The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 21

Friday, August 11th, 9:45 AM

Casper, WY


Thoughts were going absolutely crazy in Evan’s head.

Was it true, what Art had said several times, that he felt a guiding force bringing them together? Positive spiritual forces.  Was this all supposed to be happening, somehow, someway?

He was getting closer to the Ram.

He walked up to the passenger side windows and made sure to keep the glum face on.

Both windows were down. Freddy had the bend of his elbow hanging out and appeared chilled. Neraeh had an eager, serious expression on her face.

Evan placed his hand on the lower rim of Neraeh’s window, though he positioned himself so they could both see him. He sighed and stared down.

"Didn't get it?" Freddy asked.

Evan snuck a glance at him and could see by the slight smile on Freddy's face that he knew what was going on. Evan shook his head and gazed down again. Then he looked at Neraeh.

“Really?” she asked, her eyes sad. “So now we just leave?”

Evan gave his widest, beaming smile to her. “Sorry. I couldn’t resist.”

“I knew it!” Freddy thrust a pointed finger at him. “You DID get it!” 

Evan walked back a few steps, spread his arms wide open and then slowly bent his forearms inward, fists clenched, until showing off his large biceps just under his T-shirt sleeves. “Yup! They couldn’t resist these. Got it done, you two!” 

Neraeh's face brightened, many times over. "Oh Evan." She opened the door and stepped out of the truck. "Can I give you a hug?"

“Sure, hon.” He didn’t hesitate and lunged forward, wrapping her in his arms before she even had a chance to raise her own arms.

Freddy stepped out and hugged the two of them.

“I’m so happy, guys,” Evan said, wrapping them both up tightly. “Really didn’t think this could happen.” 

“You did it, dude, you did it!”

Neraeh laughed. “I’m so happy too, Evan.”

Evan held them close a few moments longer, all of them saying happy, uplifting words.

He released them and folded his arms across his chest, eying them both. “Ask away. I know you two have questions.”

“Why didn’t you think you would get it?” Neraeh asked.

“For one thing, don’t forget about me calling out ‘Syrrah’, and then all the crazy stuff happening afterwards. I haven’t checked, but apparently social media went nuts. But, wasn’t enough to cause a problem. Carter Lorenzo, the guy I called, the guy who hired me said this was very common. He said fans, security guards, the press and the police are all bound to get in mix-ups at some point, it’s just unavoidable. If anything, he said what happened with me generated more interest in Dana, so it was actually a good thing.”

“Oh wow,” Neraeh said. “That really is crazy!”

Evan laughed. “Crazy, but worked out good for me, for all of us.”

“Dude. What about Coach Romano? Did you let him know?”

“That is a very good question. Carter asked about Master Ren, and Bob’s Auto. But he basically grilled me on all my football stats, like yards, touch downs for quarterback, and how many tackles and sacks for defense or offense, and where the coaches want to place me my freshman year. Carter loves football.”

“Well, what guy doesn’t,” Freddy said. 

“So, check this out. Carter calls Romano and convinced him to still let me have the full scholarship, as long as I get back to NDSU by the end of September, when Dana’s tour ends.”

Freddy stared with wide eyes. “No. Way! How did you get them both to agree to that?”

“Well, I didn’t lie, not really. I told them I could use the extra money, to help pay for Matti’s Lyme disease treatments, which is the truth, and so, yeah, seemed to be enough to convince Carter to call, explain he’s in charge of security for Dana Zypher’s tour, and for Romano to agree to it! I was shocked, literally.”

“I’m sure it helped your coach must have been in awe,” Neraeh said, “that this is for a celebrity.”

“Oh, yeah, hon. I’m sure that helped a lot too, believe me.”

Neraeh then asked about Matti, his age, four though soon to be five in October, and how long he had been dealing with chronic Lyme. Evan explained how Matti’s symptoms started in May, of last year, with the body rash, shaking spells, fevers, bad headaches and neck pain, trouble breathing, and irregular heartbeats, but that he was better now, though the antibiotic treatments and doctor visits were expensive, with Freddy verifying all. She seemed concerned, and wanting to help, in her questions and response.

“But yeah, he’s doing okay now, Neraeh. Not to worry.”

She smiled at him. “That’s good. I’m so glad he’s doing well.”

“So, dude. When do you start? They must be desperate for security peeps.”

“Right. Carter said someone quit a few days ago, before we arrived here. And they need someone to replace him ASAP, since Dana had some stalkers. They usually have about five or six security men, but now only four.”  

“That’s it?” Freddy asked. “Really? I thought they’d have more, you know, with those fan stalkings, and all the gang or terrorist threats going on at concerts lately.”

“I know, I know. I wondered that too. But Carter said most concert venues have their own security, or even the police get involved. You know, we have seen that in a few clubs we’ve played at. The bouncers, the security.”

“Yeah, but that’s cause we broke fools, dude. Dana’s got millions.”

Evan laughed. “No kidding. But yeah, they just need a main bodyguard for Dana, and then a few extra bodyguards, or security guards, whatever they’re called. But get this. Since a few of the stage crew quit recently, I’ll be doing some of their work too.”

“Well, we’ve had plenty of experience with most of that.” Freddy got his perplexed look. “But why so many of their people quitting lately?”

“Wondered about that too. But, either way, since I’ll mostly be in training mode at first, stage help will be part of my work.”

“What training?” Neraeh asked.

“Weapons training. Firearms, pepper spray, tasers, and to perfect certain martial arts skills, all that good stuff. Even tactical driving. And how to pick out potential stalkers or other bad guys in a crowd, and out-maneuver them or have Dana say certain code words to throw them off. Carter said it’s mostly about using our brains to out-maneuver and safely exit, avoiding excessive force as much as possible. Sometimes using the police instead, to avoid lawsuits. I’ll even be learning how to do first aid. And how to check out locations before Dana gets there. Carter said the road crew usually arrives before she does.”

“Yeah, makes sense,” Freddy said. “So they can get things set up, scope the place out.”

“I’ll have to get a physical too, especially to make sure my eyesight and hearing are good, which they are, I suppose, mostly, except for the loud music we play.”

Freddy chuckled. “Yeah, but you’re young. Should be fine.”

“Yeah, I guess. They’ll do a criminal background check, and I have to sign papers about confidentiality, not to expose what Dana tells me to social media, paparazzi or reporters.” Evan sighed. “There is one main worry I’ve got, though. They don’t want security getting too close to her. Don’t really want us to be friends, only keep it professional.”

“Oh no,” Neraeh said. “That’s not good. How will you find out?”

“I’ll figure something out. Don’t worry, Neraeh.”

“What about you calling her Syrrah?” Freddy asked. “How did you, like, you know, explain all of it?”

“I apologized, said I was very sorry. He assumed I called out her last name, everyone else reviewing the video feed assumed the same, and I didn’t deny it. I explained I got caught up in the moment, didn’t mean for it to happen.”

“Did he say what Dana’s reaction was?” Freddy asked.

“No, he didn’t. But I’m just hoping, praying even, she simply thought I called out her last name, like drunk tall guy assumed, and hope for the best.”

“But why?” Neraeh asked. “Why don’t you want her to know you said her real name? Of course, if she really is Syrrah.”

“Because, if she really is Syrrah, she’ll consider me a threat, an enemy, possibly. Since how could anyone else know? Like I’m trying to expose her, and she’s probably been hiding it for years from fans and the general public. I should never have done that, gosh damn. Should have thought it out better.”

“Yeah, but dude, none of this would be happening right now if you hadn’t.” Freddy placed his hand on Evan’s shoulder, giving a firm, supportive grip. “You started the ball rolling on a chain of events that got you to this point right now!” 

Evan nodded and stared down at the pavement. “Yeah, I know.” He looked at Neraeh’s sad, probing eyes. “We will just have to take this one moment, one day at a time.”

“Yeah, Neraeh, Evan’s right.” Freddy placed his other hand on her shoulder too, patting her gently, and then released both his hands from them. “That background check. What if they find out about MOTC?”

“Yup. Another concern. They’ll tell me later.” Evan relaxed his arms by his sides and looked across the vast, mostly empty parking lot of the Casper Events Center. Good thing they parked on the edge, near the entrance road. No one was near them, fortunately. He focused his attention on Neraeh and Freddy again. “I’m still going to have you two leave in the Ram. But if the background check doesn’t work out, Fred, my bro, you’ll have to come back to get me.”

“No problemo, dude. I’ll be right back for you.”

“And I’ll be traveling with him,” Neraeh said. “We’ll figure something out after that.”

“And what kind of pay are we talking?” Freddy asked.

Evan smiled. “When on the clock, and since I’m just starting out, twenty-five bucks an hour.”

Freddy lifted his palm up. “High five, dude!”        

Evan landed a good, hard slap on his hand.

Neraeh smiled and laughed quietly.

“Hey,” Freddy said. “Has Art contacted you on the Unihertz yet?”

Reaching into his right pocket, Evan pulled up the Unihertz. He eyed the screen for any text or call notifications. “No. Nothing yet. But, I’ll keep a watch out. I’ve had it on mute due to the interview.”

“You think we should tell them,” Neraeh asked, “that you got the job?”

Freddy laughed. “Or do they already know.”

“Yeah, good point. They might know, but if the background check fails, no point in telling anyone yet…especially our parents, never mind Art and Kamal.”

“And then of course Master Ren. Bob’s. And last but not least, Oz and Randal.”

“Yeah, we got our work cut out for us, Fred.” Evan laughed, shaking his head. “Those two goofy guys are not going to be too cool with this at all.”