Faro was over eight thousand feet above sea level when it truly struck him. The air was thin and crisp with the wintry breeze of the German alps flowing against the cable car. There was only one other man in the car, some lonely, bitter rich man who probably got too big for his britches. Faro wasn’t thinking about that man. He was thinking about Singapore.
Faro was never the type of man to let things bother him, but it had been a few days since Singapore and it stuck in his mind like a wound. The neon lights and foggy waterfronts of the Asian city-state felt as if they were a premonition, some sort of apocalyptic vision given to Faro alone, only it was in the past. He felt the cold steel in his pocket. It reminded him of where he was. Far above the ground in a cable car between two destinations. Big mountains— not exactly the most unusual thing in Germany. The awareness of the dichotomy between his mind and his body sent a chill up Faro’s spine. He was meant to be doing a job right about then. But Singapore kept creeping up on him like some horrible unknown disease.
The man across from Faro coughed and sniffled. He wiped his nose with a handkerchief. Who carries handkerchiefs anymore? Sad old men, Faro thought. Sad old men like himself. Faro pulled back the metal slide in his pocket, clicking it into place. He stood and looked at the other man. The man looked back, curious. Faro felt compelled to turn around and look out the window into the snow and clouds and whiteness and Singapore. That’s just what he did.
Taking a cigarette from his other pocket, Faro lit it, clumsily dropping his lighter after doing so. He bent over and picked it up. The cigarette burnt away quickly as Faro breathed unsteadily. Singapore. She had done it in a nightclub, some place where only the most high-class prostitutes denied their Western punters. He knew she was a slut. No, he didn’t know any such thing. The feelings were natural, she was no monster. He could understand where she was coming from. He was never around. But why then? Why Singapore? Why on vacation? Why in the nightclub, having to shout above the blaring electronic dance music and bathed in neon blue light?
Suddenly Faro realized that his cigarette was completely burnt out, and he was just sucking on the end of it like some sort of Freudian coping mechanism. He took it out of his mouth and stamped it out with his foot like no one did on German cable cars. The other man must have been laughing at how inept Faro had become. A dirty approximation of a human procedural.
How had he become such a laughing stock in his own mind? It seemed that overnight his life turned into some sick clown show and he was the only one who didn’t know how funny it was. What could possibly be more important than getting his job done? He felt the cold steel in his pocket again. Suddenly he realized that he wasn’t wearing his gloves like he was supposed to. He sighed. Such a joke.
Faro stood once again. He walked over to the other man, who looked up from his book, a copy of some obscure modern German novel set in the alps— or perhaps Faro only thought so because of the deceptive front cover depicting the alps. This man really wanted to be immersed in the experience of riding a cable car, didn’t he? Well, he was more well-coordinated than Faro, that was for sure. Faro put on his gloves. He was cold all right. Faro felt like screaming. It got caught in his throat as he came over to the other man.
“Can I help you?” The man asked in German.
Could he help him. Faro cursed himself internally, how weak his mind had become because of those terrible words spoken in that nightclub in Singapore. Faro ignored the man and walked to the cable car’s door, situated right beside the man’s seat. He gripped the edges of it tightly as he used all of his strength to pull it open.
“What in God’s name are you doing!?” the other man shouted above the biting, snowy winds slicing through the car.
Faro took out his tool as the cable car halted. The jerk loosened his grip on the makeshift pistol and it flew out of the open doorway, almost taking Faro with it. Faro realized suddenly that the cable car stopped because of the broken door. Must have been some emergency system. He couldn’t believe he forgot that. But he knew that he was still in the clear; it was all a part of the plan. Perhaps the pistol left his hand slightly too soon, but he could still do what he had to do. If only he could forget Singapore for a minute.
The other man stood and backed away. Faro rushed towards him and struggled to pull him towards the doorway. “No! I have a family!” the other man shrieked.
Faro dragged the other man, marching towards the open car door. The man grabbed a pole in the middle of the car and hung on for dear life. Faro growled. He pictured Ingrid in his mind for the first time since Singapore. She was moving her lips, a dire look in her eyes. He stomped on the man’s wrist, causing him to howl in pain and open his hand. Finally Faro was able to pull the man past him, sliding him off the car and down into the obstruction of the snow. Soon the only thing that was left was the scream of the wind. Faro heard nothing but the words of his wife, coming from in between her lips: “I think we should get a divorce.”
About the author:
Jessica Minster is a transgender author and poet based out of Arizona who has written many short stories, poetry collections, and novels in the ten years she has been writing creatively. She tends to stick to darker, more dramatic, and subversive types of projects.
Free flash fiction on the first and third weeks of the month.