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A Boy and His Dog

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Jade wrapped her gnarled hands around the dove, gently removing it from the cage. "I don't got no ashtray."

Sam tapped his cigarette into his palm and blew the ashes straight out. It didn't matter anyway, she'd seen so many customers today the whole place stank of incense and flopsweat.

"Didn't think I'd see you for another year or so," she said, eyes flicking to the eyeglasses on the copper plate between them, "You only been gone six weeks."

"I would've come sooner ma'am," he said, itching at a bandage over the new tattoo, "But the new job's got me traveling."

She squinted at the body art, vodun giving off faint lines of grounding spellwork. The dove gave a dull crunch as she broke it's neck, blood dripping over the glasses. "How's your brother?"

He pulled another drag. After Crowley died and inadvertently passed the mantle onto Sam, it was the only thing that reminded him to breathe these days. "Wouldn't know."

A mix of pigeon French and Zulu, and for a moment the glasses were limned in purple light. "Here," she said, wiping her hands on her apron, "How they do?"

Sam looked around, and his eyes lit on a leggy blonde in the next room, her foot bouncing nervously, a hunted look about her. A cheap calendar hung on the wall over her, with past days of the week X-ed out in black. He could still hear it, scratching at the door to be let in, but at least he didn't have to _look_ at it now.

Sam nodded, and folded the glasses away. Man's gotta clock out at some point.

"I thought you quit 'working' Sam."

"Me too," he said bitterly, dropping cash on the table before walking out, "But I had to stop for a dog."