Parallel Man 5
By. Richard Rester
Copyright March 20, 2015
The Slippery Slope
On Andy’s world, Fiasco’s was a nice little pub where couples could go for a bite to eat and a pint. On this world the place lived up to its name. It was seedy, smelly, and filled with the type of clientele you would sooner steer away from then cross their path. It was a place that was home to alcoholics, drug dealers, prostitutes and all manner of people who had chosen a darker path. In fact, on their way through downtown they got the distinct impression that this Feesberg was not the progressive, family oriented, well adjusted city of the twenty-first century. The bars were rundown wannabes of yester century, the hotels were mostly places with guests listed in hours, and being on the street at night was nigh to insane.
The city’s underbelly remained exposed to the world, always ready to be ripped open by anyone with plans of making big money. The police were understaffed, underpaid, ghostly specters of long dead purpose. The few visible officers were often seen rubbing shoulders with the very element their job it was to bring to justice. Crime and corruption wasn’t hiding behind a law abiding facade on this world, which often seemed to proudly display its dark nature for all to see and fear.
Andy entered Fiasco’s first and made his way to a seat at a booth with a clear view of rest of the pub. The light level was dimly set. With a thick layer of second hand smoke hanging at head level, few could tell who he was, but for a young couple at the far end of the bar. Everyone else was either involved in their own business or their own drink to give a rat’s ass that he was there. The house system played a random mix of nearly every genre very loudly. It meant that no one there could hear what was going on at the table next to them. It also meant that Andy wouldn’t be able to hear Kaylyn’s engagement with the guy. It bothered him, but he expected it, and thus formed a crude set of hand signals for the both of them.
Kaylyn thought he was nuts, yet learned his gestures and signals because, no matter how crazy he sounded the situation was also crazy, making the original crazy normal. When she walked in she swiftly navigated herself to an unoccupied table near the center and sat in one of two captains chairs. The young couple at the end of the bar also took casual notice of Kaylyn, who did likewise of the young couple. According to plan she made eye contact with Andy, then took a good look around her herself, logging as many details as she could. She admitted it to herself, she was scared to death. There was no way to know just what she was getting in the middle of.
Just as the girl was thinking the last thought Dagle dropped his ass in the seat across from her in a manner that had shown his impatience. He had to yell for her to hear. “Kay, what the fuck? Did you walk all the way here?”
Pausing a moment to collect herself from the start she got at Dagle’s sudden appearance, she formed her reply carefully, also yelling to be heard. “Earnie, what the fuck? Don’t have anything better to do than wait for little ol’ me?” In her world Dagle and Kaylyn were close. What exactly all the cloak and dagger crap was all about she didn’t yet know.
The mixed look he gave her had shown her that he was more than a little displeased, and a measure of fear could also be clearly seen. “Truman is dead?”
The question shocked her. Kaylyn now realized why Andy arrived lying down. He was killed by… her alternate self? It had to be. “Deader than disco.”
The look of relief flashed across Dagle’s face and he almost smiled. “The flash drive?”
Shit! Not good… not good at all. Keeping her cool she replied hesitantly. “He didn’t have it.”
“What do you mean he didn’t have it?!” Now the man was pissed again. “That’s why you were supposed to meet him!” He forced himself to calm down a little so as not to advertise to the whole pub. “You were supposed to secure the drive and then kill him!”
The situation was now officially the worst case scenario. She was supposed to be a killer in this world. “Well, it didn’t exactly do down like…”
“What the fuck hap…?” Dagle interrupted.
Kaylyn interrupted back. “A mess. I pulled my gun to convince him to cooperate, there was a struggle and the gun went off.”
“There was… ” He started the took a second to calm down again. “… a struggle? Really? I thought you were a professional. How could Truman, a geek, get the better of you?”
“He didn’t! He’s dead and I’m still here!”
“But without my fucking drive!” He pointed his finger at her face. “I’m up for re-election, and the data on that drive won’t only screw that up for me but would get me imprisoned if it ever gets exposed. And I’m not going to let it happen. You find that drive.”
“How the hell am I going to do that? Anders is dead and he’s probably the only one who knows where it is.”
“Then, I guess you’d better find some other way. Because if I don’t have that drive by the end of the day tomorrow, you will be dead.” He got up and left the pub.
Andy waited a few moments and looked around to be sure no one was paying too close attention to him or Kaylyn. When it appeared clear he slid off his chair and casually walked over and sat where Dagle was a few moments before. The seat was still warm. Kaylyn appeared dazed. “He looked choked…” His friend’s eyes began to tear up. Okay, this is worse. He gently placed a hand on Kaylyn’s forearm, and after a few seconds her watery eyes met his. They were pleading, afraid, desperate eyes. It was too loud to discuss the situation there, so Andy pointed his chin toward the rear exit, signalling that it was time to leave.
Once they were outside in the alley Kaylyn explained the new developments, stammering over a number of words. “I’m dead if we don’t get out of this world by this time tomorrow! And you’re dead if Dagle ever finds out you’re alive! Oh, god, I don’t know what to do.”
When Andy drew an arm around her she surprisingly did not push him away, but pressed closer. He spoke softly. “Lyn… we’ll figure something out. I promise.” He had hoped that this Kaylyn knew that he would never make a promise he knew he couldn’t fulfill. At least, at that moment he felt he could.