'Into Tomorrow' They say the art of conversation is dead. Well I can honestly assure you they are wrong. Outside my window two drivers are standing arguing in the the street, a silver Mustang has rear ended a red Ford Aspire. Steam and water are pouring out onto the road. The little guy who owns the first car is pokin his finger hard into the other man's shoulder in quick rapid shoves. I cant hear what they are saying but it's obvious that the Mustang guy is getting madder. I look around me in the coffee shop, a woman in a pinstripe suit is talking on her cell phone while eating an apple and cream pie with her other free hand, she smiles and then looks to see who is watching her. She's having an affair with her boss, and it's him on the phone. Behind her an elderly man with a walking cane, a long khaki overcoat and forties trilby hat has sat over the same cup since I've come in, his head is bowed and he doesn't smile. He's just lost his wife, maybe six months ago and he's contemplating joining her. To my left a teenager with a silver ear ring fidgets and squirms in his seat, he is constantly wiping his nose, and biting his nails, or what is left of them. Red oozing yellow head pimples spot his acne covered face and neck. He's a crack head glue sniffer who's looking for his next fix, and can't afford to pay for his beagle and coffee tab. He's thinking of doing a runner, but he made a mistake and sat to far away from the door. I could go on, this is my thing, my talent if you could call it that.
I read people, I'm a watcher a modern day Sherlock Holmes. A mentalist only with one little difference. The dispute from the street is getting louder, it gains my attention once more and distracts me from my little item of recreation. By now the big guy who was driving the Mustang has stopped shouting and has taken one step back to put distance between himself and the little guy with the Aspire, who is continuing to aggravate him. I watch as he raises his right arm in the air in a defensive stance. His left hand runs slowly down the outside of his sports coat. He stops midway, briefly. 'Hey you' I shout. The lady in the suit looks up at me, the old man pays me no heed. I point at the waiter, a little Chinese man with a blue Baseball cap who is standing holding a glass coffee pot, he looks round himself then back at me. 'Yeah you buddy' I indicate, he walks to me looking confused and as he passes through the islands of tables the spotty kid bolts for the door using the opportunity of my distraction. On his way past he grabs the woman's wallet, and knocks her cell phone on onto the floor. . 'Quickly' I say to the waiter 'Phone the cops, there's going to be a murder' again he looks confused. 'For Christ's sake man didn't you hear me' I shout again ' there's going to be a murder' 'Wha---' he begins to mouth. Its to late.
It's in that moment everything seems to tumble into slow motion, Mustang guy pulls a large silver gun from inside his jacket and shoots the little guy between the eye's. The back of his head explodes onto the trunk of his Aspire, it matches the color of the paint work, crimson red. He slides to the ground his legs twitching. By now the acne kid has made it out of the shop with the wallet in his hand, this is his second and last mistake of the day. Mustang guy let's of two more rounds thinking the kid is packing. The first one passes through the doors window just missing him leaving only a small hole but thuds into the old mans back , he slumps forward into his cold coffee cup with out making a sound. The bullet continues through him and ricochets of a metal heating pipe on the wall. As the old man is falling forward the lady in the pinstripe suit has bent down to retrieve her phone that's spun under her table. It screams into the void left from her head and crashes into the coffee pot the waiter is holding. I watch helplessly as the second round plunges into the center of the kids face sending blood,snot and yellow puss onto what remained of the glass door. He drops to his knees and stays there. Screams and car horns blare outside, I see the Mustang Guy nervously wave his gun at a crowd that has gathered on the side walk. He begins to back away into the oncoming traffic. He doesn't see the Semi truck approaching until he's under it's wheels. The screech of air brakes and screams mesh into one sound. The lady in the pinstripe suit has fainted on her table, the Chinese waiter has pissed himself and is shaking uncontrollably, the room smell's of death and stale coffee. A distant police siren breaks the static silence. 'Are you ok Buddy' I ask the waiter calmly. His eye's move at me but his head stays rigid and still. I go back to drinking my cold coffee. Turning fifty was a big deal for me, statistics state that most people don't live to be a hundred. So that means I'm more than half way to being dead. Sobering thought wouldn't you say. I was a child of Aquarius waiting for its dawning or mine, which ever came first, and by the time I hit my 21st I was well into the hippy culture. I managed to beat the draft for Vietnam, not because of my free love way of thinking. It was this god damned asthma that has dogged me ever since I was a boy that kept the military at bay. Ma was happy about that, not because of my illness mind, it just meant I wouldn't get sent over there. A lot of guy's I knew in collage had no choice, most came home in body bags. Poor bastards.
By 1973 the war was all but over, and some of the first P.O.W's were being released. Native Americans were up in arms down in 'Wounded Knee' and president Nixon is in trouble over some tapes. It was August that year that I first noticed small changes. Little things to start with, the first few were like day dreams. Minor brain hiccups you could say that would stop me dead in what ever I was doing. They would only last a few seconds, then as the years went by they became longer. Some lasting hours, but when I would wake I would feel electrified. Images would flash into my mind like movie clips, random thoughts that never made sense. Then slowly I began to understand, each was a moment in someones time, and I was allowed to enter. I began to read the triggers that would set me off into their future. I could see it all happen, just like now. Back then I tried to contact the authorities about the things I could foresee, but mostly they fobbed me off as just some crack pot. So I stopped. Now when I feel the trigger coming I let it happen, I see it in my minds eye, let it all play out. I believe the future can be changed if a single action is avoided or manipulated, if a word is said or an apology given, this for me is the easiest way. ,Slowly the air around me begins to shudder, my head feels tight, my body electrified. The coffee in my cup begins to spin violently, gradually my vision moves in to rewind.
Outside my window two drivers are standing arguing in the street, a silver Mustang has rear ended a Red Ford Aspire. Steam and Water are pouring out onto the road. The little guy in front is getting more and more agitated. Now is my trigger, I anticipate an alternative. Slowly I rise from my seat and move towards the lady in the pinstripe suit, She looks at me briefly confused as I approach. Her nervousness is apparent by her body movements. I lean into her and smell the crispness of an expensive perfume. ' Your husband knows' is all I whisper She switches off her phone and begins to cry. I walk over to the spotty kid who by now is thinking seriously about doing a runner after my brief distraction, his eyes jerk and twitch as I meet him face to face. 'Look at me' I say grasping his left shoulder, his face contorts into a portrait of pain. 'Stop! Your hurting me' he squeals. ' Listen to me kid, I'm gonna give you two options, the second one I firmly suggest you take' 'Who are you?' he asks, a question I get a lot. 'Never mind who I am, whats important is you listen to what I say and maybe you will get to go home today, option one I call over the waiter, the Chinese guy in the base ball hat' he watches me point. 'I get him to call the cop's because you have no money, do you get where I'm Coming from buddy?' he nod's nervously. 'Good, option two, do you see that old gentleman' again he complies. 'I want you to go over to him and ask if he's o k, get talking, but most of all just listen, maybe in a while he will pay for your coffee and beagle, what's your pleasure?' Spotty kid doesn't take long to consider the best option. 'Two, I guess' ' Nice one kid, I knew you'd make it', I indicate with a thumb jerk for him to move.
A quick glance outside make's me hasten my actions. Mustang guy has his hand in the air and is stepping back I need to hurry, by the time I step out he's pausing on the revolver hidden in his jacket. He's seen me, his eyes jerk between me and the little guy, spits of rain hit me in the face and the din of traffic is overwhelming. Around the two men an audience has gathered as if they are watching two gladiators squaring up in a roman arena, all baying for blood. 'Stop!' I scream. 'Stop it now!' the big guy looks nervous, he's unsure of what to do next. The little guy has gone quiet. I slow my pace and approach both men, 'It ain't worth going to jail for man' they look at each other but my eyes are fixed on mustang guy 'I know you have a gun' when I say this the crowd disperses quickly leaving only a hanging scream in the diesel stinking air. The sound of a distant police siren cuts into the static noise, 'New York's finest are coming guy's, let it go' I say and it seems to clam the tension. I look round over my shoulder towards the cafe and the lady in the pinstripe suit is standing in the doorway waving her cell phone and smiling, I watch as the spotty kid is helping the old guy along the side walk, we both nod at each other. With that two black and whites screech in, slowly I back off and melt into the crowd, the Chinese waiter with the blue baseball cap has ventured out into the street still holding his coffee pot. His eyes follow me, I stick two dollars in his hand 'For the coffee' 'Who are you' he asks. A question I get a lot. Will Neill 2013