Sitting on the lip of the Trevi Fountain, I thank God that the War didn't dash Rome to pieces. I had walked through rubble choked Berlin and the burned paper streets of Tokyo prior to visiting the capital of the Junior Axis member, and she is as dolled up as a puttana down by the docks. School children in uniforms toss coins around me. Project Paperclip has kept me swimming in money, and the Argentine cop I hit with my Ford kept me stocked with yopo nut powder. See, bounty hunting is hard unless you have an edge. I have to get really fucked up before I can see the future.

Total war opens doors. Big ugly doors that all the angels in heaven strive to keep closed. That’s the thing they don't teach kiddies in school. All the possibilities of the universe are wrapped up in man. We blindly go poking around to find things, all the while knocking holes in the big transparent skirt that keeps the ugly things out. I spent my formative years at Fort Monmouth locked up in a 9 by 9 cell, dosed on the miracles of modern medicine. I was made into a hammer, designed to smash my way into the collective unconscious and cherry pick information for Uncle Sam. It almost worked.

I guess you could say I have issues. I try not to think about it.

Making noses bleed at 20 paces is a good way to get yourself used in "Special Projects". The OSS had me thumbing through POW's minds a week after Dunkirk. I got the impression that I wasn't alone when one day I felt a thick wall of static buzz my teeth from the inside. The black halftrack we passed on the wet English road was one of ours, but the mind... it felt foreign. I told my handlers about it and I was on a plane for Los Alamos, New Mexico within the hour. I played "Find the Kraut" for the rest of the war. Einstein had lunch with me twice. He was wired different. I wonder if he wasn't an alien.

The record player in the cafe plays some sort of Corsican folksong over and over again. I am holding my knees and staring at the checkerboard floor as it swims before my waking eyes. Every time is a roll of the dice. Nobody really knows what I am, but they pretend to make themselves feel better. Monkey brains panic the same anywhere in the world. I feel lost without the low grade grating stink of panic coming from the unfaithful doctors and the cripplingly lonely nurses that used to be my parents. My eyes start to tear up with blood. The old woman at the counter makes the sign of the Cross and turns her back to me. Magic time.

1945 was a wonderful year. We live in a beautiful world, something I never dreamed of while I lay on the concrete floor of my cell. They called me "Bloodhound" and sent me sniffing along the bunkers of Nazis they could sneak away from the Russians. They had their own freaks, making big shadows I couldn't see into. Nuremberg had a flea market feel to it for a while. I traveled all over. Never tasted anything very interesting in Japan. Too rigid. I need a bit of static to work with. Those guys were hot and cold. The well started to run dry so they let me freelance. Argentina was nice for a while. South Africa was too hot. I'm in Rome for my own reasons.

I wake up in the alley behind the cafe and my wallet is gone. It was full of scrap newspaper anyhow. Twisting perception is easier if they feel the paper. I took a bicycle from a man riding home to his wife and he forgets he ever owned one. I saw the German in the twisting colors while I dreamed. He wanted to meet at the fountain. A truce was called, even if it was temporary.

"Guten Tag."

"Do you really want to talk like this?"


"What do you mean more of us?"

"Zey made us. Mitt ze chemicals."

"Yah. So?"

"Ve can make more. More like us."


"How do you pay for ze thingz? Ve can change ze minds ja?"

"But food? Why would somebody make food from chemicals?"

"Because we make zem think it is better."

'Tell me more' I say, but my lips don't move any more.

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