Sûrah XXIX
THE SPIDER
"And verily it will come upon them suddenly when they perceive not."

29
IRAQNEPHOBIA

Greer's 'latest' theory on the Z Situation homes in on her passport stamps, the one from Baghdad viewed as 'proof' of his off-the-cuff surmise.

GREER

She's a terrorist—duh—slam dunk. Turkish co-ed, rich-kid activist, splits for Mosul, Al Fallujah, or Kirkuk, where she teams up with her fellow 'Muslimaniacs' for some training in subversion.

Greer, preceded by Amy, boards the back of a packed N-Judah (neither having a transfer nor proof of paying the fare), as passengers, feigning indifference (save toward Amy's scant attire), give the pair as wide a berth as space permits.

AMY

You rifled Z's things, too?

GREER

I sneaked a peek post Pistol's inquiry. Been to half a dozen countries on America's 'no-no' list, which means she's probably under surveillance by Homeland Security.

AMY

That's so RUDE!

GREER

What; that she's got herself in the cross-hairs of our Rough-and-Ready Renderers, or that we should be so bold as to sleuth out who we're living with? Zahra Fucking Rahnavard may have heavy-hitter enemies—not to mention whacko friends—who actually KILL. I'll bet she's AWOL, on the lam from who-knows-what; we know 'from whom,' our fearless chicken slayer. Think he's playin' footsie? Flirting with our fugitive by re-boring a rooster's butt?

AMY

I thought it was a hen.

GREER

Same difference.

Amy finally finds a seat, as the streetcar, stop by stop, empties while en route to its Ocean Beach termination, where Greer is steering his roommate "for old time's sake" to "soak up some rays, toss back some beers" (and suffer, incidentally, his pending interrogation).

AMY

Doesn't wash.

GREER

What doesn't wash?

AMY

Your take on Z. I mean she's moody, downright dark at times, but... shit. Oh, SHIT!

GREER

Pipe down!

AMY

What if the chicken... what if the goddamn chicken is an obit not a threat; what if Z's already dead? I mean like slaughtered—maybe butchered—the way you say that bird was!

Greer, far less conspicuous in his black-on-black ensemble (than is Amy 'dressed for the seashore': cut-off jeans more holes than cloth, her gray hair spiky, tattoos prominent, nose and ears adorned with shells, her tank top granting peek-a-boo glimpses at a bust that scoffs at 'holstering'), , bristles at his housemate's loudmouthed exclamation—Amy's last-night whereabouts of more concern than Z's.

AMY

I say call the cops.

GREER

Have you gone nuts! The cops are worthless. How naive; you're so bourgeois. Besides, if Z's been killed, why advertise the fact? Duke's right; that fowl's a sign... which our incendiary roommate never got to see.

AMY

Who tipped her off, then?

GREER

Who said anyone tipped her off? She simply spent the whole night out. The same way you did?

Amy braces for the scene she should have known was on Greer's agenda, this "friendly outing," "seaside jaunt," an all-too-lame excuse for some preplanned third degree.
 

AMY

Z, I thought, was the topic.

Greer resists. Why pick at scabs? Why ask for one more ego-bashing spat when the upshot is foregone? Why rant at infidelity after the double-crossing fact? Why, indeed. Does love, no matter how inarguable, ever end the argument?

GREER

So... where were you?

Sighing like an actress grown fatigued from a long-played role, Amy mouths her line, uninspired and unenthusiastic.

AMY

None of your business.

Greer, prepared to launch himself on a last-ditch screed cum plea—noting they have lost nearly all of their N-Judah audience—hesitates... then resigns, watching Amy tug at the streetcar's stop-request cord.

AMY

Ciao.

GREER

You're leaving?

AMY

As you see. You're maybe right, though; about Zahra. If she did stay out all night then someone ought to be at home; you know, to warn her?

GREER

Catch ya later.

Amy exits. Greer reinstates his counterfeit noblesse oblige.