Monday, May 30, 2016

Vol. 197: What if I told You......

            An original "something in the works........"

            An elderly gentleman with shiny silver hair, dressed in a crisp dark suit sat on the park bench watching pigeons scrounge for crumbs from middle class employees on their lunch break. A well polished mahogany cane rested at his left side and a large red rose was pinned against his right breast as he sat with his well manicured hands in a pose of silent prayer. His lips moved but uttered no sound as he watched strangers pass by, catching the bright red rose out of the corner of their eyes; he smiled. The clouds appeared to be threatening rain. The city hall’s clock tower chimed noon. The elderly gentleman checked his gold watch that was attached to his left breast pocket and motioned his left hand in a wave. The nearby pigeons acquiesced and flew away toward the large elm trees that surrounded the small stone circle of the park.
            A younger man approached wearing a new cream colored suit, tailored to accentuate his youth and appreciation for physical fitness. His bright green eyes displayed eagerness as he saw the older man sitting on the park bench.
            “Stephen, I am glad you came to join me. I have been watching your progress at the firm over these past couple months and I’m impressed with what I have seen,” the gentleman said with a slight British accent.
            “Mr. Hermes, please, you are too kind,” the young man blushed.
            “Here, have a seat next to me. I was hoping we could have a chat this afternoon. There is no need to worry. I’ve spoken to the other partners and they are aware and most comfortable with giving you some time away from the desk,” he patted the empty space on the bench next to him, noticing the hesitation in the young man’s gesture.
            “Really, after all that the markets have been through the past couple of days?”
            “The markets will be there when you get back. Please, have a seat.”
            Stephen sat down next to the old man and out of the corner of his eye noticed a man wearing what looked to be a standard government issued dark suit on the park bench adjacent, staring at them. Stephen brushed it away from his mind and thought nothing more of it. He took a long sip from his overpriced cup of coffee and sat down.
            “Stephen, how long have you been with the firm? Six months, right?”
            “Yes, it will be six months in July. Why do you ask?”
            “Do you plan on staying with us and making a name for yourself at the firm, or are you like so many of these millenials today? Are you going to jump ship the first chance you get at making more money?”
            Stephen hadn’t been expecting this to be the conversation when he received the email earlier that morning. The subject line was something about a “bright future.”
            “Well, yes Mr. Hermes, I do plan on staying with the firm as long as possible. That’s of course if my work is up to their standards.”
            “Stephen, my dear boy, I don’t think that will be an issue. But truly, I didn’t want to talk to you about the firm’s position in the market or your ‘career’ with us. What I’m interested in to know is …how well can you keep a secret?”
            “Well, I guess.”
            “Well, I was hoping for something better than just ‘well’ my dear boy.”
            “I mean, I was in the brotherhood at college. But I guess you and the other partners already know that. So, yes, absolutely I can keep a secret.”
            “Good, that’s very good Stephen,” Mr. Hermes replied as he patted the bright red rose pinned to his right breast. “The reason being Stephen, is that there is something I need to tell you; something of the utmost importance. Something that will undoubtedly take up a great deal of your time away from the firm’s ‘official’ business, but what will help us maintain our position in the global markets for years to come.”
            “I don’t follow you sir. Pardon my hesitation but, if it’s not ‘official’ business, how can it be sanctioned by the firm and not only that, how can it benefit the firm’s position in the market?”
            “My dear boy, we are not talking about anything illegal in any shape or form. What I am talking about is something of such importance that the fate of the world as we know it, depends upon its safe keeping. What if I told you that there is a book that exists. A book so old, so rare and so powerful that he or she that has it and knows of it’s true purpose, well, he or she can, it’s fair to say, make dreams come true, or nightmares, depending on the color of the work.”
            “Mr. Hermes, sir, excuse me, but are you sure you’re feeling well?”
            “Please Stephen, what I’m trying to tell you is important. I need to tell you this and I need to know that I can trust you. Do you see that man over there, the one with the cheap suit and note pad?”
            “Yes, why?”
            “He’s been watching me for quite some time.”
            “Today? I noticed him when I got here, why?”
            “Not just today Stephen, for years.”
            “Years. He is part of a secret group of men and women whose only agenda is to take possession of the book. They think I have it and they have been watching me for years, trying to ascertain its location.”
            “Mr. Hermes, I think you need to see a doctor. I honestly don’t think you’re thinking clearly.”
            “Why would I lie? I’m an old man in search of someone that I can pass this information on to. Someone that I can trust with my life. With all of our lives. Stephen, I know of the book’s location and I need for you to get it for me. Can you do that for me? Will you do that for me?”
            “Mr. Hermes, please, I think you need to lie down for a spell.”
            “Spell, precisely. Watch this. I’ll buy us a little more privacy and for your sake, maybe a little trust.” Mr. Hermes grabbed his cane, motioned it back and forth and muttered something in a low voice. The man in the cheap suit fell over on his side in an instant and began immediately snoring. “Now, what were you saying?”

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