By Pete Moss
For a day nothing happens. We sit around the house and wait. Spela is on her phone. Dragen goes over some legal papers. Grigori plays solitaire. I read a true crime paperback I've found, about an old murder case where two bodies wound up under concrete in a suburban bungalow in Daly City.
Night comes and the lights won't go on. Not that we want them on. Both Grigori and Dragen have partisan experience from when they lived in the old country. Not traditional military but better, because we're not fighting any kind of conventional battle. There's gonna be no air medevac available, and no frontal assault.
Not only will the lights not go on but Spela's phone won't charge. Nor will the stove light, and the fridge is off. When we turn on the faucet a stream of water spurts out but quickly dwindles to nothing.
So now we are officially under siege. Maybe I should just take the money and run. I should call the real estate twit before Spelas phone is completely dead.
None of us are surprised. Grigori and Dragen debate about whether to fire up the grill in the backyard. Grigori is for, Dragen is against. In the end Grigori does as he pleases. It seems dangerous to be out in the yard, silhouetted by a burning grill, but Grigori says he won't be intimidated and we're all hungry. I think he also gets a thrill out of spiteing and defying Dragen.
Dragen orders chow mein.
When the Munchery car pulls up out front we all assume our positions. Grigori covers the backdoor with his shotgun, Dragen stands beside the front door with his Tommy gun. I wait in the kitchen with the pistol.
Spela opens the door for the delivery. Pedro doesn't alert any more than ordinary at a stranger coming up to the house.
Spela takes the Chow Mein and pays the guy. Then Pedro alerts. He takes one sniff of the Chow Mein and starts barking.
"Whats wrong with the damned dog?" says Dragen, as he takes the Chow Mein into the kitchen.
The kitchen is the central room in the house and the safest place to hang out. We eat in shifts. Dragen will go first. Grigori goes back out to the grill and I cover him. Spela walks perimeter, glancing through the slits in the boarded up windows.
But Pedro will not settle down. He barks and barks and trails after Dragen. Dragen is hungry and pays no attention to Pedro. Dragen sits and opens the Chow Mein, sticks a fork in and brings a wad of noodles to his mouth.
As Dragen is stuffing the noodles in his mouth, Pedro finally loses it and bites Dragen's trouser cuff and starts tugging violently.
Dragen looks down, chewing his noodles and tries to kick Pedro away.
Pedro is a little dog and he gets tossed and Dragen takes another bite of Chow Mein, but Pedro is back, even more determined to get Dragen's attention. Pedro jumps onto a chair and then onto the table and trys to shove the Chow Mein off the table.
"Greedy Dog!!" says Dragen. "You want my Chow Mein?"
Dragen picks up Pedro and takes him into another room and closes the door, Pedro struggling and barking furiously.
Dragen comes back into the kitchen and sits down. But he looks like he has a momentary bout of indigestion. He twirls another bunch of noodles onto his fork and lifts it to his mouth, but he doesn't put it away. Instead he drops the fork, then he gets up, knocking over his chair, he turns and he throws up.
Pedro is hurling himself against the door and barking.
I come into the kitchen. "What the hell is going on?" I say. I see Dragen leaned over, looking green. There's a puddle of puke on the floor. I look at the plate of Chow Mein on the table.
Spela lets Pedro out of the bedroom and Pedro goes like a furry little missile right into the kitchen, hops straight up on the table, and nudges the Chow Mein onto the floor.
Grigori comes in and we're all in the kitchen now. Grigori looks at the spilled Chow Mein and the puddle of puke. Pedro isn't eating the Chow Mein. In fact he guarding it. When Grigori tries to take a forkful off the floor Pedro almost bites him. Spela grabs Pedro and Grigori gets the Chow Mein and holds it to his nose.
"They put poison in the food," says Grigori. "The same as we used on the Nazis."
Dragen is wiping his mouth.
Spela looks at Dragen. "Uncle Dragen, enough of this nonsense!! From now on you will eat the food Grigori prepares, otherwise it is not safe!!"
Dragen looks defiant for a second, then he turns and walks out of the room.
Another 24 hours goes by. Dragen cleans his Tommy gun obsessively. Grigori plays endless games of solitaire. Nothing happens. The house is cool and dark.
"This sucks!!!" says Spela at last. "We need to have a meeting!!!"
"Meeting about what?" says Dragen.
"We can't just sit here like this, going crazy!!!" says Spela.
Grigori looks up from his cards. Dragen stops cleaning his Tommy gun. Pedro pricks up his ears and watches Spela.
"She's right," I say. I find myself agreeing with Spela most of the time.
Also her phone has been dead for almost 2 hours by now and she's gotten increasingly fidgety. She keeps checking her phone, like maybe there's an extra few jolts somewhere in it that she could wring out, plugging it into the wall to see if the electricity has come back on.
"What do you propose?" says Dragen.
"The best defense is a good offense!!" says Spela. "And I need to get out and charge my phone anyway. Just for even half an hour at a Starbucks will do."
"Well what action do you have in mind?" says Dragen. "Specifically?"
"I think we should find YoYo and talk to her," I say.
Dragen and Spela and Grigori all look at me.
"Who is YoYo?" say Dragen and Grigori. At the name 'YoYo' Pedro alerts and growls.
"His ex-girlfriend," says Spela.
"She wasn't my girlfriend," I say.
"Whatever," says Spela. "She took a shot at us when we were hiding out in San Francisco."
"We don't know for sure who's behind this, first of all. I've known YoYo since high school and all this isn't her style..."
"Money changes everything," interrupts Spela.
"True, true," I say. "But I still think we should talk to her. Have a sit down. Maybe we could make some kind of deal. What other option we got? We can't just sit here forever."
"I think is good idea," says Grigori.
"You know....For once I agree with the Muslim," says Dragen.
"Am not Muslim!!" says Grigori.
"So we go kidnap YoYo and bring her back here and interrogate her?" says Spela.
"After we stop in Starbucks and put some juice in your phone," I say. "You and me will carry out the rendition. Grigori and Dragen can stay here."
Pedro barks once.
"Oh right, and Pedro is on the rendition team," I say. "Sounds good?"
"Is good," says Grigori.
"Works for me," says Dragen.