Morgan’s in transit.
I’m on the bus with a bunch of other bored people staring at whatever mobile devices they might have on them. The elementary-age girl next to me’s playing a Game Boy Series X, while the mustachioed older man across from me has his portable PC out, staring blankly at whatever video or something he’s watching. Another man, still, plays Snake on his cellular, something you only do when you are at the absolute pit of despair when it comes to craving entertainment.
I, on the other hand, have got something real good going on in my life, even though I’m not entertained by any sort of media in the slightest. In a few minutes, I’m about to get a phone call from my own burner cellular, thanks to a carefully calculated text message sent directly to the phone number Phil McWhorter gave me. His boss, the one who’s involved in this gold or whatever, is probably really far into the crime world, so the text message I sent is sure to get a response:
“whats up wanna talk shop”
It’s calculated precisely in the way that will best provoke certain types of people to either respond enthusiastically, or lash out suspiciously. Either way, there is basically a zero percent chance that this woman (?) will ignore me for very long. I suspect she is conferring with her associates as we speak, about how best to respond to me.
Also, I know you’re thinking it, so let me address the elephant in the vehicle before you get all up in arms or start silently judging me or whatever: I’m not going to get in a loud phone call in the middle of a crowded bus. I’m far from a good person, but I’m not evil. What do you even take me for?
In fact, in preparation for such a phone call, I get off the bus at its next stop. Sure, that puts me down two bucks when I get back on again later, two bucks I could have spent on a sweet tea or something, but the rudeness factor is simply far too much to make it worth it otherwise.
Also, I guess I never really considered it until now, but there is a fair chance that I could have just been going back home only to find out that I need to go to a completely different part of Atlanta. So… I probably should have done this phone call thing before I even got on the bus.
Well, sure enough, with me standing near this random bus stop next to some random park, my burner cellular starts buzzing away.
“Hello?” I ask in a slightly disguised way. Like, imagine my voice, but a little bit higher-pitched. That’s basically all I’m doing.
“Let us talk shop,” the soothing, feminine voice on the other line says. “I want to know about you.” The voice has something of an accent, but I can’t place it.
“I’m just an average jesse looking for work,” I tell the person on the other end of the line. “Any problem with that?”
“Of course not. Well, if you are interested, then let us meet at the usual place.”
“The usual place, uh, yeah.”
The gig may be up already. Shit. How was I supposed to know I was following some sort of covert code? I hate this criminal underworld doublespeak shit.
“So when we say usual place, we’re not talking… Saint Burger, are we?” I ask.
“I am confused.”
“I’m a little confused, too. Could you be more, uh, specific?”
There is a pause on the other end of the line. The pause lasts an unsettlingly long amount of time.
“The pier. I refer to the pier. The boardwalk arcade.”
“Oh, do you mean THAT usual place?” I let out the fakest laugh ever uttered. “Why didn’t you just say so? Gosh.”
“I look forward to talking shop with you there,” the feminine voice says. “Very much.”
“Me too! It’s gonna be so fun.” But by the time I say it, the line’s already disconnected on the other end.
This… probably isn’t going to go very well. But like any grand chessmaster, I’m going to make a calculated and foolish risk in the hopes of getting a couple extra pieces of info. Sacrifice a couple rooks to capture the queen. That’s exactly the way to win at chess, right?