Back above ground it was daybreak and Los Angeleans were swarming around the streets, heading for breakfast or work or their beds or the earthquake crack where John Fante used to watch old men play chess and, despite being tired and injured, Noble still had enough clarity of thought to recognise the Nazi in the suit sitting alone by one of the chessboards.
‘You left me,’ said Noble, creeping up beside Frank and making him jump.
‘Everyone up, start shooting. That’s what you said.’
‘And I shot at them.’
‘The others panicked, fucked up the plan.’
‘You were the first one out.’
‘Well, as General Lee once said, retreat is often the mark of a winner.’
‘Your Mexican’s dead.’
Frank looked confused for a second, then shrugged and gestured with an elbow for Noble to sit down on the stone bench opposite.
‘Not interested in chess.’
‘Because you’d lose?’
‘You’re Cuban, I’m white. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.’
‘I should shoot you in the head.’
‘With your injured arm?’
Noble looked at the singe marks near her shoulder and frowned. Frank was right, she was not in good shape, though she could still grab his neck and snap it easily enough.
‘It’s a moot point, anyway. We’re clearly on the same side.’
‘I don’t think so.’
‘You hate them, we hate them too.’
‘Let’s join together and fight our common foe, eliminate them on behalf of a better future.’
‘Like the Armenians and the nationalists?’Continue reading