William A Pusey, click here
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This is a novel-in-progress about a man who is forced into a deal with the devil and the aftermath
Charlie had picked up the syringe on the table by the bed when he had the feeling that something was wrong. He put the syringe back on the spoon and untied the rubber tuning around his left arm. He got up from the bed and walked over to the door. He opened the door and looked out into the hallway. The door to Punch's room flew open and Punch came out into the hallway with a two-way radio in one hand and a pistol in the other. He was yelling into the radio, "Monk, what's going on?"
Charlie stepped out into the hallway. "What is it, Punch?
"Something's going on. I was on the phone with my uncle and the line went dead and now I can't get a hold of Monk."
Charlie heard the sound of gunfire and saw bullet holes come up Punch's chest. Punch looked down at the holes and then back up at Charlie with a shocked look on his face. Punch's eyes rolled back into his head and he fell to the floor. Charlie saw the man standing behind Punch in the hallway holding an Uzi. He recognized the man in his white suit and long white hair and blazing blue eyes. As the man walked down the hall towards Charlie he raised up his Uzi and aimed at Charlie. Charlie ran back into his room and slammed the door behind him. As he locked the door he thought, the bastard must have followed me up from Malibu. But how did he get past Monk and get in the house?
Charlie knew he didn't have much time. He grabbed his suitcase and ran over to the nearest window. He opened the window and threw his suitcase out. As he climbed up on the windowsill he heard the doorknob rattle. He knew what the man outside was going to do when he found the door locked. Charlie slid feet-first out the window just as the bullets tore into the door.
When Charlie hit the ground he picked up his suitcase and ran over to the garage where his car was parked. He quickly got in his car and the Duster came shrieking out of the garage and drove towards the front gate at a high rate of speed. As the gate began to slowly open he was worried that he was driving too fast for the gate to open in time but he wasn't taking the chance on slowing down. He flinched as he heard the gate scrape against the cardoor but he was able to get through. He hated to see how badly the paint was scratched but he'd worry about that later.
Following the winding road down the hill Charlie began to work on what to do next. He knew he had to go to the local police but he didn't want to tell them he was at a local drug dealer's place. Making crap up on the spot was something you were once good at, Charlie boy, but that was before you dried up. Let's see if fear can shake something loose.
He figured he'd tell the police a half-truth. He noticed a man stalking around his place that looked like the man wanted for the celebrity killings("but I'm a screenwriter so I doubt I'd count as famous' Charlie saw himself saying to the interviewing officer in a self-deprecating joke). Charlie was out and about today when he noticed then man in a car following him around. The man had followed him up from Malibu to here when Charlie finally lost him.
("Okay, Mr. Jobson", the interviewing officer would ask, "what kind of car was the man driving?")
"Damn, Charlie. You better make up a car."
("And what about those scrapes on the side of your car? Did the other car ram into you?")
"Scrapes, officer? I never noticed those before."
Charlie's imaginary interview with a police officer was interrupted by the back window of his car being shot out. Bullets began to come through the roof of the car. Charlie screamed. Is this guy in a helicopter? How come I can't hear it then?
Charlie lost control of the car and drove off into a drainage ditch. Charlie felt a wetness in the back of his neck. He reached back and touched his neck. There was blood and bits of broken glass on his fingers. He undid the seatbelt and reached for the door handle. He wasn't too keen on getting out of the car but if it was between that or staying in the car and being a sitting target he'd take his chances outside. He opened the door and dived out of the car. He laid on the ground for a couple seconds and listened for any nosies. All he heard was the faint sound of a car coming up the hill. He slowly got up to his feet and peaked over the ditch to look for any sign of the man in white. Seeing nothing he thought he'd wait until the car coming up the road came into sight and then run towards it. Something hit the ground beside him. He looked down by his right foot and saw an empty clip for a machine gun. He looked up in the sky and almost screamed at what he saw above him.
There were three of them circling in the sky. Charlie couldn't get a look at their faces but he could imagine them all having the same bright blue eyes and hair as white as the feathers of the wings that sprouted from their backs. They're angels. And not the kindhearted angels that Della Reese and the Irish chick played on tv. These are Old Testament 'smite the sinners' type. And guess who they're here to smite this time, Charlie boy.
Charile heard a car horn honking. He looked back at the road and saw a pink Cadillac coming up the road. He almost laughed. And now hear comes Elvis to take me away to the Heartbreak Hotel where mama Gladys will make us up some fried peanut butter and banana sandwhiches and we'll wash them down with Pepsi and liquid Codiene chasers.
The Cadillac drove past the ditch and made a tire shrieking U-turn. The car came to a stop with the passenger side door facing Charlie. The door open and the driver said, "Get your thumb out of your ass and get in."
Charlie climbed out of the ditch and got in. As soon as he was in the door closed by itself. Charlie heard something striking the roof of the car. It sounded like hail but he knew it was bullets. The driver said, "Hang on." The car took off.
When Charlie got a look at the driver he quickly looked back at the door for the handle. There was none. The driver said, "There's no point in trying to jump out, Charlie. You'll just hurt yourself. Plus you're a lot safer with me than with the Assassin Guild up there." The driver took the unlit cigar out of its mouth and stuck it in a hole in the middle of the dashboard. The driver moved the cigar in and out of the hole and the car filled with a gutteral, animalistic sound that unnerved Charlie. The driver took the now lit cigar out of the hole and began to smoke. Trying to take his mind off of what he just witnessed he asked, "Assassin Guild?"
"Yeah, Heaven's commandos. When the Big Boss' Opposite nees some dirty work taken care of He sends down the Assassin Angels."
"So that means you're working for...."
The driver rolled his yelloe cat-like eyes. "Did doing enough drugs to kill Keith Richards three times over fry your brain or were you always this dense? Of course I'm working for Lucifer. Just look at me."
Charlie looked at the driver again. If the driver wore sunglasses and kept its long red hair over the two horn buds over the eyebrow it could almost pass for human, above the waist at least. Charlie was thankful it was wearing a toga so he only saw the goat-like legs from below the knees. There were wooden blocks tied to its cloven hooves so it could reach the floor peddles and it was sitting on what looked to Charlie like a kid's booster seat from a fast food restaurant. He could see a clown face on the side of the seat. Charlie said, "So I guess you're a demon or something."
Anger flashed in the driver's eyes. "A demon? Do I look like a drooling mongoloid? Do I stink of brimstone? I am not a demon, good sir." It puffed its chest out in arogant pride. "I am an imp. Your guardian imp to be exact. Calling an imp a demon is the worst insult you can make to an imp. If you weren't so important to the Big Boss I'd stomp your skull in with one of my hooves."
"Guardian imp, eh? You're name wouldn't happen to be Clarence would it?"
The imp laughed. It reached over and patted the dashboard. "Did you hear that, Gilda? We got ourselves a real comedian on our hands." It looked over at Charlie and said, "My name is Raphael. Now enough with the chit-chat. We got to lose our winged friends and I got the ticket for that." Raphael reached down and untied the blocks around its hooves.
"Okay, now I'm going to need you to take hold of the wheel." Raphael stood up in the highchair and did a backflip into the backseat of the car as Charlie put the booster seat on the floor and slid into the driver seat. Raphael lifted up the backseat and climbed inth the trunk. Charlie looked in the rearview and saw what Raphael had in the trunk. He asked, "Is that what I think it is?"
Raphael said, "Yep, it's a twin barrel 50 caliber machine gun like they used to have on the B-17 bombers. It will blow anything out of the sky. Now turn on the radio. I need me some tunes."
Charlie looked at the dashboard. Beneath the hole where Raphael used to light the cigar was a button with the word radio written beneath it. There was no other knobs or buttons. Charlie pressed the button. A voice came on the radio. To Charlie it sounded like a morning radio show host who drank too much coffee. "Here there all you boys and ghouls, you're listening to KHEL and we're 'burning to you straight from hell' like my man Iggy would say. And speaking of the mighty Ig, we just played the title track from the Stooges'album Funhouse, a personal favorite of a listener out there, ain't that right Charlie boy? And speaking of Charlie, we're sending this one out to him and Raphael. It's time to 'hey-ho, let's go' with the Ramones. A little Blitzkrieg Bop coming at ya, baby!"
Raphael called out from the trunk, "Now press the button below the radio to open the trunk. And be vewy, vewy quwiet. It's Angel season and I'm Angel hunting." He let out the Elmer Fudd laugh.
Charlie saw a button beneath the radio button. Beneath that button was the word trunk. Charlie didn't remember seeing that button before. Charlie pressed the button and the trunk opened. Raphael began shooting into the sky. Charlie looked back in the rearview. He saw Raphael lying on his stomach behind the 50 caliber. With his small size he was having trouble controling such a poweful gun. Charlie saw the goat-like legs sticking out of the opening sliding from side to side as Raphael fired at the Asassins. The lack of control didn't seem to bother Raphael. He was laughing like he was having fun. In a voice that sounded amazingly similar to Edward G. Robinson, Raphael said, "You'll never take us alive, see? Where's your Messiah now, Moses?"
Charlie thought, okay, you're behind the wheel of some kind of hell car being chased by killer angels and an imp in the trunk with a machine gun doing impressions of old gangster film stars and cartoon characters and the Ramones and the radio. And would it be much of a shock if it turned out to be Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee themselves playing from beyond the grave? Yep, you've just passed through the looking glass, Alice. But in truth Charlie knew he passed through the looking glass a long time ago that night at Taco Hut.
Raphael yelled, "Heads up!" Charlie looked back to ask what that meant when something large hit the roof of the car. The impact startled Charlie enough that he almost lost control of the car. He began to swerve. Raphael yelled, "Don't drive us off the hill, dumb ass!" Charlie saw something white roll off of the roof and fall to the road. The 50 caliber fired again. Raphael yelled, "Got the second one! Shit, lost the last one. Keep an eye open for it, Chuck."
Charlie said, "I see it."
The last of the angels was flying directly at the car as if playing a game of Chicken. Charlie could see the rage in the angel's face as it fired its Uzi at the windshield. The windshield rippled like a lake being pelted by raindrops but the glass didn't shatter. From out of the corner of his eye Charlie saw a long barrel of a pistol aim at the windshield. Raphael said, "Get down."
Charlie slid down in the seat and Raphael pulled the trigger of the .44. The recoil sent Raphael flying backwards into the opening of the trunk. Charlie saw the bullet pass through the windshield without breaking the glass and hit the angel right between the eyes. The angel went into a roll and crashed into the windshield. The car skidded out of control. From out of the trunk Raphael yelled, "Break!"
The car came to a screeching halt. Charlie was thrown forward. He put his arm over his face and his face ended up smashing into his arm instead of into the steering wheel. When the car stopped Raphael leaped out of the open trunk and hopped around the car while waving the .44 magnum and screaming, "I took out all three of them! All hail Raphael the angel slayer!" Raphael looked up in the sky and said, "Go ahead and send the entire Assassin Guild down and I'll send them all back to you with a bullet in the head!" He fired the pistol in the air.
While Raphael was whooping it up Charlie was in the car shaking the cobwebs loose. He knocked himself silly but at least it was on his arm and not the steering wheel. He reached up and touched his nose. His nose was bleeding. He hoped it wasn't broken but if he came out of this with only a broken nose he knew he'd be lucky. He sat straight up in the driver seat and found himself looking right into the angel's face. He was a bit unnerved looking into the angel's open eyes. He half-expected the angel to come back to life like a monster from one of his earlier movies and raise up the hand that held the Uzi and open fire.
The driver door opened by itself and Charlie got out of the car, never taking his eyes off of the angel. Raphael stopped with the celebration when he saw Charlie. "Are you okay? You don't look so hot."
"Are you sure the angel's dead?"
"He's as dead as something that can't truly die can be." When Charlie reached out to touch the angel Raphael said, "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Before Charlie could ask what Raphael meant the angel burst into blue flames. Charlie backed away from the car. The fire only lasted a couple of seconds before it burned itself out. When it did there was no sign of the body and no damage done to the car. Raphael said, "The angels are gone for now but they'll be back. Only an immortal can kill an immortal but that's only a temporary death. I killed the angels and now they're back in Heaven. If the angels killed me I'd go back to Hell."
"What if the angels killed me?"
"Well, you're damned so you can't get into Heaven but the Opposite doesn't want you in Hell because that's part of the Big Boss' plan so you'd end up in Purgatory like the others that the Assassins have wacked already and once you're there you'll be there for eternity or until the Opposite forgives you which isn't likely since you threw your lot in with our side. Come on, I know a place where we can hole up for a bit. I'll drive. You don't look to be in any condition to drive."
The tall man in the Japanese kimono sat at his desk in the hotel suite that he lived in and watched the bank of televison monitors. On the screens were different boardrooms of various companies around the world that Kilgore Enterprises owned. The man behind the desk was Alexis Kilgore, founder of Kilgore Enterprises. Most people outside of the business world had never heard of the name Alexis Kilgore. Those on the inside knew the name but not a lot about the man behind it. Kilgore Enterprises made a splash during the Silcone Valley boom of the 80's and quickly spread until it owned or had part ownership in just about everything. Given the quick succes of his company one would figure that Alexis Kilgore would be more than willing to promote his company as well as himself but he has surprised many by how little public exposure he has given himself. He has never given an interview to any business magazines and there were only a handful of pictures of the man. The pictures showed a tall, thin man whose long black hair was pulled back in a pony tail and often wore black or grey suits. He never has met with any of the heads of his various companies in person, prefering to talk through video and teleconferences. Most people who worked for Kilgore Enterprises thought of their employer as an eccentric recluse and Alexis did nothing to make them think otherwise but as long as business was going well no one complained amd with Kilgore Enterprises making well over one hundered billion dollars a year things were going well indeed.
Alexis watched the board meetings on the screens. Since Kilgore Enterprises has companies around the world there was always meetings going on. Alexis rarely slept so he watched as many as he could. If he had a question or comment he could pick up one of the many phones in front of him and call in to a board meeting. It was amusing to Alexis to see the looks on the board members faces when they realize that the boss was on the phone. All the boardmembers knew about the cameras in the boardroom and knew the possibility that the big boss was watching them. It kept them on their toes and Alexis like that.
Alexis saw the light on the red phone at his desk blink. He knew who it was on the other end. There was only one who would call him on that phone. He picked it up and said, "Yes, sir."
"How are things going, Alexi? Is my boy Charlie safe?"
"He's fine. Three Assassins tried to eliminate him but I sent my best agent to make the save."
"Yes, the imp. Normally I wouldn't trust an imp with a mission as important as this. Imps are impulsive and quick tempered but you vouched for this one and you've never let me down before so I'll take your word."
"Thank you, sir. I'm glad I have your trust."
"That's something you've always had, Alexi. You have been my most loyal lieutenant since the beginning. Even so, if something happens to Charlie all your loyalty will not save you from my wrath, We've lost Stephen and Neil and William and those losses, while regretable, don't really matter. Charlie is the important one. Him surviving the night he was supposed to die proved that destiny can be altered. Only my opposite knows how much damage I did to the cosmic balance. I would give anything to have seen and heard His reaction. I bet He was royaly pissed."
"But why has He waited until now to try to stop your plans when we've just about collected the souls need and the Leviathan project is almost complete?"
"I don't know. I was once one of His closest friends and I could never fully understand Him. It must be an ego thing. My Opposite sees Himself as Superman flying down to save Lois Lane at the last second from certain death. If we lose the other souls we can find plenty of replacements but we cannot lose Charlie. If he dies the cosmic balance will be reset and all of our plans will be ruined. That's why you and the imp cannot fail."
"We will not fail you, sir."
"You have something on your mind, spit it out."
"I know you said you had the theory that destiny could be altered. Why did you wait as long as you did to test it?"
There was a pause. "I guess I believed for the longest time that my Opposite was the only one who could control destiny and I was afraid my theory would fail. I knew if it did fail that I wouldn't get another shot at it. If Charlie falls to the Assassins my Opposite will make sure this doesn't happen again and that the final battle will go on as we agreed to it centuries ago and I'll have no more ways to tip the balance in my favor. As long as I'm monkeying around with destiny I have a shot of winning this thing. How is the Leviathan project going?"
"It goes well, sir. We shall have the Leviathan completed when you have the souls to power it."
"Good. I would advice you to increase the security around your plants. Once my Opposite gets wind of the plans, if He hasn't already, He'll probably send some Assassin done to take out the plants."
"We increased security as soon as we got word of Greenwald's death. We figured it wad a Guild hit."
"That was pretty sloppy on my Opposite's part. He should have known we would have been tipped off by going after the second one after Charlie I made the deal with."
"Maybe He wanted us to know that He was on to our plans."
"You're probably right, Alexi. My old friend is more crafty than I give Him credit for sometimes. Just keep Charlie safe from the Guild until things are ready."
"We will, sir. Goodbye."
As he hung up the phone Alexis wondered if the rumors he heard were true . The past couple conversations with Lucifer were rambling and he seemed distracted. Was Lucifer going senile as rumored? Was such a thing even possible? Some of the Archdukes of Hell seemed to think so. Alexis had even heard rumors of planned coups. Alexis thought it was just the Archdukes stirring up trouble amongst themselves, jockying for position to be named the next ruler of Hell once Lucifer takes the throne of Heaven. Lucifer had already promise Alexis rule of Earth("You've grown accustomed to living as a human, Alexi. Plus you've done such a good job of running my affairs on Earth. With all of your power and influence you pretty much run Earth now but once I ascend into Heaven you will no longer have to rule from the shadows.") Alexis wondered if there was a coup would the Archdukes come after him next.
Alexis shook his head. He had enough to worry about without any rumors of coups. His main objective was to keep Charlie Jobson alive until his soul was needed. He'd leave Lucifer to handle any coups. Unlike some of the Archdukes Alexis still believed in Lucifer. If Lucifer caught wind of any coup then those involved better pray to the Opposite for mercy because Lucifer will show none, no matter how old he is.
Angelo Carletti parked his car behind the rows of police cars and ambulances that lined the driveway of the mansion that once was owned by Gino Pontrelli, now deceased. When Angelo got out of his car he looked around. He had the same feeling he did at the Greenwald estate and at the Cobra Club. Something powerful struck here. As he walked up the driveway towards the entrance of the mansion he was stopped by two police officers. Angelo took out his wallet and flipped it open to his badge. The officers looked at the badge and i.d. and nodded. One of the officers said, "We've been expecting you, Inspector Carletti. Inspector Holcombe will be out shortly."
Angelo put his wallet away. A black man with greying hair came out of the open front door of the mansion. He saw Angelo and called out, "Come on in, Angelo."
As Angelo walked towards Inspector Holcombe, the two police officers noticed him walking with a slight limp. One of the officers said to the other, "So that's the famous Angelo Carletti. The miracle man who survived a eight storey highdive off of a tenament roof handcuffed to the South Cental Slasher."
The other officer said, "I hear he doesn't remember what happened that day. I also heard that he wasn't the same since he came out of the coma."
Angelo shook hands with Inspector Holcombe. Angelo asked, "How's it going, David? How are Patrice and the kids?"
"They're all fine. Pat says that invitation to come by for dinner is still open."
"I might take her up on that someday. What's going on here?"
"A fucking massacre, that's what. This mansion belongs to a Gino Pontrelli. Does the name ring a bell?"
"Any relation to Sal Pntrelli?"
"Sal's nephew. Earlier today Gino, his bodyguard, and a room full of people were gunned down. We're running the i.d.'s of the other victims. So far it looks like a bunch of runaways."
"So why did you call me and tell me this has something to do with the case I'm working on. The guy I'm looking for kills celebrities."
"We got the shooters on tape. Three tall men in white suits and long white hair, all fitting the description of your guy."
"We were pretty shocked when we saw the video too. It's bad enough there's one nut killing people. Now it's triplets. I'll show you the video. It's in the security room."
The detectives went into the mansion. As they walked down the hall Holcombe looked over at his friend and former Academy classmate.Angelo was constantly looking around and he had a look on his face like he was listening for something. Holcombe hadn't seen much of Angelo since he came out of the coma three years ago but he had heard that there was something off about him. Holcombe could see that with the limp and the bags under Angelo's dark eyes like he hadn't had a good night's sleep in a long time.
When they got to the security room Holcombe turned on the VCR. On the screen Angelo saw Pontrelli's bodyguard standing in the front doorway. His back was to the camera and his large frame blocked the view of who was standing outside but Angelo could tell the bodyguard was talking to someone. The bodyguard pulled out his gun and a second later he fell to the floor with a knife in his stomach. Angelo felt a chill as a man in a white suit entered the mansion. The man looked over his shoulder and said something. Two more men in the same suit came inside. The video went dead.
Holcombe said, "That's all we have. You'd think one seven footer would be easy to spot, let alone three. And they don't even attempt to hide their identity. It's like they're not afraid of getting caught."
"What about the car in the ditch that I passed on the way up here, the one that looks like it was used for target practice."
"It's registered to a Charles Jobson. Apperantly he was some hot shot screenwriter though he hasn't had anything out in a while. Do you think he was you guys'target?"
"Possibly. Was he found in the car?"
"There was some blood but no body. We have men out looking. Maybe he got away. What do you think the connection is between Jobson and the other three that were killed?"
"Besides the fact someone wants them dead I'm not sure. Maybe if I can find Jobson I can figure that out. Got his address?"
As Angelo drove down to Malibu he thought about the case. He didn't know what made him asked to be put on the case but there was something about it that felt like it belonged to him. Plus it had been a while since he had been on one. He was starting to feel useless. He spent close to a year in a coma after the confrontation with the Slasher and another half of a year trying to walk and move again. He was succesful for the most part with only a slight limp to show for it. He looked down at his left hand at the scar around his wrist and thought, Don't forget where he handcuffed you. The nerve damage to your wrist pretty much fucked your left hand up as well.
Angelo didn't remember much of what happened on the rooftop but there were nights when he was awaken by the bite of the handcuff into his wrist and the click of it locking. And the vision of the last thing he remember seeing. A pair of red eyes. That was the worst. He never told anyone about it. Not David or any of his friends or the therapist they sent him to. He didn't think anyone would believe such a thing.
Angelo pulled into the driveway of the Malibu beachhouse. When he got out of the car he looked around. There was a faint feeling of something. If the killer or killers came here it was a while ago and there was no one in the house now. Angelo didn't know how he knew the house was empty. He just did. Ever since he came out of the coma he would see flashes of visions and hear faint voices and sounds. He knew a lot of his fellow cops thought he might be crazy and sometimes he thought they were right.
Angelo walked up to the front door of the house. He turned the door knob and the door was unlocked. Just as he knew it would be. He said out loud, "Looks like Charlie boy forgot to lock up before he left. Did something scare you? Is someone after you?"
Angelo went inside and looked around. In the living room he saw some photographs on the fireplace mantel. Without having met him before Angelo knew the man with the thining black hair and grey eyes behind thick glasses was Charlie Jobson. There were a couple pictures of Charlie with a pretty woman with strawberry blonde hair and a large smile. Angelo said, "That must be the wife. She's too good a woman for you. I feel she's not around anymore. Did she leave you because you were hanging out with drug dealing scum like Pontrelli? You can tell me. I was training to be a priest once. I bet you didn't know that. I went to seminary school and everything. I was halfway through when I became overwhelmed with this feeling that I was praying to nothing but empty air so I left and became a cop. It broke my mother's heart, An Italian mother wanting her son to be a priest, that's almost as big a sterotype as your Mafia pal. My friend David told me the feds were a day or two away from raiding Gino's place but someone beat them to taking him down. You were the men in white's main target, weren't you?"
Angelo left the living room and walked towards the bedroom. "You and the other three must have really pissed someone off. The actor and the singer got off lucky. They just got shot. The first one, Greenwald, they really did a number on him. I saw the crime scene. They nailed him to the ceiling of his bedroom in the position of one being crucified. The arms were streched out by his sides with a nail through each palm and both feet nailed together. Then he was sliced open from his groin to his throat. But here's something the police left out that the media doesn't know. The killers left a message on the walls in Greenwald's blood. No one knew what it was but me. I knew Latin from my studies in seminary school. The message said, 'Punishment for those who spite God'. How did you guys spite God, Charlie?"
Angelo stood at the closed bedroom door. It was just now that he realized that he had been talking to himself all this time. He noticed how quiet the house was. He couldn't even hear the ocean outside. He thought, that's why you were talking so much. You were just whistling past the graveyard.
He said out loud, "Wrong choice of words." and then opened the door. He half-expected to find Charlie nailed to the ceiling and the room covered in blood but the room was empty. He didn't know if he should have been relieved or disappointed. He noticed something lying on the floor by the bed. He walked over and picked it up. It was a road atlas. He flipped it open and saw the map of America with the line drawn from Malibu to a town in Delaware with a date written in the margins.
"So you're planning on being in Clarkston, Delaware on the 13th? Maybe I'll see you there."