Monday January 9th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the selection process.

Feeling inspired to return to The Gang today.

Trip to Penticton happened this morning, just not as planned. Mostly because Miles threw up overnight, then threw up again while I was brushing snow off the car this morning to get ready to go.

So Kat stayed home with Miles, Max spent the day with Kat's parents, and I did the trip on my own. Got most of the stuff done that we wanted, and Kat ended up taking Miles to the doctor to have him checked out (no concerns, thankfully - probably just a flu bug).

He's feeling better now, so hopefully we're in the clear on that one.


Have you ever walked the streets knowing that the police were searching for you? It's okay if you have, I'm not here to judge. I mean, come on - you've read what I've done (up to this point in my story). You're among friends here.

But if you haven't... I wouldn't recommend it. The level of paranoia you experience (Does she recognize me? Is he calling a friend or the cops?) is ulcer-inducing. You're trying to look everywhere at once while at the very same time trying to act normal. And you do a fine job of acting normal.

Assuming you're aiming for high hobo normal.

Now, add on top of all that the fact that you are searching for someone to carjack and you've pretty much got a recipe for disaster, if this world had any fairness in it at all. I knew I didn't deserve to get away with what I was about to do, just as I knew whoever I robbed wouldn't deserve to have their vehicle taken by criminals on the lam.

As I studied every opportunity - no way I'm stealing that mini-van from that mother of four; that dude looks like he's got a shotgun in his truck and knows how to use it; that stupid little thing wouldn't even fit the three of us, much less the money - my thoughts kept returning to what Tammy had told me at the clinic I'd left the girls at.

"You're worrying too much. People will do whatever you tell them to do if you're pointing a gun at their head." Tammy turned to smile at the doctor working on Crystal's shoulder, then tapped him on the back of his head with her gun. "Ain't that right doc?"

I had my weapon in my jacket pocket, holding it with a hand that was growing increasingly sweaty. I had begun to worry that at the moment of truth I would try to pull it out and it would slip from my grip, skittering across the pavement to the man or woman I was trying to rob. Wouldn't that be just perfect?

There were too many people (aka witnesses) on the sidewalk, so I took a side street and kept going until I couldn't hear the traffic on the street I'd just left. It was much quieter there, with houses lining one side of the street and a forested park on the other. I could feel the clock ticking in my head - surely the doctor would be finished his work soon - and didn't want to keep the girls waiting any longer than absolutely necessary.

That's when a man exited the house three doors down. He was young - I pegged him for mid-thirties - with short curly red hair and a neatly trimmed beard. I thought he looked like a college professor. He had a leather satchel in one hand and keys in the other, and he pressed a button on the fob as he descended his front steps.

The black SUV parked at the curb in front of him beeped and the doors unlocked.

And I thought to myself, This is it. Holy hell, this is it.

"Excuse me, sir?" I called out as I drew near, giving him my best Crystal smile. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Yeah, of course," he said with a friendly grin that made my heart ache just a little for what I was about to do to him.

"Would you mind terribly," I said as I pulled out my gun (without dropping it, thank God), "taking me for a ride to my doctor's office?"

Without planning on it, I guess I was going to add kidnapping to my criminal resume.


Greg said...

I hope Miles is feeling better, and I guess flu bugs are to be expected at this time of year! Though if it's as cold as you claim, you'd think the cold would have killed all the germs off... :-P
It's nice to get a return visit to the Gang! I'm also quite pleased that I can remember what they're up to without needing to go back and re-read (of course I went back and re-read), so they're sticking in my mind. I like how the pressure seems to have lessened slightly here but as the tale progresses it's obvious that this is just the eye of the storm -- everything's about to get even more chaotic and worse! The descriptions are great, especially the maybe-a-college-professor who's about to get some excitement in his life. Crystal's attitude to things continues to impress me too -- she's very goal-oriented to use a word that came up a lot at work recently :)

The gang
There was a long pause. Ernest took the time to look around the circle of faces again, a cold suspicion forming in the back of his head. He'd have to talk to David about it when this... interview, he supposed, was over. As the pause dragged on, becoming embarrassing he turned back to Lord Campion, noting casually as he did so that Samual was deathly pale and had wrapped his arms about his body. His fingers were white with the pressure with which he was hugging himself, and he seemed to breathing quite shallowly. Ernest opened his mouth to break the silence and hurry the vampire clan along, but then a third man, two seats away from Lord Campion, spoke.
"Just tell him, grandchild. He's no idiot."
"Every man is his own idiot," said Lord Campion so quickly that it had to be a reflexive answer. "Fine. Fine! It doesn't matter what I tell you, Derby. You can ask everyone here and I'll make them answer honestly for you, and it won't help."
"That answer definitely doesn't sound helpful," said Ernest. He tapped a forefinger against his chin. "But I think I understand. The relic looks different to everyone who sees it, I think. And... it looks... cheap, tawdry? Irrelevant? Until you pick it up and then you have a revelation and realise that this is valuable after all, perhaps has sentimental weight and desirability? So you can only tell me that I'll overlook it until I hold it, and then I'll be so overcome with desire for it that I might even forget why I'm looking for it?"
There was a soft chuckle from the other side of the circle. Lord Campion's glare could have set fire to soft furnishings, and Ernest was slightly grateful it wasn't directed at him
"The King may have had a point, it seems," said Lord Campion. "So I suppose I'm only to left to ask you what's taking you so bloody long to find my murderer and this wretched mage?"

Greg said...

"It's only the impossible that I can do at once," said Ernest. "Miracles do take a little bit longer, but rest assured that I have a better idea of what I'm looking for now. How old are you, milord?"
"What kind of question is that?!" Even Samual looked slightly shocked, shifting for the first time since he'd entered the chamber.
"One that I wouldn't ask a lady, but... we're all gentlemen here, right?"
"He's not!" The reedy voice was accompanied by a finger pointing at Kevin.
"Men then."
"I don't see what that's got to do with anything. You're being impertinent, Derby."
"Contrarily I think this is very pertinent indeed, milord. Your age, please?"
"One hundred and seventeen."
"And how long were you Lord Campion for?"
"Really, Derby? Are you going to ask my widow how well I performed my marital duties after this? Ask the gardener if I beat him often enough?"
"I think the answer is seventy years, Lord Campion, but I would appreciate an exact figure."
"Hah! It was seventy. Four months away from being 71."
"So," Ernest turned to the next man in the circle, or gang as he was thinking of the vampires. "That would mean that you are... 182?"
"How the blazes do you know that?" Lord Campion erupted again before anyone else could speak.
"I didn't, but I am probing to confirm suspicions and ideas. I think I should go and hunt for your mage now, milord."
"Well it's about time too. I don't know what's taking you so long. Hurry up about it too, spending the rest of eternity with this bunch is not my idea of a successful afterlife!"
"Some people would enjoy it," said Ernest, a wry smile twisting across his lips.

morganna said...

So many choices
Every one seems delightful
Luscious and chewy
Each one an excellent
Choice, carefully selected to
Titillate my palate
I simply cannot pick
One over another
No, the candy store is simply too much!

Marc said...

Greg - yes, well, it would appear that this cold weather is good for nothing.

Heh, I am sad to see the end of these vampires (for a while at least, I expect). Highly enjoyable to read - and write too, I bet!

Morganna - hah, very nicely conveyed. And... now I want candy.