He stopped on Argyle Street, gloved hands resting on the stone balustrade as he looked down over the tents and tarps covering the Grand Parade. The centre was clear and a few kids were skateboarding back and forth. Sighing, he walked down the stairs to the Grand Parade. Not the kind of job he normally would take on but hell, money was money. His nostrils flared with the scent of pot as he looked around, hands in pockets. A large hand reached out, clapping the skateboarder on the shoulder and lifting him a couple inches off the ground. The skateboard rolled away as the boy fell in a pile on the ground.
“What the hell, man?” The kid sputtered as he jumped to his feet, ready to swing until he caught sight on the man standing before him. He tilted his head back to meet dark eyes and bit back another curse.
“That monument is to fallen peace officers. Find somewhere else to practice your tricks.” His voice was calm, face empty of expression. The kid just muttered under his breath and stomped off, only pausing to reach for his board.
“I hope you aren’t here just to cause trouble.”
He turned around to face the young man speaking. “Some things just get me a little irate.”
“Understandable. After all, that is why we are here. Anger at the upper class, the one percent, for ruining the economy.”
“Right.” He raised his eyes to the Aliant Building, where quite a few of the offices were still lit up. “I can see they are shaking in their fancy suits up there.”
The young man shrugged. “I cannot control their actions, only my own. It is wrong to do nothing. So we do what we can.” He offered a hand. “My name is Ben Young.”
“Sol Gruman,” he said, shaking the hand. “I’m here looking for somebody.”
Young looked him over then glanced around. “You a cop?”
“Not me. Just here on a job. Know a Elizabeth Landis?”
“Maybe. Why do you want to know?”
“That’s between me and her,” Gruman said. “If she’s here I want to see her.”
“You just said you aren’t a cop. Nothing says I have to help you.”
“True enough.” Gruman turned, glancing over the tents and tarps. “Course I could just go looking for her. Knock on doors, so to speak.”
“Resorting to threats all ready?”
“I don’t make threats, son. And I don’t like shouting so just go fetch her. I’ll wait over by the stairs.” He shoved his hands back in his pockets and walked over to the steps, leaning back against the stone wall. He looked relaxed but his eyes constantly moved, following any motion. Impatience was growing when a girl finally emerged from the cluster flanked by Young and another man. Sol eyed the girl. Looked like she was the one he was looking for.
“Right, whats this about then.”
Sol looked over at him. “None of your business, Che. Elizabeth, your father has asked me to come get you and bring you back home.”
“Oh ain’t that something. And I guess you run wherever that rich bastard tells you to,” the man next to Elizabeth said. “He thinks just because he has money people should just do whatever he tells them. Well Lizzie ain’t going back so tell him to go fuck himself.”
“Gerald, god.” She squeezed his arm. “But he is right. This is something important we are doing here. People like my father think they can do whatever they want and never pay any consequences. We want to stop that.”
“By camping out here on the Parade while hoping nobody walking by Tarp City gets careless with a cigarette? Yeah that’ll show those evil corporations.”
Gerald snorted. “He’s just another tool of the man, Lizzie. Let’s go.”
“Perhaps he’s right. Your father paid me to come down here and bring you back home. He’s worried about his daughter. Apparently it’s something fathers do, rich assholes or not. He want’s you home. And he’s even willing to listen to any concerns you have over the business practices of his company.”
“Yeah right. He’s so worried he sends some jack booted thug after his precious daughter?”
Sol laughed bitterly. “Dude, you are so fucking clueless aren’t you. You sit around here toking up and bitching and what have you accomplished? Corporations don’t change until you fuck with their bottom line. But I’m not here for a philosophical debate.” He stopped talking to Gerald, turning his attention to the girl. It was like the man no longer existed. “Elizabeth, my car is up on the street. Would you like to come home with me or not. It’s going to get awfully cold tonight.”
“Maybe I should go and at least speak to him,” she said, hesitantly.
“Liz, why? He just wants to control you. Don’t you want to be free?”
Ben and Gruman just looked at each other as the two argued. Gerald seemed to Sol to be just another coffeehouse revolutionary, someone who knew how to talk good and look passionate but would never do anything more than bang gullible girls.
“Damnit, Gerald, I am going to talk to my father. This is what we want, someone willing to listen to us and change things. And I want a fucking shower. Where is your car,” she said to Sol.
He motioned behind him. “Black Charger.” He couldn’t help but grin as she stalked off up the stairs. “Well gentlemen it’s been lovely…”
“You fucking ass,” Gerald yelled, rushing Sol swinging wildly. They collided, Sol actually falling to his ass with the angry man on top of him. Growling, he yanked his hands out of his pockets while slamming a knee up into Gerald’s crotch. He screeched, doubling up on top of Gruman. He stood up, wiping his clothes off, blood trickling from his lip.
“Sonofabitch,” he swore, fighting back the urge to put the boots to the fallen man. Ben laughed.
“People will surprise you from time to time,” he said. “I wouldn’t leave Elizabeth waiting if you want to actually deliver her to Mr. Landis.”
“You don’t mind?”
Ben shrugged. “She was right, it is what we want. Not of all us have a father willing to talk so we will continue as we can. Oh, if you ever do feel like a philosophical debate, give me a call. I’d enjoy a beer and a good conversation.” He waved and walked back into the tangle of tents and tarps. Sol shook his head, spitting blood at the moaning figure on the ground and stomping up the stairs to Argyle Street. Easy money, my ass.