I grab the coffee I’ve been craving and head to my office on foot. Chinatown is quiet today, still hung over from its New Year revels. I climb the ill-lit stairs with my ears pricked but find no ninja whores lurking in ambush today. Which doesn’t mean I’m lacking in female visitors; Gemma Ellison, the cute grad student from the teahouse, is waiting outside my door. My first thought is that she looks spooked, sweaty around the edges.

“Ms. Ellison.”

“Gemma, please.”

“I’d say I’m pleased to see you, Gemma, but I get the feeling you’re not here to ask me out for another cup of tea.”

“May I come in?”

“Of course.” I unlock the office door and wave her through. She takes in the seedy but tidy environs, her eyes lingering on the card table serving as a desk.

“You’ve caught me in the middle of some renovations,” I say.

“No computer?” she asks.

“Not in the budget. Maybe someday. Are you here for my services? If you need some kind of cyber spy, I’m afraid I’m not your man.”

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