The Incompetent Intruder

I do not dabble in the fine art of blabbering: Greetings, Stranger

You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?

Ok, let’s clear some things up first. If a stranger were to approach me and ask for my name, I would just tilt my head up at them, raise a sardonic eyebrow, and keep the silence long and tense, and wait for him to break it.

But yeah, because “for some reason” I reply, the conversation will proceed like this:

“I’ve been looking for you,” the man says quietly, his face shadowed by the dim café lights hanging above the table.

“Who are you?” I ask, muscles tense, poised as if to run. If he so much as makes a move towards me, I will knock his feet from under him. I give the table a casual glance—my sandwich on a plate, a knife and fork, which I have been conveniently holding.

Maybe, I will stand, and use my fork to stab his eyes out, and then he’ll be reaching out to deliver a punch… But I will be ducking away, grabbing the back of my chair to take a swipe at him… As he falls, I will stuff my sandwich in my mouth, take the plate (it’s the heavy kind, mind you) and clock him on the back of his head. Then, I will put a large tip on the table, and leave.

Yes, I will do that. Satisfied, I glance at the man with bold eyes.

He looks about with shifty eyes, before he drops into the seat opposite mine.

Change of plans.

He stares at me with an unreadable gaze, and I gaze back for a second, examining his face under the light. He has straight eyebrows, wide eyes, and a straight nose. All together quite decent looking. But looks can be deceiving. I wrench away my gaze as my eyes dart about, looking about the café to see if he has brought any loonies.

“Don’t try to fight me,” the man says softly. I raise an eyebrow. He can read minds?

“Yes, I can,” he replies.

By this time, my eyes are narrowed to slits.

What do you want? I pose this silent question in my head.

“I have a job. A job to kill you,” he says, eyes unwavering.

Oh yeah? Why? I tilt my chin up at him.

“You are a threat. A threat to the mind- reading community, to my people,” he replies evenly.

“Then why come and face me in the open? You could have easily stabbed me from behind,” I say out loud, with feigned calmness.

“No, I can’t. I’ve tried it a dozen times already,” the man says resignedly, examining his fingers.

“What? Are you kidding? I didn’t even know anything!” I snort, on the point of hysteria.

“That’s why, I am here to ask you if you want to join us,” the man says, a smile forming on his face.

“Wait. How am I a threat to you people?” I narrow my eyes.

“You are one of a kind. You can break off into random actions that surpasses the speed of thought. You are known as erratic, or just simply random. That’s why it’s hard to read you at times. You see, we monitor all citizens. We are the great eye, the one that sees all but remains unseen, the one behind everything—these are just a few terms that we go by. We are—Hang on, I was not supposed to tell you that!” The man exclaims suddenly, slapping a hand over his mouth. His formerly placid expression turns to a horrified one.

He is so distressed that his voice reaches me mentally, as if he has accidentally pushed his thoughts in my direction.

I feel a grin stretching my lips. “Well, it has been a nice chat. Thank you for that illuminating conversation.”

Then, without pausing for him to respond, I flip the entire table up in his face (not quite my former plan, I know), but not before rescuing my sandwich first. Cutlery, napkins and my glass of water go flying, and everyone turns to stare.

There is a shocked silence and everyone stills—a piece of tuna from a woman’s spoon falls onto her lap with a soft splat.

“Great, you are footing the bill. And next time, ask your people to send someone more competent!” I snap at the man, who is lying on the floor and trying to worm away from under the table, futilely, I might add.

I walk away, flashing a smile at the astonished waiter. And there, dear readers, begins my adventure of evading these mind- reading loonies, of being constantly on the run, moving from town to town, using cash to pay for stuff to avoid a paper trail, and eventually, to overthrow the mind- reading freaks and free the people from their rule.

Well, you know… the usual stuff.

Sounds exciting, right?