the sterile variety
(originally posted 5/23/2018)
Daniel’s life was not one that included any threat of being followed. Both his career and personal life allowed him to feel that not only was he not being watched but there wasn’t another person on the planet who was paying any attention to him whatsoever. At no point in time had he ever had the feeling he was being surveyed.
Which, he thought to himself, is just what they want you to believe.
What, he also thought to himself, could it hurt to spend a day making sure he wasn’t being tailed?
Because he was certain he was in no danger of actually being tailed he thought he’d better make sure that his method of eluding the aforementioned wasn’t the run of the mill stuff you see in movies. That might shake a trained government operative but it certainly wasn’t going to lose the type of non-entity he was completely sure wasn’t following him to begin with.
Start out with a good breakfast. He was going to need it. Then walk into the middle of the town and get on the first bus he saw. Get off at the third stop. Hail the nearest taxi and ask them to take him to where they picked up their last passenger.
Repeat this taxi maneuver three more times.
Have a good lunch and, wherever it might be, tell anyone who will listen that this was your favorite place to eat growing up.
That really didn’t really have much to do with shaking a tail but that was one of the luxuries of not actually being followed by anyone.
And I’m not even going to bother to tell you about his plans for after lunch because he never gets that far.
The first bus was a non-stop to Toledo. “Toledo? I didn’t know buses even went there. Only in cartoons do they go to Toledo. Or maybe a musical from the 40’s” he fumed to himself. He got on anyway.
That took him til lunch and then some.
On the trip he had plenty of time to think about things. Assuming that the bus went back and forth between his town and Toledo the third stop would be in Toledo so he wasn’t really violating his rules. He also thought about how there weren’t many things on the human body that came in pairs.
Eyes and testicles were about it.
And he was pretty sure about kidneys.
Then, as he crossed the Ohio state line he realized that he’d have to count hands and feet and ears. All of a sudden it seemed to Daniel that everything on or in the human body came in pairs.
Except for heads and hearts.
And noses and buttholes and every other internal organ. Upon further review it appeared that everything was split pretty evenly between one and two. He had an uncle that had three nipples but it didn’t make the drive to Toledo pass any quicker. The person sitting next to him must have held the same opinion because after hearing about Daniel’s uncle’s third nipple he got up and moved to another seat.
Eager to return to the plan he grabbed the first taxi he saw after leaving the confines of the bus in Toledo and found out that the driver had just started his day of driving, had not picked up anybody before Daniel and refused to take him to his home. Daniel tried to explain his plan to the driver and the necessity to end up where the driver last was.
“And then what will you do?” inquired the driver.
“Well, call a cab I guess.”
“Which will be me. And by your own rules I will be forced to take you right back here.”
“I see your point” confessed Daniel, following the logic of his argument. “I guess you have me on a technicality.”
So Daniel gave him a twenty dollar bill for the two trips he did not take and was about to close the door when the driver added one last thing; “Sounds to me like event are conspiring to make sure that you stay followed.”
Then he drove off.
Daniel looked around as inconspicuously as he could. The surrounding Toledians seemed a shifty lot. To anything but the keenest eye they would seem almost completely oblivious to Daniel’s presence.
A few minutes later a taxi wandered by, it was hailed and Daniel climbed in. Instructions were given.
Some minutes later (some being a few more than few) he climbed out at the Ritter Planetarium on the campus of the University of Toledo and was just in time to catch their new presentation Ghost Particle.
A ghost particle is the nickname given to a specific of sub-atomic particle called a neutrino by physicists because they’re so hard to detect. Because they don’t carry an electric charge the only practical way to spot them is to wait until one bumps into a proton or a neutron and causes a reaction.
“So I’m being watched after all” said Daniel as he sat in the dark.