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Annie was bound and determined to hook back up with Billy Luck. She talked her way into a red GTO driven by Clyde Frothwick, a student from Potomac, Maryland, while he was waiting to pay the D.C.-bound toll in the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Plaza. Snapping gum, Ann leaned in. Clyde was more than curious about the ‘mermaid’ tattoo just behind Ann’s left ear. “Goin’ to D.C.,” she burbled.

“Sure, don’t mind if I do…” Annie pantomimed, “No cash,” to which Clyde (“Call me CF,”) answered good naturedly, “Heck! My folks are LOADED! Think I paid fer this jalopy?? Sheesh– no way, Jose!!” Annie and Clyde slapped five, and glided down through the Harbor Tunnel slow lane. “Wow,” she thought silently. “What a relief– he’s not a Psycho case!”

Back on the New York Avenue front, Jed Harris stumbled upon the rear of the Mission of Last Resort, and the all-out fracas going on. The pandemonium was now spilling out onto the loading dock, and dozens of free lunch packages toppled down into the gutter. Billy Luck, clutching his new silver-banded sombrero for dear life, stepped backwards over several sandwich boxes, but managed to stay vertical. He and Harris ended up in a weird two-step, linking arms, waiting for the dreaded ‘Apache,’ who all know is FERRET, to emerge.

Billy gritted, but was genuinely glad to find his one-time antagonist on the scene. “So, Harris– this has to be more than ‘co-Inkydink?’

“Yeah, Billy, le’s just call it God!!” Then Harris swallowed hard, pausing to clutch his throat, at the site of his tracheotomy incision. “Oooh, baby- that smarts!” He pulled Billy back to the corner of M and Fourth Streets, as the mad Ferret burst forth through a window, to the tinkling of much old glass. “Look out, friend!”

In Billy’s eyes, everything froze for a very long split second. Ferret seemed suspended in mid-air, as that freaking fake ‘katana’ sword suspended itself just millimeters from his face.

Now was that Billy’s imagination, or did old crazy Jed Harris, the reformed Street ‘Mack,’ manage a full tuck and roll to break Kid Apache’s wiry stride? In an instant, tables were turned, as Billy and Macedonia, and at least two dozen worthy clients of Reverend Rand’s Mission lunged in full pursuit of the obsessed knife- wielder.

Down at the corner of Sixth and K, Carlille and Skipper monitored the quickly unraveling action as the fervid ‘parade’ of pursuit, led by a streaking Ferret, long knife upraised, passed Sergeant Phil’s dented “Blue-and-White” Chevy cruiser. “Wait, Phil,” Skipper Marsh cooed confidently.

“Billy knows what time it is- he’s got this handled!” At that moment, the running throng kicked up gravel against the driver’s side of the squad car, cracking the window.

“Aw SH–,” Carlille complained loudly.

“They’re headed over to F and Seventh, maybe further- to Ninth. Just cover ’em, Phil. Do nothing more,” Skipper added.

“This is against my better judgement, lady, but this time, I’ll play it YOUR way…”

As the chase went west past the gargoyles of the Hecht Company clock, Billy felt like he was gaining on the killer. There was a stretch run yet to go. And where the heck was Harris?”

(To Be Continued)