The Llakor Project - Year Two Chapter One: His Name is Gideon
“A broken tea cup? It starts with a broken tea cup?”
“Yes. A broken tea cup - the shattered pieces scattered on the beige shag. Drops of blood mixed with tea spattered in the midst of the shards of porcelain.”
“What is shag?”
“Carpet. Tapis. Mur a mur.”
“Ah! Je comprends. Merci.”
“He is picking bits of the thin porcelain out of his hands. He has big hands - hard hands - farmer’s hands. He is worried about what his wife will say when she sees the stain on the carpet. He swears, but even though he is alone, he can’t bring himself to say ‘Fuck!’ The worst that he can do is ‘Bugger!’ “
“What is his name?”
“He has the name of an angel... or a saint. He is Roman Catholic or High Anglican. He believes in God although not necessarily in the Church, but he does not think deeply about the difference between one and the other.”
“But his religion is not important. His name is. We must have his name. Michael? David? Raphael?”
“He’s not a ninja turtle. Call him Gideon for now. He has the build of a football player. American Football. With the broad shoulders. He is not a fast man. He plods. And yet when he builds up speed he is unstoppable, he plows through obstacles.
His wife calls out from the kitchen. She has heard him swear though he kept his voice low and knowing him well, she knows that he would not have sworn without a powerful reason. He tells her he will not be taking the car that they will send a car for him.
The phone rings.
She answers. Her voice is startled. She says that he is ready to be picked up. After hanging up she walks from the kitchen asking how he knew that they would be coming for him. She sees the broken cup on the carpet and winces, then seeing his bloody hand, she returns to the kitchen and returns quickly with a towel and some peroxide and some plasters - bandages. Cleaning the wound, she scolds him for being careless. A small woman, she dominates him completely. He submits to her scolding.
While she cleans his hand, she glances briefly at the television. Why is he watching science-fiction at such an early morning?
Science-Fiction?, he asks.
It’s Doctor Who isn’t it? The Daleks are burning London, aren’t they?
I wish that it was Daleks, he says. At least then we know that they couldn’t run up the stairs to get away.
There is a knock on the door.
It’s not Doctor Who. It’s Al-Quaeda, he says as he walks out the door.
Her face is ashen as he leaves.”
“Ah... David such a picture you paint. But do you really think that such a person exists?”
“Count on it. They will trot out some flashy, good looking, aristocratic twat to hold press conferences and take credit. But the man doing all the work... organizing the troops, gathering the information and then acting on it, that’ll be your plodder.”
“And do you think that he can catch these monsters? These terrorists?”
“There is nothing quite so determined, quite so remorseless as a detective from Scotland Yard on your trail. No, the man who will run this investigation will not be speedy, but he will be methodical and he will catch these desperate men... eventually. I am quite certain.
There is a movie, maybe you have seen it... Jimmy Hollywood. Christian Slater plays the side kick to Joe Pesci in the film and he talks about the Mummy, the old horror character wrapped in the bandages. About how he always assumed that the Mummy was no big deal. He was slow. He limped. You could run away from the Mummy and it would never catch you. Only the Mummy never slept. So, eventually, it would run you down. Either while you were asleep or because you were exhausted from lack of sleep.
That’s what will happen. Scotland Yard will track down these terrorists. Slowly but surely, they will plod them down”
“Merci, Daniel.Vous m’avez reassurer.”
“Ca me fait plaisir.”
“Now, if you will excuse me, I have to make the announcement.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see, the Captain has turned on the seat belt light. Please make sure that you fasten your seat belts as we are about to begin to make our landing in Paris. If you will please return your tray to its upright and folded position. Once we have landed, we will ask you to keep your seat belts on until we have made a complete stop and have advised you that you can remove your seat belts. Thank you for flying Air France.”
Congratulations to Brian K. Vaughan, who completely deserves the recognition as one of the best and most consistently entertaining writers out there today. He also manages to always come up with the best cliffhanger endings from month to month.