“That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka,” Mar said as she chucked the spent weapon aside.
“I hate it when you call me that,” said Duff, surveying the wreckage of what was five minutes ago a charming antique shop.
“Sorry you don’t appreciate my humor.”
“Considering the situation, maybe you should save the witty banter for later. We’ve already killed two too many people, and it’s not even 9 AM.”
“I seem to recall that recon was your responsibility. Last time I let you tail a girl. You were probably too busy staring at her chest.”
“Look, we can point fingers all day, it might have been my fault, it might have been your fault, but maybe we should put some distance between us and this smoldering rubble we created first.”
“Don’t you dare drop the royal we on me, this is one thousand percent your screw-up.”
“Agree to disagree.”
Duff only just dodged the back of her hand.
“Remember all that talk about paperwork earlier? Well guess what, honey? You’re up to your neck in it now.”
The girl on the subway was nervous. She clutched her pink satchel close to her body, her mousy brown bangs hanging over the top of her sunglasses. Mar hated sunglasses on the subway, but this morning found her sporting a similar pair. She was also rocking mousy brown bangs, and clutching the exact same pink bag. The piece-de-resistance was her matching arrow tattoo on her wrist.
“Duff, have you figured out where she’s going yet?” Mar whispered to the small bug in her ear. “I’d like to get off this train as soon as possible, people are starting to notice.”
There were many weird occurrences on the New York City subway, but girls dressed in identical outfits still attracted attention. Luckily for Mar, the girl was lost in her iPhone and did not notice her doppelganger across the car.
“Downtown, she’s going downtown.” Duff chirped back.
She could have smacked him.
“You’re cranky in the morning, you know that?” said Duff after Mar went silent for three stops. “I’ve narrowed it down to two places. We’ll know which one after the next stop.”
Sure enough, the girl got off at the next stop and walked across the platform. Mar followed, concealing herself in a crowd of hipsters.
“She’s getting on the local.”
“Then she’s headed for Gregorson’s Antiques in the West Village. I’ll meet you there.”
Mar emerged from the hipster throng and walked toward the car door, not noticing that her bag had snagged a hipster’s headphones. As she tripped forward, the girl spotted her through the subway window and turned pale white.
“Shit, shit, shit. She made me.” The girl darted out of the car and up the stairs, as Mar regained her balance.
The girl was quicker than Mar expected, as she had already made it out of the station by the time Mar got off the platform. She ran up to the street and saw the girl tumbling over the hood of a car.
“Trying a little Parkour, are we missy? Two can play at that game.”
Marianna broke into a sprint and jumped onto the trunk of the nearest car, ran up to the roof, and then tumbled down on the hood. The girl was several cars ahead of her, but Mar was running on pure adrenaline and adrenaline always beat fear. She had nearly caught up when the girl darted sideways out of the road and down an alley. Mar followed.
The girl scrambled up a fence as Mar strode slowly toward her. Duff greeted the girl at the top and she fell backwards onto the pavement.
“Nice of you to show up, my darling husband. You could have at least brought me a coffee.”
“The line was too long.”
The girl stumbled to her feet, as Duff and Mar closed in.
“Just give us the bag and you can go,” said Mar.
The girl’s eyes darted back and forth between the Van Aschs, as if considering which one she stood the best chance against.
“I should let you know that we’re both equally deadly, so don’t go picking on my beautiful wife because you think she’s a pushover.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere my dear.”
The girl ignored their playful banter and made her decision. She feinted toward Duff but then quickly turned and pulled something out from the small of her back. Facing down firearms in close quarters was nothing new for Mar, but the girl’s mini bazooka seemed a bit much.
“That seems a little much for city combat, no?” quipped Mar.
The girl’s face betrayed no emotion as her finger moved slowly toward the trigger. She did not feel Duff’s sword in her back until it was already out. The girl crumpled to the ground, as Duff dove to catch the bazooka before it hit the pavement.
“What the hell, Duff? Did you have to kill her? I had everything under control.”
“First of all, you’re welcome. And second of all, as much as I admire your reflexes, I did not want to spend the afternoon filling out paperwork after she blew up half a city block.”
“Enough bickering for the morning, let’s just head down to the antique shop and make the exchange,” said Mar as she started walking away.
“Umm, Mar? Why is your tattoo on your right wrist?”
“What? Because the girl’s tattoo is on…” Mar turned around to see Duff holding up the tattoo-adorned left wrist.
“FUCK, FUCK, FUCK! How did this happen? You were tailing her for weeks!”
“I must have been looking at her reflection that first morning.”
“HER REFLECTION? You’re lucky I’m not holding that bazooka.”
“Look, maybe they only care about the tattoo and not what hand it’s on?”
“YOU’D BETTER HOPE SO!”
As the Van Aschs soon discovered, they did care about the left hand.