Hilltop Park

Bill met Tris in a new location this time. They always met in one of a handful of locations: the South Docks, the Warehouse District between building #40 and building #102, one of a couple of busy beer-and-ramen joints. But not this time. Bill had sent a coded message through their encrypted messaging app of choice, but apparently did not even trust it to keep the secret. Instead, he sent a long, obscure URL. When Tris clicked it, it immediately demanded a password. He checked the secure password vault he shared with Bill and found a new password stored there. Once in, the site displayed a singular file listed on an ancient Apache index page. He clicked the link. “NOPE,” was all that page said. He viewed the source for the page and found a comment containing binary code. He copy-pasted the binary into an ironically insecure binary translator and it revealed a vague location, Hilltop Park.

“Jesus, Bill,” Tris said to himself, “You could have just said so.” Tris hated unnecessary complexity. It only made things less secure. 

Hilltop Park was 500 meters square, and Bill had neglected to specify a specific location within or a time. They always met at 21:00 the same day, though, so Tris headed up to the park and started walking around. The contrast to the East District could not have been more distinct. Hilltop was a meticulously maintained flower garden set in a clean, almost antiseptic, mostly concrete public space. Small groups of volunteer septuagenarians occupied sections of the large garden beds like quiet, introverted protestors. At first, the scene made Tris uncomfortable, but after a couple of laps, he began to feel an odd, meditative comfort envelop him. The only people here thinking loudly were the anguished lovers sitting on the edge of the park, overlooking the city. Tris just avoided that area.

After almost an hour he began to worry that he’d misunderstood Bill’s message, or made a bad assumption about their meeting time. Then he noticed a narrow stairway in the shadow of some trees at the edge of the park. They were not as well maintained as the flower gardens, even the concrete there showed dirt and cracks. He changed course and began his descent. The stairs curved towards a landing tucked into the side of the hill and in the corner of the landing stood Bill, smoking a cigarette. Based on the pile of buds at his feet, he’d been waiting about an hour.

“About fucking time,” Bill said as he saw Tris approach.

“You were so vague and secretive,” Tris replied, “You know our messages are encrypted already, right?”

“Yes, but they all go through company servers,” Bill said, his eyes darting up to meet Tris’. 

“Fair,” Tris conceded. “I did have a nice time wandering the park. Who knew senior citizens were my people?”

“Makes sense, you geezer,” Bill smirked in reply. 
So you mentioned in the meeting how you wondered someone would get captivated by a novel like this.

Let's assume you're doing a good job echoing -- I never read the original -- then here's what I like about this.

What draws me in are caring about the character.
Why do I care about this character? The things they're involved in. Encryption. Secret meetings. Meeting in dingy places I would hang out. There's some relatability here.

Maybe back in the day everything in the 
made the fans feel that way. Being part of a secret like we were talking about.

Although I believe that 'being part of a secret' or a special club is now a loaded term. You don't know what somebody means when they say that. Like do they mean people who force 
Infinite Jest
onto themselves to feel smart? Or is it just that they actually inherently like obscure and niche things?
2021-05-16 13:58:04

Echo and the Bunnymen