A medieval castle barreled down highway 80 at fifty miles per hour, rocking and swaying dangerously as the weight of its structure and cargo overpowered the springs and shocks of the '74 Chevy Suburban chassis that it had been built on.
A gregorian chant with a hip-hop back-beat blared on the stereo. The driver was a slender Latino man wearing a hot pink silk shirt and a broad-brimmed white hat with an ostrich plume; the pale-skinned woman on the passenger side wore the shortest shorts in the history of great asses and the top half of a tiny string bikini. Her skin was covered with a fine filigree of Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey illustrations in red, green, blue, and black ink; on one cheek, there was the image of a snarling kitten, and on the other, a double sunburst. Her hair was dyed in three colors, lime green on the left, lavender on the right, and a skunk stripe of bright, unnatural crimson down the middle.
"Jesus, Indra," Philo yelled over the stereo, wrestling with the wheel, "Your truck is handling like a bowl of shit! How much does that statue weigh?"
"A little over a ton and a half," she yelled back at him, grinning like a maniac. "And it's not a statue, it's a gargoyle!"
Philo looked in the rear-view mirror over the dash.
They'd taken out the back seats, and the bronze figure of Despair filled the interior of the Carstle. The broken ends of bones protruded from the wounds on her angel's wings, which were crumpled at impossible angles behind her. Her shoulders were slumped under the weight of the heavy chains and manacles that tore at her wrists. Her robe was in bloody tatters, mostly crumpled around her feet, and a three-headed dog was tearing at her side and thigh. Her face was the face of an angel who couldn't even cry any more, an angel who had been abandoned by God. The thing had a powerful presence; Indra had been working on it for months.
"Eyes on the road, Philo!" barked Indra.
Philo pulled the wheel left, bringing the Carstle back into its lane and causing it to sway dangerously. A gust of wind hit its towers at the apex of its sway, and for a moment it seemed that it might not right itself again. Finally, it wallowed its way upright, as Philo continued to wrestle with the wheel. Yuppies in SUVs and Beemers were giving them extra space on the road now, so Philo grinned, down-shifted, and punched the gas, making the Carstle lurch again.
"I'll be glad to get this the hell out of the warehouse," he yelled. "It's good work, but it's been giving me bad dreams. Where we goin' in the city?"
"Arnand Gallery commissioned it," Indra yelled over the stereo, "Same as the last three!"
"Seriously? The great Gregory Arnand is buying a series of major sculptures from little Indra? You're his Gargoyle Girl?" Philo played with the steering wheel, making the Carstle shimmy on purpose and scaring the snot out of an aging yuppie in a Cadillac SUV. You can spot 'em a mile away, he thought. It takes the most insecure people in the world to want an SUV to go to the fucking grocery store.
"And three more after this one!" Indra yelled back.
Philo was impressed. Cripes, he wondered, how much money was she making off this?
"Hey, Indra," he yelled. "Promise me one thing. After you get paid, put a better suspension under this thing!"
She laughed, then stood up on her seat, cranking open a window in the front of the crenelated tower on the passenger side so the wind could hit her full in the face. It whistled down into the Carstle behind her, around the clanking figure of Despair, and then at gale force past Philo's head. He grabbed his hat an instant before it followed the wind out the window.
YOU ARE READING
This is a story that tells, among other things, why it really sucks to be psychic, what people who endlessly collect art and trivia are really doing, and where Gods, Goddesses and Devils come from. Rose is a telepath - but it isn't really "readin...