Day 15: Jackson Pollock
They crowded up to a rattling, graffiti-riddled bus with no other passengers and an unshaven driver, who to James smelled of despondence and whisky. The driver lolled out of his chinfolds to blink out the open door at the six of them. If he noticed the gun between James’ shoulders or the threatening arm around Lizzy’s, he didn’t comment.
“Back to base,” Ugo barked, and strong-armed Lizzy inside.
“Mmm.” The bus driver lolled back around, pawed a pigeon feather out of his beard, and started buttoning his shirt. Why it had been unbuttoned, James wished he’d never had to wonder.
Titian glared Argent and Triston up the stairs ahead of her. She menaced James after them to the back of the bus, and sat him down next to the window–don’t even think about trying to escape—to rest the muzzle of her gun over his lapel.
James slid a glance at his fellows. Triston had white knuckles on Argent’s arm and his jaw set. Ugo hunched next to Lizzy like a boulder. The petite Witch pinched at her skirt. James shifted subtly away from Titian’s leather sleeve and cleared his throat.
“Hey,” he grated. The girl didn’t budge. “Hey. Where are you—”
At that moment, the bus screeched hideously into motion. Abrupt, breakneck, very forward motion. The words were knocked right back into James’ mouth. Naples vanished into a Jackson Pollock painting of colors and classical architecture. James barely had time to brace himself before they rocketed out of the yard and into traffic.
“We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die—”
“This was your idea—”
“We’re gonna die together, you son of a bitch–”
James’ brain bounced like an egg yolk. Ugo said a guttural prayer to his shirt collar. It was tax evasion in motion.
The driver contorted impossibly between cars, bike lanes, and private roads, while Titian crushed James’ knee in a deathgrip. The redhead was cussing up an excommunication, saying things like fuck, this is a bike lane and fuck, this is a private road.
She was also not putting her gun away. When James hissed at her to do it, she hissed back. Just hissed, no words. James was impressed, but hated her.
The tone of Black Dragon is…squirrelly at best. This story went from lighthearted to blackhearted to surrealist black comedy over the course of its concept drafting, and I have no idea where it is now. Anyway, my apologies to Jackson Pollock.