-Jerk! You son of a Llama! Plumb your….
Bianca’s cursing words were many and very colourful. Even so, Bastian believed that had they been taking this indoors she had started to throw things. But since Charlie were sleeping in his crib just a wall apart they both, as by a silent understanding kept their voices hushed and low.
-Jzzzz sis, if I had known that you would give me, your own brother a scolding of the third degree I would never have lifted the phone in the first place. I think I have the number to an organized babysitter here somewhere…. He turned away as to brush her off and go inside again.
-Bastian! No. Not like this. It is just…. Six months! For six freaking months you disappeared from the surface of the earth and no one knew where you went. Some even thought you missed Anna so much that you had chosen to follow her in death.
Bastian made a horrified face:
-What! You could not seriously think that I would kill myself? Do you really think I would do such a thing? Did mom? Dad?
His voice trailed of and left so much of their common history and memories fill in the fabricated distance between them. Bianca took a deep shivering breath and then fell silent, looking into her brothers eyes. Several silent seconds passed and then she flung herself around his neck and they hugged for the longest time.
-I am sorry I disappeared like that, Bastian sighed. But I had no choice. They made me swear not to tell a single living soul. I basically needed to disappear from the surface of Earth. Bastian Granite needed to stop existing.
Bianca had that very familiar frown between her eyes that he knew so well signifying that she tried to figure something out but was not entirely there yet. He gently put his hands on hers.
-Bee, he said in his most convincing big-brother voice. I – CAN’T-TELL-ANYTHING-MORE. Believe me, if I could I would. But I can’t. Can you not instead be satisfied with being the best auntie and babysitter my son had ever known? I have baby-pictures….
He waved his cellphone in front of her and he could see the frown lessening and how her features softened.
-OK, I give. Everyone is allowed their mysteries once in awhile. I guess I have to give you this. But, you have to call mom. Promise me.
-I cant! You know that. I explained to you. But you can tell her that I am alive and doing good.
It was early evening as he stepped inside the Screaming Llama Pub & Bar. On his way over he had checked and double checked the intructions from his handler: “Go to the bar and mingle and prove yourself useful”. Whatever that now meant. They really had not told him and he had not dared to ask afraid to make a fool of himself and deemed incompetent. Six months of hard – core drill sergent training and it was still things he felt like he was fumbling in the dark about. As if they were sneaky on purpose.
-There you are bro! Where the plumbbob have you been? You are missing all the fun now. Bar games! A long, well built man with oceanic features and dark thick approached him with the warmest smile on his face as if they had known each other for years not seconds.
-Well, uuuhm, I ……
-Sssshh, don’t listen to my husband. He always get too strung up with newcomers. We don’t get many of those around here and that drives him a little bit mad you see.
Bastian shook his head disbelieving. It was everything very surreal as a bad paragraph stolen from Alice in the Wonderland. All these crazy people that might or might not have something for him and then on top of that he started wonder if he was hallucinating too as he started seeing people that really should not be here.
People that in reality should not know about his wearabouts. Nancy Landgraab, he made a mental note to tell Mrs G about that in the morning. She would of course know what to do about it.
-They are quite entertaining are they not? a warm and amused voiced whispered close to his ear. When he turned around he met the gaze of a stunning beuty that with a firm handshake introduced herself as Alexandra Zed. Ace called by her friends. Her skin was warm and her perfume seducing and he was just about to ask her out for a drink. She might say yes, stranger things had happened that night after all. When a shriek of laughter nearby made him loose focus for just a second and he turn his head by instinct to locate the disturbance….
just to notice that it was the local bar-idiots Mr and Mrs Engelbrecht that was at it again, making out very noisily in the middle of the bar. As he turned back to his might-be date the barstool was empty. The only memory of her was a napkin with a “Call-Me! scribbled over the paper together with a phone-number.
He knew it was against protocol of course, but he could not help himself. He tried the number on his own cell as soon as he had Bianca one extra time and closed the door behind him with a vague promise of not letting it become yet another half a year to next time.
The number was a bust, Of course. What had he expected? With all the training in the world, he had still fallen for the oldest trick in the book: Charm and beauty. He sighed deeply. Tomorrow would not be fun to return to work….
-Wooop, wooop, Nooboo! I heard someone had a crazy night yesterday Johan, his senior co-worker shouted over the room,
-Play nice, the masculine voice of his uncle said, but Bastian could here the ill covered amusement in Robin’s voice.
–Now, now play nice boys Mrs G warned from behind her terminal. We all know how it is to be a rookie. We have all been there. We all experience some craziness…. The room once more roared with laughter, but stopped as soon s she raised her hand.
–Johan, don’t you have better things to do than making fun of your friends and colleagues? And Bastian dear, why don’t you bring your trofe´over to Christinas to let her have a crack at it, With so few numbers it is much likely a coordinate of some kind. So there. Chop, chop, off you go, his boss Bella Goth said.