Gideon's Chip, Part Four
I watched neon reflections on the limo's hood as best I was able to from
the spacious backseat. As the car moved forward, dim ghosts of bright signs
slid toward the windshield. They all died when they reached the front seat
and the pair of goons it held.
One of them was occupied with navigating through the streets. The other,
the more eager of the pair, stared at me with a gun and grin. I found him
irritating. And the gun was a distraction from my attempt to calmly watch the
world go by.
"You alive back there?" the armed man asked.
The previous conversation had been more lively. The first block from the
apartment building had been taken up with discussion about the latest sports
scores. I had nothing to add and neither did the driver, it seemed. Then the
happy fellow turned quixotic when he began telling us about his latest
troubles with a dancer name Eureka. "I told her was I real sorry. A coupla
times even. But nothing."
"You have to know what you did wrong," I had told him, forgetting myself.
And the gun.
"Women want us to suddenly realize what it was we did wrong without any
help so that we won't do it in the future. I am not quite certain I follow
the logic of it all, but that has been my experience."
"So what should I do?"
"What did you do?" I asked. He had shrugged. "Then you have to tell her
that she should share her feelings with you. When she does, you should find
out what it was and then you can deal with it."
"So I should tell her I don't know what I did."
"No, no. If you say something like that, she hear something like,
'whatever I did was okay to do'. Do you know what I mean? We say one thing
and they hear another."
"Oh, okay. Thanks. Hey, should I bring her flowers?"
It was my turn to shrug. "Have you ever brought her flowers before?"
"I got her a silencer for her birthday."
"Then maybe you should just get her a nice laser sight."
"Yeah. Okay. Thanks." A pause, then, "Say, you married?"
"No," I told him. Then I decided to shut up. That stung.
I thought about Anna while I watched the street slid by. The armed
casanova tried to engage me in more conversation for the next few minutes,
but I didn't bite. Eventually he gave up, turning to the driver with more
inanities about sports.
The neon reflections were gone as soon as we left the brightly lit, run
down part of town. We headed toward the suburbs and beyond. This conveniently
explained the position of the mysterious benefactor's address in the Net: it
naturally corresponded with the real world location of the place he connected
from. It was well outside the city limits and so the Net address was too.
Then I had a thought: in the country, no one can hear you scream. I spent
the next few minutes trying to quell the natural panic that followed and to
shut out any other spontaneous observations. Sigh.
After listening to the limo's tires grind gravel for about half an hour,
we pulled up to a large iron gate. Beyond it was some kind of mansion. It was
straight out of a movie. The driver sent a code to the gate's controls and
they swung open.
A few more minutes and we pulled up to lit a driveway. Most of the house
was dark. A neatly dressed, brown-haired woman stood impatiently in an open
doorway. She watched the car park with a frown and immediately leapt upon me
as I opened the door.
"Mr. O'Neil? Right this way."
I got out of the car, my legs unsteady and tingling from the long ride. As
I pull my jacket out of the backseat, I told the armed fellow, "Be sure to
get that sight." He nodded, smiling. And the driver grunted. I think it was a