Pre-dawn, 30 March 2010:
With an early morning chill chasing her in, Sandi jumps in the shotgun seat and looks across at Cliff as he fires the ignition in the rust red 1958 Dodge Pickup. He’s spent all night working with Jolly Roger’s girlfriend Amelie getting it to up to scratch. It pulls out smoothly from the side of the road and begins to roll.
Hitch, Shen Lu, and Dr Dan sit in the front of Hitch’s wagon. The padre makes a short prayer:
“…be our protection in battle against all evil. Help us to overcome war and violence and to establish your law of love and justice…”
Paul joins the ragged amens himself silently in his cozy apartment. He is up earlier than usual and congratulates himself on having a morning cocoa prepared the night before. The cinnamon is perfect. He strokes his chin as he looks out from the crash webcam mounted on the dash. He goes very still as a giant purple dinosaur hoves into view. He snaps “Focus Sandi!” The dinosaur sulkily retreats from view.
Rolling through the streets the team sparks no real interest amongst the late night walkers and shufflers of Chicago. A tenseness overtakes the team as the Dodge turns into South Wood Street. There is an audible whine as Cliff forces down the accelerator. Sandi points frantically at the “For Sale” and “Sale Today!!!” signs plastered all over the fast-approaching building.
“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” says Shen Lu gnomically.