Lizard, awakening

They were driving through heavily forested mountains that smelled of lush damp, either of rainforest or of the sea. The roads were narrow and convoluted, and Lenore was concentrating on her driving, which gave Milo time to think.

Up until now, he'd concentrated on motion, and just surviving had left little time to consider anything else. Now, in the embrace of Lenore's dubious domesticity, he was starting to relax a little bit. He had, if only temporarily, the luxury of time for the first time in weeks.

The unremitting sex and booze and drugs were definitely dizzying. He was dog-tired, feeling not a little disoriented and lazy. But he'd been schooled in logic, and his subconscious still worked that well-worn path by default, even if the cosmic menagerie that he'd been seeing on and off since the fractal event in Chicago kept oozing between inductions and deductions, twisting, frugging, mambo-ing, samba-ing, conga-ing, and generally dancing the mysterious frenetic steps of god-knew-what other distracting little dances in the interstices.

A niggling but growing paranoia was giving a big shout-out to the process, too. Maybe it was an errant brain worm, released by the mescal. And maybe it didn't hurt that he was penetrating deep into the heart of some of Toltec and Aztec prehistory's most seriously-observant snake-god worshipping territory.

"Delusions and paranoia," he thought, sleepily. "Surrrrre, I'm normal. Just your average all-American boy. Maybe it's just the absinthe..."

"Or maybe it's not...," whispered a quiet little hiss that arose from a prehistoric point somewhere around his medulla oblongata.

Something hinky had happened at the border; they'd gotten through scot-free. At the very least he should've been hassled for the obligatory bribe. At the very worst, he should have been chucked in a vermin-ridden cell for his complete absence of legal travel documents, in an area of the world dedicated to casual revolution and serious scrutiny of 'papers'. Just what the hell was going on, here?

While Milo half-snoozed sleepily in the moist warmth, it struck the increasingly-suspicious reptile portion of his abused brain that things had been a little too easy since Chicago. Sure, he'd been beaten up semi-regularly by bus depot toughs, bus drivers, cowboys, farmboys, truck-stop waitresses and liquor store clerks, but he'd experienced a remarkable lack of run-ins with anything like the official law.

All those big, obviously government, guys draped all over the entrances to his apartment in Chicago, meant they knew. Maybe not the juicy details, but enough to want his ass. Bad.

And suddenly, here he was, cakewalking through the wilds of Central America. No denying it'd been tough getting here, but maybe it should have been a lot tougher.

...and that figure in the trench coat... what was it about that...?

"Ssssssomething," Milo's lizard brain hissed quietly, "issssssn't right with thissssss picture..."