The Transmigration of Bodies
tomorrow. By then we’ll know for sure.
    They walked out and the Redeemer lit a cigarette and stood smoking by the Bug. It was time to call Dolphin. He dialed.
    I got bad news, he said.
    Dolphin was silent, or his mouth was anyway; the lung wheezed.
    Romeo’s dead, he said. But the Castros aren’t to blame.
    He listened to Dolphin wheeze down the line and then hang up with no reply.
    He was tired of delivering that kind of news, and now he felt bad for not having delivered it to the one person who may have truly cared. Motherfuckit.
    He got a very few hours of straggly shuteye, alternating between simple dreams of tires in motion and cats on ledges, and got up with neither vigor nor languor. Please let it be a dull day and not some deranged vigil.
    He tried Gustavo again, the know-it-all legal beagle. Not home. Letting himself be guided by an early morning urge he got back in the Bug and drove around behind the Big House for a tamale sandwich; only at the empty corner did he remember there was no one out on the streets. He was hungry as hell. And thirsty. But all there was was rankystank water in a few puddles on the path and those dense gray clouds that refused to squeeze out a drop. A synthetic insanity to the weather, the city, the people, all sulking, all plotting who-knows-what.
    He headed for Las Pericas. Suddenly he saw something in the middle of the street and slammed on the brakes. A huge heap of rags, or hacked-up dogs. He dodged the pile and eyed it as he passed: it was neither of those things; it was a man, black with sludge. The Redeemer thought he looked familiar. He rolled down the window and stuck his head out. It was the junkman he’d come across the day before, mouth stuffed full of facemasks, eyes wide as an illuminati. The Redeemer rolled up the window, rolled on.
    Before ringing the bell at Las Pericas he pulled the facemask out of his pocket. It was stiff with too much spit on one side, too much world on the other; what good was that now? He put it back in his pocket and rang the bell.
    The Unruly poked her head out a window, then opened the door and stood to one side. The Redeemer walked in and saw they’d put several bags of ice on Baby Girl, whole unopened bags. Despite all the ice it was as if you could see new life there, see some color, sense something new inhabiting her. He pulled off the bags and tossed them aside. Then he tried to lift her, but she was so heavy. He looked at the Unruly, maybe she’d agree to help, she seemed softer, more compliant than before; but in the end he decided to carry the body by himself. We’re going to be all right, he said to the shell of Baby Girl as he hoisted her up in his arms and headed out into the leaden morning.
    The Unruly, without his asking, walked alongside, opened the Bug’s door and even shifted the passenger seat up so he could place her inside. Her body wasn’t yet stiff, so he was able to arrange it as tho Baby Girl had curled up for a siesta on a road trip, raising her head from time to time to ask Are we there yet, are we there yet?
    What’s this? Where to? asked the Redeemer as he watched the Unruly get in as well.
    I’m coming with you.
    Didn’t they tell you how this works? Me and another guy like me make sure everything’s okay, and then—and only then—do we make the switch.
    Right. But they also told me to see where you put her. It’s not like you’re the one running the show.
    He started the car. No sooner had he turned the corner than he saw a couple kids take off running, something in their arms. He had a hunch what it was about and pulled up. Indeed, someone had broken the lock on a corner store and they were looting the place bit by bit. Lowlifes. Still, he stopped the car, got out, grabbed a few bottles of water and two prepackaged sandwiches, and left a few bills on a high shelf in the hopes that the kids wouldn’t be able to reach them. He was wolfing down the sandwiches before he’d even left the store.
    There were

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