Chapter 13, by Joseph Toman
He had never noticed before how omnipresent Akiyama's mark was on the city. Now, standing just inside the alleyway across from Rosen's office, even the streetlights seemed to have his face, leering down at the abandoned street below. And then she is there, for a moment, and through the door and gone. His breath catches as he looks up expectantly toward the third floor window. Yes, a tiny bit of light makes it's way to freedom and down to the street. Now is the time for answers. Of it's own will his hands snuggles into his coat pocket, fingering what it finds there. As he steps half into the light, a car pulls up across the street. He quickly pulls back into the shadow. Who are these men who enter the building with such authority? Will they take Rosen to Akiyama? They will take Rosen to Akiyama!!
Quickly, with instincts trained and honed by countless hours watching rented action videos, he makes his move. Across the street and kneeling down by the trunk, he pulls the loop of wire out of his pocket and inserts it up under the lid. The voices of past masters come back to him, "Remain calm, work the lock", "Use the Force, Luke", "I am the Key Master, are you the Gate Keeper?" Ooh ooh, Sigourney Weaver in satin!
His reverie is interrupted by the sound of a door opening. Three figures emerge from the building. Shit! He slides himself feet first under the car to remain hidden as he works. The car rocks as Rosen and her escort get in, settling dangerously close to him. Frantically, he slips the excess wire around his right wrist for a better grip and with as much strength as he can manage from that awkward position jams the loop under the trunk lid, fishing for the release. The engine roars and he gets a faceful of exhaust. Gagging, he notices a bumper sticker directly above the exhaust pipe that encourages him to "Breathe Deeply". As the car rolls forward he pulls down to retrieve his treasured garrote. And pulls again. "My God!", he thinks as reality jerks him by the arm, "It's a trap! Akiyama, that bastard!". A brief parade of silver screen pirates and cowboys being keel-hauled flash through his mind before the skiing lesson begins. "Mmmph!" "Urrgh!" "Gyak!" Just to look at, you would not think the city streets possessed that much texture. Several potholes, broken bottles and random bits of garbage later the game changes from body surfing to "crack the whip" as the car accelerates into a left hand turn. The piano wire, tired of the sport and unable to slice through his wrist (though it receives a special mention for effort), bids farewell to the trunk lock and old Isaac smiles as Bob proves once again that an object in motion tends to remain in motion. "Mmmph!". Unless acted upon by an opposing force. "Uhff!". This opposing force says "Telephone" on it in white on blue lettering. Shaken and looking like he lost an argument with an orbital sander, he sits up on the curb and starts to extricate his injured hand from the tangle of wire. Both his vision and his new found mission are much less clear now. Akiyama is, is, who? As his senses come back to him he notices a distinct ringing in his ears. It almost sounds like, well, just like... Oh. He pulls himself to his feet and with his one good hand lifts the handset. "Hello?"