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Scene Title Sabotage
Synopsis On a blithe trip for vengeance to New Jersey, Ghost learns that Fate does it better.
Date May 30, 2009

Bayonne, New Jersey — The Bayonne Bridge

The Bayonne bridge is a frowning arc of steel that spans six thousand feet in length, a look of cold exasperation that follows suicide jumpers all the way down, down, down into the resounding clap of the Kill Van Kull's black water and black humor. It is fifteen stories tall. Ghost had read, once, that if you hit the water at the wrong angle, you can actually come out of the shock of air pressure impact in time to feel your shattered legs, slipped spinal discs and cracked pelvic cradle fail the fight against drowning before it even starts. If you do it wrong, then you go sssslow. If you do it right, you go out with a bang.

An appropriate metaphor to this and other things. Maybe he should be thinking about something else.

The ghost shades his eyes against the glare of sodium lamps. Eyes Staten Island across the strait, in the distance. Its wavering pinpricks of electric light, and scudded ribbon of seawall.

Staten is close enough to spit on— and that, too, is easily cycled to further meaning. Everything about New York is, these days: a cycle of shit, decay, and gutter flowers, a microcosm digesting and excreting itself. And sad things are all alike, anyway. Ghost smiles a little and turns around. True to all of the dialectical jokes, the Jersey side looks like shit, too.

Bayonne — New Jersey State Police Precincthouse

In one corner, a fax machine struggles to heave out the runny print of a fresh warrant that's as likely to go heeded as ignored. An electronic fan strains in the other. Humidity and heat conspired to choke the winter's odorless acridity out of the air. Five out of the six desks in this room are empty.

This is not the first time he's ever been here, and Officer Gibbs recognizes his face, as well as the conversation they'd had during the smoke break. The last time he'd weaned himself off cigarettes had been painful, but surrendering to the old addiction and the memories of those mounting twitches and cravings was well worth the crude amusement of being addressed by the ignorant man on such terms of awkwardly patronizing charity. Hey, man. Eyebrows canted upward, the way you would humor a Mongoloid child if you happened to be an asshole. I— remember you, I think? The janitor, right? What can I do for you?

"Yep," he nods his head, and pulls the thick envelope out from his coat, bending a faint V into it with his thumb in the middle. "I'm just running a few errands I forgot from the other night. Dropping this off." Wadded paper thwaps onto the disarrayed stack already overflowing Roger Gibbs' oblong basket. "And I left some shit under your desk. Mind if I…?"

Gibbs motions. Of course. Digging his heels into the gray carpet, he pushes his wheely-chair backward to give the grunt room to work. Ghost crouches down, spiders in underneath the table's lip, ignoring the quizzical observation that there isn't anything there that Gibbs can see. That had been the point of taping it to the underside, anyway.

"Officer?" Ghost asks. "Have you ever heard of Sally Handjob?"

There's a greasy guffaw for that. Gibbs' corpulent legs sprawl out wide in the abbreviated view allotted by the desk. The baggy triangle of his trouser crotch looks like it would fit better in a tea cosy than a uniform, no matter how embarrassingly shabby the uniform is. "No, but she sounds like she could be worth dragging in here. Jus' not paying for. Who is she?"

Ghost digs his fingers into the tape, rips it loose with a sound of adhesive stretching, snapping around the severance. He palms his prize, hefts it up over his shoulder, and ducks out. He stretches his mouth around a grin and rocks even across his feet. "How about Titania Tidy Tips?"

"No! Fuck, man," Gibbs stuffs a thumb inside his own mouth, pulls the bristly bulk of his cheek wide as he tries to wedge his nail in between his teeth, pry loose a fibrous remnant of dinner. "Where di' you find these hos?"

His face remains insolently beatific as he leans his weight lazily forward onto his hands. His right is spread on the top of the table; his left, wrapped around the silver, lupine wrought of the cane's head. He looks at Gibbs' eyes which, being thunderhead gray and curiously unclogged by the pudgy absence of definition in Gibbs' forehead or cheeks, happen to be Gibbs' best feature. That is not actually why Ghost is looking at them, however. Believe it or not, this has absolutely nothing to do with sex. No: he's looking for pupil dilation. He says, "How about Abigail Beauchamp?"


Two feet of lacquered aluminum hop up out the crook of Ghost's hand, shoots out on a toss of his wrist before he grips it to a solid stop, swings, a snap-crack movement that rends the molded grip through the flesh of his throat, splits through it like a plastic knife-tip smeared through the folded marzipan ornamentation of a cake. Gibbs swallows a gurgling cry, or tries to: it bubbles out of his throat instead, viscously runny, red. He plasters his hands over it, submerging his starfish fingers in the dark runoff. Both eyes huge in his face.

Overhead, the intercom goes off in blaring stridence— Man down, a klaxon, a rough shout from an adjacent room. Ghost glances up at the security camera in the corner, then the donut growing stale beside a dried up highlighter on the next desk. There is dust on the window's plastic fern. Honestly, Ghost is somewhat surprised someone had been surveilling at all.

He shoots the first man through the door, puts the sword blade through the one after that. By the time the groaning corpus and perforated uniform slides backward off the steel and sloughs to the ground, Gibbs' has lurched onto the floor, too, a bowlegged sprawl and wobbling corpulence, no sound, no sense, and then, with one last twitch, no life. Ghost swerves around a corner, stoops around a rust-edged filing cabinet. Watches men come around the corner. Drops into a crouch. Swerves, last-moment, roots the sword blade up through the arch of pelvic cradle, slots into ribcage.

Ghost's first mistake is not so very great. Frankly, he's used to operating a somewhat higher performance vehicle, he primarily underestimates how long it would take him to get his arm up to block the rifle butt, and then how sturdy his arm is. He's too slow. Weak. Despite the resistance of contracted muscle, he feels the bone in his forearm give slightly, a roweled spur of pain flashing up his arm, already sore from the day before, and through the cindering buzz of adrenaline.

So he clutches his other hand on the black brute muzzle, feels the discharge rattle through his hand. The round buries itself in the ceiling. He reverses the butt of it into the officer's groin; is rewarded by a peeling blast of rancid breath on his cheek.

This is why he wears a cup. In one conspicuously dark gem of wisdom, once, Hana had told him to.

His second mistake —

Jesus fuck, his second mistake.

His second mistake is a rare stroke of actually misplaced paranoia, when he hears a voice inside his head that is not actually his own. It's loud, painfully coarse, and entirely without music, consonants and vowels flattened out to the same unmelodic monotone groan, the fisted bullhorn equivalent of mental speech, wavelengths that squirm inside the walls of his head like there isn't enough room for the two of them. The voice says, TI CONOSCO.

When he hears it, Ghost actually freezes. Twitches. Searches, idiotically, for Maury Parkman. An unwise thing, for a number of reasons. Kevlar stops the first two: gunshots to the chest. Wheeze. Stumbling backward a step, his shoulder slams a squeak out of the whiteboard.


Unfortunately, he also isn't far enough from the bomb he had rigged to the outer wall on his way out last night, despite that he still remembers it with alarming clarity, that precise spot where he'd slapped it up, rubber concrete, tucked in between the spit-flecked bricking of the wall and the festering overflow of the dumpster that had burped a skittering of clawed and carapaced scavengers and yellow water on his shoes as he had shoved past. And now it blows.

Ghost can't smell garbage this time, though: only burning plaster, aerated concrete dust, scorched ozone from the mutilated photocopier that's shambling across the gray carpet toward him in twisted and shattered parts now.

Bouncing off the wall, he finds himself deaf but peculiarly unimmune to the swollen, dinning barrage of questions fired out of the inscrutable recesses of his own mind. They fly, mushroom against the periphery of his vision, squeezing an unnecessary blink of seven out of his eyelids as he peels himself upright. THAT WAS MY FUCKING HANDWRITING, WASN'T IT? WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU KILLING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE? WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER— His forehead bleeds. Two cops lay sandy with demolished dust, ragdolled, stunned— still alive, somehow, underneath the crumbling viscera that used to fill the wall.


He's trying. He really is.

It's easy to hide anything underneath enough pain, but there's no one left to lie to anymore and this time, this time, he can't trust his mind to work in his head or anybody else's— not right now. Scraping upright, he untangles his left leg from his right knee and discovers the joint of his ankle is the wrong shape and size when he falls into a jog. Out of the snaggletoothed blast hole, into the alleyway. Paper and stripped-down lights comes down confetti and streamers swinging behind him, a hissing burp of electricity oscillating through the thick squat and swirl of smoke. The arm up over his face doesn't help much.

Nor does getting run over by a fleeing NJSP squadcar.

Black and white doors, superimposed shield, Ghost barely makes out, before the glow of headlights delete what's left of his vision; he can't hear the horn at all.

Distantly, as he is flying through the air ass over elbow, Ghost reflects that he should have seen this coming. Not the car itself, ironically, but: police officers so degradingly deep into the self-propagated cesspit of corruption, dishonor, and gluttony would find other, more direct and adrenalized ways to expand upon 'being a shitty officer of justice.' Cowardice probably should have been within the circumscription of his expectations, probably. Ghost has known a few cowards in his time. Fuck knows, when things get rough, he has a tendency of running away across the Atlantic or, you know, a decade's worth of human history.


Wang. Armored, his back crashes over a trash can and tumbles over inclined asphalt in a pinwheel of elbows, rolling hip over knee, tasting blood. The cops grind their vehicle in reverse, shrieking against tightly sealed windows, and hurtle away down the street. Ghost finds traction against the grimy sewer grille with his callused fingers and gets up. He does not bother with a ballpark estimation of the number of bones he's managed to break in this worthless heap he's been wearing.


Words to die by. Swallowing something that's textured like lung, he hauls himself away. His sleeve sticks to his arm and his fingers are cramping, peculiarly, around five pounds of metal he had forgotten to drop— and better for him, now isn't it? The cane ticks a crooked, crabwise rhythm across the asphalt underneath him, bearing the full weight of a limping man where it had taken only cicada-weight touches to break skin seconds before.

This isn't quite where Joseph Sumter is going to find him.


Ghost falls down. The concrete is cold like the air he is breathing in, cold like his face, his thoughts. After all of these years, he is unused to being bothered by the mode and mechanics expressed inside his head, and finds himself inanely waiting for the sterile, settling click of conclusion that will contradict this disturbance. Regrettably, it doesn't come before darkness.


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