It's amazing what you can learn about someone by opening his or her wallet, thought Cardi, examining it on the run.
Behind him, the boy with the dyed blue hair was in quick pursuit. His admirably long legs sauntered gracefully.
He seems to care a lot about this wallet. Darn, there’s no ID whatsoever. Hmm…he’s got two bus tickets, a five, less than two dollars in change and three subway tokens in here. So why is he still running? For a moment, Cardi’s heart seems to beat lower, as sweat glistens from his spiked black hair. Was it mutual? We shall see… and see carefully. Heartbreak is something I can no longer afford.
But what is this? Damn it! A picture of a young lady, with a heart around her face in red pencil crayon. Surely, he did not feel even an inkling of what I did back there. The look on this woman’s face says it all: her life is perfect, and mine isn’t, won’t be.
“Stop, please!” he pleaded breathlessly. “I want a moment of your time… at least…”
There! thought Cardi. A picture of him with his address on the back. I shall pay him a proper visit, and determine whether or not I need to avoid his part of town from now on. The pangs of what never was may haunt me should I but see his face in public.
“Stop! I want to talk to you!”
Temptation toyed with him, but Cardi stuck to his plan. He delicately discarded the wallet and into the cold and powerful breeze as he ran up the stairs, against the wind, to the one way exit with its open doors.
Half way through the baffle gate, J thrust a hand between the metal bars and reached through them to grasp the other man’s collar. This pulled Cardi's collar such that it choked him for a moment, and then Cardi spoke, unable to turn around, “You have your moment, Jason. Three questions, then let me go.”
“Very well. And, J will suffice,” he told the man as he pulled him closer, back right up against the horizontal prongs between them. Luckily, there was another turnstyle for the old lady who walked through with a frown.
“Ask,” Cardi sneered.
“What – is … your name?” he whispered toward Cardi’s right ear, blood thumping in his own.
“A bird’s name, a clergyman’s rank,” Cardi answered J, taking his time to slyly pronounce every ambiguous detail.
“Answer,” he commanded in a stern whisper, not deducing the answer as he assumed ‘bird’ to be slang for a young woman. “Please.”
“Cardinal, but everyone calls me Cardi.”
“Prove it,” J said simply, and tightened his pull on Cardi’s collar.
Cardi dug a hand into a pocket, and felt J’s hand tremble at the nape of his neck. He pulled out a piece of ID from an institute of technology, and held it above shoulder height so that his captor could read it. All this disclosed further was his surname, as he kept a finger across the name of the institute and his date of birth. “What’s your second question?”
“Why did you steal my wallet?”
“To obtain information.”
J pulled at the collar once more, causing Cardi to make a sound he’d only ever made when choking in an entirely different way.
“Your name and address, to avoid you. Happy?” And your photo to remember your face… if it comes to that.
“No. You should tell me why that information was important to you. I’m certainly not a valuable identity to steal.”
Cardi snickered. “You sure you want to make that your last question?”
Again, J choked him momentarily. “No. I want to make it a clarification of the second.” His voice was remarkably calm, and seemed to Cardi almost appreciative.
“No dice,” Cardi wheezed. He wasn’t afraid of being choked by J. It excited Cardi; it had become something akin to erotic asphyxiation. “Is it or isn’t it your third?”
“Not my third,” said J, sounding relieved. “That girl, my love for her love is lost now.”
“Ask.” And then make me prove it. Right here, right now.