“All the stuff Auren gave me,” Barret says, “the first part, it was all numbers, man.”
“Ahh, then I have for you the right guy. We have Drin,” Dance says, without bothering to exhale. His abdominal cavity feels as if it’s been explored by merciless hands. Someone working his major trunk muscles straight through his guts, he thinks hazily. A wobbly, newborn feeling. Whoever did it was good, but damnably quick, and definitely no foreplay.
Barret shakes himself, lifts first one shoulder, then the other. He waits for a lull in the wind. “Notepad in my duffel,” he says. “Hang steady, man.” And he gets up, and Dance smells the cracked mud on his boots, the old, compliant leather.
“Emma was talking,” Barret says from across the room in a voice modulated to carry quietly, “Emma was talking about Locatelli.”
Dance mouths the word, with the wind rising again. “Right.”
Barret’s squatting next to him, holding out a little notebook, a funny little flip-top Moleskine full of blank staves.
“You brought that?” he says, more lip-reading than sound, with a wheezy laugh. “You work places everywhere!”
“Be prepared,” Barret replies solemnly. “Found sounds, man.” He speaks at a deeper pitch that carries under the wailing of the air ripping at the roof, without thinking. Dance waits for whatever flapping tar-roof sound is caught in Barret’s mind.
But the guy pauses. “Dance, man,” he says, “You can’t actually move to work, can you?”
But he can. The tail-tip rises and plucks the notebook from Barret’s fingers, a glittering loop of bright blue and green, happy and sparkly and cascading with interference surface effects, all colors.