Transcript of: O--o

Panel 1:

Adrian's Narration: It was hot, like that day in Bucharest ten years ago. The vicious, relentless, animalistic Cubby Krickshaw had tracked me down on the back of Boss Utagawa's dollar, and so my back had been against the wall for the third time in our long history. I knew that he'd gladly have killed me for free by that point. I was surely his white whale.

Building: Delta Hotel

Building: B-MART

Poster: Special: Bacon - $1.99

Panel 2

Adrian's Narration: Only the intervention of Delta Force had saved my bacon in Bucharest, but Cubby'd sworn revenge as the Blackhawk took to the sky--his booming, terrible voice somehow rising above the din of the rotors as he faded from view. Ten years of looking over my shoulder for that revenge was the prize for victory that day. He was like water--he'd find the cracks and get through to you no matter how deep you were buried. It was just a matter of time. Little did I know, the time had come.

Panel 3

Adrian's Narration: Suddenly, horribly, there he was--his monstrous visage looming from a second-floor window! My blood became an ice floe. He'd found me--after all these years Cubby'd found me! Bucharest felt like yesterday, but I knew I couldn't run anymore. I'd expected this moment, and yet my knees buckled with despair. For the first time I felt defeated.

Apartment number: 15

Panel 4

Adrian's Narration: Right now he'd be bounding down the stairs, a hatchet clutched in his sweaty fist, a look of inhuman focus in his eyes. This was it! I was dead! Dead!! I'd handled all the world had thrown at me--double-agents and mercs and rats dressed as men from Athens to Zimbabwe, but this was suddenly too crushing a blow. This was The End, and I coudln't face it. I'd prepared for everything except death. I thought of childhood. I thought of my mother. I thought of my Browning MK.III, tucked safely in its holster in the back of my closet.

Adrian: AAAH!! AAAAH!!

Offscreen voice: Adrian!

Panel 5

Woman with Hello Kitty shirt: Stop being weird, we're gonna be late! Here, carry the wine - I gotta call Suzanne for a sec.

Panel 6

Adrian's Narration: This was the true horror. A relationship so forced and stagnant that she didn't even care why I was lying on the sidewalk screaming. Wasn't even remotely curious, now that my presence in her life was to be taken for granted. And hers in mine. A romance so fraudulent that I was reduced to concocting elaborate, ridiculous fantasy scenarios drawn from nearby scenery just to keep from going crazy from boredom as we marched down the street on the way to some ungodly event with her family. Merely feeble status symbols to one another, we were held together by a bond of routine, cowardice, and sex-for-the-sake-of-sex. I envied even the limited freedom that a ball and chain grants, two balls chained together as we were. And yet we soldiered on for fear of being alone, or perhaps for fear of how others view the single. We soldiered on.

Panel 7

Adrian's Narration: Much as I'd soldiered on through the sands of Morocco in August of '67--Cubby Krikshaw two dunes back with an M40 and only one bullet left. I'd escaped him for the first time that day, but the dice had now fallen less kindly and he was seconds away from bursting into the street to run me down and finish the job. But was all I'd ever accomplished just luck, just dice? Like hell it was. Like hell.

Panel 8

Adrian's narration: My heart rate began to calm. That old feeling was coming back. Cubby was born to kill alright, but we'd both been learning over the decades. He was well-educated in death, but I knew something he didn't--

Woman with Hello Kitty shirt: Ade, could you not drink tonight in case Suzanne and Bill need a ride home?

Adrian's narration: Karate.

Image filename: fucksuzanneandbill.jpg