I was going to leave for my home. It was four am in the morning. I asked Black Jack to buy some memorabilia for sure in the morning.
I had reminded him many times. It was the last time. I was sure he is not going to make either his flight or memorabilia from the market. But Black Jack was on a different planet altogether. His excitement and energy without sleep was extraordinary.
I have never seen a man so talkative and brimming at four after sleepless nights. I asked him to checkin to checkin the flight now. He said I have already checked in. I stared at him. He said “Sure Boss, I will do before I go for a nap”. I gave him a laundry list of four or five things to do before he flies. He agreed.
Black Jack quickly came up with another plan after my laundry list. Black Jack said blurted “I am going to visit your office one hour before I take a taxi to the airport”. I am surprised. He wanted to see me even when I spent the whole night together. Black Jack and me have gone through the plan time and again. We reiterated it many times.
We hugged each other in bromance. Black Jack was giving more warm embrace than me. He was strong and tall so he had his way. My heart also sank for a moment when unlocked the door.
He said, “I am forgetting something”. He checked all his trousers pockets with his palm from front front to back.
Black Jack exclaimed “I have left my pack of cigarettes behind”.
I was aghast, I thought he was trying to surprise me with a parting gift. But here he was betraying all customary traditions in his own uncanny world. Why on earth would he like to smoke when he told that he is resolute in banning smoke after this journey. I was just a meek spectator looking at the contrast. At one point he was teaching healthy ways to Parry. Now he wants to smoke against his own will.
We were walking down the hallway. Black Jack was silent. He matched my steps and was walking in a slow pace. We crossed the hallway stood at the lift lobby. Waited with our eyes fixated on the top LED screen. 1, 2, 3; here it comes. Door open. No one inside. He waited for none and I followed him.
Black Jack leaned on the left car side. I felt, a bit of tremor, from the tiny oscillation, sideways, because he leaned, all his weight suddenly. He pushed the ground floor button from the other side just before I would have pressed it. Moment later door opened. We walked across the lift lobby seeing all the paintings. We crossed the dark alley near the restaurant and the lounge.
What I saw shook both of us. In front of the walk, at the end, a man in his twenties, was sitting, on a sofa, surrounded by deluge of security guards. Guards were in full uniform and hands on baton or walkie.