The lights flickered on and off, casting Green Eyes’ face perpetually into shadow, streaks of lightning occasionally flashing and glinting in those cold, dead eyes. Outside, the rain crashed down like soldiers rampaging through the streets, carrying out the orders of this version of reality – be dramatic. Green Eyes tapped his custom-made, Italian leather shoes on the concrete impatiently. He did not like to be kept waiting.
Benjy stepped off his motorbike, waiting for the peal of thunder that was sure to – yep, there it was. His footsteps echoed as he trudged across the car park. “Where’s my sister?” Green Eyes smirked wickedly. Ezra was a fantastic actor. He really got into his part and he had Green Eyes down to a tee; evil, cold, brilliant. All of which meant that the real Green Eyes was a mastermind. Still, Benjy had an advantage – he knew the script.
“Show me the gems and I’ll tell you where she is.” Although Benjy knew what was going to happen anyway, he shivered. This guy was seriously creepy.
“I want to see her first.”
“I think you want her to live.”
“I want to make sure she’s alive. I don’t trust you.” Green Eyes smiled and nodded to one of his henchmen. Shortly a black van pulled up. Whoa, the real props had only been cardboard cut-outs that everyone had to crawl behind, but this…. Once again Benjy marvelled as the story was brought to life. Then sadness pierced through, like a shadow breaking up the light, frosting over the edges of Benjy’s heart. This wasn’t real. And he needed to leave. The closer he got to the end of the play, the more his apprehension grew, a niggling feeling at the back of his mind that demanded to be felt, a voice of reason that just wouldn’t be quiet. What if…. What if the play ended and…. What then…. He pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind. He had to focus. Not now. He’d think about it later when… if….
Dalia got out the van. She seemed to be ok, feisty little kid, her hands weren’t even tied. Benjy knew that she’d bitten a few of them and they couldn’t control her. Shame he couldn’t see that in real life but he’d see it later from the side of the stage. If….
“Now Gabriel, the jewels if you please,” said Green Eyes, laying a menacing hand on Dalia’s back and letting his other hand rest at the edge of his jacket. He shifted so that Benjy caught a glimpse of what was inside. The implication was clear. Benjy withdrew a brown cloth bag from his own pocket. Holding it up to the light that mysteriously appeared, shining down on him, he slowly undid the string, letting the sides fall away to reveal the sparkling contents. Green Eyes couldn’t contain his excitement, the desperation in his eyes betraying the calm mask of control, greed fighting need, logic desperately trying to conceal the two and stop them dancing across his face. Eventually one of the two overcame his dignity and he snatched the jewels from Benjy’s hands.
“Thank you Gabriel. And now,” he said as his henchmen closed in, “it’s time to say goodbye.” Dalia came over and clung to Benjy. “You cowardly…coward! You can’t even do your own dirty work!”
“Ha, nice try little girl.” Dalia bristled and was about to fly at the gangster, but Benjy held her back. Wait, he mouthed. But as the men closed in, nothing was happening. Come on, they had to come. This is the overly dramatic drama version of reality, they’ve got to be here. Plot holes, ex machine, work the convenience, come on convenience, come on, please God…. The roar of the motorbikes filled the room as three streaks of metal and flesh flew around the room, weaving through and around the men, cutting off Green Eyes’ escape and confusing his henchmen. But it paled in comparison to the deafening wail of sirens as five police cars rocketed in and Detective Summers bellowed. But his yells were lost in the pandemonium, and Benjy and Dalia leapt onto their friends’ motorbikes and fled into the night, leaving Green Eyes and the gems for Summers to deal with.
The wind ran through Benjy’s hair as the heady sense of freedom and triumph filled him. The tension left him and he laughed as they sped through the streets leaving their problems behind.
“Two birds with one stone, and best of all….” Benjy grinned around at his friends, all of them sitting around the table in their hideout. He let the moment drag a bit. If he was going to have to perform this later, this is how he wanted it to end – on a dramatic high. “My mother’s jewellery was fake anyway!” And the real jewels spilled out of his hands across the table, like glowing stars across the sky. The play was over. Now what?
Aron looked at him strangely, apprehension tinged with sadness. He looked like he was on the verge of tears. “What now?” His voice held a mix of hope, regret and guilt. Why? “Do you leave us now?” And Benjy understood. If this wasn’t real, if the play ended now….
”It wasn’t real anyway,” he gently replied.
Aron looked at him strangely again. “I know, but do we walk off stage for the finale or take a bow now?” What? Benjy looked up to the applauding crowd and the bright lights, Mrs Lyon beaming with pride, his friends waving like mad. The play was over….