Published on December 15th, 2012 | by The Alchemist18
The Yellow Tree
“THE YELLOW TREE”
“Err, the link just drove past The Shack, boss.”
“Charlie, What do you mean he just drove past The Shack?”
“I mean he just drove past The Shack, boss. We’re screwed.”
Arthur smirked. Then he turned to John.
“The Boss be talking like he ever see white folk at The Shack. Yo, I was telling y’all that this link ain’t right”
“Nancy, shut the fuck up. And the two of you better get on top of this – it’s tonight or nothing. Get the drop done in ten minutes or we’d all be reading the obituaries of our colleagues for Christmas.
Now, who the fuck handled logistics and why the hell is the link not cooperating? What do you mean that you’re just looking into it…”
The boss’ voice faded into the background of Arthur’s mind as the UPS delivery van they’d been tailing slowed to a halt in front of dull traffic red. His partner could almost always read his mind – John pulled up to the left of the van.
‘Good one, John’ Arthur thought.
Arthur looked out the window and saw the van’s driver. The young Asian man paid him no mind. He seemed lost in some colourless place in his head, his round face was as excited as the Three Wise Men on the seventeenth of March.
“Nancy to Control. This is not the link, I repeat, this is not the link”
“Control to Nancy. Then you better make a link out of whatever you’ve got.”
Arthur laughed to himself.
“Kid’s got no holiday spirit. Sucks to be working a few days to Christmas, ey John?”
“Tell me about it”
Green Light. The van took off smoothly and the Ford sedan subtly fell behind it.
“Yo John, what you getting Gina for Christmas?”
“Already got her some mega coffee machine thing off the Soap channel. Don’t tell me you didn’t get Lara something yet.”
“Lara left me last week. I’ll be spending Christmas alone”
“You’re welcome to join us.”
The speed needle in the sedan began to come down gently as both vehicles approached the next light stop. Things weren’t going well, Arthur thought. He turned to his partner once again.
“We gotta do something fast, man. Nine-twenty-six minutes till the drop. Word in the shop is that the asset that the target got from us is a classified list of the bureau’s agents out there on the low and he’llbe uploading it for auction in the international black market by midnight.”
John was quiet for a few seconds. The brief on the mission had been vague but The Boss had taken him aside and let him in on a few details.
”Heard some talk like that too. And that’s why we gotta make the drop before the target’s place shuts down. The asset is in a safe that we can’t move and we can’t crack, and the target accesses the data on it with a secure remote channel that we can’t intercept.”
“Should get me one of them safes, man. Heard its authentication system is some new biometric system that even our shop is considering implementing. Fucking two mega-bit encryption system. Would take my workstation in the shop six quadrillion years to hack that. Crazy thing is that a C4 can’t get through it either.” said Arthur.
“A Yellow Tree can though. Throw a series of power-packed punches at that motherfucker, you know? And that’s why we’re dropping one off.
Listen A, I’ve got an idea about this link situation, wanna pull a 406 on this one?”
“Damn John, then we gotta get out in the cold. I ain’t got nothing thick on”
“Nancy suits you alright.“
“Fuck you John! I don’t know why the boss be coding my alias after all them white bitches though. I should log this in.”
“Nancy to Control, we’re pulling off a four-oh-six friendly hijack at the Jefferson – Pate intersection …”
BAM. The fender of the sedan ran into the stationery van, the sound of the impact exaggerating the extent of the damage done.
“Damn son, you couldn’t wait?”
“Streets are empty now and they won’t be for long. Leave your bra in the car, let’s work”
And they pulled themselves out of the car to confront the angry van driver.
“Fuck! It’s cold.”
“Why you hit me? Why you hit me?”
“Sorry Ling Ling, we didn’t mean…” said Arthur with a tensed look on his face.
“I not Ling Ling!” The offended fellow wouldn’t let him finish.
“Sorry man.” The deliveryman turned to face the other person talking behind him. Without hesitation, John sprayed a soporific mist in his face.
“Waaaaat? Waaat?” said the deliveryman, spinning around wildly to face his attackers as he began to feel slightly disoriented.
He made for Arthur in a low waist tackle and grabbed him before Arthur could create any space between them.
But the deliveryman lost control of his limbs as soon as he grabbed his quarry and the entire sum of his unconscious weight and initial momentum was thrown against Arthur.
“Arthur, catch him”
The tangled couple stumbled back a few steps in a drunken dance and promptly became a heap on the cold floor.
Arthur rolled the weight of himself, “Yo John, I’m a bit sleepy”
“You didn’t hold your breath? The lab cooks these thing up pretty strong.”
“You should try holding your breath with two hundred pounds of miso pork ramen sleeping on you. I ain’t Jesus yo! I ain’t with that heavy-laden ministry. And I think some of that spray stuff might have gotten on me”
“Whatever, Nancy. Just throw him in the back. I’m off.”
“Wait, John! I need some help here.”
“Gotta run. I’ll switch the drop with the target’s package in the back for you. Gotta go set up the radio at the rendezvous, we’re already late. Good luck.”
“Hey!” Said Arthur as John slowly backed away in the sedan.
“Don’t kiss sleeping beauty” Said John as he drove off into the night.
“Fuck you!” was all Arthur could think to shout back into the empty space.
With much effort, Arthur dragged the deliveryman to the back of the van as he muttered a string of expletives under his breath. He somehow managed to throw him in. Then he had to steal the unconscious man’s uniform.
“Fucking Santa-size-ass clothes.” Arthur was exceptionally lean.
Six-thirty-seven minutes till the drop.
“Charlie to Control, 406 successful. We have a link”
“Then what are you waiting for?”
“Nancy’s on it, boss.”
“Come in Nancy.”
“Can only make the drop in ten-fifty-five minutes boss. We’ve lost too much time”
“Get there in a five-zero-zero whatever it takes.”
“The traffic is light but it is impossible! Can’t make the drop at Raloway in five minutes.”
“Shut up and drive. I’ll put Zulu in play.”
“Control to Zulu, come in.”
“But I need to get in.” She smiled as leaned well into the view of the guard standing beside her car to show off a generous portion of her cleavage.
“Sorry ma’am. We can’t let you in. The office closed three hours ago. Nobody’s in.” The pervert said with a smile.
“I’m not here to see anybody. I’m here to pick up Lola. Tell her that Chip couldn’t make it so he asked me to get her. I’m Lucy, Chip’s sister.” Said Zulu.
“You’re here for Ms. Brown?”
“Give me a moment”
The guard at the Raloway gate turned to travel the distance back to the gate control room he wasn’t meant to have left in the first place. But somehow, she had gotten him to come out into the cold to talk to her. He smiled and so did his tight pants.
“Excuse me?” He turned to inhale a face full of sleep mist. He staggered for a few seconds and fell to the side of the entrance.
“Zulu to Control. Zulu in. Commence second phase now.”
She left the guard sleeping on the cold floor as she walked to the gate room and told the machines to leave the gates open. She stepped over him on her way back to the car.
She drove in.
Ms. Brown received a text message from her boyfriend, Chip, and she was cross. He’d sent some cousin she didn’t know to pick her up.
“Hi. Lola?” Ms. Brown looked up from her phone in shock.
“It’s so nice to meet you finally.” Said Zulu.
“Thanks” Said Lola, showing some discomfort.
Zulu decided to put the pretty lady at ease with some small talk.
“Typical. Hope you don’t mind me asking, how are you guys related again? You and Chip.” Said Lola.
“We’re cousins and, err… I need a few minutes to put more air in one of the tires. Chip said you’d get a taxi if I wasn’t here in the next five minutes so I had to rush it. I’m really sorry but I’d be back up in five to get you.”
“Err… Okay.” Said Lola, still dissatisfied.
Zulu continued. “And I don’t usually feel comfortable talking about this but I’m adopted.”
“It’s alright.” Said Lucy as she rushed out before she had to answer any other questions. After seeing a picture of the couple on Lola’s desk, the mistake was obvious.
Chip was Indian. Lucy wasn’t.
“Lucy to Control. We don’t have much time. And who’s the moron that handled logistics?”
Lola picked up her phone.
“Nancy you’re late”
“Boss, I’m hauling ass”
It was three fifteen minutes past scheduled time when the delivery van narrowly missed the sleeping guard and made it into the office parking space.
“Control? Nancy in”
Arthur was about to leave the van to make the drop when he noticed another package next to it, almost as big with the same address but with another name. He tucked the brown carton under his other arm and dove into the cold.
“Hi Chip, I’ve been trying to reach you but I keep hitting your voicemail…”
“I’d call you back Chip”
She took a look at the deliveryman and did all she could not to laugh.
“Package for an A. Rijic?”
“I’d sign for it, thank you.”
The look on the pretty woman’s face prompted Arthur to offer an explanation.
“First day on the job; they got the size wrong. Second package is for a Lola Brown?”
“That’s mine thanks. And you don’t look so bad.”
They both smiled at her attempt to make him comfortable. Lola accepted her package and retrieved an envelope opener from one of her drawers with which she began attacked the carton.
“Can you please drop the other package right there?” She pointed to the open door of an office. Arthur walked into the tastefully designed shrine of wood and glass in front of him and left the package on the floor. He touched his ear surreptitiously.
“Control. Made the drop.”
He walked out and turned to the pretty lady and smiled.
“Setting that up tonight? I’ve delivered a ton of those boxes today – Christmas trees.”
“Need some help? You’re my last stop.”
Lola dropped her package and get out from behind her desk. Arthur watched her walk into the room. He touched his left ear once again and talked as quietly as he could
“Control, I’d have to help set up the drop.”
Five minutes later, from behind her desk, Lola spied the shimmering blonde Christmas tree in her boss’ office and smiled. Arthur was about to leave when he heard her call out to him.
Arthur turned around.
“Thanks for today. I’d like to invite you to my wedding.”
She extended the end of a purple and gold fabric to him and cut it off with office stationery at about a yard’s length. The she retrieved an invitation card from the top of her table as put it in his hands as well.
“Is this a guest sash or something? Where are you from?” Arthur laughed.
The end he held had “XXCD” sewn on it. He ran his fingers over it.
“That’s the signature of the fabric maker. It’s really expensive to get our local fabric handmade these days. This designer schooled in Italy but she still makes it like it should be made.
“We call the fabric Aso-Oke. Usually the men make hats with this material. You could use it as a pocket-kerchief or something for you and your friends. Bring your friends, we like a big party where I’m from”
Arthur smiled and turned to leave. The guard was snoring at his station on he drove out.
“Control. Nancy has made the drop.”
Lola couldn’t find Lucy or any other car in the parking section. And she was only reaching her boyfriend’s voicemail. She walked out of the office complex to get a taxi. On her way she noticed the guard, fast asleep and the gates wide open.
It was too cold for her to care.
Zulu was parked down the road, hidden in the shadows of an old building. Lola was on the other side of the road, and walked past the car without noticing as she made for the restaurant further ahead where she could conveniently wait for the taxi she was expecting.
“Zulu to Control. Civilian is out of the way.”
John and Arthur walked back to the Ford sedan with the delivery van safely parked behind them. As they entered into the car, John said “Heard you stayed behind to help the pretty lady set up the tree”
“Man, so many things went wrong today, didn’t want any more surprises.”
“John, let’s get the party going. It’s eleven thirty.”
“Come in control”
“Permission to light up the Christmas tree”
“Light up Charlie”
“Really nice view here, John”
“Only the best that taxes can buy”
John and Arthur looked out of one of the five hundred and five windows of the high-rise buildings neighboring Raloway. Zulu sat quietly in the dark, looking out into the night as John’s fingers slid over a number of triggers on the console on the table before them.
Not so far from where they stood. They watched the target’s office fall into itself as a bright ring of amber broke through its walls.
John smiled. “You just watch. She’s about to grow into something beautiful.”
And then there was tier after tier after tier of bright yellow explosion, stacking almost soundlessly, one on top of the other into the blue sky.
A yellow Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas all.
To the next writer I give the unreleased (maybe never to be released) ‘Detox’ album by Dre. Unwrapped, and in mint condition.