29 June 2009


Sydney Thomson is about to get a harsh life lesson on the meaning of the word irony. He's just learned that his debit card mysteriously stopped working and is sweating out the hope it has nothing to with Jake's trickery. He's always been his own worst enemy, and now he's about to meet a man, ironically named Sydney as well, who will make the metaphor a flesh-and-blood reality.

Just over a mile away this other man has just been given confirmation that his target has been spotted on CCTV swearing at a bank machine, 3400 miles away from where the GPS on his mobile says he is, but they've already confirmed that the phone is sitting in an express mail pouch at a post office in Dubai, a fairly weak attempt to confuse them. After what he did, did this Sydney Thomson fellow honestly expect to gain access to his funds so he could just disappear? No, this would be a soft target, and he would enjoy smashing it.

Five miles away Jake and Sam have turned off their own mobiles. No one knows where they are, and it's nice this way, for once out of the shadow of the world. They're holding hands naked and sitting in the warm stream beneath the afternoon sun and making insane plans to really disappear totally, sneak aboard a ship that will drop them in some corner of the world where they will never be found. Iceland or South America or wherever.

And Jacob Sr., who never liked the damned mobile his work made him carry around, considers its silence before tossing the fucking thing in the nearest wastebasket, is wondering now why everyone has vanished and more than a bit scared for Sam's health, only the fact Jake Jr. may have been the one to spirit him out of hospital gives him comfort. If anything Jake is fiercely loyal to Sam, as more than one would-be bully has found out, several of whom found themselves in hospital over the years for picking on his older brother. He sighs and fishes his mobile out of the trash in resignation, hoping it decides to speak up with some answers. There's just the issue of Sharon to deal with but the fact she seems to have disappeared from the face of the planet neither concerns or saddens him much. His affairs were just lying to himself, their marriage had been gone for years, dessicated and dead, and the discovery had just been a final confirmation. He finds himself in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, surrounded by an impossible number of people for him to feel so alone, and he notices an absinthe bar. He thinks to himself, absinthe, I wonder what that tastes like, and yes a part of the thought is maybe it can take him back to the creative days where he painted and wrote, before drowning in a sea of business suits and photocopier ink. He wonders if that cute, gawky blonde teenager who wrote poems for the girls he should have married, the lad he used to be is still alive in there somewhere, waiting to be revived, or if he had vanished like everyone else had.

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