There’s Something Here From Somewhere Else – Part 4
(first appeared at valterramagazines.com October 2013 issue)
And speaking of egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches … it was the hankering for one that led Nap into the convenience store in the first place. It was way past breakfast time but due to the recent advancements in heat lamp technology, convenience stores were now able to offer such fare well into the early evening … of the following day. Typically Nap didn’t hanker but as he felt the tension slowly melting away he decided to go down the well-traveled path from simple desire and take a quick left into the rustic backwoods of hankering.
It was a bad time for someone to hold up the convenience store.
Nap saw the gun protruding from the assailant’s loose-fitting hoodie, an Abercrombie & Fitch number which just made the whole thing worse for everyone involved, and the sight of it made his hand begin to caress the egg and sausage breakfast sandwich in a thoughtful manner that could have been mistaken by a passerbyer as affection. His involvement in the upcoming events was a certainty; a gun could not endanger the whole world so it wouldn’t be like he was working, but as he looked around he felt a little disappointment as it appeared this individual was working alone.
Not much sport in that.
He waited for the gunman to begin the show and then interrupted him with two fingers applied forcefully to his larynx. He thought about a flashier subdual involving roundhouse kicks but realized that these usually lead to snack stands being destroyed and beverages being dropped and why make a mess that requires some poor bastard to clean up.
The man dropped to the floor clutching his throat.
Nap had acted so quickly he actually had to explain to the man behind the counter why he’d done what he’d done and that the man currently lying on the floor with his feet waving comically in the air was attempting to hold up the establishment. For a minute confusion reigned until Nap leaned down and produced the gun, which substantiated his version of events, and he left with a free egg and sausage breakfast sandwich.
He roared off in his ’78 Le Mans and I won’t bother to tell you what song he was listening to in order to keep things moving along but if you’re picturing a Justin Timberlake song you’ve clearly not been paying much attention. In fact, such willful ignorance is getting a little tedious. Just warning you.
I’ll turn this whole story around if I have to.
Somewhere in an unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington, a man sat behind an enormous desk and if you think the gentleman in attendance at Ruth’s ill-fated speech at the university elicited ominous music in the heads of those around him, you ain’t heard nothing yet. Assuming, of course, that you’re sitting on the other side of the desk looking at him.
That seat was currently occupied by a large chiseled man whose head was quite used to ominous music playing in it. Most of the people he associated with seemed to produce it and he often times, at the end of a busy day, would sigh and enjoy the quiet of a crowded subway platform. More often than not he would then step onto a train and go kill somebody.
The man behind the desk explained the problem which required the meeting. Typically these things were strictly need to know in nature, i.e. the man behind the desk would produce a photo and an address and the large chiseled man would hustle off and kill them, but in this case he shared a little more information than absolutely required so that anyone reading about this clandestine get-together wouldn’t walk away completely in the dark.
Before I continue I’d like to point out how powerful the human imagination is. In a few short paragraphs you have created every detail you need to picture the meeting. You can see every detail of the shadowy office and although I never mentioned it I bet you can see the smoke slowly curling up from the cigarette perched in the glass ashtray on the corner of the desk. Take a second to congratulate yourself for your choice of art on the walls.
I’ll never understand the need for some people to provide every damn detail when they are telling a story; as if they believe you would imagine two naked men sitting on folding chairs in an empty office should they not spend 500 words describing the furniture.
I write “unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington” and I can almost hear you saying “Ok, got it.
Unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington. Continue.”
The only time I think it’s appropriate to point something out is if it somehow does not fit in an unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington. Let’s say there was a giant disco ball hanging in the center of the room. That I would mention. Because this unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington lacks such bling I feel entirely comfortable moving on.
“Here’s the problem,” said the man behind the desk. He adjusted himself slightly in the chair. “There is a woman who has come into possession of something that could be potentially harmful to certain people.”
The large chiseled man leaned forward almost imperceptivity which, in the circles he ran in, was the equivalent of him saying very perceptively, “Oh goody!”
In his mind he quickly imagined nuclear codes or some terrible computer virus.
“The object I’m referring to is a pair of reading glasses.”
There was a slight flutter in the right eyelid of the large chiseled man which, in the circles he ran in, indicated that it was all he could do not burst out laughing.
“Reading glasses?” he inquired.
“Yes. But not just any reading glasses. Reading glasses that can never be allowed to view the new tax legislation.”
The man behind the desk allowed that to sink in. Not so much to the large chiseled man but to those of you reading this.
“Do I need to say any more?”
I’m guessing, flush with pride from your imagining the unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington, the last thing you want to do is admit you need any more on how these particular reading glasses could become a problem for those writing the new tax legislation. “Rather obvious,” you might be chuckling to yourself. The large chiseled man on the other hand had no idea what the man behind the desk meant but on the other, other hand he didn’t really care.
Photo. Address. Another day, another dollar.
“One last thing …” the man behind the desk offered.
“Don’t fuck this up.”