This story is excerpted from the novel, KAMIKAZE L'AMOUR (St. Martin's Press, 1995). It first appeared in OMNI BEST SCIENCE FICTION, Vol. One.
glass, scanning the street behind me for faces that had been there too long. This time I couldn't find a face, but just beyond a wire pen where a group of red-faced campasenos were betting on cock fights, I did see a jacket. It was bulky and black, of some military cut, and one side was decked with the outline of a bird skull done in clusters of purple and white rhinestones. The jacket's owner hung back where vehicles and pedestrians blocked most of the streetlight. It was only the fireworks in the rhinestones that had caught my eye.
Just to make sure it wasn't simple paranoia, I went another block up Ninth and stopped by the back window of a VW van full of caged snakes. When I checked again, the jacket had moved closer. I cut to my right, down a side street, then left, back toward the market. The jacket hung behind me, the skull a patch of hard light against the dark buildings.
I ran down an alley between a couple of closed shops and kept going, taking corners at random. The crumbling masonry