Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chapter Ten

The artifact. The message.

The egg. The code.

Boris drove closer to the building, planning the death of his guards – after they had disposed of the Brits. It made him smile. It made him nefarious.

He entered the grounds. Everything was where it belonged. Mr. Pyro couldn’t burn down a stone building.

“Welcome home, Boris.” Kevin said as Boris entered.

No guards. Boris smiled. He pulled comic big-eyed and surprised face.

“Oh?! Where are henchmen? I left them right here … Where is dog? Hey! Where is dog?! I like the dog!”

Alma mumbled, “Ask moose and squirrel.”

Kevin shrugged. “Hot guns explode. You don’t want me to talk about the dog.”

Alma looked sick. There was a lot of blood in the room, a lot of blood on her.

Kevin raised his right arm … “Shall we cook .. an egg, Boris?”

“Only I know the how to decode it.”

“I suggest you sit down and enlighten us.”

“You expect me to talk, Mister Pyro?”

“No Mr. Boris, I expect you to die!”

Alma stood and walked to the window and opened it. Boris laughed and walked to the table. “I like that one too! But you and I are too ugly to be a Mr. James Bond. Let’s see what we have and talk about setting fire to each other later.”

He put the egg on the table and was discussing terms with Kevin as Alma slipped out the door.

She was out half way down the drive before they knew she was gone and on the main road before they were out the door. In her pocket was one artifact, in good condition, with its rightful owner.

She drove on, not knowing where she was going, with no money and no plan. Escape seemed to be the best course of action.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Las Vegas was hell on earth.

Lonnie stood and breathed in the dry, hot air. Air that nature had ensured would not sustain life. Ground that did not sustain life. Water that had to be trucked or piped in from bloody Saskatoon.

The only conceivable thing worse than having your wife cheat on you, give away your family treasures, destroy the psyche of your over-sensitive and idealized child, and burn down your house was … Las Vegas.

“And here I fucking am.” Lonnie kicked at the ground, but it was baked harder than the 180 degree concrete on which his amazingly fuel inefficient Chrysler rental was parked.

His mother came out to the back yard, “Isn’t it wonderful? It’s like a sauna all day long. And the Americans here, aren’t they a treat?! They drive around all the time and eat hamburgers and … well, they make me feel so exotic! Imagine that, me, exotic? I never thought I’d hear anything like it, you know, people saying ‘What’s it like, living in Yurop, Millie?’ And how does one answer that? It’s like just about anything else, really, you know. I think this place is the odd place, right, but they don’t have a clue and I end up telling them the most normal things and they think it’s just such a treat, you know, such a treat, and they tell me that it’s so strange that we drink so much tea and of course the tea here is iced because, well it’s hot here innit, yeah yeah it is sort of like being in a sauna all day long except this sauna has a view of sorts … well, not much of a view I suppose, mostly just dust and garbage and of course the sun … but it sure seems bigger here doesn’t it, the sun I mean … yes … yes it does seem bigger … like it’s just going to burst and I don’t think I’ve seen a raincloud all week long … or since I arrived here for that matter … and I just love it I talk to people back home and they are just amazed at how much sun there is here but they can’t even conceive of it ….”

Lonnie walked into the house and got some water or tequila or something. His mother had always been a talker but Las Vegas made it worse. At home there was traffic noise and rain and people coming to the door. In the hot vacuum of Las Vegas – there was just Millie. Millie Millie Millie.

Selwyn has withdrawn. He mostly stayed in his room reading comic book versions of The Art of War and Caligula over and over again. Every so often he’d point to a part and say “You suppose Mummy’s here?”

Lonnie wasn’t sure what the appropriate response was to that. None of the Childhood Psychology books covered that. No blogs covered that. And Googling “Caligula and Children” would likely garner a visit from the authorities.

Lonnie was brooding. Millie was talking a mile a minute. Neither of them heard the phone. Lonnie walked into the living room as Selwyn was speaking.

“Yes, yes I understand. Remember, Sun Tsu said that all warfare was based on deception. Bye bye. No, I don’t love you too, I’m bitter. Yes, goodbye Mummy.” Selwyn hung up the phone.

“Was that your mother?”

Selwyn nodded.

“Where is she?”

Selwyn held up his Caligula. “Page 10.”

chap10-karen-illo

by Jim

illustration by Karen Winters

7 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Rob said...

Oh! Hmmmm.....

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

Nice one Jim!

'No Mr Boris, I expect you to die'... very clever

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Martin said...

Jolly good illo too

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Jim Benson said...

Karen ....

Can I please make that into a t-shirt?

6:27 PM  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Pretty good description of Vegas. After all, I am going out for hamburgers and iced tea for lunch. Good stuff, innit?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

I think I know who's got the precious thing.

6:04 PM  
Blogger M.Azul said...

Hummmmm... beijokas

5:36 AM  

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