Don’t Shoot The Messenger: It Doesn’t Matter

Don’t Shoot The Messenger: It Doesn’t Matter

Messenger 12: It Doesn’t Matter

When I entered Caper’s apartment, Poe was sitting at the table, a cup of tea in front of her.

“Good to see you, Messenger.”

“Good to see you too. Um…Caper told me to come over?”

She nodded. “He’s expecting you. You saw the assets the other day?”

“I did. Caper said you were the one who insisted on it?”

“Yes.”

“Um…out of curiosity, why did you think it was so important that I see it?”

“Because it was.” She didn’t say it with snark or condescension. She just gave her response like it was the only correct answer.

“Right. Uh…is Caper around?”

Caper emerged from his room then. “I’m here,” he said. “Glad you came. I wanted to talk to you.”

“What about?”

“Have a seat. I’m going to take off for a few days, so there’s something I need to let you know before I’m gone. Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m glad you’re in the Filii. I mean, it’s terrible that you’re here, but I like you. You’re interesting.”

“Thanks?”

“So understand that I’m telling you this as a friend: you need to stop prying. I get it. You’re confused. You’re scared. You want answers. But these answers you’re looking for—they’re not going to do anything for you. Do you want to know who I am?”

“…Yes?”

“Trick question. Of course you don’t. You already know who I am. I’m Caper. What you want to know is who I was.

“So who were you?”

He chuckled. “Ah, another trick question. If I wanted people to know that I wouldn’t be Caper. Tell me, Messi, how exactly did you get involved with the Filii?” I hesitated. One second. Five. Maybe I would have answered. Maybe I wouldn’t have. It didn’t matter, because that hesitation was all Caper needed to prove his point. “You see what I mean? We’ve all had some sort of dark baptism. Most don’t want to share it.” He paused. Sighed. Then, quietly, “My name was William.”

A piece fell into place. It was just a piece, but at least it was something. “Wait, what? Seriously?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s a more important question: does it matter? Because really, it doesn’t. Maybe I was William once, but I’m not that person anymore. It doesn’t matter that my father was an abusive drunk or that my girlfriend aborted the daughter I desperately wanted to have or that I once experimented with a dog in college or that I raised a baby dragon from a hatchling and went on globe-spanning adventures with him before the government took him from me and put him down. Whoever I was, whoever I may have been—I can’t be that person anymore now that I work for the Big Guy. In this line of work, you have to cut ties with the past because they’ll only bring you down. Every day, I have to work on tracking people down so that the hunters can kill them. I’ve got blood on my hands, Messi. I may not kill them directly, but if I did everything I do now as the person I used to be…well, I wouldn’t have been able to make it this long. If I’m not me, if I’m someone else, I’m still somehow able to live with myself.”

I mulled it over. “Why are you telling me all of this?”

“Because it’s important. Think of it as…a going-away present. Like I said, Poe and I are taking off tomorrow. Doing a bit of field work. Do you want details?”

I considered it. “No?”

“Good answer. You’re learning. We’ll be back in about a week. I’ll see you then. And remember: be a good boy while I’m gone.”

-The Messenger-

 

Andrew Koerner

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