Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Project Rain 6

Chapter 6

I was lead upstairs into a narrow but comfortable room housing a very nice very mahogany table which sat smugly between two leather chairs. There was also a small bar housing a collection of rare liquid treasures that almost made me squeak in excitement. Instead I just stared at them. My host noticed my discrete glances and actually asked me if I wanted a drink.
Of course I wanted a drink.
'Only if you take one too, Mr...' I raised my eyebrows and left a name shaped hole open in our conversation.
'Sun.' I hoped that that was his name and that he was not trying to tell me that he would divulge his name soon.
'A pleasure Mr. Sun.'
He turned around busying himself with glasses and bottles.
'Ice?' he asked.
'No. No ice.'
I waited for Sun to sit down and take his first sip before I allowed my self to drink. Paranoid? Maybe, but in the last few hours three different parties had tried to kill me for reasons that escaped me even more than fame and glory. I took my sip. It was heaven. Complex and peaty with a spectacular finish that went on for ever. Bliss.
'... would you not agree?'
It seemed that Mr. Sun had been speaking for a while.
'Yes...?' it was worth a try.
'But why are so many killers after you?'
'I have no idea Mr. Sun. I play the piano in a really low class brothel. One with whores. Not hostesses, not escorts and not companions. The only place that is cheaper than the one I work at is the street corner. And while I might not be the greatest of all pianists I am really not bad enough for people to want to kill me.'
'So it seems. But things are often not as they seem, are they Mr. Kane.'
I was talking to a fortune cookie.
'By which you imply...?'
'Since the word spread that you are wanted dead by someone in a position most lofty I took an interest in you. It is most peculiar. First of all no one actually knows who is paying so much money for your life. The people I got to' he paused here for a moment looking up at the ceiling 'ask about it could just tell me about middle men and tempting offers on the clandestine message boards where wet-work is distributed among the day-labourers of the underworld.'
'And it's not even my birthday.'
Sun gave me one annoyed look but decided not to have my legs broken.
'Digging deeper into your personal life I did find that you have been boosting your rather tragic wage with trading information to various low level peons.'
'See? Low level. Nothing serious.'
'And yet a very influential player wants you dead. This leaves me with only one possible conclusion. You hold in your hands information so vital that it might topple one of the greater powers of Europa. And if this is the case I want that information.'
'It's not the case. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that the person who wants to kill me is not with the Triads.'
'Why is that.'
'I'm sitting here. Drinking expensive Scotch and you haven't killed me.'
'Most astute. Yet this is hardly new to me. Look, Mr Kane, I am a reasonable man. All I want is the information that you are so zealously guarding.'
I saw where this was going and it was not a nice place. If at all possible it was a place that was even worse than the early grave that had been my destination so far.
'I am trying to give you a chance here. You can talk now. Or we will make you talk.'
I stood up walked over to the bar and poured me another drink. I fully intended to take advantage of the bar. My next drink would probably be a cocktail made from two parts blood and one part teeth. Thankfully the Übermensch was still whispering sweet nothings to my ego so that I kept my cool and my hand steady. Sun was a high level criminal wrapped in layers and layers of civilisation and style all in the hope to hide his rotten murderous core. But the monster he had turned into was looking at me from the depths of his eyes.
'You understand Mr. Sun that the information I am privy to is of a very delicate nature.' I'd play along.

I walked over to the window opposite to the table. A wonder of ceramics looking like lacquered wood and paper panes. I slid it open. No one protested. A bad sign. It meant that they did not really care if I saw were we were going.
'Every organisation needs its peons the henchmen the bouncers and leg-breakers. It is the foundation of every kind of organisation.' I turned around. Sun was looking at me the beast inside was now looking at me with deep fascination. Not quite sure if it was seeing a fellow predator or an exotic dinner.
'These people are the basis. The roots. Without them the entire structure would not hold. Do you know what I am Mr. Sun?'
Large eyes. No comprehension.
'What my job is?'
'I heard that you are a pianist.'
That one never stoped to sting. My temper flared as it always did when people called me a fucking pianist, third rate brothel pianist at that. Usually this made me bitter but thanks to my new pill shaped friends I felt indignation.
'I am a conductor.' My nose was so far up now that outside I would have drowned in the rain.
'10 years ago on Earth I went from one success to the next with the Royal Symphonic Orchestra of Addis Abeba. And one thing I understand above all other things is polyphony. When you take each instrument isolate it, listening just to its part of a symphony you hear nothing. Just some random noises. If I may give you a piece of advice later when you torture me just get one tuba player and let him play his part of a concert in isolation. I guarantee that after 15 minutes everyone in the room will admit everything.'
Dramatic pause. Sun regarded me with great interest now. Even the man in green was taking notice of me. Usually bodyguards only see empty rooms or people that need to be severely beaten.
'The magic happens when all instruments play together in perfect harmony. Harmony. A word from music theory. When you understand how all the bits and pieces fit together only then you unlock the magnificence of music! And do you know how I do that? The piecing together? Seeing if it all works?'
Sun shook his head very slightly.
'In my head!' eyes wide, index fingers pointing at my brow.
He recoiled a tiny bit. That filled me with immense pleasure somehow. It also meant that for now I had a rapt audience. Enough time to make an escape plan. I started to pace up and down the room gesticulating with my glass working on my escape without rousing suspicion.
'That. That is my secret. When I was in that shit Brothel listening to low-life lackeys talking about their work when drunk on sex, drugs and alcohol I pieced together the symphony of power in this city. True I did not had all the parts. But puting it together piece by piece I started to see a theme emerging.' The theme being that I was fucked. The green guard was blocking the stairs. The other doors just lead into dead ends and the window was suicide.
'If you listen very closely you see the underlying currents. After that you only need to fill in the gaps.' I looked out of the window again in what I hoped would look like another dramatic pause. I drained half of my glass. I felt how my ego enhancing drugs where starting to quiver. We were driving down a lone bridge one of the few parts of the city where the space between two terraformers had not yet been covered by buildings. To my left I could see Old Town vanishing into the fog while to my right the lights of the Russian sector where looming ever nearer. Funny. They really were going in my direction.
'So.' Sun started to talk again. 'You managed to piece together some vital information just by what the henchmen were saying?' his voice was laden with doubt but it was carried by hope. The hope that wants to believe in that perfect scheme, in the pheromone perfume that will make you irresistible that still believes that Santa Clause might be real.
I snorted.
'Of course it is not that easy.' I decided to pepper my story with a bit of the truth. Meanwhile a plan was born. A horrible, a stupid plan. As Sherlock Holmes once said if you eliminate all impossibilities from a situation what remains no matter how stupid, is your plan. Or something like that.
'No I alone could not piece it together. It was just to vague and there were to many variables. I needed to get rid of the chaff. So I rented a terminal with high priority access to the analytical engines of the terraformer Poseidon and let it do the heavy lifting.'
I let Sun soak in the implications. Leaning out of the window I could see that we were getting closer to the edge of the Russian sector, the first buildings standing guard at the end of the bridge casting their neon light into the water below us.  When I turned around no one was looking at me, instead all eyes where on my black carrying case.
'Inside that case is a storage cylinder which contains my information. I was still testing my predictions but it seems that what I had on my hands had enough of an impact to make someone very nervous. I had planned to analyse my data to see who it was.' Not the triads obviously. 'But then things got ugly.'
'Show it to me.' Sun was dribbling greed all over the floor.
'Of course Mr. Sun. I assume that you have access to high yield analytical engines?'
'It can be arranged' he said without his eyes still trying to stare open the case.
'Well.' I stepped forward. 'Let me show you my secret then.'
I opened the hidden compartment on the side of the case, dialed my code in and let the security system taste my blood. I stepped back from the clicking case while Sun moved closer.
I rested my hands on the window sill leaning out taking one deep breath. The clicking and clacking grew more agitated and angry behind me. That was my cue I jumped up, my feet touching the edge of the window and I leapt.

The edge of the bridge was a farther away that I had thought. The idea of crashing face first into the bridge opened the floodgates of mortal terror. My drugs stood valiantly against the tide but were washed away in a split second. Time slowed down as my brain stopped thinking about anything else concentrating instead on my brilliant plan that would either see me with a head like a post party piñata or plummeting into the depths of what was considered a favourite activity spot by the local suicides. I flailed around with my arms and legs trying to clear myself from the bridge. My life tried to pass before my eyes I tried to ignore it. I needed to see what was in front of me not my bleeding fingers when I was 4 years old. Bleeding from practising the violin all day long. And I certainly did not need to see the face of my father silently watching me, closing his eyes and shaking his head a tiny bit before turning around leaving a trail of disappointment behind him. I shook myself out of it. The edge of the bridge was now directly in front of me. I pulled my head up. Exhaled. Tucked my stomach in. Pulled my legs back. Everything to miss the bridge. I felt it scraping at my fluttering clothes.
And I was past it.
I laughed as I fell past it. I decided that if my memories would march me into the underworld I might as well remember the good times.
Haydn Symphony No. 94 in G major. The second movement. Conducting it before a full house of mostly bored politicians and dignitaries. I loved this concert. Most of these people could not tell the difference between classical music and what they had been hearing on the elevator. The opening very silent, like my fall and then a sudden fortissimo hit. The wagon above me exploded. The shock wave burst out of it like a furious bouncer. When it noticed me it garbed me and ran me with all its fury into the water below.

No more memories.

Just darkness.

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