Born to Armenian parents,
the author was 25 when he migrated to
He obtained a degree from
His keen interest in how societies function was the main inspiration for writing this book. Over time, many questions such as the ones following were piling in his mind. How many types of social order exist in this world? Why do some people prefer one society instead of the other? What is the mysterious drive that forces people to want to create a new kind of social order? Is it really true that people are totally free for making their own choices? Or is it the influence of a given society that moulds peoples’ minds for them?
It is out of these, terribly delicate but rather forceful and provocative thoughts, that The Outcasts has been conceived.
Under blazing, colourful
lights, the city of
Unlike the city, a few
kilometres south of the Square, the streets were dark and eerie. A blue sedan
made a left turn into
Inside the car, two men sat in silence. Expressionless, they gazed at the fireworks. Occasionally, multi-coloured reflections flickered on their grim faces.
“Why tonight, Boss?” Eddy finally whispered.
There was no response.
“Out of all nights, why pick this one, Boss?” His second attempt also failed. Leaning on the steering wheel, he puffed noisily. “We should be celebrating!”
“Says who?” whispered Mervin, his eyes gazing into the distance. Nothing moved except his lips. The tension in his voice sent a clear message.
Eddy fell silent too, but only for a moment. “It’s almost midnight, Boss,” he said. “Maybe our man is sleeping right now. Or he could be out there somewhere celebrating. Who knows?”
As a response, Mervin opened the door and stepped out. “Move your butt, Shortie. We have a job to do! And we have to do it right now!”
Eddy got out in a hurry, locked the car and rushed to catch up with Mervin. They walked side by side. Neither uttered a word. Soon, they stopped in front of a well-lit foyer, paused for a moment, and then Mervin pushed the double glass door and entered.
Eddy followed, rushed over and pressed the elevator button. The door slid open immediately. Once inside, Eddy pressed button number 24. The elevator responded quickly.
A sharp, painful whistle pierced Mervin’s eardrums. He hated elevators, especially those high-speed ones. He shut his eyes and ground his teeth. There was a sudden jerk. He looked up – Level 24. He took a deep breath. As soon as the door opened, he almost jumped out into the hallway.
Two women were rushing to catch the elevator. Eddy stopped, held the door open and waited.
“Thank you,” said both women with a friendly smile. “Can we be of any help to you?” This time it was the woman wearing thick glasses.
Mervin, already a few yards down the corridor, interrupted. “No, thank you!” Short and dry.
“That’s okk-k-k-kay,” said the other woman. Despite her stuttering, she continued, “We’ve never seen you around here before. I thought you m-m-m- might need some help.”
Eddy had no idea how angry Mervin felt. “We’re visiting a friend. He’s in
“Oh, good!” Her stuttering didn’t seem to worry her at all. “As you turn left,” she said, “the third door should be it.”
It took her ages to say it, but Eddy kept smiling until she finally finished. He let go of the elevator door and it quickly slammed shut.
“Why don’t you keep your big mouth shut, Baldy?”
“I’m sorry, Boss.” Eddy wiped his shiny head twice and then rubbed his palms together. “It’s just…well; I was just trying to look natural. That’s all.”
“Natural? Well, why didn’t you tell them why we’re here, stupid?”
Eddy remained quiet. Sweat ran down his left cheek. He looked restless.
It was annoying Mervin. “Settle down, Eddy, settle down. You’re making me nervous. It’s upsetting me. And when I get upset, you do know what that means, right?”
Just as the woman said, after turning left, it was the third door. Calm as usual, Mervin glanced up and down, and paused for a moment. An occasional laughter echoed from a distance. Soon, it fell silent again. He nodded.
Eddy wiped the tiny drips off his cheek and then tapped on the door three times with the tips of his fingers.
“Who is it?”
Surprised at how quickly the response came, both men looked at each other. “Police!” Eddy’s voice crackled full of nerves.
A delayed voice came through again. “Do you have any idea what time it is?” His loud voice filled with anger. The door remained shut.
“It’s only a routine check, Mr Stuart,” said Mervin, looking straight at the peephole. “I promise it won’t take more than a few minutes.” After a short silence, the door opened slightly. A pair of eyes appeared through the crack. “I’m sorry to cause you such discomfort, sir, but this has to be done.”
There was a pause.
Then, as the door eventually opened in full, Mervin could hardly believe his eyes. A giant of a man: over six feet tall. Broad shoulders, muscles bulging out of the sleeves, he stood squarely in the doorway.
Shocked, Mervin quickly smiled. It had to be out of fear, since he rarely smiled. However, it looked so genuine.
And it worked.
Half-heartedly, the big man stepped aside and gestured with one hand.
“Thank you,” Mervin whispered. They walked down the long corridor. The lounge room was well decorated but not all that tidy. Mr Stuart went over and turned the television set off. That was very polite of him. Then he stood in the middle of the room and waited.
Eddy took a few steps to one side, slithered his way down further and positioned himself out of sight by the window.
“Would you like to sit down?” Mr Stuart’s tone was not friendly at all.
“Oh no,” Mervin was quick to respond. “It shouldn’t take long, Mr Stuart. We’ll be out of here in no time.”
“Sure hope so!” he murmured.
Mervin forced a smile, the second in one night. “I need to check your identity,” he said and pulled a tiny scanner out of his side pocket. “Could you please hold out your right hand?”
The big man hesitated. “Before I do that, Mister, can I see your police ID?”
“Well of course! Of course, you can! I do beg your pardon.”
Mr Stuart looked pleased with himself.
Mervin quickly turned to Eddy and said, “Why don’t you show Mr Stuart your identification, huh?” His voice was full of authority, yet saturated with sarcasm.
Eddy wasted no time. Instantly, he pressed the nozzle of his gun hard against the back of Mr Stuart’s skull. The big man tried to turn, but Eddy’s warning came fast. “Don’t even think about it, muscle man. One move and your head...”
“Oh Eddy, Eddy! Manners, please! Show some respect, okay?”
Mr Stuart stood motionless. He did not look amused at all. “Whoever you are, I want to know what...”
The sound of the gun cocking was more than convincing.
Obviously, he was ready to co-operate.
“Good,” Mervin said, smiling. “Now that you know who we are, be a good boy, huh? Your right arm, please?”
The big man obeyed. He lifted his hand and held it out.
Mervin hesitated for a moment. Doubt crossed his mind as he looked into the giant’s eyes. He took one cautious step, a second, then a third. Now he was well within reach. Every nerve inside him quivered but, gallantly, he managed to keep the smile on his face.
Eddy tightened his grip on the handgun. Tiny beads of sweat formed on his shiny, bald head.
With one hand, Mervin carefully held Mr Stuart’s arm, with the other he placed the scanner on the wrist and pressed a green button. Lots of numbers flickered, ran back and forth and then a set of numbers began to flash. “Here we are,” said Mervin and took a few steps back. “That wasn’t hard, was it?” he smiled, holding up the scanner. “Stuart, FT – 31547912.”
Mr Stuart looked anxious but he had to wait.
Eddy looked no different. He, too, had to wait.
Mervin, who now seemed to be enjoying himself, placed the scanner back in his pocket and said, “Yes, Mr Stuart. Perfect. Your ID tells us that you’re the right man.” A fake smile grew on his face. “Well, I guess it’s all over.”
“Is that it?”
“Yep, that’s it,” replied Mervin. Then after a few seconds he added, “Oh, I nearly forgot. Are there any questions you wish to ask?”
“Yes, one question only.” There was silence. “How long before you and your little friend get the hell out of here?”
“Right now, Mr Stuart, right now.” Mervin made a bowing gesture then added, “Okay, Eddy, it’s time. Why don’t you let our friend rest in peace?”
Eddy wasted no time: he squeezed the trigger really hard. Puff-f-f-f-f-f! The noise of the silenced gun wasn’t too impressive but it dug a large hole in the giant’s skull. He put the gun away, unfolded a sheet of A4 from his pocket and carefully placed it on the body.
One word filled the entire sheet. HETERO!
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