Daily Distraction: DARK FIBER – a serial thriller, episode 3
Posted on June 23, 2014
The bar was small, busy and dark, as if someone had switched off the sun. Guests hung around the wooden counter, obstructing the way for those who wanted to go the higher seating area in the back. The man wormed his way to the counter. Holding the copper railing with one hand, he raised the other to signal the bartender.
The bartender acknowledge him with the slightest nod and drew him a beer. “Jonathan,” he said and then something more, in Dutch, with lots of harsh g’s, before he ripped off a sheet from a small notebook and jotted something down. He placed the tab in between a dozen others on the counter.
Matt pushed Victoria past the heat and stench of people and beer, and past the man, who downed his beer in one gulp and ordered another in almost the same movement. At a table, half-hidden from the bar by a wall, Matt nudged Victoria into the chair that faced away from the bar and the man. He lowered himself into a seat facing her.
Victoria glanced over her shoulder before she bent towards him. With a quick tug, she adjusted the wig. Her cheeks were flushed with excitement. “I can’t see him. Where is he? Is he still here?” she whispered.
“He’s still here.” Matt watched the man down another glass of beer and ordering his third.
“Now what? You need me to make a move on him?”
“Not yet,” he said. “Let’s wait until he leaves again. We need to isolate him first.”
“Waiting is good.” Victoria leaned back in her chair. “Be a darling and get me a glass of Chardonnay. I’m parched.”
“No alcohol, V. Not now. I need you sharp.”
“Turing, you moron. You know I can drink a gallon and be sharper than all of these nitwits together.” She swatted the air with her hand, reducing everyone around to nothing more than flies.
She was right. She could hold her liquor like a but he kept his ground. “Too much at stake. You know that.”
She looked him straight in the eye, without blinking once.
He met her gaze with equal steadiness.
She was the first to break the eye contact. “Dammit, Turing,” she snorted. She swept her hair back. “Get me a fucking iced tea.”
The man didn’t leave. Instead, he nestled on a barstool near the window and drank. The light outside died. Street lamps flickered to life. People left. People came in, left again. And all the time the man stayed put. Four hours went by. Five. Six. Seven. Eight hours of solid drinking. Victoria had given up glancing over her shoulder. She drank her iced teas with noticeable disgust and flicked back and forth between Twitter, Facebook and Google+ on her iPad, throwing messages about nothing at her 50K followers, while Matt silently registered and memorized every little move the man made, every gesture, every motion. From the way he closed his eyes when he drank to the nervous rubbing of his left hand over his upper leg, to the twitch of the right corner of his mouth that accompanied every order for more beer.