I’d nearly forgotten about Bitch’s henchpeople in the chaos of dealing with the Nine and all of the fallout that had ensued.  I realized I knew very little about them.

Well, time to find out!

To my surprise, it was Biter who did the talking.  He had a low voice, and his words were muddled by some combination of the mouthgear and the underbite.  “You get along.”

Are you sure he’s the oaf?

And yeah, it seems they do. Who’d have thought that your boss could get along with someone!

I folded my arms.

He spread his hands, “How?”

“How do Bitch and I get along?” I asked.

With difficulty.

He nodded.

“I’m not sure I’m comfortable talking behind her back.”

The girl with her arm in a sling spoke up, “She acts like she’s frustrated with us.  And I think we’re frustrated with her.”

I suppose to some extent she is frustrated. With herself and with Coil. With herself because she has trouble understanding you, and with Coil for forcing her to try.

“I don’t want to be rude, but that’s really her business with you.”  They’re her property, her territory.  If I screwed around with her minions or started something, it would effectively be stepping on her toes.

Yeeah, she would probably not like that very much.

“You can’t offer us any tips?” she asked.

She looked so hopeful.  Damn it.

Maybe just a tiny one?

“I can, but it’s going to sound pretty damn basic.  Be honest, be absolutely clear in what you’re saying.  Be obedient, but be assertive.  Don’t let her walk all over you or she will walk all over you.  At the same time, if you think there’s something worth arguing over, be prepared to fight tooth and nail for it, because you’ll be in a weaker position if you fight over it and lose.  Respect her space and her things, and remember that she’s your boss above all else.”

There are a lot of things that should cancel each other out here but don’t, and it’s no wonder she’s hard to deal with.

Also, I wonder if anyone’s going to recognize this as how you handle dogs. I mean, these people are experts in that, right?

“She doesn’t act like a boss,” Barker said, and he made it sound almost insulting.  Puffs of the dark smoke spilled from his mouth with each word, but they seemed to carry further than cigarette smoke would.

Careful, there might be liches around, feeding on your smoke.

It seemed to be tied to the stress or emphasis on the sounds that drove it forward.

Makes sense, what with the way you push those sounds out more.

“She does her own thing and she leaves us to clean up shit.”

I mean, that’s what some bosses do. Though you may have expected to be higher up in the hierarchy.

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