Emerald Green 3

Dido shrank back against a wall, even though she was in a different disguise than when Scipio had almost arrested her.  He’d seen her face.  It had been an agonizing two days, between worrying that Sturgeon wanted to turn her into fish food and waiting for her picture to appear on wanted posters all over town.

Neither fear had materialized—yet.  It’d been dark, so maybe Scipio hadn’t gotten a good enough look to describe her to a sketch artist.  But you’d think that letting people know that the Ghost was really a woman would be a bit of a priority.  Maybe they were keeping the information to themselves because they thought it would make it easier for them to catch her.  It was too much to hope that Scipio hadn’t turned her in.  He’d seemed to feel sorry for her, but he was city watch.

All these thoughts flashed through Dido’s brain.  She was still sorting them out as Scipio went straight for Sturgeon’s two goons.  The young officer opened his mouth, but one of the thugs beat him to it.

“Well if it isn’t the law.  Trust the government to harass a simple man for trying to enjoy a drink.”

“No need to be so defensive, Clyde.  I just have a few questions.”

“Toss your questions.  We’re business men.  We’re busy with… business.”

Clyde and his friend started to move forward past Scipio, but a hand on Clyde’s shoulder brought him up short.

“Get your hand off me,” the thug said.

Every sound in the bar vanished in the same instant.  Even the noise coming in through the windows seemed to fade away.  All eyes were on Scipio and Sturgeon’s men.  The young officer pushed Clyde back an inch and then removed his hand.  For a moment Clyde relaxed, and so did the rest of the bar.  But as soon as Scipio’s attention drifted, Clyde’s meaty left fist shot up and into the officer’s jaw.

Scipio staggered back and shouts exploded throughout the cramped bar, followed quickly by food, chairs, and punches.  Another couple watchmen rushed into the fray swinging clubs indiscriminately.

Other than the watchmen, there were no clear sides in the fight.  For many, it was just a good excuse to brawl.  Clyde and his partner were right in the middle of the fight, and from the looks of it they couldn’t escape.  They were drawing most of the attention.  Punches, kicks, and improvised throwing weapons rained down on them.

Dido tried to embed herself in the wall, hoping the fighting would pass her by.  When she saw a chair break over Clyde’s head, she knew she had to make a move.  Diving forward, she twisted under a punch.  The startled brawler tried to follow her, but she slipped between a few more fighters.

Rolling under a table, she heard a thud through the wood over her head.  Peaking up, she saw Clyde lying over top of the table.  He’d been knocked senseless.  Without thinking, Dido’s hand struck, plucking the note from Clyde’s pocket and replacing it with her own.  With everything going on, no one noticed the switch.  No one except Clyde.

His eyes fluttered open at exactly the wrong moment.  Hoping they were still too crossed to see her clearly, Dido ran for the nearest exit.

“Someone stole the note.”  Clyde’s shout was loud enough to break through the din of the brawl.

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