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Rita

The Cold Man has a severe, chattering stutter, something she didn’t expect from somebody with his curriculum mortis. Thirty-two professional icings, fewer than sixty bullets.

“N-ni-n-nice to mee-m-m-meet y-you,” he finally manages after bowing to Rita, hand in glove. “H-h-h-hear you d-do-d-do ex-ce-ek-excel-e-excel–”

“Charmed,” she’d said, but now, watching by remote, she’s not so forgiving. “He’s just walking in!” she says urgently. “There’s temp-variance alarms everywhere, dogs, who knows –”

Sandra leans over and taps the infrared. Impossibly, he disappears in a wash of blue.

“Why’d you think we called him that?” she asks, amused. “Because he talks funny?”

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