And Thus I Depart

tagnone

8

8

The man's eyes scanned at the black and white photo. Looking through every detail in the photo's unease imagery; but kept his expression steady.

pictorial-history.jpg

He then flipped the photo and read the sentence inscribed on it. At first, it was nearly unreadable, but he managed to discern some of the quivery, almost washed-out characters: Oh say, can you see? By the dawn's early light. What's so proud we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

"It's different, but it has this atmosphere to it. You know?" Curtis said, biting down a piece of half-cooked bacon from his fork on the other.

The man took a glimpse at Curtis and back at the photo under the diner table. He didn't order any food from the menu, just a coffee with two sugar and half a milk. His coffee didn't arrive for another minute, and Curtis kept his need for coffee occupied.

"So, that's it? That's all you're going to provide me from your—"

Curtis raised his hand in front of him. His left index finger extended, motioning a pause. He moved his hand back to the knife utensil that sat next to his plate.

"Listen, if you want to talk, I'm in the middle of eating." He glimpsed at the window to his right. "But a man's gotta eat," He said under his breath, releasing the thought of anger from his body.

The man withheld his questions as his comforting drink that he had waited for came, alluring his attention to the young waitress lady. She gave a slight wink to the man, her lips lightly bitten at him. Her lively flirtations bolstered the man only slightly; he didn't give much attention to it but thanked her for the coffee with a light smile.

"Wish we had nice ladies back home." Curtis said finishing up his meal, grabbing a stacked off their table as he dabbed his grease-stained mouth.

The man took the coffee with his left– six-fingered hand, crumpling his last two index fingers as he lifted the cup near his lip. Curtis noticed this as he moved the empty plate aside.

"It's a bit unusual that we can distinguish each other by our hand." Curtis said as he looked at his own. "You still working at that testing facility?"

"Yeah, lost the elections, though."

Curtis shook his head. "Shame. Imagine all that easy funding for the department with you as a member of the Board. Now, it's gone with budget cuts." He took a sip of coca-cola, his mind at ease as the taste flowed through his dopamines receptors.

"So, business? What else do you have?"

"A film. Wasn't easy to get, you know?" Curtis said, thrusting a bag underneath the table with his left foot. "Found it an old civil defense bunker, outside where the site was."

The man conspicuously slid the bag underneath the table towards himself, unzipping it and revealing an old-film reel. The film reel had nearly lost most of its coloring; a mixture of yellow and silver was noticeable. He pulled the film lightly, holding it up in the air next to the diner's light to glimpse a few of the film's scenes.

He squinted his eyes before rolling it and putting it back inside the bag. Curtis took another sip of his cola as he watched the man looking at its contents. There was a faint label on the film's cover that appeared equally as faded; reel no. 51.

"If you're wondering if it is cognitohazardous- it's not."

The man looked at him with uncertainty, scanning through the diner's receipt. "And how am I supposed to trust you on that?"

Curtis lightly chuckled at him. "Because I'm paying for the meal, and when have I ever given you something dangerous?"

The man nodded in agreement. "Yeah, fair enough."

Curtis stood up from his seat, grabbing the briefcase from his right side as he donned on his crown-shaped fedora. He remembered purchasing the fedora that was across from the diner. It was very much different from what he can remember in his own reality, as it now appeared to be a fruit-market.

"Enjoy your day, Curtis."

The man said.

"You too, Curtis."

Curtis replied.

To Regional Director Hawking, Northern Command

The department, under the jurisdiction of the Information Records and Security office, has approved your request for an archived material under the Parallel and Media Archive department.

We have previously denied you request due to compartmentalization issues prior: but due to circumstances, such as the department's shutdown as part of administrative budget cuts, we have green-lit your release request.

Attached below is a copy of materials from the database archives.

"Six", Director of Parallel Media And Archive.

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