The Dog Emelie Knight

She hustles her way through the crowd, making a touch here and there as she recognizes faces. “Half a hundred, half a hundred, thank you. No, not today. Green, red, white, orange. Yes sir, I’ll let her know. We’ll be in touch. Yes sir, tonight. No, not tomorrow. This week?” Piffling stuff, hardly worth her time but good for practice anyway. Drugs, sex and suppressed ragsheets, mostly, the glut of the raw city, bread and circuses. Ways to feel, ways to forget. They don’t recognize her though she hears her name a score of times in the time it takes her to walk from one side of the plaza to the other.

When she comes to the High House she slips around back and passes through the Polished Entrance, wipes the false face away and settles firmly back into the Dog’s personality. There’s six or seven people waiting as she stumps her way down her hallway, more or less famous, all with the lean hungry look she’s come to rely on. She doesn’t look at them as she passes them though every eye clings to her greedily.

Inspector Avery is waiting for her, his feet tucked primly under his armchair. He looks up and holds her gaze for a second as the door swings shut behind her. “Listen,” he says,

How sad is this world
Flowers whose blooms fall even in their sweetness
As we too, alas;
Trusted friend, Grasshopper,
Will you tend the long waves
That cover my little grave?

“You and your poetry,” growls the Dog.