Seven hours passed since the meeting at the Pacific Centre. Not a single significant event in any of them; nothing on par with lunch. It was interesting-and sad-how life resumed as normal so quickly even after something as important as a friends arrival in his city. Dan entered his apartment.
"Saving any for me?" He laughed. His two roommates were sprawled across the couch snorting coke off the glass table in front of them.
"Not if I can help it." Connor was a druggie, but he was fun. The type of guy who could do every sort of drug every day of the week but never really have any get a grip on him.
"Guess I better keep all this Jack for myself then."
"f*ck you come have a line." They laughed.
Dan put the bottle, still encased in the crumpled brown paper bag, on the glass table about a foot away from the coke. He then picked up the bill his roommates were using and did a thick, premade line off the table.
"So Dan..." Alora, the other roommate, looked at him with a smirk "Here's your cut for the week." With a flick of her wrist she tossed him a roll of fresh, red fifty dollar bills. He put up his hand and turned away. "Keep it, keep it." "Thought you'd say that. You're so good at selling drugs but I have to say you could use some work selling women." Alora and Connor laughed, Dan did not. He began walking to the kitchen, after picking up the bottle of whiskey once more. It wasn't too far- it was a one bedroom apartment. "It loses some of it's charm when one of your girls gets gang-raped." He got out a cup and a few ice cubes and estimated a good dose of whiskey to put on top of that. Before long he was walking back to the living room. "Dan, sweetie, I think we both know Emily was going to have to grow up at some point and... experience some occupational hazards."
There was just silence. Before long, Alora was breaking it again.
"Now, sweetie," she began again, with the same sarcastic intonation on the word 'sweetie', "what confuses me, is that your way of... dealing with this occupational hazard... was to fly her exboyfriend up here and have him kill the guys responsible," Dan just grunted and kept sipping, "You know Dan I took a few slaps myself out in the field and I never saw you do much about that."
Dan sighed, he put down his glass.
"You weren't gangraped"
"But say I was... Would you be paying Connor here to go shoot up some brothel?" Another laugh was shared by Connor and Alora, but not Dan. Connor couldn't hurt a fly when sober, let alone the way he was most of the time.
"Connor's not Sam." "Oh? Well tell me what's so different about Sam, won't you sweetie?"
"He's scarred." The tone of this response was bold enough to grasp Alora and Conner's attention more fully. Dan finished his glass. "I always say 'people with no scars have bad skin' well.... Sam has been seeing one damn good dermatologist. I've known him longer than I've known both of you put together. He's a good guy, but he has a lot of rage inside him. It's disgusting even." This line got him strange looks, so he explained "The things he'll do to these guys are not things that I feel comfortable wishing on any human. He's a loving person; he loved Emily with all his heart. I really believe that... And I really believe these guys are lucky if he just bashes their skulls in.... I really don't think they'll be lucky." Alora began to reply, though more cautiously. "So if you wouldn't wish his... hidden rage... on anyone... Why did you fly him up here?" "There are a lot of reasons for that. I guess the biggest one is that he's my closest friend and I'm selfish. If he doesn't kill them, he'll kill himself. He's not going to live with that much anger."
The mood in the apartment was now much darker, it was just like lunch earlier that day- such ephemeral friendliness before the serious discussion. Conor broke the silence.
"Fresh off the plane man" It was Dan, the first time Sam had seen him in over a year. "Dan! Been too long," the two hugged "I was worried you'd forget I was coming" Dan chuckled. "You idiot." Suddenly he was less excited "You know about the plan... Anyway, you tried poutine yet? Let's go, we gotta do some catching up."
It didn't take long at all for Sam to notice the city was busy, but the Pacific Centre epitomized this characteristic. There must have been hundreds of people, all buzzing around, with their own lives, going about their own business, yet they all did so under the same roof. At least during lunch hours.
"So what do you think?" "f*cking delicious" Sam managed, his mouth occupied with food. "Just some gravy, cheese curds, and fries but they do go well together don't they?" "They do," Sam swallowed "So Dan... What's the plan?" "I got some supplies you're going to need here" he gestured to a backpack occupying the seat next to him "The gun... bullets... I put together 400 Canadian to cover your expenses and help you have a good time while I get the rest of this thing set up- but you can use USD just about anywhere." "What else needs to be set up?" Sam's attention had been taken off his meal "We have some more surveillance to do. We found three guys who we know were involved with the rape, but we're still staking out a fourth... Might've been a getaway driver."
The word 'rape' stung. Sam preferred to speak about the ordeal in euphemisms; the attack, the assault, involved with 'what happened' would have worked just fine. But Dan was more direct. It wasn't that he spoke carelessly- quite the opposite. He concentrated on what he had to say, and in that concentration he often lost the ability to sugarcoat things for Sam's benefit.
"Why don't I go shoot the other three while you guys figure things out about the fourth?" There was a pause in the conversation. The two had been reunited half an hour ago and they were already discussing what needed to be done. It was unfortunate, Sam thought. Sam looked forward to moments- seeing someone for the first time in years, taking his first step on Canadian soil, many moments. Many instances. But moments fade quickly; and living life as a serious of good moments with stressful waiting periods in between was no way to live.
"Sam, for this to work... the way you want it to at least... You need to be able to go up to Emily, when it's all been figured out, and you need to say 'I killed every last motherf*cker who was responsible'. You need that moment to be perfect. You need it to bring her to tears. And I'm telling you now- It won't be perfect if you say 'I killed three of your attackers, and the fourth just slipped threw my fingers.' This is a job that needs to be done completely, Sam," Dan sighed "But I think you know that." "Yea..." "Take this stuff man." He handed Sam the backpack "And keep your cell on you. I'll keep you posted"
YVR airport, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Sam had never been this far from home before- it was delightful. He went through customs in Toronto, so his first stop was baggage claim. He wasn't in a rush to get there. He was still smiling outside the gate, strolling slowly, letting the Canadian air enter his lungs. What a marvel that such a thing was even possible, that one morning you could be in Connecticut, and that same evening you're in Vancouver. For $600 of his mothers money he could traverse the continent, as a novice traveler, this impressed him.
Eventually he had strolled down to floor one, joining a crowd of his fellow travelers in front of the machine about to spit out their baggage. He looked around, still marveling, trying to find the one's who were returning from a trip, while he was just starting his. He felt bad for them. This dichotomy of travel always struck him; there are those departing and those arriving, and those departing are in for just so much more excitement.
Eventually he got his two bags, one with a strap and one that rolled. They both had the same logo on them; a metal square containing the Eiffel tower. Maybe there next, he thought.
Before long he was exiting YVR and entering a taxi. Another jolt of excitement surged through him as he realized he was no longer in a port of entry; he was in the city. "Where are you going?" The driver asked, the sound of his voice coinciding with the smell of leather "C & N Backpackers hostel. 927 Main Street." "Alright..." It was clear from his voice that this wasn't a common destination, but it was one he could find.
The ride was quiet, thankfully. Sam never liked talking to taxi drivers. He had his mind occupied.
"The place where you're staying... I think it's mostly, eh, drug addicts who stay there." The driver finally said. "Oh alright" Sam mumbled, still absorbed in thought.
It's Canada, how bad could it be? He thought. This assumption was of course derived from the American image of Canadian's, and while he knew that, he couldn't help but think there was some truth to it. All of his friends up here were beautiful, and while he'd only seen pictures and text, and heard voices and seen faces only rarely, he was confident that this was a better place.
There they were. A stones throw away he saw a bridge, 'Historic Chinatown'. He'd check it out later, he thought.
He opened the door to the hostel and walked up the stairs. A concierge was still up, despite it being after midnight. "Hi, I'm Sam Adlershof, I reserved a few days here online."
"ID?" the man asked. He spoke in what sounded like a German accent. Sam handed him his passport, which he'd acquired only a couple weeks prior. "....Under the name 'Wendy'?" "That's my mom." "Okay. Here's your key," He pulled out a key from a drawer by his computer "If you need to smoke," "I don't smoke" Sam chuckled. The concierge rolled his eyes "go to the balcony. Do not smoke in the rooms."
Sam entered his room, number 27. There were two bunk beds, a small mirror, and nothing else. It was perfect.