SEARCH FOR TRUTH
A RUDE AWAKENING…
©2017 LULU, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
AUTHOR: BRYAN RADZIN
COVER ART: SANDY FACTOR
I DEDICATE THIS TO ALL LOST SOULS WHO HAVE YET TO BE DISCOVERED. ONCE WE ADMIT WE’RE LOST, WE CAN BE FOUND. ONCE WE’RE FOUND, THE HEALING CAN BEGIN.
Thank you Mom for always being the light within my dark tunnel. You’ve always been there to support me, no matter how much self-sabotage I allow to take me over. I’ll leave lasting positive marks on the world, specifically because of your gentle pushing. Thank you Dad for always teaching me that if I want to achieve great things, all I have to do is put in the effort and hard work. You instilled in me that things might not always work out, but as long as I try, half the battle is already won.
Thank you Grandma Yona for not only a long lasting and deep connection to my culture, but for a joyous feeling everytime I ponder your cooking. Thank you for showing me that helping others brings light to our souls. Thank you Grandma Laurine, for proving that love comes in many forms; and that until we define all those forms, we won’t really know what love is. Thank you Grandpa Herman for having the courage and will to make it in an unknown country, specifically because you believed a better life was possible. I must find out more about Radzyn, Poland. Thank you Grandpa Mel for being the best grandpa a kid could’ve hoped for. I only hope that when I have kids and grandkids one day, that I can show them as much fun and love as you showed me.
Thank you Aunt Susie for never failing to make me laugh. The love and kindness you express on a regular basis, has shown me life is never as dark as it seems. Thank you Aunt Lisa for always supporting my writing, and for reminding me my career can go as far as I want it to. Thank you Uncle Eugene for proving that feelings and love can be authentic, no matter what language our soul decides to speak. Thank you for always caring enough to pick up the phone. Thank you Uncle Garry for proving that somebody can make their own way if they really want, and that balancing fun with work is imperative to not going insane.
Thank you cousing Hillary for the intellectually stimulating political conversations. We’re kindred spirits who need to share consciousness through our writing. The world will be a better place because of us. Thank you Aunt Jeanie for not only all the good recipes, but also the love and caring you’ve always shown me, and especially my mother. Without you, I wouldn’t have the amazing mom I have today. Thank you Aunt Ethel for proving that making Gefilte fish from scratch is night and day from what comes in a jar, but also for showing me that if I take care of myself and surround myself by people who love me, I can live a lot longer than if I tried to do everything alone.
Thank you Ryan for all the long lasting memories and great times we’ve shared, and for showing me a brotherly love that I hadn’t felt in a long time. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and especially that beautiful woman’s finger you put a ring on. Thank you Sean for all the great conversations that cut through the bullshit to humanity’s authenticity, but also for understanding what respecting your fellow human being actually means. You have been my brother for a long time, one day we will rule the world.
Thank you Melody for not only being my sister in creativity, but for being an amazing neighbor and friend. When your empire is ruling the world, all I ask is to take part. Thank you for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we really can do anything we put our minds to. Thank you Jen for being a great neighbor and friend, and for always showing me a laugh and smile when I’m feeling blue. It makes me elated beyond words to know that you found a partner who truly makes you smile.
Thank you Fletch for proving we can all make our lives better, if we keep our eyes open. Thank you also for showing that intellectual capacity, has nothing to do with how much money is in one’s bank account. Thank you Mackey for being my brother, and for being the ultimate example of how we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, as long as we locate our boots. Thank you Jana for always making me smile and melt a little when I see you. You’ve proven that as long as we’re honest with what we want, we can always achieve what we want. Plus, we control weight watchers, weight watchers doesn’t control us.
Thank you Tim for being my oldest friend and brother, key on the older, hahaha. You’ve always been somebody I’ve looked up to because you make things happen for you, and nobody else. May the amazing woman’s finger you’ve put a ring on, always treasure not only you, but your bullshit shredding skills as well. Thank you Laurie for being the sage I’ve needed when I’ve been lost, and for being the best friend I’ve ever had. I will come visit you more often, we have too much connection to re-establish, and too much writing to collaborate on.
Thank you Gary and Emily for not only taking an interest in my creative ventures, because you’ve fed your own, but also because you actually care. Thank you Cindy for helping to edit this book, and for taking the time to give my ideas a chance. This book will surely help people see the truth they’ve allowed to be fogged over, because of the time you put in. Thank you Jeff and Amber for allowing me to grace your wedding, and for being the greatest example of what I want in a loving relationship. Thank you for the love and caring you easily share on a constant basis.
Thank you Lisa for being the greatest boss in the world, and like one of the family. You have allowed me to grow and evolve because you’ve treated me how all people should be treated, with respect and without judgement, like what a friend would do. Thank you Justin for proving the right mix of laughter and good humor with intelligence and focus, will create a better world. Thank you Everett for always understanding what it means to be human, and proving we can all forge ahead when we’re honest with who we are. Thank you Casey for being the great little brother I never had, or for all the jokes that never fail to surprise me, or make me laugh.
Thank you Denise for not only balancing fun and work, but for being a constant bridge between people and cultures. Thank you Janice for being the best younger big sister I’ve ever had, one of these days ill get you to root for the red and gold. Thank you Kayleen for being my surrogate sister and for being the amazing human being you are, and proving we can have whatever life we want, we just have to put the work in.
Thank you Aaron for always letting me bend your ear about whatever happens to be going on, for always showing me respect and caring, and for seeing the needle amongst the field of haystacks. Thank you Sherri for the laughs and the stories that not only break up the monotony of my work day, but put a huge smile on my face. Thank you to the mailman at the hotel for stopping by to chat when you make your deliveries, you’ve shown me the importance of personal interaction in a time of increasing impersonality.
Thank you Randy for the great conversations about music, and about solving all the world’s problems. Right wing projection doesn’t stand a chance, when authentic human beings like you point it out. Thank you Rachel for the warm smiles and kind words. You deserve all the happiness in the world to fill you up, just like the good vibes you easily release to those you care about. Thank you Dria for always being somebody who cuts through bullshit because you have a brain in your head, and intense light in your soul.
Thank you to Northtown Coffee for being my refuge amongst the craziness of the world, as well as the unruliness in my head. You provide a space I can always count on to not only write and relax, but also a space with a warm vibe because of your patrons. I’ve certainly become a better writer, because you’ve allowed my mind to expand with all the thoughts of a consciously driven revolutionary who wants to help the world evolve.
Thank you to the Arcata Marsh for being my home away from home when I want to write, read or just listen to the birds. Thank you providing a space that allows me to listen to the earth, and just be. It’s your amazing beauty that has allowed me to clear my mind, so my full potential breathes its way out of my lungs, and out into the world.
Thank you to the pump stations, and other spots along the Mad River for also being an easy to get to refuge when I want to clear my mind, or just simply to be outside.No matter what the weather happens to be, your natural flow proves that the more I let my world become what it was always meant to be, the more my dreams will come true. When I become a writer who makes a living at my craft, it will surely be because of places which allowed me the spiritual space to be myself.
Thank you to the Maple Creek bridge river spot for always being a place I can go to get away, and for being a spot that makes me remember what natural beauty is possible when man doesn’t over-develop everything. Your country roads not to mention the river spot you provide, is something I’ll always treasure as not an escape, but as a destination.
Thank you to the world, and all the untapped potential that will be reached once the population relaxes enough to see how their ignorance of the “other”, has been the biggest self imposed roadblock to their personal evolution. I’m so grateful for this potential. Everytime I think the world couldn’t get any darker or corrupt, light smacks me upside the face because of the inherent goodness of people. All of our insecurities, all the fear of failure and competition floats away when we start taking care of each other not because of what we get, but because of how we love. If our life gets instantly better when we realize that we still have the ability to surprise ourselves, previously unknown or unrealized potential is what does the surprising. Thank you providing the tap, we just have to hammer it in. Thank you for giving us all the chance to find our hammer.
“Is everybody losing it? Have you all gone completely nuts?” passionately demanded the bearded, sign wielding protestor. Another microcosm he thought? People needed to protest, their souls needed validation that it was furthering collective evolution.
Past attempts of upsetting the status quo, have shown the extreme difficulty of sustaining the energy required. Monumental courage and stamina are needed to take a stand. Love and unity keep us standing, against what has been ingrained since the beginning of time.
People want to be heard, but they don’t want flack for the words they spew. Hungry souls march up and down the street all day long. They disguise their true identity, so they can feign responsibility if things get out of hand. It seems puppet masters aren’t the only ones who utilize plausible deniability on a regular basis.
As he turned to his fellow protestors, the bearded man’s face hued beet red around his sunglasses, and his anger rose to record levels. “I’ve been out here before, just like the rest of you. This time I don’t want to stop until we usher in real change, not the token change the higher ups allow us to have. If we give our usual token response, it’ll play right into their hands.”
“Sounds like you’ve thought long and hard about this. If you’re down for the cause like you eloquently stated, why are you scared? Why don’t you let them know who you really are? You talk tough, but you’ll forget about all this tomorrow, and go back to watching cartoons, while eating cereal in your underwear,” replied the lanky, beer bellied man who stood up to the bearded interlocutor.
The Big River Valley Hospital was no stranger to protests from anti-abortionists, to poor people being deprived of health care. The 85 year old moss and ivy covered building had seen it all.
Jason tried not to trip on the cracks in the sidewalk as he strolled up. He wasn’t expecting to be bombarded by a crowd protesting too much health care for the rich, not enough for the poor and higher costs for everybody. The protestors were arguing with each other, unable to focus their energy toward those who deserved it. They were on the one yard line, but couldn’t decide to run or pass.
“I’ve seen disagreements within movements before, but this is ridiculous,” Jason detailed to the crowd, not directed at anyone in-particular.
“Excuse me, who the hell do you think you are, my dad? Are you trying to keep our movement from coming together?” questioned the lanky paunch carrying dissident.
Maybe that’s why he raged out Jason thought. No matter how good or bad this protestor’s father might have been, or what childhood trauma he might have endured, Jason realized this protestor needed plain language. Besides, Jason was there to visit Christina who had been held overnight for observation.
“Coming together, shit,” Jason returned with a sneer which said don’t con me. “If you’re coming together, how come you’re squabbling? Your energy should be directed toward the message on your faithfully designed sign, like make the rich pay more so we all pay less. Or that guy’s sign over there, “you’d think a government wants a healthy population, but….”
“What’s your point man?” the bearded man ridiculed. He heard rants like this before, but somehow this felt different. This man off the street might have a point. “Isn’t telling somebody what to do, what to say and how to say it basically what we’re protesting against? Why would we listen to somebody who hasn’t been out here day after day?”
“I’m here to visit my girlfriend who was poisoned. She collapsed the other day after drinking some tap water,” Jason fearfully belted without a second thought.
“I’m sorry about that, but again, what’s your point?” the lanky man anxiously queried. The three dozen protestors gathered outside the hospital grew virulently impatient, because coming together, meant coming together no matter what. They needed to put aside petty differences, and drill down to what was actually important.
“Seeing my girlfriend cognizant one minute then carted off the next, made me realize what’s really important, and where I want to put my energy.”
“Are you going to tell us where that is? Are you going to pull us further away from why we’re out here?” yelled a voice from the back of the crowd. Jason thought the shreik sounded familiar, but couldn’t locate its source.
“Hold on, don’t get your panties in a bunch. Listen, the people who really control things, the ones all your signs are directed toward, want us to fight each other. We need to redirect our anger toward them. They know you’re out here, but won’t come down hard in public because of the constitution.”
“You think they care about the constitution?” the same voice chuckled from the back of the crowd.
“Whether they actually care or not, they want to give the impression that they do. They’ll let you talk, but if they suspect you have a sustained presence that draws a following, they’ll make an example. Maybe not right away, but they will. They do it in stages, they promote infighting. They want us to fight each other, so we won’t unite and fight back against them. How do I know you aren’t a plant?” Jason haraunged toward the mystery man who was yet to reveal himself. “Are you a spy?”
“No, are you? We were having a peaceful protest, before you came up and tried to telling us our business. Who do you think you are?”
“Look man I’m not here to tell you your business, I have to go in and see Christina,” Jason explained, his eyes rabidly panning the crowd. “All I’m saying is I want to affect positive change just like all of you. I feel passion from the bottom of my soul just like all of you. The more we fight each other, the less time we spend fighting them.”
As the crowd focused their collective gaze on Jason, they became less explosive, and more introspective. “Who does this guy think he is, telling us what to do? He’s probably one of them. Maybe we should take him down,” the same voice bellowed from cheap seats. Jason barely heard a peep as he strolled through the double doors into the hospital.
The hypnotic buzz of fluorescent lights startled Jason as he sauntered up to the nurse’s station. He was still in a daze from the interaction he just endured.
“Can I help you sir?” queried the overworked and underpaid nurse. She immediately rolled her eyes, and flipped her freshly permed hair at Jason as if to say, here’s another one.
“I’m here to see Christina Sherman,” Jason quickly stated. He was undeterred by the surly nurse, who needed to blow off steam she wasn’t able to the night before. “She was brought in yesterday.”
“Ok, let me look here. Are you friend or family?”
“Well we aren’t married, but we’ve been together so long we might as well be,” Jason deduced. He winked at the nurse, hoping to garner a little sympathy.
“You better put a ring on that finger before she gets away,” bantered the nurse. Her black, shoulder length hair whipped around as she spun in her chair so her computer screen was front and center. To the outside observer, this nurse was rude to everybody. Was it the dark circles under her eyes? Was it the way her overweight, but well-proportioned body sat in a chair while she waited for something exciting to happen?
“You know I’ve been thinking about a ring. Maybe one of these days, I just have to wait for the right moment.”
“I found her,” the nurse replied as a small but very noticable smile appeared on her face. “Room 1254b, go to the end of that hallway and make a right, then a left. About half way down you’ll see the writing I mean the room number on the wall. Do me a favor, tell her you love her. Make sure she knows it, and feels it from you every day. Lastly, make sure you always pay attention to the writing on the wall. It will save your ass. “
“I’m continuing my understanding of that concept,” Jason expressed. He winked at the nurse before scurrying down the hall toward his love.
When Jason arrived at the nurse’s station near Christina’s room, the doctors didn’t divulge much. After some relentless pleading and complaining, the doctors capitulated. They detailed how Christina most likely had a reaction to the tap water she drank, which could be mitigated with antibiotics. She was awake and alert, but needed calming vibes. Witnessing the love of his life suddenly collapse was the scariest thing Jason ever experienced, but he had to trust the doctors.
Considering Marty’s phoned warning and Christina’s expression before she fell unconscious, to say Jason was on edge was a major understatement. He had a sneaking suspicion Christina’s “Mother of the Year”, did the poisoning.
The irony wasn’t lost on Jason as he pulled the handle on room 1254b, and strolled in with all the optimism Christina required.
“You must be Jason,” observed the congenial nurse, whose spectacles could have been worn by his grandma. Who wouldn’t like to be taken care of by somebody, who’d probably bake them an apple pie? “You brought Mrs. Sherman in.”
“I did, and it isn’t Mrs. Sherman, yet. You’re the second person in five minutes to make that assumption. I should give it some serious thought,” Jason joked. The mutual laughter he and Christina’s nurse shared lifted their spirits, which could lift the spirit of the entire worlds’ if given the chance. “How is she doing?”
“Her body is taking to the medicine. We still don’t know why she had the reaction, but we’re testing samples in the lab, and should have results in an hour. Her system went through a major shock, so we gave her something to help her sleep.”
“Sweet, I’ll just hang until the results come in,” Jason replied worried, but hopeful. He was usually skeptical, and sometimes cynical toward anybody who said everything would be okay. After everything with the Entities, Christina’s mom, Ridell, Marty and Jay, Jason wasn’t sure what to believe, or who to trust. He then remembered the most powerful weapon he possessed was his mind. The more control he held by not letting his thoughts run wild, the better for Christina’s recovery. “I couldn’t imagine leaving her side, especially now.”
The nurse wasn’t in shock because of what Jason said, so much as wanting the same thing in her own life. She had loved before, and hoped to love again. “You’re sweet, this lovely lady is lucky to have you.”
“Correction, we’re lucky to have each other,” Jason smiled as wide as his mouth allowed. “I have to make sure she’ll be alright.”
“Don’t worry, she will be. She’s in good hands,” the nurse winked, remembering what love meant. She understood the concept when she was younger, what happened? “We need to take her for a quick test down the hall. You’re welcome to wait here, it shouldn’t take too long.”
“I wouldn’t leave my love’s side if the world depended on it,” Jason expressed proudly, as he kissed a peacefully sleeping Christina on her forehead.
“We’ll be back soon,” the nurse replied as she wheeled Christina’s sleeping body out of the room and down the hall.
Agitated, Jason attempted to settle into the impossibly uncomfortable hospital chair. He began to wonder why hospitals never had comfortable furniture. Would it kill them to procure chairs that didn’t injure visitors as they waited for their loved ones? Was that the point? Did they want to injure visitors, so they’d have to return, then the people who visited them, and the people who visited them and so on? Was controlled oscolescense a venture capitalist scheme to make money hand over fist? Didn’t the elites call that a way of life?
As he thought of a million more reasons why he, Christina and the world’s popualtion were in trouble, Jason saw a note on the bed. It must have fallen from Christina’s pocket he thought. It was written on plain notebook paper which could’ve come from any drugstore. How could Christina have time to write it? The nurse did say Christina was given something to help her sleep, did Christina write it before that happened?
As his mind quickly spun out of control with exponential possibilities, Jason knew he better slow down before he cracked up. He opened the note to find two lonely paragraphs. He recognized the hand writing, but couldn’t pinpoint the source. It might have been somebody he came across, or somebody following him. Jason figured he better just read the words, before he ended up in the hospital beside Christina.
“Mr. Jason, how are you? I don’t have to make small talk, you know who I am. I definitely know who you are. Christina is integral to our plans. We have to test some experimental procedures on her, but it’ll prove all our research has paid off. I’m not going to waste my time and yours by threatening you.
We’ve whisked Christina to a black site. We must continue testing our super drug before it’s unleashed. You can try to find her or not, I don’t care. Our engineers have calculated every variable. Once we have confirmation that our private armies and office holders are on the same page, we’ll know Christina made the perfect patient zero. Just to make it more interesting, we might need your DNA down the line. Remember, Sweet Home Alabama isn’t just a song. It’s a reminder of where all great things start.”
Are letting go and grabbing hold, part and parcel of the same concept? Do we have to let go, to gain what we truly want? How do we rewire our brains so our inner soul understands that letting go, isn’t giving up? Is there a reason we allow ourselves to repeat the same actions day after day, week after week and year after year? Uncontrolled reconfiguring of our critical thinking skills can cause great harm. The key is to discover a problem early, so a cure can be utilized, or so Jason thought.
“Where did Christina go, they said they took her for tests? Drinking an unknown substance doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, but this note?” Jason exploded with his soul’s uncontrolled passion. Would he have to let go, to receive? Would a solution fall in his lap? Synchronicities were commonplace ever since Christina showed up under a Japanese maple the day they met. Jason just figured they’d experience the entirety of life’s problems together. The textbook definition of an evil, cartoon super villain mom had other plans.
“We aren’t sure what she injested. We’ve seen elements of it before, but haven’t deciphered its long term effects,” the doctor carefully replied. He didn’t want to divulge too much to a possibly jilted lover. Jason of course wasn’t jilted. He was determined, evidenced by the passion burning behind his hazel eyes.
“How are you going to study long term effects in a short amount of time? Call me crazy, but to study long term effects, don’t you have to study somebody long term?” Jason interrogated with a don’t bullshit me look. Jason wasn’t so much addressing a simple Irish accented doctor, but a lab coated criminal who didn’t know Jason’s capabilities.
“I’ll go check,” the doctor uttered.
“Go check what needles they’re poking her with. I’m sure you have some creative plans,” Jason sarcastically seethed. How long was he going to sit by Christina’s empty hospital bed and listen to this?
“I don’t have any plans, but I know who does,” the doctor quickly answered, hyper aware of the plans Jason referred to. Who had the courage to go from plan to action?
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to find your precious Christina Sherman.”
“Wait, I didn’t tell you her name. Wait……” Jason fearfully exclaimed as the doctor scurried out the door, and out of ear shot. Did Jason want to create a world in his own image, just like the Entities wanted? Was he just like them, only the opposite? Was the fact that he wanted to consciously fight back, a hint that he was part of a coalition that needed to be balanced? If each each side was open with their intentions, would it be plainly obvious what the other side was thinking? The exact same thoughts swirled around the balding head of the doctor, calculating his future experiments.
As the doctor scampered down the hall, he looked back to guage Jason’s reaction, and noticed Jason had disappeared. Did Jason escape so he could plan his own remaking of the world? As soon as the thought left his over active brain, the doctor walked up to a bookshelf filled with the memoirs of the last 100 Nobel winners in science. It was at that moment he realized things weren’t always as they seemed.
He always dreamed of moving a bookcase by pressing a button on the side, revealing a spiral staircase to a secret lab where he and others remade the world.
A staircase did appear after the doctor hit a button, but it wasn’t a surprise, because he installed it. The Entities were eager to foot the bill after discovering him decades earlier. Christina’s mom was intrigued with his experiments on unwilling participants in the Deep South.
As he sauntered down the stairs toward his destiny, the hair on the back of his neck stood at full attention. The pounding drum of his heart beat got louder. The excitement from seeing ones dream’s come to fruition, is something he always wanted to experience. He now felt like he finally had the chance.
The stone framed staircase spiraled down a hundred yards, leading to a garage where several black government SUVs were parked. “Do you guys ever drive different cars? Do all secret operations look exactly the same? Maybe that’s why you always fail, because you always take the same approach,” the doctor bantered. An authoritarian edge in his voice let everyone know they better listen to everything he said, or the experiment would go the way of the Hindenburg.
While the doctor was preparing another expletive laced diatribe about how nobody was listening, one of the jet black tinted windows eased down ever so slightly. It lowered just enough so a voice was heard, but no face was visible.
“We don’t always take the same approach, we hired you asshole. Don’t tell me my business. I give the orders, and anybody who says different disappears,” barked the angry, but extremely confident female voice emitting from the black SUV. It was if her voice was the loud speaker of upper management, directed toward anybody sick of being a desk jockey. “You think we need your knowledge? You think you’re the only mad scientist on our payroll? Just shut your extremely loud mouth, and get the hell in the car. We have a plane to catch.”
“Is patient zero in the car?”
“She is, was Jason given enough of a clue? We need his DNA to complete the chain.”
“I know who signs my paycheck,” The doctor remarked in a smart-alecky tone usually reserved for unruly and unkempt teenagers. “You need to be reminded what it’s like to work for somebody…”
“What was that? You want to be my next victim, I mean test subject? Just get in the damn car. We have to make it back to the lab before the tranquilizers wear off.”
The reluctant doctor eased into the car, afraid for his life. He didn’t know what to make of a power hungry woman who desired world domination, was it anything like a power hungry man desiring world domination? He didn’t care as long as the money was green.
As he closed the blast proof doors of the SUV, he looked back to see the lifeless and chemically fortified body of Christina Sherman.
As the SUV pulled away, Jason continued to run around the hospital asking questions of anybody who would listen. Why was the doctor so vague? What about the note? The nurses, the lab techs, not even the janitor knew anything. Were they simply lying to Jason, like cops investigating a murder in a Rio favela? Did anybody know anything? If words spilled from their lips, would their lips be eviscerated before falling on the ground?
After frantically searching like five chickens with their heads cut off, Jason realized the majority of people at the Big River Valley Hospital were being truthful. He had been lied to many times by the old man, Ridell, Marty, ex-President Bowman and Jay, but at least Bryan, Aaron and Tim had been truthful.
How were Marty, Aaron and David doing in Jerusalem? How was their fight developing against oppressive enemies of peace? How was Bryan doing with Jay? What were they planning next? How was Tim and his group? What were they planning? What were the Entities planning?
A tsunami of thoughts pounded Jason’s brain. The synchronicities which drove him forward in the past were presently nonexistent. Was he forcing them to appear, instead of letting them happen? Would he still be able to journey forward with peace and humanity?
The mental roller coaster made Jason’s cortex jelly like. Several nurses started questioning Jason’s sanity. He had been frantically asking them questions, until he finally stopped and stared off into space.
“Sir, sir are you all right? You were looking for your wife?” interjected the compassionate 48 year old bleached blond nurse. She had been through crises before, and not just with her deadbeat husband she booted out the door.
“She isn’t my wife, even though I wish she was,” Jason commented, as a slight smile entered his reality. Maybe a secret proposal should be included in his plans. “This note was on her bed when she left the room. I thought she’d written it, and it fell out of her pocket. It says she was taken for some secret experiments, because she is the perfect patient zero? What the hell does that mean?”
“Look sir, I don’t know about any note or any patient zero,” the nurse sarcastically returned. She rolled her eyes and let out a loud sigh of here we go again. What did she do to deserve one more guy yelling and screaming about some woman? She didn’t listen to her husband when he screamed about that lady he was screwing. Did this raving lunatic of an emotional mess pooling in front of her, just need somebody to listen? “She was taken to a special lab for testing. They have very specialized equipment, to detect the virus she contracted.”
“So it’s a virus?” Jason strongly questioned without missing a beat.
“Not a virus per say, we don’t really know what it is; which is the chief reason we need to do more testing.”
“That sounds completely plausible. Aren’t you supposed to get permission from a patient’s next of kin if they’re unconscious though? What if she doesn’t wake up? Don’t sit there and tell me its standard operating procedures. I know it you know it and all the protestors outside know it. I should go out there and tell them what happened, and get them to storm in with their loud speakers and signs.”
As the volume rose in Jason’s voice, the crowd of people surrounding the nurse numbered in the twenties. Everybody Jason questioned as he frantically looked for the love of his life, came over to investigate. This included hospital security with their department issued side arms.
“Ok sir, calm down,” expressed the over confident and big bodied security guard as he reached for his gun. If he hadn’t been working at a local hospital, he could have been a linebacker for any professional football team. “Don’t make me use this.”
Jason looked straight into the death stare of an unfulfilled rent a cop, whose hand switched back and forth from his Taser to his Berretta. Was there an inner conflict going on in this security guard’s head Jason thought? Was he deciding whether or not to commit murder?
Was he just one more overly caffeinated, testosterone filled male who hungered to show his alpha male toughness? Was he play acting because he was in on the whole thing? “You going to shoot me because I’m asking about my girlfriend? This is a hospital you know. You can’t just take somebody away to an unknown location for testing, and then not expect a barrage of questions. What kind of shit show is this place?” Jason angrily blasted.
“If you lowered your volume, you’d realize I’m trying to tell you,” the nurse volleyed back because she’d seen this reaction before.
Jason was surprised. Did this strange nurse know his thoughts, and repeat them back to him? Did they slip him something just like they slipped Christina something?
“I’m waiting. I have the best lawyers in the country on speed dial,” Jason threatened. He knew he didn’t have any lawyers on speed dial. However, he did know people who worked both above ground, and underground to do the right thing.
“Okay, Okay, don’t get your panties in a bunch,” the nurse explained, as Jason exerted a small chuckle. If he wasn’t knee deep in an epic struggle for the good of humanity, and eager to get on with whatever wild goose chase Christina’s bitch of a mom sent him on, this nurse was someone he’d love to have a beer with. Wasn’t that the problem with the nation though? Did people vote for who they’d like to hang out with, instead of who could actually do some good? Whether anybody was pure enough to hold the balance of friend and truth warrior, Jason didn’t know.
Jason took three deep breaths and exhaled slowly, keeping his eyes closed the whole time. The twenty people crowded around the small nurse’s station were intently listening to him, but it didn’t keep him from a breathing exercise his mom taught him years ago. “So, where’s this lab?”
“Finally, we can talk like normal human beings,” the nurse snickered as she winked at Jason.
“Yes, whether we want to admit it or not. No matter what side we’re on politically, religiously or racially, we’re all human; no matter what we say about people who think differently. Humans have free will, which is why I’m so concerned that the only woman I’ve ever truly loved was taken under obvious duress. I’m willing to set that aside, if you tell me where they took her.” Jason was staring into the soul of this human being who happened to be a nurse, so he didn’t see the security guards, janitors, and others nodding in agreement.
Jason was seed planting for future synchronicities, which he’d only realize once he was traveling down the path meant for him. “Are you going to tell me where they took her?”
“I was just waiting for your inner dialogue to finish doing its thing. I know what it’s like when your mind drives you bonkers. Anyway, here,” identified the nurse as she slipped Jason a piece of paper.
“What is this?” Jason questioned with the velocity of a man on a mission. Not that he ever stopped being on a mission, because he didn’t. He just wanted to know the direction he was traveling before he took the first step. He didn’t need to have everything planned out before he moved forward. He knew that was impossible, and led to self-sabotage created traps. Jason needed to make sure he was honest with himself. He needed to know if he was being threatened in front of a couple dozen witnesses, who may or may not be accomplices.
“It’s the address where they took Christina.”
“Why doesn’t it have a name of a hospital? Is it a spy thing? Is it a place you’re obliged to keep secret so certain people won’t discover what you’re up to?” Jason righteously seethed. He was tired of playing games, and wanted to get the show on the road.
“If people didn’t want you to know what they’re up to, do you really think they’d tell you exactly where to find them?”
“Probably not, that’s all you have to say,” the increasingly agitated nurse exclaimed. She didn’t know exactly what the Entities were involved in. Yet she stayed in and out of the inner circle because she was useful. They also held the leverage of knowing her children, and making them dissapear if she ever stepped out of line. They already took her husband. She didn’t want them to take her kids too.
“Looks like I’m not the only one who has had a rough day?”
“Wow, are you sure we aren’t related?” the nurse joked to a chuckle from the crowd. A slowly building respect emanated from Jason, even though he knew she was probably in on it. Was this the synchronicity he was looking for? Before he blurted out another thought, the nurse continued. “Anyway, does Sunday bloody Sunday mean anything to you?”
“Yeah, it was a bloody battle when protestors tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in their march for freedom. Well they didn’t make it bloody, as much as the cops who beat them did, simply for exercising their constitutional rights. Why do you ask?”
“Good, you know the history, you ever been to Birmingham? Good place for a lab don’t you think?”
The problem with landing a plane in the Deep South was all the dust and dirt. Not so much from the runway, every major city south of the Mason Dixon featured modern international airports. This was dust and dirt that hadn’t settled since 1865.
The doctor only half willingly boarded the plane. The dust and the dirt his conscious mind was dragging into his reality, was the dust and dirt of the old ways. The Big River hospital was 2000 miles away, but Birmingham offered him financial opportunities beyond his wildest dreams.
Growing pains were felt all over the country and the world. Many people stuck in their old ways couldn’t handle all the current changes, and those on the horizon. They couldn’t handle the population getting darker and gayer.
They wanted to take power from the growing minority, and give it back to the shrinking majority who wanted to take their country back. The idea that it was never their country or anybody’s in particular, never crossed their minds. They wanted to make the country great again, or at least their image of greatness.
The doctor’s inner dialogue was screaming. He knew he had to say something before his inner thoughts, became his outer thoughts. “Are we there yet?”
“We got a comedian over here,” quipped the less than amused, Entity medical assistant.
“Relax we’ll touch down any minute. The stars and bars are a perfect symbol for tearing it all down, and starting over,” proudly barked the pilot.
“Oh, you mean the rapture?” the doctor sniped, trying to lighten the mood.
“I wouldn’t joke with the man who has your life in his hands.”
“Come on, can’t you take a joke? Besides, you won’t do anything because this flight contains the most precious cargo the Entities ever procured. Patient zero is the skeleton key to their plans. If you tried anything, they’d disappear everybody close to you, leaving you alive to suffer.” The doctor knew what it meant to be on the Entities’ bad side. He never met Christina’s mom, let alone Christina.
He was being paid extremely well to conduct experiments, so he could discover rare disease cures. Little did he know, a rare disease was specifically engineered so the Entities could cure only who they wanted, only how they wanted.
The pilot knew the doctor was right. Instead of continued engagement in an unwinnable fight, he just grumbled and went back to landing the airplane.
The plane touched down not on a secret airstrip, but a private one. Everybody knew what happened to those who used it without permission, or tried to stop cargo from landing.
“Ladies we’re here,” the pilot ridiculed. His thick eyebrowed covered eyes stared at the doctor who wasn’t worth his effort. Following his boss’ orders was all that mattered. If he wanted to continue collecting a paycheck, and existing on the same plane of existence as other human beings, he knew he better keep his mouth shut.
“Ahhh, the Old South, my mouth is watering for some Crawfish. If you help unload the package, I’ll take us out later, my treat,” spoke a man in the shadows. He didn’t show himself, until the plane came to a complete stop at a broken down, World War 2 bomb shelter.
“Just who the hell are you?” demanded the doctor with disappearing patience.
“Just help me load the patient into the Jeep. We don’t want to get the boss lady upset, do we?”
“I guess not.”
“I guess not, really? I hope your doctoring skills are better than your conversational skills, or we’re all dead. Well, maybe just you,” bantered the still unidentified man. He had seen battles before, epic ones with the exact people the Entities were fighting against. He knew the importance of the experiments, but only because he was privy to the real reason they came into existence.
Before another witty retort entered his brain, the doctor decided he better help this weirdly confident man, who appeared out of thin air. Not thin air, more like extremely hot and sticky air which smacked them in the face the moment they opened the back door of the plane.
Christina was still unconscious, and unaware her mortal enemy was unloading her off a plane and into a waiting ambulance. Was her subconscious telling her anything? Was she able to hear what was going on? What would she say when she woke up? Did the Entities want her to wake up? Did her mom want her to?
As Christina was loaded into the converted Jeep with all the care of a UPS driver, Militia men appeared out of nowhere. Mounted 50cals and old army Jeeps weren’t a surprise to the doctor. He had seen many of them in movies, just never in front of his face.
“This is a lot of security for one patient,” the doctor curiously detected. He looked around to see 50 men armed to the teeth. “Are you trying to compensate for something?”
“Ask your mom, I was with her last night,” volleyed the man from the shadows. He was never good with jokes, so he wasn’t quite sure why he made the attempt. Was the destruction of a thorn in his side, making him anxiously excited?
“Mom jokes, what are you, 15?” bellowed the doctor. The Jeep sped off as the doctor and the mystery man tied down the stretcher.
“Just, never mind. Be on your game when we get inside the lab, these people don’t mess around.”
“I know they don’t mess around. I know who I’m getting paid by.”
The southern sun was shining in the doctor’s face, its humidity creating massive amounts of perspiration beading down his face. “No wonder everybody is nuts down here, this heat would drive anybody crazy,” the doctor expressed.
The Jeep’s driver was two seconds from labeling the doctor an infidel, when he realized they were at the gate. Since it was time to punch in the code, the driver knew the doctor’s beat down would have to be dealt with at a later date. He knew who signed his paycheck.
3 codes, 2 voice recognitions, 5 thumbprints and one eye scan later, the door opened revealing a tunnel which gradually traversed downhill. The road was thick dirt, but once the door closed behind them an exhaust system kicked in. All of a sudden the road they were on was no longer dirt, but exceedingly clean concrete.
“Wait how did?”
“Before you lose your shit, don’t. You’re too important to this operation. We need you and that extremely creative brain of yours,” the driver sincerely divulged, as he steered the Jeep onto a car elevator.
More buttons pushes were required, along with eye scans and what the doctor figured was urine and semen samples, inserted into a special compartment on the side.
After traveling down 20 stories the elevator abruptly jarred to a stop, which would have made a lesser person wet their pants. The doctor knew he was important, but he didn’t want to chance it, yet. He felt the best course of action at the present time, was silence. This decision was influenced by the shadowy man from the plane, who made a slicing motion across his throat.
The Jeep’s door creaked open so deafeningly loud from an unoiled gear, the doctor didn’t notice all the men gathering.
As the swarm came into view the doctor rubbed his eyes, trying to decipher what his corneas were trying to show him. He had done some evil things in his time, always funded by other evil people who hated questions. He just wanted to know that when his time was up, he did everything he could to make the world a better place.
Was he delusional? Was he lying to himself about his true goals, as well as the people who paid him? What got him through the day, were opportunities which randomly showed up.
During an inner dialogue that would have made Jason proud, the doctor didn’t notice the patient carried off the Jeep, and into what looked like a small office. Just as fast as the swarm of men appeared, they disappeared back into the shadows. Even the driver and the man that called him out on the plane were gone. Was he dosed with something that made him hallucinate? Was he trying to deal the best he could with an overactive imagination?
The doctor exited the now abandoned Jeep, and proceeded slowly toward the small office that was 200 feet underground. He had worked for and with other underground medical personel before, criminals did need to be fixed up from time to time.
The second he walked through the doors, the doctor sensed he’d do something to change the world. Not like a hopeful college graduate, who wanted to go out and make positive and long lasting change. More like a mad scientist who held the world in the palm of his hand.
“You made it, great. Can I offer you something to drink, how was your flight?” wondered yet one more voice from the shadows. Except this one was a woman, a beautiful sounding woman the doctor thought.
“Yeah I made it, and I know I’m getting paid well to not ask questions,” the doctor hypothesized. He knew his only chance for survival, was to go along to get along. Heck, maybe he’d discover something that could actually help people. His best hope was to invent something that would save him from himself.
“You can ask questions. That’s why we brought you here. You’re one of the most brilliant minds in experimental medicine. We need your talents for a new drug we’re testing,” the shadowy lady confidently explained.
“Drug testing, I’m here to test drugs?”
“Yeah, except you’ll be testing a drug to combat a virus we created. We need to know what works, and what doesn’t. Certain poisons, organic and inorganic materials can be used to control people’s thoughts, but also to rebuild humanity in a pre-determined image. Tuskegee and other experiments were conducted to see how certain materials worked against certain people. In the past it was much easier. We had a whole race of inferior people, who nobody cared about. We’re trying to recreate that history”
“Why don’t you spit it out? Right now, I’m deducing that you’re trying to cover up why you really brought me here. Why am I here?”
“You’re in the heart of the Old South, because it’s where 50 years ago we almost had the perfect society. That is until some people ruined the perfect design. We not only want to recreate it, but spread it out to all races of people, and all parts of the country. We don’t just want to re-engineer blacks because we think they’re less than human. This time, we want to spread it to everybody. If we control the population, we control the trajectory of societal growth.”
As the doctor was about to echo a broken record by asking what the hell are you talking about, and explain that he wasn’t racist, he started getting excited to poke and prod. The shadowy man from the plane emerged out of the shadows. He was about to speak when the doctor observed he was wearing three lapel pins on his jacket.
“Three lapel pins, one isn’t enough? I know the stars and stripes, and of course the stars and bars. What is that third one, it’s all black with one white circle in the middle?”
“That my friend is the flag of the United Entities of America, the new country we’re building. It all starts with patient zero you’ve faithfully accompanied to this lab. What do you say we get started?”
The stars and bars were a rallying cry of a bygone generation. The fact that the symbol inexplicably returned in defiance of expanding human rights, would make the founders roll over in their graves. Well, not roll in their graves, as much as wonder if the defiance evolved from them.
Did the freedoms laid out in the constitution, allow for such free will and thought, that eventually the strongest and smartest would vacuum up all the power? The idea that the Rebel flag wasn’t used since the civil war, and was only reintroduced during the sixties as a response to free thinking hippies, didn’t stop some from claiming a pride based on not asking questions.
“What’s going on in this country when I can’t even walk down the street without getting harassed?” vehemently spouted a 30 something white working class voter. He never realized he had been voting against his own interests for years. He railed against immigrants, how nothing is American made, all the while wearing a shirt from China, pants from the Middle East, and earbuds blaring music which originated in a West African jungle.
“Did you ever think you might be getting harassed because of your confederate flag hat, or your Make America Great Again t-shirt,” responded Jason with sincere honesty. His passion rose exponentially once he realized the greatest changes were yet to come. He also knew things were going to get dramatically worse, before positive changes had a chance to be implemented.
Jason had no idea what to do about Christina. He’d follow her to the ends of the earth, and figured outside the hospital amongst the original group of protestors was a place to start. The fact that Jason randomly began talking to somebody, whose girlfriend was abducted under similar circumstances as Christina’s only made this synchronicity burn brighter.
“We have to find them. The note purposefully left on Christina’s bed, said they went to Alabama. Why would they go there?” Jason blasted. The dark clouds in the sky were readying for an immeasurable storm, evidenced by the eerie warmness of the air. Even though the moon shined its lunar loveliness, was it enough to envigorate people’s true character? Was that the problem with America, Jason thought?
“I could think of a few reasons they’d go to Alabama,” countered the 30 something salt crystal of the earth. His long brown hair would identify him as a hippie, and so would the skunky green essence protruding from his pores. He was similar to a million people Jason knew years before, which made him seem unthreatening. Just one more person on a journey, to find whatever it was the human species was collectively looking for. “I know a few people there. I could make some calls.”
“I’m scared, the note said they’d be conducting tests. What would they be testing?”
“They could be testing all sorts of things. They have a history of testing unwilling subjects, or those they view as inferior. They’re trying to advance what they believe is evolution. My name is Gary by the way.”
“Well Gary, I’m Jason. I’d say let’s head to the redneck capital of the redneck universe, but since you’re wearing that hat, you might not see that way,” Jason cajoled. He knew humor was useful for building consciousness, but also for escaping darkness.
“You’re right I don’t see it that way. However, you seem like a real person who wants to do good for real people. All of us have been glued to the election around the corner. It has divided us like never before, people have forgotten what makes us human,” Gary warmly replied. He had liberal friends before. His most engaging and interesting conversations were with people on the opposite side of the aisle.
Just standing near Jason, made Gary’s passion for getting back to what makes us human and how we treat each other, viewable by a blind man. Gary understood as much as anybody how ego made everything go haywire.
“Gary, I think we’re going to get along just fine. If I can befriend a Palestinian, I can befriend a redneck,” Jason artfully deduced.
“What? Since when did Palestinians have anything to do with this?” Gary wondered. Was this random guy he met at a hospital protest, somebody he could work with? If their partnership fully formed, could they hold it up as an example to the world that everyone can come together, no matter how divided they’ve become.
“That my friend is a story for another day,” Jason deflected. He’d tell Gary that story, he just had to find the right time. Priorities are funny because they make life happen out of sequence. Kind of like enjoying a drink and smoke with your girlfriend, before she gets poisoned by water thought to be safe. Then when she’s brought to the hospital, some crazy super drug is tested on her. What the hell Jason thought, here we go again.
“Well, we have plenty of time to talk. It’ll take three days to drive there. We can take my car. It’s the lifted pickup over there.” Gary pointed to the truck that needed a pole vault to enter.
“Of course it is,” Jason snickered. “It would have been really funny if you were driving that lowered Honda over there, or maybe that sport bike.”
“Real funny man, hop in. I had a little step built in for vertically challenged people like you. You know, in case your short little legs don’t make it.”
“Ha ha ha, you’re so funny,” Jason replied with a halfhearted laugh. He was focused on getting Christina back, and stopping whatever it was the Entities were up to this time.
“Just promise me we won’t talk about the election. I’m so sick of all that shit.”
“Agreed, me too.”
Gary motioned for Jason to hop in, which he did with extreme physical effort. The 12 inch lifted, 1 ton beast of a Chevy, was the last thing Jason thought he’d be traveling in. Of course, all the great things that happened, and all the opportunities he received, came from places he least expected.
“All strapped in little man? If you’re a good little boy we can stop for ice cream on the way,” Gary bantered with brotherly love. He knew that if he was going to survive in a car for three days with some guy he didn’t know, then camaraderie was the first thing he should establish.
“Really daddy, do you promise?” Jason volleyed back, adding to the team building. “Turn on the radio, maybe we could find music we would both enjoy. Seems like southern rock or blues would do both of us some good.”
“I fully agree. For somebody I’d disagree with on most things, you’re remarkably like me. My uncle loves the blues. He’s my first contact when we get to Birmingham. He led a militia group until recently.”
“What do you mean until recently?” Jason questioned with apprehension. The last thing he needed was to be dragged into some redneck trap, and introduced to the beautiful trees by way of banjo music.
“That’s one of my stories for another day. For now, I’ll say he had disagreements with his bosses. They didn’t see eye to eye anymore. Something about abusing hostages not being the way to go, and never taking advantage of a woman,” Gary seethed.
“I fully agree. Any coward who takes advantage of a woman deserves to have his balls chopped off.”
“Well…” Gary trailed off. The contrition he’d have to exert during this long trip was much more than expected. He had taken long trips before, but this was different. He was on edge, and wanted to get there yesterday. Gary and Jason’s girlfriends were probably stuck with the same groady guy.
The lifted redneck limousine had been rumbling down the road for twenty minutes before Jason broke the silence. He needed to ease the three day trip filled with mountains of tension. “Here man, why don’t you hit this. I think we could both use a safety meeting.”
“You’re right, I’m not feeling quite safe enough,” Gary laughingly acquiesced. He lived the scene countless times with friends back home, some of whom were just like Jason. Were some of them commie liberals? Gary snickered at the thought.
“Try this on for size, its good green bud number 7,” Jason sarcastically identified. He lit up the pregnant joint that no matter how much practice he had, he still couldn’t get quite right. Which reminded him of Christina, what was she being prodded with? Jason immediately snapped back to reality. “Considering the fight that’s ahead, let’s enjoy this.”
“What fight? We’re just looking for our women. I’m not here to fight, I just want my love back,” Gary stated. He was always down for a fight when it was righteous. Lord knows he had been in a thousand of them over the years. However, journeying into the unknown to stare down an unknown enemy, while sitting next to a guy he barely knew, wouldn’t be a walk in the park.
“I know that look. Your mind is spinning out of control isn’t it?”
“Well take it from a person who’s a professional in self sabotage, and over analyzing every aspect of what could be in front of him, just chill. Hit this joint, and realize whether we met before a few hours ago or not, this is what’s happening. I’ve been in this position before, and when I’ve put myself in the right place at the right time without knowing it, things have worked out. People have randomly come to help me move forward in ways I never imagined.”
“Do you always speak in paragraphs?” Gary ribbed. He missed his brother, why did he have to enlist? Why did he always have to play the hero when things looked dark? Maybe this Jason guy would help Gary do something for the good of humanity, so Gary’s brother didn’t die in vain.
“Sorry, I’m pretty long winded. It must be the writer in me, the journalist, or an unrelenting need to do good for humanity.”
“Sounds like something I could totally get behind,” Gary happily agreed. He finally took a hit off the joint, and exhaled a hit that fogged up the truck’s cabin, but also cleared cobwebs out of his sleeping giant of a brain. “We must see my uncle, he’ll help sort out this mess.”
Gary passed the joint to Jason before turning on the radio. No matter what race, religion, color, sexual preference or gender somebody was, Gary knew that if somebody was a dick, they were a dick. Jason wasn’t one of these as far as Gary was concerned, at least not yet.
“Hey, turn that up. I think they just said something about the leading candidate. You know the one that wants to make it 1950 again,” Jason needled.
“I thought we weren’t going to listen to political stuff, it’ll make us antsy.”
“It might, but the only reason people say they shouldn’t talk about religion and politics, is because they aren’t used to talking about them. They’re terrified of what they might say. The fact that people aren’t honest about what they’re actually thinking, causes most of the problems we have today.”
Were they scared they were traveling down the road for an hour with no particular direction? Did they comprehend what their direction was, but frightened because they had taken the road before? Whatever the answer was, they were sure to find it together.
“Did he just say something about opening offices in Birmingham? This sounds like a weird coincidence,” Gary exclaimed. He hadn’t experienced the same things as Jason the last ten years, or battled the same people. Yet, Gary knew he had battles with people in which he didn’t agree. He wasn’t afraid to call people on their shit when they weren’t truthful. “Why would he go to the South?”
“The South has a history of doing whatever they can to support people who look like them. I realize times have changed in fifty years, but people’s attitudes haven’t. Changing laws, doesn’t change people’s emotions. Something has been brewing under the surface for years. Something that has been waiting for the right person to turn up the heat so it finally boils over.” As Jason unloaded his true feelings, he hoped he didn’t completely turn Gary off. Gary might think Jason didn’t know his head from his ass.
“Things have gotten much better since then, but they could always be better. People preach all day about the second amendment, and how everybody should not only be allowed, but required to carry a gun. These same people then complain to the heavens when a black guy carries a gun. It shows the hypocrisy that still plagues us,” Gary blurted out like his soul was on fire. If this is what the first few hours with Jason were like, then the next few days would be mighty interesting.
They weren’t the freedom riders of yesteryear. They weren’t riding a mixed bus so all people would get treated the same. They were on opposite sides of the electorate, the Liberal and the Conservative. One was raised on racism and inferiority, the other with love, peace and acceptance. Their unity needed to be constructed to show the worlds white people, that yes, the world was kodachrome.
The world is darker, gayer and a lot more connected than ever before. Maybe this trip into the heart of the southern strategy, was just what the world needed to upend its self-fulfilling prophesy.
“I’ll call my uncle and tell him we’ll be there in two days. We can switch off driving, and take turns picking music and rolling joints. This trip will go by in no time,” Gary deduced. He figured he might as well fill his mind with joy, before fear stole his last shred of goodness. “This is one for the ages. We’ll show them they just can’t abduct anybody they want to test. I don’t know who’s behind this, but when we find out, we’ll put their social engineering straight in the toilet. It shouldn’t be too foreign a concept for them, their brains got flushed a long time ago.”
As Jason and Gary shared one more laugh, one of many on their way to Alabama, Ridell and his friends were preparing the lab for Jason’s ultimate arrival.
“Do you think that shit head is coming?” Ridell sarcastically queried to the woman standing in the shadows, who called all the shots. “Do you think he’ll actually follow that note? After the million times we’ve told him to stay away, now we expect him to walk straight into a trap he knows is a trap?”
The doctor who witnessed Ridell’s harangue knew he was paid to test a drug, and not ask questions. The light in this underground bunker converted into a mad scientist’s laboratory, was buzzing with excitement. The gentle hum of the giant fluorescents would make anybody think it was day time even in the middle of the night.
“You have anything to say doctor?” Ridell interrogated. He didn’t trust the doctor. He didn’t trust anybody except himself. Whether the plan was to control the population through the health care system, or to just make people the perfect worker bees, he loved it either way. “Have any other smart ass questions?”
“Right now, no. Only, please call me Phil. My brother’s name is Billy Bob, and I don’t want to be associated with anything close to that name.”
“Billy Bob, are you serious?” Ridell snickered.
The supermodel beautiful boss lady, wore a confidence that she controlled everything. Since most nightmares were created with her inspiration, she started demanding. “Make sure this fucking doctor does what he’s paid for. We need this drug finished. We need to be able to test it on Jason when he gets here.
We want to bring him to the brink of death with the same poison we used on my bitch daughter. We’ll bring him back with the patented miracle drug we have. Glaxo Smith Kline was a great example of this with Tamiflu. I want to do the same thing, but on a nationwide scale.”
“Wasn’t Tamiflu done on a nationwide scale, hell even worldwide?” Ridell knew questioning the boss was never a good idea. He figured if it made their goals easier to acheive, he had nothing to lose.
“That’s true. We’re using it to make the peasant population bend to our will, but also the entire government apparatus. If we really want to create the country signified on that lapel pin you’re wearing, we have to tear everything down first. If we can’t tear it down, we have to make it unrecognizable. People will follow out of fear. Propaganda will be our friend.”
“That sounds a little like Hitler,” Ridell quantified. He was scared, but also anxiously excited to remake the country. If he was gonna help take over the world, via a comic book super villain, he needed to trust the woman who signed his paycheck. He knew all women weren’t evil, just the ones who wanted to destroy everything. He could use that to bring people to their side. “Just don’t call this the fourth Reich or something.”
“Take something from those creepy Germans? No way. Besides, I don’t want to gas people and burn them alive. I want them to be a docile and productive workforce, which will make me and mine tons of money.”
“I can take care of the ones that step out of line,” Ridell hesitatingly offered. He had made it out of just as many impossible situations as Jason. He just didn’t know if he’d end up dead, before he was able to see the glory of the master plan.
“That’s a good idea. If you play your cards right, you can be the new President’s chief of staff. You can return to Washington to serve, while taking out our enemies. I’m going to visit our candidate right now, I’ll put in a good word for you.”
“Please, I’ll do whatever I can. Especially if it ends with me pissing on the lifeless corpse of that wannabe hero Jason.” Ridell rattled off the recurring dream he had ever since he was booted from office.
The woman who would soon run the world strolled out of the secret bunker through a personal door, like she was already running the world. The doctor turned to Ridell for further direction.
“What should I do next?” Phil wondered with apprehension, unsure of his path forward. He was beginning to question his very existence. Was he taking part in ushering in the apocalypse?
“Just keep the patient stable. We need Jason to arrive before the final tests can be run. The boss lady is having me run this part of the operation now. She has to meet with our puppet to ensure our longevity and continued money making ventures.
These peasants won’t know what hit them. Actually they will, because we’ll tell them. When they go to the doctor, they’ll go to one of our friendlies, who’ll treat them how we want them treated. The poison will mix into the water system, making people extremely sick. Some will die, but all will be affected. Thanks to the infinitely deep pockets of our funders, we’ve bought up all the hospitals and medical professionals in our initial testing area. Some came of their own volition, and some were persuaded through charitable donations and mandatory board seats.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Phil began to wonder if Ridell had a screw loose, or was just that evil. “What’s the purpose?”
“I figured somebody should know what’s going on, in case the whole thing blows up in her face. It has before, and very spectacularly I might add. In fact this Jason guy we’re waiting on, has undermined her operations for the last good chunk of time.”
The doctor uneasily shifted his hands in and out of his lab coat. He didn’t know what to say, should he start working? He knew he was being paid handsomely, more than double the highest salary he ever received. Still, he had his doubts. He didn’t want to be solely responsible for the downfall of the greatest country on earth. “While I appreciate you letting me know, does this mean you’ll kill me if something goes wrong or if I step out of line?”
“Did you expect anything less? Did you think you were being magically paid tons of money, so you could legally be employed by a super rich person, to fix things for other super rich people?”
The laughter emanating from this underground lab would have shaken the earth had it been above ground. Maybe this Ridell guy was okay. Maybe he was going to lead them straight to hell. Whatever was going to happen, Phil was eager to find out.
“Give patient zero more of that stuff to keep her sleeping. We want to make sure she’s completely out and looks dead when Jason shows up. We want him to think we have the only thing that will save her. For us to give her the antidote, he’ll have to help us. I know you want to slice into her, and see from the inside what this stuff can do. For now, just monitor her vitals.”
“You got it. Anything else?”
“Actually yes, you’re a doctor, and your name is Phil? Your name is Doctor Phil?”
“Yeah yeah, it’s so funny right. Go ahead, get it all out.” Phil acquiesced because he had been ridiculed ever since Oprah made a previously unknown doctor famous. He then took the fame and stopped being a real doctor, to just play one on TV.
“That’s awesome. Anyway, give me a ring when he shows up.”
“You expect me to stop him? I’m a real doctor. I haven’t taken full advantage of the fame you’ve given me yet. Where are you going?”
“None of your business where I’m going I’ll be back soon. I have to take care of something. Just keep an eye on the patient, and monitor her. I’ll have our security force, cameras and spy satellites monitor their movements,” Ridell ordered with an authority he hadn’t felt since his days in Washington. He needed this operation to happen seamlessly. Whether or not the world was destroyed, he wanted to walk through the halls of Washington one more time before they blew the whole thing up.
“Just one more question. Why do you want the one guy who has foiled your operations so many times, to come directly into the eye of our storm? Aren’t you afraid he’ll just mess things up again?”
“That’s always a possibility, Jason has shown great resiliency in the past. This time is different though, because he’ll have a choice, save the world, or save his woman. He was lonely for a long time before he met the one woman who could make his soul sing. He’d never want to give that up. He’d never want to return to those lonely nights wondering if the right woman would ever come along. It would stop all his progress in its tracks, and would cause him to question his existence. He’ll do what we ask. The last place on this unforgiving earth he wants to return to is that place. Besides, don’t you need his DNA to make the final formula work?”
“What do you know about formulas?”
“Just shut up and do what you’re told. I’ll be back soon. Do your job, and you can continue to exist,” Ridell bellowed as he stormed out. The heavy steel door closed ever so gently, no matter how hard Ridell tried to slam it.
“Jason doesn’t have the same DNA as patient zero, why would we need his to make it work?” doctor Phil muttered under his breath. Were they creating a designer virus? If he was being tasked with combining different DNAs into one strand, that was impossible. If all this was an elaborate excuse to get their arch nemesis out of the way, that was a story that held water.
Three days, countless joints and jokes later, Jason and his unlikely companion Gary approached what would be the beginning of their battle for humanity. Although the battle’s extent wasn’t known yet, Jason knew the more they were open, the more obvious the signs became. The path they were supposed to take would illuminate, shining for the whole world so they could travel it as well.
“Daddy, are we there yet? Jason joked. He was comfortable that his new accomplice was down for the cause. “I have to pee, and I’m hungry.”
“Now son, if you’re a good little boy I’ll get you some ice cream. I may even get you a burger at the place you like so you could play in the playground,” Gary bantered back. He adjusted his now sweat soaked confederate flag hat, which appeared worn down since he and Jason set off on their trek. It could be a sign of things to come.
Gary’s hat was coming apart, because the ideas that introduced its hate and ignorance were coming apart. Even though Gary was always told that Blacks, Jews, Mexicans and Asians were causing the downfall of America, he never fully believed it. He listened to it, but he also knew that news stories were crafted to give the audience what they wanted to know, not what they needed to know.
“Congratulations on not calling me dirty Jew this whole drive. It must have taken a lot of courage,” Jason cautiously ridiculed. He knew that messing with Gary was part of learning respect, and of keeping each other on their toes. Jason wasn’t fully confident in the strategy his brain was telling him was the right path forward. His heart was telling him to run a hundred miles an hour in the opposite direction.
“I could say the same to you. It’s been great you haven’t called me a dirty Redneck,” Gary replied with caring for his new friend, yearning for mutual understanding.
Jason and Gary shared a hearty laugh, while simultaneously rapping each other on the shoulder. This was something all guys did as a sign of respect. It was all a part of the learning experience.
“Are we almost there yet now?” Jason questioned, realizing he left Gary open for another witty retort.
“Actually, we are. My uncle’s place is only ten more miles,” Gary honestly answered.
Jason fully expected Gary to continue with the bash fest. It’s what he would’ve done. The partnership Jason was hoping for began to blossom, as the importance of their mission filled the air.
The lifted pickup known as a grow dozer in the Humboldt hills, had been rolling down the road for three straight days and nights. Only stopping for food, gas and to pee, Gary and Jason were anxious to see what was in-store for them.
Jason wondered what other people would be brought into his path. Would Aaron or Bryan spring out of the woodworks at the right moment, to help stop whatever evil thing the Entities were planning? Would Jay, Marty and Tim provide troops to defend the inherent goodness of human beings, when the full power of the Entities came down on their heads? Would Christina live through the whole experiment? Would they be able to wake her up?
Before Jason vocalized the million questions streaming though his head, Gary spoke. “I might have just met you, but I can tell when you’re spinning out of control. You’re passionate for positive and collective change, and so am I. Let’s make sure our women are okay of course. Let’s also make sure these bastards don’t steal the world away from good and honest people.” Gary took a deep breath before continuing.
“We’re the ones with the real power, theirs is illusion. Together we can show all of those fucking assholes we mean business. We’ll keep coming back until we succeed, our numbers growing exponentially in the process. Critical mass will make the difference. If we could get even ten percent of the country on our side, we could do a lot with 30 million people.”
The smile that appeared on Jason’s weary, but intensely hopeful face, was as apparent as the Entities need for control. It was as if the Entities’ passion for doing evil, was at the same level of those on the other side who wanted to do good. That was the polarities of intention. “Man, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I can’t wait to get started.”
“Good, because we’re about to pull up at my uncle’s place,” Gary identified. The giant Chevy truck had exited the freeway, making a right turn on Robert E Lee Blvd. Not that the truck was driving itself, because it definitely wasn’t. Self-driving cars hadn’t reached that capability. The passion that drove these two unlikely heroes was piloting their journey, and playing out through their bodies.
Gary pulled into the driveway of a modest two bedroom house at the end of a cul-de-sac. The trees and bushes screamed pre-planned and gentrified neighborhood Jason thought. This was one synchronicity he couldn’t ignore, not when the fate of his love and the world hung in the balance.
Huge confederate flags hung from the eaves, and squash liberal stupidity bumper stickers adorned the two white trucks in the driveway. It reminded Jason of walking into that anti-immigrant rally with Bryan all those years ago. He felt like they were walking into the belly of the beast, the heart of the enemy. Jason and Bryan ended up hearing truth from a supposed enemy, who ended up helping them in the end. Jason knew his mind should continue to open, even if his body language was hesitant. He proceeded to slowly climb down from the truck.
“You coming slow poke? My uncle said he’d have some crawfish waiting for us. It has been a while since I’ve seen him. When I told him I was coming with a friend, he insisted on making something special,” Gary bantered.
“Did you say crawfish?” Jason answered excitedly. “I love crawfish.”
“Well, come on. I informed my uncle a little bit of what happened, but better we tell him in person. He sweeps his house three times a day for bugs. We don’t want anybody to hear what we’ll be discussing.”
The gentleman Jason met as he walked out of the hospital looked just as scared as him. Gary happened to be just the person Jason was looking for, even though he didn’t know it; kind of like putting himself in the right place at the right time without knowing it.
As Jason followed Gary to the door, he looked around to see if anybody followed them. Was this where his life was leading? Would he have to turn people around who didn’t think like him? Would he receive help in turning around other people who didn’t think like him?
When Gary opened the door, things clicked. Jason saw who was on the other side of the door, and things began to cosmically make sense.
“Jason meet my uncle, Billy Bob.”
“We’ve met before, how you doing man? You ready to continue the fight? You ready to show these shitheads the little people with no power really have all the power?” Jason proudly questioned.
“I’ve prepared for it all my life, especially since you turned me around. You showed me how that militia was steering me in the exact opposite direction I wanted to go. Am I ready, hell yeah I’m ready. I wasn’t expecting you to show up on my doorstep, but I was expecting you at the same time.
Let’s continue what we started, and make sure New Jerusalem, doesn’t become the United Entities of America.”
The soul of the American experiment had been hanging in the balance, since people at the top realized they couldn’t control the masses. Would all those immigrants, with their different beliefs and different clothes change the American dream? Did the elites feel their iron grip of control slipping away thousands of years? Would the poor finally rise up?
“What’s up man, how you been?” Billy Bob graciously inquired of Jason, with a smile reserved for a long lost friend. “How’s Christina? How have you been making out since Jerusalem, or should I say, old Jerusalem?”
“That’s actually what brings Gary and I here,” Jason replied. His apprehension was intuitive of the incoming darkness that would befall not only them, but the entire country. “They took Christina.”
Billy Bob stood silently for a second, and thought about the uprising that should have taken place 160 years earlier. “Come on in you guys, sounds like we have a lot of planning to do.”
Gary followed Jason into the modestly stuccoed 1950’s starter home. Besides the confederate flags, framed pictures of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, and the make America great again signs randomly spread around, it was the epitome of suburban living.
Ever since the unions were busted, and the city centers gentrified into segregated ghettos according to income level, the country was in dire need of change.
“Hey uncle, you have anything to drink? I could use some alcoholic peace of mind after our long drive,” Gary expressed. His caring, but ready for anything uncle wasn’t going to give the elites one inch of breathing room.
“Sit down before you blow a fuse man, I’ll grab some drinks, we have a lot to talk about,” Billy Bob graciously offered. His gentile smile motioned for Gary and Jason to follow him to the living room. “These couches have held many meetings to solve the world’s problems. We must now actually solve those problems before they engulf the world.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” agreed Jason. He could really use a smoke more than a drink, but who was he to judge. Christina was in a trap, and he was being lured there. Since Jason’s unlikely hero Billy Bob saved his hide last time, one more round was just what the doctor ordered. “What happened to you after you were taken…?”
Billy Bob disappeared into the kitchen, and didn’t hear what Jason vocalized under his breath. It was picked up however, by the ever vigilant ears of Gary.
“My uncle was taken? That’s a story I want to hear. He always took other people,” Gary exclaimed with much surprise. He was hyper aware of his uncle’s militia past, and what would be considered crimes in any civilized society. If this commie liberal became friends with his redneck uncle, Gary and Jason must be headed in the right direction.
“I’ll have to save that story for his return.” Jason shifted uneasily on the well-worn, but heavenly comfortable couch on which he and Gary were perched. The discussions that happened around Billy Bob’s mahogany and beer stained coffee table, were always lively and raucos, with a very conservative bent.
“Here you guys go,” Billy Bob handed the guys each an ice cold bottle of Coors Light, and sat down on the opposite side of the divided living room. “What’s this all about? You said Christina was taken?”
Jason knew Billy Bob saved him and Christina with his quick knife skills, was that how he escaped the Entities’ clutches? What about the Mossad? Did Marty and David discover that Billy Bob was literally a life saver, and decide to let him go? “Yes, Christina was taken.”
“My woman was taken too,” Gary added. He saw Jason needed a respite from his self-imposed bullet train of thought. “Sharon and I were hanging out at the house after she got off work. She said it’d be a good idea to alternate water with all the beers we were drinking. Since I didn’t need to coax her with alcohol to get her into bed, I agreed water would be a good idea.”
“She got abducted after drinking a glass of water? Get on with it man, I know this guy Jason. If he’s here, he’ll stop at nothing to get Christina back. Get to the point already,” Billy Bob impatiently admitted. The radical change Jason and Billy Bob endured was evolving, and made them better men. The confederate flags and decorations might take time to overcome, but that was his heritage, or so Billy Bob thought.
Jason smiled because he witnessed the same fire Billy Bob displayed when he and Christina were abducted by New Jerusalem. Wasn’t Billy Bob leading New Jerusalem Jason pondered? Wasn’t he the one who probably gave the orders to abduct Jason and Christina in the first place? How could he be trusted? Was the castration Billy Bob performed on an attempted rapist, a one night only performance?
“Okay, okay, I’m getting on with it,” Gary paused for another minute. He took a big swig of the silver bullet, which made his hand red from the condensation. “Did you just pull these from the ice box? Damn they’re cold.”
“Jason and I might not agree on much politically, but we know what’s right, and what’s wrong. That’s why I helped him. How do I know you’ll help us?” Billy Bob wondered of Gary while winking at Jason. He was telling him in no uncertain terms, that he had Jason’s back, and could always be trusted. “Finish the story, so we can go after whoever did this.”
Jason winked back at Billy Bob knowing even if they couldn’t agree on everything, they could agree on the important things. This meeting was part of letting all the built up bullshit fade away. Part of that bullshit was the confederate flags and civil war regalia. They promoted a time when a whole race of people were pegged as inferior. Now was the time to see if Gary was on the same page.
“Are you saying you don’t trust me? You’re my family. This guy is some communist sympathizer who happened to be at the same hospital I was, complaining his woman was taken just like mine,” Gary blurted all in one breath. How could his uncle side with somebody who wasn’t his family, not his kind, and probably not even his skin color? “You’re going to take this guy’s side over mine?”
“Relax nephew, damn, what’s your problem? You both came here looking for help because his and your girlfriends were abducted. We’re going to figure out why. Are you afraid of him because he believes differently than you, or might say something you don’t like? Well grow the fuck up you little baby. This is a global struggle for the goodness of humanity. Have you forgotten what that’s like? Do you even know what it means to take care of your fellow man?” Billy Bob erupted like his dog was threatened. He hadn’t sat down after giving the guys their beers, but he probably couldn’t if he tried.
Gary jumped up faster than somebody realizing they were holding a winning lottery ticket. Would he have to punch his uncle? “You don’t even know this guy. He obviously doesn’t believe any of this shit. He’s different and he’s wrong. I don’t know why the hell I even brought him here.”
Jason sat motionless, unable to get a word in edgewise. He didn’t understand why Gary felt so threatened all of a sudden. He didn’t mention once being threatened by Jason during their 3 day car ride to Alabama, even when they smoked a joint, and sniped about how their women drove them crazy. Of course, Jason has learned many things during his decade of chasing unknown things into the unknown for unknown reasons with unknown outcomes. Jason’s biggest lesson, you can’t guess what’s coming down the line. You have to pay attention to what’s presently in front of you.
Gary and Billy Bob were venomously screaming at each other, standing so close their noses were touching. Spit flew out of each other’s mouths simultaneously, almost landing on each other. Jason was getting images of baseball managers arguing with umpires. They could be society’s umpires, calling balls and strikes to make sure nobody was called out who didn’t deserve it.
Jason flashbacked to Billy Bob, the Mossad, and what started the Jerusalem adventure. It was sprinkling rain as they immersed themselves in Billy Bob’s suburban Disneyland. The Sky’s ominous darkness reflected Jason’s shock of seeing somebody he never thought he’d see again. Jason knew not to get involved in family disputes if he wanted to leave with all his teeth. He kicked his shoes off, and started making fists with his extra wide feet in the plush brown and tan carpet. The screaming was growing more heated, so he went outside to get some fresh air.
The Alabama sky was black with storm clouds that were metaphorically and physically forming in front of them. As sunny skies began to poke through, a beautiful rainbow shined bright as the morning sun right in front of Jason. What a sign he thought. When things looked like they couldn’t get any darker, he let go. The rainbow was a symbol that things would always get brighter, but only if he allowed it first.
Fully rejuvenated, Jason returned inside the oak door that featured a Make America Great Again sign. Ripping it off and tearing it to shreds was his first thought. Instead, he walked in, making sure he’d do the ripping at a later date. The more pressing issue was pointing out to two alpha males that beauty was on the horizon, they just had to recognize it.
“Are you ladies done catfighting yet? I want to eat some crawfish before you two start flinging beer bottles at each other. Follow me outside real quick, I want to show you something,” Jason erupted. The inability to compromise was one of the many reasons the country was in dire straits. To break that cycle, he wanted to provide a metaphor to Gary and Billy Bob that put things in perspective.
“What is it, tell me?” questioned Gary. Why did he let Jason in his car back in California? Did his girlfriend get taken? Was he trying to convince himself that the woman he brought to the hospital was actually his girlfriend? Was he simply administering his well-worn self-sabotage? That could be why Jason and he got along right off the bat. They both knew what it’s like to tear themselves down.
“Just come outside and see for yourself.”
Jason led Gary and Billy Bob onto the front lawn, and pointed at the sky. “You see that, you assholes? No matter how dark it gets, no matter how much bullshit you fling at each other, there’s always beauty in the world; no matter how much you try to stop collective forward progress. We just have to open up our fucking blinded eyes and look. Fuck.”
Billy Bob never witnessed Jason with such fury. Was this the passion they needed to finally upend the paradigm that kept them all down. “Wow, that’s an amazing rainbow man, so bright and vibrant,” Billy Bob admitted.
“Yeah, woo hoo, a beautiful rainbow. Are you sure that isn’t the international bat symbol that the gays are taking over,” Gary spewed, because spewing was what he knew best. He was pissed at the connection that Jason and his uncle had, which pulled his uncle away from the same old thinking.
“What the hell is your problem man?” Billy Bob continued to get in the face of his nephew, ready to throw down on the front lawn.
Residents on the block started peeking out their windows. Since the volume of the conversation rose exponentially, Jason thought he should use some of the conflict resolution Christina taught him.
“Look, I brought you outside because I wanted to show you beauty comes in all forms, and usually in the way we least expect. I came here to rescue my Christina, and stop these God damn Entities from doing whatever they’re planning. If they want to poison a pipeline, then we’ll stop them. If they want to put another friendly in the white house to take the country backwards, then we’ll stop them.
I brought you out here to look at this rainbow. It’s something random that only appears for a short time. If we’re lucky enough to see it, we can permanently enter it into our memory banks. We can use it to focus our energy toward the places it needs to go. So God damn it for the last time, look at the rainbow, see how beautiful it is. Realize there are things much more important in life, than screaming at somebody who’s always been there for you. Let’s go back inside and see what we can do about the God damn government.”
The fire erupting from Jason’s soul was something that could have castrated more than two people. He knew it was never good to let your brain spin out of control. Since he didn’t have Christina to help him focus, he wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. Although like his dream, once the soldiers slowed down to see the beauty of the sky, they stopped fighting, and realized they were all members of the human race.
Jason stormed into the house like he owned the place, slamming the screen door behind him. Billy Bob and Gary stood motionless on the front stoop. They were stunned that somebody they didn’t know and didn’t agree with, told them how it was in black and white; and it actually made sense.
“Who the hell is that guy?” Gary wondered with lowering animosity. “He sure is pissed.”
“He might be pissed, but I’ve never met somebody with as much tenacity for doing the right thing. He showed me we can’t let our ignorance of others, and the fear of a slippery slope, get the best of us. If we view people as we view ourselves, we’ll witness everybody struggling for happiness. We won’t solve any problems, until we dig up the roots,” Billy Bob blurted out with the full throated passion Jason cultivated. A soul can be asleep for only so long Billy Bob thought, before it wakes up famished.
“Jeez okay, he does seem down for the cause. What cause that is, I’m not sure. We should steer him toward ours,” Gary cleverly returned.
“Are you dense? His cause is our cause, it’s everybody’s cause. We don’t like the government because it controls everybody. He doesn’t like the government because he doesn’t want to control everybody. We can always negotiate on the severity of the rule making. Anyway, let’s go back inside. I think we’ll be able to think clearly once we get some crawfish in us.”
Gary followed his uncle back in the house, where Jason was planted on the couch with a grin.
“What’re you smiling about? Christina is still in trouble. Judging by the last time that happened, you shouldn’t be smiling,” Billy Bob fired back. He cared about Jason, but worried how far Jason would go in the wrong direction if he thought it was the right one.
“I’m smiling because not only are you two going to help me get Christina back, but you’ll eventually help me rebuild society. Besides, I love me some crawfish, I’m really excited, I haven’t had any in a long time. Let’s eat a few dozen, and see what solutions introduce themselves,” Jason exclaimed, hunger oozing out of his corneas.
“That sounds good to me. I always think better on a full stomach anyway,” Gary replied. He wasn’t sure of Jason’s motivations, but if his love of crawfish equaled his love for doing the right thing, then Jason was alright.
Billy Bob ushered them into the kitchen where a giant pot was boiling. The essence of Cajun spiced shellfish permeated every nook and cranny of not only the kitchen, but the entire house. Was that the point though? Love must permeate the earth before people realize it had always been there. They just had to grab it, without monumental effort every time they felt disillusioned.
The four foot round table was covered with a red and white table cloth, that looked like a 50s housewife picked it out. Many things were from the fifties around Billy Bob’s home Jason thought. The table cloth that time forgot was covered in plastic.
“What’s the plastic for? I know we’re pigs, but damn,” Jason snickered. He knew laughter always had a way to poke through any hardened exterior. That was how he could poke holes through southern glorification, the real reasons the civil war ended, and why reconstruction failed. “How messy do you think I am?”
“I’m messy, we’re all messy. This is tradition, part of me showing you what we’re all about down here,” Billy Bob answered.
“Your traditions are why they brought Christina down here. It’s why the headquarters of their new candidate is down here. It’s why the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end will also happen here. That’s what we have to figure out.”
“Does he always talk in paragraphs that don’t make sense?” Gary joked. Animosity toward the new comer was softening, and brotherly banter returned.
“He’s definitely long winded. If you heard what he said though, he’s trying to poke through the bullshit. He’s trying to help us get past all the crap we’ve been battling for generations. Anyway, let’s eat,” Billy Bob supportively stated. He poured the pot of boiling water with the crawfish into the biggest strainer Jason ever saw. You could strain 5 pounds of pasta through that thing he thought, or tons of crawfish.
It took Billy Bob a few pours to get all the crawfish out of the 5 gallon pot. Once he did, Jason knew what was coming next.
“I’m more ready for this than anything in my life. Well maybe a Cuban sandwich,” Jason flashbacked to simpler times. Not simpler, just earlier. There comes a time when everybody must allow their previous experiences to push them forward, not hold them back.
“A Cuban sandwich, that was out of left field. Besides, what makes a Cuban sandwich different from an American sandwich or a sandwich from anywhere else?” Gary piped up.
“That my friend, I hope I can call you my friend, is another story for another day. Right now, let’s gorge ourselves on some good food. It’ll get our minds moving in the right direction,” Jason added. He was starting to feel like one of the family. This connection was something he knew would serve him well down the line.
Billy Bob’s arms were about to fall off from the sheer weight of the delicious crustaceans he lovingly prepared. They were practically overflowing the strainer, so he dumped it on the table.
“So primal, I love it. You even have a bucket in the middle of the table for the shells, perfect.” Jason knew southern people weren’t all redneck kooks. Like everybody, they belonged to one side or the other. Just like how Jews and Palestinians didn’t believe monolithically, he knew southern people didn’t either.
The foot high mountain of crawfish in front of them, made Jason’s mouth water. He loved crawfish at restaurants when he was younger, as well as fishing for them in the lake as a kid. This time was different. This time, they were made how they had been for hundreds of years. Just like how they’d find their escape from the abyss that had been ingrained for hundreds of years.
For the next hour they ate and burped, and burped and ate. Shells flew by in rapid succession, showing each of the trio’s passion about their crawfish. “You deal with those pretty good for a Yankee,” Billy Bob interjected before he shoved more crawfish entrails in his mouth. “You like the meat, but do you suck the juices out of the head?”
As Billy Bob and Gary were about to simultaneously demonstrate the technique, Jason beat them to it. He snapped open the tail like a pro, and sucked all the deliciousness out. An acquired taste he thought, but one he was glad he acquired.
“Maybe you aren’t so bad after all,” Gary noticed. He was glad this Yankee was sharing their table, but he was still weary.
“Maybe I’m not,” Jason commented. He winked at Gary, causing Billy Bob to smile.
They shoveled in as many crawfish as their stomachs could hold, and then ten more. Afterward they all leaned back in wooden, but very sturdy chairs. They were satisfied, or as much as they thought they could be. Whether or not they were willing to admit it, they were about to be tested on how much they thought they knew about what they wanted.
Witnessing Jason’s out of control thoughts winding up, Billy Bob knew what it took to put Jason’s mind at ease.
“Why don’t we go out back for a smoke, I’m sure we could all use one. It’ll ease our minds so they continue in the right direction as we move forward,” Billy Bob stated. He held up a perfectly rolled joint that would have made Christina proud.
How fitting to smoke a joint that could have been rolled by Christina, while they plan how to get her back. The irony might have been lost on Jason before, but never again. The last few tense moments in Jerusalem proved that.
“Ahhh, now you’re speaking my language,” Jason admitted, falling over himself to get out the back door.
Before Billy Bob followed him out, Gary held his arm up and stopped him just short. “Are you sure we can trust this long haired hippie?”
“That long haired hippie has more soul and passion in his pinky finger, than anybody I’ve ever met. We’ll decide how to rescue his girlfriend, but this is about so much more than that. You should have seen the people who showed up to rescue him the last time. He has the world’s most feared spy agency on his side. There is a lot about this man that can be used for good, and building us all up,” Billy Bob expressed from the bottom of his soul.
“Since when did you care about building people up who aren’t white?” Gary snidely queried. He knew the beliefs his uncle held his entire life. Gary didn’t believe he could just eject them automatically, abandoning everything his family and community collectively believed.
“Maybe I’ve seen the error of my ways. Maybe I’ve been switching my emotions from hate to love, because I can get ahead when we all get ahead. The people who have been holding down the disenfranchised will lag far behind.”
“Are you guys coming? I really want to smoke that joint. I hope its good green bud number 9, we need the highest number we can get,” Jason sneeringly yelled through the screen door. Whether Gary and Billy Bob realized Jason heard them, Jason didn’t know. The future of the planet rested on pulling people like Gary and Billy Bob around.
“We’re coming, hold your horses. We know all long hairs love weed. You can teach us about that, while we teach you about other stuff,” Gary inserted. Maybe this Jason guy wasn’t so bad. If they could learn from each other, maybe it would lead them all out of the darkness.
Billy Bob held open the screen door for Gary, as they walked into the squared off backyard together. There was a swimming pool, and some flowers and bushes lining the outside edge of a well-manicured lawn.
While Gary and Billy Bob finished their conference, Jason noticed this yard was the same as many he had seen, but with one glaring difference.
“This is one beautiful yard, but some might find it intimidating to see a swastika burned into the grass. What the fuck man?” Jason exclaimed. He wasn’t threatened. He knew there was a deeper meaning for everything, but his soul wouldn’t let him rest on this one.
“I figured you’d ask me about that, considering the Mossad rescued you.” Billy Bob knew Jason was Jewish. He also knew what some in his neighborhood thought about Jews, as well as Blacks, Gays and Mexicans. Was that the real reason Jason showed up.
“You sure that’s not your drunken lawn art?” Gary ridiculed. He knew the racist beliefs his uncle held in the past, and for all he knew still did. “If you don’t remember doing it, how do you know you did?”
“Do you even understand what you just said? Let’s just sit down, and smoke this perfectly rolled doobie. We can discuss where we go from here,” Billy Bob demanded. He was tired of Gary appealing to his imbedded racism. Some of those dark beliefs were still there, but Billy Bob knew from recent experience, once you’re open to new thoughts, it changes old ones.
The three of them sat on a bench that could have been stolen out of Central Park. Was it was purchased from the Walmart Central Park collection? Whatever the store, Jason knew it didn’t matter. Given all the synchronicities they followed to get where they were, he knew there was more to this swastika than some redneck’s drunken lawn art. People might be racist he thought, but who’d mess up their own beautiful yard with something so ugly?
Billy Bob held the joint between his lips, and put the lighter to the end of it. After the heavenly smoke started emanating, Jason got the feeling good times were ahead. He just hoped the amount of bad times didn’t outweigh them.
“Ahhh, this is tasty, I grew it myself out in the hills. My grandpop made moonshine back when alcohol was illegal, and this was still legal,” Billy Bob remarked, as he passed the doobie to Jason.
“It is definitely good, don’t know if I’ve ever had weed grown in the South. Well none that wasn’t from Mexico, and that stuff was gross,” Jason laughed at the incrediblely low quality of the weed he grew up on in Southern California. He took two more puffs before passing it to Gary. “So, about your new lawn decoration?”
“Yes, You being Jewish I thought you’d notice that pretty quickly,” Billy Bob honestly stated. He was concerned Jason would storm out of the house, and look for his own, less racist solution for rescuing Christina.
“Of course I noticed it. It was the first thing I saw when I walked out the backdoor. You showed more than an ounce of decency the last time we saw each other, I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt,” Jason hesitantly returned.
Gary was thoroughly enjoying the back and forth between his Uncle and the newcomer. He took a few more hits before passing the joint back to his Uncle. He lit a cigarette while his uncle told the story of this new decoration. He hoped it wasn’t a tall tale, but he wasn’t sure. He decided to just sit back and enjoy the show.
“Well?” Jason repeated, hoping Billy Bob wasn’t stalling. The clouds which lightened up just enough for the earlier rainbow, had now darkened till they were practically black.
“After the people who took me from the New Jerusalem compound realized I helped you, they released me. They went on to say Jews over the years had many unlikely allies, and they couldn’t ignore another one. Anyway, when I got back, all I wanted was to enjoy a beer in my backyard. I knew the people paying my group were pissed. I made the New Jerusalem mission fail by letting prisoners go, who always throw a monkey wrench in their business.”
“Maybe you aren’t so bad after all,” Gary threw in, amidst the Marlboro smoke that engulfed his face.
“Maybe you aren’t bad either, but that’s still to be determined,” Jason bantered. He knew back and forth shit giving earned him respect in the past, so he figured he’d resume testing that theory. “Continue Billy Bob.”
“As I was saying, I got home and all I wanted was a cold beer. I grabbed a silver bullet from the fridge I always keep well stocked, and walked out to the backyard. I wanted to sit on this very bench, and enjoy the peace and quiet so I could process what happened.
As I wearily sat down, I looked up and saw that symbol burned into the lawn. I could still smell the accelerant they used, so I knew it couldn’t have been that old.”
“Was there any note, or clue of who might have done it?” Jason inquired with concern.
“No note, but given previous history I can guess why they did it,” Billy Bob recalled. He remembered times in the past when he gave such warnings. However, he never thought he’d be the subject of one. “They view me as a Jew lover.”
“Really, that shit still goes on down here?” Jason wondered, but not with total with surprise. “I knew many out of touch beliefs remain, but I thought most of the blatant stuff was squashed.”
“That’s what a lot of people want to believe about our racist actions in the past, that things like this don’t happen anymore. Churches are still burned to the ground, while crosses and swastikas are still burned on people’s lawns as you can see. It might not be the times of Jim Crow anymore, but just because they don’t take a happy group photo in front of somebody dangling from a tree, doesn’t mean lynchings don’t still happen. This swastika is a sign, a sign of bad things to come if I don’t change my ways,” Billy Bob remarked with fear. He knew how much he scared others in the past when they did things he didn’t like. If somebody employed illegals, had too many black friends, or even liked a gay actor, he’d be the first person to let them know.
“Just because you change laws, doesn’t mean you change peoples’ attitudes and emotions. It’s what ruined the hopes of reconstruction, and the hopes of the civil rights movement a hundred years later. We needed laws passed, because some people won’t do things unless they’re forced.
More effort should have been made to show how we’re all human. When we think others are inferior, it’s because we think we’re inferior ourselves,” Jason exploded. He wanted to show Gary he was a man on a mission. He could help, or Gary could get the hell out of his way. “The fact that I’m here now, confirms the suspicions of the people that did this.”
“That’s true, whatever suspicions they had are probably true. Who the hell knows? You know what else, who the hell cares?” Billy Bob echoed. The three unlikely friends felt they could really trust each other. Even if they didn’t agree on everything, the people against them thought they did. This made them realize some people were on the wrong side of history, and some people were on the right side.
They all knew those fighting tooth and nail to stop inevitable change were on the wrong side. The wrong side however always thought they were right, until they were confronted by the moral arc of the universe.
As the collective thoughts of Jason, Gary and Billy Bob wandered, the skies grew darker. It was as if the blackness was overwhelming the sky, and trying to overwhelm their new partnership as well.
“We must find out what happened to Christina. We must discover who did this. We must stop the Entities from tearing everything down, we just need a sign,” Jason desperately uttered from the depth of his psyche.
“Sounds like the ramblings of every hippie, take another toke you stoner,” Gary interrupted. “Asking the universe to help, how stupid can you be?”
“It’s not stupid, it’s what will guide us in the right direction,” Jason fired back.
“Oh I’m so sure.”
“Well smart guy, if you don’t think so why don’t you try it? Why don’t you ask the universe for help? If nothing happens, then you’re proven right and you can laugh as hard as you want in my face. If I’m right though, than we know what we have to do,” Jason offered. He knew the key to unification, was to show people it was okay to seek help from any avenue they could.
Billy Bob was enjoying the show. He didn’t know where it was headed, but he got the feeling it was a place none of them expected.
“Fine, okay. Universe, can you help us find Christina and whoever burned this swastika into my uncle’s back yard? Come on, pretty please?” Gary questioned. He had some sincerity in his voice, but mostly contempt.
“Was that so hard?” Jason remarked.
“No, but it didn’t do any good, obviously. Do you see or hear any signs to point us in the right direction? Any other plans smart guy?” Gary volleyed.
Just as Jason was about to insert subtext into his rebuttal, the three of them heard a knock on the door.
“What was that?” Gary exclaimed like he had seen a ghost.
“How stoned are you? That was just the door, let’s go see who it is,” Billy Bob excitedly replied. He knew Jason was special, but the fact Jason had at least a clue to how the universe worked, made Jason more so.
Gary slowly followed Billy Bob and Jason back inside the house. Once they reached the front door, Billy Bob twisted the knob to find his stoop empty.
“I guess you were wrong hippie. I guess your universe skills aren’t what you thought they were,” Gary sniped. He passionately wanted to knock Jason off his high horse.
“Don’t speak too soon stupid, what’s that?” Billy Bob inquired because a piece of paper was pinned to the wall beside the door.
“You thought you could abandon me, us and our cause? You’ve lost sight of what’s really important. You’re now on the side of all the Black, Gay and Jewy things that are wrong with this country. If you want to redeem yourself, we’ll give you one chance. Bring Jason and that loser nephew of yours to our lab. Tell Jason it’s where we’re holding Christina. If he wants any chance of getting her back, he’ll have to come and give himself up. We need his DNA to complete the test of our new drug before we unleash it.
We own all the hospitals and doctors, through so many subsidiaries the world’s smartest detectives would never figure it out. We’ll fix the people how we want them fixed. We’ll create the master race a great man named Adolph once dreamed up.
You think a mystery swastika on your lawn is bad? Just wait till your house is vaporized, leaving only a crater. This is a battle for history. We will make America great again. We’ll make it great for us because this country belongs to us, not all the heathens and rats. We design what’s coming. Have no doubt we will remake the world, and usher in the new era of the United Entities of America. Just one last question, are you with us, or against us?”
Whether it’s secret labs, basements, or windowless offices, does it matter where knowledge leads, as long as it moves the human species forward? Is a trap really a trap if eyes are fixed on the long game? Is a lure still a lure, if it requires two steps back, before taking three steps forward?
Fear bled into Jason’s psyche before. Darkness overtook his soul, maliciously robbing him of his critical thinking skills. Was it about harnessing this darkness, so it led Jason in the right direction? Would it help the Entities build a master race?
“I had a feeling something like this would happen one day,” Billy Bob admitted cautiously. He didn’t know what to believe if his misconceptions were shown for the bullshit they were, all at once. It was as if the universe had other plans for him, his nephew Gary and the mysterious Jason who wandered into Gary’s life.
“You sound like me when my mind floats away,” Jason supportively added, as he stepped onto the extra wide front porch. “I know from experience that’s when we get lost in our head, we need somebody to pull us out.”
“Enough hippie talk,” Gary blasted. He didn’t want his uncle’s dilemma painted over with a broad brush, like so many on the left had done in the past. Was this a misconception he needed to leave behind?
“My hippie talk, what about your redneck-talk you fucking racist?” Jason released like his button had been pushed.
Billy Bob was forced to listen to the stereotypical ravings of Conservative vs. Liberal, which played out like a pundit’s show. Was this what life had become? Did everyone put themselves in what they thought was the right position, only to be tested with old issues and attitudes? Did they need to follow this microcosm? “Don’t you two want to know what the note said, or are you too busy bickering?”
Jason nodded. It was the first thing his worn out mind thought of, since being forced into Rebel clutches to get his angel back. Was this a bias he had to get over, specifically so he could show the world how to get over their biases? How can we truly get over something, if we don’t allow ourselves to think past what we’ve always heard?
“You lost for words? Bong resin clogging your brain?” Gary bantered like he had found his long lost friend. He had liberal buddies before, but everything reverted to primal positions within the Deep South.
“I could ask you if tobacco juice and PBR are clogging your brain, but I wouldn’t say that,” Jason exclaimed with a wink. He wanted to let Gary know, they were on a journey to find answers to deep questions. The truth seekers had begun, and were on the move. “Anyway, what does the note say Billy Bob?”
“Let’s go inside. We should make it at least a little bit harder for the people already watching and listening to us,” Billy Bob forcefully explained. He ripped the note off the wall, and led the boys back inside to plan their next move.
Was this the journey of lost souls or lost feelings? If conscious feelings led Jason to this point, what would lead him to the next one?
“Okay, okay now I’m curious, what does it say?” Gary inquired. He followed his uncle and new friend back across the stained living room carpet which had seen better days. Most stains happened because of dumb choices. “Let me guess, the note was filled with swastikas.”
“Not this time smart ass,” Billy Bob remarked. The light heartedness that engulfed Gary never made it to him. Billy Bob’s eyes scanned the words over and over looking for any clues. “It was meant for me, but it also mentions Jason.”
“What, they mentioned me, no way?” Jason sarcastically joked to snickers from Gary. They might have been on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t unite. Jason and his old friend Aaron didn’t agree on everything, but liked being in each other’s presence. They knew lessons were often learned in unexpected places. If not found, these nooks and crannies fill up with so much dirt, that it blocks anything useful.
The three unlikely amigos lounged on the well-worn, flower patterned couch. Jason knew he needed to avoid a dark back and forth. He had a strong feeling the whole thing would get darker, before light had a chance to peek out.
“Okay Billy Bob, what does it say? Does it mention Christina? Gary and I were led here because of a note. We happened to be going through the same dilemma, so we hopped in his truck to come here. Which reminds me, you haven’t mentioned your woman much, she’s real, right?” Jason’s volley was tinged with sarcasm. His respect tactic might work, and it might turn out that Gary had been fooling him the whole time.
“Of course she’s real. I’m just as worried for her, as you are for Collete?” Gary fired back.
“Christina, her name is Christina,” Jason seethed. The anger on his face was only matched by the anger in his soul. Did he need to enter the darkness to enter the light? Could a step be avoided if one knew which path to take, like a warp zone in super Mario bros? Could they skip whole levels and zoom right to the end, if they chose the right path? Was this note their warp zone?
As Gary shifted uneasily on the couch, he tried thinking of a way to inform Jason, while keeping some things hidden. “Okay okay, don’t get your panties in a bunch, you little baby.”
“Okay children, calm down, don’t make me get my belt,” Billy Bob echoed. Did kids always do their own thing, no matter how long parents droned on? Did racism get so imbedded, because parents passed onto their kids what their parents told them, because their parents told them and so on?
“Ha ha ha, a belt, you’re so funny,” Gary laughed, but only because it ended the conversation about his girlfriend. There were certain things people didn’t need to know until it was time. Like a spy movie when a villain divulges their entire plan when they think they’ve won.
“I feel like I’m back in high school,” Jason described. It was a flashback Jason thought was only in his head, but was playing out in front of his face. Could the other guys see? Did it matter as long it led them to the next step in their journey? “Sorry, felt like some acid I took in high school suddenly coursed through my spinal column. What did the note say?”
“Yes, the thing that started this spat between immature babies,” Billy Bob abruptly offered. He was so sick of everything he had been told, and was ready to accept this rude awakening. “As I was saying…”
“Actually you hadn’t yet, started saying that is,” Jason fervently interrupted Billy Bob. His interruption talent would serve him well if he harnessed it. “Are you playing referee as we sit on this couch?”
The uproarious laughter simultaneously filled their cups. Jason knew laughter was the key to letting bullshit fade away, but never failed to continually surprise him with its introduction.
“Thanks man, I needed that. Anyway, the note says I have to bring you to their lab, so they can get DNA samples. They said if I do this you’ll get Christina back, and they’ll stop messing with me anytime they feel like it,” Billy Bob illuminated. His brain contained a healthy dose of fear, mixed with monumental confusion.
“That’s pretty much the same note left on Christina’s bed. Will they really let us go afterward?” Jason hypothesized at the top of his lungs. His thoughts rose to the surface all at once. He hadn’t untied his long black hair from its ponytail since he left California. The hair tie he used, felt like it was cutting off important oxygen. “What’s the purpose of going if they aren’t going to let her go? I want her back more than anything on earth. If they’re going to kill her anyway, why should I go there just to commit suicide?”
“Very chivalrous of you, letting your lady die alone,” Gary chided. Jason needed his needle threaded. No matter how small Jason’s eyelet was, light always poked through. “Don’t you want a storybook ending?”
“Like Romeo and Juliet where we both die? What about your woman, who I still don’t know? Are you a guy who never got girls to talk to him in high school, joyfully explaining how your girlfriend lived in Canada? Conveniently nobody ever met her, but somehow she was way hotter than every other girl at school,” Jason blurted out his pent up feelings from before he met Christina. Most of Jason’s self-sabotage and self-loathing escaped when they sat under that Japanese maple. It was time to see if his and Christina’s paths would cross again.
“Don’t make me turn the hose on you two,” Billy Bob interjected as the voice of reason. He sounded just like Christina on many occasions. Was Billy Bob supposed to help Jason get over himself? If only the whole world could understand that concept, so much shit could be avoided Billy Bob thought.
“What do we do? Do you know where this lab is?” Jason hastily queried. They were sinking faster and faster into a pit of second guessing. Was their microcosm playing itself out in an even more micro way in this old southern living room?
“Yes I know where the lab is,” Billy Bob slowly answered. He wasn’t proud of many things in the past, things that might send him to hell no matter how fast he accomplished good deeds. Was this Jason and Billy Bob’s second chance?
“I almost forgot you were on the wrong team, before you joined the right one. All we need to do now is tear down your confederate flags and we’ll be golden,” Jason bantered. He was exhausted from always thinking ten steps ahead. He just needed to live for awhile. “About this lab?”
“It’s over in Atlanta. I went there with a woman once, trying to impress her after the Entities put me on their payroll,” Billy Bob forthrightly answered.
“I thought Ridell put you on his payroll with New Jerusalem,” Jason countered. He wanted to keep the facts straight. Untangling a spider web was hard enough, without a million more strings appearing after each one was pulled out. Did Jason really expect it to get easier the deeper he went?
“New Jerusalem was my group. It was my opportunity to recreate a lost way of living. Ridell offered me truckloads of money to abduct you,” Billy Bob relented, remorse dripping from his unshaven face.
Jason jumped up so fast he got light headed. Was he being struck down by himself? Was part of Jason getting out of his own way, respecting what exists? The better things got, the more consciousness was realized. The wooziness of getting out of his chair might have made Jason’s head foggy, but was slowly clearing.
“You okay man?” Gary inquired with brotherly concern.
“I’m fine, I just stood up too quick. What I don’t understand is, if I go to the lab and they have both of us, then what? Is there any way we could just rescue her? Could we convince them their plan is on track, but is actually headed in the opposite direction?” Jason mused.
“So a classic bait and switch? Like when you and your friends erased the bio-analyzer off the pipeline’s blue prints.”
Jason and Billy Bob shared a laugh that would’ve illuminated the world, if the world’s darkness hadn’t reached epic proportions.
“So you guys have previous history, even since your precious history?” Gary blurted out. He didn’t understand what he said, let alone expect the two truth seekers in front of him to understand.
“I don’t have the foggiest idea what you just said. Jason and I have met a few times. Our paths bumped into each other, precisely so we could teach each other a lesson at the exact time we needed to learn,” Billy Bob detailed. He was starting to sound like Jason himself. “We have to go into the darkness, to have a chance of reaching the light on the other side. We must specifically admit what’s wrong with the world to let it go.”
“You want to repeat that in English,” Gary snickered.
“I got this,” Jason quickly replied. He held his arm in front of Billy Bob as if to say, you had my back, now let me have yours. “It means we have to go to the lab, and turn ourselves in. We have to go fully into the darkness, to enter the light. To let things go, we have to recognize them first.
Are the people testing Christina, Nazis with white power aspirations, who’ve been power hungry their entire lives? I’d say they’re in the preliminary stages of a final solution, but that would make Hitler look good. Christina’s mom has an excellent chance to remake not only this country, but the entire world. If people aren’t willing to let go of the shit they’ve battled over for centuries, it will happen.”
Gary knew Jason was right. Attitudes don’t melt away because society changes. Was Gary luring Jason to somewhere sinister? If he didn’t know, was Gary sincerely ready for a fight that meant something? “What do we do?”
“We must worm back into a system that almost swallowed us up. We must attack them from the inside, and make sure their outsides don’t threaten all of our sides,” Jason theorized, finding it difficult to not speak philosophically. Did Jason prevent his own progress, by making himself sound smarter than he actually was? Was he turning into the adult version of the trust-afarian?
“Let me help brother,” Billy Bob offered, while watching Jason floating down a familiar existential hole. “We have to change the Entities from the inside. They had Bowman in the Whitehouse. Thanks to Jason here, that wasn’t a viable option.”
“We should actually thank the old man for taking him down, and then Marty for killing him,” Jason explained, finally feeling free to express himself. Could he get past his self-imposed roadblocks, by barreling through them with love? “They want to remake the world in their own image. Since the beginning of time, every group of power hungry crazies has espoused the same thing.”
“Their plan is more original,” Billy Bob described. Were his thoughts remnants of what used to be, or what was coming down the pike? “They installed a puppet President, and ruled by tweaking the constitution. They now want to remake the country from its foundation, and rename it something that reflects their world view.”
“They aren’t making America great again. They’re making America into what some people think is great, while others get sucked into materialism and impersonal communication. Living as we do in the Disneyland of ultimate token responses, we have to ensure nothing is remade without our say so,” Jason added.
“I agree with everything you said. We must prevent the darkness from taking complete control. Taking down a president won’t change that paradigm,” Gary bounced back. He was all for making positive changes, but he didn’t want to go on a suicide mission no matter how well intentioned. “We have to take down the entire organization. How the hell do we expect to do that? They have infinite arms, soldiers and bases, along with infinite independent agents on their payroll. How are we supposed to fight something, if we can’t fully define it? How can we end something, when we don’t know how far it goes? You know how much money and influence they have at their disposal. We have but a tiny fraction of that.”
Jason rubbed two fingers through his wild man goatee. It was his favorite way of imagining the woman who was always there for him. “While we’re about to enter the darkness, or the abyss, or any number of metaphors,” Jason uttered. He was trying to lighten the group’s load, by enlightening his own mind. Was that his problem though? Did he think too much, or not enough?
“Are you going to spit it out, or should I grab my English to weirdo dictionary?” Billy Bob released, echoing Marty.
“What were we talking about?” Jason queried because he honestly couldn’t remember.
“Instead of getting to the point, you always beat around the bush, deducing all the possible ways to soften the blow. Just speak, and we’ll listen,” Gary authentically described.
“Try this on for size. We take down the new president by taking out the organization that controls him. The only way to do that is to engage the most powerful weapon we have, numbers. If we show up in massive enough critical mass, they won’t be able to stop us.
Their whole plan is based on killing our resolve. They think if they encase us in survival mode, we won’t perservere. We upend that paradigm by showing those sons of bitches we can make a difference, by bringing all of us together,” Jason unloaded.
Gary and Billy Bob simultaneously walked over to the front window, just out of Jason’s ear shot. “What do you think, do we trust this guy? Should we follow him into this trap? I don’t know if I’m ready to die,” Gary admitted with hesitation.
“If you aren’t ready to die, you aren’t ready to live,” Billy Bob explained to his uneasy nephew. “I don’t know where this will lead or what will happen, or whether the whole damn thing will be torn down in their attempt to clean the slate. Just because we don’t know the outcome doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go for it. If we ever want to upend the façade that slaps all of us little people in the face, we have to follow him. Well, not follow per say, more like journey along side. Leaving critically thinking people like us to rebuild and reeducate the people.”
“You’ve changed uncle.”
“I haven’t changed, I’ve evolved. To get to the root of a problem, we have to dig up the roots. We can’t buy seeds from somebody who promises us they’ll grow. We need to carve our own path, forged from mutual respect. We’ve constructed an egotistical system that will end us all if we don’t stop to take a look around. That’s why my former bosses are trying to install their new guy, who represents the very essence of self-promotion. They want us to become solely motivated by vanity and self-aggrandizement. We can stop the Entities by holding ourselves accountable, because we created them. It’s like that old line about bringing something into the world, then taking it out.”
Gary knew his uncle was speaking truth. If somebody who displayed confederate flags, southern anthems, and all matter of white cultural mementos wanted to achieve true unity, then anybody could. Would he take his uncle’s advice? Would Gary lead, join, or just ignore and become more oblivious of the naked truth?
“Come on, let’s go inform this crazy hippie of our decision,” Billy Bob decried. He might not agree with everything Jason said, but agreement on the issues wasn’t what brought him and Jason together. It was a human feeling that Billy Bob ignored until he couldn’t anymore. Jason was his 2×4 moment in physical human form.
“You guys done making out? Should I turn the hose on you?” Jason knew better decisions were made, when people remembered how to laugh. “What did you come up with?”
“My nephew needed some convincing, but he’s ready to join our cause,” Billy Bob proudly stated. “We’re with you brother.”
“I want to find whoever is creating and feeding our division, and stop them for good. My uncle reminded me that to stop somebody from taking action, you have to take away their motivation. It’s where the drug war went horribly wrong, by trying to squash the supply without squashing the craving,” Gary freely admitted.
“Sweet, so you know where this lab is Billy Bob?” Jason inquired with laser focus, trying to rejuvenate his soul.
“Yeah, I ran some operations from there before I saw the light. Thank you for that by the way,” Billy Bob replied with soulful respect.
“It was my pleasure and thanks for showing me the light as well. Even in the darkest situations light peeks out. I’ll walk into the lab, like Christina’s mom wants. I must convince her that I’m turning over a new leaf, that I’m abandoning all previous thought. I’ll act like one of their loyal Stormtroopers,” Jason bellowed.
“Interesting you use that terminology. Anyway continue,” Billy Bob urged.
“I’ll make them think I’m the ultimate yes man. Meanwhile, I’ll learn exactly how they’ll introduce their final plan.”
“Then what?” Gary eagerly inquired as if he was hearing an Oscar worthy movie plot. Except this was real life. It was the buckling of a system which purported to serve all people, and was thought impenetrable.
“We have a rough outline of what they want to do, but no details. I’ll have to dig deeper than I ever have before. The only thing better than joining them if they beat you, is them joining you once they’ve been beaten,” Jason orated like he was at the podium of the next revolution.
“After we leave you there, what do we do?” Gary wondered. He was concerned for the flaming ball of passion smoldering next to him.
Jason, Gary and Billy Bob started to feel like the couch they were all perched on, was the last comfortable place they’d be for awhile. Gary knew he hadn’t always done the right thing, but things just weren’t adding up anymore. He wanted to help, he wanted to change.
Was Gary just like Jason, but the other side of the coin? “Maybe we can help unite the un-unitable, so a path toward the Entities destruction is revealed. It won’t be Blacks defending Blacks, Jews defending Jews, and Whites defending Whites, it will be Humans defending Humans.
We have to show all that racist bullshit for what it is. How it’s a creation designed to keep us down, while strengthening the elite’s illusion of power. Bullshit makers can’t make bullshit, if people smell it from a mile away. It will help us return to a time when things weren’t so bad,” Gary stated, reverberating the entirety of his soul.
“When things weren’t so bad?” Jason chuckled. He knew inequality had been satiated for millenia, remaining partially hidden until now. When people truly unite, they’ll realize their differences brought them together. People need reminders that they don’t know everything, and can still learn if they’re willing.
“What do you say, want to change history brother?” Billy Bob excitedly inquired. He hadn’t felt so fired up, well ever. He previously thought the most he could hope for, was to make his corner of the world a little more comfortable. That is until a man named Jason kept crossing his path.
“I’ve always prepared to throw off my shackles, specifically so the whole world could too. Let’s do it,” Jason passionately expressed. For the first time, he felt like the ultimate generational battle, finally might end.
No sooner had the words left Jason’s lips, than Billy Bob was warming up the Bronco for the hour’s drive to Hotlanta.
The screen door was left open, allowing Jason and Gary to hear an extremely loud honk. Billy Bob was ready to make something positive out of something negative. “I’m glad we met at the hospital that day, you make me believe things are finally possible,” Gary admitted with vulnerability he spent years ducking.
“I’m glad I met up with you as well, too bad it had to be at the hospital. The people protesting out front should’ve been a clue that something big was coming. Something I never imagined possible, is about to happen once again,” Jason replied. “Let’s do it.”
Gary trailed an eager Jason out the front door, before turning to close and lock it. Their passion was in lockstep for what was brewing, and how it would challenge everything they thought they knew. Were they being lured into something nefarious? Was their professional self-sabotage rearing its ugly head?
The grass was wet from the sprinklers, making Jason and Gary extra cautious not to slip on their way to the smoke belching redneck machine in front of them. Was it a redneck smashing machine, or a stereotype smashing machine? Only time would tell.
“Did you lock the door you idiot? I don’t want anymore racist shit burnt on my lawn,” Billy Bob animatedly demanded.
Jason and Gary jumped into the Bronco piloted by Billy Bob. Jason knew it didn’t matter how somebody was portrayed, as long as they were genuinely positive. It was those authentic thoughts that had to surface, if America was going to obliterate the cycle.
“The GPS we put on his car, is indicating they’re on the move,” stated a scruffy desk jockey. He had been behind a computer screen since before he could walk.
“Excellent, they’ll be here soon. They’ll try to trap us, but little do they know, this plan can happen without Christina and Jason’s DNA,” boomed a strong female voice over a loud speaker.
“What do you mean? I thought the whole purpose of leading them here was to make Christina patient zero, and use Jason to spread the virus?”
“It is and it isn’t. We own many doctors and hospitals it’s true. Poisoning and socially engineering is the stereotypically evil thing they’re expecting.”
“That is what we want to do. You espoused that in memo after memo, while Gary was getting close to Jason.”
“Maybe that’s what we want them to think, maybe that’s what we want Gary to think.”
After umpteenth cups of coffee and joints, the travelling sideshow arrived. The Ford Bronco was ready to shed its former self as O.J.’s getaway vehicle, and reveal itself as the vehicle of the next revolution.
“Is that the lab?” Jason queried. He pointed his sweaty from anticipation forefinger at the run down, but eerily humming building before them.
“That it is. I’m sure they saw us pull in. They have hundreds of hidden cameras within ten square miles of this place,” Billy Bob described. “I know people on the inside, they’ll help keep me updated, and will transport messages. You can do this man.”
As soon as the words left the lips of Billy Bob, Jason hopped out of the Bronco. The eagerly excited looks Gary and Billy Bob displayed, were indicative of what was about to happen.
Jason slowly traversed the driveway that used to be paved. It had grown over with weeds, but was filled in with gravel to provide traction. If he hadn’t visited abandoned buildings before, Jason would have been much less confident in his gait.
Ten feet from the door, Jason turned around to give Gary and Billy Bob the thumbs up. He never thought he’d see them again. Before Jason was fully deluged in self-sabotage, a big glass door opened to reveal a very familiar, but very despised face.
“Hello Jason, so nice to see you. What brings you to these parts?”
“What do you want shithead? I mean Congressman Ridell, I mean Entities’ bitch boy?”
If a flashback wrapped in an enigma was a real thing, then Jason found himself smack dab in the middle of one. Whether it was Atlanta, Jerusalem, Kansas, Detroit, Cuba, New York or Humboldt, unknown situations never failed to present themselves. To call it familiar ground, was the understatement of the year.
“Are you just going to stand there, somebody might see you? Oh wait, we already did,” Ridell chuckled, revealing an evil laugh that made Jason’s skin crawl.
“Could you be any more cartoonish? Do you treasure your super villain role?” Jason replied back with frightingly strong hopefulness. He had walked into the darkness before, but this time was different. There was an underlying theme that nothing was as it seemed.
As Jason and Ridell finished the reunion that neither of them wanted, Gary and Billy Bob wondered what the hell was going on.
“Should we just wait here? What’s going on?” Gary hastily questioned of Billy Bob, and himself. Was he ready for whatever happened? He had been a long hair, a conservative, and everything in between. He was still trying to figure himself out, and what doing the right thing meant. Even though Jason seemed to have it all figured out. “Jason seems to have some master plan, are you sure we can we trust him?”
Billy Bob flashed back to his New Jerusalem hideout, and the unplanned ending to Jason’s hostage taking. “When all the bullshit fades away, Jason is definitely somebody I want in my corner. What do you say we get some breakfast and regroup? Jason gave me some information that might help us. We should get some food in us, and then go see them.”
While the two recruits to Jason’s consciousness building crew waited in the black smoke belching Ford Bronco, the streets were empty of morning traffic. Which was weird to both of them, considering it was a weekday. They knew the streets should be teaming with people.
Nonetheless their stomachs got the better of them, so they pointed their 30 year old O.J. getaway machine toward the nearest greasy spoon.
“Good, they’re gone, now the real work can begin,” Ridell villianously commented. He knew how to get under Jason’s skin, but would it continue to work? Did the mission’s importance finally sink in?
“The real work?” Jason sarcastically inquired. He wanted Ridell to give him a straight answer, even if it was something he didn’t want to hear.
“Yeah, come on in. Christina is here, as well as other people I want you to meet. There’s much you don’t know about us,” Ridell warmly stated. He always portrayed the illusion of control, even though the many warehouses surrounding them housed rebel groups, watching and waiting to take them down. Ridell knew the Entities’ current experiments would change the world, one way or another.
The sky was bright blue, with a few scattered clouds prancing about to break up the exquisite color. It was an otherwise amazing day, had it not been for the operation of another mad scientist’s lab. Jason barely kept his wits about him, but only because his love was inside.
“Take me to Christina,” Jason ordered. Ridell held the double doors open, as Jason skulked in like a teenager sneaking in after curfew.
The lighting was sparse. Former projects were evidenced by the dirty and greasy floor, and from being the favorite bathroom of all the rats in town. The miscreants of the animal world had used this hideout for quite some time, it made sense the Entities were using it to plan the beginning of the end.
“This is a lab? How could you do anything medical in here? How would you make anything sterile?” Jason wondered. He didn’t want to enter attack mode too hastily, he needed to ascertain the plan so he could tell his people.
“Like any good super villains, our workshop is underground. Let me show you to the elevator,” Ridell explained. He motioned to the modern keypad on the wall, which stuck out like a sore thumb.
While Jason sauntered over to the elevator, he wondered why Ridell was being so nice. Jason knew Ridell was the very definition of a two faced person, who couldn’t be trusted from one moment to the next. This time seemed different, Ridell seemed different.
Noticing Jason’s hesitancy, Ridell spoke. “Are you coming? Look, we aren’t as bad you think. We want to make things better for all people, by helping them reach their full potential.”
“Reach their full potential? Isn’t that what Hitler wanted? Do you even realize you’re a monster? Are you trying to contruct the perfect human race? Sorry to burst your bubble, but Christina and I will never, I repeat never go along with you. We want to build the world up, not tear it down.”
“We don’t want to tear it down, quite the contrary. We want to improve things, so past events become irrelevant. Isn’t that what you always try to preach?”
Jason was no stranger to Ridell’s failed attempts at mind control. When somebody always trys to screw people over, are they ever believable? If the heavens and earth shifted, would Ridell ever commit selfless acts?
If he wanted to rescue Christina, Jason had to take one more creepy ride with one more creepy person, within one more damned creepy facility. Since Jason knew it was always darkest before the dawn, he eagerly stepped into the elevator with Ridell anxiously standing by the controls.
“Let’s go see Christina.” Ridell knew everything had to go off perfectly, or the master plan would bomb. New countries always went through growing pains. Jason wanted to make sure the growing pains, weren’t hemorrhoids that brought everything to a screeching halt.
“Man, you really have hung around me too long. You’re getting stuck in one of those mind holes like I do?” Jason needled. He knew friend’s traits melded, but enemies? Was the line between friends and enemies thinner than he thought? They both required connection and knowledge of the other.
“Shut up,” Ridell shouted, forcefully hitting the button for the 4th sub-basement. The doors which appeared to be built in the 1950s squealed to a close, moving the elevator closer to America’s next collective roadblock.
“Are they on their way? We need Jason’s DNA to complete this sequence for the initial doses of the drug,” Doctor Phil fired off at a million miles a minute. Even though he was getting paid more money than he ever dreamed of, he realized the destruction they were organizing might destroy those payments.
“They’ve arrived, cool your jets. They’re riding down now,” the lab assistant comfortably remarked. She knew her science, but didn’t understand the uneasiness of the doctor. “Once we get the sample, we can begin the testing.”
“Don’t you feel like this is all a little too easy? Like everything we’ve been told is completely opposite of what’s really going on? I mean, is somebody really trying to take over the world through resource removal, using workers under the influence of a secret mind control drug?” Doctor Phil ranted. He had to get it off his chest, his scientific mind needed to be clear.
“Remaking a better world, don’t you want that? Don’t you want to live in a place where everything and everybody is provided for?” the assistant snapped back. Her shoulder length blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail, giving her a professional look. She knew that something epic was about to commence, and sooner than later.
Christina lay motionless on a metal lab table in front of them, while the doctor was bickering with his assistant. If Christina had been awake, she would have undoubtedly told them to stop being babies. She would’ve urged them to get down to business, which is what she repeated to Jason a thousand times. Was it the same with enemies? Did they have to let their worst go, before something better was allowed to grow and evolve?
As the overworked and over paid Entity tokens quarelled over who was more right, the elevator eased to a complete stop. The door creaked open so slowly, a picture loading on dial up internet would have been faster.
“We’re here,” Ridell stated in his most diabolical sounding voice.
“I know we’re in a secret underground lab, but do you have to sound like a corrupt government official bringing a mad scientist their newest test subject?” Doctor Phil spouted. He felt like he was starring in a bad movie he’d never watch.
“I could have said here’s Johnny,” Ridell volleyed back before Jason interrupted him.
“In fact, you should have said that. Bad movie lines are great for breaking up the seriousness when things aren’t working out.” Jason knew levity was the best way to cut through the noise. As he was about to crack another joke, Jason saw the beautiful love of his life lying motionless. It was a scene from every horror movie he ever saw. “Is she dead? What have you done to her?”
“She’s fine. She’s just sleeping,” the lab assistant answered professionally, knowing it was only partly true. While Christina slept, designer substances coursed through her veins. Testing procedures and government rules never stopped Doctor Phil.
Ridell signaled for Jason to walk toward doctor Phil and his assistant. Jason wanted with every fiber of his being to kill Ridell with his bare hands. The rage building inside him had been successfully squashed before. This knowledge served him, but it wasn’t a blue print.
“So I’m here, now what?” Jason wondered. Getting poked and prodded was not high on his to do list.
“We’re testing a new drug that allows people to open up portions of their minds, they never thought existed. You know how people only use ten percent of their brain,” the doctor droned before Jason cut him off.
“Let me stop you right there. If we only used ten percent of our brains, we wouldn’t be able to perform normal human functions. The 10% thing is a fallacy promoted by people who espouse wanting to make a difference. They’ll pull the rug out when the whole thing blows up in their face. In that way, it makes sense the Entities want this drug.” Jason’s soul was on fire. Were these guys really trying to grow the potential of humans? Why would they want help from somebody they’re trying to stomp on?
“Hold on little man,” Ridell ridiculed, knowing it would get a rise out of Jason.
“Little man, who are you calling little man? Just tell me what the hell this has to do with me and Christina. Why do you need us here? Whether this drug works or not, why would you need us?”
As the doctor prepared his fallback attitude permeated with medical prowess, Ridell spoke first. “Look, this doctor here knows more about the science, because I sure don’t. I flunked science,” Ridell jokingly stated.
“You definitely aren’t the smartest tool in the shed,” Jason fired off with a wink.
“Ha ha ha ha, lets all laugh, ha ha ha. Are we done now? Like I was saying, this doctor knows all the technicalities,” Ridell sarcastically added as he winked at Jason. Even though they were mortal enemies, Ridell and Jason knew more about each other’s personal lives than most best friends. “The bitch lady at the top, I don’t mind calling her that. As long as I do my job, I can call her whatever I want. Not many know what she looks like, she rarely shows her face.”
Jason decided his best course of action was to take a seat on one of the folding chairs surrounding the lab table. He assumed the chairs were for assistants and interns. The doctor and his assistant were hunched over computer screens on either side of Christina, monitoring various flashing lights.
“Christina knows what her mom looks like, oh wait she’s asleep, or dead. How would I know?” Jason belted out, tired of messing around. “Why was she poisoned?”
“You should know the boss lady doesn’t like distractions, let alone interference,” expressed Ridell causing Jason to smirk. “She poisoned the well on your property with the same compounds in the drug we’re designing. It’s not the full drug, only elements of it. She was dosed just enough to sleep, until we want her to wake up.”
“Why would you want Christina to wake up? I figured you would’ve killed us both by now.”
“We easily could have, and she would’ve deserved it for all the bad shit she’s done. You’ve both cost us enormously, but now it’s time to pay the piper. Christina will wake up soon. When she does, she’ll be fine, albeit somewhat different.”
“Different? I swear to God if you hurt her.”
“Don’t you know swearing to God gets you a one way ticket to hell?”
“I thought you were on that flight already, with first class tickets and a kosher meal?”
“There’s that sense of humor that always makes our interactions entertaining. Anyway, when she wakes up she’ll be different. She’ll be groggy, but okay. We dosed her with our drug’s initial formula, which we’re going to give you now.”
Jason didn’t know what to think. All his experiences and travels were unknown before he moved forward. This time was different. Something terrible was going to happen. Whether or not that bad feeling would lead to something better down the road, was yet to be determined. Jason however, knew he didn’t have a choice.
“Since you’re giving me this drug anyway, what does it do? How many people are you testing it on?” Jason knew he had to ascertain as much information as he could. If he was lucky enough to escape with Christina, he knew they had plenty of people willing to help. “Why the south?”
“That’s an interesting story.” Ridell trailed off as he disappeared into a connecting office on the other side of the lab.
“What’s with that guy? You’ve worked with him before right? Is he freaking nuts?” Doctor Phil theorized to Jason. The doctor knew he was a little off his rocker himself. If he hadn’t sold his soul years ago, would he be in Jason’s current positon? Accepting millions of dollars from pharmaceutical conglomerates, looking for their next billion dollar miracle drug, might not have been a good idea. Still, the doctor wanted to move forward the best he could. “Anything you could tell me would be helpful.”
“Why would I help you? The love of my life was abducted, then poisoned by her estranged and power hungry mother who’s bent on world domination. I’m sitting in a secret underground lab, created to make people pliable enough to be the perfect workforce. Why would the Entities want an insane person in the White House?” Jason interrogated, firing on all cylinders.
“Wow, they were right about you,” Doctor Phil admitted with a smile. Maybe that’s specifically why they were making Jason look bad. Maybe they were doing the same with him. Doctor Phil had to find out.
Just as Doctor Phil unloaded more linguistic ammunition from the Ridell shotgun, the mysterious and plainly dumb former congressman emerged. A skunky smell emanated that was ever so familiar to Jason’s nostrils.
“Is that what I think it is? Did you lace it with the drug?” Jason inquired with half a laugh and half a cry for help. Who would save him from this? Would anybody care who wasn’t wrapped up in survival mode?
“Maybe it’s laced, and maybe it’s not, but probably,” Ridell snickered. His attempts at humor rarely struck gold, so Ridell got the weed to talk for him. “Let me offer this joint as a peace offering, a sign of thanks.”
“Why would you be thanking me? What twisted mind game allows you to think I’d ever accept your thanks? If anything, I should shove that joint up your ass.” Jason was tired of screwing around. His good nature was being siphoned out.
“Wow, you need this more than I thought. Why don’t you come into my side office, I’ll explain how the next few hours are going to go. You want to walk out of here with Christina right?”
“Well…” Jason stopped, why would Ridell be nice? He was sure it was a ruse. Jason was lured by lies and crimes, what’s to say lies and crimes weren’t going to follow?
“Go into the God damn office, and smoke the God damn joint. We must get started. Do you want us to kill you both right now? Let Ridell explain the plan if you still want to walk out of here with my bitch daughter. We’ll get our new President installed, by brainwashing people into voting for him with this new drug. Once we put it in the water supply, the sky’s the limit. I’ll be controlling everything behind the scenes. No amount of pushback by you, or any of your rebel friends will do any good. Stop wasting my time and smoke the god damn joint, fuck,” thundered a dictatorially angry voice amplified through an overhead speaker.
“She told me she didn’t install hidden cameras and speakers,” Ridell commented, surprised he wasn’t trusted.
“Do you really think she has faith in you, after all the times you’ve screwed up? You’ve been in the game way too long to believe that,” Jason bantered. He wanted to walk straight into the darkness, and see what could be done to reverse the whole damn thing.
“Okay, okay, in here. There are couches and a mini fridge with bottled water.”
“Good, I’m quite parched.”
The doctor and his assistant sat with their mouths open, wondering what the hell had just happened. Even though neither of them had ever witnessed somebody forced to smoke a joint, they were surprised at Jason and Ridell’s rapport. Phil and his assistant proceeded to insert their heads back in the sand. They needed to make sure they didn’t get destroyed, like all the people who had previously asked questions. Was an alliance possible down the road?
Jason followed Ridell into the small office, which featured a small desk in the corner with a monthly planner on top, and a multi-line phone. The rest of the room was lined with leather couches. Ridell needed a place to relax while doing the dirty deeds of the female devil.
“You going to tell me now?” Jason demanded as he sank into one of the couches. How well-worn it was, kind of like Ridell he thought. At least Jason knew what he was in for, or so he thought. “Why us? Why the South? Why the drug? Why the operation? Why the President?”
“You sound like a little kid with all those questions. Don’t you know too much information causes brain overload? Why don’t you smoke this, and we’ll get down to business,” Ridell calmly stated. He lit the joint as wide as Jason’s thumb, before handing it to him.
“Your weed isn’t bad, it wasn’t bad in Detroit either,” Jason joked. He proceeded to take a long, deep drag off the Ridell rolled masterpiece. For a guy who was the ultimate example of what was wrong with society, Ridell rolled an exquisite joint.
“I can’t believe Detroit was a simpler time, but it was. This drug will revolutionize the way people think, and how they view the world. It’ll allow the population to access their entire brain. They’ll be driven by their id. They’ll have energy for amazing feats, and their strength and cognitive abilities will increase tenfold.”
“That might not be such a bad thing. Do you actually want to help people though, or do you just want to install a new president who remakes the country so you can control everything?” Jason knew Ridell was holding back. “You’re going to poison the pipeline, so people will be dosed without their knowledge?”
“We can’t exactly let people know what we’re doing, or it wouldn’t have the desired effect.”
“Again, why are you doing this, control, power, money, influence? That’s why Christina’s bitch mom does anything, but why….” Jason trailed off as he hit the joint again, realizing it contained more than just weed.
Sensing Jason’s new found awareness, Ridell figured it was time to reveal Jason’s role in the final part of the plan. “You have five minutes before you go under, I’ll make this quick.”
“Five minutes, what?” Jason fearfully uttered, starting to feel woozy.
“When you wake up, you’ll be under this drug’s spell. If you two die a horrible death, then our enemies are out of the way. If it does work, the first step of our plan is complete. We’ve bought up many hospitals and doctors not just here in Atlanta, but all along the Old Confederacy.”
“You’re repeating the history of testing on people you think can’t defend themselves?” Jason added as his eyelids became 1000 pound anvils. Was Ridell telling him the truth? Did it matter?
“Hopefully this drug is strong enough, and doesn’t mix with your already sabotaged emotions. It may drive you insane, making you live out the rest of your days in the nut house. We wanted it tested here because the South has a long history of poking and prodding the lessers of society. We’re doing this with the full-fledged support of the CDC.
Once we have confirmation that this drug does what we want, we’ll release it into the pipeline you and your jerk dad built. Once people collapse all over town, they’ll come to the CDC and other places we’ve set up. We’ll be able to monitor the drug’s early stages, ensuring its desired effect. If it doesn’t work, we’ll dispose of people and start over. This drug will bring peoples base emotions to the surface. Everything they may or may not be hiding will come out to say hello. Whether it’s imbedded racism, classism, sexism or hate, it will come out. People will happily do our dirty work.”
Jason’s eyes were little slits of light. However, little slits of light, were still light. He wanted to say one more thing before he was unconscious. “You’re forcing people’s base emotions to come out? You think that once this happens, they’ll elect your man to the White House because he’s the bastion of egotism and narcissism?
Great plan, there’s many things people in this country and around the world don’t want others to know. A lot of issues need to be addressed before major change is made. I’ve always known emotions don’t change because laws do. This will make everything hidden come to the surface. To let go of things which don’t serve us anymore, we must recognize them first.
It could remind people of their base emotions for humanity, and make your plan go in the complete opposite direction. This could actually make everything better, not worse,” Jason identified with his last vestiges of energy.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Ridell quickly replied. If this drug brought out peoples base emotions, could it release people’s imbedded humanity, just like it could with their darkness? “When you wake up, Christina will be by your side. She’ll be as healthy as she was before we dosed her. Sweet dreams shithead, something tells me we will see each other again. What form of you I’ll see, is completely up to you.”
With that, Jason was out and completely dead to the world. Medically induced comas had been used for years, but this one could remake the world. How that remake would look, sound, smell and taste would be up to each of the test subjects.
Ridell emerged from the office with an evil smile, letting the doctor and his assistant know the deed was done. “Did you dose him? Will he be out as long as Christina here?” the doctor queried with hopeful trepidation. He heard what Ridell said about base emotions rising to the surface. He immediately realized its potential for good, as well as for bad.
“Yes, he has been dosed. Whether he and Christina will be out five minutes or five years, who knows, maybe they won’t wake up at all. Just take them to the spot. They need to be there when they awaken. We’ve planted cameras to watch their reactions.
It’s imperative that nobody’s there when they wake up. They must discover everything that is being ejected from their minds. Part of bringing that base emotion stuff to the surface I guess,” Ridell explained with furious passion. He was curious how all this worked too. Of course being somebody whose base emotions were permanently on display, Ridell wondered if it would even have any affect on him.
“Don’t worry, they’ll be there. Just one more thing, who are you?” doctor Phil questioned Ridell. He knew Ridell’s former public persona, but he didn’t know his true motivations.
“Now is not the time for questions, now is the time for action. Do this and you’ll be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.”
Doctor Phil didn’t need to hear anymore. Well, he did, but he knew he better not push it, at least for now. With his assistant’s help, they loaded Jason and Christina in a white windowless van, and took the vehicle elevator to the surface. They then proceeded to drive Jason and Christina to a predetermined spot.
The mind and heart can seem like a strange thing, if it has never been investigated before. People think about things, but do they ever think about why they think the way they do? Why did certain thoughts come up without any warning? Can unknown stimuli show a person they aren’t who they thought they were?
The United States has had a long history of surprising itself for better, and for worse. Many religions have battled each other. Many ideas, histories and imbedded tendencies have been changed, reintroduced, changed, destroyed, resurrected, only to be destroyed again. The United States or the United Entities have always been represented one way or another. If people want to truly unite, they need to figure out what each other really thinks, feels, and needs to flourish. Everybody requires this information so the human race can collectively evolve.
Christina’s mom knew that racism, and many other bad “isms” lay just under the surface. She wanted to use them to her advantage, so she could control everything that is and everything that would be. She’d rely on people’s hate and bias, because she knew relying on people’s good will and humanity was a lost cause. This was the main reason she gave the people a chance.
For people and things to authentically change, and for her to gain ultimate power, people needed their primal instincts to come out. Christina’s mom thought it could end everything positive once and for all. Once they were dosed, people would back her because they’d view her as a savior, not a destroyer. They’d support her and the new president, because of their animal emotions. She felt confident that goodness and humanity would never win out, finally being squashed forever. Good will and love for humankind and the planet, people would never go toward that as their base emotion. Or would they?
Jason and Christina simultaneously opened their eyes, their foggy heads preventing them from standing up to fast. “Where are we?” Christina wondered. The last thing she remembered was being at the hospital.
“You were poisoned at our house. They put you to sleep, and took you from the hospital. I was told that if I didn’t meet them here, they’d kill you. Ridell put me to sleep after I saw you. He said they’re making people’s base emotions come out through some drug. They think it’ll give them the ultimate victory, because they can always count on people being shitheads to each other,” Jason belted out. He was more passionate than ever. He remembered everything, but was it all a ruse? Something Ridell said to shove Christina and Jason out of the way?
Christina was extremely slow in getting up. She inched her way to a vertical standing position, before finding the words for how she was feeling. Her thoughts and feelings were raw and harsh. They were right at the surface, with no filter or flange. “I feel funny, how about you?”
“I feel okay, a bit woozy but driven. If they do this on a mass scale, will people really kill each other? Will they get over themselves and all the shit that has kept them down?” Jason’s thoughts flowed crystal clear. He could tell this was the start of something bigger than anything he ever dreamed up.
“When you say they, I’m guessing you mean my mom. She’s hoping people tear each other down, so she can take over a willing population. She thinks humanity doesn’t exist, because it doesn’t exist in her. It sounds like we have a lot to prove to a lot of people.”