On the road

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

The rest of the stay at the King’s Head was a relatively uneventful affair.  They had spent much of the evening pretending that they didn’t have any troubles and acting as if they knew exactly what they were to do in the morning.  The pub was their home for the evening and if felt very familiar by the third drink.  Despite all that had gone on, managed to have a joyous evening.  Unthinkable only a couple of days prior.  It was the magic of the human mind and soul at work again.  Convincing itself that all was good so that life could continue.  So that there may be some chance of perpetuating existence and creating life anew.

As much as they didn’t want to, they retired to their respective gender specific rooms, not wanting to upset the kind landlady who had allowed them to stay at such reasonable rates, should they agree to separate rooms.  Sin and all that.  There was not a member of the party that wanted it so.  Emma and Jose were desperate to find time alone together, particularly after a few drinks and Emma didn’t want to listen to the inevitable drunken monologue about her brother from a woman, but so it was.

When morning finally arrived, the three were no where near awake.  They were not battle worn in their drinking habits, so it was taking a particularly harsh toll on their minds and bodies.  It wasn’t until the landlady bashed on their doors that they all rosed and made ready for the day ahead.  It was another day of uncertainty.  Another day where they followed a path that lead further from one idea of home, hopefully towards another.  There was no guarantee though.

As they trundled down the stairs, all three of them, descending into a very different looking space in the cold, hard light of day, the landlady shouted at them, “There is porridge for breakfast and naught else.  I trust that will do you?”

“And some water?” Jose asked hopefully.

“Yes, and water my dear.  Is it the very first time that you’ve had a drink?” she asked, observing the slow nature of all three of them.

“No, but I guess we’re just not used to the amount.  Beer may be stronger over here than in Belize Town.”

“Aye, well, sit down and I’ll bring you porridge and water.  Will you be staying another night?”

They all looked at each other, not realising that that had even been one of their options.  Perhaps suspending themselves in limbo for another day was in fact a fantastic short term solution.  Though it would just stave off the inevitable decision.  “I don’t think so, but we will let you know by the time that we’re finished with breakfast.  Thank you.”

Sitting down, they all took their own moments to process the prior evening’s events and the current effect it was having on their health and sanity.

“So,” began Noemi.

“Just another minute of silence, please, Noemi.  We just need some silence and then we can spend all the time we want talking.  Maybe whenever the porridge and water comes we can start,” responded Jose quickly.

She didn’t mind the reaction herself as she wasn’t quite ready to say anything other than ’So’ without someone else stepping in to say more.  Even with the silence between that point and food arriving, it took several more minutes before everyone was ready to say something.

“So,” Emma ventured.

“Just another minute.  I promise I’ll be ready in another minute.”

A minute passed and then Jose looked at both his sister and Emma.  He thought that they wouldn’t like the idea he was about to propose.  That wasn’t to say they would definitely object, but he had a strong feeling.  One which wasn’t hangover related.

“So,” said Jose, “I guess the main question is where to next.  Ideas?”

“Let’s not stay here,” ventured Emma, thinking both of her inability to sleep next to Jose, but also just her desire to move on.

“Agreed.  Thoughts on where we should go?  There doesn’t seem to be much for us in London.”

“And where were you thinking of going then, brother?”

“Somewhere further afield perhaps.  Not another journey like we’ve just completed, but maybe to the countryside or another major city nearby.”

“Hmm, somewhere across the Channel, perhaps,” ventured Noemi.

“You don’t want to chase after that man, do you?” Asked Emma, curious as to what Jose’s angle with this would be.  She wanted to hang the man if she could, but another part of her that was growing in strength would much prefer to defraud him.

“Well, maybe not so much ‘chase’, but I would like to meet him, yes.”

“To what end exactly?”

“Look, I know neither of you might like this much, but I stick by my scam or be scammed idea.  He is the perfect person to start with on my, or our, path to becoming less victims and more winners.  We have a couple of key elements.  We have something MacGregor wants, our nationality.  We have something he could use, our connection with Jenkins.  We have leverage on Jenkins so he should do something for us if we asked.  I’m not sure why we shouldn’t go and find him.”

There was a pause to allow everyone to bring themselves slightly off the boil and to collect their thoughts.  Emma looked incredibly angry, in a pensive sort of way.  Jose hoped that his suggestion had burned any bridges.  He just didn’t know what else to do at the moment.

“What’s the alternative?” asked Emma.

“Find jobs, eventually find somewhere to live.  Try and eek out some semblance of a life here in the capital.  Nothing I particularly want to do at this point in my life.  We have enough money to get to Paris and I say we should go.”

No one wanted the life that Jose described.  It was why Emma has risked everything to head for Poyais and why the twins had given up their humdrum lives in Belize Town for the promise of something more in London.  Going back to anything that resembled an ordinary or less than ordinary pace wouldn’t do.  It was boom or bust, with no particular care for which we it ultimately went as long as the ride kept them happy.

Emma still refused to believe that it was scam or be scammed, that somehow the world could come down to neat little binary choices that defined exactly what side of a divide you were.  Good versus evil.  The guiding force behind human life.  Or was it?  Grey areas abound, she thought that it was t as simple as Jose was thinking.  She guessed that it could also mean that there was some remote possibility that taking part in something with MacGregor Perhaps wasn’t as bad as she thought.  Maybe whatever they would do for him what not feel so much a scam.

“I’m in,” Emma said, “let’s off to Paris.”

Emma and Jose looked at Noemi for a unanimous casting cote.  This wasn’t a democracy.  Everyone had to agree.

“Look, if my brother wants to do it and he could convince you, then I’m in.  On one small condition though.  We’re going to scam him, not help him scam others.”

“Agreed,” they said in unison as they finished off their meals and began the longer road towards Paris.

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