Delroy watched the flies gather above the street lamps as one by one they flicked on in the descending night. Huge swarms spiraled over the light, every once in a while a single gnat, growing brave or insane, launched itself at the bulb, tinking against it like a drop of cold rain.
The campus was quiet. Hell, Delroy thought, in the valley every night was quiet. The campus, the few blocks of shops considered "downtown," the smattering of neighborhoods. By 9 everyone was inside. By 10 their lights were out.
It was past 11:30, nearer to midnight, when Delory's phone beeped to life. He pulled it out of his pocket. Drew his eyes away from the frenzied storms hovering over the lamps. Flicked his finger across the screen and read.
It had been six months since Delroy's identity was stolen and in that time he'd thought a lot about that phrase, "stolen identity." Really, he thought, it was more like his time, energy, and sanity had been stripped away from him more than anything else. They could have him identity. Hell, he'd even consider paying for someone else to adopt the legal identity of Delroy James. They could have his bad credit history. His growing debt. His rash of failed romances. His bad decisions.
Instead, all they had gotten from him was the mundane stuff. Social security number, email addresses, passwords, routing numbers. The shit no one ever felt any real connection to, but apparently was more important than anything else they ever managed to do.
"Next time take my fucking blood pressure," he said to his phone as yet another message informing him that, yes, the thieves were still at it, pecking on the bloated corpse of his financial life, before adding, "Mother fuckers."
Delroy had left the campus early that morning. He'd never been a great sleeper which meant he had never been an early riser. But, wanting to get away, he