This is the tale of Cason Banks, a young pastry chef from Surrey England who moves to London to start his career and follow in the successful footprints the Banks family are determined to keep on printing. Though Cason is relatively wealthy, moderately handsome, and determined to create a life for himself, he is also shy, and adamant love is for a certain breed of urbanites. Part 9 – Paint flies from all angles, yet the only thing in Cason’s mind is Mr Gareth Fleischer. Cason just can’t seem to shake the discomfort that his tattooed painter is far from what he expected.
Hi! My name is Christopher Sergi. I’m a novelist and a blogger currently living in the leafy suburbs of Surrey England. The Chocolate Prince will be an ongoing serial depicting the exciting life of Cason Banks as he navigates the new world of London on his search for success and love. Feel free to comment below on where you’d like to see the story go next!
Part 9 – Evasive Manoeuvre
‘You hide in there, and as soon as you see them, shoot them in the face and duck into that bush.’
Within seconds of donning the dirty jumpsuit and helmet, Gareth had thrust what would be the closest thing to a real machine gun into my arms, before knocking my visor with his and declaring a sworn brotherly oath to have my back when it got rough on the field. We were Blue Team, and poor Dominique and our new ‘friend’ Darcie were Red Team, a colour Dominique had described as perfectly appropriate for his current level of rage.
‘I’m not hiding in a bush,’ I said. Only from my own insecurities holding a firearm I was surprised I hadn’t had the thing pointed at myself, regardless of the over-masculine safety pep talk we endured before the painted carnage. ‘I’m sorry but, just no.’
‘What’s the matter?’ asked Gareth. ‘You got a problem, soldier?’
A chuckle on my part. ‘Cute, but I’m not leaping into anything with more thorns than a head chef when you don’t pull your weight in a kitchen.’ To tell the truth, the main reason for my stubbornness was routed in my discoveries. Gareth Fleischer, who was, to a degree, unfortunately covered with mock battle armour to hide his fleshy artistry, was supposedly dating this equally tattooed beauty, Darcie Vandale. It was that kiss, I tell you. But the worst part had to be the self-discovery, that I was in fact susceptible to the woes of jealousy. There, I admit it, the first step to recovery, I hope. I was jealous, alright!
‘Agh, here it comes, Cason.’
At first I had assumed Gareth’s squint to the skies was due to some aerial onslaught of squishy paint pellets, though was in fact nothing but water. But why water? Fake rain, he told me. Part of the simulation apparently, some reincarnation of a Rambo scenario, or Predator or whatever. Bucketing it was. Apparently the marshals had flipped the switch on the fake rain machine or something, sliding the playing field into some monsoon like atmosphere. Then came the grenade.
‘Subterfuge tactics,’ shouted Gareth. ‘Evasive manoeuvre.’
Like a bloody rugby player, the hulking artist twisted on his heel, dashed toward me and shoulder tackled me over the bushes, the pair of us like a rolling cylinder through the now slushed mud, the explosion of red smoke and paint engulfing the air where we were moments before. Honestly, I had hoped my first body to body experience with this man would not be me crushed under him soaking wet and muddy…or was it?
‘I can’t breathe!’ Well, I could breathe well enough to belt that that sentence out. With a feeble hand I whacked Gareth’s back for him to roll off me. He did. God that was better. Though he was clearly a hulking mass of muscle I hadn’t expected him to weigh so much.
‘We gotta get out of here!’ he demanded of me, bringing me to my feet faster than he could throw his counter grenade back at Team Red. Clearly it was nothing but fun and games to this man, for just after a brief spattering of paint balling into the damp undergrowth had Gareth noticed my ineptitude, hands on knees stance, grabbed me once more around the stomach and had me thruster and balanced on his shoulder. ‘Shoot at them whilst I run, yeah?’
What could I do? There was no point in arguing, I couldn’t get a word in edgeways for each time I tried a slather of shoulder muscle winded the air out of me. Had he seriously expected me to keep a good shot whilst he purposefully chose the unbeaten path, the path with the most pitfalls, boulders and shrubbery, enough to warrant the odd jump and leap on his part, leaving me with what I’d later realise was a bruised rib cage.
‘CASON, DARLING,’ came Dominique’s voice, ‘we’re closing in hunny. Let me kill you so we can end this and have a mojito!’
‘GOD YES,’ I said, hoping my voice travelled far enough.
‘What the hell are you doing?’ Asked Gareth. Through his visor I could see his eyes. God he looked utterly betrayed. ‘Don’t draw the enemy to us!’
‘Are you for real? It’s a bloody paint balling game, Gareth. Watch…,’ and just like that my confidence got the better of me. I took my heavy duty gun majiggy, pointed it at him and fired, engulfing his torso in blue splotches.
‘Friendly fire!’ Shouted the Marshal. ‘You’re. Disqualified, and you shot him within a ten meter radius, dangerous behaviour!’
‘Oh thank god,’ I said, lunging the rifle into Gareth’s free hand. ‘COME ON DOMINIQUE, LET’S GO!’
‘Cason, what the hell’s wrong?’ asked Gareth. I only assumed he’d dropped both riffles and removed his helmet by the clarity of his voice and the crunch of the undergrowth. If he seriously didn’t know, then…oh god am I really going to have to say it? Fine, if he didn’t know, then he’s most certainly the stereotype man I should have seen coming all along.
‘Nothing,’ I said, immediately irritated at myself for having lied so dramatically and unconvincingly. I strolled on, feet catching here and there, in a direction I hoped had a bar at the end of. ‘I’m fine, Gareth, really. Paint balling just isn’t for me, okay.’
Then he said it, and it melted my heart so much I had to question the thickness of my skin to such heart melting wordy attacks. ‘I’m, I’m sorry,’ he said, but it wasn’t just the words, it was the accompanying tone that tagged along with them, that tone that sounded like a child’s genuineness filtered though an adult’s voice box. Could his hand be outstretched to my turned back? I hoped so, regardless of how cliche that might look.
On I walked, de-robing the sweaty jumpsuit, which I neatly folded and handed back to the nearest marshal, my smugness and anger a strange mix. I was back in London within the hour.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed part 9 of Cason Banks’ story. The Chocolate Prince is a weekly serial introducing new characters and exciting new adventures for Cason and his new friends as he navigates the difficult yet rewarding city of London. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, make sure to sign up to my monthly newsletter to be the first to know when the next part of The Chocolate Prince is up!