Stevie was in a relatively good mood. He hadn’t managed to make any inroads into the undercover job he was doing on Mark Tanenworth, but he always enjoyed chatting with the man. In fact they had become quite good friends. Mark was an oddball – harmless and quick to make a joke at his own expense. Stevie could never quite figure out why he would want to stay working in the grime of his family business when he seemed to have the makings of an artist. His obscure point of view on the world would surely capture the imaginations of a small but significant following. Were he truly performing his duties as a doctor (or even a friend), Stevie would suggest this to Mark but he had to remember why he was helping Mark in the first place – to help himself.
There were no two ways about it, and though Stevie had managed to hide from some inconvenient truths, this one was much too obvious. Stevie had had personal suspicions of the Citadel Inc empire for a long time but it was foolish for a sentry level police officer to try and undertake a case against the biggest corporation in the world – plus he had little idea as to what exactly Citadel Inc may be guilty of and even less evidence. He had decided to bypass the suppressing weight of due process and instead made it a little hobby of his to investigate the multi-national corporation in his free time. It was initially a mammoth task. He had no real foundation to build upon. But one day he got lucky.
He had stumbled upon Mark a little more than a year ago. He was in a bar staring at a shot of scotch. It was the first of the night and potentially the first of many in a binge he was planning to use to kick start a career in alcoholism. Just moments after he had decided it was time to drink, the table was knocked carelessly by a bumbling individual and the shot was sent skidding off the surface and smashed on the floor.
“Woah! Sorry about that, buddy! Let me buy you a new one.” Stevie recognised him immediately. He had seen him many times in his tedious research. “What were you drinking?”
“Scotch.” He said truthfully.
“Sounds like a treat!” he turned to the barmen, “Two scotches, mate.” And back to Stevie, “Don’t mind if I join you for it do ya?”
Stevie eyed him for a moment. His heart was racing at the shock and his brain racing even faster at the chance. “I guess so,” he said warily before deciding to a welcoming tone to his voice, “better put it on some rocks though.”
The two of them had proceeded to chat and clicked immediately. Stevie was surprised at how easy it was to talk and how different Mark was to his expectations. He managed to disguise the fact that he was a cop, instead claiming his former profession as a psychologist and by the end of the night when they were both quite drunk and merry (Mark had managed to strike out with three different ladies). Stevie suggested they stay in touch.
“Of course!” Mark exclaimed, no longer in full control of his volume, “Maybe when we’re less drunk you get help me with some of my issues.” He tapped the side of his head before adding dramatically, “Save me from this woesome life I lead!” Stevie laughed. He would probably have assumed Mark were gay if not for the strike outs (and the fact that he was straight as a flag pole compared to the flambouyant Taylor). He also appreciated the irony that he should save Mark when just hours ago Mark had inadvertently spilled scotch all over Stevie’s plans to become an alcoholic.
Since that day Mark had been coming weekly to sit with Stevie and talk out his problems. It was a semi professional operation and though the friendship never reached the heights of the initial meeting, they always enjoyed the appointments. As for Stevie’s investigation, Mark had still forbidden himself to reveal anything of significance about his occupation and Stevie did likewise.
It was a similar story that afternoon as Mark exited the front door and Stevie sat down to read over his notes. He connected a few blurry dots between some jaded ideas but ended with a nothing more than a dented up outline of a car. He probed a few of the sites and blogs that shared his distrust for the operations over at Citadel Towers but it was more of the same rumours and heresay. Some even claimed the involvement of robot soldiers and break and enters into the Towers themselves. Stevie found himself, as usual, quite bored and exceptionally restless. He wished at this point that he could find a passion in music or video games or hookers but they all seemed rather empty and so instead he turned to the emptiest of them all and switched on the TV. He flicked around a few channels until, in a moment that disgusted him, he landed on Channel 8 and watched as Tony “Papa” Holdsworth (as the news meter read) interviewed a timid and overwhelmed Walter Wallace.
Notes to the Text