Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 32 (Kite & Eddie Meet Again, Part II)
Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 32 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.
“So Eddie …”
“So Carl …”
The awkwardness of their relationship and past was a little tense and Kite was trying to figure out the best way to get things going. He knew that Eddie was a very good insider and he knew that without him, he’d have little chance of accomplishing his mission for Diana.
Mickie’s was a small, but comfortable bar just a few blocks from the OMNINet headquarters in Manhattan. In its early days, it was one of the many places where labourers met to talk about unionization, an activity that was criminalized by the establishment back in the late 1800s. This was the typical joint where folks hung out after work for a few songs and a little dance during the days of the Depression and Prohibition. As often as people tried, they cold not suppress or control the desires of your average Joe.
The interior was dense and a cloud of yellow smoke still seemed to hang over the stalls, even though smoking in public places had been banned in New York City in 2003. On the extremely rare occasion, someone dared to break the rules and fired up a butt, but they were quickly turfed out onto the pavement. This kind of stupidity was just no longer tolerated.
Eddie just looked at Carl with a gaze of amazement. He felt himself exploding with happiness at seeing his friend again, but his underlying concern related to his secret life bubbled to the surface. He did everything he could to seem relaxed.
“What happened to you man?” he asked casually.
“I had to leave school. When my parents died and when things happened at our old place … you know … I just felt a little put off.” Kite surprised himself by the fact that he brought up the uglier part of their past so quickly.
Eddie flinched a little. “Man … it’s amazing what almost twenty years will do to someone. You haven’t changed. You’re still a homophobe and you still think I’m some kind of raving faggot!” Eddie howled.
“Well … um … yeah. But I’m not a homophobe! I’ve always been cool with your choices. Just not when they included me,” Kite said jokingly, knowing it would be a good idea to deflect any tension from the situation.
“Well, guess again. I’m cured!” Eddie exclaimed with a genuine sense of elation and lightness as he raised his hands in the air and smiled a massive grin that looked like it was lifted by his arms.
“What do you mean?” said Kite, laughing. “You can just be ‘cured’ like that? What’d you take? Or did someone intervene and just treat you like you were smoking and make you go through a whole carton of hogs to make you never want to do it again?” Kite joked, gradually easing the tension between them.
“Yeah yeah yeah … I get it. It’s nothing like that. It took me a long time to realize that my religion was more important to me than my … um, needs. The Univists changed my life and made me feel more comfortable in the world. They didn’t judge me. They just gave me an opportunity to discover that there are people that will love me.”
“Yeah … as long as you do what you’re told,” Kite answered sarcastically.
“Seriously, man. I met some folks with the Church shortly after signing up with one of OMNINet’s subsidiaries. After a few hints, I realized that if I was going to climb the ladder, I’d have to change my ways.”
“So … how long have you been straight?”
“About six months.”
“Six months!” Kite exclaimed, slapping his legs laughing. “That’s a dry spell for me. No, wait. That’s a good turnaround for me.”
They both laughed and the spirit of their relationship entered the room like a long lost patron of the bar, everyone instantly warming to its presence.
“Yeah. Well, it’s been a dry spell for me. I may have sworn off men, but I’ve yet to find a woman that I like. It’s raised a few eyebrows at the office, but it’s also helped me get where I am. If at any point, I reverted to an ‘alternative lifestyle’ different from that of the corporate, button-down prototype, I’d be dropped faster than a bottle of diet pills at an anorexia convention.”
“Well, I suppose it’s worth it to you,” Kite said and then added in a low voice, pushing his head back to make his neck disappear behind his chin, “I’m not going to judge.” He used to do this all the time to imitate a professor they had who always said that when they were disturbing the class and he wanted to know why.
“It was. I’m Senior VP of Business Development and Relationship Management now and I’m getting invited to more and more ‘internal’ meetings. It’s a great experience and I’m finally feeling human. The only cost …” he started, leaving Kite to ask for more.
“Were you seeing someone?” Kite asked.
“He was a guy that I met after you left. We had a great time and we had a very relaxed relationship. His name is Sasha Pigeon and he and I had a fantastic, fun and very relaxing relationship. We were on and off for almost a decade, and were living together when I had to tell him that we couldn’t see each other any longer.”
“Just like that … you toss him out for your job?” Kite asked, knowing that he would be pushing.
“Look, Carl. I made a choice that would make it easier for me to get out of this mess earlier and so that I could enjoy the rest of my life. I’m making extremely good money right now and I’m gonna be able to retire in a couple of years without a care in the world.”
“Or anyone to share it with …”
“Ouch. C’mon man. Why are you being so harsh and judgmental?”
“Sorry … it’s my gut talking. You’ve made your bed. Let’s hope some fag isn’t lying in it or you’ll get kicked out of church early,” Kite said slyly, hoping to lighten the atmosphere.
“Ha ha ha. Let’s get another round and talk about you for a change,” Eddie said. People like Eddie – those that have lived the charmed life and love to talk about themselves – rarely suggest another conversation topic. The discussion about Sasha was bringing back some memories, many of them good, but several of them very ugly as they wound down their relationship.
“No problem. Since leaving school, I’ve been putting together my experience with a number of contracting gigs that pay well, but leave a little uncertainty. I’ve made a good go so far, but as you say, I’m still a few paycheques away from leaving the corporate life all together. Because, man … it really sucks.”
“Here’s to that!” Eddie bellowed as his clinked his bottle on Kite’s.
“Don’t you ever stop to think about why we’re all so driven in this race to our own deathbeds, rarely stopping to enjoy what’s happening in the here and now,” asked Kite, egging Eddie on.
“Every day. Every day, buddy. And it’s getting even more odd.”
Kite really couldn’t believe his luck. He had the name of Eddie’s ex-lover, who will probably be madder than hell with “The Man” because of the way he’s been treated. He knew that Eddie was on his way up within the OMNINet and was already a lot higher than he realized. To top it all off, Eddie had just opened the door to what could be the biggest piece of info that Kite would need. He’d have to lay off on the guilt and guide Eddie a little better.
The act of ‘guiding’ a conversation was one of Kite’s best traits. All he had to do was ask questions, even if someone asked him a question. All he had to was get people to talk and he’d be in control of the conversation. When you’re talking, you’re not listening, Kite thought to himself.
“What are you talking about?” Kite asked.
“Oh c’mon, I’m not sure if you really care. You’re trying to humour me now.”
“No seriously. What’s going on?”
Eddie leaned in. They’d had about four beers and Eddie clearly couldn’t handle his drinking the way he used to. Kite couldn’t either, which was why he always had a recorder with him.
“I’m going to a really big meeting next week.”
“Yeah … so …,” Kite answered slowly.
“It’s not just any meeting,” Eddie said still leaning in towards Kite and looking around nervously. “I’ve never heard of anything like this before. They’re bringing in all of these managers that I’ve never heard of and I have no clue what the agenda will be.”
Kite couldn’t believe it was going to be this easy. It seems the “Them” were going to have a little pow-wow that he was now being made aware of by his long-lost buddy.
“The weirdest thing is that we’re getting together on a Saturday night at 9 o’clock. That’s just so bizarre.” Eddie said the last statement with a slight lisp and voice that was just a little higher than it was a few minutes ago. As hard as he tried to cover it, his ‘gay’ was showing.
‘That is weird. Where are you meeting?”
“Where else: we’re getting together at the OMNINet headquarters in New York. But there’s more: I have no idea why I’m going to be there. I was told to be there by Simon Hadlock, the company’s president, but I nothing in writing and no evidence that it will ever happen. Strange, eh?”
“No kidding! Maybe that’s when they do a ritual sacrifice or light a big owl on fire or something else weird like that,” Kite joked, giving Eddie a shove.
“Yeah … let’s just hope I’m not the one bound in chains with a knife at my throat!” Eddie exclaimed.
“Oh c’mon … there was a day where I thought you would have loved that kind of thing,” Kite teased his friend.
(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)
Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca.