Mr. Fancy Pants
Finding the Vice President had been watching me for an indeterminate amount of time was a bit disturbing. Not something that happens to most people. Never to me anyway. But there he was now, and had been sitting in the towncar. I don't remember hearing it pull up. Then again, I had had a number of pressing concerns. All those in the car must have seen what happened. I was unsure what to do. Even with no plans to expose what I knew was a conspiracy, I needed to continue. That decision had been made at the diner. I was a patriot, I would persevere, I would be triumphant. Or die trying. Yikes! Hopefully it wouldn't come to that. But then a patriot pledges his life to his cause. And it isn't like I can escape from these guys now, in this old truck, against trained secret service agents. Not to mention, men like Mac and Donny. How far did the conspiracy go up? All the way to the Vice President? Maybe higher? Was 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 three more toward the man and extended 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 could read the man's emotional state, shaking his hand would 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 needed that info. I needed to know, was he good, or corrupt.
Shaking his hand, that sensitization that happens to me began. 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 pulled his hand away from me. His plastic political smile left his face, and uncertainty now pervaded his demeanor. And a bit of fear. "What was that?" He asked.
"Static." And I smiled. "It's nice to meet you Mr. Vice President. How long were you watching my interplay with the local Sheriff?"
Now standing next to the Vice President, Mac was all smiles. Looking at me he now spoke. "Dennis, I'm sure something more just happened. Something we need to talk about. You continue to amaze me. We've all been amazed as we watched. Believe it or not, this was the final test Dennis. We've been tracking you the entire time. There is a small radio transmitter sewn into the jeans. Actually we had a large number of openings planned for you to escape, you made your own opportunity that we hadn't even considered. We didn't think you would be able to stand, let alone do what you did. Two days in a chair, no light, water, very impressive."
Now the Vice President was all smiles and nodding. "I saw the tapes already. They have those infrared cameras in the garage. You ran through there, 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 were coming back."
"I'm not going to Russia with any of his Soviet comrades. Do you know about his relationship with the Russians?" I asked him.
Now Mac looked at me, then turned to the Vice President, but spoke to me. "Dennis, what did you feel. Tell me, is this man, the Vice President, a good man, or one who would sell you out? Sell out his country? Tell me. Tell me what you felt."
I was exhausted. Realistically, I wasn't 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 sat 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 gasped when he saw that.
"Where did he get that?" he exclaimed as he grasped Mac's shoulder. The man back stepped a bit to use Mac as a shield.
Mac just continued to smile. "Walter, he took it from the sheriff, I saw when he did it. I'm unsure how, but was fascinated. Dennis, we need to get you rested up, there's a lot to talk about." And with that he turned back toward the towncar and waved his hand a bit. "And I want to put you at ease as well, so I think this will help."
As he was speaking, Sergey got out of the car and began to walk over to where we stood next to the old truck. I grasped the revolver again. But let it lie where it was, but still in my hand. The Soviet tormentor walked up and smiled. Then with a yelp of pain, the man yanked on the beard and it came off in his hand. It was fake. "Yeeoooww that hurts." He cried out. "Christ Mac, why did we have to glue it?"
Now it was my turn to be surprised and amazed. "You're not a real Russian?"
Rubbing the sides of his face, he shook his head a bit. "The closest I've ever been to Russia was Moscow Texas. I was 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 about what we did to you." His Texas drawl was even more frightening.
Looking at the man, the unreality of all that had occurred in the last hour or so, it made me dizzy. And then all I remember was leaning, no falling over onto the gravel road. And blackness.
Time passed. Strength slowly returned. Crappy chain diner food nourished my need for calories, vitamins and shitty heart destroying fats. Sniffing, I knda still smelled like piss. I was lying on a bed, in the dark. Semi-dark. There was some light creeping through the cracks around the door. And one of those digital clocks was next to me giving off a red glow that allowed me to see around the room. I watched the clock, the way the numbers clicked and changed fascinated me. Every minute, a little intrigue as the five little bars that made the number three altered into four little bars that now gave the appearance of a four. The actual time was now eight twenty-four. I guess that designation was an overall agreement of civilized humanity. Earth herself didn't care how we as the dominant life form living here delineated the passage of time. But we as humans did.
I sat up, swung my legs over the edge of the bed and stood. A little woozy, but not too bad. Walking out the door I found myself in that same hallway I was running through yesterday. Today? Only now, several of the doors were open. Walking toward the double doors at the longer end of the hallway, I could hear talking, and intermittent laughing. I could start there. Opening the double doors I saw Mac and six others sitting around one table in the classroom. Glancing at the other door, I could see the number keypad lock had been repaired. All talking stopped and they all stood to come over to me.
Little Jake was the first to offer his hand. Shaking it, he greeted me. “Dennis, I’m sorry for what happened, but please understand it was necessary. And sorry, kinda fun for us as well.”
“Fun?” and they all laughed.
One by one, the five others shook my hand and introduced 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 half maybe, with olive skin. “Antonio Dennis, nice to meet you finally.”
Next was the tallest in the group, however he was 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 were impressive” And he stepped back to allow the next.
This man was African-American, and again, a bit over five foot tall. “Hi Dennis, I’m Andre. I’m Cajun so I hope you like Cajun food. We have a great Cajun here cooking for us. Yes?”
“I’ll eat anything spicy.” I told him. Everyone laughed.
The last one was a man I could feel his awe. My brow furrowed I’m sure as he extended his hand. Grasping mine, I felt that awe with greater strength. “And I see 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 were 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 looked shocked as he responded. “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 realized he might be right. Even though I had no idea what I had done. Looking about me, I asked of all. “Where’s Mr. Fancy Pants?”
Stares of disbelief showed. So I continued. “The Vice President?”
Mac now walked up to me and shook my hand as well. “You slept for four hours, he had to leave. Dennis, I want to personally apologize for what you had to deal with. But that Communist thing, well, we had doubts. We needed to know. It was necessary. I’m glad you did what you did. 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 had greater understanding of myself, my new goals, my new life, than ever before. I was committed to being a better person. What all my adult life I had considered a curse, I now saw myself with a gift, as a patriot. I had goals, I had a task. I was finally somebody.
Mac graciously allowed me a minute to process what he said to me. Nodding, I responded. “Thank you Mac. I can call you Mac right?” He nodded. “I have 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 laughed now. Mac responded, “Nothing Dennis. Absolutely nothing went according to the plan. You surprised all of us with your stamina, and your abilities.”
Now I was surprised. If I thought about it, I suppose I did things I never thought possible. “Yeah, maybe I surprised even myself.”
There was a group “Ohhh.” And they all slowly began a community chuckle.
Mike then started. “I think you’ll find that Mac here will do that a lot. He has a way of bringing out the best in all of us. You’re going to find he is a great boss. A great leader.”
And there were acclimations all around. Then I asked, “Where’s Ivan?”
Mac looked at me and smiled. “There is no Ivan Dennis. That was Mikey projecting his appearance of a larger man to you.”
My knees buckled and I would nearly have fallen to the floor, if not for those around me. I don’t even know who grabbed me, but they stood me and placed a chair behind me so I could sit. I needed to. That was the greatest revelation so far. Amazement at his ability. And maybe a little fear.
“I’m sorry.” I began. I looked up at Mike, “I’m not a master. You are. I believed.”
“Dennis,” He began. “That was nothing. You, Christ Dennis, The sheriff is still over at the diner eating bacon and eggs.” Now everyone laughed. “I can’t do that. I have to learn how to do that.”
As the laughter died out slowly, a sense of superiority began to invade my conscious mind. These people, the chosen, the gifted, were in awe of me, and my capabilities.
Where would my life take me now?