Abby the abysmal abbess demarked upon a bullybelly pie, all streuseled in her biggies, not a cairn the whorled....
The gibberish streams as Tim crosses Larkin at Eddy. Eighty minutes, he thinks. Time enough for a look at candidate number two. Three days.
Three days to the new moon and Tim still hasn’t found his bug of the month. He thinks back to 2D boyfriend. Buggy, but no imminent threat. Tim wonders, Do I wish 2D boyfriend were threatening enough to justify erasure? Doesn’t matter -- he’s too close to home again home again.
Won’t be home again home again for awhile awhile I go to Filbert to gadabout the malcreant, the disactor of defactor, potendently propoised….
Twenty minutes later, Tim stands in the shadows across from a small, single-story cottage. Fortress-like three-story flats are on either side of it. There is no sign of the malcreant. There is no sign of anything. Filbert Street is a predawn still life. Twelve more minutes, thinks Tim.
Then homonym homonym diggity dog....
Tim knows the maladroit of Filbert Street will not be making an appearance tonight. The list just got shorter. The day’s first stirring is 45 minutes away. Tim considers a longer route back to the apartment. He turns right on Pierce. His time. His place.
Tim troops along as letters timble and drubble his coils and flurries away awhile aready eddy mediaty berretti widda blutrice, poultice…
…Solstice, bootlace. Bubble widda barbazon….
Soon enough, Tim finds himself walking down Steiner, the apartment building coming into view. An unexpected shadow appears on the building’s front steps. As Tim approaches, it becomes a person sitting, elbows on knees. Karen Mieke.
“Late night, Tim?”, Karen asks as he reaches the steps.
“What are you doing out here?”, Tim asks.
“The police came by today,” Karen replies. “They asked me if I had seen anyone walking at night. I lied.” She stands and faces Tim. “I’ve seen you. Out my window.”
Tim waits for Karen to continue. She regards him like she’s looking for something. “Are you him?”, she asks finally.
“Am I who?”, Tim asks.
“The new moon guy,” Karen answers. “The one the police are looking for.”
“No,” Tim says and starts up the front steps.
“Wait,” Karen says. Tim stops on a middle step. “You’re not him,” Karen says to his back. “That’s good, because he’s about to get busted. So he should lay low.”
Tim steps up and stops again. “They’ll be back,” Karen continues.
“They’re wasting their time,” Tim says and continues up the front steps.
Karen follows him up the steps. “They went in the basement,” she says.
Tim holds the front door open for her. “I know,” he says and smiles. “I’m not him. The police don’t need our help to figure that out.”
Karen walks through the door. Tim follows her through the small lobby and up the stairs to the second floor. Just past the door to Tim’s apartment, Karen turns around. “Coffee?”, Karen asks him.
“I have some,” Tim replies, looking a little dazed. He starts to unlock the apartment door.
“On me,” Karen says. She points her thumb over her shoulder. “My place.”
“Oh, um,” Tim says, dropping his hands. “Okay.” He follows Karen to 2D, watching Karen’s hips sway as she walks down the hall to her apartment. She unlocks the door, steps inside, and flips on a light switch. She turns around and kisses Tim before he’s two steps inside her apartment. Tim wraps his arms around Karen. A warm wave rolls over him.
Don’t let this end, thinks Tim as the kiss goes on. Don’t end don’t end. A warmth grows in his chest, spreads to his limbs, goes on goes on.
Then the kiss ends. Karen looks Tim in the eye. She turns and walks into the apartment. Tim follows her. She leads him into her bedroom. Tim takes off his dark jacket and drops it to the floor. Karen starts to unbutton his shirt. “You’re him,” she whispers. “You’re safe here.”
When Karen wakes up, the morning is almost over and Tim is gone. She’s not surprised. Barely says a word all night. So harmless he’s scary. Karen opens the blinds on the apartment window and sees the woman detective in the alley between Steiner and Fillmore. Smith, she recalls.
While Karen watches Detective Smith nose in the alley behind her building, out his apartment window Tim sees 2D boyfriend, leaning, smoking.
Two more nights until the new moon, thinks Tim as he regards 2D boyfriend on the sidewalk across Steiner. Tim almost smiles, then he does. Then he laughs out loud, which surprises him so much he laughs again. Four hours until his walk to Andy’s Market with Mrs. Kahn’s list.
Sixteen hours until Tim takes his next nighttime walk. He thinks of inviting Detective Smith to join him. They’re bound to meet some day. But she won’t meet Tim tonight. He has a busy night ahead -- standing and staring for hours on end, memorizing, anticipating, predicting.
Karen knows, thinks Tim. So does Smith. It doesn’t matter. Karen seems not to care, and Smith will never catch him, unless he wants her to.
Part 14: 2D Ex
Part 1: Tim
Part 2: Three's a Problem
Part 3: Ninth Avenue
Part 4: Peru Avenue
Part 5: Toast
Part 6: Mrs. Pellegrini
Part 7: Charlie
Part 8: 2D
Part 9: Smith
Part 10: Cece
Part 11: Quarter Moon
Part 12: Interview
Part 13: Mieke
Part 14: 2D Ex
Part 15: Logs
Part 16: Steiner
Part 17: Number Five
Part 18: Cold
Part 19: Intern
Part 20: Coffee
Part 21: Sloth
Part 22: Tennessee Street
Part 23: Error-correcting Code
Part 24: Villa Lobos
Part 25: Entrance
Part 26: Cloak
Part 27: Meeting
Part 28: Fog
Part 29: Bootle
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