How's The Weather by landonluke

“How’s the weather?” Says the caller.

“Its northern Poland, take a guess.”

“Come on, it can’t be too bad there on the coast.”
How's The Weather
How's The Weather by landonluke
“The city’s named Ełk, John. Three letters. That’s probably all the founders could say before they froze to death.” “This assignment isn’t a joke.” “This is my vacation, I shouldn’t have to do this.” “You’d better because freezing to death will be the only excuse that will save your ass. If you don’t get the rights to that name, a shit storm will be waiting for you at the studio.” “Its just—“ “No excuses, Peter. Get the rights, finish your vacation, and then its back to work.” The call ends. Peter drops his phone into his mattress and slides his arms into the sleeves of his suit. The suit is many sizes too big for him. He closes the wardrobe and looks into the mirrors the two closed doors formed. He tilts himself to his left and appears upright in the mirror. Peter smiles for a while. He lets his posture return to its normal crooked state, rubs his back, and sighs. Peter walks out of his hotel and a round man with frosted over glasses steps out of an old Toyota. He juts out his hand and grins at the American. “Peter, yes?” “Yeah.” “Welcome to –“ “Ełk, I know. Sorry, but can we just skip this and get going.” “In a hurry, I take you straight to client.” Peter sits into the car and the driver jumps inside, rocking the car, and sliding a bible from the left side of the dashboard to the right. The car sputters on and pulls onto the road. The American rests his head onto the window and closes his eyes. The driver glances over at Peter and shifts in his seat. He raises one of his hands from the wheel to look at the list conversation starters written on his palm. “Is Poland much different than America?” says the driver. Peter opens his eyes and scans the name of several large American franchises with signs written in English. He closes his eyes again. “No. Poland’s just a lot colder, that’s all” Says Peter. He opens his eyes again for a moment and suddenly jumps up in his seat. “Stop the car!” “But the client is far away from here, why?” “Just stop the car, ok.” The car pulls along side a small bar and comes to a halt. Peter scrambles out the door and into the building. A handful of town natives sit in small groups around the inside of the establishment. At one of the bar stools sits a woman in a red wool coat with long blond hair. Peter clambers onto a stool far from her. The bartender walks over to him. “Can I get a Water, please?” “What?” The bartender raises a thick eyebrow. “Water?” Says peter. The bartender shrugs and walks over to the tap, fills a mug with water, slides it over the counter to Peter. “Thanks.” Peter drinks a sip from the mug. “Water, really?” asks the woman next to him. “What’s wrong with water?” “Nothing, I got some myself,” she says. “It just means you’re not here for the drinks.” Peter straightens his tilt and sits up in his seat. He takes another sip from his mug. “That’s right.” “What are you here for then?” “You see that lady over there?” “Yeah, what about her” “She was my neighbor back when I was in school.” “So a long lost crush then?” She asked. “You could call it that,” Says Peter. He looks over at the girl in red and he slumps back down. Crooked. “Talk to her.” Says the woman. Peter sinks further into his seat and takes a large gulp of water. “Come on, you can do it.” She says again. The woman takes Peter’s mug from him and slides it down the counter with Peter chasing after it. He catches it inches away from where it would be spilling onto the woman in red’s lap. She turns to him. “Peter?” “Hey, Natia.” Peter puts the mug down and moves his hands into his pockets. “What are you doing here?” “Company business, nothing special. Its important but nothing too big.” “What do you?” “Indie Game developer. Um, I’m an assets manager too,” Says Peter. He nods “Kind of.” “Sounds important.” “Yeah.” Peter smiles awkwardly and makes an escape through the front doors of the bar. Natia rolls her eyes and returns to her drink while the other woman frowns. Outside the driver wakes up as Peter slams the door behind him. The driver shifts the car into gear and smiles over at his passenger. “Enjoy the drink?” “I don’t drink alcohol.” Says Peter. The car leaves the bar and heads toward the edge of town. It pulls up to an old house with a dull orange color from rain and age. The house overlooks a grey brick pathway and a waterfront view of the blue waters nearby. “American Peter, we are here.” Says the driver. He points up at the house. “Thanks, um…” “Greg.” “Thanks, Greg.” Peter steps out of the car and walks up to the tall house and knocks on the door. He looks down at his notepad and searches for a name. The door opens. “Hello, Ms. Randolph,” Says Peter. He looks up and sees a man with blue eyes and a stoic expression. “Oh.” Peter uses his pen to change the name on his notes. “Mr. Randolph is your wife home or are you the one we emailed about the rights to a particular copyrighted name.” “Name’s Clyde, my girlfriend’s out in the city somewhere.” “I assume she’s the one we contacted.” “I don’t know.” Says Clyde. “Just in case, can I come in?” “Whatever.” Peter walks inside and sees countless books from American authors strewn about the home. Small mementoes from around the world rest on dusty shelves with large relics. On one shelf rests a wooden framed display case that belonged to a Military officer. “I recognize a shadow box when I see one, did one of you serve in the U.S military?” “No, I was a farmer. Still am at heart.” “Oh” “She collects a lot of stuff though, a hoarder really.” Peter walks over to a nearby chair but Clyde cuts him off and sits in the chair first. Peter looks around and makes room on a messy couch. “What is it that you want from Sarah again?” “I work for a small indie game company and—“ “Give me the short version, I don’t want listen to your life story,” Says Clyde. He grabs a nearby magazine and begins flipping through the pages. Peter coughs and fumbles through his notes. “We want the Rights to the name of one of your girlfriend’s self-published works.” “Which one,” Asks Clyde. “Damn, She’s got almost a few hundred from what it looks like.” “Well, the name we want is Khandi. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind making a deal concerning the title of a silly picture book. Its going to be used for a children’s video game so really its not like the name is being misused. I mean in the game it teaches history with candy men, so it’s educational.” “Good luck with that.” Says Clyde. He puts down the magazine and walks over to the front door. “I let you wait as long as I can stand. Besides she’ll never sell you that title.” “But, why?” Asks Peter. He walks out the door but looks back at the emotionless man. “It was a bed time story or some shit like that. She’s obsessed with it.” Says Clyde. He shuts the door in Peter’s face. The Toyota’s door sways open and slams as Peter gets in. The driver hesitates. “He give you what you came for? “No Greg, he did not. Besides he wasn’t the client.” “You stop my car for no reason, go to bar and drink nothing, go to client’s house and give up after a few minutes, you are a strange American my friend.” “Yeah I’m starting to feel that way my self.” “Where now, Peter?” “Anywhere but here.” Says Peter. He leans his head against the window and stares out at the gleaming water. “Don’t feel bad American,” Says Greg. He turns the car around a heads toward the inner city. “I know restaurant that makes amazing polish food. They serve amazing bigos, kiełbasa, and…” Peter looks out over the city passing small shops and a cinema. Small droves of people coming out of stores in a steady stream with hands full of shopping bags or interlocking with the hand of a friend. Amongst the crowd he sees a red wool coat. Peter raises his head. “Stop the car.” “Again?” Asks Greg. Peter nods. “Oh, father above give me patience with this silly American.” Says Greg. The car stops on the side of the road. “Thanks Greg you’re a saint.” “Remember that when you give tip.” Peter gets out of the car and hurries up to beside Natia. “Natia.” “Peter?” “I wanted to ask earlier if your want to go to a movie while I’m in town?” Asks Peter. He smiles and point over to the theater. “About that peter…” “What.” “Ok fine, just don’t read to much into this.” The chill of the night pours in as the door opens and then door closes. The Car drives always from the cinema “American, finally get what you were looking for?” “I’m sure of it.” Greg looks over to Peter who sports a sheepish grin. He adjusts his mirror to see the red coat of the woman getting into her own car and going the other direction. “What’s wrong Greg, no funny American comment?” “Not now, too late for jokes.” “I knew things would turn around for me, they just had too.” “What about client?” “I’ve got time, besides fuck them right, it’s my vacation.” “Whatever you say, Peter.” Greg pulls up to the hotel and Peter leaves the car standing tall, enters the door, and disappears. Greg adjusts his mirror and drives down the dark road. Familiar building and sign lead him back to his home, the bottom floor that he and his wife pays rents. Greg opens the door and closes without a sound. He readies himself for bed and lies beside his wife. “What is the matter?” asks his wife. “Stop reading my mind you nosey woman, you do this every night since I start making good money as driver.” “Stop being so easy to read and maybe I’ll stop. What’s the matter Greg?” “Just a silly American.” Says Greg. He turns away from his wife avoiding her gaze. “What about him?” “Too flighty, Alma. Not a lot of brains.” “We can’t all be perfect, Greg.” Says his wife. “Your right. Goodnight nosey woman.” Peter tosses his medicine bottle into the air and catches it before tossing it up again. His grin remains unaltered since the carried home. He keeps his tilt adjusted while lying on his bed. “You did it Pete, one thing goes right and the rests will come in time. All it takes is confidence right, just confidence nothing else. You just needed this one stroke of luck and now the sky’s the limit.” Peter jumps up and walks over to the mirror. In the mirror he is no longer crooked, his cloths fit perfectly as he puffs up his chest like a war hero. He paces around the room muttering plans of adventure now that nothing can stop him. From outside his room passerby’s can see the crooked man passing back and forth behind the curtains. “Clyde, I’m back,” Sarah says as she drops her sweater into the pile of junk on the couch. She collapses into the nearby chair and grabs a nearby book. The book has numerous childish drawings of historical men made of different candies. She smiles and skims to the end to her father’s signature. She pauses and looks around. “Clyde?” Clyde strides down from the stairwell. His face is still unmoved since Peter’s visit. “What?” Asks Clyde. “Anything happen today?” “No” “Is there something you want to talk about?” “Should there be?” “Well I guess not.” “Then why even ask?” “Hey, Greg.” Says Peter as he emerges from the hotel. His chin is held high and, between his cloths and his posture, his bend has disappeared. Greg reached out his hand which this time received a dramatic two shakes. “How has it been?” “Peter, you should not get carried away with that good mood of yours.” “Don’t worry about it Greg. Know lets give the client another try.” “I think we should not go today, the weather is too bad for it.” “Well drive slowly then.” Greg gets into the car and looks up at the dark clouds above. Peter gets into the passenger seat. The driver looks toward Peter who responds with a nod. The car starts. The Toyota slips along the city streets toward the Writer’s house. “So what it you want with client, eh?” Asks Greg. “Just the right to some name.” “Whatever happened to—“ “I have to meet them at least, then I can get the studio off my back so I can just enjoy my vacation.” “Will that work?” “We’ll see won’t we.” Greg turns to speak but stops. He looks back to the road. He raises a hand from the wheel and looks at the conversations he was practicing written on his hand. He chuckles under his breath. The two reach the house. “Hold my stuff for me.” “Peter, is something wrong?” “No, why.” “Just go ahead, forget it.” Says Greg. Peter walks toward the house and Greg rests his head on his arms. A buzz comes from Peter’s phone. Greg reaches over into the pile of things to find the phone but instead pulls out a pill bottle. The bottle was labeled Anti-depressants and was entirely empty. He put the bottle back down and grabbed the phone. Thirteen unread messages from a man named John Freidman and one from a Natia Bercik. Greg looks at the house. “Damn,” Says John. He dials the number again and again and receives no answer each time. He turns to his assistant and laughs. “For the guy who made such a fuss about being the one to pick the name, he seems to not want to be involved.” “Your being to hard on him, John,” Says Molly. “Me being hard on him. He bitched for hours to pick the name then, poof, when we help pay for him to get there he disappears,” John walks over to his chair and leans back putting both hands on his face. “Don’t worry, he’ll come crying back home like normal usual.” “That’s what I’m afraid of.” “John!” “I’m just saying I hope the guy gets the guts to stay gone for once. Who knows it could be good for him.” “Unlikely, the guy’s a diagnosed hypochondriac. He’s probably terrified right now. Poor peter.” John sits up from his desk and takes his coat from of the back his chair. He walks to the door. “Well I’m going to get some rest, I actually want to get this game done without losing any sleep over that creep. See ya Monday Molly.” “Bye, John” Peter knocks on the door. The woman he met at the bar opens the door. Peter stands frozen in place. “You?” “Oh I was wondered about what happened to you,” Says Sarah. “Things got complicated, can I come in.” “Sarah? Who’s at the door?” Asks Clyde. “A friend, don’t worry about it,” Says Sarah. “Can I come in?” “Sure.” Peter walks inside and warms himself by the fireplace. He looks around again at all the mementoes. Most are made of the same material. “Don’t you think all this wood is dangerous to keep around a fireplace?” “Well its not like I plan to leave the fire going while I’m not around.” “Alright,” Says Peter. “I came by to ask you about the name of a children’s book by your father. Can we use it for a project my company is working on?” “Which one?” “Khandi.” “Its kind of important to me since my dad wrote it.”


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