“Just get back to me” Josh commands, his words ending a heated phone call as he wanders around New York City. “Those chips are starting to fall into place” Nora whispers, her presence putting an immediate disgust on Josh’s face, her figure not even needing to be seen in order to induce it. “I’d prefer not to have you narrate it as they’re still mid-fall” Josh replies, reminding Nora that he already has it bad enough without her voice constantly swirling in his ear.
“It’s fun to watch you crumble” Nora replies, the glee in her tone aggravating the man still refusing to turn in her direction, “your nose starts crinkling and your left eye starts twitching.” Throwing a beanie over his head and buttoning up his windbreaker, Josh turns off the main street and enters a homeless shelter, the ghost of his former lover still lingering behind, taunting him at every opportunity.
Blending into the shuffling boots soaked in rain water and mud, Josh ascends a staircase towards the third story, his eyes wandering each end of the hall as he meets his floor. “You’ll never truly be free until you accept what you’ve done” Nora prods, her words being brushed off as his focus on finding his intended door manages to drown out the sounds. “The more you run, the weaker you’ll be when you have to stop” Nora continues, following Josh to the end of the hall.
“I don’t have to run because there’s nothing to run away from” Josh replies, his attention directing itself to one side of the hall. “The longer you deny it, the longer it’ll take to get to” Nora remarks, Josh turning his face towards hers as he presses his hand on his selected entry. “I’m moving on from you” Josh responds, “you don’t control me.” Amused, Nora leans into his ear and whispers, “clearly I do since you’re still imagining me.”
Rather than fight the figment, Josh reaches for the door and opens it, walking into an near-empty room, the only contents of it being a bare mattress and a pizza box in the kitchen. “Hello!?” Josh calls out, his request for any response from something other than his dead lover falling on absent ears, his signal to sit and wait being offered. Approaching a shade-less window, Josh looks out at the Hudson riverfront, appreciating the rippling waves from afar.
The gloomy sky sporting a dark gray allows for the rain to cover the dreary day, leaving Josh to look out at similar imagery to his own personal crisis. His eyes wandering from one side of the window to the other, Josh begins to latch onto an electronic billboard just above the street’s most populated bus stop. His attention locking on at the right time, the picture of an almost elderly man being called for by the local precinct manages to spark a match in Josh’s head.
After roughly one minute of taking new intentions and routes into consideration in his head, Josh hears the door swing open, a familiar man entering the room to share his company. “I’m glad you wanted to speak with me again” the man says, Josh informing him that they never got the proper chance to discuss matters the night before. “You wanted me to call you ‘Half’, correct?” Josh asks, the man taking off his hat and bowing forward.
“What do you wish to touch on first?” Half asks, watching Josh glance out at the electronic billboard once more before replying “from the top.” Nodding, “very well” Half responds, his hat and coat being draped over an empty counter as Josh begins to smile.
= Joshua Lane is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“Mind elsewhere?” the Guardian calls, his voice spooking Eliza, appearing from the back entry of the flat as she rolls her spoon around the milk in her cereal bowl. “You can use the front door!” Eliza calls, her appreciation of being startled in such a fashion non-existent. “Then I wouldn’t be able to catch you in your natural habitat” the Guardian replies, picking up a dry waffle from beside the woman, shrugging before pulling it beneath his mask and taking a bite.
“You just doing another welfare check?” Eliza asks, “or are you here to take my gun?” The beak of his mask shaking, the Guardian tells Eliza that her choice is completely in her hands. “Neither Josh, no myself, can tell you anything that will bring you the peace you need to fight after this is all said and done” the Guardian responds, “if that’s the decision you make, so be it… But it’s not blood that I’ll be sporting on my hands.”
“You dragged me into this mess” Eliza replies, frustrated at the Guardian’s complete lack of willingness to see himself as the cause of any of this. “No, Josh dragged you into this” the Guardian replies, watching Eliza’s face shrivel in refusal, “he just used you to do it.” Lifting the waffle closer to his mouth, Eliza swats at his hand, knocking the disc across the room to the disappointment of the figure standing before her.
“That was uncalled for” the Guardian replies, his disapproval upstaged by Eliza’s hands pressing against his chest, shoving him back a few paces. “Take some accountability!” Eliza shouts, her hands continuing to shove the Guardian back as the figure remains silently posed over her. Before long, Eliza switches her efforts, removing them from shoving the Guardian away and, instead, directing them towards the mask.
His hand shooting from his side, the Guardian snatches Eliza’s arm before it can make contact and holds it there, the sockets in the mask for his eyes revealing them to be widened towards her. Not one to surrender her efforts easily, Eliza takes her free hand and reaches to do the same, the Guardian’s free hand following the exact movements as his first.
“Please, Eliza” the Guardian asks, his tone still patient and forgiving, though edging closer into the territory of demanding with each momentary show of restraint from the woman. “Please, what?” the woman asks, her lips pulling together before shooting a line of spit straight through the eyehole, the saliva running down the side of his face behind the mask’s covering.
With a deep breath, the Guardian forces the woman back towards the wall with ease, his hands refusing to give up any hold as he pulls her forward and leaves her to slide across the kitchen floor. “Don’t test my patience” the Guardian requests, the woman refusing to take any of his suggestions into account, the adrenaline of being able to fight the root of her problems proving too much to allow her to think rationally.
The tops of her feet pressing against the floor, Eliza throws herself forward, the Guardian immediately side-stepping, allowing Eliza to run her shoulder through the dry wall behind him. “Don’t make a stupid mistake, Eliza” the Guardian orders, his voice no longer holding any compassion, instead insisting the woman do as he says. Stubborn, Eliza charges at the man again, her efforts for nothing once more as he lays a clean strike to the left of her eye.
Her body colliding with the linoleum tiles below, Eliza hops back to her feet as if nothing had happened, again pursuing the man who has switched mindsets inside his head. Another failed effort, Eliza finds the Guardian’s knee colliding with the bridge of her nose, forcing her to fall back to the ground with a more resounding thud than before. “I don’t want to have to ask you again” the Guardian persists, watching the woman use the hand not holding her face to push herself up.
“Eat shit” Eliza replies, her words holding vigor as her feet remain planted, her efforts to take the Guardian down subsiding for the moment. “You need to learn how to keep this anger under control” the Guardian insists, reaching for a half-drunken water bottle and tossing it to the woman. His hand on her shoulder, the Guardian leads Eliza back into her seat as he retrieves an icepack, handing it over after wrapping it in paper towels.
“The only thing you’ve got left before you put that gun to your head is what we do here” the Guardian acknowledges, “but I can’t let you get back out there when you can’t control yourself.” Her non-covered eye lifting towards the figure, Eliza asks him to simply inform her what to do to get herself out of this condo. “You need to prove to me that you can handle yourself” the Guardian replies, “keep yourself in check before you get your shit pushed in again.”
With that statement, the Guardian exits the flat through the front entry, the woman left to her own vices at her kitchen table once more. Her eyes wandering from one side of the room to the other, Eliza picks up her cereal bowl and empties its contents into the sink, returning to the couch with the cold pack still pressed against her face.
Her hand pressing the phone in her hand back onto the receiver, Arcnote drops her hand into her arm as Holiday approaches her with a carrier of coffee. “Another sleepless night?” Holiday asks, the woman peaking her head up to graciously accept the drinks, confirming his suspicions. “Four days, and I can’t get more than thirty minutes of sleep without waking myself up again” Arcnote replies, her dreams consisting of the gruesome sights from days prior.
“Get yourself some sleeping pills” Holiday replies, telling her that he’s been forced to start using them in order to keep his head on the pillow. “It’s not a sight that’ll be any easier to remember” Holiday continues, his twitching hand resting on the metal desktop, “but we’ve gotta get some sleep somehow.” Accepting defeat to her own sleep cycle, Arcnote promises she’ll try to get sleep when she gets home tonight, the man refusing to allow her any more time without it.
“You may be my superior, but that doesn’t mean I can’t order you to do something when it’s for the best” Holiday jokes, “go home and try to sleep. Come back ready for tomorrow.” With a smile on her face, Arcnote gives in, allowing Holiday to breathe a sigh of relief as she stands up and grabs her coat. Handing her a bottle he expected to give her anyway, Holiday instructs her to take two pills a night before letting her leave with a pat on the shoulder.
“I’ll see you in the morning” Arcnote replies, her hair falling over her shoulders as she makes her way to the garage entrance. Upon her return home, Arcnote carelessly throws her jacket over a dining room table and lets her briefcase fall onto the couch. Once asleep, the woman begins to toss and turn, her body tensing up as her worried recollections force her to spasm. Eventually, the woman jolts awake, her mind struggling to consider the hours of sleep she had accumulated as being worth it.
Looking towards her bedroom window, Arcnote notices the day having turned to night, the rain having refused to stop in the time between. Her beside lamp being flicked on, the warm yellow light splashes her wall as she reaches for her phone, the contrast of the cold, white screen calling for a brief transition on her eyes. ‘You there?’ a notification bubble reads, a man’s name above the text putting a half smile on the face of the woman still trying to calm her nerves.
Swiping her finger across the screen, Arcnote replies with a humorous and bubbly ‘yes’, her phone being carried by her side as she steps out of bed. A warm cardigan being pulled over her shoulders, Arcnote walks through the passage between her bedroom and her living space, the warm yellow light quickly turning into a cool, brisk deep blue mixed with the natural shadows of the light-less night.
“Good evening” a man greets from her couch, the woman leaping back at the immediate surprise, her phone falling to the floor and cracking upon impact. Her back pressing against the wall, Arcnote’s mouth widens when her eyes finally stumble upon the voice’s origin. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you” the voice informs, the calm nature behind it making the interaction all the more eery, “this seemed like the only way to talk to you without having to be at the precinct.”
“What are you doing in my house?” the woman asks, her voice trembling with fear in the opposite manner of the figure’s. “I don’t mean you any harm” the figure replies, “I know you’ve wanted to speak with me, so this was the safest way for both of us that I could make that happen in.” His ankles crossing over each other, Josh informs Arcnote that he will remain seated, and will only stand to his feet when he believes he is ready to leave.
“I know you have your firearm in that briefcase” Josh informs, watching Arcnote’s eyes lock onto her bag, “you’re free to take it, and hold it in my direction, if it makes you feel safer.” Taking the man up on his word, Arcnote inches her hand out and picks up her bag, pulling the weapon from it and holding it by her hip, the barrel aimed at Josh. “This conversation takes place between you and me” Josh says, “my one rule is that what I say to you in this moment is said in confidence.”
Her chin high enough for her eyes to stare over it at the lowest level of her eyelids, Arcnote pulls a chair from her kitchen out to sit upon. “I’m going to answer all of your questions honestly, and I’m going to tell you things that you’d otherwise not get anywhere else” Josh continues, asking Arcnote if she’s ready. With a subtle nod, Arcnote watches Josh fold his hands, his left foot bouncing in anticipation as he responds, “let’s begin.”
“His entire life depends on completing this” Half replies, his hands pointed forward as they collide with the countertop surface, illustrating his point. “He felt wronged by them, like he was forced to leave everything behind because he didn’t agree with their ideology” Half continues, “and now everything for him, from life to death, depends on the downfall of the Pipeline as it currently stands.”
“So where does that leave your point?” Josh asks, the picture blurring with every new detail mixed in, “if I’m in danger of my end of the bargain not being delivered, what would he need me for after?” His eyes lowering, Half replaces his stare with a disappointed frown, “he wouldn’t because there wont be an after.” Running down the list of rivals that have faced the Pipeline from the other team, Half reveals the long list to be completely discarded of with the exception of Guardian and himself.
“I stand for what Angel’s working for, I truly do” Half admits, his hatred for Josh’s guardian not encompassing his understanding of the bigger picture, “but I don’t agree with the way he works for it.” Telling Josh the short story of how regular interactions with the Pipeline go, Half informs him that there are very few, if any scenarios, that end with anything other than Josh’s demise, and most of those scenario’s still don’t end happily.
“He’ll gladly die if it means taking the Pipeline out of commission” Half continues, “but he’s not afraid to take you down with him.” His fingers tapping along the marble countertop, Josh feels a cool rush of air dance on the back of his neck. “Those chips are falling awfully fast” Nora whispers, Josh’s face immediately growing sour as he attempts to ignore the voice. “So what are you willing to offer me in exchange for these?” Josh asks, a manilla folder thrown down in front of him.
“Information I’d rather you keep to yourself than share with the Guardian” Half replies, his finger pressing against the folder and sliding it back to Josh. “He’s making it your call” Nora whispers, Josh’s eye twitching for a moment before stopping as a large breath of air fills the man’s lungs. His hand pulling the pictures from days before out, Josh tells Half that he has a different strategy for dealing with the Pipeline that requires intel over violence.
“Unfamiliar territory, but continue nonetheless” Half replies, watching Josh spread the photos along the countertop as if they were playing cards. “Each of these people are connected to the Pipeline, this we’re already more than aware of” Josh begins, using one finger to push a specific photo closer to his opposite. “What can you tell me about this man that has nothing to do with the Pipeline?” Josh asks, the photo in question containing a business shot of Warren Duane.
“That would be Warren Duane, the former executive of your old employer” Half replies, “and he happened to be the first major figure in the Pipeline that met their demise at your hand.” His finger moving to another photo and doing the same, Josh asks for the same explanation. “That is Alec Cerine, another suggested figure in the Pipeline” Half replies, his eyes narrowing, “from what I’m aware of, he was killed by the Pipeline after being ousted as a mole.”
“And this?” Josh asks, sliding a photo of Jenn, Alec’s former lover, closer to Half’s eyes. “That would be Jennifer Catherine, you’re already aware of who she is and what she did” Half replies, “she’s currently living as far as I’m aware and has no connection to the Pipeline that I know of.” His head shaking, Half asks what Josh is trying to get at, pointing out Josh’s pre-existing familiarity with the subjects in these pictures.
“After I killed Warren, Alec was murdered and the calls from the Guardian began” Josh replies, pulling from his pocket a familiar flash drive, playing with it’s port as he continues. “So I kill Warren, Alec is found out to be a mole, and then the Guardian swings into my business” Josh continues, “tell me where these things connect.” His head hanging slightly, Half props his chin up with his right hand and takes the photo of Cerine into his left.
“I’m aware that I know more than Angel is willing to tell you” Half admits, “but what makes you think I know this?” His eyes still attached to the flash drive, Josh places the device on the counter and slides it to Half, who glances back at Josh before he picks it up. “Turn it over” Josh instructs, watching Half flip the device over to read ‘for ½’ scrawled on the back in white-out.
“Maybe you don’t know why, but I know you knew Alec” Josh states, watching Half look up with his mouth slightly ajar, “and maybe you don’t have the answer, but I know they’re connected.” Swallowing the spit developing in the back of his throat, Josh tells Half that he’s come up with a theory that would be rooted in realism if the information Half is feeding him is true.
“I think killing Warren put me in the Guardian’s crosshairs” Josh admits, his hands pressing against the countertop to assist him to his feet. “Don’t finish what I think you’re about to say” Half requests, his eyes lowering to the flash drive. “I know you two had been friends since you started pre-school together” Josh replies, taking pity on Half as he begins to piece together why Half may have more of a hatred for the Guardian than just false-promises.
“I’m sorry that you don’t want to hear it, but I need to say it out loud before I convince myself that I’ve gone crazy” Josh continues, watching Half’s eyes look up at him and accompany a regretful nod. “I think Guardian sold out Alec to disrupt the upper echelon of the Pipeline, weaken it from within” Josh confesses, “and I think he’s willing to do it to anyone else in order to make sure order within falls to depravity.”
Walking to his windbreaker, Josh throws it over his shoulders and pops the beanie back on. “You can keep all of those, but I’ve left two pictures behind the ones I slid to you” Josh continues, “if you want to make sure this is done the right way, come back to me with something I can work with on them.” Refusing to take back the documents, Josh leaves Half what he believes he is owed.
“No more false promises, no more deceit, and no more blood lust” Josh states, pulling his winter gloves over his hands and walking for the door, “now if you’ll excuse me, I have somewhere to be.” exiting the flat, Josh shuts the door behind him and leaves Half remaining where he left him, the touch of his longtime friend’s final remaining words to him allowing Half a closure he had disappointingly believed himself to be forced into believing he’d be without.
“You have plenty of questions” Josh states, watching Arcnote depend on the back of her chair to keep her from instinctively backing away, “I’m willing to answer them.” Licking the sides of her mouth as she notices it to have gone dry, Arcnote begins with asking Josh if he’s committed the crime of murder within the last year. “Yes, I have” Josh replies, the woman’s eyes narrowing as she continues to test the supposedly offered honesty the man claims to be willing to give.
“Are you currently the suspect in any crimes related to murrder?” Arcnote asks, the man smirking, offering a chuckle. “You tell me” Josh replies, his thumbs gliding off each other, one after another, as he watches Arcnote consider whether or not to pull specific names into play. “Did you kill Warren Duane?” Arcnote asks, the man puckering his lips briefly before answering truthfully, “Yes, I did.”
“Did you kill Alec Cerine?” Arcnote asks, the man denying any involvement in that crime with a shaking head to match. “Did you kill former Lieutenant eric Devine?” Arcnote asks, the man pausing for a moment as he totters his head from side to side. “I’d say I indirectly caused it, but if you’re asking if I directly had delivered the fatal blow, the answer is ‘no’” Josh responds, the woman narrowing her eyes.
“The Pipeline member we found a number of weeks ago?” Arcnote asks, the man’s eyes widening. “Which one?” Josh asks, responding ‘no’ when Arcnote specifies the individual in question. “Why are you coming to me now?” Arcnote asks, the man’s smile fading into a composed face of contempt, “why tell me, a detective, all of these things now?”
“For a start, it’s your word against mine” Josh replies, “and in addition to that, the idea that you’d sit and agree to this without calling for backup makes it immediately suspicious.” His voice turning from humorous to sympathetic, Josh admits that there is more rhyme and reason to his intentions. “I know you’re of the belief that all murder is bad, and all murderers are bad” Josh continues, “but I believe what I have to say is worth at least thinking about.”
“Then say your piece” Arcnote replies, challenging the man to act on his confidence at being able to justify the actions he’s taken and the criminal acts he’s committed. “I suppose you’re already aware of the Pipeline, as well as Devine’s presence within it, so let’s use that as an example” Josh begins, asking Arcnote to be honest in her response, “do you think he would have been treated the same way as any other criminal in the court?”
“I believe he would have, yes” Arcnote replies, Josh’s head immediately hanging, shaking in disapproval. “I think, and know, otherwise” Josh replies, “so let me ask you this… What do you think made Bill Cosby and Jeff Epstein’s indictments so surprising?” Shrugging her shoulders, Arcnote retires to Josh’s follow, the an insisting that the rarity in notable figures, individuals with power, being punished for their wrong-doings is what made them surprising.
“This system isn’t difficult to cheat, all you need is a fat wallet and some connections” Josh continues, “these people, like those at the top of the Pipeline are practically untouchable.” Denying this notion, Arcnote points out the other examples of notable figures being punished for their actions. “Every example you can give me is something I can find four examples of that worked the other way” Josh replies, telling Arcnote that the courts cannot be trusted.
“Think about the Pipeline’s victims, everything we know they do and what we haven’t seen yet” Josh continues, “think about how much they would’ve gotten away with if it weren’t for Devine.” Her head shaking, Arcnote asks Josh to illustrate his point. “I killed Warren Duane, Devine pieced me to the murder, and without Devine dying in that fire, the precinct wouldn’t have even known the Pipeline existed!” Josh continues, Arcnote failing to come up with an adequate response.
“All of their victims would have gone without justice had it not been for the actions I took” Josh continues, the woman still refusing to allow herself to view the situation through the lens of her moral opposition. “If he was never taken to trial, you can’t be sure of that” Arcnote replies, Josh beginning to feel the effects of a headache as he begins realizing how hard of a sell his view is on a woman as steadfast by her beliefs as Arcnote is.
“He would have never gone to trial, why can you not see that!?” Josh asks, his arms stretching out as he fails to comprehend how Arcnote could look at the situation in such a flowers-and-roses fashion. “I don’t care how you spin it, murder is not the answer to problems because you disagree with how a system operates” Arcnote replies, Josh’s face immediately dropping as his fingers begin to twirl around themselves.
“I’m sorry, but if your goal is to convince me that you’re in the right morally here, you’re not going to win” Arcnote replies, watching Josh’s brow lower, visually pulling the recent claim apart. “Is murder not morally right?” Josh asks, the woman surprised at the suggestion she’d reply with anything other than ‘no’ even being questioned. “So in what way is the death penalty morally right?” Josh asks, Arcnote immediately beginning to back away from the conversation’s route.
“You’re comparing outright murder to a sentence carried out after legal process had been done” Arcnote replies, “there is no comparison.” His hands stretched out, Josh asks the simple question of ‘why not?’, leaving Arcnote silent. “Duane ran an underground ring of child pornography distribution and who the fuck knows what else!” Josh shouts, “why do we need to sit through a trial of him feeding us bullshit in order to find him guilty?”
“Because he gets the chance to defend himself!” Arcnote replies, her nose flaring as Josh leans forward to do the same. “If the people he’s turned into victims don’t get to defend themselves from him, why does he get to defend himself from them?” Josh asks, the woman attempting to respond, only for her words to fall over themselves as they leave her lips.
“He silenced them, he victimized them, and he’s groomed a cult of followers to do the exact same thing, why does he get a fair trial?” Josh asks, the woman struggling to come up with any reason not rooted in legal speak. Her firearm having lowered its barrel towards the ground, Arcnote remains silent, allowing for Josh to continue. “After OJ Simpson was found innocent, most of the jurors said it was a verdict they reached out of spite for the LAPD” Josh recalls, leaning closer to the woman.
“How can a system like that be seen, bottom to top, as fair?” Josh continues, Arcnote taking a few seconds before admitting that she never said it was fair. “You look at what I do as something heinous, punishing terrible people for doing terrible things” Josh repeats, “but if their victims didn’t get a say, neither do they.” Her head hung, Arcnote looks up towards Josh and tells him that he only lowers himself to their level when he serves them their ‘punishment.’
“I don’t punish innocent, unsuspecting people” Josh replies, his arms pushing himself to his feet for the first time that evening, “I punish awful, deserving people.” Walking to the door, Josh extends his arm towards the handle before pausing, his head turning back to Arcnote before he spins the remainder of his body around at the sound of Arcnote calling back out to him.
“It’s not your place to make that decision” Arcnote replies, the man turning around to look at the woman, his stare questioning whether or not she fully understands her own statement. “You don’t get to decide who lives and who dies” Arcnote continues, her words bringing amusement to the man, “and it’s not your place to pull the trigger.” His back leaning against the door, Josh tells Arcnote that this point specifically is where she’s wrong.
“If I’m called to the jurors bench by someone trying to give his defendant the best chance to not get the needle, it is my decision” Josh replies, “that’s decided by an agenda-heavy lawyer in a $5,000 suit.” The woman standing from her seat, Arcnote places her weapon in the waist band behind her back. “So it’s not my decision when I say, but the decision when a biased crook with a horse in the race says so, right?”
Silent, Arcnote watches as Josh walks closer towards her, the woman no longer feeling the need to point a gun in his direction to make her control known. “And furthermore, why isn’t it my place to pull the trigger, or fill the syringe?” Josh asks, his face inching closer to the woman’s as she keeps her eyes firmly set on his. “Who gets to decide which person carries that weight on their shoulders?” Josh asks, “who really makes that decision?”
“It shouldn’t be you” Arcnote replies, the man’s head shaking in disappointment, though a brief moment of hope that she’s understanding where his view comes from shows in his posture. “That’s where the discussion comes into play, isn’t it detective?” Josh asks, “the age old question of whether people like me are simple vigilantes or monsters.”
“I struggle to see the difference between the two” Arcnote replies, the man’s smirk shining in spite of the dark. “People argue whether vigilantes are good or bad” Josh replies, the woman’s face scrunching as she questions the purpose of that statement. “You can’t have that same discussion about monsters.” As he attempts to leave, Josh hears Arcnote call out for an answer to his question.
“You asked who gets to decide who does or doesn’t kill” Arcnote repeats, “what’s the right answer if ‘it isn’t you’ isn’t it?” His hands tucking into his pockets, Josh tells Arcnote that there isn’t, nor should there be, a single correct answer. “If the system can’t tell me who should and shouldn’t be allowed to kill, I don’t trust the system to tell me who should or shouldn’t die” Josh replies, returning for the door, successfully leaving through it this time around.
Left alone, Arcnote stands in place, her flat no longer being shared amongst two people. Within seconds, the splintered phone begins buzzing on the ground, the white light bleaching the dark room as Arcnote remains staring at the door. Her head drifting, Arcnote begins to think about Josh’s words, the statements he made and the possible gravity behind them as the subject of her text messages continues beaconing for her attention.