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“We just wait for the pianist and the dancer to come out of there and then we pounce, understand people?” He gobbled another pretend goober, waiting for affirmation. “Yes,” answered Iffy Ziegler to his left after a beat. “Suppose,” came Belinda Zoomer’s vaguer reply to his right after 3 more. She wasn’t use to taking orders from a man, especially *this* man, this Chef-Inspector Petty, preparer of fine gourmet dishes by day, sleuthing out criminals from the underbelly of society by night. This was dusk. Almost time to move in. He downs the last imaginary peanut, throwing the imaginary bag it came in over his shoulder and into the tall grass and weeds behind him. Nonchalantly — all in one movement. He wanted to impress the young’n’s here with his moves, his cool motions. Cool motions paired with cool emotions. If someone was paying attention to him, giving him what he wanted. Iffy and Belinda ignored the cool move. He was becoming hot; he tugged at his collar as if trying to let steam off from within. The music inside, the *racket*, finally ended. What atonality to end his life! thought Chef-inspector Petty here, watching the last bits of the Sun’s hateful sphere finally descend below the horizon. He checks the opposite direction: the blessed Moon, he imagines further, seeing it full and red and white as night. He howls at it (in his mind). The heat recedes, sun fully gone. A moment of crisis fully averted now. “Get ready,” he says, calm and collected. The door to the dance studio opens…

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