Chapter 3 of “Corona Crime”, the ultimate post-coronavirus novel, introduces Athena – who is about to commit a serious corona crime.
All seems idyllic in Santa Monica (photo: RP)
Chapter 3 introduces Athena, the avenging angel of Corona Crime and nemesis of hero Jake Moonrath.
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“Corona Crime” Chapter 3
“If you’re the kind of person who likes the idea of staying in bed for the rest of your life, Coronatime may be just your cup of tea.”
Early Central Authority advertising, quoted in “Why Coronatime Stunts Society”, Zenon Kool, Schlaraffenland Press (out of print)
Jake was about to open the car door when he saw his bracelet signal an incoming call. He shook his head. Then he saw it was Ed. He killed the lapel holo and made the connection.
‘Hey.’ Jake murmured into the bracelet, his eyes focused the house. ‘Make it quick. You know I’m on an op here.’
‘Sure. Sorry, man.’ There was a moment’s silence. ‘You cased the place? It’s a Termination Contract, right? The subject will be agitated.’
‘Yeah, I watched for nearly half an hour, all good. I learned from the master, Ed. But I’ll be late.’
‘No worries. I’ll get out of your hair. Listen, Jake.’ Ed paused.
‘What is it?’
‘Be good to see you here. Something’s not right. But I can’t figure out what it is.’
Jake’s lips curled into a smile. ‘You uneasy, man? Don’t worry. It’s called fatherhood. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I promise.’ He terminated the call and stepped out of the car.
Across the road from the Hughes perimeter fence, a blonde woman stood outside the Feeding Frenzy milk bar, inspecting her face in the mirror of a scratched, pale-blue powder compact. It was a bright, clear morning, and few people were about. No one saw that the woman wore no powder, or make-up of any kind; her face was perfect already. When the breeze sent a strand of her hair curling up into the cool moist air she frowned as if troubled by some personal anxiety and snapped the compact shut.
It was nearly time.
Long ago, in another existence, the woman had been trained to ask little, and to give everything. It did not trouble her that only one person would ever know the greatness of what she was about to achieve. It was enough that she, Athena, was mistress of her own destiny. She entered the Feeding Frenzy.
The owner of the milk bar was a One Lifer, whose conviction that music should be played loud was classified in most theological reference works as a religious belief. When he saw Athena enter his establishment he at once dried his hands on a towel woven from recycled fibres by Native American artisans and hurried out from behind the counter. The tall blonde woman was his first customer of the day. Her DNA tab registered on his till. Her credit record showed that when she visited cafes, she normally consumed only a single health drink and never left a tip. But when he saw her shift her hips to pass between the tables, and caught her scent as she threw her jacket over a chair, he forgot about tips. It made a nice change from the usual beach bums and health workers who hung out at his place. In fact, he couldn’t help feeling pleased that the cafe was so empty. Perhaps he could strike up a conversation with her.
He had no idea that for the rest of the day it would be standing room only in the Feeding Frenzy.
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