Lesson in HumilityMature

Later that evening he was grabbing his coat from the hanger beside his office door. He looked back at the room, its rich wooden furniture and its modern steel and glass furniture somehow creating an enticing symbiosis. The mess of papers on the desk couldn’t be avoided, but wasn’t an eyesore enough to break the alluring sense of class that the decor swelled with. He closed the light and made his way through the mostly empty cubicles of the fourteenth floor office building, waving to the janitor on his way to the front office. The transition from grey carpet to black marble flooring always put a smile on his face. He always loved marble, it would be laid out throughout his home if he had the money for it. The sleek shine and smooth finish of it intoxicated his senses. He often passed his hands over the walls near the elevator, for they were also covered in the black marble, up to the chest anyway. After that it was dark redwood paneling, something else that was quite romantic to him. Once inside the elevator he descended to the fourth basement level where Shawn parked his Porsche. As he exited the elevator that stench of oil and filth hit him harder than usual. The drab grey walls and smut covered ceilings surrounded him quite uncomfortably. He saw Shawn at his parking lot, crowded in by a few more co-workers that were eager to head off to their Friday night watering holes.
“Hey.” Steve said as they turned to him. “When are we going?”
Shawn looked at him somewhat angrily. “Took you a while didn’t it.”
Steve shrugged, “Well I had some things to finish.”
“I bet.”
The sound of a bike came roaring up the ramp as Mark pulled into the parking garage. He pulled up beside the small group of people and quickly hopped off the bike, removing his helmet and pulling the spare from its place on the back of the seat before throwing it to Steve.
“We’ve got to go.” Said Mark in a hurried, almost panicking voice.
Steve looked at him confusedly. “Why what do you mean?”
“It’s here.” He said, “Put it on, we’re leaving.”
Shawn turned to him. “Who the hell are you, and what’s here?”
Steve looked at Shawn, then back to Mark, “Yeah, what’s here.”
“Remember the news this morning? Well they just reported similar activity in New York.
“So, that’s New York, we’re in Toronto.” Steve replied.
“Steve..” He said, pausing obviously to fight an urge to blare out the thoughts of his mind. “While you were at work I kept an eye on the news and it spread from Zimbabwe in South Africa to France in only twelve hours. If it’s in New York now it’ll be here within the next few hours if it isn't here already.”
Shawn stood before a small group of completely confused followers as he interjected once more. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Steve and Mark ignored him, continuing the conversation as if he weren’t there.
“What are we supposed to do?” said Steve.
“First of all we have to get Ailesha, she’s at the hospital, which in this case will probably be the worst place to be. Everyone’s like this posh business man here...” he said, pointing at Shawn, “... clueless and ignorant. They’ll dismiss this as some ordinary thing until the shit hit the fan so much it isn’t even turning anymore.”
“Who’re you calling clueless here chump?” Shawn said, pushing out his chest instinctively.
Steve put his hand on Shawn’s shoulder. “Don’t even bother Shawn, you’d be on your ass before your first punch was swung. Trust me.”
“Who the hell are you to judge me?” Shawn said to Steve.
Steve looked at him seriously. “Shawn, you don’t know what you’re getting into if you pull your smart ass shit with this guy. You’re quick yeah. You can take care of yourself at the bar, yes. But don’t try to strut your stuff at this moment, because Mark here is neither drunk, nor mindless. Put your temper aside or it’ll cause you a lot of shame and a lot of pain.”
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Shawn said, his face now crumpled in anger.
Steve stepped between them. “I’m saving you trouble, I’m not trying to insult you. Don’t try to impress your little posse.”
Mark shook his head. “Steve we don’t have time for this shit, we have to get ready. It’ll be just as bad here as it is in Europe now, and we don’t have a lot of time.”
“No, you’re not going anywhere you punk. I’m not going to just sit here and take your shit.” Shawn said, walking around Steve.
Steve looked at Mark, shaking his head yet harboring a smirk.
Mark rolled his eyes. “Look pal, I’m sorry, don’t do something irrational because I’m certainly not in the mood. I’m sure you’d rather not dirty your nice suit either.”
Shawn’s eyes flared with anger. “Who do you think you are eh? Some kind of fucking joker? Some punk who thinks he can be king shit?”
The small crowd seemed amused by the confrontation, they looked on with excited gazes. They’d seen Shawn fight a few times before. He was a boxer in college, and he was better than the average at the time. His skill had dwindled since then, but not before he became famous around the office for a few memorable bar brawls.
Steve seemed eager as well. He was interested in how Mark would perform under pressure, in a true combat situation. He had trained him well, and Mark had been involved with the dojo when Steve’s father was still alive, which meant he had trained under him for a short time before the cancer took him. Roger, Steve’s father, was a believer in the spiritual aspect of their art, and so they often meditated in their youth; an aspect of Aikido which Steve no longer tought. This was a choice he sometimes still criticized because Mark excelled beyond other students in situations where Roger had been adamant about understanding and practicing meditation. This caused him to ponder if Mark’s knowledge of Ki actually improved his physical abilities. A supposition that Steve’s atheism could not accept.
Shawn was now yelling, his face red, his neck swelling with plump arteries. And finally it happened. It was in slow motion for Steve, and perhaps also for Mark because they had trained their reflexes precisely for this purpose. Shawn’s arm came out, it was a sloppy jab. One that a boxer would barely react to. But Mark was no boxer.
As Shawn’s arm came out Steve noticed Mark’s eyes quicken. As Mark dropped his helmet he snatched Shawn’s wrist and pulled it with such speed that Shawn hit the ground nearly at the same time as the helmet.
The technique was flawless, Mark had barely moved and he had managed to multiply the small amount of energy from Shawn’s jab to launch him to the ground. Steve couldn’t help but smile at the small group of people who undoubtedly missed the beauty of it in their ingorance and sloth.
“Come on we have no time to waste here.” Said Mark as he picked up his helmet and left Shawn on the ground, struggling frantically in his shame to get upright.
“I’m not done with you fucker!” Shawn screamed.
Mark put on his helmet and was tying it as he replied. “Yeah, well I’m done with you.”
Steve intercepted Shawn on his way to the bike. “Drop it.” He said. “And get out of town as fast as you can, get to your cottage. A lot of trouble is coming, you won’t want to be in the city much longer.
Shawn looked at him in disgust. “Fuck you.”
Steve simply ignored him, putting the helmet on and jumping on to the back of the bike. He tapped Mark on the back of the helmet to signal that he was ready to go. With a plume of smoke and the stench of burning rubber Mark spun the tire, spinning the bike around on the spot. Their turn made Shawn step back. Mark released the throttle to a torque that gripped the pavement and sent them into a short catwalk before they raced down the ramp and made their way out of the parking garage and into the night.

The End

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