Down the Rabbit Hole

Milo was under no illusions. Alphonse was putty in anybody's hands. If he recovered sufficiently, he'd rat out Milo to the handiest authority, interested or not, in that Noo Yawk Minnit he'd been so hot about, back in the lab.

Milo stared moodily through the venetian blind slats barring Grace's small front window, into a film-noir evening. Across the street, one shift of tattered workers at the Dime-O-Tastic Coin Laundry Machine Mfg. Co. were spilling out wire mesh gates and into the street with their tin lunch boxes, as another shift spilled in. He straightened, shouldered the still-fizzing generator, carried it out the front door, and blended himself in with the incoming shift.

When he returned an hour later, to messily hoover down a hasty cheese sandwich on Wonder white, his hands were empty.

After he'd eaten, he borrowed a big, exceptionally cheap, ugly dufflecoat he'd found abandoned in Grace's hallway closet to cover his singed haberdashery. So attired, he slipped out again into the gathering gloom, pausing uncertainly on the doorsill.

All he knew for certain anymore was that he had to avoid The Heat by all means possible, that the Greyhound depot was 26 city blocks away, and that the stack of money he'd stolen from Grace's cookie jar would get him at least into Mexico. With luck a little further.

In place of the wad of bills that he'd sniffed, and found to be highly redolent of the aroma of Eau de Grace's Sweaty Crotch, he'd left an IOU note that he'd carefully signed: "Yeah. Right!"

He'd also snaffled -- and secreted among the coat's multitude of pockets -- a half-lid of Grace's Mexican grass that he'd chanced upon when he'd tossed her kitchen drawers for more cash, a full bottle of acceptable absinthe, a few white pills that might've been either bennies or aspirin, some blotter hits of acid, and three precious, genuine Owsley tabs. For luck.

As he stepped down from Grace's porch to the darkening street, Milo's grim expression softened a moment, and he hummed a snatch of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit.