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Zhenya

“Alert!” she yells in her strange accent, looking around the train station with wild eyes.  “My postilion has been struck by lightning!”

Svetik starts toward her, but Zhenya puts a hand on her arm.  “She’s just some coked-out tourist,” he says.

“She said someone’s been hit by–”

“It’s an old phrasebook thing,” says Zhenya.  “Nonsense sentence to teach you some grammar rule.”

“The monkey has taken my self-defense device!”

“Ah,” says Svetik, “I see.”

Not far down the road, the boy from the stagecoach twitches in the dirt; a macaque hoots, and squeezes the trigger again.

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