Welcome to an alternate universe, the world where John Wick exists. The first rule, and perhaps the most helpful one, to observe in this world is that things are never quite as they seem on the surface.
He had retired. Comfortably, too. John Wick was one of the best known, analyst, in the business. It serves us no real purpose to peel back the real meaning of that word, except to know that it stood for something else, something sinister. Let us leave it at that.
Somehow the past has a nasty habit of catching up. It caught up with John, over a most unpleasant exchange. He took a deep breath as his mind replayed the fateful conversation he had a few days back. The one which brought him back into the deep end of the pool.
Santino D’Antonio had worked closely with John in the past. He was well aware that John had started a new chapter in life, but there the dapper little Italian man stood before John, uninvited. The midnight bell chimed only minutes ago.
After stifled pleasantries, the silence thickened until the guest could bear it no longer. He spoke first.
Listen John, with all sincerity, I don’t want to be here.
Please, don’t. I’m asking you not to do this.
I do this with a heavy heart, John. But you have a marker with me.
Take it back. I no longer do that sort of work.
Take it back? This is your marker John. You have what it takes. I once saw you analyze 3 men in a bar, with a pencil. With a freaking pencil!
Santino’s calm facade cracked a little as he raised his voice.
The world out there still reveres you. They say, John Wick is a man of focus. Commitment. Sheer Will. He did things that no one could imagine, with a mere pencil! Now, just think of what you could do with a marker. You owe me John.
To which the host had no ready reply, and Santino pressed his advantage.
My sister will be in Rome for her coronation, I need you to pay her a visit. Make it thorough. Do this for me, and your marker will be honoured. What say you?
There was precious little that John could do, except check into the Continental exactly a week later. Rules were rules. To break them would mean unspeakable consequences.
So it begins, at the Continental
Here was a sight that John found familiar, despite being away for over 5 years. The Continental was the staging ground for all analyst ops, no matter how big or small.
And the people at the hotel knew who he was too. The receptionist greeted him warmly at the desk.
Welcome to the Continental of Rome. How may I be of service?
As an answer, John slid a gold coin across the polished marble counter. It was heavy and ornate, over 2 inches in diameter. She immediately understood its significance.
Very well Mr Wick, do you have any plans for the day?
Is the Sommelier in?
I have never known him not to be.
She smiled and led him through a small door to her right. John Wick had come on serious business, just like old times.
First Stop: The Serious Sommelier
Good afternoon, Mr Wick. It’s been a long time.
The smooth buttery voice of the Sommelier blended in perfectly with the dark, plush panels in the semi darkened room. The humdrum of the hotel lobby faded as the door closed behind him.
I’ll like a tasting.
An almost imperceptible smile formed before he replied. John was an old client of his, and old clients were the best.
I know your past fondness for Whole Life Plans, but I can whole-heartedly endorse the new breed of Terms. They have been fully transformed, and quite keep quite nicely.
Term Plan 46. With a fully updated mortality table, and international coverage in case things… spill over. And I know you’ll appreciate the discreet no-underwriting requirement. There are a couple of add-ons I could suggest. What’s next?
I need something robust, precise.
Robust, precise… He dragged his words out deliberately. Ah.
Total and Permanent Disability Cover add on. Gives you more oomph and magnifies your protection. Ages well with the plan, with a silky finish.
Could you recommend anything for the end of the night? Something big. Bold.
May I suggest the Critical Illness Cover rider? Increased cover across 37 major illnesses should your body turn, funky. An analyst classic.
But of course. Nothing beats the sweetness of Early Stage Critical Illness protection. Freshly brewed to the tune of quarter of a million cover. Takes care of all those nasty surprises with ease.
Shall I have the entire policy sent up to your room?
Yes, thank you.
Mr Wick, do enjoy your party.
Second Stop: The Terrific Tailor
A bell rang out to announce his arrival. At once, all activity ceased in the room where John Wick presented himself. Junior tailors bowed their heads in deference, and the old master, clearly in charge, extended his hand in welcome.
Unlike the conversation with the Sommelier, tailors tended to be sparse with their words. A testament to their exact, precise work ethic.
Buongiorno, Signore Wick. Will you be in need of a new suit?
Tell me Mr Wick, is this a formal event or a social affair?
And is this for day or evening?
I need one for day and one for night.
In what style?
How many buttons?
How about the lining?
The older man hummed tunelessly as he browsed through his of selections. One could never be too careful when it came to, suits. And he made quite a show of fussing and choosing before pulling out a well thumbed piece of paper. This travel insurance plan was a hit among the rich.
Here we go. Iron clad overseas medical coverage. Up to 2.5 million. Cutting edge policy extension: Up till 30 days after you return. Personal Indemnity of up to 1 million. 0 penetration. However, quite expensive, I’m afraid.
Could you do a rush order?
I sure can. Where would you like to have it sent?
Final Stop: The Liberal Librarian
John knew the route to his last destination well. He pushed past the crowds at Trevi fountain, where the throngs were too engrossed in their selfies to notice the well dressed man walking purposefully towards a narrow, cobble stoned path. Minutes later he turned left and entered an old, dingy shop house. It was so small and so ordinary, you could be forgiven to think that it was shuttered up forever. Books of every variety adorned the dusty mahogany shelves.
Inside was a man clearly not expecting any visitors. His horned rimmed glasses hide his surprise well, but there was an obvious intelligence in those eyes.
The man wasted no time leading his newest prospect into a quiet ante chamber. No further exchanges were necessary. People only came to him for one purpose, and one purpose only.
He cleared his desk of loose sheets of paper, and carefully unrolled an oversized parchment, which he laid out flat on the table.
I am quite excited to show you something, first.
This is the original policy of D’Antonio de Sade. Here you see all the ancient clauses.
There is a summary of the benefits and the underlying assumptions.
And this is the modern blue print for the Personal Accident Policies we know today. There are one, two, three loop holes plugged up since the original.
John liked what he saw. It was a comprehensive PA policy, with coverage spanning across acts of terrorism, riots, strikes, you name it. Even with daily hospital cover and a physiotherapy allowance.
Wordlessly he signed the scroll and handed four gold coins over. Then his eyes locked momentarily onto the librarian, before he spoke.
Calm before the storm
The sun had set for well over 4 hours before John finally stirred. He riffled through all his policies, and laid them out for one final inspection. Setting them all neatly into the hotel safe, and clanged it shut with an air of finality.
He strode out of the door, shoulder brushing the door frame before he paused.
There was something missing, and he turned abruptly and reached for his signature tool of choice. His fingers twirled the yellow implement and he stroked its smooth edges almost lovingly. Patting it down securely in his left jacket pocket, he then closed the door firmly behind him and prepared the long evening ahead.
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We also enjoyed watching John Wick, and highly recommend it to anyone who likes, um, analysts.