Agon chattered on about his collection as the trains traveled around, between and beneath the two women. To Natalie the time seemed never ending as she watched him delight in all he had created. But he wasn’t really delighted.
“A whack-job!” There was something missing in all of this something lacking in Agon. “What is it? What’s wrong with his excitement? It’s like he’s empty, like the way he’s acting is from a TV episode. What’s… what is it? What does he do when he wants physical contact? Does he want physical contact? He’s happy with this? He’s not anything. Man… passion! There’s no passion, no, no… conviction! Huh, thanks agent Phil… what was that guy’s last name, Colton, Calder, Coulton… Coulson! Loki lacked conviction, no passion in what he… in his actions.” Thoughts, the reality of his mental stability or lack of it actually startled her. A quivering sensation shot through Natalie’s stomach. She began to feel sick, nauseated. What if her bodily functions gave way? “No! Keep clear. There must be a way.” Suddenly he yanked the plug out of the outlet. The trains stopped, he stood fixated eyes shooting from Astrid to Natalie to Astrid to Natalie. “Oh god…” Natalie felt as if her body might collapse in on itself. “Am I a containment bomb? No, stop! Stay focused…pay attention…” Agon’s eyes began to twinkle. “He can’t know if I’m thinking anything, I can’t move… can’t give anything away – no signals, damn, what now.” “My ladies, my Ladies! You are both so beautiful. I must put you where there is beauty. Away, away from this basement, this dungeon unfair! I should not have brought you here thus! Forgive me…” He bowed low extending his right leg like the Player in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead only Richard Dreyfus did it better. “He has passion – a player king indeed. If this tool reads Shakespeare at all he’s no less a psychotic… thus. There I go.” Agon shot out of the room. Natalie heard something sounding like equipment falling or being moved around – he was looking for something. “What a fruit-loop!” He emerged driving another dolly. Well, not exactly driving, but like one of those forklift things used in a warehouse only smaller with a platform. I don’t know, you’d have to see it. “Road trip, field trip…” Natalie looked over at Astrid. Her eyes were rimmed in red. Had she been through this before or was it something else? “I wonder how long she’s been here…”
They’d gone shopping. After groceries it was the video store then the promise of burgers and fries.
Nikki backed the stroller out, her son followed behind with his nose in the bag of snacks they’d just bought while his new brother slept peacefully. She turned and looked at the busy rural route that lately was more like a highway. Cars were flying by although flanked by restaurants and shopping centers with driveways directly to the street as opposed to ramps for merging. Had everyone forgotten they had to slow to pull in and should yield for other cars pulling out, never mind paying heed to the light they’d have to stop at? It used to be more of a country road but since 9/11 many’d moved from the city to places just like this one, population had increased, summer homes that dotted lakes were turned into permanent residences and on the whole culture was changing.
“Good old days… then… now? That’s debatable.”
As they stood she saw a semi coming up on the light too fast and right in front of it was a compact car no higher than the front tire if that. “ A sitting duck. My…” The light changed to yellow, the smaller car began to slow, the truck maintained speed, but now they both had to come to a stop. Under any other circumstance if a car is rear-ended it’s the other guy’s fault but in the case of an 18-wheeler vs a compact all bets are off. Nikki didn’t realize her son’d been watching until, as the truck was rapidly reaching the slowing vehicle, he cried out as if there were a way to stop it on demand. His eyes fixated he didn’t move. She looked at him then at the truck. Its breaks squealed, a gust of air released, and it suddenly slowed as if it were no larger than the other cars on the street. Both vehicles came to a stop without colliding, not even a scratch. “Huh, not even a love tap.”
She looked down at Percy, crouched and bear-hugged him. “Good job kiddo. Hungry?”
What’s Up With Agon
Agon’s girlfriend disappeared after their breakup and devastated he’d left town, at least that’s what everyone’d said. He was a glassblower, one of those guys you’d see at fairs and carnivals making all kinds of nifty things from the end of a long straw: knick-knacks, small bottles, little dishes; he was a novice chemist owning an assortment of beakers, pipettes, cylinders and Bunsen burners, and a collector. He wasn’t interested in airplanes, car models or to-scale buildings. His tastes spanned a different horizon, I mean, we all have our quirks.
Busy concocting chemicals one day, Agon’d spotted a spider scurrying across his worktable. “Ah, a volunteer!” He snatched a dropper, filled it with liquid that’d been bubbling, and keeping pace with it from above released drop by drop until the spider had no choice but to slow and finally stop. He tapped at it gently, picked it up, placed it on the palm of his hand and smiling to himself carried it to a corner hutch to add to his unique collection. He turned and grabbed a Maestro 2, some liquid, and walked over to a scale likeness of his ex-girlfriend to smooth a dry area. “You can never leave me,” he crooned. “We are forever.”
You know, to look at him you wouldn’t think anything about him, at least nothing to worry about…
Agon moved Astrid and Natalie to the center of the room tilting one then the other onto a custom dolly. “I have to show you my race track. I’ve had it since I was ten. Wait here.” “Is he kidding! What has he done to me, why can’t I move? And Astrid! Wait here! WAIT HERE! If I could topple onto him and crack out of this like breaking out of a shell… like a chick, maybe a lizard… wouldn’t mind being a poisonous one of those… ” But Natalie couldn’t budge, her fear had turned to anger and her thoughts couldn’t be stilled. There was something in Astrid’s eyes that caused her insides to quake. “I’m still ok, human or whatever, my insides are shaking. I must still be ok…” He came back with two large boxes then proceeded to set up a racing wonderland. Around them and between them he weaved and constructed. He raised inclines like roller coasters then wove them around and through each other. “You two pretend to be goddesses looking over your kingdom.”
Cars whirred around through fabricated bridges and countryside.
Natalie’s skin felt as smooth as marble. Agon was pleased with the transformation but Natalie’s eyes were wide in horror as she tried to cry out. Her lips weren’t sealed shut but hardened unmovable and she could see but not blink. Tears formed and slid down her cold, smooth cheeks. He brushed a solution over her eyelids that allowed her to blink. “Don’t look at me like that, there’s nothing to worry about. You’re not alone.” He smiled as he wheeled what Natalie thought was a statue nearer. “Natalie this is my girlfriend Astrid, Astrid, Natalie.” Both women stared.
The gym picture window faced her office making two sides of the L. “Why would a gym even have a window? Good picture. I’d like to buy the architect a drink.” She watched him every day; no, not the architect but that man, thought about him in his shorts, sweat-drenched shirt, sweat-drenched self, drenched… dreamt about him. She couldn’t deny her rising feelings any longer. Tonight she’d figure out how to make it happen so he wouldn’t either.
Obsessed with plotting, her mind a whirlwind of scenarios, she didn’t see the garden hose stretched across the unfinished deck, stumbled and fell, hitting her head on a rock meant for her future patio. She came-to in the arms of her new neighbor, the man she hadn’t wasted her time to meet yet. There were bigger fish, bigger sweatier fish.
Her body jerked with the realization she was looking into the eyes of her obsession. He had been living next door all this time, well, just beyond the hedges, and now he was holding her! Adolescent glee shot through every crevice of her body. She instantaneously plotted how long it’d take to get back on her feet. Tingle-thrills pulsated through every facet of her being. It jerked again.
“There, there… I’m Hank. We work together.” The instinctive alarms that should’ve gone off dissolved as he smiled.
Gently he wrapped her arm around his neck to lift her. Her knees buckled from the sheer pleasure of his touch, his smell, the thought of being glued against the side of his body, his everything. “I’ll be the one to hold you down, kiss you so hard…” began playing through her mind but stopped as she felt something cold press against her. As she lifted her head she bumped an eyebrow into binoculars. There was a slight prick.
“Easy now. You’re going into shock…”