GUiOPERA Xi

 Emotional Techno Fiction – Historical/Cyber Noir
[LATEST UPLOAD: Saturday November 2, 2019 – 4:00 pm Central Time]

CHAPTER TWO

“Saturday in the park”

PART 1
LONDON 1865

“Dove!” Tiger said as he held a piece of crust up above his head.

Queenie smiled at her son upon realizing what was happening. “No son, that’s not a dove, that’s one of the scavenger seagulls from the infirmaries. Give ’em, a crust, and they’ll be back for the loaf ‘n all, son!” Queenie placed a hand on the boy’s arm. “Eat your crust—you ain’t from no mon-archy!”

The lone gull continued to hover above—as if studying them. “Go on, ya, scav!” Queenie sneered at the gull.

It was as if the creature understood her because, in retaliation, it would seem the bird proceeded to shit on them.

Queenie being Queenie, ducked for cover, taking with her, her clinging son—putting the child directly in the path of the bird shit.

Splat!

On one-year-old Tiger’s forehead was giant gob of bird shit!

And all his mother could do was laugh—a bellowing laugh that went on for a lot longer than it should.

And when she calmed down, she assured her son, “you’re blessed now, son! It’s good luck for a bird to shit on you! Truth!” Queenie nodded, and then she went back to eyeing the corner—their bedroom for the night—while Tiger played with the bird excrement on his forrid, which had dried into a smooth and interesting feeling surface for the boy to touch.

Queenie willed the old lady to leave already. Instead, the woman whose head was permanently looking down at the ground continued moping, checking that she and her husband hadn’t left anything behind.

Asshole. Couldn’t bear to leave a smithereen of anything behind for her and her starving baby, Queenie thought before she tried tempering her breathing to allay her changing mood.

Recently she’d noticed how easily Tiger picked up on her moods. Queenie waited for it—he was very articulate for a one-year-old.

“Do you want to say, fuck, mummy?” The earnestness of the child displayed upon his innocent face.

He must be one of the old souls. Or he had the gift! The mother wondered, and then she smiled and put her arm around him, pulling him close to her. “Not right now, son. I want that stupid old lady to fucking hurry up and leave before someone else comes along and steals our bed for the nigh’.”

No sooner had she uttered her concern—a figure appeared around the general area Queenie was watching. Seamus Heatherington, a Tiker fake—complete with canvass top hat. Everything about Heatherington was fake.

He was from money but chose to live on the streets where he could freely indulge in his affliction of addiction.

Queenie first met him when he started hanging around Tiker, Tiger’s father. It was when Tiker was still bare-knuckle fighting.

“Hey!” Heatherington was surprised to see them.

Queenie ignored him as she got up and strode over to where the lady continued to comb the corner.

“Did you lose something?” Queenie got in between the woman and Heatherington.

“This the best corner on the docks,” Heatherington confirmed Queenie’s fear.

“If you find a chain, Seamus—” the woman said to Heatherington.

“Sure, Ma’am.” Heatherington tipped his hat and winked at Queenie.

“His name is not even Seamus!” Queenie interrupted. “I think it’s Jofes or something.”

And then Queenie remembered Tiger. By this time, the boy was sitting at the wharf’s edge. His back faced her while his feet dangled over the water. And he was still consumed with the feces on his forehead.

PART 2
MEMPHIS 1865

Outside the window, perched perfectly on the balcony bannister was a seagull. A gust of wind blew and ruffled the bird’s feathers. Its spindly legs swayed a little, and then they somehow remained resolute.

While Tiker marveled at the bird’s dynamism, standing in front of him was a human trying his best to deride Tiker.

Botham wasn’t a big man, but the measured way in which he spoke made sure his words hit their mark, especially when he put his thumbs in the pockets of his three-piece suit vest.

It was Botham’s version of a brain-rack. A popular move by children in the orphanage where Tiker grew up.

It involved using your thumbs or knuckles (depending on whether it was serious or not), pressing them into the side of your opponent’s head at their temples until they submitted to defeat.

Botham’s nasally voice made his form of brain-racking particularly painful.

“I agree to partner with you, someone from another country, and somehow, you see that as an invitation to break into my premises and steal from me!”

For a second, Tiker thought about reminding Botham of his own coming to America. But then he restrained himself in fear that it might escalate the situation to the point of no return in which he envisioned a badly beaten Botham barely crawling around on the floor begging for his life and an extremely remorseful self.

Instead, Tiker smiled at the seagull out the window just before it flew away, and then he found a groove in the floorboards and focused on it intently.

If it were him, he would’ve squashed his fingers with the heel of his boot as hung he from the edge of the balcony. And let the chips fall where they may, or in this case, let the carcass make a loud thud where it landed.

He’d been caught plenty of times, and to be honest, a bullet in the head would’ve been much easier than the lectures of men who’d never gone hungry in their lives.

And then it dawned on Tiker that the silence was time for him to say his piece.

“Well?” Botham’s European blood that coursed through his veins rose to his face.

“I jus’ wanted me hot tub,” Tiker tried sounding remorseful as he nodded to the wooden clawfoot bathtub in the corner, the one he’d soaked in for an hour or more two months ago when they first met.

Knock! Knock!

“Come in!” Botham shouted.

The door opened slowly. Tiker knew precisely who it was and called out, “come in, York!” His embarrassment, evident in his cowed voice.

PART 3
NEW YORK 2019

Lazoo tapped on his phone, using both hands as he scanned the park.

“bred for birdfed nxt time.”

Stories of brazen kidnap attempts in broad-daylight littered his thoughts as he craned his neck to see where Little Lazoo had disappeared to as the energetic kid darted behind another child.

Lazoo knew that his heightened senses were because of a lack of sleep and a news article about sex-trafficking he’d read earlier in the week—not to mention his childhood and upbringing. Thrown into juvie at nine. Onto prison at sixteen. All because he was part of a project which bred agents for the intelligence community and military.

“Ya gotta get outta that head of yours,” Santina San Fé’s voice was neither reprieve nor agency for his fears.

Santina, a former FBI agent, never seemed to age. At forty-nine, she looked like she would forever be in her thirties. And not in a bad way. She was Lazoo’s twin brother’s widow. And so, the two of them had plenty not to talk about. And with Lazoo going through a trial separation, Saturdays in the park had just gotten quieter.

“Yeah, yeah,” Lazoo took the folded newspaper next to him on the park bench for Santina to take a seat.

“He’s grown,” Santina quickly adapted to his level of enthusiasm for human interaction on this day.

“Yep!” Lazoo reiterated. His abruptness didn’t bother him at first, but then the silence that ensued began to fester. “How about them Clippers?”

“Nah, I’m a Lakers girl through and through,” Santina replied. “And you?”

“Bucks from Milwaukee.” Lazoo managed half a smile. “Leftovers from the Wisconsin days, I suppose.”

 “Did you see that?” Lazoo laughed.

“What?” Santina wasn’t sure what Lazoo was on about.

“A bird just shat on my son’s back!” Lazoo was still laughing.

“Hear that?” Santina asked as she laughed at Little Lazoo.

“Yeah, I just hope he knows what he’s doin’,” Lazoo genuinely sounded concerned. “It’s a hell of a way to market a 99cent book.

“Oh well, Saturday in the park, here we are!” Santina smiled as she found her phone.

It took Lazoo a while to realize what had just happened. A moment, brief as it were—it was unrehearsed-ad libitum. He had to read about it. He still had his phone in hand. He’d forgotten how it felt to be a node in the end-to-end saga or the textual opera online at GUiOPERA.com.

Note: Emotional Techno Fiction is a sub-genre of Metafiction, a construct of Postmodernism.

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