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36. Plan B


"And whos president? Cmon, Lila, honey, I gotta know the score before Shaman leaves the dishwasher."

"What president?" Sarvaduhka interjected. "The last president was Kennedy, in nineteen hundred and sixty-three. Since then, its been a monarchy. Are you completely crazy, besides being a back-stabbing fornicator?"

"Well, boys," Izzy said, "better switch to Plan B. Looks like were not gonna make it to customs before midnight?Do we still have midnights? Hey! Wheres the baritone?" The Haymakers horse was snorting nervously. Its saddle was empty. At its hooves was a dead asp with a bolo tie around its eyes.

"Dang!" Johnny said. "There goes the best Earther baritone you ever saw."

"Phooey!" Sarvaduhka spat and tramped forward, biliously abreast of Izzy. "It was stupid to bring a horse to carry that asp in the first place."

The Space People huddled about two hundred yards away. Someone had appeared against the double doors of the cafe. "Thats Gypsy or Im a mute coyoot," Johnny said. "I aint seen that boy since we chain-ganged together on the Magellanic Stream." Gypsy was banging on the glass. Banging, banging. Then sliding down slowly, leaving a trail of ichor. And revealing behind him, as he fell, a tall figure dressed in white. There was a catch in Johnnys voice: "And thats gotta be Shaman."

Wheres Nora? I thought?I Mel?eyes closed, swooning at the cafe table. Is she okay?

"Sure shes okay," Izzy said, down on the desert. "Shes batting a thousand, kid, only we may not be doing so good. I dont like the way Shamans smiling."

Johnny Abilene was unzipping his human skin. My father! The big hat fell down around his dendrites. The spurs and boots slid down his horses flanks and slithered, still stuffed with feet, to the sand below. The horse, spooked, took off toward the Pyramid of Cheops, leaving Johnny hovering there for a moment before he fell to the ground, at noticeably less than 32 feet per second squared.

Lila Kodzi petitely threw up.

Sarvaduhka dismounted, ran to Izzy and fell on his knees. "Izzy, we are okay, yes? The Space People will not hurt us, yes? You have Plan B? Izzy, what is Plan B?"

Izzy slapped the Haymakers mount on the rump and watched it gallop toward the Space People, followed by Sarvaduhkas horse. "Let me think a minute," he said.



35. The Space People | Izzy and the Father of Terror | 37. Drunken Tarrier