Epilogue: A New Night

I wake up at 2:10 a.m. with the feeling that my right hand is on fire. Dr. D. had told me I would have these kinds of sensations with the nerve damage. It won't do any real good, but I go to the bathroom to run cold water over my hand until the pain goes away. The water splashes in the sink, and I remember the exact term Dr. D. had used.

Phantom limb syndrome.

There's nothing left of my right arm fourteen centimeters past the shoulder. Lord Fiske got one Hell of a Silver Medal.

Marsha ran screaming the day I came home from the hospital, smelling like medicine and with an empty sleeve. She's better now, but it tears me up when I put my hand on her cheek to kiss her goodnight.

"Two hands, Mama. Want two hands."

Dr. D. and Amy were over yesterday. He chided me for breaking my promise and becoming a patient. Then he broke down. Things weren't going well. He was going to have to start over again. Who knows when he'll be ready for me? Good thing he likes a challenge. "Forget internal organs, forget skin, limbs, limbs are the bitch!"

Two hands soon, Marsha. Two hands soon.

Everyone has been great. Hank catered from his restaurant the first few days, we had so many well wishers. He hardly needed to; they brought enough food to feed an army. But Mom still comes over every night to cook, and Marsha eats everything Mom puts in front of her. She just shrugs and says Marsha must be packing it on for another growth spurt.

Reneca's back on duty and comes over before shift. Matheson is with her most days. She's almost done with the packing. I told her that she'd better pick green for the dresses. She's back on the streets with what had better be a temporary partner. Detroit sent us an apology for the unexplained failure of both our steering and brakes leading to a most unusual and well-witnessed accident. They sent a replacement car free of charge. A 2008 Tucker Interceptor…I can't wait to try it out.

Car 54 failed to respond to the accident. Campbell and Raimi found themselves at a liquor store facing a group of guys trying to bring about European unity through crime. They got two Germans, a Brit and two Russians. Raimi was still on crutches when he got his medal for valor.

It wasn't a very good night for Europe. Someone calling himself General Killigan issued a communiqué claiming responsibility for the assassination of Her Majesty's Consul-General in the name of a free and independent Scotland.

And speaking of unlucky Europeans, they've already traded Demenz for a pair of moles found out last year. Nana has tabs on Demenz, and promises the instant he's close enough, I'll know all about it. There's still something I've got to do.

The Possibles stopped by before going home last week. I guess Dr. Director received permission to declare Kim cured. Ron was with her. They just look natural together. She even told him off once. It warmed my heart. He smiled too.

And Ron has somebody to meet. His parents had been thinking about it for a long time, and they finally decided to adopt. They're getting a little war orphan from China. The director of the Jewish charity involved tells them Hana is quite a story.

They have no idea.

At least Pump won't be a problem for the near future. The Syndicate was busted and its elaborate import and distribution system dismantled. The ties to their European counterparts were something to behold. Right now the man who exposed the German Connection is Go City's Man of the Hour: Will Du.

Thank God for the Barkin Men, they're the only ones who treat me normal. The first thing Mad Dog did when Marsha went to bed was pull off his prosthetic arm and compare stumps. Mine's prettier. He used the lame excuse that his amputation was traumatic.

The first face I saw when I woke up was Stevie's. He stayed beside me the whole time I was at the hospital, and put up with all the crap a doped-out, vain girl, who's afraid she'll never get back to the Life, or ever again hold her little girl in both arms, or turn her husband's head can serve up. He let me be weak just long enough to recover, and when he knew I was ready he told me to grow up. And now Stevie's back to his happy self, bless him, so he's getting the good stuff. Last night we did a repeat of scene three from the Best of Post Aerobic Antics. Pretty good balance for a girl with only one arm.

No way I'm getting back to sleep right now. My sleeping schedule is all shot to Hell right now anyway. Seems like most days I'm sleepy, or sick: must be the depression. No wonder Cindy asked me if I was broken when I went to see her. Barely change out of sweats right now. I walk down the hall. There's a half-light in the den. Did I leave the computer on? It's off before I reach the door. Something's on the desk: boxes and envelopes.

I pick up the letter sized one first. It reads Sasha. I can't help but smile.


They wouldn't let us come all the way through, so we didn't get a chance to see you FTF. They really didn't want us to do this either, but they owe us big.

The Pandimensional Vortex Inducer will be put away permanently. They'll hold onto it just in case someone else makes one, or somebody comes here from someplace else. Otherwise, between the dimensional and temporal travel possibilities, it's just too dangerous to have around.

We caught up with Drakken and Shego almost immediately. They had been arguing the entire time, big surprise there. He wanted to send her after us; she wanted to get on with their plan. Probably didn't want to go into the unknown either. I gave her your message. If Drakken hadn't been there, I think she would have cried. I wanted to. Then I gave Drakken your message. She demanded to know what you meant. I wouldn't spill, so she turned on Drakken and chased him out of the lair trying to get an answer. I'll never tell her. She'd kill him.

I scanned the picture of you guys that's on the wall. I HAD to have it. There's no you and Steve here. There's no one for either of them. When they dated, Ron and I shuddered. Now, I don't think I'd mind it one bit. Not that I'm going to play matchmaker or anything.

We've already been to Kim and Ron's places. I left Kim some books and letters. Hope she doesn't find me preachy. Ron left Ron some advice on little sisters and girl friends. Ron's not playing fair: he gave Ron a play book of sorts. He figures that moves that work on one Kim should move another. I didn't play fair either; I gave Kim a couple of warnings. And a few moves of her own.

Here are some gifts for you guys.

I look at the big box. It's for Marsha. Made in China? Now that's different; almost as weird as the black and white thing in the box.

Every little girl needs a Cuddle Buddy. Can't believe you don't have them. It's not the rarest, but my Pandaroo has gotten me through some tough times. She's good for the good times too.

Next is a little box. It has some men hoisting a flag on a pile of rocks. At the base it says Iwo Jima. I have no idea where that is and something about that makes me really glad.

I know things are different there, but this is THE image we have of the Marines. I thought Mr. Barkin might appreciate it.

An envelope's marked for Reneca. There's a map of Kim's world. There are nations all over, and hardly a French this or British that or Dutch the other in sight. Kim had a post-it note attached.

Reneca, it'll happen.

You were the hard one. I can't believe we didn't take a picture! It was nice to have Shego as a sister that time, but you were even better. You were completely you, and we still got along. This is all I could think of.

Photographs. First was one of the kids with their families; all smiling and waving. The naked mole rat was there too. A sign was in front of them. Thanks for everything!

Don't know if you can tell I have my ring on. You were right, Mom cried. Both sets of parents have given us the green light. AFTER I've got my acceptance to graduate school.

The next two give me a pause. It is strange to see somebody else wearing your face. The first one was a mug shot. She was holding the card and looking straight into the camera. Pretty girl. I've seen that look before. "You've got me, but you'll never keep me." Hate her choice…but I love the moxie.

Behind it was a strip of the kind you get in those novelty booths. Kim and Miss Go making nice. Couldn't miss the meaning: Shego as she is, and as she should be.

We'll have to hide all this. Nana wouldn't like us spoiling all her pretty cover-up work. But she better not even think about touching Marsha's new best friend.

I'm hungry. The fridge is full, but not with what I want. What I've wanted all day. I wanted it much of last night, too. I haven't been this fixated on a food since…nyahhh.

I pick up the phone.

"Thank you for calling Red Rose Cabs, one-hundred percent employee owned. How may we help you?"

"I need a pick-up at 319 Fenian."

"We'll have someone there in fifteen minutes."

Time enough to leave a note on the fridge, put on some shoes, go get my purse, and something out of the den.

Guy's right on time. He's a real gentleman. He stands at the car door and closes it for me.

"Where to ma'am?" He asks as he gets behind the wheel.

"1412 Battery."

"Ah, Slomensk. You buying?"

"No." I smile. "But my tip should cover you."

That's right: I'm going to Smolensk on the Go. Dimitri will be there. What? Did something happen that made him have to skip town? Something I don't know about? Didn't think so. He'll shed real tears over my arm. I'll have the sausages with the potato pancakes and since I'm not on duty, maybe a shot of good Russian vodka. And we'll ooh and ah over the latest pictures of Marsha.

Hey, it's Go City. Weirder things have happened.


Best of Post Aerobic Antics courtesy of Isamu