Neon Blue (suspense) and This Shoal of Space (SF) by John Argo were the first two e-books ever published online for download, in the history of the world, 1996-7 in innovative weekly serial chapters. More info at the museum pages. If you enjoy this free read, which is offered in the spirit of the Golden Age of the World Wide Web, please consider buying a print or e-book edition as a way of thanking the author. A fine E-book is typically priced at the cost of a latte, yet offers many more hours of enjoyment than a cup of coffee. Thank you (John Argo).

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Chapter 54. Chicago

about Neon Blue or Girl, unlockedVincent Brady knew it was time to hit the road. He went to the bank and asked for Graham. The receptionist was bland. "I'll ring Mr. Graham, Sir."

Vincent waited, hoping Graham had the checks ready.

"Mr. Graham says he will come down to see you, Sir. If you'll have a seat over there…" She pointed to a circle of chairs in the lobby, where two young men in business suits were hunched over employment applications.

"Thank you." Vincent first sat down. Then he decided to wait close to an EXIT sign. Sure enough, Graham emerged. He had a security guard and two guys in gray suits with him.

Vincent took a cab to the hotel. He computed mentally that he had about a thousand dollars in his wallet, and maybe another thousand in traveler's checks in his suite. How ludicrous, considering that he had waited so long and worked so hard to put together a fortune of three million dollars.

Nobody waited for him in the hotel lobby. YET. Everything in his suite was as he had left it. Quickly he went to the bedroom, to the bottom dresser drawer, for the traveler's checks.

"Hello, Monsignor Gordon."

He whirled.

Binder. Gray hair, pinched lips, extremely unhappy eyes. "I thought I'd try to talk sense before the police get to you."

"I have nothing to say," Vincent said, getting the checks out and stuffing them in his inner jacket pocket.

"Turn yourself in. It's all over."

Vincent went toward the door, but Binder stood in his way. "We are priests, Vincent. We have a sacred duty."

"Get out of my way," Vincent said. He felt the Angel of Death and his mother and his father and the bible-reading congregation of Careyville at his back.

Binder, a far smaller and older man, stood his ground. "Don't leave now, Vincent. I talked with Mr. Graham. All the money is still there. You can give it back. Make amends."

"If you don't get out of my way —"

"Please reconsider."

Vincent slugged the old man. Binder staggered back, surprisingly resilient. Blood poured from his nose. "Jesus Christ is right here with us in this room," Binder said. "Remember your vows."

"Jesus understands," Vincent told him, "that we do what we have to do to survive." Vincent hit him again, and this time the old man went down hard. Vincent bent over him and felt for a pulse. It was there, beating faintly. Vincent gathered the few possessions that mattered and hurried downstairs. From a phone booth, he called the lobby and told them of a sick man in his room who needed medical attention. Then he drove north toward the Canadian border.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked


Copyright © 1996 by John Argo, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.

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