My angle? (My tone flatlines when I echo Durham's question.)

Yeah, Durham says, and leans back against the brick. His coat reaches the back of his knees, the matte black polyester willowing against itself, tiny wet whispers caught in its folds. The coat is half-closed, open at the bottom; the collar is up, his head ducked into it but not for my benefit.

Your angle. (A second echo.)

I'm curious, I say.

He squints.

Insatiably curious, I say.

Only the folds of his coat are audible.

Five, he says. Seven if shit goes south. His voice is parchment, arid and weary. Half tomorrow, at the drop, and half after; all paper.

I murmur in concurrence.

Do and die, remember, kid.

Do and die, Durham repeats, and his body turns away from me, head now raised to its proper height, and he leaves.