“Do you remember the time?” Joakim asked DaRose. They were sitting opposite of each other, with a desk in between. Light was filtered into the room through the port window of DaRose’s cabin. Madonna’s Holiday quietly played from a stereo in the corner.
“I’ll never forget that,” the under-spoken man responded.
“Do you think there is a connection?” Joakim asked, not wanting to hear the answer.
“Yeah,” DaRose answered simply. “This has Mission: Zero written all over it. We gotta play this one goodt.”
Joakim rubbed his goatee. “Well, I will let you get on this one, while I play out a few angles I have been considering.” Joakim stood up and took in a two lung’s worth of air. “I will be checking back soon.” DaRose nodded and Joakim left through the door to the salty sea air outside.
The light was bright in the cloudless sky. The transition over the last few days had been drastic. Gone were the looming clouds, in had come a clear, unrelenting sun. It had the opposite affect that one would come to expect. The full sun felt overly oppressive and untrustworthy. Joakim shook off the sun’s cloud and continued toward his next destination, The Seven Seals.
He found Mr. Rip right were he thought he would, jabbering it up with Carlos, poolside. The pool attendant was standing next to the pair as Joakim approached. Making eye contact, Connie greeted Joakim, and the billy goat accordingly ordered a Singapore Sling. Turning to the two gentleman present, Joakim made with the nice, nice and then focused on Mr. Rip. “What is happening with the ole shoulder?” Joakim asked of the freshly wrapped right shoulder of the older man.
“I’m getting too old for this shit,” Mr. Rip replied.
Joakim wondered what exactly he was “getting too old for,” as the man seemed to spend the majority of his time poolside. Yet, it did seem like just about anything injured the fragile, but wise former-great these days. “I might need to enlist your help, Mr. Rip. An old foe looks to be rearing its head our way. Mission: Zero.”
“God-damn!” the prior-to idle Carlos interjected.
“Yup. I am afraid this Mike Jimmy case stinks of Mission: Zero,” Joakim said somberly.
“Aw shit!” Carlos once again helpfully added.
Mr. Rip tried to stretch his broken legs, but the pain was overwhelming. “I am not sure how I can help, but I am willing to give you whatever I can offer,” he said, almost defeated.
Joakim looked him stern in the eyes. “We need your prowess and vision. You are a vital asset.”
Mr. Rip met his eyes and nodded with understanding.
“Dunk his ass!” Carlos could not help blurt out.