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"Iago Coakes woke from a most beautiful dream. In this hypnagogia, he and Doris Fray, a girl he’d known in high school, had been sailing. Coakes’ first thought on waking was that the fresh mist of salt, and by inference, his whole dream, had come from ferrous iron, the gingivitic seep which caked in sticky horizontal ridges on his teeth.Coakes had dozens of such minor physical impairments. His eyes periodically leaked from chronic conjunctivitis. His wide mouth held the furred tongue of constipation, and panted halitotic reeks. He had flat feet, and atruamatic patellar instability. He had thinning hair, and a short, fat and sharply curved penis. Coakes’ body was a temple to chaotic Eris. A hefty yet weak, high machine, with angry fish-hook fingers. Coakes suspected, deep down, that the infirmity which afflicted his cock was related somehow, to a habit of frottage he had nurtured as an adolescent. This was one of eight secrets about himself that Coakes had never, and would never, tell anyone."
The afternoon began to creep across the city as Boyd, Reggie, and Smelts jogged down the sidewalks of Wan Chai, looking for a taxi to pick them up. Crowds on the street would part, panicked at the sight of the three of them, and this didn’t help with the taxi situation. More than one taxi had sped away in a panic as Reggie approached them, frightened by the sight of a yeti with his arms waving in the air to get them to slow down and pick them up. One cab driver, who was cornered at a stoplight, burst from his taxi and fled down the street, screaming, “Yeti! Yeti! Yeti!” As the last of the taxis sped away from them, Reggie stopped, tired and out of breath, on the sidewalk in front of a Thai food restaurant. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “No taxi in this city is going to stop for the three of us. I, alone, look like their worst nightmares come true and that’s not even including Smelts.” “Are you implying something about my looks, mate?” Smelts asked. “No, no,” Reggie said. “The bottom line is that we need someone reliable.” “Well, who could that be?” Boyd asked. “No taxi in this city will stop for us.” “Yeah,” Smelts said. “And that stupid swordfish is gonna be comin’ along any minute now.” “I have my connections,” Reggie said, pulling a phone from his pocket and tapping in a number. “Hello, Xiao? It’s Reggie…Yeah, it’s been way too long…Listen, we’re in a bit of a spot down here at Johnson’s Road and Queen’s Road East and we need a lift…Yeah…Yeah…Okay.” Reggie turned to them and said, “We’re in luck. He’s in the area.” After a wait of around five minutes across from the prying eyes of a group of locals standing a safe distance across the street, Smelts said, “I think our ride is here.” Up to the curb pulled a taxi cab that in weight, shape and size looked very much like the thousands of taxis that circulated throughout the arteries of the city, only there was something a bit peculiar about this one. The main difference between this taxi and the ones Boyd was used to seeing was the fact that this one looked as if someone had rolled it off the side of a cliff. There were scrapes and dents and scratches all over it, and it looked as if it might fall apart at any time. It also had the usual markings of a taxi all over it, including the little sign on the roof and white writing on the doors. But upon closer inspection, it was obvious that all the writing on the cab was backwards and the windows were smoky, making it impossible to see inside. “That’s our ride?” Smelts asked. “Why don’t we just hop in the back of a garbage truck?” “Garbage trucks aren’t reliable,” Reggie said. “This guy is reliable.” They ventured up to the cab and opened the back door, which was like opening the door to an ancient tomb as a major gust of white smoke burst forth from the cracks. It was as if the air inside the car had been trapped for centuries. Strange, creepy-crawly bugs began to make their way out from the inside, and Boyd saw several birds (although he was sure they were actually bats) flutter forth from the door to freedom. “What kind of taxi is this?” Smelts asked. “You’re just going to have to trust me,” Reggie said. “Get in.” “I’m not gettin’ in there,” Smelts said. “You go first.” “Fine,” Reggie said. “Chicken!” Reggie climbed into the taxi first, followed by Smelts and then Boyd. Once inside, Boyd could see that all the lurking suspicions he’d had about the interior were confirmed as he settled into his seat. The backseat was rotting away. In some places, the inside cushioning was exposed. In others, the very same cushioning was disintegrating away into a pulpy mess. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling and an eerie haze hung in the air that contained a putrid odor that was much worse than smoke. From beneath the seat in front of him, Boyd caught a glimpse of two, yellow eyes watching him from the shadows. “Cor!” Smelts said as he shut the door. “I put my foot in something slimy!”