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What Young Men Do JOHN TAVARES

T

he waiting room was dark, comfortable, even luxurious, but there was no coffee, no caffeine, and she didn’t have time to stop off at the neighbourhood Bouncing Bean. Melissa had a craving for coffee, but she realized she would have to wait to satiate that desire. She had received her latest assignment with placidity and equanimity, although, secretly, she was quite excited to be back at work, relieved to put herself in action on what seemed like a particularly important project. In fact, she would have been lying to herself if she didn’t admit she was happy, indeed delighted. After all, she was back at work. Moreover, if executed according to plan, she would be making money, plenty of cash, maybe too much. The assignment arose out of a dispute and rebellion, an uprising of sorts: The tenants of the shopping mall were outraged over the latest lease and rent increases initiated and instituted by the elderly, aristocratic-mannered millionaire real estate mogul and heir who owned the huge mall. A few small business owners renting space in the mall had countered with their version of frontier justice, plotting to engage in vigilante-type action. But those renegades weren’t getting their hands dirty. Melissa entered the picture when she received the assignment through certain contacts in the mob, an organized crime family. In fact, she had received the instructions and particulars from certain of the organized crime group’s contractors and subcontractors from whom in the past she had received a fair amount of business. For this particular assignment, Melissa, who, even at the age of thirty, was the youngest person, man or woman, she knew in the trade, had assumed the identity of a public relations student. She posed as a recent university graduate, a mass communications major, applying for a summer job as a manager’s assistant, specializing in event planning, in the corporate communications department of the real estate company that managed the mall, which would easily bring her within range of the old canker sore. Posing as somebody entering the spin doctoring profession, she just couldn’t help but wonder how, in actuality and real life, the public relations department of the corporation that owned and operated the shopping mall would handle the corporate communications crisis she figured her actions would engender and deliver to them, unless she tripped—through an error in planning, or a sudden unexpected development arose abruptly. Surely, she assumed, these public relations personnel must have contingency plans for this type of occurrence and crisis. She also couldn’t remember the last time she had worn such formal attire, which had, in fact, required a visit to the clothing store and then tailors’ adjustments for a custom fitting, preparations she would never have undertaken unless the remuneration was so lucrative. The last time she, over six feet tall, lean and angular, dressed so spiffily, she concluded, must have been at her sister’s wedding more than a decade ago, when she was just a young piker, uninvolved in just about anything, a lost soul. Now she sat in the reception area of the offices of the mall’s management and the administration, which included the offices of its parent company, a real estate holding company. In this sterile waiting area, crossing and uncrossing her smooth gleaming legs, she sat checking e-mail and social media updates on her laptop computer, from which she would send the coded instructions and signals to the device connected to her laptop. This component, which might have been mistaken for an external antennae to improve the connection and reception of internet wireless signals, would send out a brief, powerful burst of the electromagnetic waves, which should have a range under fifty meters, 28 FREE LIT MAGAZINE

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Volume 5 Issue 1 - The Technology Issue  

Volume 5 Issue 1 - The Technology Issue  

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