Friday, March 26, 2010

The Wanderer: Pawn takes Bishop

1540hrs - Alley behind Post Office.
Four men in dark suits and sunglasses. Odd. He expected six men. Where are the other two? One of the men steps forward. Slight build, 6"2' with hawk eyes. He has a peculiar tie pin. Golden with a green amber set in it. Leone Salgado.
"Eh, Bruce...Good to see you, finally."
"To what do I owe this disturbing pleasure, sir?"
"I'm here to make a proposition. I'm sure you won't refuse it."
"I'm not interested. Those days are way behind me."
"Yes, Bruce. But your skills are the best. Quite remarkable, yet unbelieveable. No one thinks there's a guy as good as you are in this 'trade' today."
Bruce shrugs.
"Just cut to the chase, Salgado. What does a high profile marketing manager want with a guy who spends his days playing video games and sipping Novida?"

A beefy guy in black suit hands him a parcel.
"Get back to me if you're interested. Same time, 3 days from now."

1700hrs - Quiet house on outskirts of city
Bruce stares outside the window, watching youth play, or rather, attempt to play the beautiful game. Their laughter rises and hangs in the air like a fragrant mist. Things he missed growing up. It reminded him of his time in Japan when....

(Encrypted Phone rings)
"Did you see him?"
"Of course I did. He gave me the stuff. Said I should get to him in 3 days."
"Good. We'll have time for rest and relaxation. And I need you to do something small for me in the meantime."
"Anything for you, bro."
"Meet Janice. Take a load off. She's quite nice."
"Yeah, I could tell. Will think about it."
"You know you work too much. And when did you start taking that much Novida? It's non-alcoholic, you know."
"Yeah. I guess some habits just rub off. Learnt too much from you."
"OK. Brief me on the proceedings."
"As usual, Max. Later."

Max stands up from his workstation and walks over to the wall filled with newspaper clippings, red marker in hand. He goes to a particular photo and draws a circle over a face. Salgado, Leone Salgado...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Red March...

After the events of 'the other,' he's less than pleased when she asks to see him.
What could this be about now? Ah, well... he makes the appointment and heads over there. Nothing extraordinary. A number of successive visits yield nothing more, until one chilly saturday evening.
He's tried and failed to make any meaningful conversation, so when she suggests they watch a flick, he's quite thrilled. They decide to watch some obscure epic movie. One of those can come in those obnoxious 100-in-1 discs. How he hates those things...

Ahem, anyway they watch the movie in near-total silence. She's lying on the carpet quite a distance away from him. So much for quality time. It seems he lost this fight long before it even started. He glances at his watch (9:45pm), then at the clock (9:42), then at the dvd timer (01:08:26). He thinks he'd better be on his way by now. After enduring for about 12 minutes, he resigns. There's no way he's going to enjoy this movie. He gets up and heads towards the door. She gets up, surprised, and asked what he's up to. He replies that he's leaving (in an indifferent tone). She asks why he can't at least wait till the movie ends. He claims to have figured out the ending, seeing that he's watched the plot develop. She whispers, "Ok."

He puts on his socks, then his shoes. He waves a goodnight to her. She almost responds. He almost cares. He turns and leaves, closing the door behind him. As he walks to the gate, a portion of dark ground peels away to reveal a pale yellow light. He gets to the gate. As he opens it, he turns around. She watches him from behind the steel and glass door, one hand holding the curtain, the other gently resting on the glass pane, a look of longing in her eyes. He turns and disappears into the night...

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wanderer...

0300hrs - Obscure room with lots of books.

"Max, listen to me, for I don't have much time left. You have to stay strong. No matter what happens to me, never think of life as unfair. Yes, things happen that are beyond your control, but you are made out of stronger stuff. Follow the map, it will lead you to where you need to go."

Knocks on the door turn into bangs, then hammering, and finally the door gives way. George is lifted harshly off the ground, where he was trying to shield his 4 year old son from the harsh claws of mercenaries.

The mercs leave a shaken Max weeping uncontrollably, amidst his father's screams of mercy. One of the thugs points his 9mm Berretta at young Max. Max is too frightened to even blink. Thug laughs, reaches into his side pocket and fishes out a shiny object. He tosses it at Max. Max makes no attempt to catch it. It lands with a pinging sound. Thug shrugs and walks away, leaving a tearful young Max staring into the distance, at nothing in particular. When he awakes from his trance, he heads over to where he thinks the object landed. After a short search, he finds it. A bit dirtied, but shiny nonetheless. He wipes it with his shirt and holds it up in the light. He can barely make out the shape of wings. He turns it round and the same image presents itself. He pockets it and cries some more...

20 years later...

1516hrs - Small restaurant in dusty suburb

Sun is blazing mercilessly, as though to discourage any and all daytime activity. The restaurant is just as warm. No air cons and the fans have long since developed cobwebs. She waits, still. Takes a sip of her Tusker and glances at the wall clock.
She's been waiting for 8 minutes, but it feels like an hour already.

She spots a guy walk in. Looking quite amused at the lack of activity in his favorite restaurant. He sees her, smiles sheepishly, and walks over to the counter.
Asks for an ice-cold Novida. He gets it promptly. He turns around and makes a beeline to the maiden in waiting.

"Black and green make quite a match, don't you think?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I mean our respective bottles. Your black and my green."
"Oh... So what's your point then?"
"I can bet that whoever you're waiting for will order a Tusker when he gets here, just to 'show' that you have similar interests."
"Actually, he does that a lot."
"Ah, where is he, if I may ask?"
"He's around. You should probably get moving."
"If i wanted to, I would have. But how can I return to a normal life after my cosmic state of balance has been so pleasantly interrupted?"
Eyes gleaming with pleasure... She smiles.
"Well, since fate has decided to entwine our strings of existence, we can as well make the most of it."

Phone rings. He answers. "Post Office. 20 minutes." Line goes dead.
He gets up and walks to the counter, says something to the bartender and returns a number of minutes later.
"Where were we?"

"You were about to tell me your name."
"Janice. Nice to meet you, Bruce."
"I perceive it is a mutual pleasure. I need to go now. I'll keep in touch."
"I already have your number."

He smiles, nods, and walks out. She gets her phone and dials a number.
"He's on his way." She looks again at the photo in her hand...