Sandman Slim with Bonus Content

Sandman Slim with Bonus Content by Richard Kadrey Read Free Book Online

Book: Sandman Slim with Bonus Content by Richard Kadrey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Kadrey
mesh shirt with armored panels sewn in. I’ll wear the liner under the overcoat and hope it’s not so bulky that I look like a robot in a bathrobe.
    I put on my new boots, pants, and the motocross jacket in one of the dressing rooms, and toss my burned stuff into the trash on the way out of the store. That’s just about the last of it, I think. The last physical connections to my former life. The only thing left is the Germs T-shirt, now full of blood and bullet holes, stuffed under the mattress back at Max Overdrive. Maybe I should have tossed it with the rest, but Alice gave it to me, so it stays with me until I crash and burn for good.
    When I parked the Aveo earlier, I left the .45 under the driver’s seat. I do a switch when I get back, putting the .45 in the bag with my new coat and leaving the Aveo’s keys on the seat. Maybe some desperate-for-wheels kid will find it, or a few homeless guys can turn it into a condo. I carry my bags down Melrose to do some car shopping.
    There’s only one way to steal a car and not feel guilty about it, and that’s to steal the most expensive car you can find. That way, you know that it carries the maximum insurance possible, so whatever happens, the owner is covered. I pick out a black Mercedes S600, go around to the driver’s side, and using my body to block the view, stab the bone knife into the lock. I hold my breath. The car chirps once and the lock pops. I slide in with my bags, jam the knife in the ignition, and the engine purrs to life. I do a check of the mirrors and windows. No one is even looking at me. Stepping on the gas, I guide the Mercedes into the afternoon traffic.
    THE BUILDING IS like the Sphinx—eternal and unchanging—exactly as I remember it. Same wrought-iron bars bolted over the first floor windows. The chicken-wire-embedded glass in the upper floor windows reveals dusty curtains and tattered window shades. The building manager’s window is easy to spot: there are shreds of the gold-leaf letters that once spelled out the safe company’s name. Instead of a curtain, the manager’s window is covered in foil. I’ve always wondered what goes on in there that he’s so desperate to keep out the light. Someday I’ll have to find out.
    I watch the building for the time it takes me to smoke three cigarettes. Nothing unusual or even interesting happens. Cars drive by. An old woman wanders by pulling a couple of tired-looking Jack Russells.
    I’m not sure about the wisdom of walking into the place in broad daylight, but I’m not getting any demonic vibes off the place. I snap the Veritas off its chain and give it a quick flip inside the car. Should I go in or not? The coin comes down with the morning-star side up. The Hellion script around the edge reads, Go back to the store and talk to the pretty girl . Nice. My magic coin is trying to get me laid. While I appreciate the thought, the timing stinks. I get out of the car, tuck the .45 under my jacket, and jog across the street to the building.
    As usual, the front door is locked, but the side door, by the loading dock, is wide open. There’s a freight elevator to the right of the entrance. I pull down the upper gate, which closes the elevator’s wooden jaws, and hit the third-floor button with the side of my fist. The elevator jerks and starts to climb.
    I could have stayed across the street and walked in here through a shadow. I could have walked through a shadow straight into my apartment. Fuck that. This is my home. I’m going in through the door.
    When the elevator hits three, I roll up the gate and sprint right down the central corridor, then cut left. My place is at the end of a hall just long enough to let me get a running start. The door is the original, solid steel and balanced perfectly on two heavy metal hinges. I wouldn’t have thought about doing this before, but I’m a bit stronger now. I take a few long, running steps, swing my leg up, and slam my heel into the door. It pops open, the

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