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 59. Manhattan

about Neon Blue or Girl, unlockedBlue met Maggie at an old haunt, the Red Wagon near Cooper Square. Smoke filled the air. Hamburgers, french fries, the whole bit. Maggie looked thin and composed.

Maggie looked beautiful, with her long dark hair and mournful eyes. Smoke from her cigarette curled up into the air. "It was sweet of you to meet me here, Laurel," Maggie said. “You grew your hair out blonde. I love it.”

“I feel way overdue for change.” Blue stubbed out her cigarette. "Maggie," she said, feeling a big tight thing curled up in her gut, "I want to somehow—"

“I know.” Maggie put her hand over Blue's, dry and warm. "No, don't say anything." She had a wistful sort of beautiful smile. "I don't want to say goodbye. I've painted a thousand portraits of you in my mind, and somehow none of them got onto canvas the way I really see you. That's when I realize that I have to let you go." Tears streamed down her cheeks. "I won't call you again. I just wanted to tell you just one more time." She reached out and touched Blue's cheek. Blue lowered her face. She felt devastated, but no tears came.

"I just wanted to say one more time, how much I love you."

When Blue looked up, Maggie had gone.

Blue lowered her eyes and cried now—hard—but these were tears of relief and renewal. She was free.

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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