I’d known all along that there were things that Eric had left unsaid, business being what it was I understood but then again he was meant to be a civilian so business wasn’t meant to a factor. He’d introduced himself a while back, at some backwater pub I’d been drinking off my cotton mouth from the previous night, he looked like a nice fellow, who liked the drink as much as I did but without the cynicism that drove me to it. He’d said he was an analyst for bitco, the bank that jumped on the crypto-currency bandwagon way back in the new millennium when they still used paper money and was the big chief about here parts with their pudgy bejewelled fingers in about every pot. I’d let him sit with me and buy me a drink or two and we’d swapped a story or two. For a desk jockey he seemed to get around but there was an air about him, there was something a little off about his jovial nature, a little put on, a shroud to hide the steel beneath. You had to look closely and know what you were looking for; the occasional quick scan of the room, back always to the wall, the hard glint in his eye that would pop up when something unexpected would happen although it was quick to disappear, but what sealed it was the tension. Eric was a tightly coiled spring, you could feel the power and grace hidden in that deceptively lanky frame. I picked that up when I’d bumped into him in a drunken stumble one night through Woodstock. I’d caught him unawares but even then I barely caught him. He’d looked at me with surprise and then tried sheepishly to cover up his rather quick reflexes for a guy who was meant to be two sheets to the wind and barely on two feet. He’d kept his distance since and I sobered up mighty quickly after that my mind whirring trying to figure out what his angle was and what really was his story. Over time I’d let the incident pass and put it down to old habits lulled perhaps by the slightly spiky hair, the rumpled shirt and coat as if he’d slept at the desk, the lax tie and quick laugh at anything remotely funny and the not so funny. An easy guy to please but sitting here on this dank couch, with the green dragon working through my system I watched him work over the Russian it gave me a little bit of the chills. I thought I knew but watching him now I knew I knew nothing at all. There was a game afoot, not even the game I’d been playing and I’d been brought along to either play the patsy or the dove or the dame or god forbid all of them. I needed to figure out before he hit pay dirt and this went the way of Nero.