Site menu:


The Waiting Room

~ Chapter One Hundred

Friends and Enemies

Example content image

They stood shocked, unsure about the man that now was before them. Finally James stepped forward, offering his hand.

“Barrie. James Barrie. We weren’t expecting you, Mr. Panza, so forgive our delay in answering the door. You are indeed soaked to the bone, my fellow. A cup of tea should do you good.”

Panza took Barrie’s hand and gave a firm shake as he looked around.

“Where the hell am I?” he asked in a disgusted tone. Barrie released the handshake and offered the man a chair while taking the donkey’s reins.

“We call this The Room. I fear that once you are here you will not be able to leave until he decides it is time.” The Scotsman explained, pointing upwards.

Panza’s eyes followed up towards the ceiling.

“He decides? Who decides? God? Is this purgatory?”

“Might as well be,” Rainey retorted from across the Room, leaning back in his chair as he snatched up the Slinky. The toy bounced back and forth, hand to hand, its metal clinking in the quiet that had settled around them.

An awkward silence hung in the air until Panza realized no one had answered his question.

“Who is ‘he’?” he repeated as he accepted the cup of tea Barrie had brewed. He took a sip of the hot liquid, making a face.

“Don’t you have anything stronger?” He put the cup down, pushing it away, disappointed that it was not spiked.

“Here ye go, mate,” Sparrow sauntered over, rum in hand, plopping down two earthen mugs and began to fill them.

“That’s what I’m talking about,” Panza nodded with appreciation. They clunked the mugs together in a half-hearted toast and brought them to their lips. Each took a long swallow before bringing them down, blowing out breath as the heat of the liquor warmed their insides.

“Now, will someone tell me about this “he” who makes the final decisions? And can I have a word with him? All I want to do is go home…and get as far away from that stinking ass,” Panza said, pointing to the donkey.

“Sorry, mate. No one but Noodlemantra has had a face to face with dear old Mr. Depp.” Jack said, waving his hand towards the door. “How he managed that is still a mystery, I am afraid. But be sure…one day…I shall encounter him…Depp, that is…and have a word with him meself.” Jack’s lips curled into a sneer as he made his promise.

Jack was still furious that he was still imprisoned while Jung and Abberline had escaped.

But for now, he had found a drinking partner in Panza and sat down, pouring a second round of the rum.

Meanwhile Barrie had led the donkey over to the side, introducing it to Porthos the Bear.

The Bear sniffed at the donkey’s muzzle and then its huge tongue gave a lick. Like the old Bible tale of the Lion lying down with the Lamb, the donkey lowered itself next to the huge creature and soon both were asleep.

“Will ye look at that, will ye,” Barrie said, his brogue accent thick as his emotions came to the surface at the peace the animals had found in one another. “Tis a shame we humans cannot do the same.”

Barrie turned back and made his way to Panza and the pirate, taking one of the empty seats.

“Now, Mr. Panza, to answer yer questions. The “he” we refer to is Mr. Depp, as Captain Sparrow mentioned. A gentleman who seems to have the power to keep us here or let us go. And I must say ye’ve come at an unusual time for many have already been granted leave.”

Panza looked around, and not counting himself, found a half dozen men in the room. They ranged from Barrie, the well dressed Scotsman to the grungy, gold toothed pirate. A man in a large wig anxiously tapping a cane who was speaking broken French to another man in a camel-colored coat who seemed to be just as confused as he was.

He watched as the man with the Slinky returned to his computer, tossing the toy aside and began typing mumbling to himself about corn and shovels while a dog was curled up in a nearby overstuffed chair.

“Um?” Panza whispered in Barrie’s direction, pointing discreetly at Chico. “Is that dog alive? I mean, it’s got a screwdriver in its head.”

Barrie and Jack both looked over to the sleeping dog, then back to their guest.

“Yes,” Barrie explained. “Chico is very much alive. He just seems to be accident prone.”

Panza winced as his tried to avert his eyes from the sight of the dog. As his eyes glanced away another man caught his attention. This one sat alone, in a darkened corner. Yet despite the shadows he saw that the man in black wore sunglasses. Dark streaks stained his cheeks and Panza realized it was blood.

“And him?” he asked, nodding at Sands.

“I can hear you,” the agent said, popping a mouthful of pork. He had discovered the leftovers in the fridge and was helping himself to a bite to eat.

“Let Mr. Panza know, I’m blind, not freaking deaf.”

“Bad ass, is he?” Panza whispered to his companions. But before either could answer the sound of a gun’s hammer was heard and Panza’s attention went back to Sands. The agent held his favorite weapon up, pointing in the direction of their table.

“Keep up the compliments and I will show you that I am the epitome of “bad ass”.

Panza felt, where he may have found a friend in Sparrow…he had made an enemy with Sands.


Next Chapter