Geoff made his way towards the cinema, but his mind was preoccupied with the odd events that befell him at HQ.
Finding that strange man there in such a state was quite a shock and now Geoff had a moment to reflect he was feeling particularly anxious about the whole thing.
There was a desperation to the Lahm character that Geoff could not get out of his mind. His sad eyes, he looked so beaten yet he spoke in such strange riddles. One thing the man said particularly bothered Geoff, “She will save you all. She just needs some help and I…I cannot be trusted. Please, will you help her?”
Who was she exactly, what did he mean? None of it made sense. The security guard’s strange attitude didn’t add up either. He couldn’t wait to get rid of Geoff it seemed. Geoff momentarily thought about turning back to check if the guard had done anything about it. But Geoff knew he had; in his heart he knew it. Whether he had done anything helpful was another matter entirely, Geoff felt the guard was far more preoccupied with letting those in a higher authority know first rather than getting medical help.
He was letting the four heads know, Geoff thought, before Lahm’s words raced back into his mind, they are insane with power and they will take everything before the end. Geoff chased the thoughts away along with the mad German’s words. That was all this was, a mad man on the loose.
Whatever, this was not my business Geoff resolved.
Geoff had unwittingly walked way past the cinema and found himself approaching the country club where he had had that ugly exchange with the charming Andy Petrie during his induction to the city. That seemed a lifetime ago. The country club was empty bar a few parents smattered here and there, watching silently as their kids played with the ‘Kids Klub’ guides. The scout leaders were blowing whistles and the kids darted back and forth picking up items Geoff couldn’t see. Geoff noted that the guides were not smiling as gormlessly as the last time he saw them.
They looked distracted as if going through the motions.
In fact, the whole City felt that way today. Like everything felt heavier somehow and time was dragging by.
Geoff didn’t know why he’d come here but now he was here; he may as well have a drink and he may as well have a beer, nothing like a depressant to chase the blues away.
He needed a beer. His HQ visit today had left him feeling shaken. As much as he tried to deny it, it was obvious something was wrong, something bigger than he could anticipate at this stage. And you are still being watched Geoff’s mind proffered. Geoff’s shoulders visibly hunched at the thought. Perhaps it had always been there and only now he was paying heed to it.
Perhaps everyone here felt that way?
Geoff took his pint of beer and found a table at the back of the country club and sat staring out the window. Passers-by wandered past intermittently wearing empty expressions. It really was turning out to be a shit day and judging by the looks of everyone else, they felt the same.
For the first time since arriving at the City, Geoff felt lonely. He felt purposeless and at a total loose end. He thought about returning home for a smoke but even that idea did not sit right with him. Geoff’s thoughts were broken by a giggle behind him, a rather irritating over the top giggle, Geoff noted.
He turned to see where it was coming from and quickly turned back to his beer once he’d located it. A few tables behind him sat Andy Petrie and the tourist guide, except she was sat on his knee with an arm draped around his neck. She had his wallet and was teasing him with it.
Geoff didn’t have to strain to listen to them due to the almost empty bar room. Andy was telling her, in his typically smarmy fashion, that there was plenty more of that to spend over the course of today. Geoff felt a burst of anger momentarily which was quickly replaced by sympathy for poor Marie then a selfish hope for himself. He’d rather not be witness to this set up but if he got up now and wandered off Andy might just spy him, and today’s mess would likely get even worse as a result. The last thing he needed was Andy hassling him.
His escape plans were made for him as Andy and the giggling tourist guide got up hand in hand and walked straight past Geoff’s table. They didn’t notice him. More to the point Andy didn’t notice him. He was too busy putting his hand down the back of her skirt while leering at her cleavage. The tourist guide looked slightly uncomfortable but not enough to remove Andy’s hand or cover up. They headed out of the bar and into the day as she whispered something into Andy’s ear while he threw his head back and issued an exaggerated laugh.
Geoff waited just long enough till they were out of sight and finished his drink and exited the same way. He gave thought to following them but then thought better of it. He would only torture himself and likely get embroiled in a complex situation that he had no business in.
Besides, he had his own problems after today, he felt sure the chance meeting with Lahm earlier had further consequences for him and his stomach turned at the thought.
Geoff decided to go home after all. He had missed the film and though there was a later viewing he was not in the mood anymore. He opted for home and another large dose of ignorance. As Geoff got to the end of the park and moved on to the streets, he spied a group of teens slouched in an alley way. Geoff shook his head in pity. He was no moral compass when it came to drugs, but these kids were obviously doing more than just getting stoned or sharing a joint. They were not just drunk either judging by their whacked-out expressions and motionless slumped bodies.
The City which seemed so full of colour and life now resembled any other major city. The broken and the useless were out on a limb. The alley ways and veins of the city were gradually filling with dirty little clots that would need to be removed once found. Geoff peered to take a closer look. He contemplated whether to approach them but again, this was not his business. Just as he turned to continue his journey home, one of the slumped teens (who looked younger than the others) head turned towards him, her eyes fluttered open and briefly met Geoff’s gaze.
Geoff’s heart lurched.
It was Jeanie Petrie.
She turned away lost in a private haze of which there was no quick return. Geoff crept towards her, gently picked her up and carried her away from the prone group as she moaned weakly to herself.
Geoff for the second time in quick succession felt an unfamiliar fury come over him and this time it did not hide itself.
This time, it started to grow.