HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 110

She raised a fist and rocky grey scales erupted from her skin. She tapped him lightly on the side of his head. He rolled his eyes.

“Point taken,” he said. “Good luck.”

“Thanks,” she said, turning back to normal. “And… thanks for helping me out.”

“No problem,” he said. “Anytime.”

She smiled.

“We make a good team,” she said.

She climbed out of the car. He hesitated a moment, then drove off. She took a deep breath and crossed the cracked parking lot to the front of the bar. The sign was flipped to CLOSED but the door was ajar, so she pulled it open.

The place was nicer inside than out but it still hewed close to the “biker” aesthetic. Photos and memorabilia adorned the walls, a cluster of pool tables sat in the far corner, and a full-size Harley hung from the ceiling behind the bar.

“Don’t know if you noticed, but we’re closed,” a man said.

She glanced to her left. He was a big guy, Middle Eastern, with a dark ponytail and a neatly-trimmed goatee. He was wearing a denim vest over a black T-shirt. He was currently bent over a table wiping at a beer stain with a tattered washcloth.

“I did notice,” Frederica replied. “Are you Alex Iskander?”

“Maybe,” he said. “Who’s asking?”

She considered another cover story but decided to try the direct approach.

“I’m looking for Virginia Keating,” she said. “I was told you might know where I can find her.”

He chuckled, tossing the rag over his shoulder.

“And who told you that?” he asked.

“A little bird,” she replied. “He drove a hard bargain but he was more than willing to give her up.”

“Anyone ever tell you it’s not nice to go after someone’s family?” Alex asked.

“She went after mine first,” Frederica replied. “And all I did was talk, anyway. She’s threatening to do a great deal more than that.”