Sunday, October 28, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 84

Manny Holdsworth watched as his phone lit up again with a call. He turned it face down atop his wallet, the vibrations absorbed into the leather. The network had been calling him for the past few hours. Once the special with his father got rolling, he received calls from journalists hoping to get an inside scoop. These people claimed to be his friends and colleagues but he had seen a sad truth ever since he had become a story; he was just fodder for other people’s ambition. And he would do the same – he had done before – and he would not feel remorse. He would expect that they would understand. Like this was all just some big game where nothing held any underlying value; they all just agreed to some rules and tried to have some fun. It was sad.

His phone lit up again. He checked it, despite himself; laughed wryly as he saw the smiling photo of Terry Handle, his agent. He lay the device back down, swearing he wouldn’t check it next time – she wasn’t going to call.

Manny was at Casper’s, an exclusive bar that he regularly frequented to drink without the interference of other drunks. Most people could contain themselves around famous personalities while sober, but after a few drinks they generally felt entitled to demand another show from their favourite TV monkey. Casper’s filtered out the muck. They also had a live jazz band on Sundays.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 83

Stevie pulled his car up a block and a half from the Royal Plaza Hotel in Heartsfield. The hotel was busy with activity out the front with camera crews and curious onlookers jostling for position on the sidewalk and threatening to spill out onto the main road and interrupt the traffic. It would not have mattered too much as there was a traffic jam from the inconveniently parked vans and two separate car crashes – not to mention a slight majority of the onlookers appeared to be a rag-tag band of protestors who saw interruption as their main objective.

“Hey look, The Strays are out there,” Phil said brightly. He was seated in the passenger seat and craning his neck to get a better view of the scene.

The pair had driven two straight hours to arrive in Heartsfield shortly after seeing out the end of the Tony Holdsworth special. They had hoped, rather foolishly in the end, to be able to intercept Walter before he was taken away by Citadel Inc for what Stevie imagined to be an unpleasant final chapter. On the way, however, they had heard the news reports, that there was an altercation outside the hotel between two men and Lucy Blues. Dr Blues reportedly claimed she was to escort Walter from the premises and, after getting I her car with Walter she sped off down the street, running red lights and causing the two major incidents.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 82

Sam Tank looked as his reflection in the mirror. He adjusted his tie and smoothed out the fit of his suit. He was smiling; his reflection wasn’t – it was not part of his demeanour to reveal a true emotion. Each expression was a construct of his will and a tool of manipulation. Like a method actor he found it fitting not to let the facade down in between scenes, and coming off the interview with Tony Holdsworth he knew there would be a slew of attempts to gain his opinion from the journalist body. He would give them a soft smile; a warm ambience; he would break them through patience and earnest sense of duty, all the while reinforcing his message, and guiding them to their next conclusive headlines. People like Brian Smithwaite would dictate a headline; Sam would orchestrate one.

The door to his dressing room opened aggressively. Tony Holdsworth came in like a domesticated bear, or an overgrown Labrador, looking to slobber his affection in hugs and kisses – Tony did not know the full boundaries of the game.

“Sammy!” he said, with a buddy-esque gravel to his voice. He reminded Sam of Boss when he was younger, over excited at the success of a powerplay. Sam reciprocated the sentiment, keeping Tony in his vulnerable comfort zone. “We fucking knocked that one out of the park, Sammy!”

Walter Wallace - Chapter 81

Walter Wallace was packing a few of his belongings into a backpack. He was not exactly working at any urgent pace despite the warnings he had been given. His head was in a clouded space. His thoughts moved as though they were enshrouded in the fog, unsure of taking a step forward because it could well be in the wrong direction.

He struggled to grasp the significance of the recent telecast with Tony Holdsworth and Dr Sam Tank. Any pride that he had felt at being the world’s happiest man – which in itself was only a pride that surfaced when he used his position to help people – felt dirty. It had been switched up on him like a practical joke. What help had he been? What good was he? What was the point of Lucy and Sam and everybody making him such a big star if it was just going to hurt people?

His mind was constantly brought back to Lucy. He had put her up on a pedestal, almost idolised her – or at least the idea of being with her – but she had been so weak when he called. Was she hiding from him? Was she planning to run away from him again? She had been just as weak when he was first discovered, when he needed someone to help bear the burden of the spotlight. And now when that spotlight, that magnifying glass, had been turned up, focussing the heat of the midday Sun on a tiny red dot on his forehead she was nowhere to be seen.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 80

Stevie could barely feel his face. The blood had drained so absolutely that he had been unable to stand. The footage of Mark Tanenworth’s final words before raising a gun to his head would be burnt into his memory for the rest of his life. He felt 100% responsible for his old friend’s demise. Mark had practically rescued Stevie from the edge of alcoholism and oblivion, but in return Stevie had exploited and lied to the man, leaving him out in the cold to suffer.

“This is fucking bullshit!” Phil said angrily, gesturing at the television like a tennis player at a bad ‘out’ call. He was looking at Stevie as though he were the referee. Stevie withdrew from himself a little, giving Phil a concurring glance, vainly trying to disguise his undercurrent of emotion.

“What’s up with you?” Phil asked, dismissing the weak charade.

“I knew him.”

“Who? Walter?”

“No. Well, yes, but I mean Mark Tanenworth. The man who shot himself, I knew him.”

“Yeah, well, serves him right; Citadel scum – by birth no less.”

Stevie winced at the crude comment. “You don’t understand; he was my friend.”

“Didn’t you say you pretended to be his shrink to try infiltrate the enemy?”

It was not an attack but Stevie felt the full force of the matter of fact comment. He looked back at the television, swallowing back a hint of a tickle in his throat. He would grieve on his own time, this was too important.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 79

Boss Citadel mashed his fists against each other, creating a chorus of cracks as the air between his knuckles gave way. He was grinding his teeth and his breath flared through his nostrils like a dragon warming up the fire before an attack. The hair on his arms and neck stood to attention as though a cold chill coursed through his veins, but he could feel only a rising heat, as though the fire had kindled, his target clearly in sight.

Sammy Tank had gone too far. It was one thing to break a man’s nose in the privacy of his office; it was a whole other matter parade his brother’s suicide on an international scale.

“The Band of Unston has become wide reaching, Tony. The man we just saw footage of is Mark Tanenworth, the second richest man in the world, brother of Boss Citadel. Even the lofty heights of capitalism royalty cannot outstay the reach of the William Unston Effect. The strength of Walter’s EE is magnified exponentially by the broadcast schedule he maintains, the negative collateral damage is ever nearing catastrophic levels.”

Walter Wallace - Chapter 78

Lucy Blues felt physically ill. This was her worst nightmare. The shame and frustration swirled around her head and the aspirin wasn’t kicking in. She watched as the man she thought she knew so well, the man she briefly believed she would spend the rest of her life with, sat next to Tony Holdsworth and told the world that she had provided them with nothing but a false prophet.

“As you know William Unston called Walter Wallace on a live taping that I was actually hosting.” Tony Holdsworth began as the program returned from commercial. He looked directly into the camera with his solemn, returned-from-the-other-side tone. Lucy found it very grating.

“At the time Walter was just starting out on his adventure and it was his first really structured interview. We opened up his mind to the in-studio audience and then to the greater public. It was here that William took Walter on in a heavy philosophical debate. It was a fairly one-sided affair, commentators have described it as a final nail in the coffin of Mr Unston. He was assured of his own disease and the need to end his life. Walter’s arguments – had they been strong enough – would have compelled him to live on. But of course we know that didn’t turn out to be the case.”

Lucy was fuming. She had not been around for that event but she had seen replays of it. It was an ambush by a sadistic depressive. Walter could not be expected to talk someone off the cliff edge on a live telecast without warning. Besides, the suicide was never confirmed – no body, no records. It was blatant hearsay and she was disgusted to see Sammy a part of it.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 77

Walter Wallace had grown fairly accustomed to hearing his own name by now. It was impossible to pass a newspaper, talk show or cafe without hearing somebody referencing him in some way or another. It was a notable change to how his name had previously fared – usually delivered in an aggressive scream or with cruel disregard by his former boss at the station. But while the original sentiment had always been quite innocent and topical he had noticed a growing sense of criticism. He was watching an example of that right now.

Tony Holdsworth was driving his comeback special with an obvious hint of distrust in the “Walter Wallace Myth” - Walter couldn’t help but feel a twang of anger at the title. It gave the impression that he had orchestrated the grand affair himself and the negativity that rippled out from the backwash was all part of the plan. He had been on countless programs and interviews and specials and he consistently sought to reiterate that he never claimed or aspired to be what they said he was, and he only answered questions out of a personal choice to try to help when asked.

“People are drawn to the Walter Wallace promise. He is another quick fix. He is as effective as a bowl of ice cream in cheering somebody up but sadly that sugary treat is not a long term solution; instead you are likely to get some pretty rough side effects.”

Walter Wallace - Chapter 76

Brian Smithwaite was no longer on his couch in his office at Channel 8 studios. He had left out of a despairing necessity. He had slept on that couch, eventually switching his cell off to avoid the constant buzzing and beeping. The next morning he had turned it on again after a rush of motivation – surely he was bigger than this mere obstacle – but after chatting with some of his people he had picked up the trace of what Tony Holdsworth was planning. He didn’t know the extent of it, but it fit in perfectly with the disturbing direction that Citadel Inc was heading. His suspicions were confirmed; he was a spent force. Not just personally but professionally. He had milked the Walter Wallace cow through the prime of its media viability; now there were bigger pay offs. Now there was Sam Tank.

The man who he despised so much was now on the television screen chatting to another man equally despicable. Tony Holdsworth stretched out a welcoming hand as the much shorter and thinner Sam Tank – or “Dr” Sam Tank – took it graciously. It was infuriating and humiliating for Brian to see this unfolding. Sam had beaten him; Tony had beaten him. This was their lap of honour – or maybe Brian had quit before the race had even finished. But despite all the negativity Brian could not look away. He loved television as a medium for spectacle and manipulation and now he was witnessing what may have been the boldest move in manipulation ever.

“Dr Tank – may I call you Sam?” Tony asked, Sam nodding politely. “Well, Sam, it is a pleasure to have you with us tonight.”

“Pleasure to be here.”

“Now I’ve prefaced your appearance as best I could without wanting to misrepresent you, so how about you give us a brief outline of why you’re here.”

“Of course,” Sam replied. “You see, around 8 years ago I published a theory in a relatively unknown journal about the interconnected emotions that living beings emit and receive. It is an invisible and seemingly untraceable force and is often the foundations of concepts such as ESP, déjà vu, coincidence - jinxing is another.

“Basically many of the traits we consider superstitions – even faith to a certain degree – could be explained by this phenomenon.

“This force, or energy, has been explored for centuries and acknowledged in many cultures, but modern science has been quick to dismiss it as voodoo simply because we have found no tangible measurement.”

“Mmm, and how did your study differ to the voodoos and witch doctors of the past?” Tony challenged as per the script.

“Well back then it was still a theory – probably why it was so tough to get it published and recognised – but I hypothesised a means of measuring the force, capturing it as more than just a qualitative assumption, turning it into numbers.”

“And did it work?”

“In theory.”

Tony took the pace down a notch. He was releasing the information to the viewers nice and slowly – like a drip of morphine to a cancer patient. It was also common practice in television to keep science to a minimum, but since this show was clearly all about the science so Tony was just easing the pressure on the viewer’s brain, reviewing the information so that it is clearly understood. It was exactly how Brian would have done it. It made the viewer eager and anxious for more - that was exactly how Brian felt right now.

“So this all happened 8 years ago. Why has it taken so long for anything to materialise?”

“Well like I said it was only a theory and it would require a bold mind to actually try implement the testing and funds required. The assumptions alone made it a risky venture.”

“But then someone so bold did come along, did they not?”

“Yes Doctor Blues was a very bold woman indeed. We met by chance actually. In a bar of all places. We talked as little and found that we were actually working in a similar field – an existential science if you will. She was looking for a way to define happiness, to solve the world’s woes.”

“Perhaps her own as well.” Tony added.

“Well that’s actually more insightful than you may think but we’ll get into that a little further on. I showed her my work and she was instantly taken. She contacted me some weeks later with an actual working prototype that could measure, within a small range some of the energy from people in the immediate area. We even managed to pick up small interference from her pets.” Sam said with a smile.

“So what did you call this energy?”

“Well Lucy used to call it Emotion Emitions as a joke and then we ended up saying EE.”

Sam had this nostalgic air of confidence to him as he spoke of Lucy. Had he fucked her or was he just trying to give the impression that he had. He was good; frustratingly good. Tony took it to commercial and Brian put the TV to mute – he never watched commercials. The break from the flashing lights and buzzing sounds gave him some time to think again, but he was at a loss for what action to take.

He sat on the end of his bed in a motel room. He had nowhere to go and no one to call. His brain recognised the shitty situation he had found himself in and he was again swallowed with anxiety. For the thousandth time that day he imagined killing himself. This time it was hanging from the loop of his tie in the empty wardrobe. He visualised himself being found by the motel cleaner the next morning, at first being mistaken for a forgotten suit before she screamed. It was too comical. And the fact that he saw it as comical proved that he had never really considered mortality attached to it, only the reaction it would generate. He needed another plan.

The commercial went into an advert for another program on Channel 8, which meant Tony and Sam would be back soon. Brian did have another plan. It was much bolder than his teenage necking fantasies. He could get one back on the higher ups at Citadel, back at Tony Holdsworth and that cunt Sam. He could get the word out on the real plans that the company had. The only problem was finding a viable source. He knew better than anyone that the media was pointless – unless he wanted to put a freelancer on a very undesirable hitlist. He could start a blog but he rolled his eyes at the thought of it. Ultimately he knew that warning Walter was the only real action worth taking.

He had convinced himself to do it, that it was the only noble course of action, but still found it very hard to pick up the phone. He knew there were worse ways to be found than hanging limp in a wardrobe. The special came on and Brian played around with his phone idly as he watched the story unfold. It was riveting. He would call next commercial break.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 75

Tony Holdsworth could feel the sickening swirl in his stomach. This is what he lived for. This buzz was better than any near-fatal dose of prescription meds.

He stared down the thick lens of the camera dead in front of him. He checked he was on his mark. He took a deep breath to ease his nerves. His heart jumped as the first lines popped up on the teleprompter. But he didn’t need those today. He felt like a kid again. Just like his first show – that camp variety hour from more than three decades ago – he had memorised his monologue. He wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. Tony Holdsworth was back and he was going to make it a bang.

As a pro, as the veteran, he had let his game slide. He had forgotten his roots and his fundamental philosophy of hard work. His ego had taken hold of him and made him complacent. It was his fault and he didn’t blame Brian Smithwaite for what happened to him. Smithwaite only fast tracked the inevitable (that didn’t let the slimeball off the hook, though).

Tony had gained the upper hand. He had the momentum now, and more importantly he had the backing. If he wanted he could make a simple back bencher power play and take over the network, but he wanted to shame Smithwaite the way he himself had been shamed. He wanted to beat him at his own game; take it all away from him. Tonight was the first step. In a week Channel 8 would be his.

The camera went live.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 74

“My name is Mark Tanenworth and I see the truth.”

Mark Tanenworth was reading from the manifesto. He had read it before, thinking it was a joke at first, and kept it as possible material for his stand-up. He had been performing at some open mics for the last week or so but it had been far from the saving grace which he had been looking for. The lack of interest and the fact that nobody was into his jokes had left him disenchanted. He had expected this to be the turning point in his life, but it seemed to be more like a slap in the face from a hand reaching out to save him.

The second night of his stand up career he drank for courage, but he still couldn’t get any laughs. He drank afterwards too and woke up the next day with a bad cut above his eye and a sore shoulder.

“Walter Wallace is a fraud and a conspiracy. He is a puppet and a puppeteer and you are the act – you are your own audience, incapable of understanding happiness as it is no longer on the channel you are watching.”

The third night Mark blacked out again after bombing on stage. The fourth he was ready to pass out before he had even taken the stage. “Is anybody else out there really fucking depressed? I mean what’s the point of all this? Walter Wallace...this guy comes out of nowhere and tells me to do a fucking crossword. I wanna find one fucking person who feels better for seeing his face on the screen every fucking night. How about they just stick some blonde whore with a dick in her ass and a clit on her face night after night and I’m sure we would see some fucking morale boosts.” The next morning he had found the manifesto in his pocket.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 73

Boss Citadel sat pensively as Sammy recounted the minutes of the meeting. After each meeting the two usually had an update between themselves of the matters with the chance to touch on more delicate and confidential topics. Not all present at the meeting should be privy to the full disclosure at times and it helped to have this freedom to flesh out the issues. Of course these one on one meetings were generally a case of Sammy talks and Boss listens which Boss often found quite grating in a purely primal sense. He hated the sense of being talked down to like a teacher lecturing his pupil but was generally helpless to improve his position as Sammy was more informed and a better talker.

But on this occasion it was more than just a pissing contest that was chipping away at his patience. A thought had come to him recently while watching a Walter Wallace special. Walter had been asked how he handles the weight of responsibility in helping so many people. He replied by mentioning that he had recently considered the idea of ‘what if he was no longer the happiest man in the world?’ – He still had things in life that he found important and if he knew someone might be able to help him achieve them then he could only hope that they might care to do so, and the only way he could justify his position was to do his best while he could.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 72

“So you’re like a full on conspiracy nut!” Phil exclaimed.

Stevie had to force back a smile. The two were sitting together at the back of a small cafe. They were in a town called Simpson West, which was more of a north east bearing from the more populated Simpson. Phil had joked that the founder must have been the town drunk from ‘ye olde Simpson’, “got his marching orders after one too many piss ups and, headed west but, unable to walk straight, had swung around nearly 180 degrees before finally setting up shop in the deserted plains of Simpson West.”

“Maybe he just had his map upside down,” Stevie had retorted.

Stevie imagined Mark Tanenworth would have appreciated the silliness. His old friend probably thought Stevie was dead by now. He wondered if Mark had built up the courage to leave Citadel; felt a pang of guilt at not telling him to do so from day one. In the end the undercover job had barely garnered any worth except convicting Stevie to a life on the run. He would have had much better results just helping his friend and sharing a couple more silly jokes.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 71

Manny Holdsworth stood next to his wife Sarah with a big smile on his face, “It’s just incredible, really really incredible. We thought he was gone.” He had his arm around Sarah’s back in a family friendly embrace but he couldn’t help but feel a tenseness from her. “I mean you have people write up these TV shows or movies, or even variety hour specials, but the real drama is here – right here in this room.” There was no way Sarah could have known. It had all been on the road, three times in total. Maybe he was just imagining it.

“And Sarah, you must be thrilled to have Papa Holdsworth back.” The reporter asked her.

She tensed up even more and put on a big, warm smile, “Yeah it really is amazing. He’s such a sweet man.” Manny looked at his wife. He thought of her sacrifice to him, the position a woman takes beside a man of ambition. She was still an attractive woman, would have made a career out of journalism if she stayed at it. But Emily came along when she was 25 – Manny 28 – and they married and Sarah became a stay-at-home mum.

“So what were your first words like with your father – after he woke up, I mean?”

Manny paused, instinctively generating a TV moment, “I just said ‘Welcome back, Dad’; gave him a hug and said ‘I hope you’re ready.’”

“And was he ready?”

“He said ‘Let me at ‘em.’”

Walter Wallace - Chapter 70

Brian Smithwaite sat slouched in the lounge of his office. That gut-wrenching emptiness pulsed inside of him, a physical illness born from his unrelenting dread. It was over for him. Life as he knew it - maybe life itself - was under imminent peril and all he could do was sit and dwell in it. He felt too sick to act, too slow. He had always been a man of instinct and confidence, but now his instinct was telling him to run. Only he felt bound to his position, he owned that station and it was nothing without him. And to run was futile. Phil would find that out in time.

The evening news was showing on mute on the TV opposite his lounge. Around it were other smaller TV screens displaying the various other programs on offer on the other channels. Brian remembered the days when he would sit and meditate on the collage of mind-numbing spectacles. He would see the patterns, he could recognise the gaps in supply, and he would fill them. He wanted everyone to be engaged with their TV set, no matter what demographic, for the maximum amount of time. He understood the simplicity that drove people to escape in these machines. He was good at it - the best - but it was all just a game to him. His ambition lay in high scores. What was unfolding now was outside the rules. It was outside of the four corners of the screen that was his ring; his title meant little out there, points were scored differently.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 69

The chance was lost. It was close, but never so close that it could be taken, only close enough to see it. This was maybe the easiest range to observe the chance. Not so lofty and intangible as a fantasy and not so agonising as failure. It was the stance of an intellectual who could admire the chance but never be seduced by it. There was an enjoyment, stifled as it may be, but also there was no real comedown. But perhaps the intellectual’s shortcomings is through cynicism, an inability to engage with the chance. But maturity was recognising this and containing it. And moving on. Moving on was part of life and leaving the chance forever was death. Am I dead? Is this death? This vacancy? It’s not so bad. But I would enjoy that chance again.

“Pop?” a voice called out. “Pop! You’re awake! You’re alive. Thank God! Thank baby Jesus! Hell, thank Buddha buddy for all I care, mah poppa’s alive!”

Stevie’s vision was still blurry when he felt the awkward embrace. He still felt a vacuum of loss inside of him as he became aware of his new surroundings. The clarity of his dream evaporated like water on a hot stove as he took in the white decor, the ancient TV, the steady beeping – he was in hospital.

He looked at his embracer, “Phil?”

“Phil? Pop it’s me! Your boy, Sonny! Your Sonny boy, Pop! I can’t believe you’re OK. Doctors said ‘No chance, Sonny, no chance your Pop’s gonna make it’, but I said ‘No!’ coz I knew you was tougher than them. I knew it Pop!”

Phil looked down at Stevie with a eye-twinkling sincerity. He tilted his head and Stevie caught on, “Sonny,” he said weakly, the air coarse in his lungs.

“Oh Pop, you remember me!” Stevie went into a coughing fit, the pain was excruciating.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 68

Lucy Blues looked stunning. Dr Lucy Blues. The woman who came into his life and turned the whole world on its head. She was too smart, too special for this world. She was too beautiful and her sadness only made her more desirable. She sat on the edge of the bed, her naked back long and defined as she ran her fingers through the tangles in her hair. It fell across her shoulders and down towards her breast. She looked back over her shoulder and smiled at him. It was so warm, so honest and yet it seemed to bear so much pain; a longing for something good in this world.
From the frame of the bathroom door Manny Holdsworth smiled back.

His own inner torture bore down on him as he walked over and kissed her. Sarah’s face flashed through his mind and he let her lips go. He lowered his forehead and rested it on the bridge of her nose.

“I told her we were under strict security measures,” he said still resting in her support, “I keep lying to her.”

Lucy put her hands on the side of his head, she caressed his cheek, rasping against the stubble and gently raising his eyes to meet hers. They stared at each other without words, without tangible communication or understanding. She kissed him. Drew his weight towards her and backed slowly to the middle of the bed. He followed her without resistance or resignation. He could not argue with this feeling. More than emotion. He felt only shame when he admitted to himself that he never felt this way for Sarah; never this strong.

Walter Wallace Chapter 67

Boss rotated the dog tags in his hands slowly. He sat in his office today, enjoying the jaded almost nostalgic ambience it created. It featured deep wood tones and a curtained natural light. He didn’t use it too often because it was located somewhere in the middle of Citadel Towers and he could never remember what number floor it was on. Today he had guessed correctly and saw it as a sign that this is where he should be. He felt in control here. Things were going right. He would handle his business without relying on the little prick Sammy.

His number one agent stood on the opposite side of the old antique desk. Despite having little warning and been incorrectly instructed to head to the penthouse for the meeting he was on time; early in fact.

“You’re late.” Boss said, not acknowledging him with eye-contact.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 66

Stevie was not feeling well. He had been out on the streets for over a month now, the last few weeks being particularly rough. His poor attempt at stitching himself up after being stabbed had resulted in a heavy wad of scar tissue developing around his collar bone, and the string of cold nights in alleyways and under bridges had left his lungs slightly flooded. He was in desperate need of a stay in hospital. And more importantly he was hungry.

But Stevie had more pressing matters at hand. He drew the rim of his hat down as the man passed behind his seat. On the counter in front of him he had an empty seven ounce glass, his keys and the barman’s old bar rag. He began slowly wrapping the towel around his right hand with the patience of a boxer. The man spoke to the other patron at the bar.

“Well look who we have here” he said with a sinister tone of victory, “Phil! It’s been a long time.”

Phil looked up with a fearful expression. The Citadel agent took a step towards him. Stevie placed his glass in his bandaged hand and silently turned on his stool.

“C’mon Phil, don’t act like you don’t remember me.”

Walter Wallace - Chapter 65

Phil was watching in disbelief as the TV screen above the bar hummed monotonously over a rainbow patterned image. He was sipping water through a straw in a deserted pub three hours from home. He had been kicked off an intercity rail service for not paying the fare - he had money but always refused to pay for anything owned by Citadel Inc. He had planned to go home first and try take his mum’s car but realised that they would know and he would have to dump it. Instead he wrote a text to her saying he loved her but would have to go away for a while, asked her not to help anyone find him.

She would be worried but he was safe as long as he moved. He had money, withdrew a few thousand plus the cash that he always kept out of sight of banks and government. The rest would be frozen or watched. His laptop abandoned, phone given away, any clothes that he had snatched up were already filthy because he never washed them; a true fugitive out into the wild. It was all exciting at the time, romantic almost, but now he was starting to feel scared. Fear was the price for freedom.

Finally after what had seemed like hours, Channel 8’s broadcast came back on. They were in the news studios with breaking news banners and scroll bars shooting all over the screen. The telecast had stopped after the strange audience member was brushed aside. After a few moments there were screams heard and then a loud bang which Phil recognised as a gunshot. It had given him chills as the audience seemed to be running from something and then the coverage was cut off. Was there a madman running loose? Was there an attack? The barman thought it was a bomb, terrorism if you ask him. Phil was cautious to agree and glued to the screen still after the old barmen lost interest and polished some glasses.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 64

Whisky holstered his gun and headed straight for the girl. He had hit her chest but couldn’t be 100% sure it was fatal. The distance to the girl and the fact that he only had his handgun meant that she could have anywhere up to an hour of life if left to bleed out. She was still the immediate threat, potentially able to set the bomb off herself, or perhaps the device had a second trigger from a remote location. Either way Whisky would be lucky to get there in time to find out but his duty compelled him to neutralise the threat.

He had already made a rapid descent from his vantage point in the scaffolding, stage left and just in view of the audience, and was trying to push through the waves of people fleeing for the exits. He stepped up onto an empty seat in the adjacent aisle and looked towards the back of the theatre to where the girl had been standing. The retreating masses seemed to peel away from the point in a perfect circle like a ripple moving in slow motion.

Whisky stepped up and balanced himself on the top of the back of the seat, the soft cushioning giving way to a thin sturdy metal frame. He leapt from seat to seat, quickly closing the distance before being cut off by the people again. An alarm sounded out in some vain attempt at protocol and a voice came over the speaker asking for calm. Whisky worked his way through the final perimeter of the ripple, aggressively pushing the last few people away and sprinted to the limp body in aisle 76.

Walter Wallace Chapter 63

Tori Thompson sat towards the back of the audience at the Royal Theatre in Heartsfield. Her heart was beating furiously, her stomach churned like a heavy duty washer. Less than fifty metres away she could see Walter Wallace sitting on stage with Manny Holdsworth and Charles Wentwot, a professor of academics or something who spoke with the 50% of the dictionary that Tori didn’t know..

She used to have such admiration for Walter, a schoolgirl crush on Manny, but that was forgotten, like a dark history suppressed from the current psyche. It didn’t matter now anyway, her mind was not on the show tonight; instead she was focussed on the task she had been given. She was scared.

“Now let’s have a few questions from the audience. Anybody out there in this historic amphitheatre have something they would like to ask Walter?” Manny looked out over the crowded theatre like a captain scanning the open seas. Tori’s heart kicked it up a gear. This was her moment.

The first question was something about religion. Walter answered with his usual drawl and the people approved. Despite her fears Tori could see through the charade. William had explained to her the falseness of the show, the obedience of the people and the ultimate beneficiaries, the exclusive beneficiaries: Citadel Group. Her fire was reignited and her purpose felt clearer. She closed her eyes and saw William’s face in front of hers. She remembered how he had felt, the emotion that he withdrew from her. He understood her. He loved her. That is why she was chosen.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 62

Mark Tanenworth stood stiff behind the microphone. Internally he felt as if he was having a seizure, his nervous system had lost order and was abuzz with chaotic electric impulses. Externally he was a pillar of inaction, ten storey buildings could withstand an earthquake on his foundation. He shouldn’t be here, couldn’t handle it, but now he was here he couldn’t leave. He had walked into his own trap, the trap he had set for himself thinking it would be his escape. So what now?

“C’mon buddy, only get five minutes so use ‘em up.”

The call had come from just left of stage. The MC for the night was smoking a cigarette and watching Mark with a sort of vacancy in his eyes. Mark looked out over the smattering of people in attendance, filling up one or two seats per row. He cleared his throat and glanced down at the sweat smeared notes in his palm. It felt nice to look down here so he began to talk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 61

Tori Thompson was checking back regularly on BullCit to see if people were liking her comments. It was a mixed reaction and a few criticisms had made her instantly second guess herself, but that all became irrelevant when the Private Message arrived.

William Unston, from whom the message came, was quite taken by her passion. He had said she was one of the enlightened ones to realise so early of the deception that was taking place. But he also mentioned that one blog on the internet was not a catalyst for change, less so a few lines of comments lost in the rabble. But there were jolts to the greater psyche of men and women that could deliver them from their brainwashing incubation.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 60

Brian Smithwaite sat, coolly stroking his chin. He was in his office at the network headquarters trying not to let his anger overheat. Tank he thought to himself, Tank did it.

He refreshed the page; read again the latest post. His cheeks were flaring, he felt ridiculed. There were already 7,000+ comments on the blog, it was getting featured on major news and entertainment sites. Social networks were abuzz with discussion. Smithwaite closed his eyes and took a short, slow breath, softly grinding his teeth in a censored version of the grating anger he wanted to express.

His phone rang. “He’s gone; left most of his stuff.”

“Freeze his assets. Put a trace on his bank account, his phone, anything else we have access to.”

“Yes, sir.”

Smithwaite hung up the phone. He rocked back in his office chair and stretched his hands up and rested them on his head. He needed to remain cool to help him make his decisions, but at the moment his head was flooded with visions of smashing that little shit’s face to a pulp. Maybe he should get in contact with Chips, the rogue henchman that shot Phil into fame. Put him on the kid’s tail and give him a license to kill. The idea was appealing, almost intoxicating to Brian. He hadn’t ever cared much for ordering a kill, not like the thug mentality of Boss, but in this instance he felt personally sabotaged. But he had kept his anger in check for a reason and that was so he could make long term decisions, and ordering a hit was not a feasible long term strategy.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 59

Tori Thompson used to love Walter Wallace. She thought he was so great to dedicate his happiness to the world. Just 20 minutes ago her whole life revolved around the ticket she had to see his show tomorrow night at The Royal in Heartsfield.

But there are some people in the world who are steadfast in their opinion and cannot be broken by rhyme or reason. There are others who find themselves easily swayed by an emotive piece but are fully aware of their malleable mindset and keep it in check; then there are people like Tori Thompson who felt steadfast in her opinion, all the while completely oblivious to the manipulation and hypnosis that moulds her to the will of a third party. She had just finished reading Hippy Flip’s latest blog entitled “The Real Walter Wallace” and felt her usual compulsion to share her steadfastness:

You know everyone is just so in love with Walter Wallace. They think he can just dedicate his loving self to the world and we will all feel as happy as he is. How arrogant! What has Walter Wallace done to deserve all this praise? I heard he is receiving $3m an episode for his show and all he does is sit around while other people and talk. Who is happier? Not me. I’m angrier and it is about time we stood up for our rights!

Walter Wallace - Chapter 58

“Walter!” Angela said, “What the fuck was that?!”

Walter looked at her, his smile fading as he recognised the anger on her face. “I was pretending?” he said, his weak excuse coming out as a question.

“No. No you don’t pretend OK? You are you. People don’t come to see the World’s Happiest Man pretending to be a comedian. That’s what he is here for.” She pointed to Spriggs Casket who had just lit up a cigarette and was bum-puffing away on it, the same convoluted irony that drove him to talk with an accent. Angela walked over and slapped it out of his hand.


“You can’t smoke on live TV. And if you do, it has to be one of our brands.”

“But that was me fag for me first gag.” He said, pausing and smiling as though he had just found the key ingredient to his life’s work. “Me fag for me gag.” He mused, staring into space.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 57

Tori Thompson was watching the strange Walter Wallace charity event on television. It had lots of ads. She received a message on her phone. It was an update from her email. She opened it frantically, afraid to let her hopes rise again, but unable to contain her excitement.

1 New Message: BullCit Subscription – New Post – The Real W...

Tori’s eyes lit up. Finally a new post on BullCit. She touched the link and it sent her through to the page. It was a long blog. She was going to enjoy this.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 56

“What the hell was that?!” Angela Beckford shrieked as the ‘on-air’ light flicked off.

Walter was clearly biting his tongue to hide the laughter. The show was barely 5 minutes old and it was already a disaster. He turned to Lucy, his accomplice in mischief, “Thanks,” he said sincerely.

“Anytime,” she replied, still getting out the last few laughs of her own. “You know everybody gets nervous, Walter, you just need to pretend. Everybody pretends, we fake it – but maybe that’s what makes you...different.”

Angela cleared her throat, “Umm, excuse me but I’m trying to reprimand you two before the commercial break ends. Do you have any idea how hard it is to structure a schedule to a live telecast? Usually the first half hour is OK but now we are thrown out for the rest of the show. AND IT’S ONLY BEEN THREE MINUTES!”

Angela had neither the lungs nor the temperament for screaming. Her screams became squeaks and it was almost cute to see her face flare up. But what she lacked in traditional leadership skills she made up for with her general niceness.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 55

Phil sat in his filthy trailer staring at his blank computer screen. Well not blank, just the template of a blog with no writing inside it. All great writer’s had been here. They had all toiled, blossomed and then struggled to keep it up or face the come down. This was the moment that defined them. And now that he was one of them he faced his defining moment. Or at least his first one. What was he waiting to write? What was he wanting to write? He had lost his direction, his motivation, his voice. Who was he to write? Why did he write? For whom? To what end? Fuck.

He wrote the curse across the screen. Bold, Size 20 font, cliché to the hilt.

BullCit was still pulling in hundreds of thousands of hits a day, even though it had not been updated for a week and a half. But more impressive was the decline from his regular 10 millions, his peak of 56,786,331 in one day. 24 hours. Sure a flavour of the month effect was to be expected, but he had not expected a drop in quality and content to be an issue.

He was allowed to continue his anti Citadel tirades but only on certain subjects. Regularly he was censored. Regularly he was ghost written. Regularly he was told to just cover the Walter show. In the media he was portrayed as a borderline psychopath, one shower away from the street corner apocalyptist. He did bits and TV spots as a gag to promote this image, as a binding contractual gag. He was the network loony. He didn’t need to skip any more showers, he was already an irrelevant force ranting at imaginary followers. His blog had become his street corner, the people that stared at him as they passed by were his hits.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 54

Walter Wallace stood rigid next to Lucy Blues as the cameraman counted down the last few seconds with his fingers. The brief silence was like a vacuum; Walter couldn’t breathe. He just had to wait until the moment passed. But it wouldn’t pass. It lingered on for seconds more. Angela was behind the camera trying to communicate in frantic sign language that even a baseball player wouldn’t understand. Walter’s face began to flush with heat, which meant – as he had learned by watching the tapes of some of his shows – his whole head was turning a deep tomato-ey red. Next would come the sweating. It was all going wrong straight away. He used to be able to do this and now he was frozen still with fear and inertia.

Stay in the moment the voice of his TV coach echoed calmly in his ear. Sure stay in the moment but at this moment nothing was happening! Why wouldn’t anyone talk? Just Lucy clearing her throat and nudging his elbow with hers. He liked that. His heart skipped a beat, but in the good way – actually he wasn’t sure it had been beating at all for the last 30 seconds. Why was Lucy nudging him? Did she like it as much as he did? Did she- Lucy cleared her throat again, more suggestively this time. Walter snapped out of his trance.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 53

Ricky Talk sat in the Myrtle T. Boardroom way high up in the Citadel tower. He sat hunched over in a chair that looked made for kindergarteners in comparison to his massive frame. The irony that his mental capacity was more suited to a kindergarten environment was very much lost on him. He was with a group of men but recognised only a few.

There was Brian Smith who always told you to wait after he said his name. He reminded Ricky of a snail without its shell. Ricky didn’t like Brian. There was Mark sitting slumped in his chair and looking down at his hands. Ricky stared at Mark with childlike discovery. He realised that he would sit like that when he did something wrong or if he got in trouble and Sam yelled at him. Had Sammy yelled at Mark? Ricky liked Mark and wanted to ask him if he was OK but Sammy had said no talking. There was Boss. He looked angry. Ricky was scared of Boss and didn’t want to look at him for too long or Boss might yell at him. Had Boss yelled at Mark? There was Sammy. Sammy was talking. He always talked. He walked and talked and pointed at computer pictures on the wall and talked. Ricky never understood much but it was fun to watch. Ricky loved Sammy.

He didn’t really have any clue what Sammy was saying – it was always like that – but he imagined it was something brave and inspiring. He saw Sammy as the hero in the movie, the one who kept everybody safe. And because of that Ricky felt it was his duty to keep Sammy safe. No matter what. Ricky may not be smart or clever or talk well like Sammy but he was big and strong and the only way he knew how to use his strength was to use it for Sammy. Because if Sammy was gone the world would no longer have a hero.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 52

Phil stared into the eye of God. He communicated through a oneness not of this earth. His mind had transcended his body and soared into the heavens.  A great heat bore down upon him, drawing him closer with gravitational intensity, yet falling away from him at the expanse of the universe. A beam of direct light anchored between his third eye chakra and the God-entity. It was here that fear held no sway over love. Only the most divine attain such privilege; only those brave enough to conquer the self and submit to the void belonged.

But Phil did not belong. He had not attained. He was not bereft of fear, merely no longer possessing the capacity to obey it. He could not look away.

Phil had heard of this place from the scriptures of ages past, a forgotten realm, betrayed and abandoned by that of men. The journey was all the more arduous; the disparity that must be traversed was inconceivable. All consuming, and unforgiving: a true God of the past.

But there was a portal discovered that linked this world to Phil’s. A key to the trapdoor that betrayed the path. It was the pure product of consumption that transformed space and time; the Devil that proves the Deity.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 51

Smithwaite was rather bored. It was all becoming too easy for him. The Walter Wallace saga had played out beyond anyone’s expectations. The natural drama and cosmic coincidence was enough to have half the world tuning in weekly. Lucy Blues wouldn’t sign anything more than a show by show contract which she read through quite diligently each appearance, but for some reason she was staying on. Maybe she liked Walt after all.

The Newport Haven Disaster Tragedy Massacre had all but blown over. From assimilating the outspoken hippy to twisting the angle of the coverage on Mark Tanenwoth’s idiocy it was all just too easy.

Smithwaite didn’t have proof but if he could take one thing from the event it was that it was planned. There was no reason for all those reporters to come to town without some insider tip off. He hadn’t placed it, but he did catch wind of it that morning. Tip offs always meant a good bit of drama but nobody had thought it would be so grand. Then there was the hippy assault, the Tanenworth comment (the subsequent disappearance of Nancy Hardwick after she broke the story), the outspoken terminal manager and Sam Tank’s request for assistance in covering up the commission’s proceedings.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 50

Sam Tank yawned. A scruffy looking man stood nervously before the commission. He wore a cheap suit that not only failed to match his tie but also the pants to the jacket. This was the fifth time the commission had gathered and the third time Mr Rhodes, the terminal manager at Newport Haven, had fronted them – one would assume he would have grown some confidence for the experience but there he stood, fumbling his speech worse than ever.

“So I must stress that after considering the safety protocols in place at the various levels of command this couldn’t have been an accident. And I- I am not sure how the commission feels about this information but there still hasn’t been any action!” his voice rose uncontrollably as he tried to spew out his sentiment. Sam glared at him until their eyes met and he immediately bowed his head to avoid the attention. “Fur- further, uh, more, I feel it is my duty as terminal manager and....and as a citizen to inform-” he looked up again, found Sam’s intensity still bearing down upon him, “To inform-” he exhaled , clearly distressed. “To inform the population with or without the approval of the board!” again he finished rather boisterously, his passion and anxiety lifting him for a moment before he shrank back down into his shell, cowering as if to repel the board’s response.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 49

For the fifth time that morning Mark Tanenworth put on his tie. It was a common monthly ritual he held in preparation for the Citadel general executives meeting. As General manager of CitaRail he would always attend these meetings with a slight flutter in his belly offset by a confidence that he would not be called on – the trains ran on schedule, like clockwork. In his 17 year tenure at the head of the rail network he had made very few decisions, faced no crises (until recently) and generally worked off the 20-year plan that the outgoing manager had provided him. There was a faint whistle of impending doom, like the cartoonish way that bombs fell from the sky, in that he had no ongoing plan beyond his predecessor’s vision, but that was still three years away. Plus a suicide bomber had beaten the falling shell to the punch in the form of the Newport Haven Disaster. Plus Mark needed to stop likening that incident to terrorism.

In the three weeks since the incident Mark had been in a state of mild depression, which seemed to compound on his already meagre self esteem. Instead of the tirade of abuse he had expected to receive, Simon had simply abandoned him the way that only a family member can do so. A simple text message received just after midnight on that horrid day read

Go home. Sammy will take care of it.

Simon had not snarled at him when they passed in the hallways of Citadel Towers, nor had he humiliated him, berated his ego as it sagged like a deflated balloon still strung up to the door as a welcome for a party already one month forgotten, wishing to be popped out of its misery, given a resting bed in the garbage, away from the glum expressions that it could once turn to smiles. But maybe the beration was required because Mark sat in his darkened room awaiting a directive, lacking a purpose, still strung to his old job.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 48

Walter felt happy for the first time in his life. It was a strange sensation, one he definitely was not familiar with despite the insistence of the world that he was the expert at it. He felt an excitement, a sense of potential. Each day he was engaged in the energy of the people around him. The tour was going great, the show was a lot of fun and they were genuinely helping people. He saw it in the audiences, read it in the letters, He did not know if his position was valid but he felt obliged to share whatever it was that he did know. And it seemed to be working.

The last three months had passed by in a second, yet he couldn’t imagine being able to recount even half of his experiences or emotions. They welled and stirred inside him like a pot of butterflies. He smiled as he looked into the mirror of his trailer. He had learnt so much about himself and others, how to express and share emotion, how to act and react, and when. Never why, though that was the question they always asked him. He studied the lines on his face as his smile faded. Was he still the same person?

No. Change was constant. Was he worse, better? He shrugged.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 47

Whisky sat in the passenger seat of a small rental in a town situated a few hours south of the city. Chips was in the driver’s seat. They had been taken off the Walter Wallace surveillance job for the last few weeks. It made Whisky anxious to be separated from the saga, from the man himself, but the logic was simple enough: the media circus had Walter on Big Brother coverage – no way he could escape – and the current job required Boss’s best. Perhaps the last part was the flaw in the logic, another cause for anxiety.

The pair, who were once the stars of the Cit Soldiers, seemed to be malfunctioning. Whisky himself was struggling to maintain his ever fluctuating emotions, while Chips, on the other hand, had developed an anger, a rage that culminated in him shooting a civilian.

The silence, which was not uncommon between them, now seemed to hang in the air like clothes taken out of the wash before the spin dry. Whisky had dreaded the feeble defence he had for letting down his partner at Newport Haven Terminal, but for reasons unknown Chips had never demanded an explanation. Was it because Chips knew where Whisky had gone? Did he doubt Whisky could deliver an excuse reasonable enough to maintain the partnership? Was he still debugging his own demons?

Walter Wallace - Chapter 46

The two weeks that followed the Newport Haven Train Disaster weren’t easy for Stevie. He had spent most the time watching the news and following the story on the internet. There was plenty of garbage to sort through - memorials, survival stories, heroic feats of bravery – most of it could be attributed to the Walter Wallace/Lucy Blues incident which had even included a mention of ‘Stevie the police officer’ who Walter had referred to in one interview as the real hero. The writer had taken the angle of using the information as an indicator of Walter’s modesty, his defection of glory. Stevie tried not to be bitter.

The other well documented story had been the shooting and alleged accusations against Citadel Inc from the self-titled Hippy Flip. This story had been a flicker of hope for Stevie in his personal endeavour to expose the multinational, but it was quickly made into a circus.

Hippy Flip, proprietor of the once anonymous conspiracy blog BullCit, was now a superstar, a good six minutes into his fifteen at the top of blogrolls around the web. The story of the shooting was conveniently swept under the rug, an exaggeration of Phil’s wacky persona. The kid is just being ironic, a sensationalist making a statement about the art of media deception. That was what they were saying. Stevie would have liked to give Phil the benefit of the doubt, surely his life was threatened, loaned to the devil, but he couldn’t help but see the fallacy in Phil’s exploitation, that the only irony was that he too was being deceived. Again Stevie tried not to be bitter.

Walter Wallace - Chapter 45

Boss Citadel was not in the brightest of moods. He gritted his teeth with every push of the button, sucking in his cheeks futily like a baby rejecting a pacifier. Every fucking channel. Every. Fucking. Channel.

“What the fuck do I buy 150 channels for if they are all going to show the same fucking thing!?”He yelled to no one in particular. Ms Citadel had long retreated into her quarters to escape the rage of her husband. “Huh!?” He switched off the large plasma screen that hung on the wall and threw the remote at Ms Citadel’s door. “Stupid bitch,” he mumbled to himself, mildly sedated.

The day had not begun well for Boss. He woke with a rage headache pounding at his temples. This occurred whenever he went to bed angry. Last night Sally the maid had the night off and Boss was desperate for a head job so he resorted to the unthinkable and asked his wife. The cunt of a woman had answered “Only if you do me first.” Boss winced just at the memory of the thought of it. Bitch has probably got scales down there by now. Needless to say his failure to release the valve was having severe repercussions.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 44

Mark sat listening idly to the reports of the local station manager. Something about never thinking this could happen and that he personally suspected sabotage. All Mark could think was why did this happen to him – he suspected it was personal sabotage. The rubble of Newport Haven Terminal sat smouldering in the floodlights of the camping reporters. They would be expecting a statement from CitaRail soon and Mark had no desire to give it; no idea what was expected of him or what he could say. His stomach churned with anxiety.

He had switched off his mobile phone in the panicked minutes that followed his final drink with Stevie. He was horrified at what he might hear if he answered a call from Boss. Sam Tank had heard him blurting about business and when Boss found out he would be finished. But the silence of his phone was almost worse. How many calls had he dodged? What would Boss do in retaliation to his desertion? He winced as the flood of worry washed through him again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 43

Brian Smithwaite was impressed. He had to tip his hat to the new Walter Wallace. From the hermit who spent the happiest days in human history keeping his history free from all other humans, he had now begun learning the art of media manipulation. Brian had felt the biggest fault in the Walter Wallace saga had been the man himself; ugly, quiet and downright hopeless on camera. Brian had even sought to destroy (with alarming success) the career of the great Tony Holdsworth in an effort to bridge the gap between sponsorship monies coming in and the potential rating catastrophe that Walter could prove. But today had put those fears to rest.

At the door to his own room in Newport Haven hospital, Walter stood commanding the attention of a horde of news reporters. His voice rose above them as they vied for key positions, wanting nothing more than to ask the question that draws the quote of the day. Behind that door was the story of the day. Lucy Blues, back from obscurity after she had run out on her contract with Channel 8 (a fact that can easily be overlooked as a clause in a brand new contract), is dragged from a burning inferno by the one and only Walter Wallace. And now amidst rumours and here say over possible romance between her and her saviour, Lucy decides to walk, unannounced, into Walter’s hospital room in front of half the nation’s grittiest news reporters.

Brian knew the big story was in that room and that with a wave of his will that door could be opened and the two could be ambushed by the wolves - an open slather that would delight the masses – but he found it personally much more interesting to see this confident and assertive Walter Wallace step out and tame the pack.

Walter had weathered the storm by holding a mirror up to its eye; he stood calm, firmly closing the door behind himself and waited as they threw everything at him. Eventually they lost their vigour and a sense of anticipation had grown, it was then that Walter took charge.

“You have no right to be here; it is only on my goodwill that I don’t request you all be escorted from the premises. I’ll take your questions one at a time in an orderly fashion and then I expect you to leave.”

Surprisingly, the reporters fell in line, perhaps struck by Walter’s change, Walter’s charge. The interview continued for a quarter hour and as the privileged interviews became exhausted Brian could see that Walter would be hard pressed getting the peace he had negotiated. Even the most kind-hearted reporter is backed by the relentless demands of a media outlet. Perhaps Brian would let the wolves off their leash in end. He gets his fill, they get theirs; everybody wins.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 42

Whisky arrived back to Station St and found the white van still in the same place he left it. He felt a slight flutter in his stomach – another new sensation on this strange day. He looked beyond the van at the rubble that was once Newport Haven Terminal. The idea of being nervous would never have crossed his barren plane of emotional diversity a few weeks ago, but he had never faced a situation like this. His prior existence, before Walter Wallace, any risk or threat or decision was met by his ability. He was the best trained and best equipped of the Citadel Soldiers and his decisions were simply logical. Doubts and malfunctions were to be referred to a superior. His existence was never in danger; death was distant, irrelevant.

But none of that existed any more. Now he had abandoned protocol and sought personal endeavours. He had developed an instinct of right and wrong; weighing up variables outside the parameters of Citadel’s interests. But where had this got him? He walked into the wrath of Sam Tank, out of his element and backpedalling through lies and disobedience. He had covered his tracks in the moment – Sam couldn’t pin anything on him but it would not take much for Sam to check back with Boss and find that Whisky had received orders to stay on site and leave the tracking of Walter Wallace in the time of crisis.

He reached the van at a walk, after having sprinted through the back streets from the hospital. He hopped into the driver’s seat, immediately starting the vehicle and swinging it round in a single point U-turn. He did not like the idea of relying on Sam’s suspicions. The man was meticulous, always on. But he was struck by the swift exit Sam had taken at the hospital. Midway through grilling Whisky Sam had hurried off. What was he doing before Whisky had arrived? What business did Sam have hands on with Walter Wallace?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 41


Stevie had just switched off another Walter Wallace interview that was playing on the radio. He sat in the driver’s seat of his car massaging his own forehead, forcefully trying to roll out the white noise that was buzzing around up there. He could barely grasp what had just happened. Mark had been mute for the remainder of the conversation after his associate Sam Tank had left, and the two parted ways after a short while. Stevie needed a cigarette, offering a wry smile to the blatant arrogance in which his addiction presented itself. It was too easy to give in, his reasoning being that he could use the temporary clarity just to get his mind straight.

Mark was in some sort of trouble - that was obvious. Sam was openly warning him of an incoming reprimand once they were back in the privacy of business – but for what reason? Talking about Citadel was the wall Mark had built between them but that wall was weakened at the mention of Walter Wallace. The whispers of fate and destiny that had called to him earlier that day again rose to his immediate conscious. It all has to do with Walter Wallace. Isn’t it obvious? But maybe he was being swayed by the extremist media he read and a desire to trace meaning in the tangle of chance.


He took a long drag for the cigarette, wished he had a pen and paper. Maybe if he could write this down his thoughts would become lineal, but for now he just needed to concentrate.