Image by Rick Harris
Foster got off the train. Things seemed to be building up in waves recently. He ran his hand over his hair and thought about this as looked for the station exit. He began walking towards a large archway, fumbling for his tin of tobacco. He stood at the exit rolling a cigarette and broke things down in his head. ”So far all I have to work with is; a girls face, some weird symbol and an old lab” he thought. And today he figured he was going to poke around for that old lab.
Looking around outside this northern station it was spectacularly grim. “First things first” thought Foster, “I better phone in, if the agency don’t hear from me today they will add me to the retirement wall.” He looked at his watch, time for another dose he figured and swallowed a suzy.
"Right, twenty minutes to brain melt" he thought. "I better find a phone and a coffee before the urge to sit down and sleep would be too strong." A young lad was walking across the street from the exit, he walked over and asked “Scuse me son, where is the nearest phone box?” “Fuck off you paedo” was the kids reply. Aah okay, Foster thought, here we go. He walked back into the station and looked around. “Excellent” he thought seeing both a phone box and a coffee kiosk, he walked over to the phone box, and went to lift the receiver to his head only to stop himself at the last minute when he realised someone had pushed a fresh turd into the mouthpiece. Classy. Foster exited the box and went to the coffee kiosk. The barista was a jittery, skinny kid who had obviously been abusing his staff privileges on the expresso syrup. “Big, strong black coffee” said Foster and the kid set to work, pulling levers and pressing buttons, only to hide around the back and add some hot water to a thick black concentrated goo he had prepared earlier, much earlier. Foster wasn’t fooled, but as long as it did the job he couldn’t have cared less. Foster handed over way too much money and took the cup. “Don’t suppose you know where I can find a shit free phone box?” Foster asked. “Um, yea, walk out of the station and follow that kid you were just talking to, you’ll find one eventually.” Foster looked at the skinny kid, OH, right the old shit in the phone trick. “Alright Son, very enterprising” Foster said “How much to use your phone?”. The kid smirked an took more money.
Foster called in to the agency and got started. “Please state your name and ID” a computer voice said. “Foster 23” Foster said. “I heard Foster 23, is that correct” The voice said. “Yes” said foster “I’m sorry I did not understand that, please try again.” “YES” said Foster. “I’m sorry, I do not understand you” “Oh for fucks sake” hissed Foster. The skinny kid was smirking. “Reverting to fallback system” Said the voice. “Press one if you entered your name correctly, two if you would like to start again” Foster pressed one. “Thank you agent Foster 23, please press one if you are feeling safe and wish to carry on with your case load, press two if you would like to ask about a late payment, press three if you wish to purchase any firearms or ammunition, press four if you feel you have been mis sold any of our agent protection policies, or press five if you feel you are in serious danger as a result of your casework and would like to arrange a meeting with one of our representatives.”
Foster looked at the skinny kid, he had his back to him. Good. Foster pressed one and quietly ended the call.
Still holding the phone to his ear he raised his voice and said “Yes, I’m just calling about the case of..” He looked up at the sign above the kiosk “The Sero dealers at ‘Crafty’s Coffee”. The kid stiffened. “Yea, it looks like he’s on his shift now and he’s carrying… OK, Keep my distance? Wait for support? Will do.” Foster put the phone down on the counter. The skinny kid looked at him. He looked at the skinny kid and put his hand out, palming the measly bag of pills that was handed over. “And my money” said Foster. He took a sip of his coffee, nodded at the kid and walked off. No point getting cocky about it he figured and walked towards the station exit, all magnanimous and cocky.
Foster got in the cab he had been standing next to earlier. “Due Point campus” he said sitting in the back seat trying to steam his heavy eyelids open over his coffee.