SNEAK PEEK! The following story will be included in Issue 9 of SciFan™ Magazine:
Separate live images of John and Cristina (side by side) showed up on every monitor across The Library, a swishy, neo-bohemian bar in Cismigiu Park. Their heart rates were measured and the numbers overlayed the images of the two. Cristina’s heart rate was 110 beats per minute, John’s, 160. The heart rate readouts were then replaced by an AI analysis of the situation with an accompaniment of emojis: thumping hearts, shooting stars, and rainbows.
Her: He has a chance.
Him: She’s the one! Put a ring on it.
“Tell me something I don’t know.” Cristina made her hand into the form of a pistol and simulated shooting him two times for good measure. But John was not discouraged. He had waited all these years to meet her. To behold her with his eyes and soul. To love her. To save her.
She was a beautiful young woman – John thought to himself. She was perfect in form and her black hair framed a face that reminded others of a twenty-something Sophia Loren. But if the Italian film actress had had Cristina’s blue eyes, her face would have launched a thousand airships.
“Love is patient,” he replied as he tossed his mop of brown hair from his face.
John was handsome, slender and her height (5’8”) – she thought. But he was too young for her. He was 18 and she, 25. She needed a man – not a boy with childish obsessions with games, science fiction and fantasy. Anca, her mother’s sister, had always insisted Cristina needed a wolf in her bed. Someone strong, clever, fast, hungry and deadly. These were fierce times and only the fit, the clever-most, and the deadliest would survive.
Anca texted Cristina – though she sat beside her at the table with Anaïs, Claudia, George, Thomas, Armstrong and John.
You need someone that takes what they want and fast without any regard for others. Talking to little Johnny is a waste of your time. At the table across from us, there’s a gentleman in officer’s uniform that’s been trying to catch your eye.
“That’s not original, John,” replied Cristina. “It’s kinda obvious. All good things come to those who wait. Duh…”
“Allow me to explain,” John said to Cristina with patience.
“NO,” Anaïs shouted and then giggled.
John ignored the blonde bomb shell – Anaïs was ever the trouble-maker.
“There’s more to this than just about waiting for what you want to get. It’s also about how to give what is needed by the other. What. When. How. How much. How long.”
Is this a monologue from Doctor Who,” Anaïs asked. “I think I saw that episode.”
Anaïs was lying.
“You make no sense, John!“ exclaimed Anca.
“Get to the point or go home,” encouraged Armstrong as Claudia squeezed his rock hard thigh under the table. He flashed a large, bright white smile between his big, beautiful brown lips.
John tried again.
“When we love, truly love, we patiently attend to the dignity of the beloved – their highest hope, their struggle and their truer self. The lover gives of themself not once but many times. As long as needed and regardless of the difficulties. This is the beating heart of a patient and true love.”
“Truuue Luuuv…” groaned George.
Anca added to George’s hat tip to the Princess Bride movie.
“But that’s not what he said—he distinctly said ‘Tooo blaaave’…”
High above the ground floor lounge, The DJ entered a glass cockpit. She was a big girl, wore an Angelus assembly and a white jogging suit. The assembly looked like a tee shirt version of astronaut’s upper suit. She put on the helmet and the patrons cheered her like she was a rockstar.
Music started to fill the bar and conversations were abandoned as shoulders began to sway.
“That’s not biblical, John,” added Thomas who had been considering John’s proposition. “The bible doesn’t explicitly say anything about being a patient giver.”
John banged his forehead on the table – once. He also texted Thomas from his pants pocket.
Is not God patient in His love for the world?
George texted Thomas.
“Stab your brother in the back while he crashes and burns! Awesome! Maybe, we can be friends…”
“WHO F***ING CARES WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS,” Anca shouted over Depeche Mode’s song, Everything Counts. “I CAN THINK FOR MYSELF.”
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can
All for themselves after all…
John was quiet but he wasn’t angry. He was merely discouraged for now.
He had wanted to share something beautiful with her. Something beautiful, good and true. Something excellent, lovely and praiseworthy. This would be the key that unlocked the mystery of their love. That’s how he had imagined their first meeting. And she might know by this – that he was the one. The one for her. And she, the one for him.
John searched his heart for his error. Perhaps, he had not spoken truth. That love is patient was true but his understanding of the truth may not have ben true enough. He had counted it as a jewel among the treasures he had set aside for her across the years. Perhaps, he had mistaken a cloudy bauble for a brilliant jewel.
This was not the only thing which he had guarded for this long awaited occasion, but he also knew that an opportunity had passed.
John looked up at the glass wall behind Cristina and searched for answers as he gazed upon a reproduction of Raphael’s Italian Renaissance masterpiece, Lo Sposalizio. In English, the famous oil painting was known as The Marriage of the Virgin. At the focal point of the painting, a priest joined the hands of Joseph and Mary.
John was reminded of a friend he had made in the massively social multiplayer online role playing game, Jacob’s Trouble. Francesco had met his wife, Clare, as they gazed separately at Raphael’s original painting. Francesco proposed the same day and Clare, 20 years his junior, accepted.
If things didn’t work out between Cristina and himself, he was still going to save her. Of that, he had no doubt. Even if she always died in his arms. In his every nightmare of her death since the age of seven.
Warm beer washed over John’s head, face and the front of his shirt. A large man, 6’ 6’, in a black motorcycle jacket had poured his mug over John to get Cristina’s attention. He smiled at her, winked and continued toward the bar without offering an apology to John. Anca burst out in hysterical laughter.
“Awesome.” John used one end of his Tom Baker styled Whovian scarf to wipe off his face.
“And fascinating,” added Thomas on cue.
John took a deep breath, stood up and went to the men’s room to clean up.
“Stay on target, stay on target…” advised Armstrong as John passed him.
Surprisingly to all, Anaïs did not laugh at John.
“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose…” Anaïs offered up a quote to this geek feast of references to Star Trek and Star Wars. But her quote was unusually compassionate for this chic, cold and calculating sex bomb from Paris.
The bathroom was overcrowded and a disaster so John decided to take a time out and choose the right attitude – not ambition but humility. Outside, a fluffy white chow chow dog ran by him, stopped to look back at John for a second and then disappeared into the darkness of Cismigiu Park. John looked up at the night sky of Bucharest and saw an interesting formation of fixed lights. It wouldn’t have surprised or upset John if an alien invasion was now underway.
Inside the bar, the DJ spoke to the crowd as she set up the next song, Trouble So Hard.
“Who here’s got trouble so hard? Who here got trouble on your heart! I know for a fact, some of you do…”
The crowd roared and the DJ stretched out her hands to heaven.
“I got a word of wisdom for you. Maybe two. LOVE IS PATIENT!”
The crowd roared again.
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Maybe you didn’t hear me. I SAID, LOVE! IS! PATIENT!
The crowd roared louder.
“AND I GOT SOMETHING ELSE FOR YOU! I GOT ANOTHER WORD OF WISDOM FROM YOU WILL KNOW WHO! LOVE NEVER FAILS!“
The sound of a bass drop exploded through the building and Vera Hall’s voice followed.
Ooo Looord, trouble so hard…
Ooo Looord, trouble so hard…
“THIS SONG IS FOR YOU, JOHN DIONYSIUS. HERO AND THE HAND OF HEAVEN! YOU CONQUER THE WORLD WITH LOVE! YOU ARE THE LION THAT LAYS DOWN WITH THE LAMB!”
Emotion washed over Cristina. Earlier that day, a fortune teller had told her that she would soon meet her one – the man God had made just for her. That she would recognize him because he was a hero, a lion and a fire from heaven. That his name would be shouted out and proclaimed in her hearing.
“Crashed and burned like a true noob,” said George from behind John as he was still looked up at the night sky. “It’s gotta hurt but don’t let anyone hear you whine, bro. That’d be undignified.”
George shrugged in his fitted, custom-tailored black suit, licked a pointer finger and drew one ‘x’ after another in the air.
“One more strike and you’re out.”
“I’m sorry, brother,” added Thomas as he joined them. “I didn’t help you. Actually, I stumbled you. We all know how I can’t think straight around . I lose my mind. Please forgive me.”
“Forgiven,” mumbled John.
“Sorry to ruin your big night, Johnny…” said the hulk as he slapped John on the back. It was the same man that had dumped a beer over John’s head.
John went sprawling forward into the lawn that separated the bar from the Park and tripped over his scarf. He didn’t know the man. But John was known to people he didn’t know. He was used to people presuming familiarity with him since he was the top ranked player in the most played MSMO game in the world.
His hand smooshed into a warm pile of dog poop as he went down.
There is no humility without humiliation – John thought to himself.
Copyright 2017 by Stan Faryna
Read more stories like this in our next issue – now available for pre-order!
About the Author:
Stan Faryna is an author, editor, international entrepreneur, online strategist, director of interactive design, writer, gamer, and clumsy gardener. He has commented on advertising, business, culture, design, economics, marketing, politics, poverty, race relations, technology, etc. in domestic, foreign and scholarly publications including The Chicago Defender, SAGAR, Social Justice Review, Saptamana Financiar (Business Weekly), The Washington Times, etc.
Stan Faryna’s science fiction novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone, is a hotly contended, mixed genre story that has hints of literary fiction, LitRPG, cyberpunk, dystopia, futurism, romance, magical realism, horror, Christian fantasy, and post-apocalyptic themes. His mixed genre approach wasn’t a marketing strategy, he confesses. He just writes the story he has to tell. It’s a classic story about what it means to be human, to live in the dignity of one’s person, and, ultimately, to live out truth, goodness and beauty.
On sale now for only 99 cents! http://www.amazon.com/Francesco-Augustine…/dp/B071S75DWB
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