When Nana Wolffmüller lands at Wellington International—dressed in a teal blue, finely tailored, fashion model’s business suit:

  • collects her designer luggage from the baggage carousel

  • proceeds through Customs

  • exits to Surface Transportation

  • enters an awaiting limousine

  • weaves through heavy traffic

  • arrives at the Duxton Hotel

  • walks with a confident, subtly sultry stride to reception where she registers, turns, tilts dark glasses up to survey sundry occupants superficially

  • allows an ancient bellhop to escort her into a lift

  • rises to the floor marked EXECUTIVE SUITES

  • places a tip in the bellhop’s white-gloved hand that elicits a deferential nod

  • and asks him as he leaves to activate the room sign reading PLEASE, DO NOT DISTURB

few of her expressions, mannerisms, gestures and reactions go unobserved—by Dad O’Rourke, at work, though unobserved himself.

If she’s a he, or he’s a she by dint of veiled appendages, then sexual ambiguity may enhance the Human Race. Heads turned everywhere, some literally, most with a glance, but men and women alike responded as to some celebrity... who no one seemed to recognize, apart from me—Ms. Wolffmüller's would-be assassin. Odd word, assassin. From the Arabic hashshāshīn, plural of hashshāsh, one who smokes or chews hashish, a member, originally, of some secret Muslim order during the Crusades that terrorized Christians and other enemies by murdering them while under-the-influence. These days an assassin is usually a fanatic. Or a high-priced mercenary—my sad status—with alcohol the influence I’m all-too-often under. Except when I’m working. Like now. After the baton change. She / he who employed me has apparently been replaced by Sheik Hadithah (the reprobate) who added to my bank account before I had the balls to turn him down, who counted on my service based on services long-past rendered... but unforgotten... unforgiven, I might add, by God, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all the creatures inhabiting here, there, and everywhere. Excluding those Manufactured? By the likes of Stuyvesant Fink? Member or accomplice of Brotherhood Eye? Aye, there ’s the connection.


Lethal force is effective as a punishment
not as a policy.

Should have known, or at the very least suspected this affair would lead to them.

Strike a blow,
lose the argument.

To him and his.


Lethal force betrays
a contemptible lack of wit.


Like a band of demented Boy Scouts with their arcane oaths and rituals, their esoteric handshakes and tattooed index fingers.

 Hence we abjure its use
and use its brute practitioners,

 Nonsense, if it weren’t so diabolical.

 governments mainly—

 Fatuous, if it weren’t so bent on vice—and on exploiting those vice-prone.

 those most predisposed to violence
being the easiest to deploy.

 From human organ trafficking to narco-pharmaceuticals, from kiddy-porn to armaments, from gambling to prostitution; name your vulnerability, the Brotherhood cashes in.

 Superpowers especially
are levers We manipulate.

 Tragic was the day I let them grease my palm.

 Weapons are too cumbersome
for mental agility.

 Once a minion, always a minion; Eyes do not equivocate.

 Like armor to a hummingbird,
coercion burdens flight;

 Eyes do not release their agents from former infamy.

 thought cannot get airborne,

 Eyes of the Brotherhood hypnotize then suggest it would be wise to do their bidding.

 mind cannot take wing.

Idling in the lobby, Dad picks up a newspaper...

What is Man
bereft of imagination’s uplift?

... in which he finds a follow-up on the Falk Foundation fire...

Who is Man
if not Allah personified?

... wherein Remington Falk is extolled for the vital public service performed by him and his fellow "genetic-prostheticians."