“I love this waterfront. Nobody does a riverwalk like the Europeans.”

“It probably wasn’t as romantic a hundred years ago when this was all pollution and ooze.”

“Still, look at it now. All that stonework…ships in the river…everything is so clean and orderly.”

“Just like the stereotype of France, I’m sure.”

“Can’t you just enjoy the experience? Look at that sky! Look at those buildings!”

“No, I can’t. And I’ll tell you why.”

“Why?”

“See that aviary over there? Those birds have been staring at us through their old-timey bars since we got here.”

“Probably just looking for a handout.”

“No, that’s not what scares me at all. One of them has something in its beak.”

“What is it? I can’t quite see.”

“It looks like…the key to a Renault. What kind of car did we rent again?”

Inspired by the song ‘Heckle and Jeckle’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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“Things have changed since you left,” Mel spat. “Time was, we’d have all followed you wherever you led. Now everyone has their own skins to think about; even if we didn’t hate your guts for what you did, what makes you think we’d drop everything just for you?”

“Do you think it was easy? That it was something I wanted to do?” said Brown.

“God, what arrogance,” said Mel. She drained the last of the beer from her bottle and tossed it in the trash. “All because you suffered a little bit of mental anguish, we’re supposed to think you have any inkling of what we’ve been through?”

Brown stared at the rude wooden floorboards, trying to avert Mel’s piercing gaze. “Would you mind at least telling me what’s happened to the old team?”

“I guess not,” Mel said. “Maybe knowing where they’ve ended up will being a little much-needed shame to what passes for your conscience. Halstrom’s running supplies up the river. Delacroix’s working for the government doing something that’ll probably be officially denied. Turner’s profiteering on the black market. And of course Aronsky and Greens are both dead.”