ex libris

Объявление

Ярость застила глаза, но – в очередной раз – разум взял своё и Граф легким аккуратным движением руки перехватил Виконта, будто бы тот ничего не весил, и, мягким, останавливающим, движением не дал вспороть шею поверженному некроманту.
— Тут достаточно крови. Он умрет и сам.
Быстрый, внимательный взгляд в сторону человека и вопросительно приподнятая, аккуратная бровь – умрешь же?
Возмущённый вздох – французский.
Хриплый свист через сжатые губы и такой же прямой взгляд в ответ Кролоку. Выживет. Слишком сильный. Слишком долго общается со смертью на ты. Возможно даже последний из тех, первых, что заключили контракт с костлявой.
— Мессир?
Адальберт тоже сохраняет хладный рассудок, чуть взволнованно посматривая на треснувшие зеркала – всплеск силы, произошедший буквально несколько минут назад, вновь зацепил всех. Франсуа тоже пытается сказать что-то, но вместо слов издает очередной булькающий звук и бросается в сторону уборной.
Ситуация сюрреалистична.
Ситуация провокационна.
Рука расслабляется на талии Герберта, не потому что Эрих этого хочет, а потому что в его пальцах сминается ткань тонкой рубахи обнажая… обнажая. На самом дне синих глаз все еще клокочет ярость, и только Виконт сможет понять её суть – не должна была сложится подобная ситуация в эти дни. В любые другие, но не те, что должны были принадлежать им для осознания, понимания, расставления литер и точек.

Лучший пост: Graf von Krolock
Ex Libris

ex libris crossover

— А ты Артёма Соколова видел? – Вася спросил у него первое, что на ум пришло.
— Ну да, он меня рекомендовал.
Вася завистливо хмыкнул, взведя курок.
Никто не понял. До сих пор дело висит без подозреваемых. Стечение случайных обстоятельств.
А Вася и ничего не знал. Спустя три часа после назначенного времени телеграфировал в Москву, что не встретил на перроне напарника. А где мальчик-то? Куда дели?
Ему так и не ответили.
Вася не даже самому себе не смог объяснить, зачем.
До какой-то щемящей завистливой боли в груди он чем-то походил на Артёма, то ли выправкой, то ли молчаливостью. Вася не понял, а, убив, в принципе утратил возможность разобраться. Да чё там было-то, Соколов – это класс, это верхушка, это интеллигенция, как его можно сравнивать с каким-то босяком-курсантом?
Артём бы не позволил себя просто так пристрелить в тёмной подворотне. Никогда.
Вася получил такое моральное удовлетворение, увидев, как разъехались некрасиво молодецкие ноги, как расползлась на груди рубашка. Некрасиво, неправильно, ничтожно. Вот тебе и отличник. Вася с удовлетворением потыкал носком ботинка в ещё румяную щеку, пытаясь примерить на его лицо Тёмино.
Но ничего даже близко.
Это успокаивает его на некоторое время.

Лучший эпизод: чёрный воронок [Eivor & Sirius Black]

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Вы здесь » ex libris » альтернатива » hide in death [peaky blinders]


hide in death [peaky blinders]

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1

hide in death shuffling out of life

https://i.imgur.com/JKDckBs.png
Alfie Solomons & Tommy Shelby

In a way I'm yearning
To be done with all this measuring of truth
An eye for an eye
And a tooth for a tooth
And anyway there was no proof
Nor a motive why

In a way I'm helping
To be done with all this twisted of the truth
A lie for a lie
And a truth for a truth
And I've got nothing left to lose
And I'm not afraid to die

[sign]they are sick breath at my hind
xxx
[/sign][icon]https://i.imgur.com/VwXgZYt.gif[/icon][nick]Thomas Shelby[/nick][status]broken boy soldier[/status][lz]<a class="lzname">Томми Шелби</a><div class="fandom">peaky blinders</div><div class="info">There is no rest for me in this world. Perhaps in the next.</div>[/lz]

Отредактировано Emma Swan (25.04.21 23:25:14)

+6

2

[indent][indent]It was dramatic, as it should be.
[indent][indent]Without drama, what is ritual?

I ring the bell seven consecutive times, once for every sin, my walking cane now knocking against the door impatiently. Seven shrill sounds dissecting the organs of the place, so that there are no doubts about who exactly is waiting outside. The lights of the summery, ardent sun irritate my eyes, already stung by the sneaky sand being tossed around the city with the aid of hot, erratic wind.

‘I swear to God, if this door doesn't open right now, I'll be reborn as Ali Baba, bring forty thieves and burn the entire fucking place down like it's my birthday candle,’ I mutter quite loudly, though nobody listens since I came alone, feeling safe around the one who should never feel safe around me. The driver is waiting by the car, obeying the clear instruction to stay out of my sight, unless useful. And useful he currently is not.

Tommy, on the contrary, has been a treat for the past year and a half, loneliness bringing out the best in him - the business thrives, and so does my fifteen percent of his London income, making these little visits very delightful, smelling of whiskey, smoke and accumulation. It became clear Darby Sabini has lost a lot of influence in the capital ever since the jews combined forces with the gypsies again, so my instincts whisper it is only a matter of time before my dear childhood friend seeks a way to up the stakes a little and finds some new powerful mates to play with. Until that happens, I have chosen my side out of simplest mathematical reasoning and take pleasure in it, as, unlike with Sabini, I can very much stand Shelby's guts - he too is one of the lost ones, gnawing his way out of poverty and disdain.

His maid finally opens the door. She always does - never the master of the house, but his little slave, who, nonetheless, seems very fond of Mr Shelby, as if silently mourning his destiny, the one, which I may gently notice, he chose himself. I don't stop her womanly impulses of contained tenderness, nodding my head at all the little details of Tommy's not-so-well-being that she carefully throws at me. Here I should state that I don't fucking care about any of those, and then I shall imperceptibly add that I, apparently, lied.

[indent][indent]I look for omens everywhere
[indent][indent]because they are everywhere

Though it's been quite a while since one impostor jeweller fucked with Tommy Shelby again, feeling, as usual, no glimpse of remorse, I still find it awkward seeing his son around the house and very much prefer it when the little one doesn't leave his room. Sanctity of life, for sure, is a ridiculous concept, no more sensible than justice, morality and freedom, yet I can't find it in me to look into Charlie's eyes as I instantly picture how they turn into lifeless glass. Again, it isn't exactly repentance, more so anxiety, that things could have turned out far worse than they did. I can't help a hint of curiosity, too - I always wondered just how far this insane, sad creature, who by some unearthly mistake became a father, could push his luck. Rationally, I have not planted such seeds and got no intentions of trying out this sort of gardening at any point in the future. Our life is not compatible with responsibility for other souls, and it seems like Tommy has just started to grasp the bitter, yet sheer truth.

‘Rumour has it, yeah, that you only leave your room at night, hissing at anybody who'd notice you like some all-up madman, swallow whatever there is left in the kitchen and crawl back here with the first signs of sunrise. If this is some sort of wilful redemption, you're wasting your time - hell is already here, and you're in charge, mate.’

I tumble into his gloomy cabinet, warm-toned, which I've grown to like very much, and approach him, not in a slightest hurry to sit down - had enough of that in the car, although my bad leg likes to remind of itself when standing for too long. Still, I choose to stay leaning on my cane, looking at Tommy like a mechanic would look at a malfunctioning engine, with heavy, studying eyes - I analyse him and derive my verdict before he may have any objections.

‘Your little helpful bird, God bless her soul, chirped into my ear, right, that you, apparently, fell victim of strong headaches, so strong, that you had to check in the mirror whether you've been wearing a crown of thorns - I was hoping to witness some of that agony and maybe bring along nice-nice nails for your red-red palms, but you left me hungry with your disappointingly good looks. Which leads me to something very, very important - I even saw a dream about it tonight, and believe me, it was prophetic, cause today, ya know, is Friday - I mean, you still believe that stuff, yeah?’

[indent][indent]They come to me like strays, like the damaged
[indent][indent]something that could know better, and should, therefore — but does not

I cough instead of grinning, never growing tired of poking Tommy with his own superstitions - me being circumcised and investing into Jewish charities, funny people would always think I'd be into Judaism, obsessively, unquestionably, when in harsh reality I'm not into any kind of religion, and any kind of religion is not into me, only onto me, resting on my tongue as a lazy bullet for ears. Shelby-boy, on the other hand, majestically fits the gypsy criteria, enduing his overall crookedness with special, tribal kind of charm.

Coming up close enough to take off his glasses, I scornfully eye them for a minute, shake my head in sincere disapproval, put them inside my pocket and harshly press it against the table. A satisfying crackling sound pierces the air with my childish triumph. I shrug as if nothing happened and finally sit down opposite to Tommy, with no intention of giving him back whatever is left of that useless pair. They say Alfie Solomons eats glass and spits diamonds for a good damn reason.

‘Anyway, these glasses, well... They're a joke, mate. You can't even see the present in those, ma-a-aybe distorted past at best. Inability to see clearly, in fact, is half of the headache. So, so. Instead of giving your maid subtle worries, right, you're gonna come outside with me, in the daylight, no hissing at strangers, and you're gonna get custom glasses from that magician I once told you about. Don't you fucking dare to play stubborn, because I, for once, am paying for it.’

There. I said it out loud, and the world didn't end.

Отредактировано Alfie Solomons (24.09.21 03:50:41)

+7

3

Small drums, hundreds of them, annoyingly muffling all the noises that surround this hollow place keep trying to wreck my head from the very morning. That – not even pain, which is easy to ignore – kind of pressure around the temples tends to remind of itself quite frequently recently as if I lived somewhere in the center of London and was doomed to hear the pompous sounds played for the Royal family every single day. Trying to escape acrid noises of the industrial city I eventually fail because of the fucking priest. I cannot but smile with the corner of my lips at the cruel irony of the world and discard a fresh newspaper as an unwanted card in a hand. I should be thankful that that concussion didn’t kill me but nevertheless.

In the long run, I just cannot enjoy the calming silence of this desolate mansion, which is, actually, only a minor part of the greater problem I prefer to deny for a plain reason - time. No one could magically fix my head, not then, not now, so there is no point in spending precious time in hospitals, these sorrowful places. Time means money and it consequently equals autonomy, the thing I could never refuse, not anymore. Thus, living with the drum noises pursuing me isn’t as bad as it could be; still I cannot put up with the poor eyesight. And that is my main concern.

I sit back in an armchair and close my eyes for a second just to see ghosts of people I have lost that don’t want to leave me even in daylight. Thoughts about the possible and so fucking desirable outcome aren’t so easy to avoid and I am not sure if I really want to. The time is passing but it doesn’t heal, pain never goes away, only multiples and grows until it overwhelms you. Dealing with it requires a change, an enormous one, which will shake the whole world to the ground, and I cannot come up with an applicable option yet. Opening eyes I catch the translucent reflection of golden hair in the corner of my glasses and for a second I believe that it really was Grace who brought me tea and soundlessly left before I could stop her. A simple optical illusion created by the beaming sun rays, yet it makes my heart skip a beat.

Tea is already cold and no one has entered the room in more than an hour.

The sudden sound of a roaring engine in the courtyard helps get rid of this somber nostalgia though doesn’t bring any solace. Only one man can it be since nobody in my circle – having most of my family imprisoned – has such a habit of dropping by without notice. Not that I am evading the company of Alfie Solomons but today is the worst day for his visit as another headache will be much tougher to endure. I pull out a drawer and get the envelope I tend to prepare in advance these days for such brief calls of Alfie’s and pray for the visit to be truly look-in.

I wish I were wrong but a few minutes later I hear echoing bumps of a walking cane in a corridor that leave me without a slightest doubt about the figure of an intruder.

‘Good morning to you too, Alfie. What a pleasure to see you in a good mood. Apparently, you have no plans for such a bright day and decided to stop by my personal hell as you call it out of pure curiosity to inquire of my well-being? I’m flattered. Indeed,’ I say in return to his typical mocking-like greeting and take from the table a silver cigarette case with the intention to trick feelings into aching head less. Habitually I move the cigarette over the lips and only then light it. Sarcasm pouring out of his words no longer seems extraordinary though I clearly see how much so-called contentment it always brings the baker. Nonetheless, his garrulity still annoys at times and today is that particular day.

Mary being so talkative about my insomnia adds to the growing disappointment; not even for a second can I focus on a kind of gratitude for her inappropriate motherly concern. She is a good woman, Mary, but too caring about her master whom nothing can already help, especially her talkativeness. I should admit that I keep her primarily for Charlie because I clearly see the child being fond of her. They took mother from him and I simply cannot part him with someone he likes. And, frankly, I am not sure if I could find someone better than Mary anyway.

‘Never believe anything that maids say about their masters or you will find yourself deceived,’ I say breathing out leaden smoke and watch it dissolve in the warm stuffy air of the study, which has its unique atmosphere of solitude and despair. That look on Polly’s face still lives in here; it occupies light and shadows retaining that barbed glimpse of hers that I could never forget. The feeling of betrayal could be read by the fiery sight of her hazel cunning eyes as if I was the devil himself. I may have sold my soul but never had an intention to drag my family along. But the truth is I cannot blame her. They are trapped in cells while I am trapped in this room trying to release them. Does it make us equal? Not in the least.

I push the envelope with Alfie’s share of income to the edge of the table and put the smouldering cigarette in an ashtray near my right arm. ‘Didn’t know you are a prophet. Be careful of snakes anyway”.

It is almost impossible to unravel what Alfie is going to do in a minute. Gears swiftly and stealthy moving in his head always seem to pursue a specific and certainly lucrative plan, which make me doubt almost every word he says despite the voice or intonation he uses. These doubts, however, don’t save me from making the same fool mistake - to believe the jewish jeweller who despises almost any kind of ethic preferring to behave according to his own twisted moral code.

Frowning as Alfie takes off my glasses I mutely watch him break them into pieces to my surprise and cannot but sigh tiredly to such a sharp sense of humor. I nod and look away just for several seconds to swallow anger awakened by this barbaric move. Instinctively I touch the bridge of the nose and close irritated eyes until they feel better.

‘Isn't it dangerous to accept such valuable gifts from you, Alfie, hm? You just could have given me the address. But let me guess, that wouldn’t be that fucking entertaining?’

This is, by all means, not the way I wanted to spend a day.

‘Seems I don’t have a choice anyway.’

You fucking bastard, Alfie.

+3

4

Ah, here comes the good old distrust. It comes at a wrong time, when the best of my intentions have actually gotten the best of me. The human hand grenade, always on alert, never on time. I smile, clasping my hands behind my head and making a very quick observation that results in a "Fuuucking hell." I could have stopped there. Could have. Did not.
‘Finally, your mouth speaks wisdom. Good. Good! Must be all the smoke, I heard it's good for the, uh, general health.' - I murmur, smacking my lips, almost ready to hug the shadow sitting opposite me. The faux cheer goes away, and I carry on, citing the very smart words. Seems like this dying place could use some extra noise to shake it up, anyway. And by dying place I imply, well, Tommy.

'You. don’t. have. a. choice. A good man - that being you, yeah?...' I chuckle for a second, '...decides to go legitimate, and what happens? The government sets him up with the Russians in exchange for life. Theeen, a good man wants to live, so he makes a deal with powerful people – only for his family to rot in prison. Y'see where I’m going? Every time a good man thinks he can choose a different life, reality fucks with his plans, just like now, when a good man’s good friend decides his fate for him. If only the good man knew better, yeah? If only he could see the path to escape this, uh, purgatory of helplessness. See where I’m going now? No. Not yet. 'Cause you’re not wearing the glasses.’ 

I shrug, highlighting how simple the solution is, but we both know it's a trap for something else. I play my contemptuous part with no malice, certainly deriving some fun in getting away with poking somebody so self-assured, who once dared to threaten me with an explosion. Even with my, uh, correct glasses, I wouldn't be able to tell back then that I'd be worried for the man. It was a mix of curiousity and rage, the ratio being one to one hundred. Back then I'd love to crack his skull myself. Now, look where we are. How low I stooped. How well I exaggerate.

I never tell this, but his frequent smoking reminds me of war, the everlasting fog that I had grown first to enjoy, then to detest, and finally to enjoy the detest. Occasional pain in the bad leg, nightmares that soak my sheets in sweat - I hate them and love them, for they remind me to stay on track despite the temptation to freeze everything and buy a house somewhere close to the sea. Perhaps in Margate, I've been there ones and to this day I can't quite forget the unusual sense of tranquility.

Yeah, I could live there in another life - I'd listen to the water and silence the seagulls that interrupt it. Bang. Dead. Remnants bleeding on my hands. Nothing new. So I grin somewhat at the thought of the shards in my pocket, what was used to improve vision now turned into a weapon that could slit a person’s throat. Two sides to everything, each virtue has a price. My good deeds come with a price tag too, and we both know it, but it’s not as straightforward as Tommy thinks. This conversation is a little more than me having the time of my life at the expense of his demons. I am establishing a fucking connection here, investing in my future.

If he gets weaker, I’ll abandon our deals without a second thought, but I, truthfully, do not wish for him to get weaker. I am worried about his headaches because they directly impact mine. Simple mathematics. That’s the issue here. As far as I may perceive, he thinks his current problems are the people who are keeping the family behind bars, but he forgets that those whose place he’s taken will reappear and they’ll be stronger and they’ll bite so deep he might never survive the wounds. He or his child. With human bodies, the smaller the target, the simpler it is to kill. Hit two rabbits with one shot. Paradox of the living. And I know the fucking wops don't exactly differentiate between enemies and children, despite their very flexible moral code.

‘What I’m trying to say here is…’ I fetch a sign as if deeply offended by such misfaith. ‘I don’t trust you, Tommy.’
Here comes a very necessary pause. I scratch my beard – one-person theatre – adjust myself on the chair and remove the shards from my pocket, one by one, carefully placing them on the table as if I’m still putting on the jeweller act. I take my hat, which used to be my father’s and cover the glass mountain with it. Magic. All gone. My hands are resting on the top of the hat, and my head – on my hands. Certainly, a business meeting, yeah. No doubts. Fifteen percent of your income, hundred percent of your peace. Written in invisible ink all over our agreement, because peace is only an illusion people like to create for themselves from time to time, and I like to shatter illusions. Like I did earlier.

‘You see. Once upon a time I decided that I’m going to wear my father’s hat as a symbol for avoiding his mistakes, such as, let's say, setting too low of a price for roses he decapitated and sold on the market, ooor having a son, hell, that was a big one, huh-uh. I want you to have such a symbol too. You’re paying better than, uh, Sa-bi-ni, and, as I said, I don’t make the same mistakes as my deceased blood. And no, I definitely don’t trust you to follow through if I just give you the address. Admit it, you won’t fucking go. You think glasses are glasses. They either work or they don’t. Innit?' I lean forward and look him straight in the eye. Blindness of the sky, that should be brought down to the land of the living. 'Wrong. Shit is more complicated.’

I finally take the envelope, thoughtlessly, in between the dialogue, as if pointing out how unimportant it is today. Nonetheless, it is still a letter written in my favourite language. I hide it in the inner pocket of my coat and sit back. Loud inhale, quieter exhale. Pretend I’m trying to remember something important. There, I remembered. I return my gaze to Tommy – a heavy one. This is not a game anymore.
‘...And as shit gets more complicated, refusing valuable gifts from me is far more dangerous.’

I get up and leave my hat as it is, protecting the glassy remnants of Tommy’s mistakes. The hat doesn’t seem to mind, though my head is a bit sceptical. It doesn’t quite fancy the rare heat of the British Isles. However, there are things that are more important than immediate physical comfort – such as proving a point you just made up. I leave the room and as I do so, I shout a quick ‘I’m waiting in the car’ from the corridor, clearly unaccepting of any objections. As he said. No choice.

Mary gives me an anxious look, that caring witch - she has indeed been eavesdropping, and I feel a sting of happiness about choosing to handle all my negotiations outside the house. Edna never comes to the bakery, the bakers never come to Edna. Must be a severe informational deprivation for a lonely woman, but it is better this way for everyone. Mary acts rather amusing. She opens her sweet gossipy mouth. 'Mr. Solomons, where's your hat?...' 'Shh! It might hear us,' I warn, pressing my index finger against my lips and winking at her without a trace of smile. Seeing further questions form inside her pretty scull, I escape before she has a chance to speak again.

Ishmael – not Ollie – is waiting for me outside, right by the car where I left him. Another smoker. People sure like to distort the world around them. I prefer shooting or fighting - unspoken melancholia gets on my nerves five minutes after an eerie mood kicks in. I need a release, or else it will consume me. Can't say the same about this quiet fella, or, in other words, sly bastard, who is one of my younger nephews, my current assistant, and, subsequently, driver. He knows to behave, listens to instructions carefully and doesn't hold sympathies to anything other than his salary and occasional slice of brown bread.

Disappointingly, I didn’t have the heart to deprive Ollie’s mother of basic financial aid but I removed the son from the business as he turned out to be too gullible. He was the one who let Ada “Thorne” into my bakery without a proper background check and, as if that wasn’t enough, didn’t pay enough attention while this gypsy Typhon was tying his shoelaces, or whatever the bloody hell he was doing back there. One misfire and you’re under increased surveillance. Two – you’re out. It’s a fair play, and I've never been a fan of holy trinities.

‘Be prepared to wait long hours at the shop, Ishmael. I take my glasses very seriously.’ I warn him, while a quid note travels from the insides of my coat into his sleeve. Threat is effective when it is fueled by mutual merit. Can’t thrive long on pure slavery – feeding your subordinates is crucial to keeping them loyal. Grooming stray dogs who may or may not have rabies is a bit harder, but not impossible. I leave the car’s door open for one, welcoming all the madness – c'mon in, feel right at home.

Tommy appears, still oh so desolate, while lit by the clingy sun. I could relate to that, if I cared.

Отредактировано Alfie Solomons (26.09.21 06:41:12)

+3

5

If only thin disperse smoke from the burning cigarette could turn into a heavy smog that usually embraces Birmingham regardless of the time and devour the sun feeling too inappropriate right now. The light breaks through heavy curtains and half-opaque windows dirty with dust and constant rain and distinguishes greyish swirling air in a stuffy room. This smoke reminds me of a gunshot surrounded by deadly silence echoing all around as the last chord to some interrupted song. It is like an extinguished candle, blown out not with an exhale but with the gun trigger, movement even more insensible than breathing. The smoke grows ‘til becomes a fog, a poisoned one, toxic, immutable companion to every villain of children’s nightmares. Stay away from the fog, they say, or Peaky Blinders will get you. When did we become main characters of bedtime stories, which parents use to calm their kids down?

Contemporary legend is shaping, slowly but yet changing the initial perception of one gypsy family. Time will pass and all that is left of it will be ashes of intricate caravans burnt to the ground. The story, history, on the contrary, will live; I will make sure that people remember the name and all the good things we have done for this city. Anger, fear on the one side, respect and gratitude on the other, for which the price has always been recklessly high. I still have some extra time to bring plans to life regardless of the price as long as I live. I will spend every second of it for the family to endure. My soul, my life in exchange for their well-being. I just need to discover whether there is a threshold for me, an ordinary working man trying to prove he is worth his life after digging his own grave in France.

But for now, one step at a time. Get the family out of the fucking prison and only then make another major move.

‘Good for the general health, huh? Peace is that miraculous remedy everyone is seeking. One way or another.’ It was obviously a tranquil and almost lazy attempt to stop Alfie from his usual sermon doomed to fail from the very first words I say but I simply cannot but try. By all means, he has better theme to discuss than deceiving problem of inner peace.

Got to give him credit, though, he is damn right about fucking world and its’ fucking unpredictable rules existing just to test character and kill naive hope for something as ephemeral as peace. We fail – I fail – to be a good man and seems that always will. An erst good man always destined to follow the path paved in bloody red colour; even if he chooses any different way, footsteps will always remind everyone of what is left behind him. It's his legacy, his sins and his choices he could but didn’t and don’t want to alter.

Where did all of the good people go?
They hide behind the bars on windows
In hopes they can forget we're close

I always had a choice, to stop, to enjoy the life as it was, poor and still full of violence. But there is always more to achieve. Always one more step towards some illusory happy fucking ending. I can and because of that I do, no matter what is to come. And I pay for every choice I make. I drag people close to me down to their graves just trying to do them good. Look at me now: allegedly good man, a widower, who doesn’t know his only son, hated by his own family, half of which is locked up in jail. Haven’t I forgotten something? Does a deal with the devil to clear the name of Shelby Company Limited count? So yeah, I do not like people making decisions for me. I’d better become my own death than be a collateral damage of some other’s game.

I close my eyes for a long second as if blinking but in fact trying to ignore sarcastic tone of Alfie’s voice. My hand finds the cigarette almost burnt but still I put it to lips to catch the last short sign of a smoke. There is something of a ritual in how Alfie slowly and carefully creates kind of a tower from shards of glass. One wrong move and it will fall creating hundreds of ringing noises, which I genuinely hope not to hear. It is symbolic, actually, as the Tower of Babel, which collapsed at God’s will because people dared to try to reach heaven. The main question is when we will lose rapport this time speaking the same but yet so different language? And which one of us will impersonate God simultaneously sentencing the other one to failure?

This is all about profit. Money and business links you might need some time in the future. The weaker you get, the faster your partners will get rid of you. No second chances, no redemption. Dealing with Solomons means being alert every time he enters my home, every moment he speaks his wisdom because everything comes at a price. As well as fucking glasses used just to consciously accept our destructive so-called friendship.

‘I don’t need symbols to remember who I am dealing with on a daily basis. But as I cannot read a shit without glasses, I have no intention of refusing such a gift. The precious gift of sight as they call it, right, Alfie?’, I shrug and leave both hand on the table, almost feeling the hidden movement of a glass tower under the hat. We both won’t find out the destiny of that symbol ‘til we are back from town. I cannot hide a pale smirk and take another cigarette out of the case. It’s funny, actually, and joking about religion feels sinful and appropriate at the same time right now, no regrets. Even Polly would approve. Rubbing cigarette on my lips I watch Alfie surprisingly nimbly leave the room as if some mechanism gave him the sign that it's time to set off and, on the contrary, slowly flick the lighter. His loud voice sounds like sand falling to the ground after bomb explosion leaving shambles behind. My day was no exception. Collateral damage as it is.

Tell me that I'm cutthroat
I think you got your eyes closed

I steal a glance at the telephone, too quiet for the past few days, which makes it almost a sinister sign of bad news coming. And the worst thing is that today I will definitely miss all calls if there are any. I slowly exhale the smoke and feel uncomfortable trembling in the right hand that holds the cigarette. It is becoming annoying; I throw the cigarette in the ashtray and clench fists so that the muscle tension hides shaking. I just need some sleep, that’s all. Not a big deal if not for feverish dreams that I pray to leave me at least at night.

I leave the room, not even paying attention to Mary frozen somewhere between the ladder and the hall, and head directly towards my coat. Infamous cap is the last thing I need to stop trying Alfie’s patience and join him in the car but I turn around just in time to catch the silent question in my maid’s eyes.

‘Mary, I will be out for several hours. Do not miss any calls and write down every word they say, no matter what. Mary, you understand? It is important. I hope to be back right before dinner to spend some time with Charlie’, I nod and checking the clock go outside of the gloomy lonely house just to meet the same dull sunlight. What are the chances that I will come back in time? Zero, who I am trying to deceive. But maybe keeping Charlie at distance will save him from my curse unlike his mother, who was too close to me. That is the greatest deception I fear to dispel. He has her eyes. Her hair and her voice. His very existence breaks my heart every single time I look at him and yet he is the reason I keep going.

‘Well, you lured me into daylight. You satisfied?’ I ask in a plain voice and close the door sitting next to Alfie. I definitely prefer driving but it seems this day I am doomed to spend at Solomon’s whim.

It will be a long, long day.

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