We made our way past improvised camps of itinerant cast-aways, their barrels burning, a social network of the basest sort. My queen looked out-of-place, as one with money and wherewithal always appears when in the company of poorer souls. Those souls who, though lacking money, had knowledge, knowledge of the street, a resource we needed, and motivated our journey through their living rooms. No one likes a stranger this deep in the underworld of the city. The looks I garnered, rivaled that of my queen, they scarcely giving her a glance that they might see through my disguise, which, was not a facade by any means, I was truly as I appeared, a naive man accompanying royalty through dire straights.
My queen had thrown her coat over the backpack. Her runway strut moved the conspicuous lock to break free of its camouflage and catch the sun, gleaming, drawing attention. A few started to come toward us, as they walked closer, they seemed to have second thoughts, my queen staring at them with her sensuous eyes, eyes now used to convey a very different type of message. Amazing how she can maneuver and manipulate circumstances with just a look. I thought of my weakness to her gaze, how she melted my resolve and conformed me to her will. Breathing deep, I focused on the issues threatening our incursion.
Like an inner city subdivision, all the houses looked the same, only the color of the boxes and blankets, or the store brand of shopping carts parked outside, marked the differences. After passing a few of the camps, we came across one, that by outward appearances, was another of the same. The homeowner, a frail ancient man huddled under layers of coats, all worn well past usefulness to the ordinary wearer, looked up at us, and not standing, seemed to say all he needed by reaching out his hand. My queen passed him the backpack, which he confidently took and began to decipher the lock. Cussing under his breath when his first attempt failed, he tried again and had success, allowing me to breath easier, nothing was what appeared in this world.
In an unexpected gesture of trust, evidently gained by my advancement through the ranks to his residence and my queens unflinching manner, he threw the blankets off a sturdier looking cardboard shelf, decorated with graffiti and empty cigarette boxes. The revealing, showing a clean and organized assortment of guns, maybe a couple dozen or so arranged in an order unfamiliar to me. Pistols, small ones that could fit in your palm, larger revolvers, chromed with scopes, lining case. His hand flowed over the choices, like a diviner finding water, finally settling on a flat black pistol. Handing it to my queen, she in turn, handing it to me. She leaned close and with whisper that caused my hair to stand at attention, asked if I knew how to use it. Of course I did, destiny prepared me for this reason, that I might leave my mundane, back-breaking job, to guard her and escape from the listless world that was mine, outside this Queen's castle.