Let me also express my skepticism that a cat would happily ride in a bucket while its carrier jumps down a flight of stairs in a controlled fall.
Heller makes it to the street and a waiting Bang-Bang, who reports that somebody's being scraped off the sidewalk of a nearby street. Heller tells him to drive and evades any questions, then orders a confused Bang-Bang to stop at a deli for some milk when the cat begins to yowl. "Holy blast, Bang-Bang, don't you even talk cat?"
Bang-Bang's brief absence gives Heller time to inspect his new companion and go through the late Silva's purse. The cat's got a tag from the city pound, while Silva's belongings amount to an "obsolete" Voltarian grenade, the Apparatus Section knife Gris gave Terb, a baggage check, and passports and money from multiple countries. And it isn't Gris identifying any of this in narration, Heller's talking to himself as he paws through the haul. He concludes that "This is CRAZY!"
"This" being a hitman keeping Russian rubles and American dollars in the same wallet, not the whole "I threw a cat at a guy and he blew himself up" incident last chapter.
Gris freaks out too when he sees the wad of cash he paid Silva a few nights ago, especially since it's in the hands of his nemesis. Bang-Bang returns with milk for the cat, and Heller explains that since it saved his life he's responsible for it now. Heller continues looting his latest victim, popping open a suitcase to reveal all sorts of spy stuff from across the globe, including a jumpsuit with an undetatched label reading "Proofed to 3600 foot-pounds of impact energy, CIA Test Lab, Langley, Virginia." I sincerely hope that the real-life CIA doesn't put its name and address on its equipment.
Bang-Bang mentions that the cat is a calico, a breed from Africa (sorta...), and this specimen is particularly lucky because it's a rare male calico. Then he gets a shock when Heller shows off the passports he looted, proving that the newest human pancake was "GUNSALMO SILVA!" Heller is modest enough to deflect the credit for defeating this surprisingly defeatable super-assassin.
"That cat did it," said Heller. "He's a hit man. Got a record as long as his tail. Wanted posters in every post office. And he just broke out of the slammer. So don't turn squealer on him, they could send him up for life.
Cute, but Heller's really overlooking Silva's contribution to his own defeat. The guy did set and stand on the explosive that killed him, after all.
Heller has plans for the evening, and notes that this bulletproof jumpsuit looks to be Bang-Bang's size. He has Bang-Bang take them to a costume shop, bribes the place open at this late hour, and gets Bang-Bang in a black funeral dress.
Heller gave the propertier another fifty dollars. "We'll bring the costume back."
The man said, "Nein, nein, keep it! We got plenty like dot. Them we furnish for the funerals, yet."
"I hope not mine!" said Bang-Bang.
"Let's go and see," said Heller.
What a great friend. "Put on this bulletproof jumpsuit and this dress and let's see if you get killed."
Back to Chapter Two