Brotherhood

NOTE: This is Part 21 of the 23 part series, The Cool War. Reading this part first is a very bad idea and will spoil a lot of the story.
공지: 이건 23부 연작 쿨전 중에서 21번째 편입니다. 이 편을 먼저 읽는 건 아주 좋지 못한 생각이며 전체 스토리의 많은 부분을 스포일러 당할 것입니다.


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From: Pico
발신자: 피코
16 hartford street come beat the shit out of me or whatever
하트퍼드가 16번지 와서 날 뚜까패던가 말든가

Ruiz Duchamp stared at the message blankly.
루이즈는 멍하니 메시지를 바라보았다.

"Carol, can I-"
"캐롤, 혹시-"

Ruiz looked up; Carol wasn't behind the counter. Ruiz stood up, walking deliberately back to his studio. He paced past the foyer, entering the room filled with deathtraps. His brother had clearly turned self-destructive; the final phase of his antipsychotic withdrawal. Ruiz opened his medicine cabinet, moving his own antidepressants and multivitamins to the side, reaching to the back. He pulled out a small bottle of Clozapine, shoving it into his right pocket. He moved to his closet, grabbing a heavy brown bomber jacket. He pulled his elastic band pistol from an inner pocket, clenching it tightly in his left hand.
루이즈는 고개를 들었다. 캐롤은 계산대 뒤에 없었다. 루이즈는 자리에서 일어나, 찬찬히 제 스튜디오로 되돌아갔다. 그는 현관으로 걸어들어가, 죽음의 함정으로 가득찬 방으로 들어갔다. 그의 동생은 분명히 자가파괴적으로 변하였다. 항정신적병약 금단 증상의 마지막 단계였다. 루이즈는 약 상자를 열어, 자기가 복용하는 항우울제와 멀티비타민제를 한쪽으로 치운 뒤, 안쪽에 손을 뻗었다. 그는 작은 클로자핀 병을 하나 집어들어, 오른쪽 주머니에 쑤셔넣었다. 루이즈는 제 옷장으로 향해서는 진한 갈색 항공 점퍼를 꺼냈다. 그러곤 안주머니에서 제 고무줄 권총을 꺼내, 왼손으로 꽉 쥐었다.

Ruiz sent two texts, then sprinted to Pico's hideout.
루이즈는 문자를 두 통 보낸 뒤, 피코의 은신처로 달려갔다.


From: Snipper
발신자: 절단사
16 hartford street I'm all that's left
하트퍼드가 16번지 이젠 저뿐이에요

The Sculptor sat and thought. Snipper was a reckless idiot, but on the other hand, he was an unpredictable one. Snipper had to be removed from the equation.
'조각사'는 앉아서 생각했다. '절단사'는 무모한 멍청이었지만, 한편으로는 예측할 수 없는 인간이기도 했다. '절단사'는 방정식에서 빠져야만 했다.

The Sculptor turned to the wall of clay, rubbing his hands in anticipation.
'조각사'는 점토 벽으로 돌아서며, 기대에 차 손을 비볐다.


Agent Tangerine sprinted down the busy road. Every one of his contacts was gone. His cover was unrecoverable, his utility had become negligible. He'd be transferred for sure: back to paperwork, back to normal fieldwork, back to gunning down The Bad Guys… it was all so mind-numbingly simplistic. So boring.
탠저린 요원은 바쁜 거리를 내달렸다. 주소록에 있는 모두가 사라졌다. 위장 신분은 어떻게 되돌릴 수가 없었고, 자신의 유용성도 없어졌다. 다른 부서로 이전되는 건 당연해보였다. 다시 서류 업무로, 일반적인 현장 업무로, '나쁜 놈들'에게 총을 겨누는 그 때로…지루할 정도로 단순한 일들이었다. 너무나도 지루했다.

Tangerine saw the gallery in the distance. A few quick phone calls, it turned out, were all that he needed; Ruiz Duchamp's studio hadn't moved in years. Stupidity on their behalf for not doing that in the first place, but then, there was the assumed lack of carelessness on Duchamp's behalf. Tangerine kept running, dodging a man running in the other direction wearing a brown bomber jacket. He gripped his pistol in its holster tightly as he entered the foyer, turning to the help desk. Panting from the run, he blurted out the question:
탠저린은 저만치에 있는 갤러리를 볼 수 있었다. 보아하니 간단한 몇 통의 전화가 필요한 전부였던 것 같았다. 루이즈 뒤샹의 스튜디오는 몇 년간 저 위치 그대로였다. 애초에 스튜디오를 옮기게 하지 않은 것도 멍청한 짓이라 할 수 있겟으나, 아마도 뒤샹이 그다지 부주의하지 않을 거라는 예측도 한 몫 했으리라. 탠저린은 계속해서 달리며, 갈색 항공 점퍼를 입고는 반대 방향으로 달려가는 남자를 피해갔다. 그는 권총집에 들어있는 권총을 손으로 꽉 쥐며, 현관으로 들어가서는 안내 데스크로 향했다. 뛰어서 숨을 헐떡거리며, 탠저린은 질문 하나를 입 밖으로 내뱉었다.

"Duchamp's studio?"
"뒤샹의 스튜디오는?"

The man behind the counter gestured further into the gallery. Tangerine turned and walked, slowing his breath. He looked around the corner, finding the room filled with blatant deathtraps. He tapped Green's number into his mobile phone.
접수대 너머에 있는 남자가 갤러리 안쪽을 가리켰다. 탠저린은 뒤로 돌아, 호흡을 느리게 하며 걸었다. 그는 모퉁이 돌아 보았고, 거기엔 노골적인 죽음의 함정으로 가득 찬 방이 있었다. 탠저린은 휴대전화에 그린의 전화번호를 입력했다.

"Green, I'm at his studio now. Empty."
"그린, 저 지금 뒤샹의 스튜디오에 있어요. 아무도 없어요."

"You stay there, we've got a new lead on the Snipper. Call me if anything happens."
"거기 가만히 있어, 우리 지금 '절단사'에 대한 새로운 실마리를 얻었으니까. 뭔 일 있으면 전화하고."

Tangerine's phone beeped as the call ended. He sighed, walking through the room, carelessly moving to sit on an available stool.
통화가 끝나면서 탠저린의 전화기에서 삐 소리가 났다. 탠저린은 한숨을 쉬고는, 방을 가로질러 걸어가 아무 생각 없이 앉을 수 있는 의자로 향했다.

Then he noticed the fedora sitting on the electric chair.
그러곤 전기의자에 중절모 하나가 놓여있는 걸 알아챘다.


From: [METADATA CORRUPT]
발신자: [메타데이터 오류]
16 hartford street this is the snipper hello
하트퍼드가 16번지 절단삽니다 안뇽

"Alright, boys. We don't know what's going on, we don't know what this guy looks like, we are going into this as blind as a bat. A particularly blind bat. A blind and deaf bat, with self esteem issues."
"좋아, 제군들. 도대체 뭔 일이 일어나고 있는지도 모르고, 이 작자가 어떻게 생겨먹었는지도 모르니, 우린 박쥐 만큼이나 눈이 먼 채로 진입하게 될 거다. 우린 눈 먼 박쥐라 이 말이야. 눈 멀고 귀도 먹고, 자존감 문제까지 있는 박쥐라 이 말이지."

Green paused for effect, looking around at Mobile Task Force Upsilon-18.
그린은 기동특무부대 입실론-18을 둘러보며, 효과를 노리고는 일부러 말을 멈췄다.

"Admittedly, we don't know he's in there. It is quite possible, and indeed, almost certain, that this is a trap of some kind. Yes, Alcorn?"
"사실대로 말하자면, 그 작자가 여기 있는지도 알지 못해. 이게 일종의 함정일 가능성은 높고, 사실 거의 확신하고 있지. 그래, 알콘Alcorn?"

Field Agent Alcorn put down his hand, moderately confused.
현장 요원 알콘이 손을 내렸다. 약간 혼란스러운 모습이었다.

"Why are we walking into a trap, sir?"
"왜 함정에 제발로 걸어들어가는 겁니까?"

"Excellent question, Alcorn, with a stupid answer: because we've no better course of action. We've might have the address of a maliciously artistic psychopath, and if he's been stupid enough to throw us a bone, then we can't not bite. Moving out in ten minutes, gentlemen; striking while the iron's hot."
"훌륭한 질문일세, 알콘. 그럼 멍청한 답변을 해주지. 더 나은 행동 방안이 없기 때문일세. 우리에겐 악의적이고 예술적인 사이코패스의 주소가 있을 수도 있어. 만약 그 작자가 뼈다귀를 던져줄 정도로 멍청하다면, 어찌 물어뜯어주지 않을 수 있겠나. 10분 뒤에 진입하지, 제군들. 쇠뿔도 단김에 빼라 그러지 않았나."

Alcorn begrudgingly trudged to the locker room.
알콘은 마지못해 라커룸을 향해 터덜터덜 걸어갔다.


From: The Snipper (Pico Wilson)
발신자: '절단사' (피코 윌슨)
shit's gonna hit the fan
난장판이 될 겁니다

The Janitor turned around, emitting a buzzing sigh through its gas mask.
'청소부'는 방독면을 통해 웅웅거리는 한숨을 토해내며, 몸을 돌렸다.


Ruiz finished jogging to the abandoned building. Decrepit and crumbling, errant piles of broken concrete littered the street in front of it. Four stories tall… on the outside, at least. Ruiz roughly forced a pick gun into the front door, pulled the trigger a few times, then twisted the handle open. He edged in slowly, closing the door behind him.
루이즈는 버려진 건물 쪽으로 뛰어갔다. 낡고 부서져, 제자리에서 벗어난 콘크리트 조각이 건물 앞 길가에 널부러져 있었다. 4층짜리 건물이다…라고, 밖에서 봤을 때는 말할 수 있었다. 루이즈는 픽건을 정문 자물쇠에 거칠게 쑤셔박고는, 방아쇠를 몇 번 당기고는 손잡이를 비틀었다. 루이즈는 천천히 안으로 들어갔고, 그 뒤로 문이 닫혔다.

"PICO!"
"피코!"

Ruiz shouted out to the cavernous room. Cylindrical concrete pylons were distributed throughout; it looked like an industrial warehouse, despite sitting in a dilapidated residential neighbourhood. Ruiz listened to his own echoing voice, scanning behind the pillars for motion.
루이즈가 휑뎅그렁한 방에 소리쳤다. 곳곳에 원통형 콘크리트 탑이 놓여있었다. 꼭 공업용 창고같아 보였다. 다 무너져가는 거주 지역에 있지만 말이다. 루이즈는 제 목소리가 울려퍼지는 걸 들으며, 뭔가 움직이는 게 있는지 기둥 뒷쪽들을 훑어보았다.

"Shhhhhhhhh. Keep your voice down, brother."
"쉬이이이이잇. 목소리 낮춰, 형."

Ruiz twisted to his left, aiming at the sound's source down the wooden sights of his gun. Pico's distorted voice came from a small handheld radio; clearly modified from a children's walkie-talkie, given that it was pink with white flowers on. Ruiz picked it up, pushing the talk button in.
루이즈는 왼쪽을 향해 몸을 비틀며, 제 총의 나무 가늠쇠를 소리 방향으로 향했다. 피코의 뒤틀린 목소리가 작은 휴대용 라디오에서 나오고 있었다. 분홍색 바탕에 흰색 꽃이 그려진 것으로 보아 애들용 무전기를 개조한 것이 분명해보였다. 루이즈는 그걸 집어들고는 통신 버튼을 눌렀다.

"Pill delivery service, this is Ruiz speaking, how may I help you?"
"알약 배달 서비스, 이쪽은 루이즈이올시다. 어떻게 도와드릴깝쇼?"

"I'm fine without them. They'd kill me."
"난 그런 거 필요 없어. 알약은 날 죽일 뿐이야."

"No. No, that's definitely not a thing that's true. You are saying not true things, and are also stupid."
"아냐. 아냐, 그건 분명 사실이 아니야. 넌 지금 사실 아닌 것들을 말하고 있어. 바보 같은 짓이고."

"Allow me to clarify, then: I just consumed ten pills apiece of escitalopram and topiramate. I down a single clozapine pill, my heart will pretty much explode."
"그렇다면 말을 분명하게 다시 하도록 하지. 방금 에스시탈로프람이랑 토피라메이트를 각각 10알 씩 먹었어. 내가 클로자핀을 한 알이라도 먹으면, 심장이 터져나갈 거라는 건 분명하지."

"Fuck."
"썅."

"Anyway. Get up to the top level. Snip snip."
"어쨌든간에, 꼭대기 층으로 올라와. 싹둑 싹둑."

Ruiz pocketed the radio, static still buzzing from its speaker, and walked over to the rough concrete staircase. Cement powder spiralled from the ground with his every step, staining his shoes grey. He jogged up the stairs to the second floor, then the third, and finally reached the fourth. The final floor, unlike all the rest, was almost spotlessly clean. The ground, while still concrete, had been polished and shined to almost flawless levels of reflection. The pillars, while still cylindrical, rose and descended into decoratively carved ends, in effective mimicry of ancient Greek architecture. And then, sitting comfortably upon a pile of corpses, Pico Wilson stared apathetically at his brother.
루이즈는 아직 스피커에서 잡음이 나오고 있는 라디오를 주머니에 넣고는, 울퉁불퉁한 콘크리트 계단 쪽으로 걸어갔다. 한 걸음 내딛을 때마다 바닥에서 시멘트 가루가 날리며, 그의 신발을 회색으로 더럽히고 있었다. 루이즈는 2층으로 뛰어올라가고는, 이윽고 3층으로, 결국에는 4층에 도달했다. 꼭대기 층은 다른 층과는 다르게, 티끌 하나 없이 깨끗했다. 바닥은 여전히 콘크리트였으나, 잘 광 내고 닦아서 거의 완벽한 수준으로 빛을 반사할 정도였다. 기둥들은 여전히 원통형이었으나, 양 끝부분에 장식성 조각이 되어있어, 효과적으로 고대 그리스 건축물을 흉내내고 있었다. 그리고, 피코 윌슨은 시체 더미 위에 편안하게 앉아 심드렁히 제 형을 바라보고 있었다.

"Ruiz. Long time no see."
"루이즈. 오랜만이야."

Ruiz levelled his wooden gun at his brother's smirking face.
루이즈는 제 나무 총을 능글맞게 미소짓고 있는 제 동생의 얼굴 높이로 들어올렸다.

"Pico. Why'd you kill him?"
"피코. 왜 그를 죽인 거야?"

Pico reached into the pile, pulling out an errant hand.
피코는 시체 더미 안으로 손을 집어넣더니, 시체의 손을 하나 꺼내들었다.

"This guy?"
"이 사람?"

"You know who I mean."
"누구 말하는지 알잖아."

"What, so you don't care why I killed this guy?"
"뭐야, 그래서 내가 왜 이 사람을 죽였는지는 신경쓰지 않는 거야?"

"No."
"그래."

"No love at all for Donovan Stilward? You don't want to know why? Really?"
"도노반 스틸워드Donovan Stilward에 대해서는 관심도 없는 거야? 죽인 이유가 궁금하지 않다고? 진짜로?"

"I don't think there was a reason."
"이유가 없을 것 같아서 말이지."

"He kidnapped, raped, and killed three children."
"이자는 세 명의 아이를 납치하고, 강간해서, 결국에는 죽였어."

"…what?"
"…뭐?"

"You heard me."
"내 말 들었잖아."

"You're lying. You're an indiscriminate murderer."
"거짓말. 넌 묻지마 살인자야."

"I never lie, brother. Only art lies, and it's a lie that makes us realize the truth. And the truth is this: the only truth is in art’s lies."
"난 거짓말 안 해, 형. 오직 예술만이 거짓말을 하지. 그리고 바로 그 거짓말 덕분에 우리가 진실을 자각하는 거고. 그리고 진실은 바로 이거야. 유일한 진실은 예술의 거짓말 안에 있다는 거."

"Stop it. Why did you kill The Critic?"
"그만 해. '비평가'는 왜 죽였어?"

"Do I need a reason?"
"이유가 필요한가?"

"Tell me why."
"왜 그랬는지 말해."

"So, just to clarify, you think that I killed the big man for a reason, but not good old kiddie-fucking Donovan Stilward?"
"그냥 확실하게 해두고 싶어서 그러는데, 형은 내가 그 사람은 이유가 있어서 죽였고 이 소아성애자 도노반 스틸워드는 이유 없이 죽였다는 거야?"

Pico waved the corpse's hand for emphasis.
피코는 강조를 위해 시체의 손을 흔들었다.

"Ruiz, your problem is the same as mine: incoherence. Well, that and a drastically exaggerated sense of self-importance. Not everything happens for a reason, brother."
"루이즈, 형의 문제는 나와 같아. 일관성이 없어. 뭐, 그거랑 극단적으로 과장된 자존심도 있지. 모든 게 이유가 있어서 일어나는 건 아니야, 형."

Pico jumped off his pile and started walking towards Ruiz, gesticulating wildly, Ruiz never taking the aim of his gun from his brother's head.
피코는 시체 더미에서 뛰어올라, 미친 듯이 손을 흔들어대며 루이즈를 향해 걸어가기 시작했고, 루이즈는 총을 제 동생의 머리에서 돌리지 않았다.

"See, the only difference between you and me, Ruiz, is I don't lie about it. You want to know why I killed Critic? You think it had anything to do with you at all? No, brother, no. Nothing of the sort. As much as you would like to be, brother, you are not the prime mover here, and it's getting under your skin."
"있지, 형과 내 유일한 차이점은 말이야, 난 거짓말을 안 한다는 거야. 형은 내가 왜 '비평가'를 죽였는지 알고 싶어? 애초에 내가 그런 게 형이랑 뭔가 연관성이 있었다고 생각하는 거야? 아냐, 형, 아니야. 그런 게 아니야. 형은 정말로 이 모든 것의 주동자가 되고 싶겠지만, 형은 그렇지 않고, 그 사실이 형을 괴롭히고 있는 거지."

Pico flipped a butterfly knife from his pocket and started to play with it. Ruiz steeled his expression.
피코는 주머니에서 버터플라이 나이프를 홱 꺼내들고는 그걸 가지고 장난치기 시작했다. 루이즈는 제 감정을 다잡았다.

"Sometimes, Ruiz, things just… happen. And it's not because of any reason, or any cause. People like to pretend there was a cause, right? They like to pretend that there's always a reason. They like to pretend that there was something that could have been done, and think about all of the little things that would have made it turn out any other way. And they sit there tossing and turning, trying to reverse-engineer the world, as though finding a solution would retroactively change things. But it doesn't matter. Those are things that have already happened, and thinking about it wastes more time, more things will keep happening, and then it all just fizzles away into meaninglessly masturbatory hypotheticals."
"가끔은 말이야, 루이즈, 일이 그냥…일어나기도 해. 뭔가 이유가 있다거나, 어떠한 원인이 있어서 그러는 게 아니란 말이지. 사람들은 꼭 모두 원인이 있어서 그러는 척 하길 좋아하잖아? 모든 것에 이유가 있다고 생각하길 좋아하지. 꼭 뭔가 다른 것을 할 수 있었다는듯이 행동하길 좋아하고, 그렇다면 어떤 다른 결과가 발생했을 지에 대해 생각하기를 좋아하지. 그렇게 앉아서는 이걸 던져보고 저걸 돌려보며, 세상을 역설계하려고 해. 마치 그렇게 해서 해법을 찾아내면 소급적으로 다른 것들을 바꿀 수 있다는듯이 말이야. 하지만 그건 전혀 상관이 없어. 전부 이미 일어났던 일들이고, 그런 일들에 대해 생각을 하는 건 시간만 낭비할 뿐이야. 더 많은 일들은 계속해서 일어나고, 모든 건 결국 의미없는 자위성 가정으로 흐지부지되어버리고 만단 말이지."

Pico took the knife and ran it across his chin, scraping errant facial hairs without cutting his skin.
루이즈는 칼날을 가져다가 제 턱에 대고 휘저으며, 살을 베지 않고 튀어나온 수염을 깎아냈다.

"Sometimes, Ruiz, things just… I don't know how to say. Perhaps I would call it… 'reversion'. Sometimes things revert, have you noticed? It's as though we were living on the edge of a coin. A knife, even. Sometimes things revert and the world feels horribly different. Can you feel it? You've felt it, haven't you?"
"가끔은 말이야, 루이즈, 일이 그냥…뭐라고 말해야 할지 모르겠네. 어쩌면 '회귀'라 해야 하려나. 가끔은 모든 게 뒤집혀. 눈치챈 적 있어? 꼭 우리가 동전 가장자리에 살고 있는 것처럼 말이야. 아니면 칼날이라 해도 좋겠지. 가끔은 모든 게 뒤집히고 세상이 끔찍하리만큼 다르게 느껴져. 느낄 수 있어? 느껴본 적 있지, 안 그래?"

Ruiz continued staring down his gun. Pico, having scraped his chin free of hair, started making incisions on the back of his hand.
루이즈는 계속해서 제 총을 내려다보았다. 피코는 턱수염을 깔끔히 밀어버리고는, 제 손등을 가르기 시작했다.

"We're doing the same thing, always. Alluding to change, but it's not real. It's all static, it's fake, it's FAKE! Don't you see, brother? We're just playing at… at being gods. What do gods do when they live forever? I'll tell you, brother. They just keep hammering each other on the back. They tell each other that there is meaning, when it's all just easily coined bullshit. And, if they're lucky, brother, some gods even get to forget. There's only one truth, Ruiz. Do you get me?"
"우린 항상 그와 같은 일을 하고 있는 거야. 변화를 논하지만, 사실이 아니지. 모두 정적이고, 가짜야. 가짜라고! 모르겠어, 형? 우린 그냥…그냥 신 놀이를 하고 있는 거야. 평생 살 수 있다면 신들은 뭘 할까? 내가 답해줄 게, 형. 그냥 서로 등쳐먹고 그러는 거야. 서로에게 전부 이유가 있다고 말해. 사실은 그게 전부 헛소리를 지어낸 건데 말이야. 그리고, 만약 운이 좋다면, 형, 어떤 신들은 망각하기도 하지. 진실은 오직 하나 뿐이야, 루이즈. 이해하겠어?"

"You're insane."
"넌 미쳤어."

"No, I'm incoherent, there's a difference. Sanity is arbitrary, brother. The consensus of stupid people."
"아니, 난 일관성이 없어. 그 둘은 분명히 다르다고. 제정신이라는 건 임의적인 거야, 형. 멍청이들이 합의한 개념에 불과하다고."

"WHY DID YOU KILL THE CRITIC?"
"*왜 '비평가'를 죽였어?"

"I guess… because… I could?"
"그냥 내가…할 수…있으니까?"

Ruiz pulled the trigger, sending a supersonic elastic band into his brother's chest. Pico fell, winded.
루이즈는 방아쇠를 당겨, 초음속 고무줄을 제 동생의 가슴팍에 쏘았다. 피코는 숨을 전부 토해내며 쓰러졌다.

"TELL ME!"
"말해!"

"You really want to know?"
"정말로 알고 싶어?"

"YES!"
"그래!"

"Look behind you."
"뒤를 봐."

Ruiz spun in place, then saw his eyes reflected in the dark glass of The Janitor's mask.
루이즈는 제자리에서 뒤로 돌았다. 이윽고 제 눈이 '청소부'의 가면에 있는 어두운 유리에 비추는 것을 보았다.


"This still feels like a stupid idea, sir."
"여전히 바보같은 생각 같습니다만."

Field Agent Alcorn was sitting across from Agent Green inside of the white, unmarked Foundation van. The nine-man squad (with the addition of Green) was awkwardly squeezed in just one vehicle. Every turn pushed or pulled the agents around the vehicle as the hurtled towards 16 Hartford Street.
현장 요원 알콘은 흰색 재단 위장용 화물차 안에서 그린 요원을 마주보고 앉아있었다. (그린을 포함하여) 아홉 명으로 구성된 이 분대는 어색하리만치 한 차량에 끼어앉아 있었다. 차량이 허트퍼드가 16번지를 향해 내달리며 핸들을 꺾을 때마다 요원들은 이리저리 흔들렸다.

"You know you're disposable, don't you Alcorn?"
"자네가 대체 가능하다는 거 알고 있겠지, 안 그래 알콘?"

Alcorn frowned angrily at Green, who appraised him apathetically.
알콘은 자신을 무감각하게 평가하는 그린에게 성이 나 얼굴을 찌푸려 보였다.

"Don't take that personally. I'm disposable too. We're paid to be disposable. If you weren't, you wouldn't be in the field."
"기분 나쁘게 받아들이지는 말게나. 나도 대체 가능하니까. 우리는 대체 가능하기 위해 월급을 받고 있는 거지. 안 그러면 현장에 있지 않을 테니까."

Green rubbed the ridge of his nose, then continued.
그린은 콧잔등을 문지르고는 말을 이어나갔다.

"There are numerous methodologies that would be safer. We could have brought more personnel. We could have gotten some snipers, we could have tried to lock the place down. Those would cost more, in exchange for lower risk. But we are disposable. And as much as we like to pretend otherwise, the men in suits aren't made of money."
"더 안전한 방법론은 수 없이 많을 거야. 더 많은 인원을 동원하는 것이 한 방법이겠지. 저격수를 데려오거나, 목적지를 봉쇄하는 방법도 있을 거야. 위험도를 낮추는 대신, 비용이 더 들 걸세. 그렇지만 우린 대체 가능하지 않나. 게다가 우리는 필사적으로 생각하지 않으려 하나, 우리 양복네들은 부자인 건 아닐세."

Green leaned over and spoke into Alcorn's ear.
그린은 몸을 기울여 알콘의 귀에 대고 말했다.

"As bad as it sounds, Alcorn, we are going with the stupidest idea because it is the cheapest."
"들리는 것 만큼 나쁜 일이지, 알콘. 가장 바보같은 생각이 가장 싸게 먹히니까 하는 거야."

The van screeched to a halt. Green unholstered his pistol; Alcorn gripped his rifle, then pushed open the van's back door, covering his squad as they moved to the entrance. Green sprinted to the entrance, then scanned the pillars inside. He entered, pistol still aimed at eye-level, scanning corners as the members of Upsilon 18 slowly fanned inside.
화물차가 끼익 하는 소리를 내며 멈추었다. 그린은 권총집에서 권총을 빼들었다. 알콘은 제 소총을 붙잡고는, 화물차의 뒷문을 밀어 열며 나머지 분대원들이 입구로 향하는 동안 엄호하였다. 그린은 입구로 달려가고는 안쪽에 있는 기둥들을 훑어보았다. 그는 권총을 눈높이로 올려 조준한 채로 안으로 들어가며, 입실론 18 부대원들이 천천히 퍼져서 안으로 들어가는 동안 구석구석을 지켜보았다.


Ruiz stared at The Janitor, stunned like a deer in the headlights. Pico slowly got to his feet, laughing lightly.
루이즈는 전조등 앞에 선 사슴처럼 멍하니 서서 '청소부'를 바라보았다. 피코는 재미있다는 듯이 웃으며 천천히 일어섰다.

"There you are, you beautiful thing. Over here."
"왔군요, 요 아름다운 것. 이리로 와요."

The Janitor turned, making its way over to The Snipper. It kneeled in front of him; Pico patted it softly on the head. Ruiz was stunned into silence.
'청소부'는 몸을 돌려, '절단사'에게로 향했다. 그는 피코 앞에 무릎을 꿇었고, 피코는 가볍게 그의 머리를 토닥였다. 루이즈는 놀라서 할 말을 잃었다.

"See, The Janitor here's basically… well, 'god' is a bit much. Demigod, do you think?"
"있지, 여기 이 '청소부'는 근본적으로…뭐, '신'이라 하면 좀 너무 갔나. 반신 정도라 하면 되려나?"

The Janitor raised its face up to its master.
'청소부'는 제 주인을 향해 고개를 들어올렸다.

"I am not divine."
"제게는 신성이 없습니다."

"Oh, but you are divine, my dear, you are. What do you think, Ruiz? I'm not sure what we'll do for a wedding dress; white on black would be fantastic, though."
"오, 하지만 있는 걸요, 내 사랑. 있고 말고요. 어떻게 생각해, 루이즈? 웨딩 드레스를 어떻게 맞출 지 잘 모르겠어서 말이야. 검은색 바탕에 흰색을 하는 게 좋을 것 같지만서도."

Ruiz recovered, again returning his aim to The Snipper's head. Pico simply laughed.
루이즈는 정신을 다잡고, 다시 '절단사'의 머리를 향해 총구를 돌렸다. 피코는 그저 웃을 뿐이었다.

"You're threatening me with elastic bands, Ruiz. You're threatening me with stationary."
"형 지금 고무줄을 갖고 날 위협하고 있는 거야. 사무용품으로 날 위협하고 있다고."

"Why?"
"어째서야?"

"Why what?"
"뭐가 어째서야?"

"Why do any of this? What's your endgame?"
"어째서 이 모든 걸 하는 거야? 네 마지막 수가 뭔데?"

"Why do you think there's an endgame? Hell, what was yours? Kill the Critic, then what?"
"왜 내게 마지막 수가 있을 거라 생각하는 거야? 젠장, 형의 마지막 수는 뭐였는데? '비평가'를 죽이고, 그 다음은?"

"Things would change."
"모든 게 바뀌겠지."

"Nothing ever changes. Even now, nothing's changed. Everyone just changed places, but it's all the same. They're playing a game of musical chairs, you stopped the music, but forgot to remove a seat."
"바뀌는 건 없어. 심지어 지금도, 무엇 하나 바뀐 게 없지. 모두가 그냥 저가 있을 자리를 바꿀 뿐, 본질적으로는 같아. 의자 뺏기 놀이를 하는 거나 마찬가지라고. 형은 음악을 멈추었지만, 의자 하나를 빼두는 걸 잊었어."

"You're wrong. I cut him out, I sliced him out like a cancer. His side-jobs had replacements, but I don't care about them. There is no Critic."
"틀렸어. 난 그를 잘라냈어. 암덩어리한테 그러듯 걷어냈지. 그 인간의 부업은 전부 다른 이들에게로 돌아갔지만, 그들은 상관 없어. '비평가'는 더 이상 없어."

Pico Wilson spread his arms wide.
피코 윌슨은 양팔을 벌렸다.

"Of course there is. You're talking to him."
"당연히 있지. 지금 본인에게 말하고 있잖아."


"We secure, Alcorn?"
"안전한가, 알콘?"

"This floor is, at least. We going up?"
"적어도 이 층은요. 올라갈 겁니까?"

"Yep."
"그래."

"Perkins, Dorfman, with me. Everyone else, keep this floor locked down. Nobody in, nobody out."
"퍼킨스Perkins, 도프먼Dorfman, 나와 함께 간다. 나머지 사람들은 이 층을 봉쇄해. 들어오는 사람도, 나가는 사람도 없게끔."

Perkins and Dorfman joined Alcorn and Green at the base of the stairs.
퍼킨스와 도프먼이 층계참에서 알콘과 그린에게로 합류했다.

"You first, Green."
"먼저 가세요, 그린."

They swept carefully upwards to the second floor, spreading out to search.
그들은 조심스레 2층을 향해 올라가, 분산되어 수색을 시작했다.


"You're not The Critic."
"넌 '비평가'가 아니야."

"Of course I am. I emptied the seat, I get to take it."
"당연히 맞지. 내가 자리를 비웠으니, 내가 그 자리에 앉을 권리가 있어."

"HE WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF."
"냅뒀으면 알아서 죽었을 사람이야."

"The keyword being 'would'. I got him first. Mine to claim in his absence. Didn't you realise that?"
"중요한 건 '죽었을'이라는 거지. 내가 먼저 죽였잖아. 그러니 그 빈자리는 내가 가져가도 된다는 거지. 혹시 그걸 몰랐어?"

"So then… if I kill you?"
"그렇다면 만약에…내가 널 죽인다면?"

Pico tilted his head back, cackling madly.
피코는 머리를 뒤로 젖히고는 미친듯이 키득거렸다.

"Go ahead and try, brother. Janitor. Clean up the mess."
"어디 한 번 해봐, 형. '청소부'. 이 난장판을 청소해."

The Janitor stood, turning around to face Ruiz. It walked towards him, hands raised. Ruiz began to grin.
'청소부'는 자리에서 일어나, 몸을 돌려 루이즈를 마주보았다. 그는 손을 든 채로 루이즈를 향해 걸어갔다. 루이즈는 미소 짓기 시작했다.

"And… cut."
"그리고…컷."

The Janitor spun around, tackling Pico to the ground, sending his butterfly knife clattering into a distant corner. The Snipper struggled, trying to escape the masked figure's grip. He wildly clawed at the mask with dirty fingernails, until getting his fingers underneath and pulling it cleanly off.
'청소부'는 몸을 돌려, 피코를 땅바닥에 나자빠뜨려 그의 버터플라이 나이프를 저 멀리 구석으로 던져보냈다. '절단사'는 필사적으로 가면 쓴 인형의 손아귀에서 벗어나려 애썼다. 그는 더러운 손톱으로 가면을 마구 긁어대다가, 결국에는 손가락을 그 밑으로 집어넣어 가면을 확 벗겨냈다.


REWIND
되감기


"Oi. Sandra."

The Director sat comatose in her bed. Ruiz Duchamp stood next to her, poking her cheek with his finger.

"Come on, Sandy. You might have fooled them, but you can't fool me."

The Director opened one of her eyes, whispering through her oxygen mask.

"Bugger off, Ruiz."

"I've got the cameras on loop, and the door's locked. Take off the mask."

Sandra Paulson pulled it off, then yanked several fake IV drips from her arm.

"Damn it, Ruiz, what do you want?"

"Well, for starters, I want to know why you're pretending to be unconscious."

Sandra rubbed the back of her head.

"Suits got me. Drugged me up, not that it had any effect, of course."

"Of course."

"Fed them some bullshit about you leaking the play to me as well. Watch out for that."

"You what?"

"Hey, calm down. First name that popped into my head, man. You shouldn't have turned up last night."

"I needed to warn you!"

"You seriously think I wouldn't know about the Hanged King? That's old-school stuff, everyone knows about it. Hell, I wrote a pilot for a sitcom adaptation. 'Hanging with The King', I think it was."

"Then why the hell were you running the show?"

"I was being watched. Did you really think I'd turned into a stupid, crotchety old lady? I was an actress before a director."

Ruiz frowned, thinking on her words.

"So… who gave it to you?"

"The Sculptor. That asshole's trying to kill us all."


The phone sitting on The Director's bedside table started to ring. She picked it up, placing it to the side of her head.

"Ruiz?"

"Sandy, I need some help. I can't be in two places at once, and Felix is watching me."

"Wait, you've been talking to Felix?"

"Yeah, we… started hanging out, or something. Still not sure if I can trust him."

"He's harmless. What do you want?"

"I need you to tail my brother. Figure out where he lives."

"Do you know where he is right now?"

"No, but I know where he's going to be tonight. 27 Rokan Avenue. The whole gang's meeting up for tea and cookies."

"Tea and cookies?"

"Sorry, I mean in order to plan their attack at an exhibition that I'm not even going to be attending while The Sculptor insists on using my name as the motivation behind a witch hunt. I'm not sure how I got those two mixed up. Can you do that for me?"

"Sure. Any luck with The Sculptor?"

"One problem at a time, Sandy."

The Director placed her phone on the bedside table. She pulled an inflatable doll from underneath her bed, stuck it under her covers, then changed into plainclothes. She locked her door (fortunately, she had her own room), then carefully lowered herself outside onto the window. They'd never notice she was gone.


Ruiz's phone buzzed in his pocket. He flipped it out, pushing it to his ear.

"Hey Sandy."

"Ruiz. I've got an address. 16 Hartford Street. Big abandoned building."

"Fantastic."

"He has also met The Janitor."

"Who?"

"Tall guy. Gas mask."

"I have no idea who you're talking about."


Sandra's phone buzzed in her pocket. She'd not actually returned to the hospital after her first escape. The nurses still hadn't noticed.

"Hey Ruiz."

"Critic's dead."

"Oh. It worked then?"

"Nope. Pico killed him."

"Shit."

"Indeed. Keep an eye on him for me."

"What are we doing about The Sculptor?"

"I'm working on it. Don't worry."


Ruiz's phone started ringing.

"Sandy?"

"I just had an idea. You know how I'm really good at acting?"


To: Sandy
go time.

To: Felix
can you get the janitor to meet me at my studio? need to ask something


Felix glanced at his phone, tapped at a few keys, then returned it to his pocket.


From: The Snipper (Pico Wilson)
shit's gonna hit the fan

The Janitor turned around, emitting a buzzing sigh through its gas mask. Its phone beeped again.

From: The Clipper (Felix Cori)
Ruiz Duchamp's asking for you at his studio.

The Janitor examined the screen, thinking about the messages.

It knew what had happened.

It exhaled another deep, buzzing sigh.

Then it removed its mask, and became the person beneath the mask.

The person beneath started walking to a coffee shop.


AND BACK TO THE PRESENT


"Miss The Director. I see. I SEE."

Sandra, free of the stifling gas mask, easily reasserted her full-body pin. The Snipper began to laugh loudly.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA… Oh, Little Miss The Director. How Would You Like To Play?"

The Director switched to a stranglehold, trying to block Pico's airways.

"no i don't think that will work here. Not on us, you know? NOT ON US."

The Snipper twisted, tearing his shirt off and using the leeway to escape The Director's hold. His emaciated ribcage rose and fell as he panted madly.

"We Aren't Going To Go Down As Easily As That Miss The Director. and we haven't forgotten you either RUIZ."

Ruiz shot two elastic bands at his brother's head. The first grazed Pico's ear; the second snapped into his eye. He recoiled, covering his face with his hands.

"no you see this is not how it goes down. We Can Just Restart. We can just… restart, you know? It's not real. It can't be. IT CAN'T BE."

Pico ran manically to his pile of corpses, diving amongst his collected bodies.

"There Is No Control. It's an illusion, you understand? It's all just a dream, it has to be a dream. we cannot live in a world where the world is lived in."

Ruiz sprinted to the heap; Sandra pulled a hypodermic needle from within her black trenchcoat.

"THERE IS NO VALID RESPONSE TO A WORLD THAT DOES NOT OBEY THE RULES BUT NOT TO OBEY ITS RULES. i just help the people leave through the most obvious exit, am i some kind of reaper? Perchance A Psychopomp, Hm?"

Ruiz reached past the severed limbs, latching onto the only one with a pulse.

"I always wanted to pretend as though I was important. I fooled a couple of people. this isn't how it was meant to end. I WAS SUPPOSED TO WIN. Do Not Let Me Die Here. You Are Better Than This. You Can Be Better Than This."

Ruiz yanked his brother from the pile, Pico kicking and screaming all the while.

"wasn't there something better than this? DO YOU HATE ME THAT MUCH, BROTHER? Our Jesus Taught Us Better Than This; Our Adam Knew Us More."

Sandra pulled the cap from the needle, readying it for insertion.

"THIS IS NOT MADNESS, BROTHER. Sanity Is As Arbitrary As Sinfulness. I committed no crimes here. you have no right to judge me."

Ruiz nodded, holding his spasming sibling in place. Sandra plunged the needle into Pico's chest, pushing the sedatives into his bloodstream.

"WE ARE GODS, YOU AND I, BROTHER! Gods Among A Stupid And Negligent Populous!"

The Snipper struggled shirtlessly.

"We aren't supposed to live like this. We're all creators here. The world exists for us."

Pico's eyes drooped.

"we can't afford coherence."

Ruiz dropped his limp, unconscious brother to the floor.


"HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA…"

Agent Green turned to the far wall, startled by the noise.

"Alcorn. With me."

Alcorn joined Green; the pair of them moved towards the stairwell. They carefully started moving upwards, hearing muffled yelling through the thick concrete floors. Halfway to the third floor, Alcorn's radio crackled with a message from his men on the ground.

"Sir, we've detained a man trying to get into the premises. Callin' himself The Sculptor."

Green turned, holding his hand out expectantly. Alcorn sighed, handing his radio over. Green talked into the microphone.

"How much resistance did he put up?"

"None at all, sir. Held out his hands for the cuffs while grinnin' like a lunatic."

"Don't take your eyes off him. That man is considered a high-importance person of interest."

"We're moving him to the van now, sir."

"Good. Keep someone with him; you have permission to terminate if he tries anything. Over."

Alcorn took the radio back, clipping it to his belt. He started talking as he followed Green up the stairs.

"You think this guy's backup for Snipper?"

"Not after what happened last Friday. He's probably got-"

"WE ARE GODS, YOU AND I, BROTHER!"

Green raised a finger to his lips, remaining silent as they reached the third floor.


Ruiz frisked Pico for any concealed weapons; his pockets were empty, barring an old mobile phone. He picked it up and navigated through the screens, moving to sent texts.

To: sculptor
16 hartford street I'm all that's left

To: the fuckwad brigade
16 hartford street this is the snipper hello

"Fuck."

Sandy turned to Ruiz, having pulled Pico's body up onto her shoulder.

"What?"

"Suits and The Sculptor inbound."

"Fuck."

"My thoughts exactly. Battle plan?"

"Leave before they get here."


Alcorn's radio crackled again; he immediately deferred it to Green.

"Sir, we've apprehended another person."

Green frowned.

"Have they identified?"

"Well, sir… they're saying they're The Sculptor."

Green looked at Alcorn, concerned.

"Is the person previously identifying as The Sculptor still in custody?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do they look the same?"

"Yessir."

"Terminate both immediately. Keep a look out for more."

"Understood, sir. We've… wait, sir, we have another Sculptor attempting to… wait, five… seven! SHIT! Sculptors closing from all angles!"

"Open fire; aim for the head! Everyone to the lobby!"

Green and Alcorn started sprinting back down to the second floor as gunfire echoed through the building.


Sandra slowly moved to the stairwell, Pico's body still slung over her shoulder. Ruiz moved down the stairs, aiming his elastic band shooter around each turn.

"I think we're alone."

The end of Ruiz's sentence was punctuated by echoing gunfire. The Director massaged her temples in exasperation. They moved down to the third floor, looking out a window and surveying the scene below. Hundreds of Sculptors were running through every street, swarming to the base of the building. Three of the Suits' Agents were shooting wildly at the horde, barely thinning the ranks. One of them threw a fragmentation grenade into the crowd; metal pellets ripped through the swarm, breaking the illusion of flesh and bone and sending streaks of clay across the ground. Ruiz looked at his small wooden gun, suddenly feeling profoundly inadequate.

"Well shit."


Agent Green ran down to the first floor, Agent Alcorn trailing behind. The members of MTF Upsilon-18 shot in short, controlled bursts at the horde of angry clay artists; one of them had blocked the front door with a metal pipe. Green saw one of the Sculptors attempting to crawl through a window. He lined up the shot and pulled the trigger, leaving the clay body blocking the entrance. He appraised his pistol; a less than ideal weapon for the current situation. Green shouted over the gunfire.

"ALCORN! DO WE HAVE A SPARE RIFLE?"

Alcorn shook his head; Green swore an unheard oath. The two of them moved to join the rest of the squad, taking cover behind the messy piles of broken concrete slabs. Every shot meant one less angry artist; at the same time, it meant one less bullet. They were equipped for an in-and-out raid, not a prolonged siege. The Sculptors screamed warcries as they broke through windows, trying to crawl in over their fallen duplicates.

"THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS-"

The synchronous chorus chimed through the building, barely audible over the sounds of firing bullets.


Ruiz turned to Sandra, who had already pulled her phone from her pocket.

"Who are you calling?"

"The real Janitor. Sculptor's directly tried to kill me. He's broken the rules, his protection is void; mine, however, is still intact."

The Director tapped the screen, then put it to her ear. Ruiz looked out the window again. The crowd was thick, but no further duplicates were forthcoming. Ruiz pulled a stick of chalk from his pocket, then grabbed a piece of concrete debris. He wrote the phrase "ceci n'est pas une bombe" onto it, then hurled it out into the horde. He grinned as it burst into a ball of flames, splattering Sculptors across the ground.


The person beneath the mask received a call. The person beneath the mask answered, muffling their voice with their hand.

"Director. You've dropped your façade."

"Yeah, about that. Sculptor's the one who hospitalised me."

"Purposefully?"

"Yes."

"Location?"

"16 Hartford Street."

"Understood."

The person beneath the mask pulled the mask back over their face.

The Janitor sped across the rooftops as though skating on ice.


"GREEN, WE'VE GOT TO FALL BACK!"

The squad continued firing at the now-open door as artists continued to flood through. One of the duplicates had overpowered one of the Agents, throwing his screaming body outside to be dealt with by his brethren. Alcorn gestured for his squadmates to retreat up the stairs to the second floor. Green emptied the last of his pistol's clip into the clay skull of the closest Sculptor, then threw the useless firearm to the side. He followed Alcorn back up the stairs, stopping to grab a length of steel pipe lying halfway up. Green shouted to the closest troops over the continued chanting.

"BLOCK THE STAIRWELL!"

As the last of the squad ascended the stairs, Green helped push a nearby pile of concrete down, squishing two overzealous Sculptors below its weight. Another tried to climb over the blockade; Green brought down his pipe on its head, hearing a satisfying BONG as its head deformed and it dropped lifelessly to the ground.


Sandy pushed her phone back into her pocket, joining Ruiz at the window. Pico snorted as Sandra readjusted her grip on him.

"Janitor's on its way. We've got to last until then."

"You have anything useful?"

The Director pulled a grappling hook gun from one of the inner pockets of her coat.

"Great, let's get out of here."

"It won't carry all of us."

"Fuck. Alright…"

Ruiz looked out the window, then pointed out an adjacent rooftop.

"Can you get there, drop Pico off, then come back for me?"

"Takes a while to reload this thing."

"Best plan we've got."

"Okay then. See you in a bit."

Sandra shot the grappling gun at the building, pushed a button on the side, and was pulled out the window. Ruiz looked as she climbed to the rooftop, then started to respool the projectile.

"UNIDENTIFIED PERSON ON THE NEXT LEVEL UP, OPENING FIRE!"

Ruiz spun around, barely having time to duck behind a concrete pylon before being shot at by one of the Suits. He aimed around his cover and loosed a pair of elastic bands towards his assailant. Ruiz yelled incredulously.

"EXCUSE ME, PLEASE DON'T SHOOT, THANK YOU."


The Janitor jumped from rooftop to rooftop, finally reaching 16 Hartford Street. It jumped to the ground, sending Sculptors scattering. It waved its hand towards a nearby duplicate, dispelling the anomalous and reducing it to raw clay. Nearby copies were struck immobile from a combination of awe and fear. The Janitor buzzed a comment from inside its gas mask.

"You have broken protocol. This was a poor decision."

The duplicates ran screaming from The Janitor, each of them seizing suddenly before crumbling into dust. It walked fluidly through the building's front door, sending the Sculptors fleeing up the semi-blocked stairwell.


The Suit continued to fire at the concrete pylon, preventing Ruiz from escaping. Ruiz took another pot shot in his general direction.

"SANDY, NEED SOME HELP!"

The Director came barrelling through the window, joining Ruiz behind the pylon.

"Alright, alright, no need to shout. Grab on."

Ruiz grabbed Sandra's shoulders tightly. She pulled a small ball from inside her trenchcoat, throwing it hard against the ground; it exploded into a small cloud of smoke. Sandy ran to the window, jumping out and aiming at the opposite rooftop. For a split second, Ruiz felt his heart stop as they started entering freefall into the crowd of ravenous Sculptors below; then, the hook shot out, securing them to the opposite rooftop and pulling them slowly upwards. They pulled themselves up onto the rooftop, both panting heavily from overexertion. Ruiz stood up, dusted himself off, then looked around, confused.

"Where's Pico?"

Sandy looked around, confused.

"Shit. Doesn't matter, we're getting out of here. He can look after himself."

Ruiz swore colourfully under his breath, joining Sandra in their rooftop escape.


Agent Green had fallen back from the front lines; the squad was concentrating their fire on the stairwell below, and close-quarters combat and high-speed bullets make a poor mix. The Sculptors surged through the hole, pushing aside the concrete scraps and swarming around the closest Agents. Two of them fell and were trampled by the stampede. Alcorn pulled a grenade from his belt, pulling the pin and counting down.

"FIRE IN THE HOLE!"

He threw it into the swarm, thinning their numbers substantially. Green shouted out to the remainder of the squad.

"WE NEED TO MAINTAIN A CHOKE POINT! EVERYONE UPSTAIRS!"

The second floor was flooded with Sculptors as the remaining seven agents retreated up to the third floor.


The Janitor walked briskly through the first floor, tapping Sculptors on the shoulder and reducing them to piles of ash. It waved its hands, tearing the illusions from the clay. Its mask buzzed as it breathed slowly, calmly eradicating the plague. One of the duplicates turned, jumping towards the tall, dark figure; it impacted onto The Janitor's shoes, the clay hardening as it cooked solid from internal heat. It scanned the room for movement, nodding when satisfied it had cleared the area.

The Janitor moved slowly up the staircase to the second floor.


Alcorn shot the last of his clip, watching the last tracer round exiting its barrel. He threw the useless rifle to the side, picked up a stick of rebar from the ground, and stabbed it through the nearest Sculptor's head. Green forced his pipe into the chest of a duplicate, spun around, then struck its head cleanly off its neck. The rest of the squad had resorted to close-combat weaponry, their firearms spent; Dorfman spun like a dancer, slicing through clay with his combat knife, while Perkins had taken to simply grabbing heads and smashing them into the walls and pylons.


The Janitor moved up to the second floor. Hordes of Sculptors surrounded it, refusing to go out without a fight. They moved in towards it, trying to tear off its trenchcoat, remove its boots, yank off its mask; they desperately struggled to avoid their imminent demise. They screamed in chorus:

"ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THIS IS-"

The Janitor clicked its fingers, and the assailants turned inside-out.


Agent Green stood panting heavily, staring at the piles of clay that littered the room. Dorfman flicked the last of the stuff from his knife, Perkins squished a final skull beneath his feet. Alcorn walked over to Green, patting him on the shoulder while grinning from the adrenaline.

"Still alive!"

"Still alive. Okay. Alright. Still need to check the top floor before we-"

Green stopped mid-sentence, readying his pipe as a tall figure wearing a black gas mask ascended the stairs. The Janitor looked around at the Agents beneath it, kicking some errant clay from its boots. It walked towards Agent Green; Green readied his pipe for an attack. The Janitor stopped, then bowed deeply, kneeling upon the ground.

"Deepest apologies for the inconvenience. It will not happen again."

The Janitor stood, walked briskly to the window, and jumped to the ground with a resounding thud. Green looked to Alcorn, then at the open third-floor window. Green calmly reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigarette, then lit it. He inhaled deeply, breathing out with exhaustion.

"I have no idea what the fuck's going on any more."


Ruiz walked dejectedly through the gallery lobby. Sandra had gone off to search for the real Sculptor; having lost Pico, there were no leads left.

"Mister Duchamp, a guy came through here looking for you before."

"Who was it?"

"I… sorry, Mister Duchamp, I've forgotten."

Ruiz sighed. Incompetent fools, the lot of them. He turned the corner into his studio.

A red-headed man wearing a Hawaiian shirt was sitting on the electric chair.

The man was wearing a grey fedora.

The grey fedora.

Ruiz massaged his temples.

"God fucking damn it."

The new Nobody laughed, then clicked his fingers, sending Ruiz into a dreamless sleep.


Agent Green and Agent Alcorn returned to the battered van, having thoroughly searched every level of 16 Hartford Street. As they were about to get into the vehicle, Green's phone rang. He flipped it open, looking at the caller:
그린 요원과 알콘 요원은 허트퍼드가 16번지 건물의 모든 층을 샅샅이 뒤진 후에 낡은 화물차로 돌아왔다. 차에 올라타려는 찰나에, 그린의 전화기가 울렸다. 그는 전화기를 열어 발신자를 확인했다.

Agent Tangeee**@%
탠저ㄹㄹㅣㅣㅣ**@%

Green tapped the screen of his phone.
그린은 전화기 화면을 두드렸다.

Unknown Caller
미확인 발신자

He put the phone to his ear.
그는 전화기를 귓가로 가져갔다.

"Agent Green."
"그린 요원."

"Who is this? How did you get this number?"
"누구요? 이 번호는 어떻게 알아낸 거지?"

"Ruiz Duchamp is lying unconscious in the Genossenschaft Gallery of Contemporary Art. Pick him up at your leisure."
"루이즈 뒤샹이 게노센샤프트 현대 미술 전시관(Genossenschaft Gallery of Contemporary Art)에 정신을 잃은 채로 누워있습니다. 시간이 날 때 데려가시지요."

"Who are you?"
"당신 누구야?"

"A forgotten friend."
"잊힌 친구입니다."

Green flipped his phone shut, confused about the anonymous tip.
그린은 익명의 조언에 혼란스러워하며, 휴대전화를 닫았다.

the fifth of first is strategy
The fifth of second, a Friday show.
The Fifth Of Last Is Settled Scores
CONCURRENCE HENCE TO NEVER KNOW
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