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Billie Youngblood

Billie Youngblood is the only gunslinger in a pantomime world.

“I’ve got ten Federal dollars,” she tells the shopkeep. “How many bullets will that buy?”

“I just-a look,” he replies, turning to shove little boxes around on the shelf behind the counter. One of the boxes has eggs in it. “Oh!” cries the shopkeep, diving to keep them from hitting the floor, making eleven miraculous catches, then slipping on the shattered twelfth and going pantaloons-up in a spectacular pratfall that smashes the rest.

Billie’s trigger finger itches, because one of the goddamn harlequins put itching powder on her trigger.

Pierrot

“It’s started already,” says Billie Youngblood. Pierrot believes her. His nose is considerably longer, but hers is as sharp as frost.

He kicks Azazello awake. The old thing hisses at him, but Pierrot kicks again. “Air’s turning, scapegoat,” says Pierrot. “Go quickly and we might save you some bones.”

Azazello tries to look bored, but his long pupils dilate all the same. “Wanna rabbit bones,” he sniffs.

“You might get dust.”

Azazello snarls and scuttles up the hill, launching at the crest. Billie and Pierrot watch, as always, at the way he turns dawn’s light oily: an angel with pigeon wings.

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