EPISODE 2 – Ahead of the Game



Ahead of the Game 


A GOOD AMOUNT OF THE DAY was spent messing with the phone, making every attempt to determine the rightful owner. At one point, it even came as a guess and thought of it to be a burner, but this idea left me when I noticed its features and details of the device. The display from top to bottom stretched from one end to the other and its dark glass surface curved around its sides and back. It had a port, which one could assume to be a chargeable outlet, and a corner button, simply a function to activate the screen. Oddly so, there was no slot avail for a smart card to go in and no primary name associated with the phone. Upon touching the screen, three application materialized from the top. One on the right was a list of contacts, there were at least a hundred names listed, each one randomly had an octothorpe before the first initial. To the left of it, an icon that looked to be a stored library, and next to it was an access to dial out. An inclination to pursue the contact list deterred me from doing so after I learned its suggestive content from the library—images of men with their eyes blocked off.

Ever since Dane found out about me, a vague sense of apprehension lurked, and its precariousness kept me on my toes. I could be wrong with the assumption, however, knowing Dane and his possessive qualities, the idea wasn’t so far-fetched. He was capable of such threat, I remained vigilant of those around me and the places I travel. The decision to move sparingly was so to mislead the stalker, which we later referred to as the follower . Having to experience Dane’s online behavior, I managed to work out his method and the friends of his, whom at random would do his dirty work. A man closer to my age warned me once of his motives, and he turned up missing days later.

As planned, I had arranged transportation to pick and drop me off at three different location—one of which, a confidant  with clothes identical to mine, took my place to put the follower off the scent, a simple ruse to get him off my back. With enough time to spare, I made it to Cap and arrived at Crownies shortly, where my best friend and I construct an ingenious plan, one that would require both our expertise.

Cap, was short for Capitol Hill, a gay neighborhood district, situated on a hill just east of the Emerald City. The landmark consists of shops, restaurants, and bars, lay on the main street Broadway, stretching far to the neighboring districts of Eastlake and Amdomes. On the north corner of Broadway was a restaurant called Crownies—of which my friend, Jake had mentioned in passing used to be called BJ’s . The decision for name changed came after the fact the restaurant owner had traveled to the UK. Like the name, it matched perfectly with the aesthetics. There were red velvet curtains drawn open to the side exposing the full bar, and glass shelves dimmed perfectly by the blue fluorescent that projected to the wall behind. It almost gave a presentation of a Union Jack by the way bottles were sorted. We were tucked away in the corner, a table of four, far enough from the loud crowd that caused nuisance to individuals sitting in the bar. A couple of times, they sneered hoping someone would say something, but instead, the bartender turned up the background music: some progressive house that I recall, suiting and lively, a dream trance that would break off and then reach a climax. The vibe didn’t fit it in with the restaurant’s charm, decorated mostly with old Victorian pieces, but it brought most of the tourist in to have their usual night cap. However, at that hour, it was a different story for us, as the night to figure a strategy was our highest priority. Across from me was Nolan, speedily thumb texting, as if he was on a race.

“Are you done fidgeting with the phone?” I asked.

“Just about. Should we get some more chips?” asked Nolan, with his tongue stuck out reaching the tip of his lips and didn’t for once share a look. When he didn’t hear my response, he stopped in an instant, then handed over the phone. “That should do it.”

“You sure this is going to work?”

“Did you just asked me that?”

The snide remark he makes could project a harsh tone to someone new, but to someone familiar like myself, this meant to be playful. Even if he threw a contemptuous expression, eyes widened and face flushed, my trust was in him and knew better to doubt his skills. He was no hacker, but he had some experience in tweaking devices before.

“We should probably get going—if we want to get ahead.” I reminded him.

“Okay. Slow down Sherlock, we’re waiting for Wilmer.”

“Who’s Wilmer?”

There again, throwing his signature look. He brushed aside my question and took his attention away when the restaurant door made a jingle.

A tall young man walked into the restaurant and came toward our table dressed in fitted jeans and a gray shirt that read in purple print, “For The Win.” His eyes were blue as a SKYY Vodka bottle and probably would look just as smart even without his substantial black-rimmed glasses.

Nolan quickly got up and gave him a pat on the back. It was then he finally introduced me to a new friend that would join our little squad, Wilmer.  The game plan that night was simple. It was to go after the follower, trap and expose him.

In an event before this, Nolan had confided in me about his recent experience with the follower that involved his dead uncle…

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