I’ve always been a big fan of the idea of karma; the idea that our actions lead to reactions which always come full circle. I love the idea of everything being connected, that everything we do matters. I’d like to think that our intentions make a difference. Like I said, I’d like to think that way. I like the idea of karma. But I don’t necessarily believe in it. I thought a lot about it on my way to Chicago. I decided that karma is an interesting concept, but it’s also an easy excuse for why things happen. Our actions may never react in a circular pattern, but I do believe in the laws of physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction unless acted upon by greater force. For Trystix, I was that greater force.
I would start small; find a hole in the wall to observe from and a place to work out of. That would be the easy part. The next few steps is where it would get tricky. I decided to spend some time with a phone book. I had a few names to look up, but mostly, I just needed to know they were still in Chicago. I sat in a little pizza place in the western quarter of the Second City and thumbed through the white pages. Too many people have cell phones these days, which makes phone numbers difficult. In the end though, they have to live somewhere. The last name I looked up was more out of curiosity than necessity; Allister Shane. I dialed from a cell phone Raiden gave me. An elderly, yet gentle-sounding woman answered.
“Oh my, Angel? Is that you?”
“Yes, this is Angel. Who’s this? Do I know you?”
“You do…well, you did…Uh…I am a friend of Jared…Jared Donovan.”
“Jared? You knew Jared?”
“Yes. I knew him.”
“Is he..? Is he really dead?”
“Yeah…Plane crash. Really sad…He…wanted me to…to thank you. For believing in him.”
“My dear boy…What has the world done to you?”
“Jared, I know your voice. I have been waiting to hear your voice for the last seven years. They’re saying you’re dead! Why do they think that? You sound pretty alive to me?”
“I was on that plane. The one that crashed. Angel, is Allister there?”
“Damn. I need some help. I need to come see him. I left something in the apartment you made for me. I’ll be by later, but you can’t tell anyone I’m alive. Angel, this is very important. No one can know. Ok?”
“All right, Jared. But you should clean up that mouth. No need to curse.”
“Ok, Angel. Sorry.” I laughed.
“You always were a funny one, Jared. I want you to know something. I always believed you were innocent of that fire. Allister never did, but I did. If you need anything, you’ll let me know?”
“Absolutely. Thanks, Angel.”
I finished my pizza, and hopped back on my bike. I was really going to miss the bike when I was done in Chicago. It wouldn’t do to transport such valuable materials on a motorcycle…They deserved better. I arrived to Angel and Allister’s around sunset. The place looked exactly the same. Something felt different though. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. My question was answered quickly after I got there though. The sound of a shotgun fired into the air will do that.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too, Allister.”
“Wipe the damn smile off your face, boy. I should shoot you dead where you stand.”
“I’ve told you before; I didn’t start that fire.”
“I don’t believe you. I don’t know why I should with a delinquent like you. What do you want?”
“I left something important in my room.”
“It’s been seven years you idiot! What makes you think you still have a room?”
“You don’t like change. You don’t change anything unless you have to. It’s a lesson plumbing taught you. You taught it to me.”
“Get lost. Never come here again.” He loaded another round.
“Seriously, Allister, all I need is five minutes.”
“You’ve got about two seconds before I blow your head off for trespassing.”
“Allister! Be civil!” Angel screeched from the doorstep.
“Stay inside, Angel. I’ll get rid of this vagrant.”
“Allister Douglas Shane! Lower that weapon!”
You learn real quick that when Angel Shane says ‘now’, it means yesterday before she woke up. Allister lowered the gun and scowled. Angel walked down the steps and crossed the yard. She threw her arms around me and kissed my cheek.
“Well, I’m glad you came when you did. I’m afraid he would have put me down faster than he’d squash a cockroach.” I said
“He huffs and puffs, but he’s just a big softy underneath. What can we do for you, Jared?”
“Just let me in the old room for a minute or two. I have some…things I need to get.”
“Allister, will you go get the box under the stairs? The one with the gun, the fake driver’s license, the picture of his sister, and the lock pick set?”
Not good. Not good.
“If it gets him out of here. His presence sickens me.” Allister stormed into the house in huff. He stopped at the door, and turned around. He gave me a very direct look, and set the gun against the house.
“I expect this has something to do with your sister?” Angel asked.
“Yeah. How’d you guess?”
“She’s the only thing you feel for enough to go to war for. That’s what you’re doing right? Going to war?”
“You could say that.”
Allister came back out, carrying a small black box with a broken lock. I had broken the lock years ago trying to open the box with a screwdriver in a moment of desperation. It had opened the box, but it also put a catch in the lock, so you had to squeeze the sides to get it to open. I had thought all of these items would be safe from the public eye forever. My father’s gun, my fake ID, my lock picks…Tools of a misspent youth I guess. I was impressed that Angel knew the entire contents of my little box. I thought I was the only one who knew the trick to get it open. Angel was an amazing woman.
“Now leave. Never come back. Far as I’m concerned you’re dead. You will be if you come back.”
“Thank you. You have no idea how sorry I am it’s come to this for us, Allister. Thank you for all your lessons.”
“Get lost. If you ever call again, I’ll tell everyone I know you’re alive.”
“Point taken. Goodbye.”
Angel came in for another hug and kissed my cheek.
“You’ll be careful, won’t you? Don’t get yourself killed…again…” She asked with a hint of a smile.
“I’ll try my best. Goodbye, Angel.”
“Goodbye, young man.” She stifled a sob and walked to the house.
I got on my bike and stuffed the box into a saddlebag. I had a busy night ahead of me. I wheeled around and headed back to the north, towards the looming Tryst Tower.