He Has a Phone, You Know.

Ah caint think what this wohld is comin to when such a shameless hussy as that runs off with the private propehty of another! I don’ dahr think what I’ll see just outside anymoh! Why, Ah was sayin to Shumuhn just across the way that I couldn’t think what the wohld is comin’ too!

“Who?”

Shumuhn!

“Say that again?”

Shumuhn, lives raiht across the way!

“Oh Sherman, I see. And was he a witness?”

To what?

“To the robbery!”

Oh no sir, he’s jes mah good neighbuh, and it’s so hahd to find a sympatheetic eahr these days! Eve’one’s only out for his own self, it makes a good soul feel so lonely!

“Oh Look A Suspect!”

I hope she isn\'t wishing for some pants. Wow.

I gave Max some pointless busywork on the crime scene, and locked the car doors. “Ok. Total honesty now. What’s going on?”

I was… making wishes.

“Cassie, the one angle I know you know you can’t play is Trauma Victim. Which means-”

Maybe I was looking for a rare penny with heads stamped on both sides that I somehow knew was somewhere in that jar, and- she shouts all at once.

“Something happened to you, didn’t it?”

She gulps, then nods. Brilliant deduction. There’s a long pause where the only sound is her breathing. It was a skunk. He was flashing money at the… at this club I go to, and if you don’t already know where I mean I’m not going to tell you, and he didn’t look tough or tricky or any sleezier than normal, so i figured he’d be an easy mark. Nothing spectacular. She swallows again.

“But that was what he wanted you to think.”

I woke up in that rabbit’s front yard. There was… a note. It said I had to steal a jar of pennies, wait for you to catch me, and then give you a message.

“What message?!”

Your Move.

There’s about ten seconds of silence, while we digest that one.

What are you going to do?

“You know I can’t tell you that, Cassie. You could be planning to run right back and buy your safety with that. You could be wearing a bug right now.”

Or I could be actually worried about you, you stupid insensitive- But that’d be stupid, wouldn’t it?! And nobody says Cassandra T. Cat is stupid, oh nossir!

“Cassie, I-”

I didn’t have to come here. I didn’t have to be the damsel in distress again! You think I couldn’t-a taken care of me if I skipped out? I can keep two steps ahead of some whacked-out skunk, and have a ball while I’m doing it! Easy! I didn’t have to warn you!

“Well, you didn’t have to stab me in the back all those times, either! Maybe it’ll take more than a sob-act to get around me. I’m grateful for the warning and all, but jeez, Cassie! You know I can’t trust you.”

Screw you!

Apparently that was the signal for another round of awkward silence.

“Are you gonna be alright? I could, I dunno, bust you for the night so you’ll have somewhere safe, if it aint luxurious.”

She snorts. Excuse me if I don’t fall all over myself accepting that one.

“Or I can put you in witness protection. There’s… this guy you can stay with, unless you have something against gators.”

I said I can take care of myself, and I wasn’t lying. Though I guess I can’t ever expect you to believe that.

Another silence.

“I guess… I’ll try to dig up some dirt on who this guy is.”

Oh! There is one thing. At the club… I got a look at his wallet. I saw his driver’s liscence.

“What?!”

His name’s Sherman.

“Say that again.”

What- you’ve gone white!

“Say it!”

Sherman?

So it’s my move, is it? Well, it’s gonna be a doozy. Maybe even a checkmate.

First, though, you gotta get the queen out of danger. “C’mon. Let’s get you somewhere safe.”

I said-

“I know. But you also said I didn’t believe you. You were right.”

I start up the engine. “By the way, what were you wishing for?”

I was wishing I knew whether I oughta warn you, or split town and leave you to it.

“Did you get your wish”

I don’t know.

Huh. Good answer.

Wait, isn’t Max still back at the well?

“Hell.”

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