“The last time I saw Paris,” he said, taking a drag from his cigarette, “it was on fire.”

“Because you set it on fire,” I said.

“Well.” He waved dismissively, smoke curling around his scarred right hand. “Someone had to.”

My jaw clenched involuntarily. “And London? One great fire wasn’t enough?”

He smiled, his teeth yellowed with age. “One fire is never enough.”

“Of course.” I shuffled some papers. “Mexico City, Bogota, Rio de Janeiro… felt like vacationing in the tropics, hmm?”

“Business before pleasure, always.”

“I don’t see anywhere in eastern Europe, though.”

Again, the smile. “Too easy. The buildings are like paper, eager to be aflame. I prefer ones that play hard to get.”

“So to take on a challenge like, say…” I cleared my throat. “The Sears Tower, how much would that cost?”

His eyes lit up. “You pay for materials and travel expenses,” he said. “Clothing. A food stipend. No more.”

“Deal,” I said quickly. “But… that’s it?”

He shook his head. “I love what I do. That is payment enough.”

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