around that sort of thing. I mean, even now when you got porkchops running the city. You just don't stand up, screaming you're innocent. If you know what I mean. The whole thing stunned the department."

"You missed him, huh?" said Remo.

"Naaah. Guy had no friends, no family, nothing. It was just the idea that a cop would get it. You know. They wouldn't even let the poor bastard make a plea or nothing. You know."

"Nobody missed him," said Remo.

"Nobody. Guy was as straight as hell. A real pain in the ass."

"You still practice fast draws in the John, Duff?"

"Naah," said Duffy, then backed away, his eyes wide in horror.

"That guy's dead," he said. "Remo's dead more than ten years now. Hey. Get outta here. Get outta here or I run you in."

"What's the charge, Duff? Still confused about the correct charge?"

"No. No. This is a fucking dream," said Duffy.

"You want to see something funny, Duff? Draw," said Remo and he snapped the whole holster off the belt leaving a light brown scar on the thick black shiny leather. Sergeant Duffy's hand came down on empty space.

"You get slower as you age, meat-eater," said Remo and returned the holster-encased gun. Duffy did not see the hands move or hear the small crack of metal. Stunned, he opened his holster and parts of his revolver tinkled on the hot night sidewalk.

"Jeez. Friggin' freak," gasped Sgt. Duffy. "What'dya do with the gun? That cost me money. I'm gonna have to pay."

"We all pay, Duff."

And Duffy's partner at the wheel, hearing the commotion, came out gun drawn but found only Duffy, bewildered, staring at an empty holster ripped from his belt.

"He's gone," said Duffy. "I didn't even see him go and he's gone."

"Who?" said the partner.

"I didn't even see him move and now he's not here."

"Who?" said the partner.

"You remember that guy I told you about once. All the veterans knew him. Sent to the chair, no appeal, nothing. Next to the last man executed in the state. More than ten years ago, at least."


"I think I just seen him. Only he was younger and he talked funny."

Sergeant Duffy was helped back to the car and examined by the police surgeon who suggested a short rest away from a hostile urban environment. He was relieved of duty temporarily and an inspector had a long talk with his family and while he was in the Duffy household, he asked where the drill press was.

"We're looking for the power tool he used to break his gun. The police surgeon believes the gun is symbolic of his subconscious desire to leave the force," said the inspector. "Human hands don't snap a gun barrel in two."

"He didn't have no power tools," said Mrs. Duffy. "He'd just come home and drink beer. Maybe if he had a workshop, maybe he wouldn't have gone apples, huh, Inspector?"

The midday sun wilted the people on New York City's sidewalks across the Hudson from Newark. Women's spike heels sank into the soft asphalt made black gum by the heat. Remo strolled into the Plaza Hotel on Fifty-ninth Street and asked for his room key. He had been asking for his keys across the country for more than a decade now. Squirrels had nests, moles had holes, and even worms, he thought, had some piece of ground they must go to regularly. Remo had room keys. And no home.

In the elevator, a young woman in a light print purple dress that barely shielded delicate full mounds of wanting breasts commented to Remo how nice it was to be in a hotel as fine as the Plaza and wouldn't he just love to live his whole life here?

"You live in a hotel?" Remo asked.

"No. Just a split level in Jones, Georgia," said the woman, making a swift pouting face.

"It's a home," said Remo.

"It's a drag," said the woman. "I'm so excited to be here in New York City, you just don't know. Ah love it. I love it. George, he's my husband, he's here to work. But me, I'm all alone. All alone all day. I do whatever I want."

"That's nice," Remo said and watched the floor numbers blink away on the elevator panel.

"Whatever and with whoever I like," said the woman.

"That's nice," said Remo. He should have walked.

"Do you know that ninety-nine point eight percent of the women in America do not know how to make love properly?"

"That's nice."

"I'm in the point two percent that does."

"That's nice."

"Are you one of those gigolos that does it for money? You're just a doll, you know."

"That's nice," said Remo.

"I don't see anything wrong with paying for it, do you?"

"Paying for what?" Remo asked.

"Sex, silly."

"That's nice," said Remo and the elevator opened to his floor.

"Where you going?" said the woman. "Come back here. What's wrong?"

Remo stopped mid-hall and smiled evilly. In fact, he could not remember feeling so joyously thrilled with any idea he had entertained in the last decade. The woman blinked her soft brown eyes and said, "Wow."

"C'mere," said Remo and the woman ran to him, her breasts bobbing brightly.

"You want a thrill?"

"With you? Yeah. All right. Come on. Right on," she said.

"There's going to be a man coming down this hallway in about fifteen minutes. He's got a face like lemon juice. He'll be wearing a dark suit and a vest even in this weather. He's on the low side of sixty."

"Hey, I don't screw fossils, buddy."

"Trust me. The wildest time you've ever had. But you've got to say something special."

"What?" asked the girl suspiciously.

"You've got to say, 'Hello, Dr. Smith. I've read about you. All my friends have read about you.' "

"Who's Dr. Smith?"

"Never mind. Just tell him that and watch his face."

"Hello, Dr. Smith. Me and my friends have all read about you. Right?"

"You'll never regret it," said Remo.

"I don't know," said the woman.

Remo cupped a breast with his left hand and with his right thumbed a thigh and kissed her on the neck and lips until he felt her body tremble.

"Oh, yes," she moaned. "Oh, yes. I'll say it. I'll say it."

"Good," said Remo and leaned her against the wallpapering of the hallway and moved five doors down where he entered.

A wisp of an Oriental in golden flowing kimono sat lotus position in front of a darkened television screen. The plush furniture of the waiting room had been moved and stacked on one side so a blue sleeping mat with its blossoms could dominate the center of the rug.