Monday, April 23, 2007

The Accidental Tourist (Interlude 1)

"What did you do with Sawyer?"

He was tied to a tree. It had been a long time since that had happened, and it wasn't any more fun now than when he was in high school. He was underneath a canopy of palm trees, tied to a tree. Something had happened that he didn't understand, and now here he was, his shirt torn open, covered with sweat - Connecticut was never humid like this, so it obviously wasn't Connecticut - and tied to a tree. And now he was getting the third degree from two very sweaty and very angry men.

"Who in the Sam Hill is Sawyer?!" Taylor protested. "I don't even know anybody named Sawyer!" Then, after a moment, he said, "I suppose I've read Tom Sawyer, I mean, hasn't everybody? But Sawyer, that's a new one on me. Say, is that a first name or a last..."

"I want you to listen to me," growled the dark-skinned one. "I would urge to listen very carefully. A member of our party has gone missing. We want to know his whereabouts. "

The man pulled a large ... was that a machete? He pulled a machete out of his waistband and aimed it somewhat haphazardly toward his ribcage.

"There are many ways that I can use this to cause significant pain, and not kill you. Many ways."

Taylor swallowed hard.

"I can think of eight that immediately come to mind."

"Sayid, let's talk about this." The bald one suddenly stepped in between him and the crazy man with the machete.

"No! No more talking, John! You don't seem to understand that we're under attack from these ... these savages. And if he's a part of it..."

"I don't even know where I am! Now I'm supposed to be part of some ... terrorist group? Come on, people. Look, if this is some kind of prank, then point me to the camera. You win. I'm scared.
I'm ... not really sure what's going on at all.

"This isn't a prank, is it?" Taylor's voice broke unexpectedly.

"Sayid, I don't know who this man is, but he obviously isn't one of the Others. Look at him."

With that, they looked him over - a humiliating feeling if there ever was one. He felt exposed, felt ashamed of what he was wearing - his blue striped shirt, his chinos, his favorite high top sneakers that now felt childish and impulsive.

They exchanged a glance that seemed to mean something. The bald one whispered something about another person - Ethan? - and then, raising his voice slightly, said, "For the love of Pete, he's not trying to blend in anywhere. This guy got plucked from off the streets and dropped here, as far as I can tell. He's no infiltrator. He's just like us. He just ... fell out of the sky."

"Yes!" Taylor tried to point and then, painfully, remembered his hands were still bound. "That's exactly what happened. I ... I was standing in my ice cream shop, and I went outside to see if it was going to rain - the weatherman said rain, but the skies were clear as crystal - and suddenly the sky turned purple, or maroon... maybe it's that color magenta ... anyway, it's not important... but the sky turned this ominous color and then whoosh! All of a sudden, I'm hanging down from a tree and then you two ..." He trailed off then, unsure of how to end his thought without offending the people who still held him captive.

Suddenly, the dark-skinned one seemed to deflate. Taylor's hands were freed (using the machete to cut his hands loose seemed like overkill, but he was in no position to complain) and he rubbed his wrists absently.

"Well, I'm glad that's settled. So now what? Are you two going to let me know what game's being played here? Or maybe you can just let me go, and I can call a cab to take me back into town."

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