Um, Peru, Sugarplum...

The human cargo hadn't been jolted awaken by the laundry van's landing at Nazca, but the slow crunching trip over the rock-strewn terrain to Cahuachi finally did the job. Despite Milo's best efforts, the van rocked and groaned alarmingly. Dicky swayed in the jumpseat beside him, white-knuckling the grab-bar on the metal dash with one hand, and keeping a death-grip on his ridiculous Aussie hat with the other.

After they'd finished off the coffee and packed the Coleman stove, Milo had offered Dinkley a ride back to town in a fit of cocaine-fueled generosity. Dinkley had promised to direct him to a diner with cheap American-style breakfasts. And Peruvian marching powder was all very well and good for getting a guy cheerful, but Milo hadn't had ingested anything but that and coffee in more than 70 hours. He was starving.

A particularly axle-rending clunk crashed Lenore's and Molina's skulls together and woke them, both cursing. Armand remained sleeping, but Milo, watching his form closely in the rear-view mirror for further manifestations of Furlonger, felt certain the little shit had grown at least another foot in the night.

Lenore pulled herself forward in the swaying van, still cursing, then fell ominously silent as she surveyed the stony red desert through the windshield.

Milo, concentrating on steering round the bigger rocks, couldn't see her face directly, but could feel the evil vibe radiating from her like ozone before a thunderstorm. He figured lightning would strike any time.

"So." she finally said, voice dangerously flat. "Just where the hell are we?"

"Um, Peru, Sugarplum." Even as Milo spoke the sappy endearment, he knew it was wrong, wrong, wrong. It dripped off the end of the sentence, and froze like an icicle. He cringed inwardly and decided to tough it out. "Nazca, to be exact."

Lenore was silent for a moment.

"Now, correct me if I'm wrong," she finally said. "But when we sacked out last night, you were propped up in the seat where that dickhead in the funny suit is now sitting, completely gonzo on way too much acid, not capable of driving. Or anything else for that matter. I wake up in the morning -- the early morning -- and we're --what? -- a thousand miles and a couple of national borders away from where we went to sleep?

"Mmmhmmm." Milo concentrated on steering around a boulder and hoped the pause would cause Lenore to forget this line of questioning. It didn't.

"So just what the fuck is going on here?" she exploded. "My own life is turning into complete chaos, and it all started when I picked up you, buster! I trusted you! I loved you!

Milo turned to look at her and realized she was crying silently, her face crossed with rage and disappointment. He cringed inside. Fuck, she was in love with him! That's what this was about!

Dinkley, ignoring Molina's throat-cutting semaphore from the background behind the happy couple, picked exactly the wrong moment to pipe up.

"Ooh, baby," he said. "Hell hath no fury and all that."

Milo and Lenore turned on him as one.


Then Lenore gulped and began sobbing loudly.