SOLUTIONS OF ILLUSIONS
THE DEVIL ON MY SHOULDER
DONALD HARRY ROBERTS
Donald Harry Roberts on Shakespir
Solutions of Illusions
Copyright 2017 by Donald Harry Roberts
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
ABOUT MY STYLE
Imagine we are in a café’….sitting across from each other sipping on a coffee…cappuccino…tea….whatever….and I am telling you a fanciful story….a fantasy or mystery or sci-fi or a combination of all…
That is how I write…like I am sitting with you…..
There’s no punctuation…paragraphs…just pauses here and there.
My style of writing is pre…sixteenth century which is delightfully void of annoying piques and marks that the brain does not need…..I write much in the fashion as to these brief paragraphs…which you probably understood quite without difficulty.
I like comas and quotations and …
Thanks a million
“You are not getting the point”
“Explain again…this time clearly.”
“Very well…but this time listen….clearly.”
“It’s like this…I am real….You are the illusion, a figment of my imagination. But for some reason you are stuck in my head and I cannot get you out.”
“I understand what you are saying….however….could it not be that it is I who is real and you who are the illusion or figment of my imagination and I seem incapable of getting rid of you.”
“Well….ah….yes….I suppose that is possible…and I suppose it is possible that we are both right…however dynamically impossible that may seem.
Subject A stood from his chair while Subject B sat down in his.
Ok…let us assume we are both right…we are both real and illusional which of course make us both delusional or possibly….probably both utterly insane….However….having said that…how can we both be right.
I do not have an answer to that question so it seems to me that instead of arguing the point we should set out to find an answer….out there maybe.” Pointing at a window.
Subjects A and B move to the window.
Outside is a city street. It is night time and the dark is only dispelled by a collage of neon lights and signs.
“It looks frightening. Maybe we should reconsider.” Said A
B frowned. Don’t be cowardly. We must go. We can not just sit in this room arguing which one of us is delusional.”
“Well…I suppose but I think we are going to find ourselves in a real mess.” A groaned.
“Stay here then. I will go alone…and when I find the answer I may or may not share it with you. Maybe I will just leave you here all alone to wallow in your cowardliness.” B threatened.
“Very well but first things first. We are naked…everyone out there is wearing clothes. I think we should not go out until we are wearing clothes as well.”
“On that we can agree. But where do we find clothes.”
“I believe we will find them in a closet….That one.”
A and B walk to the closet and open the door….but it is not a closet. Beyond the door is a hall way….and there are no other doors in the room…But there are several in the walls of the hallway.
“It seems we must search these other doors to find clothes.” B suggests.
“Reasonable…We might as well begin with that one.” A points across the hall.
“Good.” Replied B and stepped across the hall…opened the door and went in.
“This is a closet.” He announced. Men’s clothing. That was easy.”
“Too easy maybe.”
“We don’t need to create a second mystery. We will have a time of it with the one we already have.”
“Yes…I suppose you are right and since we are solving a mystery then I guess you could say we are sleuths.”
“I guess but very…extremely amateurish sleuths. Now let’s dress and get on with our investigation.”
The noise of the city night was rumbling. The smell ranged from old deep fryer oil and exhaust fumes, perfume and cologne and some smells simply un-nameable.
“Well. It has just come to me. I have a name. It is Sidney.” Said A
“Yes. Mine is Thomas.” B responded.
“And I should have a last name as well but nothing comes to me….so I guess Sidney will have to do.”
Like-wise Thomas replied. So we are Sidney and Thomas…Slueth….brothers….one might suggest.
“Mystery solvers….at least solvers of our own mystery.”
“Agreed…so let’s go find out which one of us is the illusion or would that be a figment of the imagination.”
“Neither or both…that is the question.”
“And now that we have taken the first step by going outside…what do we do next?”
“Start asking questions I expect. Hey you…can you help us.” Thomas accosted a passerby.
“Get lost creep.”
“Hmmm that did not go well. Let me try.” Suggested Sidney…..”Excuse me…You there…would you be so kind as to answer a question?”
“Sure.” Said the next passerby. “What would you like to know?”
“Looking at us could you tell us which one is an illusion and which one is real?”
“No…but my guess one or both of you are nutso. Bug off.”
“Well…that did not go very well either. I guess we need to learn more about solving mysteries.” Thomas suggested.
“Or maybe we should consider hiring a real sleuth…a PRIVAT EYE.”
“Very wise. Let us go find us a PRIVATE EYE.”
“Where do we look?”
“In a book. A phone book….the yellow pages.” B advised.
“You look….get the address. We will speak to him…or her….in person….This would be too difficult to explain over the phone”
A moment later.
“Ah. Here’s one. She is on 10th Avenue…We are on #rd. It is not far. Her name is Wanda Wickens. She is a PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR…not a PRIVATE EYE.”
“Is there a difference?”
“Dunno….Don’t care…as long as she can solve our mystery.”7
The offices of Private Investigator Wanda Wickens
It is 10pm…She is alone. There is an empty desk in the reception room.
Thomas knocks lightly on the inner door then walks in. Wanda is in a compromising situation. Her compromising situation jumps to his feet…grabs his trousers and runs out of the office.
“We require your services Wanda Wickens…Private Investigator.” Sidney explains.
“That makes sense…otherwise you would not be here.” Wanda replied coldly…hitching her skirt down. “What’s your problem?”
Thomas and Sidney explained their mystery.
“Another one.” Wanda groaned.
“You know others like us?” Sidney inquired.
“Yup. Happens every now and then…well….lots actually. Most Waywards come to me…I am like a magnet to you lot.”
“Then you know which one of us is real and which one is the illusion?” Thomas suggested.
“Nope. It ain’t that easy. But before I explain let’s see some cash.”
“Oh….well I don’t know if we have any.”
“Geez. You are the dumbest yet. Look in the inside pocket of your sports jacket. You’ll find an envelope. It’s got money in it. Didn’t they tell you anything?” Wanda griped.
“Who are they?” Thomas asked…checking his pocket and finding an envelope.
“Give it to me.” Wanda demanded. When Thomas handed it over she opened it and removed 10 one hundred dollar bills out and handed the envelope back.
“You too.” She instructed Sidney…..and the same process occurred.
“Okay…That’s done…now sit” Wanda pointed a t two chair in front of her desk.
Her clients obeyed obediently.
“Good. Now tell me…Why were you sent here?”
Thomas and Sidney shrugged their shoulders.
“Oh….that bad huh. Well we will have to start from scratch then.”
“Well then. Take these.” Wanda took two big guns from a desk drawer and gave them to her clients. Both checked the weapons over like they knew exactly what they were doing.
“I can see you two have done this before.” Said Wanda.
“It seems real familiar to me.” Sidney replied.
“Me Too” Thomas put in.
“Don’t get excited. It might not be a good thing in the end…It might be the reason you are here.”
“On that subject….where exactly is here?” Thomas asked.
Wanda pondered the question the answered…”You guts must be really bad if you don’t even know where here is….and if that is the case then I am not inclined to tell you. You will have to figure that out for yourself.”
“But we paid you to get and give us answers.”
“No…that isn’t how it works. My job is to tell you where and how to find your answers….mostly where….After all this is your …..”
Wanda grinned. “You’ll find that out with the answers you are looking for…Now shut up and listen or you’ll end up nowhere….”
Thomas and Sidney shut up.
“This is your chance to…a-hmmm….make some changes…but again you must learn on your own.
“Now I’ll get you started. The first thing you have to do is get your sorry butts to an area in the city called Devil’s Alley. Find a creep named Mr. Lovely…He owns a club named Lucifer’s Cave…He owns Devil’s Alley.”
“What are we supposed to do then?” Sidney asked suspiciously.
Wanda Wickens offered up a devilish grin. “You’ll find out when you get there.”
“This does not sound like it’s for our benefit.”” Thomas challenged.
“Everything happening now is for your benefit. Now get outa here and quit wasting time. The longer you hang around here the harder it gets to get out…..and Good luck….I will see you later….or not….hopefully the latter…but I doubt it. You two are the dumbest I have ever met….sheesh.”
Thomas motioned to shove his gun into a shoulder holster but there was no holster there so he stuffed in his belt. Sidney put his in his sports jacket pocket.
“Ok…let’s get this done….whatever it is.” Thomas directed then ushered Sidney out the door.
Once outside he said suspiciously. “I think we are being set up for something….and I doubt it’s anything good.”
“Then why do it.”
“Because I also think it is our only way out of here….and to get back to….what reality is….because this here can’t be real.”
“Ok…if you think it’s the only way….but when things go bad….maybe I have a better idea.” Sidney replied.
They took a cab to Lucifer’s Cave…A bright red Lightfield City Cab and dumb or not they figured out where they were….I mean what city they were in…which even the dumbest idiot could have figured out.
It took an hour and cost them a hundred bucks….Hmmmm….I think they were taken for a bit of a ride…..Ya think….
The moon was rising over the city…..night creeps were crawling out of their dens to ply their trades and sell their goods….or….mug their neighbours.
The entrance to Lucifer’s Cave looked like a cave entrance with a moulded sculpture of Lucifer over the entrance… holding a marquis….ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT….
“I wonder what a place like this calls entertainment?” Sidney pondered aloud.
“Let’s go in and get this over with.” Thomas ordered.
“I doubts it’s gonna be that easy.”
“What kind of lingo is that?”
“Fittin to da situation Boss.” Sidney replied with a chuckle.
“This is not a comedy you dunce head.”
“No ya big lunk…this is outrageously hilarious.”
“Stuff it where the sun don’t shine”
They were still bickering when the pushed through the glass entrance door…which was covered with heavy screen and iron bars. But in the lobby they feel silent because if any place ever looked like the foyer to hell this was it.
The door man looked a little like something out of a cheap dime novel…hardboiled detective story…Big….A gorilla in a tux with a bulge in the coat.
He didn’t smile…or frown….His face remained indifferently blank. And his voice was as flat as a pancake when he/it spoke. “This way. The Boss is waiting for you.”
“What do you mean waiting?” Thomas demanded.
“Like in…you are expected….and he’s pissed because yer late….really late.”
The place looked like a cave…with tables….booths a long bar and a raised stage…There was no entertainment yet but there were photos of half-naked women…and men and….crossers.
The gorilla stopped at a secluded booth and said. “They’re here Boss.” Then he spun on one heel and walked away.
What can I tell you? Well…think about Marlon…with purple, clownish hair and a jack in the box smile…..only it’s a real mean smile….more like a demonic grin actually.
His voice was like a truck tire going over a gravel road.
“Whada ya want?”
“What’s that mean? The question is what do you want or better yet what can you tell us?” Thomas growled back.
“Great…wise guys….but ok. You lugs are here for one of two reasons and both have a lot to do with them gars tucked in yer belt.” The Boss replied. “One reason is…yer here to plug me and turn me into maggot fodder…..The other is yer lookin for a job….which is probably right cause you’da already plugged me if you were here to do that.”
“Quit talking in circles and get on with it. Why are we here?” Thomas demanded.
The Boss grinned maniacally. “Ok….I got it. Here it is. If you want to work for me then you have to do a job to prove you got it in you to work for me….Got that?”
Thomas and Sidney nodded…
“Good. At least yer are not complete idiots.” The Boss replied. So this is what you do.
You have two choices/. “Go find Eddy Maldwell. He owes me money…Get the money then plug him. Your other choice is one of you has to kill the other…..and I suppose I should tell you there is actually a third choice but you have to figure that one out for yourself…..Now get lost before I get annoyed and do you both in myself.
Thomas and Sidney didn’t argue. They turned and left the bar….quickly…..very quickly.
The night streets of downtown Lightfield City were bustling with activity….some good….some… Ok and some….more than others not so good and bad. For the regulars it was easy enough to spot the differences but to new-comers it was just undefinable confusion and squalor. For Thomas and Sidney…It was a circus of horrors with nothing good to catch and hold on to.
“So….What do we do?” Sidney asked.
“I suggest we find this Eddy Maldwell….get the Bosses money then….well….we will decide what to do then.” Thomas answered with a hint of a shadow in the tone of his voice.
“You ain’t thinking of killing me are you?” Sidney replied cautiously.
Thomas did not respond…..he just grinned.
“To be honest Thomas….I do not really want to try and collect money from some thug then kill him and then turn the money over to ‘THE BOSS’ We do all the heavy stuff…he reaps the benefits….That ain’t fair no matter how you look at it. Besides….chances are….this Eddy Maldwell probably has an army of soldiers around him to protect him from sods like us. Chances are it’ll be us getting plugged and dumped….where ever corpses get dumped in hell holes like this.”
“Then what else would you have us do. Do a gun fight at high noon and whoever comes out alive gets…..whatever it gets us the winner?”
“Maybe we find out what the third choice is. It can’t be any worse than the first two.” Sidney suggested….tentatively.
“And where do you suppose we go looking for that information?” Thomas challenged.
“Back to the Boss of course.” Sidney replied.
“Sure thing dummy. We’ll just walk up and ask the devil for the answer. He’d probably have us snuffed right there on the spot.” Thomas argued.
“Maybe we should find out why we are here in the first place. Maybe that will give us a clue what the third choice is….or at least show us how to get out.” Sidney suggested then added as a reminder….”Besides all this….we have to remember….one of us is real and the other….
“Wait….Maybe we are both being dummies. We have to find out which of us is real….Then we can figure out how we can get back to reality. We have to go back to the beginning…..to that room. That is where we will find the answer.”
Thomas glared at his counterpart then his expression softened because he realized that he had been thinking exactly what Sidney had said out loud.
“Alright. We go back to the room and start all over. If that does not work…well…..” Thomas agreed.
“I am sure it will work…..This thing….whatever it is we are going through is all about choices. I think we should try and remember why we are here….how we got here and…ultimately….How we get back.”
Thomas nodded though the sinister side of him was drawing his thoughts to the gun in his belt. “One shot and it would be all over….no more questions….end of mystery….”
But he did not….Even his dark side was unable to take that step…..
The room…where Thomas and Sidney had first arrived in Lightfield City was a shambling of run down antiquity….barely large enough to accommodate one let alone two. It had one single bed so only one could sleep at a time….if delusions actual slept.
There was a table with two chair where at least they could sit but they had been there for only a few minutes when they realized there was not going to be any answers found by sitting idly by waiting for something to happen….So….after an hour…staring out the rooms only window at the neon street below they began another dialogue about who was real and who wasn’t and how they were going to find the answers.
In the end they decided to go for a walk…..a ask questions of anyone who might have answers….But before I take you trapesing all over the city I will tell you…they found no answers and eventually did what the Boss told them to do….which was….in case you have forgotten…get the money from Eddy Maldwell…and plug him.
The truth was…they collected the money but did not plug the poor guy…..Turned out he was a legit sort who needed cash in a hurry….faster than a bank or legal loan shark could provide….Unfortunately he was late on his payment…..
They all went to one of those run down greasy spoon eateries that all cities seem to have hiding in the back alleys and shadows of lost side-streets. A place that seemed perfect for having a conflab about what to do next.
They sat in a booth hidden from any prying eyes that might cause them grief. Creeps like The Boss had eyes everywhere, especially in the lower darker reaches ….even if the joint was on the other side of the city.
They all ordered corned beef on rye sandwiches with fries with gravy and a beer. Thomas took swallowed a fry and washed it down with a mouthful of beer. Then…toying with another fry he said. “If we don’t kill you, you are going to have to disappear….get out of the city would be best.”
Eddy Maldwell swallowed down a bite of sandwich, grimacing as he did. When his mouth was cleared he replied. “No can do. I can’t leave or just up and vanish any more than you or anyone in Lightfield. Or have you forgotten every soul in this place is here by order of the courts. It is a prison, a place of retribution. Take me for example. I was a collector for a Boss…just like you guys are now. Sometimes I just broke legs….or fingers…or cut off an ear. Sometimes I killed the delinquent account. Then I tried to kill the wrong one and got caught. The sucker was a cop and set me up. Since there is no capital punishment in this country any more they built Lightfield….We are sent here to pay our debt to society….somehow. Unfortunately no one is sure how they can do that until they figure it out. I do know this. Whatever your retribution is it is completely opposite to what you were back in the real world.”
“Sydney chewed down his sandwich and fries and chugged his beer then ordered another….all the while listening to the other two men talk. Then while waiting for the beer he spoke up.
“Thomas here and me…we’re the same person….He’s me and Me is Him….if you get my meaning. Whada ya think of that?”
Eddy shrugged his shoulders. “Beats me. All I know is that I think….for me….my way out of this place is for one of you to put a bullet in my gray matter. That is my retribution….and once you do that my jailers will cut me loose.”
“You want us to kill you?” Thomas replied.
“We can’t. At least not me. I think our way out is to show this guy mercy.” Sydney countered.
“Then I guess I have to wait for someone else to do and who knows how long that will be…I have already been here for 12 years.” Replied Eddy.
“Maybe that is our act of misery. Putting this creep out of his misery.” Thomas suggested.
“Sure. That makes sense. Go ahead. Put me out of my misery. There is an alley way out back.”
Eddy agreed excitedly.
“Mercy killing doesn’t count…I’m sure.” Sydney argued. “To be honest….I also think we are supposed to find a way to make ourselves whole Thomas. Me and you as one as we are supposed to be.”
Eddy’s beer arrived. He quaffed it down and stood from the table. “Well thanks for the grub….and thanks for nothing. I better go looking for some-one else to do the job.” He grumbled and left the restaurant.
“Great. Now what. Sooner or later the Boss is going to find out we got the money but let Eddy Boy there live.” Thomas grunted.
“You are right. Absolutely right Mr. Doppelganger. We must go back to the Boss and give him the money and tell him that we let Eddy go. That could be the answer to our retribution. It will put us back together and get us out of Lightfield.”
“Or not. It could just get us dead.” Thomas replied miserably.
“Maybe….Maybe getting dead is exactly what our jailers want. They want us to know what anguish we caused for our victims.” Sydney responded in a eureka frame of mood.
“Thomas cast a dark eye on his doppelganger. “You are the reason I got caught in the first place…Always trying to figure things out instead of just doing them. We could have escaped the cops in the first place but no….you had to think it out. What was the best direction to run? By the time you decided the cops had us. Now we are here.”
“Yes. Now we are here and when we have thought this out and figured it out we will be set free and b able to start a new life. A good life. No more looking over our shoulder. No mare hiding in the shadows and no more blood on our hands…..I think even you would like that. I felt us thinking that many times….when we thought as one.”
“Yer full of yer self Sydney. All this crap about you and me and us and….well it’s just that….crap. I am me and….” Thomas stopped short and his face went grayish white.
The restaurant door crashed open. The glass broke and fell in raw musical tones to the floor. Two men carrying ancient Thompson Machine guns rushed in and stormed the booth where Thomas and Sydney sat.
One of the apish cruds jammed the muzzle of his gun against Thomas’ chest. “The Boss wants a word.”
“Got it Buddy Boy. Thomas pushed the gun aside. “We’ll be there soon. We got his money.”
“Yah he knows. Eddy came by…told us the whole story.”
“Hold up there. These two belong to me.” A feminine but raw voice cut in. It was the PI Wanda Wickens. “Put the gats down or I’ll tak’em away from you.”
“Mr. Lovely ain’t gonna like this Wanda. He don’t like any one cuttin in on his business.” One of the gunmen warned.
“These two belong to me. I sent them to your Boss. We are all going to see him together. I have information that will get this mess all cleaned up and done with.”
“You got us figured out?” Thomas said earnestly.
“Yah…but only one of you is going to like it.” Wanda replied. “Now let’s get going. I have other clients waiting on me.”
“Hold on…all three of you.” Thomas said forcefully as he pointed at each one. “Sydney and I aren’t goin nowhere until someone one tells us what’s up and you can go first Lady Private Eye.”
Wanda shrugged her shoulders and stepped back, turning half way round to head for the door. “You’ll find out when we meet up with Mr. Lovely. If you don’t want to do it my way then you can wallow away the rest of your life here in Lightfield. Come with me or don’t. You got a choice. “Wanda replied and went out the door.
“You do whatever you want Thomas. I am going with the lady.” Sydney said flatly and followed Wanda out the door.
Having little other choice Thomas followed….a little amazed at how forceful his weaker side had become. It had always been Thomas who made the final decisions.
The gunmen followed somehow making their machine guns disappear. Then they all climbed into a cab. Wanda got the front seat beside the driver. “Take us to Lucifer’s Cave….fast. Mr. Lovely hates to be kept waiting.”
“Gotcha lady.” the Cabbie replied and tromped on the gas-pedal. The old beast of a car leapt forward pushing everyone hard into their seats as it squealed away from the curb.
Nearly an hour later the Cabbie pulled to the curb outside Lucifer’s Cave. Two more of the Boss’s henchmen were there waiting. “You took too long. He’s in a real bad mood.” One of them warned.
Wanda, Thomas and Sydney exited the cab and went inside. Sydney paid the fare and was a few steps behind. He was on his way to catch-up when two uniform officer took him up by the arm pits and hauled him away.
“What are you doing?” Sydney demanded.
“You’ll shut up if you know what’s good for you.”
“But I am only half of…..” Sydney was trying to explain when one of the officers bopped him over the head will his Billy-stick.
The fat, greasy looking Mr. Lovely sat at the table in his private booth….smoking a huge cigar and sipping on a snifter of brandy with a surprizing degree of delicacy.
He fixed his gaze on Wanda Wickens for a full minute. No one spoke and hardly dared to breath except in short silent breaths. Finally he changed his stare to Thomas.
“I had to plug Eddy myself….but I don’t have his payment. I trust you have it.”
“Well. Ah. As a matter of fact I don’t. My partner here has it.” Thomas replied and turned to look behind him….realizing for the first time that Sydney was gone.
“Where the hell is he. Sydney has the money!”
“Bull.” Wanda accused. “You have it. It is in your coat pocket. Inside pocket. You never allowed Sydney to keep the money.”
“Hey wait a minute. Him and ME’s the same person….two halves of one. What he has…I have and what I has he has.”
Mr. Lovely turned his eyes on Wanda again. “Explain.” He demanded.
“Don’t play dumb with me Lovely. You know exactly what is going on. Me and Sydney there have done our parts and Old Thomas here is taking the fall.
The greasy Mr. Lovely grinned. “Ah-right, Ah-right. You leave this piece of…whatever it is with me.” He nodded at Thomas. “I’m sure I can find some scurvy hole to shove him in and you get your pretty little hind end outa here before I change my mind.”
“Someday they’ll let you out Mr. Lovely.” Wanda replied.
“Like’ell sweetie. I like this place. Here I am the Boss….Back there well…I’m just a no count with noose around my neck…..”
Wanda turned and left without another word.
Thomas glared at Mr. Lovely. “Some scurvy hole like hell buddy. If I am here to stay then you’ve got yerself a rival….and maybe I’ll teach you what being bad is all about.”
“Sydney Albert O’Donal. As of this day you are to be freed from Lightfield Rehabilitation Centre for the Criminally Insane. You have been accessed and it seems the Psychiatric Board has decided you are completely cured of your mental affliction. I hereby release you from custody. You may gather your belongings on your way out.”
“How long Sir? How long have I been here?”
“Seven years 4 months and 17 days.”
Sydney nodded his head and allowed a hospital attendant to guide him away. The touch of the fingers on his shoulder made him flinch. “Please. I can make my own way. I don’t need any more intruders riding on my shoulder.”
Thomas was gone. Sydney was alone in his mind. In a way it was a little lonely….but a nice lonely. There was no more voice telling him to do bad things. No more stealing or killing…not for himself or anyone else. He could go out into the world and be…… “And be what?” He asked himself out loud.
“And be good of course.” The hospital attended put in.
“Yes….and be good….which will come easily without Thomas chiding me on.”
The Gate to Lightfield closed. It had a clang of finality….a good finality.
1 “You are not getting the point” “Really!” “Yes.” “Explain again…this time clearly.” “Very well…but this time listen….clearly.” A nod. “It’s like this…I am real….You are the illusion, a figment of my imagination. But for some reason you are stuck in my head and I cannot get you out.” “I understand what you are saying….however….could it not be that it is I who is real and you who are the illusion or figment of my imagination and I seem incapable of getting rid of you.” “Well….ah….yes….I suppose that is possible…and I suppose it is possible that we are both right…however dynamically impossible that may seem. Subject A stood from his chair while Subject B sat down in his. Subject B Ok…let us assume we are both right…we are both real and illusional which of course make us both delusional or possibly….probably both utterly insane….However….having said that…how can we both be right. Subject A I do not have an answer to that question so it seems to me that instead of arguing the point we should set out to find an answer….out there maybe.” Pointing at a window. Subjects A and B move to the window. Outside is a city street. It is night time and the dark is only dispelled by a collage of neon lights and signs. “It looks frightening. Maybe we should reconsider.” Said A B frowned. Don’t be cowardly. We must go. We can not just sit in this room arguing which one of us is delusional.”