Chapter 3:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 135

 

Jake bolted out of bed the next morning, as the slightest re entry of consciousness brought back the terrible memories of the preceding day. He sat up in bed for a few minutes trying to compose himself, palms over his face. He was sweating as if he’d just been for a run. It was only 7 am.

Standing in the shower, leaning his head against the tiles like some moody school boy, he tried to figure out what to do next. He couldn’t possibly ring Tara. He didn’t feel emotionally stable enough for that, let alone admit to the damage it would do to his pride. How undignified it would be if the has-been fiancée strolled up to what was once his home, only to be greeted by his now hated best friend and the one woman in the world who incited sickness in his stomach. After all, how could he? His phone was taken from him along with all the other items of opulence the deluded rich boy in poverty had brought with him last night. All the same, he thought, this was no time for prioritising dignity over well being. Wrapping the towel around himself he approached the living room table, making a bee-line for the bottle of Jack. Why not? He’d gotten to the stage where intoxication in any way, shape or form seemed to be the only escape for his mind. He’d never been much of a pessimist until recently. Head knocked back, swigging whiskey on an empty stomach, he saw his landline telephone, lit up by the morning sunlight as if some higher power he didn’t believe in was trying to tell him something. The mere thought of dialling her number was too much to bear and it didn’t matter how many times his internal dialogue told him to man up. Punching in the first few numbers, with anything but haste, Jake had reached the final digit. No, this wasn’t what was going to happen. The typical sirens heard in urban life from whatever emergency vehicle they belonged to, echoed outside and Jake forced himself to think of someone who was worse off than he was. Man up, Jake.

Instead of pressing that final digit, he hung the phone back up. That final digit could have led down a different path and perhaps later on, Jake thought, he’d regret it. The final number for his undignified salvation. It was an unsuitable idea so he fickly changed to another one in a dark desperate corner of his mind. He hadn’t been one for bright ideas and informed decisions but the shit heap he was in already, he’d figured it was too late for new year’s resolutions. He’d decided what to do and got dressed. He was in no mood for outward image leading to confidence on the street. Such vanity seemed to have escaped in this emergency situation. Was he exaggerating? Was this better off left alone? No. What little funds he had left were on his card, nestled in his wallet, locked up in the Snake Bar. So, attempting to fit in with other locals who seemed to detract attention through intimidation, he chose to wear what he’d only normally be seen wearing in the gym. A sleeveless gym top and tracksuits. He’d seen enough espionage films to have the sense to grab himself a hoodie. Was this sense? Or was he just being an idiot yet again?

Making his way down in the elevator, Jake thought how wrong it felt to be stood in this metal portal to reality without the vital kit he’d become so used to having on him. His left and right pockets were bare, except for his flat key and he wore no jacket or blazer with inside pockets to hold his tobacco. In a way this detachment from what many a modern person would call the bare necessities, felt somewhat liberating. The GPS function on his smart phone now missing from his right pocket, meant that he could no longer be watched by the forces of paranoia. The bank cards from his wallet, now missing from his left pocket, meant that he could no longer be tracked down by the forces of paperwork. He was now a lonely, yet free soul, entangled in a web of modern networking. A web of modern networking; it sounded so grim yet the whole reason his heart was pounding so hard in his chest was to seek out the very things to reintegrate him into that web. Was it really what he wanted? He could literally just disappear. It was a tempting thought but not for long. His mind was far too brainwashed by modernity to fully detach from money and technology. Besides, what would he be? A bum...if that. He had to press on past the concierge who, for once had acknowledged him in passing. It was still a one sided greeting, though. Jake was so focussed on the task that lay ahead, he hadn’t even noticed.

Approaching the back of Snake Bar, Jake fantasised about the videogames he used to play, or all the action films. Visions rushed through his mind of somehow acquiring a gun, blasting through the front entrance with military precision, gunning down all of Drew’s henchmen with a bullet to the head. But that was just his rage. He wouldn’t last two seconds doing that. Peeking in through the window, however, Drew’s henchmen were nowhere to be seen and his voluptuous witch in the red dress was nowhere to be seen either. Squatting down awkwardly, peeking over the rim of each window, Jake insisted on being as thorough as possible or it could well cost him his life. Images of the dark gun barrel flashed back to him. He didn’t want to look down another again. The mere thought put the fear of God into him.

He’d been spotted, he knew it. Bolting around at the sound of nearby footsteps, he looked sheepishly at a passing family. The parents walked slightly faster, nudging their kids to an appropriate speed. Apparently the gym clothes worked. Alas it was time for action. Jake could have sat and watched through motionless windows all day. After all it was only 8.30 a.m and if last night was anything to go by, Drew should still be fast asleep.

So Jake stood up and relaxed a little, thinking objectively how to get in. Then he saw the doors to the wine cellar, where undoubtedly many a drug exchange had taken place. It was unlocked and as much as it had been an easy ticket inside the belly of the beast, it was the beast Jake feared most. Drew had obviously left it unlocked as a result of his hubris. A ‘no one is gunna mess with me’ attitude. Jake was starting to feel as if he’d bitten off more than he could chew but he pressed on all the same. It was a small wine cellar and his stuff could have been stashed away down here, or maybe Drew had fenced it on the very same night. Who knew? Jake certainly didn’t and in his naivety, he simply thought his belongings would have remained under the bar where Drew had originally put them. He’d ascended to the ground floor and it would have been so much easier to get caught here. Jake’s impatience got the better of him, he was so close. Standing tall and exposed he walked briskly over to the bar, franticly moving registers and opening compartments until he saw something he didn’t expect, but really should have. A big glistening bag of opportunity. Most called it cocaine.

Moments after, he’d spotted his belongings. His mobile phone, zippo, wallet and gold watch. They were all his again. He put his watch back on and everything else in their respective pockets. He was now reintegrated into the web of networking. The world of modernity, once again sat in his pockets weighing down his tracksuits and to have it back was a relief like tending to an addiction after long-time withdrawal. He was tempted to take the bag of opportunity. If he was clever, he could make alot of money out of that bag. The instant he lost his job he’d already vied not to end up on the checkouts at the local superstore. That was beneath him. Just another golden idea from the fantastically rash mind of Jake of Trott.

He was now faced with two worlds. Sat in front of him was a big white bag which belonged to the world of risk and reward and most enticingly, in his mind, the world of lucrative offers. Sat inside his pockets, where they supposedly belonged were his things. The material items from before his world got turned upside down by a series of unfortunate events. These items offered security and assured wellbeing – integration. Yet the two worlds conflicted. He couldn’t have both, they’d cancel each other out. In other words, the paper trail would get him arrested. There’s no escaping the networks, he thought. He was well aware of all these things, but the fact that he was behind enemy lines seemed to cast all rationality from his mind leading him to suddenly be a believer in the best of both worlds. So he took it, placing it in a conveniently nearby carrier bag along with a few bottles of booze so as not to raise suspicion on the street. Before he knew it, he was out, and without a hitch he’d gotten his belongings back and was carrying a new world of opportunity with him. He’d finally lost track of how many hours it had been since he and his wife broke up and his mind felt cleansed.

Sauntering down the street with a satisfied smile on his face, Jake was perhaps, blissfully in ignorance. He was better off that way. It helped him to keep a clear head and that was exactly what he needed – clarity. Little did he know that, much like his first visit to Snake Bar, he was being watched the whole time.

*

Drew’s bedroom was drowning in opulent displays. The whole room stood as a statement to how profitable his businesses were to him. Red wallpaper, a massive bed with only the most expensive silk sheets and a doubly expensive mattress. Distasteful works of modern art were strewn about the walls and chandeliers swung sleepily from the ceiling, the air con, jingling their jewels. It was enough to make any man forget that Drew was a highly dangerous individual with a penchant in causing trouble for the sake of it. Yet, perhaps that was the whole idea of the room; for Drew’s customers or victims to forget who he really was. A large part of Drew’s insane genius, especially when it came to being a businessman, was to behave in a charming, disarming fashion. In the meantime only he alone would be aware of the dark thoughts and plots in his head, hiding behind a facade of expertly false body language. He was woken up that morning by, what was to him, an exciting thought. The prospect of business. The prospect of seeing it through to its conclusion excited him no end; to play body language games with other human beings. The money was just an added bonus, he had enough of that as it was. Not bothering to get dressed, he skipped out of his bedroom gleefully, and onto the highest balcony in the building. Leaning on it, he looked down at his favourite alibi in material form. His bar. Humming nonsensical tunes to himself he approached the bar to get an important item for an important deal. This was the big one. The deal that would finally make him friends in some of the highest places. Opening the prized cabinet he saw nothing but its four walls and a smidgen of useless white dust. Twitching in the face he calmly stood up and stroked the top of the perfectly varnished bar with his index finger and simply proclaimed ‘Oh dear’. He made his way back to his bedroom, this time hurried but certainly not skipping. He sat down next to the beautiful naked woman in his bed, stroking her back to wake her up. She rolled over smiling. ‘Honey, I have to go to work so I won’t be around for some time’. She could see his face uncontrollably twitching still. ‘Whats happened?’, she asked idly as if to have heard those lines many times before. ‘Someone has taken...the godamn...fucking...’ She cut him off, all too familiar with his swearing tirades. ‘Get to the point Drew.’. He clenched his fists and forced a smile for her, then holding her hand. ‘The fucking coke is gone. It’s not there...POOF! They’re gunna crucify me, you know they’re taking big risks to see me today. What the shitting shit am I going do? Hm? I’ll just make damn sure its not me who gets crucified first.’ Drew reached for his mobile and dialled a number... ‘Morning, Drew you alright man?’

‘No I am not bloody alright. Shit just got real.’

‘Shit got real?! What the hell man, what’s happened?’

‘I’ll explain later. Just get your Jap ass over to the CCTV room and find out what thieving little bastard took my cocaine!’. Drew hung up and slammed his phone into the bed. His girlfriend wasn’t phased by his anger at all. It was nothing new, unless you were with him at a business deal.


Submitted: August 27, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Nick Banks. All rights reserved.

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