16Sunsets – Nervous System


“You can take Alexander’s body, but leave Kristof.”

“You think you can order me around? You’re not my boss any more. You’re not even part of our organization now.”

“Then you know what’ll happen if I take these gloves off, Dick”

“It’s Riccard.”

“I wasn’t calling you by name,” sassed Justin.

Riccard stepped forward. “How’s this gonna go down?”

“What’re your orders?”

“Retrieve the subject if he shows powers.”

“He can’t very well show powers since he’s dead.”

Riccard smiled. “I guess you’re right.” He turned his back to Justin. “I suppose you can clean up the mess,” he called over his shoulder.

“Damn it!” hissed Justin. He grabbed Alexander by his filthy jacket and slung him over his shoulder. He walked him over to another bench and sat him down. Justin stood watch over Kristof until the sun came up.

* * *

“Move along now.”

Kristof was aware of something jabbing him in the ribs. A cop’s nightstick, he thought. Without opening his eyes, Kristof replied. “I’m free to use this public park I pay taxes on.”

“I doubt you pay taxes.”

Kristof opened his eyes. “Let me guess, you see a man in a two thousand dollar suit who happened to fall asleep on a park bench and your first assumption is, what?”

“I see a man on a bench in a suit with no shoes on and my assumption is that he should move along.”

“Well, officer…” Kristof looked at the officer’s nameplate. “Vasquez.” He looked to Vasquez’s partner about forty feet away and tried reading his nameplate but couldn’t. “You and your partner have done your duty to protect this bench from use.” Kristof looked around for his shoes. “If you help me locate my shoes, I’ll be on my way.”

Vasquez looked around briefly. “I don’t see them, how about you move along now.”

Kristof did a quick calculation in his head and decided he had likely pushed his luck as far as he could.

He made his way out of the park and looked over his shoulder at the officers watching his egress. He stopped at the green arch and ran his fingers along the painted railing. Yesterday he saw imperfections in the paint, but now… now it looked drab and uninteresting. He closed his eyes and imagined an aerial map of the city he saw once. He mentally followed the proper route to the closest shoe store.

After he followed his mental route to the shoe store, Kristof stepped out in an inexpensive pair of dress shoes. The sales person had initially attempted to deny him access, but Kristof argued a minor point of logic and the sales person granted him access. Kristof looked across the street to an electronics store. The storefront had several televisions displaying something, but he couldn’t make out what was showing. He crossed the street and as he got closer, he calculated the surface area of all the displayed televisions. Why the hell do I care about the surface area of the screens? He thought to himself as he got closer. “Seven thousand four hundred and six square inches,” he said aloud.

The news story displayed on the televisions was of an unsolved murder of a debutant that rocked the city a few months back. Like many of the denizens that resided in the city, he followed the story with great interest. Each breaking news story captivated him.

He turned from the electronics store and made his way towards a newspaper stand. As he walked by, he saw an article from the corner of his eye. He brought his full attention on the article and a single phrase formed in his mind: “White Explorer.”

He hurried past the newsstand and found a payphone. He closed his eyes and pictured the business card Detective Massey dropped on the table two days prior. He could clearly see the desk number in the lower right corner. He fed a buck twenty-five in quarters into the machine and dialed the number.

“Metro P-D, can I help you?”

“Listen carefully, the murder you’ve been investigating for the last few months, I have information about it.”

“Go on.”

“You need to search public records of her assistant for the purchase of a white Ford Explorer.”

“And you know this because?”

“I just figured it out, now do something about it.”

“What’s your name?”

Kristof hung up the phone. He stared at the keys and punched in a sequence of thirty-two numbers followed by the pound key. He pressed down on the coin return lever and smiled as he heard quarters falling into the coin return slot. He started to put the coins in his pocket, but instead stacked all five coins on top of the payphone.

History’s important, he recalled what the man in the restaurant said. You never know what you’ll discover when you look up your own history. Kristof remembered something the Detective had said: Something about you reminds me of an old murder case I once worked. Another memory rose to the surface. He remembered the details of the dream he had while waiting for Krystal at the hospital. They were of the night his mother died.

“Holy shit,” he hissed. “I absorb super powers when I die.”

Kristof closed his eyes again and returned to the aerial map of the city. The library’s three blocks down and one over, he thought. One mile is equivalent to twenty city blocks, so four is one-fifth of a mile. The average person walks three miles an hour, so I should be there in four minutes, plus one more to cross the street. He looked at a clock on the corner. Seven thirty-six. I have eighty-four minutes to waste until they open.

Kristof remembered a café across the street from the library. Breakfast was only four minutes away. Well, seven minutes if I factor in preparation and average wait time during the coffee rush.

Kristoff started walking and his stomach concurred with his plan.

16Sunsets – Centre of Attention

I sorta ran out of steam and struggled to hit 1000 words. It’s not the best that I’ve done, but it’s still better than the first two drafts of Rubicon. Stephanie’s prompt for Inspiration Monday is ‘nervous system.’ I think the prompt is apropos. The running total is now 28,504.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

2 responses to “16Sunsets – Nervous System

  • Stephanie Orges

    Love the peek into his head, and all the calculations he makes. And just the “I absorb super powers when I die” line is so much fascinating fun. First, because the idea of it is fascinating, second because it’s delivered with humor, like it’s perfectly normal to die several times and oh, look at this funny side effect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: