Monday, December 09, 2013

Following in the crumbs of man.

  When they first brought me in, they kept me very much in the dark. I didn't even know where we were going, only to eventually find myself in a darkened room like the ones you see in police movies, where they are trying to get the perpetrator to talk. I remember the feeling of the place, it was cold, and smelled like a bathroom after just being sanitized. I remember having this strange paranoid feeling as if I was being watched, even though I was the only one in there. Seeing as though this was the military, I basically figured that as true. Soon enough though the door opened without a sound, an in walked this unassuming man dressed in a grey suit, with matching shirt and hat.
"You're a biologist aren't you Mr. Daniels". He asks.
"Yeah, of course I am". I answer." What exactly is going on here anyways. I thought I was here for some job?".
"You are James, may i call you James?". He asks." You are here for a job".
"Well they wouldn't tell me anything, even now I have no idea what they want me to do?".
"First off, did they already go over the confidentiality agreement with you?".
"Yes, yes they did!".
"So I imagine since you are here, you signed it.. an since you seem like a smart guy!, you obviously understood it". He says, rhetorically.
"Of course I did, now can you please tell me what you guys need me for?".
"Of course James, of course. I do realize that this is highly irregular, we do not normally bring someone in in this way. But since you seem to be on top of your field, we all thought you would be best". He pauses, now sitting across from me.
"So I figure I can sit here and tell you everything, but since time is of the essence, maybe its best just to show you.. so please Mr. Daniels, follow me!". He ends up leading me down these long corridors, looking as if I am on some star destroyer, or a futuristic school of some kind. I find that there is not a lot of indication as too where you are, or where everything is. I guess its some tactic they use in case of infiltration or something. So if anybody breaks in, even though it doesn't appear like they could, they would get so confused about where to go it would be an easy catch.
  Eventually we find ourselves taking the elevator, as where we are headed is about four stories down. It seems so out of place though, as if ripped entirely from some cheap hotel downtown. Inside the walls are mostly of the fake wood variety, with an ugly peeled green wallpaper on the top half. The buttons to each floor are as if they're hidden away in plain site, as they blend in so much to the rest of the decor. On the bottom of that though, lies a separate compartment, that has a single keyhole hidden underneath a small locked door. As he sticks his key in he turns it slightly to the left, and I can then begin to feel the rumblings of the elevator come to life, like a sleeping giant. Standing in the elevator in silence, I find myself getting more and more excited the closer we get, like a kid on Christmas morning that wants only to open up his presents. This is all just so weird, like a twilight episode, I almost imagine to find myself suddenly thrown into some parallel universe where everyone doesn't have a face or something. Before we exit, he looks over at me and says." Okay Mr Daniels, just so you know, what you see beyond this doors is something that you may find frightening..". He stops." I just hope your not the queasy type". As the doors begin to open, I can begin to see the room on the other side. It's not like the rest of the place at all, gone are the cold steel walls that are replaced with something you'd see in a hospital somewhere. There are people that are as well dressed in white wandering too and fro, as others preside over random tables throughout. The room is fairly big, with tables and instruments all lined up perpendicular to each other, with nurses in green running back and forth as if in a Marathon." Its just in the back here James". He tells me, making our way through the chaos. He seems to go back and forth from calling me James or Mr Daniels, not that its a big deal but its strange, as if he is not sure if we are on a first name basis, either that or he forgets rather easily.
"What are they doing here anyways?".
"Radiation sickness, that's all... but that doesn't concern us". All the tables are covered over in white clothes, with human shaped objects underneath. They must be seeing the effects of radiation poisoning on the human body. I wonder what was it that gave it to them to begin with, I don't remember hearing anything about the military testing atom bombs lately. An why would they even need to, what with all the testing they did back in the fifties. As we make our way past all the tables, I find the rest of the room cut off by a huge curtain, with two guards standing in front holding rifles. When I see them standing there, I can't help but get a little spooked, as if I at once find myself completely over my head. I begin to feel like maybe this was a mistake. I don't know what it is, maybe its that there are guns involved, as they tend to bring a more serious aspect to every situation.
Behind the curtains, the room is empty, with only one or two people in lab coats. They are both huddled over a waist high table like there performing a scrimmage." Here we are Mr Daniels, please.. take a look". The two people in lab coats now turn around and face me. The one on the left is a older gentleman, maybe mid fifties. His hair is completely grey, but his beard has a bit of brown in it as well. He looks kind of like a mix between Mr fantastic and George Clooney. On the right of him stands a woman of shorter stature, reaching only his shoulders. She has long dark brown hair with thick black glasses, an almost reminds me of Janeane Garofalo, or maybe Marie Louise Parker to a certain extent. Or like two soap actors on the young an the restless. Behind them lies a nondescript table with a white clothe draped over it, with another humanoid shape underneath.
"Why you must be Mr Daniels I presume?". The man says, reaching out his arm. I am Dr. Williams, and this here is Dr. Jones". He says nodding towards the woman.
"Nice to meet you both". I say back, shaking their hands.
"From your expression". Dr. Jones cuts in." I can see you don't exactly know all the details of why you are here!".
"No actually, I do not".
"Well let us show you, please..take a look". Williams now turns towards the table and grabs the corner of the clothe, carefully folding it over to uncover the body underneath. A quite grotesque figure at that, the head is the first thing that comes into view, and is quite humanoid in appearance, almost caveman like. With a sloping jaw and slight forehead. The eyebrows are fairly heavy drooping below the eyes. An as he slowly uncovers the rest of the body, I can see its somewhat covered in a short stubby hair, that seem to surround the chest in patches. This specimen is quite tall, must be at least 7 feet But the one thing that sticks out the most is the elongated arms, almost like a gorillas. The specimen as a whole looks a little like a Neanderthal. His skin is dark, with what appears to be scars over its body, as if it has been burned, or in a fight. The scars aren't over its whole body, just a bit on the right arm and chest. And the nails, are more like claws, but have a brittle look to them. Its quite fascinating, I have never in my life seen such a specimen, an early hominid perhaps, the missing link between humans and apes. Its hard to say without further study.
"Where did you find this exactly?".
"I am sorry Mr Daniels, we cannot divulge that at this juncture. But what you can do!, is take a closer look at the body, an see what you can find?".
"Of course! I would love to".
"Well everything you need is right here, when your done just ask the guards outside, they will contact us for you".
"Thanks". I say, a little taken back. Even the doctors here talk like military men, they're just so too the point, almost robotic. The one thing that really bothers me about all this, is why me, those two seemed smart enough to be able to do something such as this. An even if they weren't able, you would think they would have some one on the base somewhere that could.
  They eventually disappear leaving me inside with the body on my own. I have been in the presence of dead bodies before, but this one gives me the creeps, as if its going to reach up and grab for me. To tell you the truth though, I am not even sure if this is any type of early human, but what else could it be really. I mean the elongated arms are its most distinguishable feature, but I have never seen a Neanderthaloid that has anything close to it. And even if it was something to that order, why would the military have its hands on it, usually its some museum or university or something that does these things. An I am fairly sure there are no military applications when it comes to pre-humans.
  As I dissect the body, little by little, I find that there are small discrepancies on what I expect, and what I find. Nothing big, just certain things that make me wonder, as the deeper and deeper I go, the more curious I become. It almost looks as if this specimen has some type of radiation poisoning. But if this is a Neanderthal, or something to that order, why in the world would it have that, it just doesn't make any sense. After I am done, I stick my head out and speak to the guards, who in turn get a hold of Dr. Williams and Dr. Jones. After about ten minutes or so of waiting, in they walk, with the officer I met earlier.
"So Mr. Daniels". Says the officer." What did you happen to find?".
"Well as far as I can tell, this is no Neanderthal, or any pre-human at all".
"Really?". Jones tells me, as if in shock.
"Are you sure?".
"Well there are certain discrepancies, sure! But all my knowledge points towards the fact that it is, indeed, human..". I pause." Or at least, in a sense, it used to be".
"Used to be?". Asks Dr. Williams." What exactly do you mean by that?".
"Well like I said, it appears as if this specimen has some type of radiation poisoning, but nothing that I have seen before, it also seems, and this is inconclusive, that it might have.. how do you say, deformed him, into the appearance you see before us".
"But your not 100% on that". Asks Dr. Jones.
"No, no I am not. But quite honestly I cannot see what else would cause it". The three of them kind of look off at each other, as if communicating telepathically. But before they can say anything I once again cut in.
"Tell me, if I may. Where exactly did you find him, and was he possibly in contact with anything radioactive after you found him, where ever that was".
"Just give us a second, Mr. Daniels". He says, gesturing towards Dr. Jones an Dr. Williams. They all head outside just past the curtains,to were the two guards stand. I can hear them talking back and forth, sounding as if their voices have been muffled, like trying to scream while being suffocated with a pillow. They seem to be arguing with each other, while whispering, like parents trying to not wake up the children. Soon enough though they all walk back in with Dr. Jones in the forefront.
"So James". She says." We have decided, after much deliberation, to show you exactly were we found him. If you could please follow us".
They end up leading me back the way we came, but instead of heading all the way up the elevator to where we started, we end up going up just one floor. This time when the door opens, it opens to a hallway, much like you would see in a hospital, with a few people here and there roaming throughout. I keep following them down to the left, abruptly turning to the right where this particular hallway ends. Inside is a giant room, like those air traffic controllers you find at the airport. In front, ahead of where I stand, is a big glass window that looks over another room, that instead is about the size of a small warehouse, or those litter bunkers they keep small planes in the movies. There are computers lined up on either side of the room, with about ten or so feet between them and the window, in which a few people stand looking over the other room like a cat perched upon the window sill watching the birds fly by. As I walk up to look out, I see people in lab coats and radiation suits encircling this one object in the middle. Its perched up upon these huge metal slabs that raise it up about five feet, an its so unassuming its seems almost irrelevant. The object in question, is a huge metal ring, with no real markings of any kind, no distinguishable marks whatsoever to signify any importance at all.
"So Mr. Daniels, what do you think?". The officer asks.
"I am not sure, what exactly is it I am looking at".
"You will soon find out James". Dr. Jones smiles." They are about to do a test right now".
"Excuse me sir!". A man says to the officer." But we are ready". The officer just looks over towards this man and nods, who then runs back to his station, to speak into a microphone, warning everyone on the impending test. Down below everyone scrambles off except for a handful of people in radiation suits. An not a moment later I can begin to hear a mechanical squeal, as the metal ring begins to rise upwards into a vertical position. That is soon taken over by a slow rumbling, like the engines of a jetliner starting up.
In a moment a flash of light emanates out, slightly blinding me and the crew. As my eyes begin to focus I can see what could only be described as a portal, like the ripples in a pond after dropping a rock.
"Okay.. this is all a very impressive trick you guys got going on. But.. but what does this have to do with the Neanderthaloid".
"Oh this is no trick James, what you see before you is quite real. It was developed by the Germans quite a few years back, we just..". She pauses to think it over." How do you say, borrowed it".
"Well have you sent anyone across, to see what may be lurking on the other side?".
"We have Mr. Daniels, we have!". Dr. Williams chimes in." An what we found is quite fascinating. We are not sure exactly where in the universe we end up, but we are almost positive it is still our universe".
"Jesus! So your saying that you guys invented a wormhole! Oh man!". I say quite surprised." The energy needed to do such a thing is practically unfathomable. How did the Germans even pull it off?".
"That's really not that important right now, is it Mr Daniels". The officer tells me.
"No, I guess not".
"So as you might have already realized, the planet we end up on, is where we found your so called neanderthaloid".
"Well what was the conditions like, the environmental factors and all?".
"Why don't we talk about this somewhere else, we should have all the info you need down the hall". Says Dr. Jones, motioning towards the door.
"Of course, of course, after you". Dr. Williams and Dr. Jones and I head back out into the hallway, with the officer staying behind. About three doors down we find ourselves in another room, this one very plain, almost like a classroom. Two tables sit in the middle with filing cabinets strewn on the walls next to a chalkboard, the walls are a plain grey that make it appear as if you'd get sent here for detention. On one of the tables Dr. Williams lays down a map of sorts, as well as a few files he grabbed from the cabinet.
"So this is a rough map we made up of the outlaying island we landed on. We have come to name the planet in question Perseua(Per-ce-way), after the Greek hero. As far as we can tell the environment is much like our own, which is why we favor it. From all the studies we have done, it appears as if Persua is about a quarter or so larger than our own planet. Which means the weather is that much more extreme".
"This is wild, I must say. This morning I had no idea if there even habitable planets out there, an now this, not to mention the God damn portal. I am sorry, but its a lot to take in all at once".
"Its okay Mr. Daniels, we understand we're throwing a lot onto you all at once. But please". Dr. Williams tells me." Try to focus".
"Sorry..". I say." Okay so.. what about other factors, like the wildlife, a lot of the environment as we know factors greatly into the evolutionary process".
"Well that's the weird thing, we haven't encountered any, just a handful of the neanderthaloids. The air is breathable as well, although the consistency is more to the liking of the dinosaurs, than us".
"So, the the co2 levels are higher, that could explain the size, but still, it just doesn't all add up".
"What do you mean?".
"Its just, there's too many pieces missing. Aside from a few discrepancies, that.. down there is basically human. An the strange part is, is it appears to have had some contact with radiation, but from where".
"Well couldn't that have happened afterwards, from going through the wormhole".
"That's right, that portal does give it off doesn't it, in fact they were wearing suits down there. Tell me?". I ask." Have you done any studies on the effects of the radiation that emanates from the wormhole?".
"Only to a certain extent". Dr. Jones chimes in." To be honest, we really didn't see any point. Since there was all the testing done in the fifties".
"Yeah, of course, of course".
"So what are you saying?". Ask Dr. Williams." You think that its human, and not from Perseua at all".
"I am not sure, not yet. I just think we need to look at all the angles here. I just need a little more time to make such a informed decision. But If the planet is like our own, as you say, its not completely out of the question that, they couldn't have taken the same basic path we did evolutionary wise, at least to a certain extent".
"Of course, we understand completely. Take all the time you need. If you need any of us, we will be downstairs".
"Thanks". I say, as they close the doors behind them.
Going through the cabinet drawers, I find that there is quite a bit of info on this so called Perseua. Everything from the foliage to the minerals in the dirt. As I sift through all the articles, I find more and more that this planet seems to be an almost match to the conditions back in the Jurassic period. Which could be the reason behind the size of the Neanderthaloid. Even the elongated arms could be some evolutionary trait for survival. But that still doesn't resolve the issue of the apparent radiation burns he had. Although the wounds on the chest and arm, could be attributed to some kind of fight, what appeared to be the same on certain organs and such could not. After a few hours of this, I find myself falling asleep on the desk, until being suddenly awakened by someone opening up the door as if in a startle.
"James?". A voice calls out." Is everything alright". I look up to find Dr. Jones standing over me with a wry smile on her face.
"Yeah, I am fine, just must have dozed off for a bit there".
"Yeah I could hear you from outside".
"Really? Sorry about that Dr. Jones".
"You can call me Mary". She tells me while sitting down next to me. As well as her usual lab coat, I find that she now wears a green dress that reaches down to her knees. Its very formal, as if she is going out for the night on the town, and looks as if its been pulled straight from the 70's or something.
"Do you like my dress". She asks, catching me staring.
"Yes I do, its just so different than what you were wearing previously.
"Well when your in here everyday, you don't have a lot of reason to dress up, so.. I try to do it every so often".
"Makes sense". I tell her, as I am not exactly sure what else to say.
"So". She asks." Anything I can help with?".
"Yeah actually, there is a lot more files in here than I figured. You could give me a hand.. if you want?".
"Of course James. I would like that".  As we both sit there, sifting through papers, I can't help but notice that Mary seems quite different now than when I first met her. Not that I really knew her all too well, but she seemed so calm, and collected. Now though, there appears to be a hint of loneliness in her actions, in her voice. Like the hulk transforming back into Bruce banner. That power she had earlier seems stripped away, as if she is almost unsure of herself, or maybe, I just want to see something that's not really there.
  The next morning I awake to Mary sleeping across from me with her head on the table. But as I get up to wake her, Dr. Williams walks in, surprised to see Mary here along with me." Dr. Jones". He says, as she raises her head from the table." I was wondering where you were last night. I see you found yourself in the company of Mr. Daniels".
"I figured he could use some help, what with all the folders to sift through".
"Well that's good, speed things up. So, does that mean you've found something".
"Yes actually". I cut in." We found this". I say going through the pile of papers on the table.
"Here.. it says that the first group to go in was five people, three men and two woman".
"Yeah that's true". Dr. Williams says." An they never came back either, so what".
"So what! Don't you ever wonder what happened to them. It says here that you found no evidence of there bodies whereabouts at all in subsequent missions".
"Yeah well its a big place, and even now, we have no idea what happened to them".
"Don't you find that weird?".
"I do wonder what happened exactly, but it is just something we have to accept, and to move on from".
"Well I don't think its that easy".
"Maybe not Mr Daniels, maybe not. But without anymore leads, there is not much more we can do, is there".
"I guess so". I sigh." I guess so!".
Later on that day, Mary and I take a break from work and find ourselves in the cafeteria enjoying some lunch. When I first met her, I never figured we would get along, she seemed so cold, and distant. But now she is like a completely different person, as if she evokes a totally different personality when on the job.
"So!". I ask." What do you think about all this?".
"Well its not completely impossible for the Neanderthaloids, if that is what we are calling them now, to be, in a sense, our guys we first sent over".
"I think its a very good chance".
"There is just something missing, I don't fully believe that the radiation from the portal is the primary cause of things".
"How do you mean?".
"There just has to be some other factor, something else we are missing".
"Well, we really don't know a whole lot of this Perseua. An he did say himself that its a 'big place'. But even if there is something else in the works here, like you say, what could it possibly be, an why doesn't it affect the others?".
"I am not sure". She tells me." But I sure would like to find out".
The cafeteria is fairly empty, with only a few people throughout the place. Seems a little strange since it is considered lunch time at the moment. But as we begin to make our way back, we notice quite the commotion outside, as people are running here and there as if in a panic.
"What's going on?". I ask Mary.
"Oh it shouldn't be anything to worry about, probably just a drill or something. Nothing to do with us".  Back upstairs, as we look over the files that cover the table, I can feel a slight feeling of hopelessness sift over me. As most the folders we went through contain mainly dribble, useless information that seem almost trivial to even write down. Its at this moment though that Dr. Williams once again walks in.
"Dr. Jones, you are needed downstairs, right away".
"Of course, right away. Mr. Daniels". She says, as if switching personalities." It was nice working with you".
"Yeah, same Mary". I pause." I mean Dr. Jones". Now that she is gone, its hard to believe that that happened, Mary and I, it almost seems as if it was some strange dream, or acid trip, like she wasn't ever here in the first place. I end up sitting here for about two hours, trying to clean up the mountain of files that we created. Randomly going through them in case I missed anything. Just before I am done, in walks Mary once more. Gone is the green dress, and instead a more business appropriate suit is in its place.
"Mr. Daniels, I am here to inform you that your services are no longer required, but we will be getting in touch at a later date, if needed".
"My services no longer required! What do you mean, no longer required?. We were on the verge of figuring this out, and what! They are just going to throw me out".
"I am sorry, but something came up, in which I cannot divulge at this point. But we appreciate everything you've done".
Appreciate everything I have done, yeah. Well please, if you ever decide to contact me once more, please don't. This whole thing was a real trip you know".
"We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused, but you must have realized this was temporary when you started".
"Yeah I know Dr. Jones, I am sorry. It was nice working with you though, it really was".
  As I am leaving, I can begin to hear the sounds of footsteps running up behind me. At first I figure its nothing, just some random drill they tend to do at various intervals, But as I hit the elevator, I turn around and see the officer standing before me.
"Mr Daniels, James! You need to come with me, we have something you may be interested in". He takes me back downstairs, to where the portal is located. Instead though we find ourselves in a small room, like the one I started off in. Dr. Jones and Dr. Williams are both present as well, all staring off through the glass window looking into a even smaller room, in which house a small table with a man sitting at the end of it. An as the officer speaks into a microphone, the man perks up.
"Okay Frank". The officer says." Can you please tell us again what it was you saw over there?". Frank looks up, with his unkempt hair partially obscuring his face, and says.
"There not human you know. I saw them, with my own eyes you know. The officer here told me all about your little theories Daniels. And they aren't human, at least not anymore".
"What do you mean not anymore?". I ask, now speaking into the microphone.
"Well what do you think the Germans were doing with that thing. Remember the Germans Daniels. They did have it before us".
"Okay Frank". The officer says." Can you please tell us what exactly you saw?".
  "Like I said, I saw them, in these underground caves, a whole bunch of 'em. Like the morlocks from that H.G Wells story. I am not a scientist like you guys, but it appears as if the radiation, along with some element on Perseua, has in a sense speed up the mutation process, or almost as if they are DE-evolving, or something".
"So they're a group the Germans sent over before we got a hold of it?".
"I would say so, yes".
"So than?". Dr. Jones asks." What happened to our group we sent over?".
"You mean the ones we lost?.. well, to be honest I don't know, but if I had to manage a guess, from what i saw, I would say what they found, was a fate a lot worse than what the Germans got into".
"Thanks Frank". The officer says." You've been a lot of help".
"So what the hell do we do now?". Says Mary.
"Well how can we be so sure he is right". Dr. Williams cuts in.
"I agree, how does he know".
"I don't think it matters anymore". The officer tells me." But I think our best bet is too shut that thing down".
"Shut it down! We can't do that, there's so much more we can learn, so much more we could do, there has to be something!".
"I am sorry Dr. Williams, but that is not a risk I am willing to take. Do you realize he is the only one to make it back, and its getting more frequent. And with a lot more out there than we previously thought, its just.. too dangerous. I am sorry Mr. Daniels". He says before leaving." For wasting your time". Soon after Williams follows after him, presumably to attempt a reconsider, leaving just me and Mary.
"Well I guess this is really it?".
" Yeah I guess it is". She tells me." I really did have a good time working with you".
"Yeah, it was fun".
"You don't get to meet to many guys around here like yourself".
"Well than". I laugh." At the very least, there is one good thing to come out of this".
"Yeah, there certainly is". She says, smiling.

# The End..

Thursday, November 28, 2013

They don't tell me anything anymore. - Sidequest..

"Paul.. I was just
wondering something".
"Yeah!". I ask." An what's that?".

"Well, I hope you don't
mind me asking this, but I was just wondering why exactly
you.. you know".
"Don't have any friends?". I continue.
"Yeah, if that is alright".
"No, of course not, of course not".
"Well I just would imagine that you wouldn't have started out that way, did you?".

"No.. I didn't". I answer.
"When I was younger, I was in a much different position, but I was never one of the popular kids, still ain't".

"Well what happened". She asks,
as her elbows crawl ever forward
onto the table.

"Basically". I tell her." To keep a long
Story short.. I eventually found
Out that the friends I had, weren't really friends at all.
  An that they only had me around for various other reasons". I tell her,
Before continuing.
"Which, as it turned out, had nothing to
Do which actual friendship".

"So what happened than?.. After that".
"Nothing happened". I say, tapping the table.
"I just figured out that people are too
Difficult, volatile even. Life is easier with no one around.
  Simpler, I guess".

"Are you sure you're not just saying that to make yourself feel better".

"What do you mean". I ask, peaking my interest.
"It just seems like, and I mean no disrespect, that maybe its a type of self preservation".
She pauses." Or something.. you know, to make yourself feel better about
The whole situation".

"Interesting". I say, as if to myself.
"So what.. you are saying I am just blaming others to make up for my own short comings, in a sense".

"Not everyone can be popular Paul!
I am sorry, but its just the way the world works".

"Yeah.. I know, I'm fine
With that".

"But". She pauses." To be honest, people sure can be quite difficult, can't they?". She says, in a whisper.
"Yeah.. they sure can". I say." They sure can".

Monday, November 18, 2013

They don't tell me anything anymore. Pt.2

   At around eleven o'clock, I begin my long and arduous journey. Its not that its too far away, it just feels as if I am somehow trudging uphill the whole way there. As if a part of me is holding me back. I do have a car of my own, downstairs in the parking garage, but today I decide to take the taxi, one less worry off of my back. That way the whole way there I don't have to do anything but relax, in which i wont be able to do when i am there(one would imagine). I can see the cabbie's name through the glass from the back seat that separates us, as all cabs are like that here. Everyone thinks everyone else is a criminal, I understand the need for it, but its a bit dystopian to say the least. His name is Donald, an older gentleman in at least his 50's, well maybe not that old I guess. He is dressed fairly nice for a taxi driver, as I have never met anyone in his profession dressed quite like him before.
"Excuse me, Donald is it. But do you think I can ask you something, as weird as it might sound".
"Sure". He calls out, as if yelling over a crowded street." What do you wanna know?".
"Its just.. its just I have never met a cab driver dressed as nicely as you are. I was just a bit curious".
"Yeah!". He tells me." I get that a lot. The honest truth is is that its kind of a hold over from my last job".
"What were you doing, if you don't mind me asking?".
"No, of course not". Says Donald." I used to be a accountant actually, for that bank up on Denver and Cordoba. Unfortunately they let me go a few weeks back, something about cutting people to save money. Probably for the fat cats up top".
"That seems to be happening a lot lately, sorry to hear..". I say, stopping myself from going to far, for reasons I am not too sure about.
"It worked out pretty good to be honest. I am not stuck in some stuffy office all day anymore. I get to get out and meet good people, practically make my own hours, its nice actually. And to answer your previous question. I had so may suits from working for the bank, and I do enjoy wearing them, just seemed like a waste to leave em empty in my closet collecting dust".
  "Sounds nice actually, I don't really have that privilege myself in my work".
"Oh yeah!". He says enthusiastically." An what do you do!?".
"I work up at the university, I teach biology. Not my first choice, but close enough I guess".
"And what may have been the first choice?".
"I wanted to work at the museum, ever since I was a kid it fascinated me, just everything about it. I volunteered for a while, but had to stop since I got the teaching gig".
"Yeah the natural history museum. I have been there, great place".
   Our conversation begins to wind down as we get closer and closer to my destination. The ride here actually felt like it took awhile, more than usual anyways. I guess the conversation we were having had that effect, kind of made time stop in a way. Donald is an interesting man, and a part of me wishes I could get to know more about him, but for now, I got to get to Jessica's house, as we have just pulled up.
"Thanks Donald". I tell him." It was a pleasure talking to you".
"Yeah!". He responds.". Maybe another time huh!".
"You never know, you never know". I now stand on the sidewalk looking at her house. Its two stories and looks like its straight from the seventies. With blue siding that is peeling off making it look as if its seen better days. The windows themselves look dirty, as if they never been clean, but I know from experience that they are just stained from age. The grass is nicely trimmed, with a cracked sidewalk walking up towards the front steps that cut the grass in two. The front windows on each side of the door is framed by flowers and vines that climb the walls trying to takeover the whole house.
Even though I am right out front, a part of me feels like its best if I just leave it and head back home. When we first broke up, I knew for sure I would take her back, but now, after so long, I am not 100% on if I feel the same. But I am getting ahead of myself, it may not be that at all, I would imagine that the odds of it happening being fairly far off. Probably found some of my stuff and wants to just get rid if it. I know I left some things with her, I just can't remember what they were. I always do this, I get some off chance idea in my head and run with it, and no matter how much I try to purge it from my memory its staked out a piece of land for good. The door is a faded grey, with three bold scratches near the bottom corner, maybe an animal of some kind, a cat perhaps, but it seems an awful specific number to be an animals. As I knock on the door, I can hear it ring throughout the house, eventually coming full circle and vibrating the door around my knuckle. An as the door quietly creaks open I find Jessica standing before me with a partial smile as if trying to hide most of it. She still oddly looks the exact same as when I first met her. With long semi wavy hair that looks as if its not been washed. She sports a pair of thick rimmed glasses that make her out a little more nerdy than she actually is. Her shirt is a Tad over sized, with red and blue plaid, buttoned up just enough to see what's underneath. Her jeans are faded with a huge hole in the knee, seeming as if they have seen better days. A lot of people always find this odd, but I am a big fan of the alt messy look, I am not sure why, but for some strange reason I have always found it incredibly sexy.
"Hey Paul!". She says in a calm voice." I am glad you made it".
"Yeah". I mutter." Thanks".
"I am quite surprised you still know the way here, its been a few years!".
"It sure has". I tell her, skipping over the first part if her sentence.
"Well please, come in, come in. Susan isn't here right now, she is at work actually. So its just you and me actually, I hope that is alright?".
"Of course, of course". I repeat." I am sure she has better things to do than look at me all day". I laugh." Seeing that we just talked the other day for sometime". I say trying to explain my previous comment.
"Yeah". She sighs." As she doesn't really know that you're here to be honest. I figured she didn't really need to know, her working and all".
"Oh!". I mumble." I just figured she did, seeing she invited me to dinner the other day".
"Yeah she told me about that, I thought it was a bit strange as well". She leads me over into the kitchen to take a seat at the table, which is a fair sized kitchen at that. It's more length wise than wide. With one side consisting of the all the necessary utensils, oven, counter, fridge and such. With the opposite end being a variation on the whole dining room, kitchen table type concept. To the left hand side, when the counters end lies a patio door with a good sized window beside it with a built in bench underneath. Looks about the same as I remember, but there is something different, that I cant quite yet put my finger on. "Did you paint the kitchen, I don't remember it being this color?".
"Yeah we did". She answers." It was just too Retro beforehand, we wanted to modernize it, at least a little". The color before used to be this burnt orange, looking as if it was pulled straight from the 70's Sears catalogue. Now it's a more modern off white, eggshell I believe they call it, something weird like that, it all looks white to me.
Going back to our conversation before this whole kitchen thing though, I do find it a bit odd that Susan doesn't know about me coming over. Why wouldn't she tell her, Susan obviously told her about our accidental meet up last week. It just makes me think that coming over wasn't a very good idea, like I previously thought. Jessica though, now pushing a coffee over the table towards me, sits across the table smiling silently as she warms her hands on the coffee mug.
"So!". She finally says, with a slight shake in her voice." I am guessing you are curious as to why you are here, especially after so long".
"Yeah, well.. it crossed my mind".
"I am just going to come out and say it than". She stops, and continues." If that's alright.  Its just that lately it seems, I have been kinda thinking about our relationship, I thought maybe, maybe its time we could, you know, try again.. or something". As she says this I can hear the nervous slumber in her voice, as it cracks every so often from the norm. We seem to talk to each other as if we are neighbors in a apartment building that barely talk, . As I have said plenty of times before, its been so long its almost as if we are strangers, not really sure as too what to say to one another. I am not sure even if we still have that connection we once had. Its not a choice I can really make on the spot, its as if two people are pulling each of my arms in opposite directions. But as I think all this over, I realize, that maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world, a kind of rebirth if you will, as if leaving all our past problems behind and starting fresh. A better version of ourselves even, as cheesy as that sounds. Even though I thought of this before I showed up, I must say, it takes me for a surprise, somewhere deep down I didn't truly believe this was the case, if that at all makes sense.
"I am not even sure what to say to that, to be honest. Its..". I mumble." It's just so surprising".
"I know, I know, and I am sorry. I really don't mean to put you on the spot like this".
  "I got to be honest about all this though, its just feels weird for us to get back together, if that does in fact happen, when I am not even sure what happened the first time around".
"That's a fair point Paul". She tells me." I guess I do owe you an explanation, at least as best as I can?". You know how when you're a kid, and you learn how to ride a bike, you never(to a certain extent) have to relearn that specific skill, you're pretty much good for life. The more I talk to Jessica, the more I feel like that, no matter how much I may feel as if I have to learn it all over again, once I get on that bike and begin pedaling once more, it just all comes flooding back, as if it never left, in which it probably didn't.
"I always thought..!". I begin." I always thought it had something to do with Susan, to be Frank!".
"Oh no no no!". She repeats." I always knew about her flirting problem, but was never worried about it. I knew she would never dare go any further. Actually". She ponders." I am not totally sure she realizes she is doing it".
"Than why did she try to contact me afterwards".
"Because she knew I wanted you back, even though I never admitted it".
"Oh!". I exclaim." It's a lot more simple than I thought it was".
"You always had a vivid imagination. To get back to topic though, you do know I am not expecting an answer right away. I realize it's been awhile since we were together, or even saw each other for that matter. But I hope, that while you are thinking about it, that maybe you'll stick around".
"Yeah (I pause) yeah of course. I don't mind staying awhile". I say this as if my mouth has concocted it's own answer. I am just kind of flying by night now, as I am not too sure as to what my next move is. On the one hand, I tell her I don't want to be with her anymore, and disappoint her now, or wait till later. On the other hand, I say yes to her little proposal, even though on am not 100% on it. I don't really want to stay to be honest, but maybe some time with her will give me clarity. In all seriousness though, I am not really sure what I want to do.
"There is a little place down the street, maybe we can walk over, get some lunch, if you want". Jessica has this way of ending her sentences at times with little faltering murmurs. As if she is trying not to be too forward, which is strange, because she normally is fairly forward with people, at least when she wants to be. If that makes any sense.
   Outside, the air is cold, and silent. The streets are slow to progress and only a few people adorn the sidewalks like lamp posts. The area has an almost small town atmosphere to it, with all the old fashioned storefronts, and the looming mountains watching over like broad shouldered military men looking down upon its soldiers.
But my mind right is not taking part of all this. Instead it opts out, thinking over the opposite opportunities of each of its decisions.
"Is everything alright Paul?". She exasperates, as if finally able to come up once more for a breath of fresh air.
"Yeah". I say." Everything is fine... what have you been up to lately anyways?". I ask, changing the subject.
"Oh you know, the usual". She tells me." I am still working as a secretary actually".
"Still in the same office building downtown?".
"Yeah". She says sullenly.
"Hows that going, they treating you well".
"Yeah, it pays good. And I like all the people there, I can't complain".
"You don't seem to thrilled about it, if you ask me".
"I don't know". She says." Its just not the most demanding job out there. But enough about me". She calls out, as if changing direction." What are you up to these days, ever get that coveted museum job?". She chuckles.
"No no, I never have".
"What are you doing these days than?".
"I am a professor at the university".
"The one downtown, U.S.C I think it's called".
"That is the one and only!". I tell her.
"How exactly did you pull that one off. Last time I seen you, you were volunteering at the museum working at KFC or something".
"I just got lucky, that's all". Now that we are actually together, and have talked for a little while, my nerves have started to slowly subside, like the tide rolling out, showing what was previously hidden underneath.
"Well Congrats, I think that is better than the museum job you wanted so badly. An plus, your basically doing the same as you would have anyways".
"Yeah, to be honest, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I do. Teaching others the wonders of biology, I am pleasantly surprised".
  She has now changed from her previous outfit, gone are the ripped jeans and stoner t-shirt. In its place she wears a dark blue button up rain coat, that seems to grab on to her quite tightly, as if for warmth, while underneath is a white blouse with a slight plunging neckline, that sports little pink and purple flowers of some sorts. In which is all tied off with dark blue skinny jeans that seem as if they were just boughten this morning. Of all the time I have known her, I have hardly ever seen her dress as such, especially for such an occasion as going off for lunch. Normally it would just be some jeans and a pull over or something, not really something I would call an outfit, but this appears as if she put in some thought before hand, which I must admit, I quite like. As I look up into her eyes though, I find her smiling, a smirk really, as I suddenly realize I have been staring at her for a good thirty seconds or so. I guess at that moment she realized that her chances now are fairly good, as she suddenly puts her arm around me, slightly squeezing while pressing her head against my shoulders.
"So!". She says, ignoring both our previous actions." Have you been seeing anyone?".  At this point in our conversation we have already made it to the restaurant, and are just waiting to be seated. Its a nice little place, kind of if a diner and a fine eating establishment had an offspring. The walls are a dark green with white lines running vertical every foot or so, but encircling the place upon those very walls sits booths with, what can only be considered, a modern Retro vibe to them. The carpet is of the checkered variety, a dull white with darker blue, which is pretty nice actually, all things considered. As I take a look around though, its hard to say if everything goes together, its like that moment right before a crash when time seems to stop. We eventually take our seats just off center of the middle of the room, the waiter hands us our menu after we exchange pleasantries, and goes on his way, leaving Jessica and I alone once more.
"As I was saying, have you been seeing anyone since we broke up, anyone special?".
"No, not really. I have been on a date here and there, but nothing ever really panned out".
"Really!". She says surprised." I figured you would have done quite well. Especially with the job and all".
"Yeah well, I have never been all that good at putting myself out there". What I told her, about nothing coming to fruition, is not technically a lie, more of an omission. I met this girl through work, about a year or two ago. Nothing came of it though, at least dating wise. We slept together a few times, in which now, looking back, am not too sure exactly how that came about. She was beautiful though, unconventionally so. Most people didn't, and would not agree with me. I am not quite sure why, but she just wasn't one those woman that guys normally go for. I remember when we met, and our eyes first locked. She had this really short cropped black hair, with these cute little cheeks, looking almost like a squirrel would when he collects nuts for the winter. She was wearing a white button up shirt with a dark brown cardigan, and a below the knee dress that almost looked as if it was made out of corduroy, I think it was cotton though. Her dress was a muted dark grey, and seemed as if it used to be a Tweed jacket in a previous life. She was always covered up, never showing any skin. Even her calves, which the dress couldn't reach, were covered in knee high socks, or pantyhose, I am not too sure which. She looked as if she was some stuffy librarian ready to knock your hand with a ruler for any wrong doing. But there was something about her that got me right away, maybe it was the way her dress huddled so closely to her hips, or the way her shirt flowed over her chest, subtly showing there shape. Or the way she'd smile, and bow her head as if trying to hide that fact. She wasn't extremely thin either, in which i quite like, she was quite chubby to be honest, perfectly so, in my opinion. Maybe that was why she dressed the way she did, self conscious I guess. We started to see each other a few weeks after we first met, at first we just enjoyed each others company, but soon it evolved into something different.
  I took her dancing once, up in this little club downtown. The whole night we were wrapped in each others arms swaying to the music, which was probably a big push for what eventually happened. That night when I walked her home she asked me up to her apartment, and that was that. Quite honestly though, I tried to make our situation more permanent, from what i remember, but she just got off a long relationship, and didn't want any of that, which obviously, still worked out fairly well. We saw each other a couple times after that, for lunch or dinner or something, but soon we just ended up somehow skipping that part and went right to the 'best part', which is how she put it.
"How about yourself?". I finally say." How about that guy Susan told me about, what was he, a lawyer or something?. What ever happened with him?".
"He was nice and all, he never did become a lawyer, not yet anyhow. He was just.. just kind of boring, actually".
"That's too bad, he sounded nice enough, from what Susan told me".
"I guess!". She shrugs, while the waiter walks over, to take our order.
   After we finished eating, we begin our journey back home. When I first came over this morning, and even the days before, I was very weary about us getting back together. My mind was very much back and forth on the whole situation. But after spending the afternoon with her, I am strangely positive on the whole issue. Its like all the good times we had has come flooding back to me, and all the bad has kind of wavered into the background. Not that, now that I think about it, there was very many bad times, its just over long periods the memory has a way of remembering things differently than how they actually happened.
  "See". She says." That wasn't so bad was it. The food was pretty good!, don't you think".
"Yeah actually, quite surprisingly so. The decorum on the other hand, was a bit strange".
"I think they are going for a Hipster type style".
"Is that even a real thing". I ask.
"It is now, apparently". For most of the walk back, we jest in idle chat, going back and forth on such nonsense issues, as if to waste time till we get back home.
"So, when is Susan getting back?". I ask her, as we approach her house about a block away.
"Why, do you miss her already?". She says jokingly.
"No no, I am just not sure if I am ready for such awkwardness, that's all".
"It will be fine Paul". She tells me, in an attempt at comfort.
"She did, by the way, invite you over for dinner you know". When we finally make it back to her house, we end up sitting on her couch while the TV plays inconspicuously in the background. As I don't believe either of us are really listening all that much, seeing that at this point in time (in these certain situations) something usually happens. I will be honest, for once, that as we sit here, side by side, I can feel that old sexual chemistry come back. I am not sure if its just her presence, or the fact that it's been sometime since I have been in such a position. We both stay silent for a while, pretending to watch the screen as it flashes distortions of light throughout the dimly lit living room. Soon enough I look over to her, to find her looking back at me, as she says.
"Is everything alright, are you comfortable".
"I am". I say". I am". An as I say this I find my hand reach over to the small of her back. I can feel the cotton cloth of her shirt coupled with the coldness of her skin against my palm.
"You're freezing!". I tell her, not expecting it.
"Yeah, a little". She says back." But you hand is warm". She continues in a soft broken voice. An as our eyes meet, I can feel our lips embrace, as I gently push her hair from her eyes. But as my other hand slowly makes its way gently up her back, I hear the door crash open as if in an explosion, while simultaneously Jessica jumps back in a knee jerk reaction.
"Susan!". Jessica calls out. "You're home early". Susan stops there, looks us over, and in a plain calm voice, as if to contradict what she is about to say, says." Wow, I wasn't expecting this".
"We were just watching a little television, that's all".
"Not from my perspective". She says." So Paul, I guess you decided to take up my offer, in a manner of speaking". She tells me, as I look down upon my feet in slight embarrassment." There is no need to be embarrassed Paul, but maybe next time, the bedroom might offer up a bit more privacy". She laughs, before disappearing upstairs.
"I am sorry about that". Jessica says to me." I guess we got a little carried away".
"Its okay, you didn't know Susan would be home so early, its fine".
"But maybe now that we are all here, you might, you know, stay for dinner". The weird thing is about all this, is now that I kissed her, It feels.. right, almost oddly so. Like two young lovers who have been watching each other from afar, too finally after so long  get there chance to be with one another. I guess sometimes you don't really know what you want till you reach out and touch it, if that, in fact, makes any sense.
"Yeah, of course, I would love that".
"Great!". She says." I will let Susan know". As Jessica wanders upstairs, I am left alone with my thoughts, in the dimly lit living room of her house. In all our years apart, I have never truly believed I would be back here once more. Of course for about the first year afterwards I thought differently, but soon that feeling disappeared. I can hear the muffled voices of them upstairs as they sound like a shangri-las record in slow motion. After about five or ten minutes of them up there, and me down here trying to decode there mumbled tones, they finally come down side by side with smirks upon there brows.
"What's going on". I ask, confused.
"Its nothing Paul". They say, almost in unison." Nothing you got to worry about". Jessica says.
"Okay you two". Susan chimes in." I am going to start dinner. You two can just... enjoy each other I guess. Just not like when I walked in okay". She chuckles, as she walks into the kitchen. As we sit on the couch, next to each other, we can hear the banging of pots and cupboards behind us, with a final gruntled sigh that ends it all off. After a slight bout of silence, in walks Susan, as she declares.
"I don't have all the stuff to make what I want, so I have to hit up the grocery store. Do you two wanna join me, or hang out here". She smirks, knowing full well what answer Jessica will give.
"We will be fine". Replies Jessica.
   After Susan leaves we still sit beside each other on the couch, like two children, not knowing what to do next.
"You know!". I say, breaking the silence." Your sister doesn't have to cook for us".
"Oh don't worry about that". She tells me." Its her turn to cook anyways".
"What do you mean? You two take turns?".
"Yeah, we kind of had to, we kept on fighting on who and what to make each night. So now we take turns, and once a week on each of our days we are able to go out to eat if we so choose. Just makes things easier that way, don't you think?".
"Hmmm! Yeah, I guess it would. An I would imagine whoever is doing the cooking gets to choose what to make, that's pretty smart actually".
"Thanks". She replies." I would like to take credit for it, but it was Susan's idea". As we both sit there, I can only imagine that the two of us would want to continue off from where we started, before Susan walked in. But it would seem as if we have some silent mutual agreement that maybe this is not the most opportune time to do so. I guess the scare we both had from her walking in has dampened the mood slightly, at least that is what I do hope. It's as if we have a time limit of sorts until Susan gets back, not that it matters, I imagine, but not something you really wanna rush, especially after so long. So we just end up sitting here, watching the television blare incoherently in front of us.
  We eventually find ourselves outside on the back patio, with our jackets on. The weather has let up a bit and the clouds are beginning to part. Its nice out here, her yard isn't all that big, but its quite beautiful nonetheless. Most of the perimeter is covered in tall trees and various species of bushes and such, gives it more of a private feeling, as if no one can see you from the other side of the fence. We sit out here for a good while, as I can feel the cold breeze upon my neck, making my hair stand slightly on end. In the foreground, the trees wave back and forth ever so subtly, as if dancing to the tune of the wind.
"Hey you two, just letting you know I am back, I am going to begin dinner in a bit, its still early... so.!". Susan stops almost mid sentence, as if we already know what she will say.
"Yeah no problem". Jessica replies." You don't want any help do you".
"No, its okay. It's my turn to cook, I don't mind". Throughout the rest of the night till dinner, we end up catching up on things, little details here and there mostly. Jessica tells me about how she met her last boyfriend, and how he always wanted her to move away with him, but she always refused. An I tell her how I happened upon my job as a teacher at the university, which was by chance actually.
  As soon as dinner is served we all gather around the kitchen table situated by the window with the bench. Susan has cooked this tuna noodle casserole that Jessica used to make me all the time. It was always one of my favorite dishes, still is. Maybe that was what they were mumbling about upstairs earlier in the day.
"So how is it Paul". Asks Susan." Still your favorite dish?".
"Yeah, I am surprised you both even remembered".
"It was Jessica that remembered actually, I totally forgot, obviously I guess". Says Susan. As we sit there in idle chit chat, I can see Jessica look over every so often with a smile upon her face, as Susan looks us both over like some omnipotent Creator. I imagine she takes full credit for this whole thing, in which, I would have to say, is kind of her doing, to a certain degree anyways.
"So you two". Susan calls out." What are your plans for the rest of the day, anything exciting?".
"Uhh! No, not really. Just hang around here for the night". Jessica replies, looks over at me and continues." Maybe a movie?".
"That sounds good to me". I reply, after quickly choking down a mouthful.
"Well you don't have to worry about me, as I will be upstairs all night finishing off somethings for tomorrow". She pauses, before saying." So the place is all yours!". After dinner me and Jessica clean the dishes while Susan heads up to do her work. I end up scrubbing while she dries, as our hands intermittently touch when I pass each dish over, which brings a sly smile to each one of us. After that is done, we end up on the couch watching some romantic comedy with Sandra bullock, which I think is basically all of them. As the movie goes on though, I can feel our bodies become ever closer, eventually meeting in the middle of the couch.
  I can feel my nerves now embody my every move, as my mind goes back an forth on what I should do next. But I soon feel her head up against me, resting upon my shoulder. An as we look at each other we smile slightly, as I graze my hand against her thigh. It's at that moment that our eyes once again meet, and our lips once again lock. I can now feel the palm of her hand as it makes its way up just beneath my shirt. An as I gently lay her unto the couch like a sleeping snow white, she looks me in the eyes and asks.
"Do you wanna take this to the bedroom?".
" Yeah, I would like that". I answer, as if in a drunken stupor. She than grabs my hand, and pulls me toward her as she heads for her room. I can still hear the television on in the background, and Sandra's character talking about how much she hates the man she will eventually fall for near the end of the movie. Entering Jessica's room, she sits me on the side of the bed that faces the door. While she seductively closes it behind her whilst watching me. I can feel my palms begin to sweat, as she slowly takes of her blouse, revealing her soft supple skin underneath. While she does this she struts towards me eventually dropping the blouse on the floor, than climbs on top of me, while still sitting up. I can't hear anything anymore, just the slight groans that seem to drone on into muffled screams, its like some drugged fueled dream, as I am always expecting to wake up in a startled grunt. Afterwards, as I look up into the ceiling, I can feel her sleeping beside me, while she wraps herself up like a cocoon with most of the blankets.
The next morning when I finally awake, I can feel the bed empty beside me. She must've gotten up already, as I didn't get to sleep as quickly as she did. I spent a good deal of time thinking about the previous day, and what a change it was from beginning to end, its strange how the mind works, and how different ones opinion can be from one moment to the next.
As i get into the kitchen though, I find the two of them toiling away making breakfast. Susan soon sees me standing there, and says in her usual manner." So Paul? How was your night?". She pauses." It sounded like you were having fun!". She smiles, while I look off unto the patio, in embarrassment.
"Yeah". I mumble, as I try to avoid the question.
"Well we made breakfast". Jessica suddenly announces.
"So why don't you sit down, and enjoy yourself".
"Thanks, thanks a lot". I say, as we all sit around the table, in silence.

They don't tell me anything anymore.

"Paul?". she says." Paul! Is that you?". I look over, as this woman now stands before me, wearing a dark grey business suit. Her dress reaches down to about her knees, while her boots reach up towards them as if trying to save a friend from falling over a cliff. She gives off an almost reserved quality, while her knee high boots scream out in deviance. I look this woman over, as the slight wind keeps blowing her long black hair around, while she in turn partially brushes it from her face. Her hair makes her look as if she was a hippie in another life, it just frames her face so perfectly, as its just on the cusp of covering her up completely. But I do not know this woman, or, at least, I do not remember her.
"I'm sorry ma'am, but can I help you?". I tell her, being overly polite. She looks at me, as if having second thoughts, or probably, just taken aback by being called ma'am.
"Paul! Its me? Susan!". She says this, as if a light is supposed to come on in my head at this very moment. But instead we both end up conversing by giving off equally strange, confused looks.
  "I apologize". I tell her." But I do not recall from where I know you". I can see the light as it bounces off her pearly whites, partially blinding me. I have never seen teeth that white before, either that or she found the one spot where the sun perfectly reflects off their very surface.
"I'm sorry!". She replies." I just came from the dentist not to long ago. I get my teeth whitened every so often. It may be a bit too much, what with all this sun we have been getting lately". She sits down across from me, with her arms folded up on the table as if trying to sell me something. There is something about her though, some hidden element that reminds me of something I have possibly forgotten. A bygone era in a previously lived town or city.
"Its Susan!". She once more repeats." Jessica's sister". As she says this, the story at once hits me like a falling piano in one of those bugs bunny cartoons. 'Jessica, yes, I remember her'. I say to myself. 'I can't believe I have forgotten'. Jessica was a girl I once dated, a long time ago. I was in my mid thirties, and she her late twenties. We met in the oddest of places, at least for me anyways.
  The first time I saw her was at my work, at the time I had a job at this old pizzeria down on fourth, were I used to live. I was in my mid thirties, as I have said, but was basically going nowhere job wise. I had just finished university, as a biology major. As there was, and still is, this museum up in the downtown core, and always wanted to work there in some capacity. An biology always fascinated me, ever since I was young.  Every time I went there as a kid, our guide was always so knowledgeable and nice, it just seemed as if it would have been a great place to work, as I would always be learning and teaching younger generations about the wonders of biology. A strange dream for a young kid. But anyways, getting back to topic. I first met her at one of my regular deliveries. When I first went there, she opened the door, I must have stumbled over my words, because I remember her chuckle, slightly(as if trying to hide it), right before introducing herself. She was so beautiful, an looked just like her sister, Susan. Which I do believe is were the problem began. I am still honestly a bit fuzzy over all the details of the whole thing, as she didn't tell me too much( most of them don't).All I know is, is that Susan tried to contact me a few times afterwards, but I would have nothing of it, it just reminded me of what I lost, and obviously, it was a little strange that she was doing so.
"Oh yeah, Susan". I pause." How are you". I say, trying to act like its no big deal.
"Good, good" she says." Still working at the same old building I always have".
"Just down on Edmond's, and Fitz.. right".
"Yeah, I am actually surprised you remember that. I am thoroughly impressed Paul".
"Yeah well". I tell her." The mind remembers strange things at times doesn't it".
"Sure". She says, in a sarcastic tone." I guess it does".
"So". I sigh." I guess I should just ask instead of avoiding it all together. But.. hows Jessica doing these days?".
"Its okay Paul, there is no obligatory questions. But she is doing okay, as always".
Susan adds on that last part as an almost under her breath sigh. I always have gotten the impression that they never have seen eye to eye on all things. But I guess in all families with two or more children, there is mostly always a favorite child. Jessica was always that kid, it was strange actually, seeing their parents weren't exactly out in the open about it, but didn't hide it all too well either. Susan has had some hard times, her husband left her not to long after they got married, and I always suspected the parents blamed her in some fashion. As she was never the most outwardly emotional person, always had her feelings hidden underneath her sleeves so to say. But the weirdest thing was, that although I was at the time dating her sister, I always felt as if Susan had a thing for me. A kind of pull that came from her, or a push possibly, as if she was always slightly coming on to me, but only when Jessica wasn't around, like two different people pulling from opposite ends. Could all just be in my head, but on the other hand, maybe not, maybe that is why the whole breakdown happened at the end.
  "As always?". I ask." What do you mean by that?".
"You know how she is, no matter what happens there is always something better waiting around the corner".
"So a new guy friend perhaps".
"Yeah, kind of!". She proclaims." She was seeing this one guy for quite sometime after you two broke up, made it fairly far on the whole relationship scale of things too. A wannabe lawyer I believe. But he never could make it past the finish line. I have had this odd feeling you know, as of late, that something has been holding her back, not exactly sure what it is though".
   The patio is now just beginning to fill up, as people make their way from work on various breaks to get there daily fix of caffeine. I find the more coffee you drink the more likely your trying to suppress some other more addictive habit. At least, that theory works on my part anyhow. I used to smoke quiet heavily, got to two packs a day. Eventually I quit, me and an old friend of mine, figured its easier to do it together than alone. I still have one every so often actually. But not enough to get me into that habit once more. I come down to this cafe fairly often, and find that at certain times of day you see basically the same people. Its a big business area around here, so they are all dressed to the nines and looking all GQ(as some might say). Almost makes me feel a bit inferior actually, here I am dressed in jeans and a X-men t-shirt, while being surrounded by all these beautiful people in suits. Its like that car commercial, the one were the employees celebrate every time they sell a car, and at the end the janitor walks through cleaning up the mess. Of course the employees are all skinny and beautiful, while the janitor is a bit overweight and balding. No skinny person could ever do a job like that, not in TV land anyhow. I can still feel the smooth surface of the cup in my hand, only now its cold and empty. I wouldn't mind grabbing another one, but too many coffees at one time give me the shakes.
  "Why would she be holding back, sounds as if she found what she was looking for". I say, as my interest begins to saunter.
"You started to come up in conversations, quite recently actually. Its strange, she hasn't mentioned your name for some time. But recently, I would hear your name more and more each time we'd talk".
  When she says this, I feel my interest start to once more peak. I just find it quite hard to imagine that my name would come up in any sorta normal conversation(an unnormal(is that a word?)) I would be able to understand. I figured after all this time she would have either forgotten about me, moved on, or possibly even both. It does make me wonder about those specific conversations that they might be having in which my name is popping up in such a consistent manner. But, to be honest, I am not really sure I want to ask. As I am not at all sure that I want to stretch out this anymore than it already is. It was a long time ago, and I am not sure how I even feel at this point, as my mind keeps going back and forth on the whole idea. I can feel her eyes jump out at me though, waiting for an appropriate response, like some kind of animal kingdom staring contest to see who's the leader of the pack.
"An why exactly is my name coming up so recently?". I sigh, in defeat.
"I am not too sure exactly, I am just as much in the dark about it as you are".
"Oh well". I say." Probably better off that way anyhow".
"You should come over some time". She blurts out." For dinner or something, I know for sure the dog would be happy to see you". She laughs, an smiles.
"Yeah". I pause." She is probably the only one at that".
"It's been years now hasn't it, I don't think Jessica would mind". She says this as if forgetting the whole previous conversation. As if it just suddenly slipped her mind. All in all though, it is more than likely a bad idea. If we were to be friends, I think it would have happened already. An even after that, I have a strange feeling that Susan is after something, something more than me and Jessica being friends, I would imagine, I am just not sure exactly what it is.
  The place is now crowded, with various other conversations floating through the air, its hard to hear what she is saying exactly. Like a white noise, or the comforting sounds of the ocean that lull people to sleep at night.  If I close my eyes, actually, I can almost see the ocean, with that musty smell that seems to cling itself to your very fabric, making it so hard to get it off.  I always loved the beach, and would actually take Jessica there quite often. It was nice just to walk along the shore, pants slightly folded up as to not to get them wet. I remember the first time we went there, the tide was out, and a crowd was gathering a few paces up. When we penetrated this little group, we found that on the beach just on the cusp of the waters, lay an even bigger crowd. Apparently, a whale had washed up the previous night. So people came to see a rare glimpse of it so close up, although quite morbidly so when you think about it. I remember the laughter of the children as they all took turns looking through this one gentle mans telescope. As I could also hear most people having practically the same conversation about said whale. All about the beauty of it, coupled with the sadness, ending with the eventuality of what exactly we should be doing with it. Soon enough we decided we seen all that we could, so we than wandered off to other pastures. Ending the day with me dropping her off at her house.
"I really don't think that is a good idea at this point in time. Especially without her knowledge. I am not really the one to show up anywhere unwanted".
"But you are wanted". She says, confusingly.
"Yeah, I know, I know. But its just you inviting me. Me and her have such a long story, I am just not sure that she wants to see me again".
"Why would you say that, she does mention your name remember. That has got to mean something. Even if it is subconscious".
"I am sorry, but I got to decline, its for the better".
"Well okay than, but if your ever in the neighborhood..". She says, seeming as if there should be a second part to that sentence. To be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing her again, always thought we would be great together, we just gelled so well, even if I did forget, momentarily.
"Alright than". She sighs." I have to get going, I am working late tonight, and already I am a little late. But maybe sometime in the future we can finally fit that in".
"Anythings a possibility". I tell her, before she shuffles off into the crowded street, disappearing around the corner of the coffee shop I mentioned earlier. After she leaves, I sit for a second, pondering our conversation, before being on my way. I just wonder, why exactly she wanted me to come over fully knowing that there is a definite possibility that Jessica would feel otherwise. But mostly, at the end of all this, I have this strange feeling that I haven't heard the end of this. Maybe its time to stop coming to this coffee shop, all together.
  Back at home, as the clouds begin to cover, erratically. I sit in my apartment on the ninth floor, as it looks through the city. It's a different perspective from up here. A little more clearer, as everything seems a bit nicer, a bit cleaner, the higher up you are. I am not quite sure why, its kind of like that painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat. From far away it seems as if its just a normal painting, beautiful, clear, but once you get up close, you notice that its made up of something entirely different than you previously thought. The only difference is, the painting gets even more beautiful and impressive, the closer you get. For the rest of the day, on the most part, I end up reading, while listening to some music to go along with it. I try not to watch too much television, as I have been quite addicted to it as of late. I would just find myself at home staring off into oblivion, which couldn't be good for the brain. When I read, I like to listen to music, it just gives it a nicer atmosphere overall. But I know what your thinking, that I probably listen to some old school classical music like Bach or something. That actually couldn't be farther from the truth. I listen to drone actually, never liked it to begin with, always found it a little pretentious, and boring. But an old friend loved it, so I inadvertently had some on my play list. I tried different styles at first, but found the singing distracting, so I than tried instrumentals like Godspeed you black emperor, but too up and down. So that basically lead to drone music, and it just worked. I have gotten to the point where I listen to it just for relaxing purposes, crazy isn't it. People always look at me strange when I tell them that, I guess I am too old to listen to such music, everything is made for the younger generation nowadays.
   As the day moves on, and night sets in, the neon lights of the city begin to glisten, making it almost appear as if it just rained, making it look almost romantic, as if its been made exclusively for the lovers of this world. I almost feel as if I have done something wrong, or broke some cardinal sin by gazing upon it. Or like looking into your lovers eyes, and knowing that your the only one he/she sees. I haven't been in a relationship for some time now, as you probably have noticed. One tends to become more romantic when they are alone. But I find it can fade fairly quickly once you are in a committed relationship. Its the comfortable factor, the more comfortable one gets, the lazier that person becomes(at least when it comes to such things). They always and sometimes need a little nudge to get themselves back on track, either by another or themselves. The problem is though, is that this generation ends things so quickly, nobody fights anymore. As soon as one problem comes up some people make a b-line for the door. Its all those romantic type movies, everyone thinks love just falls into place, and its perfect, with no heavy lifting involved. But in the real world, it just doesn't work like that. Maybe that was part of the problem with me and Jessica, I didn't fight enough once it ended. What else was I supposed to do though, other than standing on her front lawn holding up a boom box.
  When I wake up in the morning, I usually go out for my coffee, even though I have a maker right here in the kitchen. The only reason I go out is to be with the people, in hopes of maybe running into someone, someone I could maybe go out with at some point. Although at this time in my life, it almost appears to be a false hope, as I have never been lucky in those situations. I just have that look apparently, not exactly ugly, just the one that blends in with the background. Like the predator in those movies, I am just not easy to see. Today though, I decide to stay in, telling myself some excuse I know is a lie. The truth is, as impossible as it might be, I just don't want to run into Susan again. But another part of me tells me that I don't want one run in to completely change my daily routine. But nonetheless, I stay home anyway. I have a little patio, and when I say little, I do mean it. Its not much more than maybe two chairs worth of size. Just enough to put my legs up. I can see all the people below me, appearing as if they are going in circles. From up here everyone looks the same. Individual appearances all fade out and just a fuzzy muted blur remains. It just makes you realize how similar we really are, and all this in fighting, is pointless.  This is what I end up doing for a good part of the morning, just sitting outside enjoying the scenery. I lucked out with this place actually, so many others at this level look out towards another sky rise, but I have this great view between two other buildings, like a picture frame. Way in the back, maybe ten or so blocks, I can see the ocean, although the beach is obscured.
  For the rest of the week, I spend most of the time at work, I like my job, surprisingly so. I am not saying that I am surprised about the actual job, just never figured I would never have a job I actually enjoyed. As I have said before, I have always wanted to work at the museum. Was always a dream of mine, to be a biologist and teach others the wonders of such a subject, especially at that museum downtown. Even now, I can feel that dream. But if you were to ask me why that museum, I don't think I could answer. I just have this fascination with it. Like the kid from the temple of the golden pavilion by Yukio Mishima, hopefully a little more healthier though. On Saturday night, as I just get home from work, I can hear my phone ringing from the hallway. I keep the phone in the kitchen, on the counter that faces the living room. My apartment isn't the biggest in the world, but it does just fine. The only thing is is that half the kitchen acts as a wall blocking it from the living room. There is only a small window that connects, meant for some stools to eat breakfast or something. There is just enough room for maybe three fair sized people, but I never use it, as it seems kind of pointless.
"Hello!". I answer." This is Paul!". The person on the other end is silent, with only a slight breath making its way through the receiver."Hello!". I repeat." Okay well, whoever this is, I am hanging up now".
"Paul?". A voice finally stutters, wavering off into oblivion." Its me, Jessica".
"Oh!". I say, taken back." How is everything".
"Everything is good, its good". She tells me in a soft voice.
"Is everything okay".
"Yeah, yeah! I am okay. It's just...". She pauses, and takes a step back from what she was originally going to say.
"I heard you talked to my sister the other day". She finally says.
"Yeah she ran into me at the coffee shop I frequent. I didn't really want to talk, but there was no where to go". Now that we talk, after so many years, I find myself being more candid, more up front about my feelings. Before I would keep such things to myself, as to not upset her. But now that we aren't dating, and haven't been for awhile, I don't feel as if I need to do that anymore.
"Yeah". She tells me." You two have never got along that well".
"Well..(I pause) that doesn't matter too much no more, does it?".
"I guess not". She sighs.
"So to get back to the point. What can I do you for, why is it that I get this pleasure after so long?".
  "Well the thing is". She stutters." I was kind of hoping you would take us up on what Susan offered the other day". I lay silent after she says this, as if the words refuse to form as they exit my mouth. I can still hear Jessica on the other side, as the white noise waves back and forth from her shaking hands. I would have never expected this, especially from her. Its just so unlike her I am not totally sure how exactly to respond.
"Paul!". She calls out." Is everything okay?".
"Yeah!". I exasperate." Just wasn't expecting an invitation".
"I know, we can talk about things when you get here. But will you please come over?".
"Of course! Of course. When do you want me to stop by?".
"Tomorrow around noon would be great".
"Alright". I mumble."I'll see you than". She seemed to almost change personalities during the conversation, near the end she seemed more comfortable, to the point, just like her old self. But why now, it seems as if this were to happen(in which I am not too sure what this is). It would have happened a long time ago, sometime after we broke up. What if she did want to get back together, what would I say, is that what I even want anymore. But its not like I have any other offers on the table, not that that is a good reason for it.  Its probably nothing, I don't want to get all worked up over some minor inconvenience, which it will probably end up being.
  The next day I end up getting up early, as I couldn't get to sleep last night. It was just so much tossing and turning I could not get comfortable enough to sleep more than maybe fifteen minutes at a time. Its hard to enjoy your day(or night) when you have something your not particularly excited about looming over you. I decide not to go out today either, just like the other day. Except today I am even less productive, as I sit in the living room watching television. Not even educational TV either. Its mostly YTV, kids cartoons and such. People always laugh when I tell them that fact. Like there is some prerequisite to becoming a man. You're supposed to put kids stuff aside and grow up, and like grown up things. It's all bullshit really, just because I like to watch cartoons doesn't mean I am any less of a man.They don't tell me anything anymore.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Untitled\unedited. (chapters 5 + 6)

## Chapter 5

"Hey Frank, Frank, I got some news, good news!". Its Johnson, from work, he called the other day, about some military friend, sounds like he may have really found something.
"Really, what does he know, does he know where she is?".
"I am sorry Frank, but we can't talk here, he says it might be dangerous, don't want anyone listening in. Maybe you should come over, were its safe".
"Yeah, no problem, I will be right there".
"You remember were it is don't you?".
"I can find my way, no worries". I got to be honest, although it would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that I am not a Tad bit curious, excited even, I don't put a lot of stock into this so-called friend of his. He has never really spoke of him in the past, and as such, how much exactly could he know about something like this anyways. I mean, if what we said before is true(and by we I mean me and the cops)  than you would think that it would be fairly top secret. They wouldn't, I imagine, just let any Joe blow in on this kind of thing. And remember, everything about this on our part is totally speculative, its a conspiracy theory of sorts, we have no true evidence towards this goal whatsoever, all we have is that the van is supposedly government of some sorts.
  An since I have quite a bit of time to think of things while driving over their, if you really think about it, this whole scenario, it does seem quite ludicrous doesn't it. Like some strange Jason Bourne type novel or something. Why in the world would they, the government, even consider doing something such as this, kidnap one of their own. The more I think about it, the more I don't want to be apart of it, but nonetheless, maybe his friend found out something about the real kidnappers. Because as the cops said before, normally in a situation like this, the culprits in question make some kind of bargaining agreement, a trade so to say, usually involving money. Still though, if it is just a couple of every day criminals, why would they kidnap Judy. I just don't want to go to far in the wrong direction, should keep the options open. Johnson lives about 45 minutes away, as his places is a lot closer to the city than mine. I have been their only a handful of times, usually for beers and a game or two, which I am really not that into, so I am really not sure why I go.
   As I drive down the Backstreet corridors of the suburbs and such, I see kids and families playing in various ways, moms pushing babies while dads lag behind with the pet dog. I have always tried to be the strong one, tried not to let my feelings show. It started years ago actually, when I was a kid, I remember the day quite vividly. It wasn't some big event or some traumatic experience like you may be thinking, it happened fairly normally, and on my own accord. I was always a feisty kid, never really felt as if I belong anywhere, so my emotional state was usually in the forefront. Until one day( that day actually) I realized that it wasn't helping, just hurting. My family always thought that everything was my fault because I would supposedly freak out so suddenly. So on that day, I decided to keep it all inside, to never expose my emotional state again. So as i said before, it wasn't some huge life changing event, although i guess it was kind of life changing. People now tend to see it as a weakness though, and maybe they are right. Girls (except for Judy) have never really stuck around to long because of this. They think that just because I don't show it I don't care, which just isn't the case. The fact of the matter is, is that I wouldn't even know how to show such emotions at this point, how exactly would I go about it. As I pull up to the house, a nondescript car sits vicariously in the driveway. It must be his friends, as I never seen John with anything like that. It looks as if he scrubbed every detail out, like I would completely forget about what it looked like as soon as I turned away. Inside John makes his way to the basement, with no sign of anyone else in sight. I have been to his basement before, and it's really nice actually. Its as if I walked into some bar in the 1940's, every time I suspect some gangster to be hanging out with his thugs in the back corner. Its dimly lit, with hanging glass chandeliers that almost seem out of place. The walls are a dark (somewhat) blood red, with those white board things running along the bottom. The carpet is a dizzying array of different shades of green, and a red felt pool table sits in the middle not in use. I am not really sure how 40's it is exactly, but its what I imagine a bar would look like in that time period. To the far right, where the actually bar sits, sits a man dressed in a light grey suit from top to bottom. A hat, presumably his, stands on the counter beside him to the left. I can see his eyes in the mirror adjacent to were he sits. They watch his drink sitting before him, as he shakes it in a circular fashion like a tide pool, or a cyclone of sorts. He watches the motions intently, as if studying every movement of every molecule that resides in the glass.
"If I would happen to drop this glass on the floor, right in front of me, what, my friend, do you think would happen?". I look around, while he says this, confused about the fact on who he might be talking to." I would think that it would break, depending on the structural content of said glass".
"Exactly!". He says, holding up the glass above his head, while still watching its every movement." But did you know, that there is a chance, a infinitesimally small chance, but a chance nonetheless, that each shard of glass could potentially chance direction and have the glass reform".
"No actually, I didn't know that".
"Well its true, you just never see it happen". He continues, now finally drinking the contents of the glass." Because there are too many ways for it to break, and only one way to reform".
"Yeah". I say." Entropy always has to go up, never down".
"That's right". He tells me, turning around for the first time. He appears younger than I thought he would be, there is no, or very little, noticeable wrinkles on his face. He almost looks like a man trapped in a younger body. His eyes show years of hardship that the rest of him doesn't, as if they are not on speaking terms.
"My name is Charles". He says, extending his arm." An you must be Frank, your friend has told me all about you, so please". He says, pointing towards one of the stools." Sit down, we have lots to talk about".
  We sit down on the stools adjacent to each other, while Johnson stands opposite attending to the drinks. Charles stays silent, instead looking into my eyes like he is attempting to hypnotize me, either that or he is leading himself up to kiss me.
"Your wife, Judy? You say she was taken from your house right, while you were away?".
"Yeah!". I tell him." I was on my home from work actually".
"John here tells me about some van that you saw, a white van, was that right?".
"Ummm! Yeah, the cops said the plates might have been government, seeing that they weren't allowed to check up on it".
"Hmmm!". He thinks to himself." A white van, doesn't seem very government, does it?". He asks, rhetorically." Sounds more like a vehicle the cops would use, don't you think?".
"The cops! Why would they stake out my house, especially before I had even called them, how would they know?".
"Think about it, if it was a government issued vehicle like they claim, it should have had some indication on the license plate. An to really think about it, I find it hard to except the they would be so dumb to hide out like that with there own vehicle. To me, anyways, it sounds like at the very least the cops aren't telling you the whole story".
"I guess that makes sense, its all very confusing, convoluted even".
"Convoluted?". He repeats." How so?".
"Well its sounds to me like some plot to some crazy movie. I mean, how does that old saying go, oh yeah! The simplest one is usually the right one, or some shit like that".
"That is just what they want you to think".
"So!". Johnson jumps in, you guys thirsty or anything, any snacks of any kind".
"Just a beer for me please". I answer.
"The usual for me". Charles answers.
" alright, one beer and a vodka Cran, no problem".
There is a long silence after this, as John hands us our drinks, and we all kind of stare off at each other like some gunfight standoff. I can't believe that it would be the cops, especially in a situation like this, I mean why would the police bust into my house and take Judy, what reason could they possibly have. But I guess the task at hand at this point is, is how far up does this Charles really go.
  I look over at Charles, that sits beside me rather uncomfortably. You can almost see his legs twitch, like a dog who is dreaming of various things. Johnson has gone upstairs to get a bite to eat, so its just me and him, and the drinks that sit silently in front of us.
  "So Charles, if I may ask?". I pause, waiting for a response that doesn't come." How far up can you actually go?".
"What do you mean, how far!?". He asks, acting puzzled, knowing full well what I am asking.
"You know, your security clearance. How high can you go?". I say, stumbling over my words.
"You mean what classified info can I get my hands on. Well I a not at liberty to say".
"You might get in trouble I guess!".
"Yeah". He says." Something like that".
"Tell me though, and I hope I am not being to forward when asking this, but couldn't that happen to you by just being here?". He stops for a second, setting his empty glass on the counter, as it sits perfectly on the ring he made earlier from the overflow of condensation.
"Yeah". He tells me." It could, but I have yet to tell you anything. And if I do, it wouldn't be leaving this room anyways, would it?". He says, looking over straight at me, like pinpoint lasers blaring a hole through anything it touches. He is a intimidating man, he has that rugged enough look to make you think twice about your actions. As he can probably take care of himself( he is in the military!).
"Hey guys!". John yells out as he stumbles down the stairs." I picked up a few things in case your hungry".
"Thanks!". We both say, almost in unison. He sets the plate on the counter to the right of us, its full of sandwiches of differing variations. I am not even sure how he made all these so fast actually. After a few minutes of silence as we all partake in the food brought down for us I can feel the atmosphere begin to get serious. As if a cold front moved in from upstairs, or a ghostly apparition decided to join in on the fun.
"So!". Charles starts out." To answer your earlier question to begin things off. I do not know the details of every operation that goes on, especially this one in particular. But I hear things, little hints at the so called truth every now and than. An I do believe its in direct correlation with your wife. Which by the way, I am sorry to hear about. It must be hard to not know her specific, or nonspecific whereabouts at that".
"Thanks". I mutter, before he continues.
"Well, the word around the base is, is that there is another, team, if you can call it that. Kind of like the CIA, in a way anyways. Nobody knows what they do though, or where they're located. But I looked up into the computers, and I ran into something quite odd. In certain operations, well, practically all, to be honest. We have deaths, you know this, we don't plan it, but things happen. But anyhow, we have a record of all the deceased, on the computers you know". He says, waving his drink around, like he is painting a Pollock." An it seems as though someone else has access to this list".
"They have access to the deceased list, what are you trying to say, why in the hell would anyone want that?". I pause." Isn't it accessible to everyone anyways, at least in military circles".
"Well to not go into details,  but I dug deeper, and found certain, abnormalities, in some profiles".
"What are you saying exactly?". I respond.
"I don't think they're dead. I think somehow, they are being recruited". 2284
# 2c
# Chapter 6
   The next morning I awake in a fog, and as my eyes struggle to get things into focus all I can see are the blurry remains of what I can only imagine is the furniture. As I get up, I can feel my back still crunched over from leaning up against the chair all night. But as my eyes finally come back to life, like a zombie, struggling to reach the earth through layers of dirt, I fondle the chairs as I try to keep myself up to reach the bar. How much did I drink last night exactly, we did it in such a passive way I wasn't really paying attention. But it must have been a good amount, seeing that I am paying for it now.
Upstairs, I find the other two sitting at the kitchen table staring at each other, barely saying a word. The table itself though is decorated with eggs, Bacon, and pancakes, as well as other assorted goods to go along with it.
"Sit down Frank, have a bite to eat, you must be parched after last night".
"Yeah". I say." I am, and to be honest, I don't even remember the whole night".
"That is okay Frank". Johnson says." After what you been through, we are not all surprised". He laughs, as food partially spews out as he haplessly tries to cover himself with his arm.
"How many drinks did I end up having, I didn't realize I drank that much?".
"It doesn't matter now, does it. Just have a bite to eat. You'll feel better afterwards". Charles tells me, in a gruff voice, like trying to start up a car on a cold winters day. A good portion of the morning is now spent at the kitchen table, with the only sounds that emanate from our mouths being varying grunts and gurgles as the food barges a path to our stomachs.
After breakfast, we all head back downstairs. In the middle of the room now awaits a round table with a few chairs( that I failed to notice on my way up this morning) decorating the outer circumference. All the legs point upwards like horns on a herd of triceratops.
"So Frank! We need to know what happened".
"I thought I already told you, before you know".
"Before we go in Frank". Says Johnson." We need to know exactly what they went through on there search afterwards".
"How am I supposed to know that! I wasn't allowed inside!".
"There is no need to get angry Frank, we are just here to help".
"I know, I really do. But ever since I got here you guys haven't told me a goddamn thing. How am I supposed to act exactly. My wife is out there, apparently with some fucking government officials doing God knows what".
"I realize this has been hard, but we need to look through your house, see what they were looking for?".
"Looking for, they were just looking for evidence, what else would they be looking for?".
"They we're looking for something, I can guarantee you that". Charles tells me." But it wasn't what they told you".
"What exactly than". I ask.
"That!". Charles says." I am not sure about".
There is a moment of silence, as we all still holding our coffees. And almost out of no where, as if something just popped into there heads at this very moment, Johnson and Charles look at each other like some scene in some teenage coming of age movie.
"Frank?". Asks Johnson." Do you remember anything about last night, certain conversations we might of had?".
"The last thing I remember, now that I think about it, is something about the deceased files, and how certain people have access to it".
"That's right, I tried to look more into it, see why anybody would possible go through so much to get into it, but it went cold. They must know I am on to it, because.. certain oddities began to happen, I was cut off, at every corner".
"What! You mean the military stopped you?".
"No, whoever it was got into my computer, wiped my files, even got to my sources as well, it must be some faceless organization or something".
"Which, I would imagine, is why we are hiding out in Johnson's basement". I chuckle, as Charles expression hardly changes, except for a slight quiver of his lips.
"Something to that order". Charles says dryly.
"Anyways". He pauses." They were most definitely looking for something in your house, and we got to find out what".
"How!". I exclaim." Could you possibly know all this though, I mean... with all due respect".
"I just have a hunch, that's all, just a hunch. An besides, we got to start somewhere".
"Okay than". I say." It's settled, tonight, in which I believe is when we'll go, we head over to my house and search for something".
"Yeah, it will be tonight Frank, under cover of darkness, as I imagine they will be watching your place".
  Through these last two days of being stuck down here with Charles, I cannot help but figure there is something odd about him, as if he has yet to fill in certain blanks. I do realize he is in the military and all, but how could he know all this. He is like one of those classified documents you see on TV, all the good parts are blacked out, and everything else that's left over barely passes for legible. It makes me wonder, if what he said was in fact true, and they are actually onto him, at least to some degree, why would they just let him go like they did, why would they take that chance of him spreading the so called word of their existence, if in fact this crazy cult thing does exist. It just sounds crazy, doesn't it. And also, to take things a by farther, what purpose would they have anyways, I mean what are they up to that they have to be so secretive. It can't be just some CIA type stuff I would imagine. What exactly are they up too, an why are they recruiting people, especially in such a macabre way.
"So Charles, I do have one question, but I am not currently sure you can answer though".
"Well ask away Frank". Charles says, matter of factly".
"How is it even possible for them to even recruit people that are dead. I mean, really, how do they know this beforehand. Unless there the ones doing the killing?".
"I am not sure about that, as I might of said earlier, all the details I have obtained are a bit fuzzy, hearsay, and what have you. But if I had to take a guess, I would imagine that they would get to them beforehand, you know, make everyone think they're dead".
"Yeah". I say." I can't imagine the government killing for such a reason".
"In all honesty though". He says gruffly." I am not even sure they are with the government, I have got no certain indication to tell me so, or otherwise". He pauses." For that matter". I do actually wonder if he is right or not, or even telling the truth at all. I mean, as I said earlier, how exactly did Johnson get mixed up with this guy, how did I get mixed up with Johnson. He is not exactly my favourite colleague. But the only thing in this whole charade that does kind of ring true, is that if it was a normal(if you can call it that) kidnapping, wouldn't they have called or something for ransom.
  The rest of the morning passes with hardly any words, outside, the rain begins to fall, as the suburbs are coated in darkness. As I look out the window, watching the rain, you can almost see a pattern emerge, an ebb and flow if you may. As if its falling in tune to some song on the radio. Judy was never the one for the rain, always hated it, as I imagine most people do. The snow though, the snow was were its at, she always had a child like wonder when it fell. Like seeing  it for the first time at every moment in her life. She always got a bit sad when it turned to slush, as if saying goodbye to a good friend. I remember when we first started dating, I lived downtown at the time, and it was winter, a bad one at that. It snowed so much I couldn't get out of the back alley where I parked. I hated it, absolutely hated it, but whenever I saw her, she had this look in her eyes like she just discovered Atlantis or something. Or like if Disney land just fell from the sky, it was such a stark reality from were I was from. As I was never the most happiest of children, always had a predisposition towards sadness. But she had a way of brushing that to the side, and whenever she might be away, I always think about those moments, it always seems to bring a smile to my face.