LIVING THE LIFE IX

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‘LIVING THE LIFE’ is a series of more short stories that take place in the year 2020 in a fictional State named Callisto located in the Northern part of the United States. In Callisto, life is the same, yet different, because no one outside the State really understands anything about what actually goes on here. Along with the location; the characters, events, and conversations, are completely made up and you’re not meant to find morals, or meanings, or signs; But neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you what you think. Here we meet a lonely man, feeling desolate, but out for revenge.

LIVING THE LIFE, CHAPTER 9: Borgo Szoros

He dragged his dreary feet down the deserted road, in dirty clothes, starving, with a growing five o’clock shadow, recalling how he got into this position. He was in a rush, but due to having just spent the last 32 hours walking through the forrest and back to the city, he couldn’t move as fast as he wanted. You know him as the shotgun man but everyone who knew him called him Borgo Szoros. Borgo Szoros lived a regular, boring, uneventful life. Yet, it was a happy and peaceful one, which I’m sure most of you can relate to. But one day, he was struck with tragedy: his girlfriend of 2 years disappeared; she left one morning and never came back. He called the police and they sent a search party for days; she was on the news, too, but no one had seen her. It was a real pity because he was going to ask her to marry him. One night, a few months after she went missing, his friends took him out for drinks. He reluctantly agreed; he had spent those months inside their apartment waiting for her to come home. Back at his friends house, one of his friends offered him a pill of LSD, he told him it was one of those drugs you don’t always have the chance to try. Borgo Szoros figured what the hell, he didn’t have his girlfriend anymore. He took the LSD and waited. He walked around his friends basement, went inside different rooms. Then all of a sudden he was on his back staring at what looked to him like millions of different colours. After a long while he calmed down and noticed that he saw lines, like a maze within the colours. He took that as a sign that if he solved the maze it would lead him to his girlfriend so he kept using LSD to keep on seeing the maze. He was desperate. He decided that he had to paint out what he saw. He sold his apartment and used almost all his savings to rent the space and all the supplies he needed and it made him go crazy in weeks. He bought the shotgun because he was robbed of his money from a past transaction. So he always carried it when he opened the door or went to meet someone. Now he felt naked and exposed without it, walking back to civilization after being kidnapped and robbed again. He was thinking to himself that maybe he deserved it but he couldn’t even remember attacking those boys and did they have to be that harsh? He supposed so. Either way, Borgo Szoros was on his way to the police station to alert them of those crooks that were on the loose.

He noticed that the State flag outside the police station was half-mast and wondered what happened; Borgo Szoros didn’t hear about anything that went on since he went off the grid. He pushed open the doors to the Callisto Police Station with more force than he meant to, and looked around, it was a rather bland place. Usually, he tried avoiding the police as much as possible but this was an exception. He approached an officer and the secretary who were nearby and already staring at him, seeing what he’d do.

“Are you lost, sir?” Asked the officer in a demanding way. “This is the police station not a homeless shelter.”

Just then, the doors opened behind Borgo Szoros and another police officer walked by him. She seemed to be just coming in to start the day, but he wasn’t even aware of what time it was. A nearby clock read that it was just after eleven. When she turned around to face him, Borgo Szoros noticed that she was the second most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. He wasn’t sure anyone could take the place of his girlfriend who went missing but this was like love at first sight. He wished he wasn’t in this shaggy condition, what a horrific first impression.

“Morning, Anthony. Morning, Wanda. What’s going on?” She asked.

“Morning, Shirley. We don’t know yet. This man just walked in right before you did,” said Wanda, the secretary.

“He’s been staring at you since you walked in, though, Shirley.” Said Anthony, the first officer. “Do you know him?”

“Can’t say I do,” said Shirley. “Why are you here, sir?”

Borgo Szoros took a couple seconds to compose himself. “Forgive my appearance if you will, Miss. I’ve had a long journey.”

Shirley smiled but she was unsure herself of what kind of smile it was. “What happened?”

He was in deep thought. “I was robbed and kidnapped. These two people, a guy and a girl, came to my house in the middle of the night claiming to be FBI agents. They told me a story saying I was suspected of being a terrorist. I hardly believed them but I went with them to their truck just to clear my name. There were two other guys there sitting in the driver and passenger seat and some of their friends had to be around a corner outside waiting for me to leave because a few minutes later they were back in the truck with a duffle bag.” He took a breath. “When I tried to escape, the guy in the front seat tasered me, then I passed out. They cuffed me and stashed me in the trunk and when I woke up we were speeding down the highway. He drove for about 2 hours and got off at the outskirts, you know, where the woods are. They led me to a cabin, still handcuffed. But they took them off once we got to the cabin. They locked me inside and said I have to figure out how to escape because it was like a trick house or something. So I had to spend the last 2 days trying to get out and then walk back here.”

He only told his side of the story.

“Wow, you’ve been through quite a bit. Have a seat, we’ll help you out,” said Shirley. Even Anthony was interested in this. “Let me just get organized.”

Now, Officer Shirley, we’ll just call her Shirley, should be behind bars herself. Every night, she tossed and turned for countless hours because she was scared, and guilty, and ashamed, and she wished she could forget about what she did, but she couldn’t and it was destroying her on the inside. Then she’d go to work, with no sleep, and try her best to act like everything was fine. Like right now. She was glad this strange man walked into the station; it would be a distraction.

They kept the poor man waiting for too long, but Shirley had to make herself a cup of tea and get her usual double chocolate glazed donut from the cafeteria. Anthony went with her to get himself a coffee. It was like a morgue in the cafe, nothing has been the same since the events at Galaxy Mall; three of her fellow officers were brutally killed by those murdering thieves, and it made every other cop ponder their life, a few of them even resigned from the force because of it, and as if what Shirley did at the club that night wasn’t already bad enough, to make matter worse, they got away; She pulled them over and had them right there. But they got away. She was hoping for the chance to catch them, she would receive so much praise, and maybe, in a way, it would make up for what she did. She also thought helping this man was a step in the right direction.

She hoped.

“Okay, sir, what’s your name?”

“Borgo Szoros.” He paused. “I’m American and I’m 30 years old.”

“Okay.” Shirley and Anthony gave each other a look. “Tell us what happened again.”

Shirley was writing on her notepad. She listened to the mysterious Borgo Szoros retell his story. They found it quite interesting. The way he told it made it look like it was a planned attack. Shirley asked him if he recognized or knew who the people were, and that suddenly made him nervous, he began to look at all over the place and jumble his words.

“Calm down and take a deep breath,” said Shirley. She tried to sound reassuring. “Do you know who they were? That would be a great help to us finding them.”

“Isn’t that why you came here? Or did you expect to just tell us and expect us to figure it out ourselves, without all the information,” added Anthony.

The two officers watched Borgo Szoros try to explain the truth.

“Look, I’ve done some bad things. You two have probably done some bad things, too.”

That made Shirley flinch.

Borgo Szoros continued. “For personal reasons, I have to use LSD. That’s an unrelated story. But I have to order it and these two guys; both tall, one had black hair, the other had dark brown hair, delivered it around three weeks ago. They came to my place and it went wrong. That’s what they told me, at least. I don’t remember, I was on LSD at the time, most likely. Before they locked me in the cabin they told me I shot at them with my shotgun. I have a shotgun because this wasn’t the first time I was robbed. Anyways, I’m pretty sure it was them who did this, with a few of their friends.”

Shirley kept a straight face but hearing this man speak of two young guys who delivered him drugs made her stomach flip. Were they the same ones who delivered her her drugs? She could vaguely remember how they looked and they seemed to be too familiar. It had to be, there’s no such thing as coincidences. At least she would be able to question them because she still had their number. She wasn’t going to meet them in person, obviously, because they’d recognize her and confront her about her own dark hobbies. Then Shirley realized that even though she still had their phone number she couldn’t use it, she’d have to answer too many questions about how she had it. She thought about it; it wasn’t worth it.

Shirley’s mind continued to speed.

“This is going to be an open shut case. Just give us their phone number and we’ll call them and ask them a few questions. You still have their phone number right?”

“Yes. I do..but it’s written down on a napkin at my place.”

“Don’t you have a cell phone?” Asked Anthony.

“No, not anymore,” he sighed. “It’s an unrelated story.”

“Well I’m guessing you’ll need a ride home anyways,” Shirley smiled. “Don’t worry, Borgo Szoros, we’ll help you.”

And with that, Shirley got up and began to leave, she grabbed the keys to her cruiser off the key rack, and left the room. Borgo Szoros quickly followed her, and Anthony, who, too, was eager, shut the door behind them.

Around 15 minutes later, they drove into the run down plaza that Borgo Szoros insisted he lived in. He didn’t want to answer any questions about it, he just said “you’ll see when we get there.” What did that even mean? Shirley drove right up to the doors and turned off the car. She and Anthony both looked back at Borgo Szoros, waiting for him to say something. Ironically, that was his first time sitting in a police cruiser. He didn’t say anything, he seemed a little nervous again. What was he hiding?

“We’re here. Wherever here is. Are you going to get that number for us?”

“Of course. You two can wait in the car, I won’t be too long.”

“Did he just tell us just what to do?” Asked Anthony.

Shirley smirked. “Yeah, we’re not staying in the car. We need to see what’s inside. After all, you are a confessed drug abuser. Who knows what we’ll find.”

They weren’t really joking around. All at once, they made a move to exit the cruiser and walked over to the entrance of the strip plaza. Borgo Szoros was moving slowly, as if to stall, but the two officers told him to pick the pace up. He pulled on the handle, hoping that it wouldn’t be locked. He didn’t have his key because he didn’t have time to grab it before getting kidnapped. Luckily, the door opened. Borgo Szoros walked inside and flicked the light switch up. Shirley and Anthony were stunned to see all the colourful lines that took up nearly every inch of the walls and floor.

“What happened here?” Asked Shirley, while she continued to gaze all around the room. “Is this supposed to be a maze?”

“It’s a long story and I don’t want to get into it.”

“Did you do all this while you were on LSD? That’s kind of impressive,” said Anthony. “How long did it take to finish? Is it even finished?”

“Like I said, I don’t really want to get into it.” He was pacing around his quarters, then sat down on his bed in the middle of the room, hunched over, and buried his face in his palms. He seemed to be collecting himself because he got back up almost right away, walked to his desk and pulled out a note from the drawer. There was also a huge landline phone on the desk; that explained having no cell phone. “I just wanted to let you know that there are a few really dangerous people out there; I wasn’t planning on answering too many personal questions. Thanks for giving me a ride, but now that I’m back safe, I need to be alone.” Borgo Szoros walked over to the two officers, Shirley and Anthony, and handed them the note; it had the phone number written down on it, with a caption that said ‘if you need it.’ “This is their phone number.”

Shirley and Anthony both looked perplexed. “Do you know any of their names?”

“No.”

“Okay, well thanks for the tip. You were really helpful,” said Anthony sarcastically. “I’m going to go wait in the cruiser, Shirley. But before I leave, I have to ask; you said they locked you in a cabin and you had to find your way out. How’d you get out?”

“There was a hidden trap door in the basement which led to like a second basement. I had to drop at least eight feet. Then I had to walk through a tunnel that led to somewhere in the woods and I had to coordinate myself out.”

“Well, at least you’re alive.” Anthony turned and left.

Shirley watched him leave then focused her attention back to Borgo Szoros. “You should really stop using LSD. I know from first hand experience that drugs can get you into tough situations. And once you’re in, it’s even tougher to get out unscathed. Physically or mentally. Or morally. Listen to me, I’m a cop.” She was clearly talking about what she did, not what she saw as a cop; Of course she knew that he wouldn’t know that. Shirley gave the man a smile and told him that’d she’d find the culprits. Then she left to go meet Anthony in the cruiser.

He was only waiting for about two minutes, but when Shirley got outside, she saw Anthony, in the cruiser, with the seat reclined all the way back, as if he had been waiting all day. She walked to the drivers side and slipped in. Anthony pulled his seat up right away, ready to get back to the station.

“You never know what a day will bring, huh. This is definitely the most peculiar case we’ve dealt with.”

“It should be easy to solve, though. We just have to call those guys and see what they have to say.”

“Then what?”

“Well, from what he told us, those guys were getting him back for something he did. We should just get them all together and sort it out from there.”

“I suppose that’s a good enough resolution. You think we should tell the Chief?”

“I don’t see why we have to, can’t we handle it?”

“We sure can, I was seeing what you’d say.”

When Shirley and Anthony got back to the station, the only person they talked to was Wanda, the secretary; they told her what they discovered at the strange mans place. It turns out that he was even more strange that they originally thought. Wanda was really interested to hear more, but that was all they could tell her at this point. They told her they’d keep her updated on the case, and that’s what they were going to try to solve right now.

Shirley and Anthony left Wanda and made their way to Shirley’s desk; Anthony’s was right beside hers. He told her he had to use the washroom quickly, and said to not make the call till he got back. She took out the slip of paper from her pocket and thought about what she was going to say. First she tried remembering their names, it didn’t take long: Jackson and Jonathan. She was pleased to still have a strong memory considering all the drugs she used to take. She had a good idea of what she wanted to say and saw that Anthony was making his way back to his desk. Shirley picked up the phone and dialled the number, she pressed the button for speaker phone and anxiously waited for someone to pick up.

“Hello?”

“Good morning, I’m calling from the Callisto Police Station. May I ask who I’m speaking with?”

“Good morning, Miss.” He sounded like he was in a good mood. “Didn’t you call me?”

“Yes, but we received this number during an investigation and I’m just following up.”

“What investigation is this? You most likely have the right number,” he chuckled. “But I need to know what happened.” It looked like she wasn’t going to get his name. Was it even Jackson or Jonathan?

“Well, Sir, this morning a strange man, with a strange name.” She hesitated. “Borgo Szoros. He walked into the station and he looked to be in bad shape. He said he walked all the way here from the outskirts because he was robbed and kidnapped by the people with this number.”

“Ah, yes. That does sound familiar. May I ask if he told you what he did?”

“As a matter of fact, he did. Which is why this can be easily resolved. We’ll press no charges, we just need to get together and resolve it, like I said. For our records and peace of mind.”

“Two of the people involved are my employees, you could say. They’re the ones you want to see.” The man on the phone sounded very reasonable, which made Shirley give an interior sigh of relief. “Okay, that’s perfect! Do you think they could meet us today?”

“That will be no problem. When and where do you want to meet them?”

Shirley thought about it. “Would they be able to come to the station at 6?”

“No. They will not be going to the station. They can meet at a neutral site at 6. How about Triple C?”

She took some time to respond. Anthony was nodding his head; it wasn’t a bad idea, it probably wouldn’t be a setup and by the look of it, it looked like the man was more concerned he was the one going to be setup.

“That sounds good. My partner and I will be in the food court, and we’ll be in uniform, so they can recognize us.”

“Great. I wont be there but I’ll let my guys know. Good talk. Bye.” He hung up and that was it.

Shirley swivelled around in her chair and faced Anthony. She didn’t say anything, so he did. “Easy enough, eh.”

“Yeah, but something seems weird now. Did that guy seem off to you? Or is it just me?”

“He seemed like a boss to me. Literally and figuratively. I don’t think he’s one to cross.”

“Do you think he knows what happened at Galaxy?”

“That’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t be surprised, but before we get into that, we should see what these guys have to say.”

“You’re right. We don’t have much time to kill, we have to pay our friend another visit to pick him up and bring him to Triple C.”

“Oh, great.” Anthony rolled his eyes.

“Come on, he’s not that bad. He’s been through a lot.”

“Haven’t we all. Anyways, I’m going to the cafe to get some food, you coming?”

“Go ahead. I’ll be along; I need to think for a bit.”

How was this meet up going to work? Anthony was going to be with her, and the two guys they were going to meet would certainly recognize her and expose that she, a police officer, bought cocaine from them. That was another reason why she wanted this to go smoothly; things could easily get out of hand. She continued to worry, then thought about the fact that these people could know about what happened at Galaxy. The man on the phone basically admitted to selling drugs, maybe he’s involved in other crime, too. She didn’t want to leap to conclusions but she was almost certain they’d know who did it. How would she bring it up? She couldn’t accuse them right then and there, they’d expose her. Would Anthony care? He’s probably done drugs, too. But did he have a part in killing a person because of drugs? Probably not. She wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead. Should she just come clean to Anthony, or take a risk? She’s taken enough risks in her 26 years on Earth, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell herself that telling Anthony was the best idea. And usually, when you planned something, like meeting up with potential accomplices to murder, it never went as planned. She took a deep breath and looked at the time; It was 3, Anthony must’ve still been in the cafe. She was starting to get hungry, too, so she got up and went to find her partner.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later, Shirley and Anthony departed from the police station, en route to the residence of Borgo Szoros. They wondered how he’d react to seeing them again so soon, hopefully he’d go with them with no problems. They also hoped he wouldn’t be high on LSD when they got there, because that’d foil the whole plan already. Shirley tried giving him friendly advice, but who knew if he’d take it. People seldom listened to friendly advice; they always did whatever they wanted.

When they got to Borgo Szoros’ place, Shirley and Anthony both got out of the cruiser and went to the front door. Shirley knocked rather gently, and they waited.

A few seconds later they heard what sounded like the loading of a shotgun from behind the door. Then:

Who goes there!” They heard him yell.

“It’s Shirley and Anthony, the officers who helped you this morning!” Shirley yelled back from outside.

They heard him put the shotgun on lock, then heard the door unlock, and watched it open.

“Why are you guys back?”

“We got in contact with the people who attacked you, and they agreed to meet up tonight. We’d like if you came with us.”

“Oh really, what’d they say?”

“Not much, the man I spoke to said they’d talk to us at Triple C.”

“I was in the middle of something just now, do I have to go?”

“What? Taking LSD and drawing lines? You don’t really have a choice, pal,” said Anthony.

“He’s right,” seconded Shirley. “Now get in the cruiser, before we’re late.” Shirley was rude mostly because she was anxious, and wanted to get this over with.

They didn’t need to say anything more; Borgo Szoros looked back into his quarters, shut the door, and went with the officers.

“So what do you guys expect to get out of this?” Asked Borgo Szoros. He was sitting in the backseat of the cruiser, which he was accustomed to now, while Shirley drove, and Anthony sat in the passenger seat.

“For you guys to kiss and make up,” said Anthony. “We are cops, doing our job.”

“Don’t worry,” said Shirley. “This shouldn’t take long. You can get back to what you were doing in no time.”

Shirley looked through her rear view mirror and saw Borgo Szoros tilt his head back and sigh. They drove the rest of the way in tense silence.

They arrived at the Callisto Community Center, Triple C for short, with little time to spare. Anthony practically had to drag Borgo Szoros out of the cruiser. He was very nervous. Shirley was also very nervous, but she hid it better. It was a beautiful, warm evening; the sun was beginning to set and the sky was perfectly clear, and was a surreal shade of orange. Shirley prayed for this meeting to be as good as the weather. They walked through the sliding doors and entered Triple C; the best place in the State. There was a pool, an ice rink, a basketball court, a gym, a game room, an arcade room, and the food court. It was a massive space covered in Callisto’s State colors, space grey, and crimson. Seeing as it was the evening, it was packed with people of all ages, walking around, looking for activities. Shirley wondered if Mellissa was around; they hadn’t really spoken to each other since that night at Astros. She probably wouldn’t want to see Shirley after she made Mellissa an accomplice to murder.

Shirley tried to focus, her stomach was in knots. She led the way to the food court and they grabbed a seat by a window at the back.

“Hey, you okay?” Asked Anthony. “You seem quiet.”

“Yeah, I’m fine, I’ve just been lost in my thoughts.”

“I know. Usually you aren’t like this.”

“I’m okay. They should be here any minute.”

“If you say so.” Anthony glanced around the food court and saw two young men walking towards them. “Looks like they’re here.”

Startled, Shirley immediately looked up. It was definitely them. Shirley couldn’t help but notice that they were two handsome young men. She quickly cancelled that thought.

“Yep, that’s them, Officers. There they are!” Exclaimed Borgo Szoros.

“Relax,” said Anthony.

The two young men joined them at the table. Shirley made eye contact with them and they made eye contact back, and bursted out laughing. But they understood the situation.

“What’s so funny?” Asked Anthony.

“Oh, nothing. We were just laughing at this guy.” They were talking about Borgo Szoros. Al though, they were really laughing at the fact that Shirley, the lady they sold drugs to, was a cop. “We see you escaped the cabin. How long did it take you?”

“Shut the hell up, why don’t you,” cried Borgo Szoros.

“Okay, okay. We’re not here to argue,” said Shirley. “We’re here to listen to both sides and leave in peace. Would you mind telling us your names?”

They looked at each other. “I’m Jackson, and this is Jonathan.”

“I’m Shirley. This is my partner Anthony, and I believe you’ve already met Borgo Szoros.”

“Yeah, we’ve met.”

“But we didn’t know that was his name.”

They snickered. 

“Why don’t you tell us what happened?”

Jackson spoke. “Our job is to deliver items across the State. We both work for the man you spoke to earlier. One of our deliveries took us to this guys place; a damn warehouse plaza or whatever. When we delivered the product, he robbed us. Not only that but he nearly killed Jonathan. He shot at us.” Jonathan rubbed where the shotgun spray grazed him. “A few weeks later we got him back.”

“Is that what happened?” Shirley was talking to Borgo Szoros.

“Yes.”

“Alright, then. So did you guys get everything back from him?”

“We did.”

“Alright, so everything seems to be even. Can we leave it at that and move on without trouble?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“Perfect.”

“But Officers, it wasn’t just these two, it was a whole gang of them and the others were a lot more hellacious.”

Shirley remembered that she suspected Jackson and Jonathan were helped by the people who shredded Galaxy Mall.

“Yes. Who helped you the night you ‘got him back’?”

“Just some friends. They aren’t from here.”

“Where are they from?”

“Out of town. We don’t know, they came to us. Why?”

That was a red flag. “We think they may have had a part in what happened at Galaxy.”

“No. I don’t think so, they’re fine people. They wouldn’t.” Jackson didn’t know he was lying. “But you got us. This is between us.”

“That’s fine. Would you happen to have their information, or know how to get it.”

Jackson paused and looked at his friend Jonathan. “We don’t have their number, but our employer might. After our meeting you can call and ask him for it.”

“Thank you for being honest, will do.”

“So is that it?”

“I guess it is, thank you for your time.”

Jackson and Jonathan gave everyone a handshake, even Borgo Szoros, then got up to leave. Shirley watched them leave the food court and walk out into the parking lot. She was pleased with how that went and her heart finally stopped pounding. Those boys obviously recognized her and didn’t say anything. Nothing got out of hand. For once, something went according to plan.

The three of them got up from the table and left. They dropped Borgo Szoros off at his residence and suggested he not buy anything from them again. He gave a smart remark like ‘great, now I have to find another dealer.’

Shirley and Anthony drove back to the police station and clocked out. Shirley said bye to Wanda, the secretary, and made her way outside to her Mini, which was still parked in her usual spot.

She drove to her apartment and when she got home, opened a new bottle of wine. She poured it up to the brim and ended up drinking half the bottle. She turned the T.V off, changed into her pyjamas, and got into bed where her conscience continued to eat her up. She tossed and turned for hours and began crying out of frustration, guilt, and sadness. Not even a successful day like today could’ve made it easier for her.

Eventually, she fell asleep.

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