[SG]: Paradigm Inc. #6: A Series of Seemingly Unrelated Events
brism at adelphia.net
Thu Jan 19 06:58:09 PST 2006
The first rule of concealment: Don't wear black. No matter how 'cool'
it sounds, or how 'in' it is at the moment, black is not a good colour for
concealment. It's a good colour for menacing, or scaring, or intimidating,
but not for hiding, unless you happen to be a cat in the root cellar at
midnight. Even then, it's probably not the best of ideas. The complete
absorption of colour, moving, will draw every eye to your exact location.
Even standing still, you'll be noticed, mostly because the world is almost
The second rule of concealment, if you insist on ignoring the first:
Don't wear a ski mask. Ski masks are all well and good in a lodge in
Aspen, or a chalet in the Alps, but if you wear one, say, on Fifth Avenue,
you're going to get noticed.
The third rule of concealment, assuming you're foolishness extends
far enough to ignore the first and second rules: Avoid like-minded fools.
Wearing a ski mask, and dressing in black, are bad enough when you're on
your own, but if you start hanging around with other people dressed
similarly, you won't so much red line suspicion meters, as explode them.
Everyone who spots your little group will know, instantly, that you're all
up to no good.
The fourth rule of concealment, assuming that you've gotten away with
violating the first three: Avoid alleys. Yes, there are so many of them.
Yes, they seem to provide great places to stay while watching your target,
yet... Consider, if you saw a bunch of people dressed in black, wearing
ski masks, and clustered in an alley, what would your reaction be?
#6: A Series Of Seemingly Unrelated Events
By Brism Wanor
Four people stood, just inside the mouth of an alley, watching the
entrance to a warehouse. All four were wearing black. All four wore ski
masks of a neutral grey colour. Two of the four were of an equal height,
one was slightly shorter, and the last was quite a bit taller.
"Phew," the smallest muttered, "this place stinks."
"Stay close ta'me," the largest rumbled.
The small figure moved closer, then let out a sigh of relief.
"Cinnamon?" it asked.
"Nutmeg," one of the middle-height figures suggested.
"Shut up," the other snapped.
"Coffe' cake," the big one answered, ignoring the second
Hey, excuse me.
"Huh?" asked the small one.
This is the narrator.
"You shouldn't be talking to us," the second middle-sized figure
Well, normally, I wouldn't, but there's a problem.
"Like what?" second mid-sized figure asked.
Like, I'm getting really tired of referring to you with vague
descriptions. I get paid by episode, not word, so I'd rather have names
for you lot.
"Oh," 2nd-msf said airily, "is that all?"
"Well, the big guy who smells like carrot cake--"
"Coffe' cake," the big one interrupted.
"This one," my informer went on, pointing to the first middle-sized
figure, "is 'Doink'."
"Like Hell(TM)," the first--Doink--complained.
"'Doink''s your name."
"Me. That's who."
"Don't _call_ me that. Not when we're in costume," Neil snarled.
"Don't you start, narrator."
"Not in costume," the small figure murmurred, "Always dress this
"Except for the ski mask," Doink said. "Hey! Hey narrator!"
"Stop calling me 'Doink'."
Well, that's what Neil said your name is.
"Ahem," Neil growled. "The little girl's named Tingle."
"Hi," Tingle waved a limp hand.
"And I," continued Neil, grandly, "am 'Option'."
"No, no, 'Op-ti-on', three syllables, like optic, you know?"
Sorry, but it's going to look like 'option' to anyone reading it.
"Use a 'y'" Tingle suggested.
"Optyon?" Neil asked, "yeah, I like that."
"More like 'opt-yawn'," Doink remarked.
"Oh, for god's sake," muttered Neil, er, Opt[yi]on. "Anyway, as I was
going to say," he continued, gathering steam, "we are," he waved his hand
in a grand flourish, "the Mercenaries of Distraction'."
"Yay," Tingle said, waving one finger in the air.
"Now," grumbled Opt[iy]on, "can we get on with the story?"
"No," Doink snapped. "I will not spend a story answering to 'Doink'.
It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
"You damned well will," Optyon shot back.
"No, Neil, I won't."
"Are you a fucking idiot?!" Optyon snarled, "we've got to have code
"What do you mean 'why'?"
"We're wearing concealing clothing, and these hot masks."
"Yeah, real hot," Tingle added, bored.
"So?" Optyon hissed.
"So, why not use our names?"
"Because, _Dave_, if I shout out 'Doink, look out', no one knows who
you are. If I yell out, 'Dave, catch', then they'll be looking for a guy
your height named Dave. And they'll find you."
"I could slouch a bit," Dave/Doink offered.
"Look, you're names 'Doink' for tonight, deal with it."
Doink turned to the others. "Shauna, are you going along with this?"
"Don't care," said Tingle.
"But 'Tingle'? Come on!"
"I like it. I picked it."
"Oh." Frustrated, Dave turned to the silent Waft. "What about you,
"Don' care what'e calls'm, long's s'my name on th'money."
"You're hopeless," Dave complained.
"Three to one, Doink," Optyon smirked, audibly.
"God damn it to Hell(TM)," Doink muttered. "Fine, fine. But as soon
as I can, I'm changing my name."
"Whatever," Optyon said, still sounding smug, "now, as I was going to
say, before our narrator so rudely interrupted--"
"Great. Now, does everyone know what to do?"
"Yeah," Doink sullenly muttered, "you and I take out the cameras, and
Shauna and Amos--"
"Tingle and Waft," Optyon corrected.
"--deal with the guards," finished a seemingly oblivious Doink.
"Right." Optyon counted to ten, before snapping out, "Let's go."
"What a sucky battle cry," snarked Doink.
Tim wanted a cigarette. His girlfriend had been nagging him for,
well, forever about quitting, and she had a novel incentive program. Tim
paced his route, while struggling with the decision, 'cigs or sex'. With
such weighty issues on his mind, he can, perhaps, be forgiven for his
Silently, two figures, dressed in black, and wearing ski masks, fell
into step with the oblivious Tim.
Behind him, Tim heard an odd, annoying squeaking noise.
He stopped, and turned around, but saw nothing. Turning again, he
The squeaking noise returned, but somehow more annoying.
He turned around again, and started back.
The squeaking followed him.
The squeaking stopped.
He stomped a foot.
The squeak was deafening.
"What the--?" Tim muttered.
He bent down, trying to see if he'd stepped on something, but there
wasn't anything there.
Rising again, he was surprised by the flashing lights in the corners
of his eyes.
"More tired than I thought," he decided. "God, I need a smoke."
That was the point when a large board hit him in the back of the
Optyon nodded at Doink. "Good job."
"Let's just find the cameras, OK?"
"He's on rounds."
"He left ten minutes ago."
"So, maybe he's smoking."
"He's trying to quit."
"So, you've got the radio. Beep him."
"I don't have the radio."
"Where is it?"
"Over there. By the coffee machine."
"OK. Get it and check with Tim."
"Just got a bad feeling, that's all."
"You and your bad feelings. OK, I'll... Ooooowwwwww!"
"Damned leg's gone to sleep."
"I'm not joking, man, I can't get up."
The last thing Rick saw was a fist. It was big, it was black, and it
smelled like mom's apple pie.
Mitzi's uniform was too tight. Well, not actually _her_ uniform,
since the badge on it said 'Arlan', but she was wearing it, so it was
hers, and it was too tight.
The customer, a man in his mid-thirties, shabbily dressed, and
unshaved, didn't notice the name tag, but he too noticed that the uniform
was too tight. Or rather, noticed how full of Mitzi the too tight uniform
Mitzi noticed the man, noticing her, and she simpered at him, while
ringing up his purchases.
The man leered back, and paid no attention, as she rang, and rang,
"That'll be ten cents and thirty dollars," Mitzi told him.
"Oh, sure," he said, fumbling in his pockets.
"Would you _like_ anything _else_," she asked, leaning forward, so
her, to borrow a line from the Media Child, other assets, tried to escape
the too tight uniform.
"Yes, yes I would," he leered. "When do you get off?"
"When ever I can," she smarmed.
"Um," he boggled.
After he left, clutching his purchases, and showing a damp spot on
his trousers, Mitzi put the $10.30 in the register, and pocketed the rest.
For just a moment, the vapid look on her face turned to disgust, before
vanishing, as if it had never been.
In the back of the store, an underwear-clad Arlan struggled uselessly
against the ropes which bound him.
Stanton James had gained many things since coming to America. A
beautiful wife, a spoiled daughter, a whole Hell(TM) of a lot of money,
and the respect of the wheelers and dealers that drive America's economy.
He had not lost his hair, jet black, or his accent, British public school,
or his fondness for showing off his wealth, wife, or daughter.
"William," he exclaimed, descending on the distinguished elderly
gentleman near the bar, "I missed you earlier. Glad you could come."
"It's good to see you too, Stanton." William drained his glass, and
accepted the younger man's handshake. "Quite a little gathering, you've
"Oh, well," Stanton smiled, "I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. Is
"No, not tonight." William scanned the bar, hungrily. "She's feeling
a bit--unwell, I believe the phrase is."
"So sorry to hear that. She'll miss the big unveiling."
"Well," William leaned forward, smiling craftily, "perhaps she'd
attend a more--" he gestured at the crowded room "--private showing."
"Yes, one where we'd have time," Stanton too scanned the crowd, "to
talk." He smiled. "If you will excuse me, my duties as host ... "
"Indeed," William's tone was positively paternal, "see to your
guests, I'll see to the bar."
Stanton James's laugh was completely carefree, as he headed back into
the main clump of party goers.
William shook his head. "Nice boy," he remarked, "but he tries too
Gloria was in a mood. Well, actually, she was sulking, but 'in a
mood' is more polite. She'd sulked by the bar for a while, but then that
wretched Mr. Perry had decided to hold up the bar, and dear daddy had
spotted him, and it had seemed best to just slip away, before she had to
make nice-nice with dear daddy's boring bores of friends.
There had been a time when she had been the centre of attention, when
everyone had flocked around her, before dear daddy's friends had become
old men with money, and their wives had become younger women with pearls.
God, she needed a drink, but boring Mr. Perry was still there, and
she did not want to talk to _him_.
"Hey, Gloria, there you are."
She groaned, and turned to face the speaker.
He was a middle-aged man, in an ill-fitting tuxedo, with more than a
hint of five o'clock shadow on his face. He was grinning at her, like a
cat which has just dined on fresh canary, and knows where the cream is
"Do I know you?" she asked, gritting her teeth to be polite, and
devoutly hoping the answer was no.
"Do? I? Know? You?" The man threw back his head and laughed. "That's
a fine thing to say to your fiance."
"My..." Gloria stared blankly, "My..." She shook the buzzing from her
ears, and smiled at her fiance.
"I've been looking all over for you," he said.
"I've... I've... been... here..." Her head swam, and she clutched at
something, anything, to steady herself. "Who...?"
"Gloria, it's me, Jack. Are you OK?"
"Oh, Jack," she shook her head clear, and gave her fiance Jack a
quick kiss. "I'm fine. I thought you weren't coming."
"I've had to avoid your father," he smiled, hugging her back, letting
his hands stray down to her bottom. "You know he hates me."
Gloria wriggled all over. "That's why I love you," she purred.
Arm in arm, they slipped into the hall.
"So, where is it?" he asked.
"Hmm?" she turned, her lips hungrily seeking his.
"Your father's little bauble."
"Oh, that. That's boring. Who cares about that?" She squirmed
desperately against him. "I'm much more fun."
He touched, stroked, murmured, then, reluctantly, drew away. "I'd
still like to see it."
"Why?" Her tone was petulant.
"So I can see it before all those--" he waved at the party.
"Bores!" she growled.
"Snobs," he agreed, with a charming smile.
"Oh, OK. It'll annoy dear daddy to no end."
"That's the spirit, my love," he said.
She led him down the hall, and into a small room full of sealed
cases. "Here," she said, "it's this one."
He joined her, looking into it. "Very nice," he drawled, "very nice."
In the case, she saw his reflection. Old, old and worn, not at all
the kind of person she'd date. "Um, Jack?"
"Where did we meet?"
He laughed gently. "Why? Don't you remember?"
"No. You're ... You look ... so old ... and I ..."
Dizzy, so dizzy, ears filled with a terrible ringing, can't think ...
Can't remember ...
Who ... ?
Who is he ... ?
Who ... am ... I?
Under his breath, Jack murmured, "Two jewel thieves, one the teacher,
the other, young, female. Female says: 'This looks--'"
"This looks easy," Gloria said, glancing at the lock.
"Yes, you're young fingers will make quick work of that lock," Jack
agreed, "so get to it, before we're caught."
Gloria nodded sharply. "Stay by the door," she hissed. "I don't want
anyone in here."
"Right," Jack moved quickly to block the door.
"Damn," Gloria spat. "Forgot my tools."
"I didn't." A grinning Jack extended a flat, black, case, which
Gloria snatched from him angrily.
"Easy, easy," he chided.
"Shut up, and let me work. Shit. God damned ... Ahhhhh-haaaa!"
Grinning, she lifted the lid of the case, and handed him the diamond.
"Perfect." Jack pocketed the gem. "Now, let's see, I've got that
replica here...somewhere." He rummaged in his pockets. "Yes, here it is."
She took the paste jewel, and placed it lovingly in the case, before
closing and relocking it.
"My tools," he reminded her.
"Here," she thrust the case at him. "Now let's ... let's ... "
"Gloria James, fiance Jack," he muttered, "begin from Gloria's line
'It's this one.'"
Gloria shook her head, confused. Dear daddy's trophy room, her fiance
Jack, the diamond. "It's this one."
Jack slipped the case out of sight, then said, "So, this is the talk
of the town."
"Huh," Gloria blinked, "oh, yeah. Some silly rock."
"Some silly rock worth more than your schooling, my love."
"Or my car," she kicked moodily at the base of the case.
Jack's eyes lit up, and an evil smile tugged at his lips. "Yes, let's
go for a drive."
"Dear daddy will miss me."
"Not if we're quick," he grinned. "And if he does, so what?"
She laughed, and the two headed for the garage.
"Let me drive, OK?" Jack pleaded.
Jack took the keys from her, and slid into the driver's seat.
Gloria tugged on the handle of the passenger side door. "Jack?"
"The door's locked."
"What... What... Do... You..."
"Tell your father, The Scriptmaster was here."
Gloria stared blankly as the car, her car, roared down the driveway,
a laughing stranger at the wheel.
"And now, the moment you've all been waiting for! The... My God!"
Stanton James stared in horror as the diamond he'd spent half a fortune on
dissolved into slime. "What is the meaning of this," he roared.
"The Scriptmaster was here," Gloria answered, in a monotone, then
Hold on tight, true believers
Superguy , The Hero For a New Generation
Brism Wanor, Lord Dougl, Keeper of the Eighth Echo
brism at adelphia.net
END OF LINE
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