Monday, November 28, 2005

Well, That Sucks

So the Master Trainer finally dropped by to speak to me today — this after my third escape attempt from the infirmary. I'm not someone who just sits around and ignores the Elephant in the Room, so I asked him about the patch over his eye.

"This is what I came to talk to you about," he said. "It took me a while to track him down, but I found Ortega. We — er — negotiated."

Ortega! That dirty bastard! "It looks to me like he wasn't in a dealmaking mood," I said.

"Well, he's dead now," my Master said, with a shrug and a smirk. "So that's sort of a moot point now, isn't it?"

"But your eye —"

"A scratch on the cornea, and certainly not my first. He telegraphed his move for my eye — I dare say even you would have seen it coming, Student-of-Mine. The only contact he made, and he paid dearly for it. The upshot of it all, Phutatorius, is that we're going to have to smuggle you out of here."

"What? Where?"

"I offered a general amnesty to Ortega's gang. They would pledge not to do you harm, and I wouldn't shatter their ribcages, as I did their Master Trainer's."


"And about half of them accepted. The others scattered into the mountains. About a dozen or more Intermediate to Advanced Intermediate Fighters, most of them with Pipers. As long as they remain unaccounted-for, it's not safe for you here."

"Master, I — I don't understand. Why wouldn't they take the amnesty? Why are they so preoccupied with me?"

"It's not entirely about you. There are strong undercurrents here. Prejudices, old vendettas. A tangled, wicked web. Your crime, Phutatorius, is that you flushed out all the poison in these mountains. With your Internet posts, that Yanqui strut of yours. Fighting alone to your iPod, without a Piper. You're a lightning rod, a magnet for controversy. You've drawn all the disease here to the surface — for the best, I think. In the long run, it will help us clean house."

I tried to process all of those mixed and conflicting metaphors.

"In the meantime, we're going to have to get you out of Peru."


"Shortly after midnight, is the plan. I took the liberty of packing your black wheelie-bag for you. PePe has agreed to suspend his Piper training to help effect your escape. He will, of course, be traveling with you."

I — we — we never even got to first base, much less totally do it in her father's house.

"It's for your own safety, Phutatorius. You were lucky to survive that ambush. Any one of them could have landed a blow to your iPod. You would have been sin musica, and done for. Once we've exterminated —" my Master Trainer paused, thought hard about whether this was an appropriate word to use, then figured the hell with it and continued — "the Ortegans, I'll be in a position to consider bringing you back, to continue your training."

My Master Trainer stood up. I am certain that he had very little trouble reading the dissatisfaction on my face. "I will have further instructions for you shortly." And he walked out.

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