Tweet of the Day: Illustrated Your Character Through His Surroundings
Slick’s Easy Auto Repair, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 18 9:54 a.m.
“Is Mr. Macciano in today?” someone said over my shoulder. I looked and saw a knot of men, all in suits. James, the boss’s cousin pointed in my direction. A tall black man with a crew cut approached me.
“Just a moment,” I secured the chain which held up my side of the Toyota’s transmission. Marcus eyed the new comers with every ounce of suspicion his small black eyes could muster. “Yeah, what do you want?”
“Mr. Macciano?” he flashed a ID.
Canadian Security Intelligence Services.
Robert A. Shaw.
Marcus shifted his weight. Shaw’s fellow agents did the same. I wished Sam was here to back me up, but she was too busy selling video games to the local nerd population to come to our rescue.
“I’m kinda busy right now. Come back in fifteen and we can talk,” I said.
“Mr. Macciano, it would be better if we talked, now. Won’t take long,” said Shaw.
I nodded in an exaggerated manner, hoping that would stop Marcus from doing something stupid.
“Sure, there is a break room in the back,” I motioned to a dented metal door on the back wall, “After you.”
Shaw took the lead, his backup stayed rooted to the shop floor.
Once inside the break room I offered him coffee. He took it.
“I’ll make this as brief as possible Mr. Macciano. For starters, I’ll keep using that name, as a trust building exercise. I wouldn’t want your brother to start frying my agents,” said Shaw.
A cloud of anger boiled in my chest. By the tone of his voice, I knew this asshole was toying with me. “So what? If you know who I am and are not here to arrest me, what do you want?”
“You heard about Nanticoke?”
“The accident at the refinery? Yeah, what’s that got to do with me?”
“That’s the official story. The same with the tanker truck that rammed the pumping station here in down town and the pipeline ruptures in the past week. But I believe some of your people are involved.”
My left eyebrow channeled one Mr. Spock, “My people?”
“Yes, a wizard or wizards, mages, magi-user or whatever you call yourselves. The curious thing is that does not fit the current pattern of terrorist activities south of the border,” he drained the Styrofoam cup, “in fact quite the opposite. With hundreds of your people here, any attack on Canadian soil would push the public and the politicians to side with your government against you.”
“Maybe you have some crazy environmentalist group flinging firebombs, or some Quebecois separatist gone wild, maybe.”
“No. Terrorism is not a way life or a military doctrine, but a tactic or series of tactics. Your compatriots have shown a great deal of callousness in their attacks, but not an ounce of stupidity. Attacking a government that sheltering hundreds of your non-combatants is just plain stupid.”
“But you just said….”
“Our investigations point to several inconsistencies which can only mean that magic was used in these attacks.”
“Hence that b.s. about my people,” I said finishing off my cup of coffee.
“Exactly Mr. Macciano,” he straightened his jacket, “from where I am standing, it is anything but bullshit.”
“Fine. But this has been neither brief nor does it tell me why you are here.”
“Fair enough. Several western governments have suspected of the existence of paranormal forces since at least the turn of the last century. And they have tried, without much success to exploit said forces. Your community has avoided governmental interference, until now.”
“Poland,” I said. He nodded.
“Based on the patter of the attacks, I believe the U.S. government has successfully tapped into said forces.”
Around and around we went and I still had no clue what Shaw wanted. My trigger finger itched like crazy. “Again, what does that have to do with–”
He cut me off with a raised hand, “If these attacks continue, Mr. Macciano, Ottawa will no longer be able resists pressure from Washington to deal with your community.”
“Oh fuck,” I buried my lips into another cup of coffee.
“Yes. And we can’t afford such ridiculous notions like fighting a war with the U.S. We are too co-dependent on each other for that.” Another raised hand, “Therefore I need your help to stop these people before it is too late.”
“I don’t work for you, I don’t want to work for you,” I said.
“Consider this a partnership. Our brain and your brawn. My government doesn’t have any ill will toward the magical world, such as it is, and I want to keep it that way. We provide you with the intel, you take care of the problem. Besides, I’m sure you want to know how many wizards the U.S. government controls, before they start fighting fire with fire.”
“And what do you get out this, besides plausible deniability?”
“I get to prevent this war from spreading into my country. I put a stop to this madness at my side of the border and hopefully I can help you do the same at the other side. You seen the news. Britain on fire, witch hunts in Africa, new unrest in South America. The world was already a mess before your people,” he spat the words, “appeared on the scene. Everywhere you show up, it’s like dumping kerosene on a forest fire. My job is to make sure it doesn’t spread to my neck of the woods.”
“And I thought I was out of the game,” I said.
He opened the door, “I’m afraid not, Mr. Macciano. It never ends because war, war never changes.”
He left me with far too many questions that rang like the metal of the door as it close shut behind him.