Of Mice and Men

The weather over Roger’s pass was horrible. You could barely see the road, and he wasn’t very comfortable driving at the best of times. He’d had an argument with his father at 16, and had thus essentially foregone the usual rites of passage that came with getting a vehicle, such as picking up a prom date, getting laid in a back seat, or just parking at the local lover’s lane and groping till three in the morning. He hadn’t really missed it, probably because he told himself that all that could wait till college. Then he started getting laid at least occasionally without the vehicle, and the vehicle seemed even more extraneous. Too much money. In a small town like Merritt where he’d grown up, you could walk anywhere you chose, and then in Kamloops, there was always the bus. In Calgary, this was still the case, but the commute was a bit more of a hassle, and he’d finally to his chagrin joined the ranks of the polluters.

Yet another example of how the best laid plans of mice and men inevitably came asunder. This trip was another.

So here he was, in a situation completely foreign to him, foregoing his carefully laid out plan because of a set of GPS coordinates, and a faint hope of actually meeting a kindred spirit. This was so bloody stupid of him. The only thing that would save him was that it was a Friday, and he had two days before anyone really noticed he was gone. That and that the work had already been largely done, it just needed testing. He took a deep breath and threw out the corporate credit card he had used thus far. That he had rented a car would be no secret, nor that he had bought a significant portion of groceries on the same card, as well as fuel. If they checked his bank accounts, they’d note that he’d cashed out everything, and had foregone rent. But that was all two days away at the least.

Of course that meant it would be two days at least before they found his frozen body in the wreck of this vehicle too.

Sometimes Kaiser123 was a demanding SOB. No respect for ordinary things like being scared out of your wits. But at the same time, this new awareness, this sense of duality, was exhilarating. Kaiser123 could lie bald-faced to his co-workers, and could create non-existent clients from thin air.  Kaiser123 had the guts to stick his middle finger up to Litpol and tell them to go screw themselves (and if they were unable to figure out how, the soulless b*stards, he could draw them a map.) Kaiser123 was far from cool. But he brought geekdom into it’s own right. He was dangerous, a geek unafraid of his own geekdom. But still, plans and fear had their place, and though he was sure his family was safe, he knew that losing him so soon after finding him again would be very painful to them all.  If he was going to go down in flames, he had to make sure they were bright and shiny flames,  preferably in a fireworks factory. Not on a snowy road in the middle of nowhere, to be mourned by mountain goats and big horn sheep.

Thankfully, he saw lights up ahead. Golden. Food and a brief rest.  A few more hours, and he’d be in Kamloops, where hopefully he’d find...well...someone. A Protagonist in trouble. The funny thing was, he knew the place perfectly well. He’d sold them their hardware, and helped set it up to boot. Kamloops had become an inland port, and had trucks from all over coming in, unloading, then reloading for different spots. Some said it was almost as criminally rife  a spot as many docks could be, with drug trafficking and other criminal activities. Since Litpol had cracked down, there was a flourishing black market for books, apparently.  He could attest to that, as he’d managed to nab the last (published) Scott Lynch book in one of his sales trips here. As for the other rumour, that trucking was the last refuge of poetry, with verses spouted over CB radio to pass the time, well...that was likely fiction, unless dirty limericks counted. But it was creative fiction at least, and the person who thought up the rumour would have made a good protagonist. At any rate, Kamloops was a good place for a fugitive to hide out. For all Kai/Kaiser123 knew, the “Safe” could be located in the city somewhere too. He just didn’t know where.

He pulled over, and refuelled, both food and gas, and curled up in the backseat of the truck, setting his watch to wake him in two hours.

 

Kaiser123 pulled over. The weather this side of the mountains was thankfully better, and he could see farther than a few metres in front of him. Kamloops was barely 45 minutes away, he could just barely see the lights. But the coordinates he’d been given weren’t quite in Kamloops after all.  Osoyoos. Was there a train station in Osoyoos? He couldn’t recall.  He drove around, finally reaching the coordinates. What the hell...there was nothing here except a weather station,  and a Laundromat a block or two back.  There were train tracks off to the right, but no station he could see. Who the hell would meet around here? He turned off his engine, opened his doors, and did the only thing he could think of to draw out a Protagonist. He turned up his stereo...

You burden me with your questions
You'd have me tell no lies
You're always asking what it's all about
But don't listen to my replies

You say to me I don't talk enough
But when I do I'm a fool
These times I've spent, I've realized
I'm going to shoot through
And leave you

The things, you say
Your purple prose just gives you away
The things... you say


You're unbelievable!

It wasn’t exactly a brilliant piece of music, but hell...Litpol wouldn’t listen to crap any more than they would the good stuff. And dang it, he liked the song. What the hell were they fighting for if not the right to listen to one hit wonders?

The End

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