Creative Act #4: A Paranoid’s Journal

0850: A man and a woman jog past me at the bus-stop. The watching eyes not as discrete as my surveillance usually is – I assume they are new agents. Inexperienced. I am not. They have been getting sloppy in who they send.

-She wore an orange Nike baseball-cap, grey shorts and a blue shirt, with dark hair in a pony-tail; Approximately 5’3’’ of Korean ethnicity.
-He wore a black shirt, blue shorts, stained-white trainers and glasses; medium length brown hair, approximately 5’10’’ and Caucasian.

0900: Another walked by shortly after the first pair, perhaps on assignment from a different agency – whatever the case, he was more discrete – until I saw the audio-receiver in his ear.

-With light hair and a medium beard, he wore a blue hoodie, grey shorts, long white socks, runners and a green bag with the brand ‘Fidelity’ on the back. Standing approximately 6’4’’, Caucasian.

0930: The bus arrives. It isn’t the usual driver for this route, and he won’t make eye-contact behind his sunglasses and visor as I board. And people call me paranoid. All the other passengers seemed focused or occupied elsewhere, but I can feel their peripheral stares. This bus is thoroughly compromised. I will be getting off at the next stop.

0935: I transfer to another bus, after walking three stops backwards and taking the opposing route on the opposite street. They both end up in the same place, albeit this one takes longer.

1015: I pay my ferry ticket at the self check-out like usual, no need for physical eyes to have noticed and spend a portion of their memory on me.

1100: I miss the 10 o’ clock ferry, either due to the bus driver purposefully stalling or the ferry leaving early. Either way, my trip has been detected, and I board the 11 o’ clock.

1130: Arsenal scores against West Ham on the television set. Score: 3-1. I remember this game, and I start to wonder why there would be a Premier League recording on the ferry’s entertainment system. Is this entire ship a shame? Crew, passengers, voyage..

1233: I always hold the rail while crossing that retractable bridge, connecting the ferry and terminal. The fifty foot drop to foaming surf below, combined with all those unknown, staring faces that hustle and push past – any one of them could be an agent, trying to end me with a simple push. So I hold the rail.

1244: In choosing a taxi-cab, one must be careful. The drivers who rush towards you, hands trying to grab bags before they’ve left your own and smiles beaming without purchase. Who would be so eager to drive someone they don’t know? A potential serial killer, a potential agent. I always choose the cab-driver most disinterested, most talking on his phone to his wife, begging her to not leave him and most unconcerned with me. I let him talk on his phone, a rat tat tat machine-gunning of Farsi.

1330: My habitual and prudent glances through the back window of the cab, have proven justified for yet another time. There is clearly a vehicle following us: Cadillac Seville, 1989, black in colour with a license-plate reading: FDF-469. I’ll run it through a database later, despite the fact that it will no doubt come up as a single mother from Burnaby – those who follow me are always careful about their tracks. For now though, I urge my driver on, to take a right hand turn just before it would have been too late. The slight screech of tyres and that faint noxious smell of burnt rubber and built up exhaust slip through the back window, as he takes the turn off and I watch the Cadillac speed on by.

1420: Another series of diversions and necessary twists and turns, and we arrive at my location. It is three blocks walk away, but I don’t need the driver to know exactly where I live, regardless of how trustworthily inept he is. I pay the fare, with a modest tip, before taking my luggage and trudging off through a nearby alley-way. Rolling wheels over the occasional dip and divvy, I arrive at my safe house without any further incident.

1600: I go out the back-way, instead of the other back-way, melding into the shadows that hug the sides of the apartment buildings close. Dark, knee-length coat the perfect camouflage. Around the corner there is a coffee shop, with long hair and a nobel straight nose, beautiful brown eyes that seem to stare right through me. I avoid it, instead walking another four and a half blocks to the Starbucks. No one remembers you at Starbucks. Sipping a pumpkin spice latte, I reflect not for the first time on how vile it is, preferring my coffee black – but that information could prove disastrous if learned by them.

1630: I wait until a large group of friends depart, before slipping in next to them and using their fat as a shield against prying eyes. Walking along with them for a distance, I slip off into an antique store, standing next to a cedar armoire posing as mahogany, looking through the deserted shop’s window carefully, noting any who could have been on my tail. A suspicious man slowly moves by, his back hunched as if in pain and his weight seemingly leaned upon a triple pronged cane, green fuzz embellishing it’s points. I wait until he is too far away to notice, before slipping back out into the street and going to my safe house.

1730: I board the Sky Train at Commercial-Broadway, the first into the first train car, I make sure to acquire a window seat. As the remotely operated vehicle grinds down it’s electrified tracks, I use the reflective screen of my Sony Ericsson to watch the faces behind and to my sides.

-A man in a blue and yellow striped track-suit, a Puma cap pulled down, so that the brim hid the details of his Caucasian face. Approximately 5’10’’ and 165 lbs,
I keep an eye on him for the rest of the trip – as he does the same to me. He gets off at Joyce-Collingwood. I get off at the next stop, diverting to the Millennium line, in case he had plans for them to meet me at an ensuing stop.

1820: I go to Costco, I find it’s tremendous size comforting – making it easier to blend and disappear. I buy a can of turkey gravy, bread, cranberry sauce and slices of processed turkey meat to make Thanksgiving dinner.

1900: Preparing my sandwiches at the safe-house, I think of everything I am thankful for: electrical tape, Emil Kraepelin, leather.

2100: I go to sleep, after locking up – turning off – alarming – booby-trapping and cleaning my safe-house. It will be a restless night.

I kept a journal while traveling from Victoria to the mainland for Thanksgiving, recording thoughts and events with paranoia always in the back of my mind. The regular happenings, normal people and mundane places I saw, soon transformed into danger and subterfuge at every turn.

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