Signum Pugnae


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Scene Title Signum Pugnae
Synopsis Something is but a month away.
Date March 31, 2019

Somewhere in Europe.

Perdonin-me per interrompre, senyor.

The woman's voice, soft and polite though it is, cuts through the reverie of the man sitting at his desk. The pen he had been absent-mindedly spinning between slender, graceful fingers falls onto the mahogany surface of the desk with a clatter. The man looks to the doorway, where his assistant stands, waiting for his attention. She's clearly used to these flights of fancy he takes, staring out at the waterfront through the clear glass of the office building.

Està bé. Què necessitava?” he asks the young woman. There’s a paternal quality to his voice, his manner — the assistant is young enough to be his daughter or even granddaughter.

L’americà està al telèfon. Em vau demanar que us ho fes saber,” she says. “Línia cinc.

He looks to the phone as if to verify the truth of this; the red LED next to the 5 blinks in little pulses in evidence of the woman’s claim.

Ella és d'hora. Gràcies.

He waits for her to leave, watching for a moment as she closes the door, before he reaches for the phone, pushing the button as he brings the slim black receiver to his ear. “You’re early. I didn’t think you even woke up for another three hours.” His English is impeccable, though accented.

There’s a nasal titter of laughter on the other line. “It’s the ass crack of dawn as Sterling would've said. But I can’t sleep, so I figured I’d call you. Isn't it siesta time over there? And why am I calling your office and not your cell phone? We could Facetime like the millennials do. You know how to Facetime yet? You have grandchildren.”

He blinks at the burst of American English and that fast-paced Southern accent that comes through the speaker of the receiver. “Your late husband did have a way with words, carita. What was it he called you all those years?”

“Don’t make fun of the dead. And you say I have bad manners,” the American says bluntly, the amusement gone from her voice.

“It’s not making fun, carita. I’m remembering with fondness and nostalgia. I think he called you his little Poopsie?”


He sighs, though his smile belies the apology that follows. “I’m very sorry, carita. You did not call to discuss the strange colloquialisms of your dearly departed Sterling. God rest his soul. Has it really been eight years already?”

There’s a sniff, before she speaks again. “It will be, eight years in July. He died on the fourth of July like the goddamn American hero he was. Anyway, everything’s ready."

He picks up the pen he dropped, brows raising as he sits up with a boyish excitement. “Digues me.

“One month’s time. I’ll send the coordinates soon… watch the skies and screens.” The words are followed by a bit of a giggle.

The man writes the words one month on a yellow legal pad, then looks to the desk calendar nearby. “You and your passion for the cloak and dagger dramatics, carita.”

“You know you love it. This is going to be great!” Her tone is excited. “And carito?”

Unlike his, her accent is terrible.

“Yes?” he asks, brows lifting with the lilt of his voice.

“Don’t fucking cheat.”

The phone clicks, and is followed by silence.

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