Robert LongDan sat brooding over the naked body that lay spread eagled on the floor. His brows furrowed as he fixed his gaze on the nether regions of the body. His eyes glazed and he looked up at the glittering sky through the glass ceiling of the Loo’vre.
A poke in his ribs snapped him out of his reverie. He stood up at looked around at the painted urinals of Loo’vre. Considered by many as being a work of art unto themselves, the Loo’vre complex was highly protected with a multi layered security arrangement, the last line of defence being “The O”. Nobody knew where it was and what it was supposed to do but people feared it nonetheless and the thieves avoided the complex at night.
LongDan looked at the body again. The man lay in what was known in ancient texts as the “Vesuvian” posture. It fascinated him.
Captain Bedu Farce poked him again in the ribs. LongDan turned to face him. Without a word Farce shone a pointed beam of light at an area near the head of the man lying on the floor. The words lit up in an eerie purple glow : “So dark the bone of Man”. Farce looked at him enquiringly.
LongDan kept mum, his mind was still working overtime on the implications of the insignia on Bedu’s coat lapel. Could this be true ? The insignia was that of a shiva-linga turned upside down.
LongDan was confused. He tried hard to recollect the organisation to which it belonged to. Was it the “Machchi Dei !” or “The Priorities of the Loin” ?. He started uttering loudly, much to the surprise of Farce, “Eeny, Meeny, Mynae, Mo…” who gave him a throughly disgusted look.
Footsteps in the darkness behind them caused both men to turn around. A stong smell of Lifebuoy soap wafted in the air and caused both of them to nearly throw up. A female form appeared out of the darkness behind them and went straight to LongDan. LongDan reached for his kerchief.
She stretched her right hand towards him, “Mr. LongDan I presume ?” LongDan shook his head but did not extend his hand to meet hers. He pressed his kercief over his nose more fiercely than ever with both hands.
She continued “I am Soapy NoView, chief wahdahdahdah with the Bureau, they have a message for you on this number…” producing a chit. LongDan glanced at the number she’d scribbled on the chit. It was a number he knew too well but definitely not that of the bureau. It was a number with a $15.36 charge per minute which he put to good use on long lonely nights.
He looked up at her enquiringly. She realised her mistake and held out another chit. LongDan memorised the number, to occupied with both hands to actually reach for it and receeded to a
dark corner of the Loo’vre, well out of reach of both of them.
Soapy turned towards Farce, who winced, and said ” Mr. Farce, show me what you’ve got here ?” With a mild nod Farce led her out towards the control room, careful to maintain his distance from her.
Soapy glanced around, in vain, to locate LongDan. Sighing, she followed Farce.
The Man lying naked on the ground rubbed his eyes. Slowly, as if in a trance he got up and tried to figure out where he was. He tried to recollect the incidents of the previous night. Slowly, like an action replay everything came back to him. He, driving into this notorious pub late at night, too much wine, the black dude he picked up on his way back, checking in to his private quarters at the basement of the Loo’vre, then nothing. He hazily recalled stepping out of his room late at night to answer nature call, being too drunk to make it to the loo and scribbling something profound on the floor beside him before passing out.
Jerk SoNear, chief curator of the Loo’vre looked around him and searched for something to cover himself up. Not finding any, he slowly started walking towards his quarters. Oh ! what a night it had been…