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Mishiida Alexander

Stalking Shadows

“War is not evil. It’s an industry.”

Chapter Twelve: Seizing power

Humanity has forever suffered an insatiable desire to paint the ground beneath its feet red. Mix this with the greed to paint everything above it in gold, and you get the crux of the twentieth century mankind. The first great war; if great is a world that could be, or rather should be associated with a sea of blood; it brought about a renaissance to the killing power of the machine and the killing appetite of its’ wielder. Little did humanity realize; it also brought about a learning that was subsequently confirmed by the second Great War, and stretched to its extreme in a war that never really took place. Guns and ammunitions can run homes and build empires! If all the rest of the world saw was death and destruction, it was because its viewpoint was imperfect or perhaps partial-reality blind. No one ever stopped to tally the accounts of those who supplied munitions to either side. Everything that has transpired since, or in between, has only been a learning experience, of how to master the flame and kindle a fire at will. Fortunes are decided not on individual basis, but at regional levels, and for collective gains of a select few.

How will war ever end when it fills so many pockets, and runs so many homes? Has anyone stopped to wonder as to who would be the people on this planet that would want the war to continue and flourish, leave aside what their individual reasons be for such a wish? Humanity has possibly progressed beyond the level where motivated men fought for honour, justice or equality. Wars are instigated, staged, managed and run to drive home political gains, to make financial fortunes, and to let those eager to rid humanity of their selves, play with their own lives. Everything else is a calculated risk and business loss borne by public treasuries. Political and business empires don’t fall in wartimes anymore. They are strengthened everywhere in the post. The cause is for the ordinary, the fruit for the privileged.

To what extent can a man fall is not a question of speculation, but a fact to be observed with ticking time. The more the time will tick, the more the man will fall. When a society is too entangled in individual lives, too consumed in individual liberties, how shall rise a collective voice of reason? Who will stop a man like Garcia and ask him; how much money would be enough when there will be no one left in your life and beyond your hearth? But we the fourth witnesses have no right to stop and question anyone. We can only observe, and suffer in silence.

Had it not been an intention to know the whereabouts of Pfzarida and Draztida, and their Tyrene friend, it would be hard to find a reason for us hanging around Mr. Garcia today. But here we are stuck with him, hoping he would make a call that we would be able to trace. But perhaps he realizes, or perhaps not actually, that we won’t be the only ones listening to his conversations today, or for any foreseeable future. Fortunately for us, a door knock finally breaks the monotony of this huge stadium sized office.

As Garcia looks up at the grave looking face of his secretary, the secretary walks around the table and thrusts the folder in his hands in front of Garcia’s face.

“I’ve sent my chauffeured car for you,” the precise note as signed by Sir Alfred Whittington, delivers the message, albeit sans any emotions.

Choice is not on the table. Company has been demanded. So we tag along as the limousine cruises through the urbane jungle, and soon enough, out of the town and towards a lush green golf course.

“Nice shot as always,” Sir Richard Aldridge applauds Mr. Humphrey Jarvis, just as we arrive with Mr. Garcia.

“Sir Aldridge, Mr. Jarvis, what an honour to have your company again,” Mr. Garcia greets the two graciously.

“Then perhaps you will not disappoint us,” Sir Alfred Whittington’s commanding voice booms from behind us, as the stout old man walks in with Miss Shivoni Vienna by his side.

“The entire club? Must be something ominous that I have been unexpectedly graced by the presence of such esteemed company,” Mr. Garcia quips as he steps forward to greet the Chairman, and kiss the Miss on her hand.

“You are indeed a wise man,” Sir Whittington continues, “Perhaps you wouldn’t mind letting us on your little secret then, and let our souls at ease?”

“I don’t understand,” Mr. Garcia is stumped by the loaded question.

“You are not that inept young man, not to know why we are here,” Mr. Jarvis pats his shoulder and joins in the conversation, “What brought the army to your door?”

“I am an arms dealer. I supply and equip armies. They are like my extended business family,” Mr. Garcia tries to skirt away the question.

“Do we look like farmers from Cape York?” Mr. Jarvis comments with a smirk, “Your extended families are our loyal servants; been this way for generations now.”

“We don’t run a tea party club over here,” Sir Whittington weighs in with his words, “We don’t even run the world in real time son. We determine the fate of next ten generations of humanity today.”

“If you are up to something, which you obviously are,” Miss Vienna lends her voice to the conversation as well, “The time to come clean is now; else much will be lost.”

“I don’t understand why so much fuss about an army from a remote part of the world coming to me for assistance,” Mr. Garcia however is not made of easy mud.

“Because we know the backdrop to the visit,” Sir Aldridge quips this time, “That you are up to something with the unwanted alien company is not in doubt for us. But what exactly it is, and how deep your designs go is our concern.”

“But,” Mr. Garcia is about to say something when he is cut short by a slight raise of the hand by Sir Whittington.

“We don’t keep secrets in this club. It is the basic and most important requirement we expect all our members to meet,” Sir Whittington doesn’t appear to be in a mood to argue further, “Your reluctance to divulge the information is a clear sign that you cannot be trusted. I hereby suspend your membership from the club indefinitely and with immediate effect. And just to let you know; we don’t really need you to tell us anything. We have resources to find out everything. We haven’t been running our empires for centuries without a reason.”

Mr. Garcia is about to reason but Miss Shivoni Vienna gestures him to keep quiet. As our company walks away towards their waiting limousines, Sir Aldridge decides to give Mr. Garcia some parting advice, “There is no man, no family more powerful in this world than the Whittingtons. They have been running this club and this world with an iron fist for the past two centuries. Be watchful of your own shadow from now.”

Is it really the shadows that are menacing, that have form, an attitude? Or does the meaning really exist in the beholder’s mind? Or should we ask; is it the shadow that falls on the ground the real culprit, or is it the shadow cast by thoughts that obscure the picture and make things to appear fuzzy when they actually aren’t? Perhaps it is the form of the physical that gives reason to imagination, which then creates its own impression to be perceived by the observer. But it is perception that determines the actions, and actions determine the outcome, and thus the future.

“How is she?” Surpavitar asks Alexander, who’s been sitting by the side of Mishiida the whole day.

“The doctors don’t know anything about her, how her system works,” Alex exclaims frustrated, “She needs to wake up and tell us what is wrong with her, otherwise we have no clue.”

“You are here with her,” Surpavitar replies, “She may not be conscious, but your voice is still falling on her eardrums, your hand holding her hand is still registering signals via her nerves onto her brain. She knows in her subconscious, that you are here with her. She will rise, when her brain is ready to wake her up.”

“I wish I could do something,” Alex exclaims, “I feel so useless.”

“Why? Is it because you think you are not a man good enough for nothing?” Surpavitar asks as he stares deep into his eyes, perhaps trying to find the real Alex hiding somewhere deep in there, in the deepest recesses of his mind.

“Maybe till yesterday, I might have thought of it like that,” Alex replies after a deep consternation.

“What about today?” Surpavitar asks.

“Today I’ve realized something that I hadn’t thus far,” Alex quips, making us as interested in his upcoming words, as it does Surpavitar.

“Till yesterday I was trying to be like other men, thinking they are better than me,” Alex continues, “But today I realized; everyone is only as good as their selves.”

“And how will you describe this difference?” we are glad Surpavitar seeks to delve deeper into his rocket science, ‘cause we sure do.

“Take for example Mr. Garcia,” Alex picks up the current example from his life, “He is rich, powerful, handsome and famous. But does that make him a better man than me, or anyone else?”

“What do you think?” Surpavitar asks.

“He may be better than me in all those things today, but he is definitely not a better man. I mean; what kind of a man behaves like that with a girl?” Alex asks the question but continues as the answer isn’t expected or needed, “And if this world is in danger and he is, or might be, a part of that danger, what kind of a human being is he? For all that he is good at; he’s definitely not half as good a man or human being as I am.”

“So you think you are better than him in some respects?” Surpavitar nudges him for more.

“Perhaps every man is good at something, and better than others in some,” Alex replies, “The point is; everyone is good within themselves to certain extents, it’s just that they might be better than others in some respects. But we can’t compare two individuals, and shouldn’t. Rather we should only save whatever we find good within ourselves, and build upon it to improve ourselves further. If we end up getting better than someone in something, then that should not be an end of the road to improvement for ourselves.”

“That’s very well said Alex, and I am glad you’ve finally realized this fine distinction,” Surpavitar lauds our man, “So what do you think you need to improve with yourself? Why do you still feel useless?”

“My despair is a child of my predicament,” Alex replies as if he just grew up years in a few hours. Life can sometimes do that; be a real tough master. Anyway, we are all ears to what our beloved Alex has to say, “I am caught in a situation where the one dearest to my heart lives a life that will invariably lead her into trouble; something I am incompetent to handle.”

“And why is that?” Surpavitar asks.

“Let us take the example of Garcia again,” Alex continues, “He may not be physically as strong as even Colonel Rick or Corbett, leave aside Mishiida, yet he was able to take so many liberties with them. And to think of the worst case scenario; he can be a cause of great turmoil to humanity. But none of this has got anything to do with his physical strength.”

“Yes, that’s right! Go on,” Surpavitar nods in agreement.

“He managed to do all this because he has other abilities; the intellect, the influence and infrastructure to accomplish great things,” Alex quips, “He has the power!”

“So you think you need the power to better him?” Surpavitar asks as his eyes constrict, as if judging Alex.

“That’s the thing! Do I really need power?” Alex asks in reply.

“You tell me,” Surpavitar asks.

“Well! What would be power in this case,” Alex asks, and then continues, “It cannot be muscle power, for if that was all that was needed, Colonel, Corbett and Mishiida would have been plentiful. I don’t need power for them, least of all for Mishiida. She loves me already when I am powerless in that sense. My parents love me and are happy to see me become what I want to become, a big name in entertainment and fashion industry. They don’t need me to have that kind of power. And besides, I don’t need such a power for I’ve never liked those guys who go out on streets to fight like street dogs, trying to prove who is a bigger dog. I consider them public nuisance.”

“So you need money power and influence?” Surpavitar asks, looking a bit perturbed now.

“That’s exactly what I thought about next, but the answer I found was no,” Alex’s response however calms down his and our nerves, “I thought about what I would do with money and influence, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even if I had those things, I would still only be able to enjoy them if I will be with those whom I love; my parents, friends and Mishiida. But I already have them with me. I don’t need money or influence to be with them.”

“So you don’t need the power in any form?” Surpavitar asks Alex, a calm glow starting to grow on his face.

“For myself; no,” Alex quips as we nod in appreciation.

“But you do need power, don’t you?” Surpavitar comments as he nods his head.

“Not for myself, but for everything I care for as a human being, I do need to uplift my standards, I do need to get that power,” Alex replies with a conviction now having replaced the confusion in his eyes, “I can’t sit around and do nothing when those whom I love need me the most to stand up, when what I care about this world is at risk of being lost. I need power, because I am needed; by those who I need, and those who have no one to look up to.”

“What are you doing tomorrow morning?” Surpavitar asks him.

Realizations are like mornings; fresh and energizing. They provide perspective to thoughts which might have thus far been an intertwined mess of possibilities. Once realization happens, one is ready to leap forward in one direction. Actions can be focused, results can be expected. But without realizations, even mornings are no different than the previous evening, where everything had to be left behind unsorted and unpacked.

The beauty about globe is; it takes time for the day to travel around its’ circumference. While our loves Mishi and Alex are still stuck in the hospital, we can quickly sneak up on Mr. Garcia and see if he’s had his realization yet or not.

“Good morning Sir,” Mr. Garcia’s secretary greets him just as he walks into his office. This guy sure loves to start early as far as making money is concerned.

“Who’s this?” Mr. Garcia exclaims as he pulls out his ringing telephone from his jacket. One look at the number and his face starts radiating like a new Sun, “Hey Joe, Joe, Joe! Where the heck have you been all these days buddy?”

“I was busy with work man,” Joe, who we suspect is Mr. Garcia’s friend, replies.

“Where are you now? What are you up to dude? We seriously need to catch up?” this is not the Garcia we’ve come to know.

“I’m here in Tokyo!” Joe replies, “I have a conference downtown in few hours. Care to catch up on breakfast table. I’m downstairs at your hotel?”

“You kidding me,” Garcia jumps like a wild child, “Hold on tight! I’m coming there right now.”

Oh well, perhaps this is the first time someone has beaten us down a flight of stairs, and we better not divulge this to anyone. But here we are now, watching two childhood friends getting back together after what seems like ages, but we are sure is overrated.

“What have you been up to dude?” Garcia can’t seem to hold his excitement.

“Just doing some work for my little company,” Joe replies.

“Dude, I’ve told you so many times, you don’t need to work for anyone. All this is as much yours as much mine,” Garcia could be so benevolent, that’s news!

“I know Jacky, but you know how it is,” Joe replies to, hold your breath, Jacky, “I can’t accept it. Not the way mom has brought me up. Besides, my boss is a lovely man, a jolly old fellow!”

Garcia, nah, Jacky, nods his head in reconciliation, “I know! Your mother is such a strong woman! Perhaps the strongest I’ve ever known. So upright; so principled!”

“After father was gone, she could’ve easily remarried, but didn’t,” Joe gets emotional reminiscing what appears to have been a tough childhood, “She never let me feel father was never there.”

“What is she doing these days?” Garcia asks him.

“Still doing her job, nine to nine,” Joe replies with a smile, “She just won’t quit. It had become her life. I couldn’t make her quit till now.”

“So has she agreed?” Garcia asks excitedly.

“Finally she has!” Joe replied, “Today’s her last day at the job.”

“Great! I can then ask her to visit me over here then,” Garcia exclaims triumphantly, “Been a long time since I last saw her. I still remember the taste of her cupcakes. She’s the best.”

“I’m sure she would love to come for a visit. She loves you so much sometimes it makes me jealous,” Joe exclaims as he looks at his watch, “Oops! I better get going! Looks like I am running late for my conference now.”

“Don’t worry!” Garcia exclaimed, “Here take my car.”

“Oh no, that’s fine!” Joe exclaims.

“Dude, since when did you start getting formal with me?” Garcia complains, “Now grab the key or I am going to beat you up into a pulp and put you in the trunk and drive you there, like I did that time. Do you remember?”

“Can I ever forget that? You are a nut,” Joe exclaims shaking his head, “Give me that damn key. I’ll see you at the dinner.”

“I’ll be waiting buddy. Don’t take too long,” Garcia winks at his old pal as we leave alongside him, just so we can know him a bit better.

Knowing someone however could mean two things; knowing them as who they are socially, and knowing them as who they are personally. But if the saying familiarity breeds contempt is correct, doesn’t it mean that nobody is worth knowing personally, for all are bad? Or is it just the contrast in a human’s social versus personal profile which leaves a bad taste. Perhaps we are let down more by how different someone is from what we have known them as thus far.

Anyway, since we understand why Joe is driving Garcia’s car so carefully, we won’t judge him for this, although his braking leaves a lot to be desired and he needs to be a bit more decisive when overtaking. And if this stop start trail wasn’t enough to nudge us over the edge, this is the umpteenth traffic light that we have been forced to stop at; so much for a safe driver. Lucky this one didn’t stay red for too long. Now what is he looking at? Go! Go! Go!

No! Wait! Oh Damn! Did you see that? That truck just kept coming at him. We don’t think any other driver could have done anything different than what Joe did.

Yep! He’s dead!


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