News from the Locarno Festival

Day 5: The Cypher

Day 5: The Cypher



In the night it began to storm.  First there was the rain, and the lightening with regular and rapid flashes illuminating the mountains.  The thunder shook the panes of glass in the windows of the restaurant while The Jury discussed the thieves whose heists this year they were assessing.  Who had been the most artful this year, and who among those the programmer had chosen deserved the laurels the Thieve’s Guild would award?

Later that night he had been awakened by what sounded like a thousand pebbles being continuously thrown against the sliding glass door to the patio of his room.  Naked, he climbed out of bed and slid open the door, revealing a fury of hail showering down onto the patio.  It was a tempest — however, the air was cool and welcome to The Canadian.

He stepped out onto the patio and into the shower of falling ice.  It was like being pelted by chips of glass so numerous that there was no pain, only the sensation of being swarmed by tiny daggers, stabbing repeatedly all over the body.  He had done many wrongs in his life, and in some way he embraced the pain as penance for his transgressions against humanity.  But there was a deeper reason why he allowed the ice rocks to assault him with so many blows — it made him feel such that he knew he was alive.

When morning came the ice turned to heavy rain and their duties were moved indoors.  They examined the various plans, documents, and designs of heists by both The Italian and another Canadian thief unknown to him, who went by the name The Time Being.

The Canadian had begun to notice a pattern in the daily nominations that were being presented to the Jury, and after analyzing a set of tumbler codes and matching them against the many other sets of data they had been shown the Canadian had a startling epiphany — somehow The Programmer had hidden a cypher within each day’s nominations that the other Jury members hadn’t yet recognized.  There was a message being relayed to them, but they had only been given half of the message – it appeared to be a map.

He wanted to discuss this with the other Jury members, but first he wanted to know more of the message.  Perhaps it was a secret prize?  Perhaps it was a warning?  The Canadian had never served on the Jury before so he didn’t know if this was an ordinary happening — or something more sinister.  He would continue to investigate…

Roger Avary

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