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6. She Rose to the Occasion
Graisseux's private jet landed at Santa Barbara airport and
Singlebrow prodded me to the door. "You too, sister," he
said to Thalia. He shoved her through the door and she
stumbled down the passenger ramp weeping and clutching
a single long-stemmed rose.
A black limo waited at the foot of the ramp. Noneck
brought old Mr. Szeu down to the limo and said, "What are
we going to do with these three while we go after Gordon
"Open the trunk," said Graisseux. "They'll all fit. But
handcuff the detective to the frame." He pulled his gun
and covered me while Singlebrow unlocked my cuffs. Noneck
tried to push Mr. Szeu into the trunk, but he struggled.
"Daddy!" said Thalia, squirming in Graisseux's flabby
grip. "Oh, you are a wicked and deceitful man, Graisseux.
I'm sorry I ever posed for you."
Graisseux laughed and held her closer. "Your kind is
always ready to peddle your ass," he said.
Thalia gasped and slashed at Graisseux with her rose.
Thorns tore across his face and neck and soft yellow fat
spurted from the scratches. He screamed and fell to his
knees and dropped his gun and covered his face; buttery
goo flooded out between his fingers. He shrieked again,
and Noneck and Singlebrow rushed to his aid. I leaped and
grabbed the gun and pulled Thalia and Mr. Szeu with me
as I ran across the runway toward the airport terminal
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