Friday, March 2, 2012

Wish You Were Here (1.1)

the longest wait

Picking at the surgical tape holding bandages to the side of my face, I'm mesmerised by the flashing red light on the phone signalling new messages.  Carefully considering the implications of the contents of a small glass phial in my fingers, my chair creaks, and a cringe breaks my mask of stoicism.  There's a noise in the hall.  Slight, barely perceptible.  My hand rests on the cool steel of the Derringer atop my desk, finger tensing on the trigger.

And I'm gonna get that sonofabitch if it’s the last thing I do.

A world travelled in search, and who could've known I never even had to leave my office.  Simply hope, and it would appear.  Think it, and it would be.  Though it might take time, there was never any avoiding it.  The very definition of fatalism: each event, in its time, in its place.

With each creak of the chair, another cascade of memories is triggered. I stare at the wall, straight ahead. Memories. Like scenes cut from a film and left on the editing room floor. Grainy. Overdeveloped. Expired film. My eyes flit around the room.

Arthur Lagan.  I followed that bastard from New York to London only to lose him in Harrods.  Ladies wear – should have known. From London, it was a short hop to Greece only to be given the slip at a shipping magnate’s seventieth birthday party. Then, from Greece to Turkey only to run into a dozen dead ends. And onward. A world travelled in search.

Did he, did it, seek me out?  It's a give and take, that's for sure.  Had he wanted me, he could have found me at any time.  I'm nothing special.  Yet it was I who brought this on, made the first move.  I run my fingertips across the leather cover of the centuries-old tome atop my desk, this deadly book, this book of carelessly spilt secrets.  It was I who took on this assignment.

It's true that no man knows his time, and I've never been an exception to that rule.  That is, until now.  Now there's no other right time.  Only the present.  I can feel it, can see the moment approach, looming – and, oh, its shadow is long.  

The chair creaks. My trigger finger tenses. Always one step behind. But, I’ll get that sonofabitch. One way or another, I always knew I would get him. I’d have followed him to the ends of the earth if you had to. Finger tensing, mind racing, my brain twitches at the light footsteps in the hall. The deceptively slight clicking of heels. Wait for it. The knock. One spends an entire lifetime waiting – and I know I can wait another few seconds.

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