The Three Train Thugs find an end to their disagreement, Sean meets two new nemesis and have a cinematic disagreement with his friends, down by the river. Sean also purchases a Halloween costume and does a lot of things his inner voice is screaming about.
It’s Thursday, and I stand here, conflicted.
Early last Saturday morning, from the shadows of the food court, I watched Ivan, Victor and Anonymous Man kill each other. It was the opening I needed, and I went in.
I thought they were all dead, but I was in for a surprise.
And that wasn’t the only surprise I’ve had in the last five days. Also a surprise: how my friends Robbie, Cynthia, Jan and Penelope reacted.
But the biggest surprise were the creepy crime scene investigators.
It had been a carousel of death, this one stabbed that one, that one shot the other one. I saw it go down. I realized it was because of that rock. The rock that Train Platform Man gave me. The rock I left in the courtyard, the rock for which these Thugs searched for me. And found me for. It was insane. All of it. But… if they were willing to kill for it… then… I wanted it.
I crept across the food court toward the courtyard, the quiet a perfect science of silence, only a couple of appliances in defiance. I also wished against time to be able to go back to this morning and not to choose corduroy slacks. Oh, my God.
I got to the door and pulled.
Fuck, it was locked! How was it locked? This is crazy. Impossible. No way. Oh, wait, duh…
I pushed the door… just as the lights turned off with an audible thud. What the – Oh, yeah. It was on a motion sensor. I took a deep breath and pushed the door, the lights came on and I crept over to the bloodbath.
Looking around me, I realized that since the exterior food court was dark and the interior courtyard lit, I could not see out the glass, but anyone out there could easily see me in here. The security cameras would record me.
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Why was I doing this? Was this worth it?
I guess I decided it was, because I crept across the courtyard, stepped over Anonymous Man’s lifeless body, nearly slipped in his pool of blood and spotted Crazy Rock sitting calmly on the ground next to Ivan. I reached across Ivan’s body to pick it up and – Yee-aaahh!!!
Ivan was alive. He grabbed my wrist, but his grip was weak, as was his voice. He said, “Please help me.” I was frozen. Ivan said, “My family.” I didn’t move. “Deliver zee Computronium to zee Arcana, or zey keel family.” Ivan coughed and bubbly blood burst out. He whispered, “Take phone. One, seven, one, one. Passverd ees one, sewen, one, one…” And then he stopped moving.
His last words were the password on his phone and I wondered what my last words will be.
Then, I heard the door rattle as someone pulled it, then pushed it, and I heard a voice say, “What the fuck have you done to them?!?”
An hour after building security discovered the… scene… I was talking to not the police, who came after building security, not the FBI, whom the police captain called in, not the Treasury Department’s Secret Service, whom the FBI gave way to, but to… well, it had to be the Arcana. I’m pretty sure.
There were two Arcana representatives, dressed like high-priced attorneys, but with massive neck tattoos and various piercings. A woman and a man. Think of the Adjudicator in John Wick 3. They weren’t from the High Table, of course, because the High Table is fake. They refused to give me their names or show IDs, but the cops, FBI and Secret Service wouldn’t make eye contact with them, and gave them free reign.
The pair sternly warned me against telling anyone about what happened.
They laid heavy on this point.
It would be very bad
Lots of trouble
Banished to Siberia
Forced to watch “A Walk in the Clouds” on repeat
Then they said, “where is the Computronium?” The truth was, in the chaos after security found me, I had managed to hide both the rock and Ivan’s phone. But, I didn’t tell the Arcana that.
Remember in A New Hope when, just after you think Luke, Han, Leia and Chewey get away clean from the Death Star, Tarkin says to Vader “are you sure the homing beacon is secure aboard their ship?” and there in the theater you’re like, “You got to be kidding! They’re tracking them, they’re screwed!”
That’s how I felt when those Arcana reps snapped their fingers and let me go. It was a ploy. I knew it. They would be tracking me. Watching me.
Which is why what I did next was so dumb.
That Saturday afternoon, I ill-advisedly messaged the Gang to drop whatever they were doing and meet me down by the river. Because down-by-the-river is where spies and lovers meet in movies.
We met, I explained what happened and when I was through, Robbie looked at me impressively and asked, “Did you leave a huge turd in Penelope’s toilet, then climb out the bathroom window?”
Oh great. This.
Then Penelope said, “My boyfriend spent twenty minutes trying to get that monster to flush. He even sacrificed one of our good kitchen knives to dice it up!”
I tried to explain, but, yeah. No go. Eventually Jan put her hand on my arm and said, “Sean, we’ve been worried about you. You’re being weird. All that Crazy Rock stuff last week. The bathroom at Penelope’s. Now this. And Joanna wants…”
Jan trailed off without saying what my boss Joanna wanted. Robbie said, “I went into the office earlier today, and it looked completely normal. No dead guys in the courtyard, that’s for sure.”
I couldn’t conceive they didn’t believe me and before they left, Jan gave me the name of her therapist.
Needless to say, I didn’t bother tipping them off about what I was gonna do next. Right now, it’s Thursday. Work has been hell all week. Lots of staring, people suddenly stop talking when I enter the break room or join a conference call. The head of HR has been in two meetings with Joanna.
For several days I walked around in a daze, looking over my shoulder and hatching a plan.
Yesterday, on Wednesday, I bought a Halloween costume. Today I called in sick to work. A couple of minutes ago during the lunch rush, disguised so no one would spot me, I went back to the food court, dug up Ivan’s phone and the Computronium rock from the dirt of the potted fern where I’d buried them. The courtyard was packed, I don’t think even the security cameras could spot me.
Tonight, I’m gonna figure out why this rock is important. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work and act as normal as possible. My plan is fool-proof. Just as long as I don’t run into the Arcana.