[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

pants and an Amberwood T-shirt.
 The class description said to dress in comfortable workout clothes like I texted you earlier.
I gave his raw silk shirt a meaningful look.
 This is very comfortable, he assured me.  Besides, I don t own any workout clothes.
As I shifted the car into drive, I caught sight of Adrian s left hand. At first, I thought he was
bleeding. Then, I realized it was red paint.
 You re painting again, I said in delight.  I thought you d stopped.
 Yeah, well. You can t take painting classes and not paint, Sage.
 I thought you d stopped those too.
He gave me a sidelong glance.  Nearly did. But then I remembered I d convinced some
girl that if she gave me a chance and got me into those classes, I d follow through on them.
That ll teach me.
I smiled and pulled into traffic.
I d left a little early so that Adrian and I had time to take care of our registration. When I d
called the Wolfe School of Defense earlier today, an agitated man had told me to just show up
with the money since we were down to the last minute. The address was outside of downtown,
in a residence set on sprawling grounds that had made no attempts to go green and
thwart the climate. The desert still held claim here, giving the house a dismal, forlorn look. If
not for WOLFE printed on the mailbox, I would ve thought we had the wrong place. We pulled
up into the gravel drive no other cars were there and stared.
 This is the kind of place you see in movies, said Adrian.  Where careless people run into
serial killers.
 At least it s still light out, I said. Ever since the alley, darkness had taken on a whole new
menace for me.  Can t be that bad.
Adrian opened the car door.  Let s find out.
We rang the doorbell and were immediately met with the sounds of barking and scampering
feet. I stepped back uneasily.  I hate poorly trained dogs, I muttered to Adrian.  They
need to behave and be kept in line.
 Just like the people in your life, huh? asked Adrian.
The door opened, and we were met by a fifty-something man with a grizzled blond beard.
He was wearing Bermuda shorts and a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt. Also, he had an eye patch.
 This is incredible, I heard Adrian murmur.  Beyond my wildest dreams.
I was taken aback. The eye patch made me think of Keith s glass eye, which in turn made
me think of my role in him acquiring it. It wasn t a memory I liked being reminded of, and I
wondered at the odds of running into another one-eyed man. This guy nudged the herd of
dogs aside which appeared to be some sort of Chihuahua mix and barely managed to step
outside without them following before he shut the door.
 Yeah? he asked.
 We re, uh, here for the class. The self-defense class. I felt the need to clarify, in case he
also taught about dog breeding or riding the high seas.  I m Sydney, this is Adrian. I called
this morning?
 Ah, right, right. He scratched his beard.  You got the money? Cash only.
I produced one hundred and fifty dollars and handed it over. Out of habit, I nearly asked
for a receipt, but then thought better of it. He stuffed the cash into the pocket of his shorts.
 Okay, he said.  You re in. Go ahead and wait in the garage until the others show up. The
side door s unlocked. He gestured to a large, industrial looking building twice the size of the
house over on the far side of the lot. Without waiting around to see if we d comply, he
slipped back inside to the barking dogs.
The garage s interior, I was relieved to see, was the first thing here that looked like it had
some semblance of legitimacy. There were clean mats on the floor and mirrors on some of
the walls. A TV and VHS player sat on a cart, along with some defense-related tapes covered
in dust. Slightly more disconcerting was some of the decor, like a pair of nunchucks hanging
on the wall.
 Don t touch those! I warned, seeing Adrian head toward them.  That s not the kind of guy
whose stuff you want to mess with.
Adrian stayed hands-off.  Do you think we ll get to learn to use these?
 Weapons weren t in the class description. It s about basic self-defense and hand-tohand.
 Why bother then? Adrian strolled over to a glass case displaying several types of brass
knuckles.  That s the kind of stuff Castile does all day. He could have showed us. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]