DEFEAT. 035 – Anachronistic Pepsi

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The man in the gray trench coat watched as Rimina Jacoby left Bandini’s Café. “Ah, the clever bitch beat me to it! One eye and she’s got a foresight I’d kill for. Well, if ya gotta get beat, might as well be by the best.”

After limping over to a park bench, the visitor sat down and reached into the innards of his coat. He produced a bottle of Pepsi Free, popped off the cap with a twist, and drank greedily. He downed more than half the bottle, then wiped his mouth and chuckled. “Gah, why the hell did they ever stop making this? To make room for energy drinks? Fetid! Sometimes the world makes no sense at all.”

He briefly contemplated following the mystic. After all, it’d long been a dream of his to finally hold a second meeting of the minds. Last time they met he was but the learner, and now he was on his way to becoming a master. But he knew that she was long gone, vanished into an unquantifiable mist.

He was a master of a discipline that, although related, was at odds with the teachings of Rimina Jacoby. “If only we could palaver, everything’d be sorted out. She calls upon the stars, asking them for advice. I redefine astrophysics, discerning how it was that stars even came to exist. She moves only forwards, but can project infinite possibility onto any consciousness. I move in any direction I choose, but can still only experience a singular reality.”

The Pepsi Free was finished, the glass bottle held up in a makeshift salute. The man in the gray trench coat saw that he was alone…but something told him that the Woman in Gray Robes could hear him. “So we have it, one for the ages. Art versus science. And you’re winning…

“If if I didn’t respect you so much,” a smile of remembrance crept cross his face, “I’d be pretty pissed. Hell, I’m one of the world’s greatest scientific minds and I’m being outclassed by a gen-u-ine gypsy mystic.”

The lighthearted rival of the one-eyed seer brought himself to his feet and began shuffling away. It’s not that he didn’t want to keep sitting, thinking about his most formative days. Because he did. But he also knew that that he was a day away from Event Zero. And to be sighted this far into the game, to have to rely on reignition, well that was simply unthinkable.

He was out of sight just in time see Daryl and Clark as they left Bandini’s Café. From his vantage point, he saw them perfectly. Clark looked rewarded. Daryl was determined. And this made sense.

Of course it made sense. It couldn’t be any other way.

The wind picked up, kicking leaves and threatening to knock over the spy. He held his own, pushing back and limping along as he always would.