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Since the record store was closed Mondays, Lucas took the opportunity to do quite a bit of relaxing. Mostly, that meant sleeping and catching up with reruns of Bitterwoman. Over all, a pleasant way to spend his time.

Until the phone rang.

Thinking it was probably someone applying for a job, or at least hoping it was, he answered rather than letting it roll to voicemail:

"Empire Records and Bidet, Lucas speaking,

Yes,

It's a joke, sir. We don't really sell bidets.

Did you say 'court appointed guardian'?

No, I wasn't aware of that.

It won't. We here at Emp--

I see,

One day a week, at the moment.

Yeah, she came in the day we opened. Showed real . . . promise, so I offered her the position.

No, I wasn't aware of that, either.

The basics, really. Running the cash register, taking care of inventory, customer service. . . .

I guess she might, but electrician work isn't really in the job description.

Frankly, I'm pretty sure that life provides you with problem solving skills. But working here being a part of life. . . .

Uh-huh,

Security systems? I don't think we'll be facing anything worse than shop-lifters.

I see,

Yes.

No.

No, I doubt that--

What?

With all due respect, sir, but what kind of job do you think this is, exactly?

. . .

You're 'the Man', aren't you.

The what organization?

Yeah, well, 'the goose sleeps alone' to you, too.

Who?

No.

No.

I really don't think--

Yes,

Okay, okay, I get it,

Fine. What's that country code?

Yeeeeeah.

Not . . . exactly,

I'll tell her.

Yes.

Yes.

No.

Bye."

Lucas stared at the phone for a long moment after he hung up. He rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. He was really hoping the man had been kidding, but he did make a mental note to look into how exactly an orphan from Argentina could be connected with Soviet Intelligence, and what that Italian guy had to do with it.

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August 2006

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