It's been ten days since I last heard from Jake Stone, and now I'm thinking this whole thing was a farce. Maybe one of my friends pulled it off as a joke and is laughing his a-- off right now. I'm even thinking of un-publishing my earlier posts to avoid further embarrassment. Until I got a phone call on my cell and the number was all zeros. I pushed the call button and listened. (If you've read my earlier posts, you'll know Jake Stone is an alleged covert operative who claims he has information that will shock the world. See my earlier post Operative Reveals Cyber Terrorist Plot for the details.)
"This is Jake Stone. We need to meet now. Can you get to Kanki in Crabtree in twenty minutes?" The voice is disguised by one of those electronic voice scramblers. He sounds like Stephen Hawking.
"Yeah, I think so. It's rush hour so…"
"Sit at the Hibachi bar. Order a Kuronama. I'll find you."
I rushed out of work and headed towards the mall thinking he'll never show – he doesn't exist. It's one of my friends pulling this off. And what's a Kuronama? I didn't know until I got to the Kanki grill and ordered one.
The young bartender placed a long tapered glass in front of me filled with black liquid and a golden head. I took a sip. It's Japan's version of dark beer. Asahi makes it and it has a smoky taste with hints of honey. I'm hooked on it.
I look around for Jake and see only one other person, a middle-aged Japanese man in a blue suit sitting several seats away. He's drinking a light beer. Now I realize how Jake would find me – the dark beer. It serves as confirmation that I am who I am. Clever. But, I'm still not convinced Jake Stone is real. I imagine a bunch of my friends will pop out any minute laughing like hyenas at what they pulled off. In any event, I'm in a nice restaurant with a great tasting beer.
I check my watch and fifteen minutes have passed. Half the beer is gone and I'm feeling pretty good. Actually, too good for only a half a glass of beer. Another ten minutes pass and I finish the beer. I'm feeling pretty buzzed and wondering if the alcohol content of the beer is higher than most. I usually don't get this buzzed on one glass of beer. Now my head feels really heavy and I'm having a hard time holding it up. I put my hands on my head trying to steady it. This is so weird, I'm thinking. I just need to rest for a short time and I'll be alright I tell myself. I place my head down on the bar. Actually, I can't hold it up anymore. The rest feels really good and my eyes are slowly closing. The last thing I remember was the businessman coming towards me with a hurried look on his face. I try to put my hand up to stop him, but I can't feel it anymore. Something lifted me from under my arms and then there was nothing.
All of this started with the introduction of my novel, Dark End of the Spectrum.