02 Apr 2007
shyeah, winning entry rite hurr.
The individual flames of a thousand candles illuminate a small and mostly empty dark room. Each of varying size and placed at just as many heights around the room atop the many chairs, tables and drawers littered around the wall, as well as the floor. While the candles abient glow is one of gentle stillness, it hides an uneasy sense of fear and loathing, and this is confirmed by the look splashed across the face of the nervous man standing alone in the room.
He is a young man of approximately 20 years, with a nerve of steel and a bead of cold sweat for each year on display. He stands without shoes, black khaki pants acting as the vines to his tree trunk legs and with a white cotton singlet acting as an armour chest plate. The nametag on his singlet reveals his name – "Fox", and he looks just as sly and cunning as his namesake suggests.
With footsteps to quiet to register with even elephant ears, he walks toward the window. He pulls the curtain open; only just enough for him to get a view out of, and it is revealed that he is on the second floor overlooking a main road. He quickly turns back and begins to dress himself in a fast and efficient manner. A black t-shirt is first, which is smartly followed by black socks. A blue pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers is next, before he stands, puts on a black zip-up hood and pulls black gloves out of the pockets. He puts the right one on first, and then pulls the left one over his ringed left hand.
Fox nervously paces back to the table in the middle of the room, to have a quick check with the map spread out on it. He confirms his actions in his head before picking up the black bandana on the table and covers his mouth with it. He now looks as the Grim Reaper would if Death were a cowboy.
An arriving car is heard breaking the silence of the deserted road below, and our reluctant hero rushes to the window before opening it and climbing out of the room. He is careful about his noise level when shutting it again, careful not to draw any attention whatsoever, and now he creeps along the awning to get a better vantage point on this vehicle. He watches, he watches like an eagle high perched on the branch of a California Redwood watching a trout swim upstream in the current below.
The drivers side door of the car opens, and out emerges a large man with no hair cloaking his head, sanding in a leather trench-coat and distinctive red boots. Our inconspicuous friend pulls back the bandana from his mouth momentarily to mouth out his built up feelings: "That bastard".
Like the shadow of a power pole as directed by the headlights of a passing car, he swiftly moves across the awning and drops into the alleyway waiting for him at the end. A time-check allows him to watch the display on his digital watch change from 6:59 to 7:00pm. He peeks his head around the corner to see the man is crossing the road, and the slight sparkle on his chest lets Fox see the ring attached to his necklace. He pulls his head back around to take a final sharp breath.
All of a sudden he runs up behind the bald man too quick for him to hear and gives him a solid kick in the back of the knee. No later than the very second that the man hits the ground does Fox snap the necklace from his neck. He leans over with his forearm across the mans shoulders and whispers in his ear "Me – 1, You – 0", adding insult to injury.
He leaps to his feet and sprints for the alleyway as the bald mans mouth finally catches up with his reactions, letting out roars of pure rage. Our hero reveals a concealed motorcycle in the alleyway, starts it first time and rides off into the night to the sound of vocal frustration.
Fox is now sitting unaccompanied, chewing on a medium rare steak in the corner booth of a lonesome and bland diner. The is a couple a few booths away enjoying each others company, an old man reading his newspaper close to the restroom and the whole diner smells of a day stained with coffee. The Wurlitzer jukebox plays the Jimi Hendrix blues classic 'Hey Joe' as Fox puts down his knife and fork to look past the chequered table clothed booths between him and the window. In a paranoid moment of reflection, he looks beyond the glass to check the other side for possible danger. With only safety in sight, he resumes the meal.
A few more bites in, he stops again. This time, he stands and walks across the diner past the young waitress to the restroom on the other side. Just as the restroom door swings shut, car lights are seen arriving outside the very same window Fox was afraid of. The bald man once again emerges from the driers side door, but this time he has an entourage of two larger men, who are obviously his strong-arm thugs, as suggested by the body language between the three. They enter the diner scanning the room for their target and quickly identify Fox's booth by the presence of food and the absence of a patron. They move fast, settling at a booth with the bald mans back to the restroom, the two shadowy figures sitting opposite him. Fox walks out of the restroom, ironically feeling a little safer, and sits down to resume the meal once again. But before he can even swallow the first mouthful, he finds himself sitting in the shadow of these three men. The bald man slaps Fox with enough force to put a caught trout out of its misery, holds his hand out and silently demands the rings with his open palm. Fox tries to make a last minute attempt at escape but is forced back into his seat when one of the men push him back onto his backside. He reluctantly hands the rings over, and the three walk toward the counter laughing smugly.
Feeling angry and bitter but not yet defeated, Fox walks outside and sits on the doorstep, to think. With an invisible light bulb switching on above his head, he stands and attempts to get the attention of the waitress inside. His attempts are successful after a few seconds and he gets her to come to the door. Looking slightly puzzled, she looks at him curiously and he leans over to whisper something in her ear. He hands over a $20 note as he whispers, and she returns to serve the three men. Fox mounts his motorcycle, starts it and waits. The waitress walks outside wearing a coat over her uniform and holding a brown paper bag. She hands him the bag that he exchanges for another $20 note, and with a smile she can't hide, she runs off into the darkness. With his cycle idling beneath him, Fox reaches into the bag and, like a magician drawing a rabbit from his hat, he draws the two rings out of the bag. He places them both on one hand, and gets his cell phone out of his pocket and begins dialling. The bald man looks at his cell phone and sees "Fox Calling" on the display, and his eyes dart straight out the window, where his attention is met by Fox's ringed hand waving back at him in front of a devilish smile. The bald man puts both his hands on the table, as if just getting up, and Fox makes a swift exit on the motorcycle.
It is early morning, the sun has just risen and the songs of the birds are a stark reminder of the new day. The smell of morning dew is fresh on the light breeze and the sky is clearing the suns path for an afternoon for what promises to be a scorcher.
The bald mans cell phone is flipped open, and he is reading a txt message that says "One – Nil". He flips it shut with one hand and looks up at the 1940's Victorian house standing before him. He walks up to the doorstep and discovers that the door is already slightly open. He pushes the door open to find Fox rocking back forth in a rocking chair, his face painted ear to ear with an uncontrollable smile.
Looking down from the wall behind Fox is a big black-board with a metal plate mounted at the top, with the words "Capture The Flag Score Board" engraved on it. It is divided in two, with "blue" painted on one side and "red" on the other. The red side has a large 0 chalked on it, and the blue has a 1, as well as the two rings hanging from the piece of string.
Fox cannot contain his pleasure and amusement any longer and begins laughing. The bald man pauses with a blank face, and after a moment breaks the tension with the crack of a smile. Fox stands up, and the two men shake hands before embracing in a hug and laughing together.
Fox emits the final words, "Capture the Flag - My Favourite Game".