Mr. Fancy Pants
Finding the Vice President has been watching me for an indeterminate amount of time is a bit disturbing. Not something that happens to most people. Never to me anyway. But here he is now, and has been sitting, watching. I don't remember hearing them pull up. Then again, I had a number of pressing concerns. All those in the cars must have seen what happened. I’m unsure what to do. Even with no plans to expose what I know is a conspiracy, I need to continue. That decision made at the diner. I’m a patriot, I will persevere, I will be triumphant. Or die trying. Yikes! Hopefully it won’t come to that. But then a patriot pledges his life to his cause. It isn't like I can escape from these guys now, in this old truck, against trained secret service agents now standing next to the second town car. Not to mention, men like Mac and his group. How far does the conspiracy go? All the way to the Vice President? Maybe higher? Am I even capable of exposing such corruption? Woodward and Bernstein, why didn't I read your book?
To begin a journey, one must take the first step. I took that step plus two more, toward the VP and extend my hand in that universally accepted gesture. For the rest of the world it might be. For me, it's a request for more information. Although I can read the man's emotional state, shaking his hand will allow me to garner ever more detailed entry into the man himself. His worldly belief in that most simplistic of concepts, good and evil. I can garner that from a handshake. I need that info. I need to know, is he good, or corrupt.
Shaking his hand, that sensitization happens. Traversing time, space, dimensions and probability, there is a portal that I can enter and become a part of his essence. If only for a fraction of a second. Startled, he pulls his hand away from me. His plastic political smile leaves his face, and uncertainty now pervades his demeanor. With a bit of fear. "What was that?" He asks.
"Static." And I smile. "It's nice to meet you Mr. Vice President. How long were you watching my interplay with the local Sheriff?"
Standing next to Mondale, Mac is all smiles. Looking at me, he now speaks. "Dennis, somethin just happened. Somethin we need to talk about. You continue to amaze me. We've all been amazed as we watched. Believe it or not, this’n be the final test. We been tracking you the entire time. There’s a small radio transmitter sewn into the jeans. Actually we had a number of openins planned for you ta escape. Ya made your own opportunity we hadn't even considered. We didin think you’d be able to stand, let alone do what you done. Two days in a chair, no light, water, very impressive."
Now the Vice President is all smiles and nodding. "I saw the tapes already. They have those infrared cameras in the garage. You ran through in the dark. It was very impressive. And when you opened the locked doors. Well, Mac here told me he had high hopes for you. He's right. He also said you'd return to the facility. And here you are coming back."
"I'm not going to Russia with any of his Soviet comrades. Do you know about his relationship with the Russians?" I ask.
Now Mac looks at me, then turns to the Vice President, but speaks to me. "Dennis, what did’d ya feel. Tell me, is this man, the Vice President, a good man, or one who’d sell you out? Sell out his country? Tell me. Tell me what ya felt."
I’m exhausted. Realistically, I’m not sure what I felt. It wasn't anything like I had ever felt before. From anyone. But then I never shook hands with a politician. There must be something within that personality type that prevents me from seeing all the good. Or all the bad. Stepping back a couple steps, I sit down on the dirty running board of the truck. Having been holding the revolver in my left hand behind my back all this time, I set it down next to me. The Vice President gasps when he sees it.
"Where did he get that?" he exclaims, grasping Mac's shoulder. The man back steps a bit to use Mac as a shield.
Mac just continues to smile. "Walter, he took it from the sheriff, I saw when he did it. I'm unsure how, but I’m thrilled. Dennis, we needs to get you rested up, there's a lot to talk about." With that he turns back toward the town car and waves his hand a bit. "And I wanna put you at ease as well, so I think this’ll help."
As he’s speaking, Sergey gets out of the car and begins to walk over to where we are. I grasp the revolver again. But leave it lying on the running board, still in my hand. The Soviet tormentor walks up and smiles. Then with a yelp of pain, the man yanks on the beard, it comes off in his hand. It’s fake. "Yeeoooww that hurts." He cries out. "Christ Mac, why’d we have ta glue it?"
Now it’s my turn to be surprised and amazed. "You're not a real Russian?"
Rubbing the sides of his face, he shakes his head a bit. "The closest I been to Russia is Moscow Texas. Born up the road a piece. Went there some for hay and stuff. Sorry, my real name is Jacob. Jake if you're not angry bout what we done to ya." His Texas drawl is frightening now.
Looking at the man, the unreality of all that occurred in the last hour or so, it makes me dizzy. All I remember is leaning, no falling over onto the gravel road. Blackness.
Time passes. Strength slowly returns. Crappy chain diner food nourished my need for calories, vitamins and shitty heart destroying fats. Sniffing, I kinda still smell like piss. I’m lying on a bed, in the dark. Semi-dark. There’s some light creeping through the crack under the door. One of those digital clocks is next to me giving off a red glow that allows me to see around the room. I watch the clock, the way the numbers click and change fascinate me. Every minute, a little intrigue as the five little bars that make the number three alter into four little bars that now gave the appearance of a four. The actual time is now six twenty-four. I guess that designation is an overall agreement of civilized humanity. Earth herself doesn't care how we as the dominant life form living here delineates the passage of time. But we as humans do.
I sit up, swing my legs over the edge of the bed and stand. A little woozy, but not too bad. Walking out the door I find myself in that same hallway I was running through yesterday. Only now, several of the doors are open. Walking toward the longer end of the hallway, I can hear talking, and intermittent laughing. I can start there. The double doors are open, I see Mac and six others sitting around two tables pushed together. Glancing at the other door, I can see the number keypad has been repaired. All talking stops and they all stand to come over to me.
Jacob is the first to offer his hand. Shaking it, he greets me. “Call me Jake,Dennis, sorry for whats we done, please unnerstand it was necessary. And kinda fun for us as well.”
“Fun?” I state. They all laugh.
One by one, the five others shake my hand and introduce themselves. The first, another small man, barely five foot, “I’m Richard. Everyone calls me Little Ricky.”
The next, another short man, five and a couple maybe, with olive skin. “Anthony, Dennis, nice to meet you finally.”
Next is the tallest in the group, however still half a foot shorter than I. “And I’m Jacob. Call me Jacob, less confusion since the first Jacob here prefers Jake. I’ve heard a lot about you Dennis, the videos are impressive” And he steps back to allow the next.
This man is African-American, and again, a bit over five foot tall. “Hi Dennis, I be Andre. I’m Cajun, so I hopes you like Cajun food. We have great Cajun here cooking for us. Yes?”
“I’ll eat anything spicy.” I tell him. Everyone laughs.
The last one is a man I can feel his awe. My brow furrows I’m sure as he extends his hand. Grasping mine, I feel that awe with greater strength. “And I see it in your eyes, I’m not an empath like you. I project. You’ve met my brother Donny, we’re fraternal twins. I’m Mike. Most call me Mikey.”
“It’s nice to meet you Mike. All of you. My ordeal might bring you amusement, however it will take time for me to see it in the same light.” And there’s subdued chuckles all around. “Mike, I’m very interested in learning more about your projection ability. I can’t wait to learn more about it.”
Mikey looks shocked as he responds. “I think you’ve proven yourself to be the master Dennis, we were all impressed with what you did to the Sheriff.”
Shaking my head, I slowly realize he might be right. Even though I’ve no idea what I did. Looking about me, I ask of all. “Where’s Mr. Fancy Pants?”
Stares of disbelief show. So I continue. “The Vice President?”
Mac now walks up to me and shakes my hand as well. “You slept fer four hours, he hadda leave. Dennis, I wanna personally apologize for what you had to deal with. But that Communist thing, well, we had doubts. We needed to know. I’m glad you did what you done. And we learned, no, I think you learned more about yourself than what even you knew a couple days ago.”
When you’re right, you’re right. I have greater understanding of myself, my new goals, my new life, than ever before. I’m committed to being a better person. What all my adult life I had considered a curse, I now see as a gift. I now know I’m a patriot. I have goals, I have a task. I’m finally somebody.
Mac graciously allows a minute to process what he said to me. Nodding, I respond. “Thank you Mac. I can call you Mac right?” He nods. “I’ve learned a lot, more than I ever thought possible. So thank you. I do feel better about the ordeal now. I thought you were a traitor. Was the sheriff part of the plan?”
They all laugh now. Mac responds, “Nothin Dennis. Absolutely nothin went according to plan. You surprised us with your stamina, and your abilities.”
Now I’m surprised. If I think about it, I suppose I did things I never thought possible. “Yeah, maybe I surprised even myself.”
There’s a group “Ohhh.” And they all slowly begin a community chuckle.
Mike then starts. “I think you’ll find that Mac here’ll do that a lot. He has a way of bringing out the best in all of us. You’re goin’ ta find he’s a great boss. A great leader.”
Acclimations all around. Then I ask, “Where’s Ivan?”
Mac looks at me and smiles. “There ain’t no Ivan Dennis. That was Mikey projecting his appearance of a larger man to ya.”
My knees buckle and I would nearly have fallen to the floor, if not for those around me. I don’t even know who grabs me, but they place a chair behind me so I can sit. I need to. This is the greatest revelation so far. Amazement at his ability. And maybe a little fear.
“I’m sorry.” I begin. I look up at Mikey, “I’m not a master. You are. I believed.”
“Dennis,” He begins. “That was nothin. You, Christ Dennis, the sheriff is still over at the diner eatin bacon and eggs.” Now everyone laughs. “I can’t do that. I have to learn how to do that.”
As the laughter dies out slowly, a sense of superiority begins to invade my conscious mind. These people, the chosen, the gifted, are in awe of me, and my capabilities. A first.
Where will my life take me now?