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Annamarie’s brother tends to appear out of nowhere.

“Jesus, Kurt!” she says, and scrambles back over the top of the picnic table, away from Remy. Squirrels flee.

“Are you guys making out?” asks Kurt, dangling upside-down from the tree.

“Does it look like we’re making out?”

Kurt inverse-shrugs.

“That’s a neat trick, kid,” says Remy. “Why don’t you buy yourself an ice cream for it?” He flips Annamarie’s quarter.

Kurt catches it. “Ice cream costs, like, four bucks.”

“Then go do it for fifteen other people.”

Kurt makes an obscene gesture, though probably not the one you’re thinking of.


“Why do you wear gloves?”

“My hands get cold,” says Annamarie.

He quirks an eyebrow. “In Mississippi? In July?”

“Why do you wear yours?” she counters. “They’re stupid.”

Remy’s wounded. “They’re for tricks,” he says, wiggling his fingers: ring and middle covered, index and pinky exposed. “Otherwise you have to wrinkle your cards to palm them easily.”

“Well, exactly. Might as well shout ‘something up my sleeve!'”

“So you’d keep your eyes on my hands, neh?”

“Damn straight.”

“Which one?” he asks, and spreads them apart, and when her eyes flick left his right hand plucks a quarter from her lips.


Cards are more popular, but really Remy prefers dice. It took him a long time to become a serious craps shooter, able to spin flat and even hit the wall without changing faces; he particularly enjoys the inevitable accusations of sharking, and the quick and sloppy fights that follow. Dicing requires physical skill in many arenas.

All you need for cards is a grin and some math.

The girl from the supermarket, says her license, is Annamarie. Remy replaces the wallet in her pocket with a queen of hearts in the billfold. He’s got a whole deck of those, but still.


Acid, Annamarie decides eventually, slipped into her first beer of the evening. Or peyote or something. She’s never tried any of them on purpose.

“Are you okay?”

The boy with floppy hair eyeing her, whose pink shirt has begun to pulse and race in her vision, may or may not be the one who dosed her. Not that it would avail him much–in fact, it’s almost unfair to let him so gravely misunderstand the situation. She tries to warn him, as obliquely as she can manage.

“Everyone I touch will die,” she says.

“Everything I touch,” says Remy agreeably, “explodes.”