FICTION NOON DAY SUN A RYAN HOLDEN STORY (ALTERNATE UNIVERSE)
Robert glanced at his watch and shook his head in irritation. He seemed to be waiting for something, although he did not know what, for indeed he thought to himself, ‘What?’ His lunch remained untouched as he looked over the balcony, located on floor two of the arcade, which gave out onto Westminster Street, affording him a view of Fleet bank. He focused his eyes and his attention on the bank. He watched two businessmen, wearing fit suits of blue and white pin stripe exit the bank chatting and putting receipts, slips and cash into pockets.
‘Them,’ he thought to himself, a grin played on his face, stretching wide upon his features, which lent him a temporary look of malice. Indeed, he possessed features which of ease lent themselves to such an impression, with deep set brown eyes, a thick broken nose that leaned slight to a side, and ugly pig shaped thick lips.
‘But not them. Not exactly, but the type, the type is right.’ He said this aloud to himself, knowing he was alone on the balcony. He observed men in suits and women in fine cut dresses of red and black enter and exit, a constant stream of commerce, veritable visible success. He eyed a blonde woman, tall and wearing a green skirt with a white blouse, her beauty smiling up at him from the street. His eyes traced over her long legs, moving with grace and surety.
‘No, she is not right at all.’ He said to himself, all the while fingering gentle short stokes upon the metal inside his waistband. He leaned over the balcony to look down upon the street, for a moment diverting his attention from the bank’s rear entrance, to watch the pedestrians and cars make mad day noise. A bright red sedan held up traffic as it waited for an elderly lady, white hair moving in the breeze, to cross the street.
Put a move on it
He hated old, couldn’t stand anything old and when three days previous he acquired the piece of metal now safe and secure lodged in his waistband, he said in an emphatic tone to a stunned clerk, “Be sure it is new.”
The clerk, a youngish man with dull features, in utter shock said, “Sir, I can assure you all of our merchandise is new and backed by a full guarantee.”
“I do not want a guarantee.” Robert said, putting an end to further conversation. “Just be sure it is new.”
“Yes…yes, sir.” The clerk stuttered. He did not like the look of this man and hesitated, but not wanting to disturb his manager, whom he feared more than this harsh featured man, he simply placed the package in a brown bag and pushed it across the counter. He felt a wave of relief when the man took the package away and without further words left the store.
During the space of those three days, between that and this, Robert wandered lost about the city, looking, searching, searching, looking for time or a place to assert itself, not knowing the first thing himself. He spent a day on the east side strolling without destination past cafes with their blinking neon lights proclaiming for all to see and read The best cup of java in town. He walked past or rather around college students dressed in summer clothes, shorts and tee shirts baring youthful flesh.
He eyed a young coed; a handsome young man no doubt completing his freshman year of math, English lessons and time spent chasing ladies on campus, wearing gray shorts, a white tank top and the seeming requisite sandals so in vogue, as the student sat drinking coffee and chatting friendly with a red head, rather cute herself with blue eyes to match rosy healthy cheeks. The woman seemed not to follow his conversation and wished to leave, her feet shifting, one to the other, her eyes roaming the street. Robert smiled and thought to himself,
‘You should have taken her down the street, young sir. They have the best java in town.’
He walked on without further comment and decided the east side, with its cafes, used cd stores, college students struggling to afford the best java in town not to be the place, not right at all. He boarded the bus and left those that would be well enough left alone.
We must consider carefully what we do
These thoughts came as the bus entered the tunnel, bound for downtown, leaving all in darkness.
He came to, or rather, focused his eyes, which indeed were and had been trained upon the bank the entire time. He observed the man, the right man he knew, rounding the corner and making straight for the bank, head cropped close and held high, hands stuffed inside his gray suit pants, a man who was somebody. He watched, in seeming slow motion, as he, the man, gray suit and all, reached his hand out and opened the door. He smiled and felt cold ice running wild in his blood, cold, cold black ice in his veins. He gripped metal, hard with his fingers to contain his excitement. The wait indeed would soon be over. “When he is done with business, he is finished,” he thought, almost daring to laugh aloud at his wittiness, but he thought better. Shaking his head all the while he mumbled under his breath, “I won’t draw attention to myself. Not yet. Not yet.”
The man in the gray suit, named Ryan, walked, quick and sure to the desk of the loan consultant, sure because he knew the way, quick because he wished the entire drama to be at an end. He had been to see the loan consultant there several times over the previous month, all attempts or rather requests for the bank to give him “a bit more’, the exact phrase he used the first day he sat sweating tense nerves and trying to convince the loan consultant to give him an extension on his car loan.
I need a bit more time to get my finances in order. He remembered saying, a memory that caused him discomfort, visible discomfort, as indeed, worry lines appeared without warning above his sky-blue eyes, his beautiful, troubled sky-blue eyes. It pained him to ask the man behind the desk, whom while he asked and begged for an extension, ‘a bit of time,’ did not look up and instead remained seated, rather on the fat side, flesh pushing over his shirt collar, as he tapped in rapid succession on the computer keyboard.
“Name?” the man asked. He still did not possess the courtesy to offer Ryan a look, a greeting or as much as a nod.
“Last name, please."
The man busied himself with the computer as Ryan stood nervous and impotent, picking at his nails.
“Hmm.” The man appeared happy at Ryan’s financial difficulties on the screen in front of him, indeed, was smiling. “Yes, you are here about the extension you requested on the phone.”
“I am. I just need a bit of time to get things in order. The last few months have been slow at work.”
“I see. Well, your request is being processed; there is nothing I can tell you today. You can stop in over the next week to check.” The fat man seemed content. One more life put under the hooks, one more number under pressure, the constant downward pressure of financial ruin.
Ryan stood there in confusion, not understanding. He thought of things to say, but his words seemed futile.
‘This man pushes papers.’ As he left a thought that recurred to him as he approached the desk for the fourth and final time.
Today, there was no sign of the fat man. He brushed a hand, one sweaty palm over his head, unable to stop the nervous display. He waited, sweat appearing and running free over his forehead, sweat under his arms and upon his palms, which he ran over his cropped hair.
‘I have to remember to dry clean this suit before I give it back to Greg.’ He thought to himself as a lady tapped his shoulder.
“Can I help you?” She asked. She smiled at him and brushed her hair, long and brown, away from her eyes with fingernails painted a glossy red. Her eyes sparkled brown and friendly and wide, which for a moment gave him respite from his nerves.
“I’m here to see Mr. Brown.” He said, struggling to remember the man’s name as he stared into her eyes. She wore a red dress, cut with black trim, which hugged tight against her hips and did little to hide her full breasts.
“Mr. Brown is at lunch. Can I take a message for you?” She asked, her voice sweet and light.
“No. He told me to be here at one o’clock. I’ll go for lunch myself and come back in an hour.”
“Okay, great.” She said. Great indeed, he thought to himself.
“Thank you.” He said, not wanting the conversation to end.
“No problem.” That voice again, sweet and light, tickled at his spine and caused his knees to weaken, and if just for a moment he no longer felt the constant worry of his finances.
He turned away and began to walk, although not so quick as before, towards the door.
‘I’d like to know her name.’ he thought. ‘I’d like to take her to lunch.’
The thought of lunch reminded him once again of his present troubles and he removed from his pocket a five-dollar bill, the last of his money until payday. He fingered the paper as he walked, thinking where he could get a lunch for five dollars.
“It will be a burger and fries, again.” he said to himself as he exited the rear doors of the bank.
Robert saw Ryan exit the bank, his blonde hair shining in the sun, his eyes shielded by a hand, which held the last of his money. Robert smiled to himself as the man stood there, as if waiting for him, motionless.
‘You shall not escape.’ Robert said to himself. He raised his gun and took aim.
Ryan waited for an opening in traffic to cross the street, the arcade being close enough to see the usual counter person in the window of his favorite burger joint.
“I have enough for two cheeseburgers,” he said as he stepped from the curb.
He heard the shot after he felt the impact against his shoulder and found himself sprawled upon the sidewalk. A woman screamed and car brakes squealed moments before a second shot smashed into the concrete next to his leg. He pressed his hand against his shoulder and felt blood oozing through his fingers. The five-dollar bill was on the ground a few feet away, fluttering in the breeze. He reached for it, but a hot white pain exploded in his thigh. He screamed, but his voice sounded thin, as if he heard himself from a distance. He looked up, blinded by the noon day sun, looked up at the very moment that Robert fired.