Unknown:
“What is your name?”

Gayel:
“Gayel Philwaki.”

Unknown:
“Where are you from?”

Gayel:
“I’m from here.”

Unknown:
“What is your profession?”

Gayel:
“I’m a lawyer.”

Unknown:
“Mr. Philwaki, do you know why you’re here?”

Gayel:
“No. I don’t even know what this place is.”



Meet Gayel Philwaki; a typical post-adolescent male who happens to be in a very unusual situation. Seated opposite a man he has never seen before, in a room he entered for the first time in his life, Gayel looked around him with a glare encompassing both curiosity and astonishment. He could not remember the events that led him to this place and was completely unaware of the reason to his presence here. He was now seated opposite an elderly man who’s face, although gentle, bared the marks of a lifetime lived. He was wearing a grey suit, perfectly fit for a man of his age and on the table that stood between him and Gayel, the unknown man placed a small all-white porcelain cup of coffee. With both elbows on the table, the man stared at Gayel with an authoritative look, which nonetheless concealed a subtle sign of admiration and helplessness. Gayel could see that the unknown man was about to explain something important to him.

Unknown man: “All right, mr. Philwaki, I’ll keep this very brief. My wish is that you listen to the following words with utmost care… As you can see, you are not tied up, which means that your ignorance of the purpose and cause of your presence here don’t have to lead to an involuntary stay. In other words: you are free to go if you wish to do so. However, let me assure you that the benefit and purpose of your stay will be manifested soon and if you decide to remain, the consequences for you will be most favorable. But then again, if you do not trust my words, please do which you think is best… I will leave you and we will never meet again. On the table between you and I is a bottle of the finest single-blended scotch, a glass, freshly rolled Sweet Orients and a plate of sea-food treats. It is for you to savor and enjoy. More important is the file that is on the table…”

Gayel looked at the file that lay before him. Although the thick, beige packet looked like an ordinary folder, something about it gave Gayel the feeling that what’s inside was extraordinary. On the file’s label a name was written which Gayel had never heard of before. The label read: “Guy Vernes”.

The unknown man took a sip of his coffee and continued in the same instructive tone:

“Mr. Philwaki, as a lawyer you are trained to separate the relevant from the irrelevant; the fact from the fiction. Please apply those skills with the information that you have before you. This is what I wished to say, the rest is to be discovered by you.”

The unknown man nodded gently, grabbed his trench coat and stood up. While walking to the hallstand to get his hat, he gazed once more across the room as if bidding the place a brief farewell. He uttered the last words “Goodbye, mr. Philwaki,” and left the room.

As the door shut, Gayel looked once more at the file that has been troubling his mind for the last minutes. He forgot all about the work he had to do today, about the clients he had to brief and the calls he had to make; even the why and the where of his inexplicable presence in this place didn’t seem to matter any longer. All Gayel could think about, was the beige folder placed before him.

A sweet smell enveloped the room as he lit up a vanilla flavored cigar, watching the smoke dancing in the air with the graceful motion of a belly dancer. The words of the unknown man kept repeating in his head: “separate the fact from the fiction.” The unknown man was right, separating the relevant from the irrelevant was not only an essential consequence of his training as an attorney, but Gayel has always had the elevated talent of separating the real from the unreal. When he was six years old Gayel killed all of his imaginary friends without feeling a slight remorse for his actions. Two years later he threw out his Scooby Doo tape out of the window, because he recognized the respective “ghost” in each episode within the perpetrator’s introduction scene. When in high school, Gayel never failed to distinguish a photoshopped picture from a real one and as a freshman in college he wrote his own version of the Matrix.

Even though the task that the unknown man has proposed to him was vague and seemingly purposeless, in a place he never set foot in before and with no idea to the consequences of his stay, Gayel cautiously lifted the cover of the file and bent over to read the first document. The title read: “The Launch.”

Hence began the story of how a man named Gayel Philwaki separated fact from fiction.