There’s Something Here From Somewhere Else (Part 3 of 5)
(first appeared at valterramagazines.com October 2013 issue)
Meanwhile back in Ruth’s apartment sat Ruth. She was furious with herself for mentioning how it was she was able to understand the books so thoroughly. She would be ridiculed by those who didn’t believe her and dismissed as an intellectual fraud by those who did. I would at this point in the story tell you how she went to her freezer and pulled out a tub of ice cream with the intention of eating it but I know some of you have been waiting patiently for me to reveal her smokin’ bod so now is as good a time as any. To that end she stood up and decided to get in a workout on her elliptical machine.
She thought briefly about throwing on her workout gear but such was her mood that the idea of putting on the oversized sweat pants and shapeless sweater seemed a bit pointless. Instead she threw herself into the workout with an almost savage intensity.
If you think picturing an unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington paid dividends than you’re in for a real treat here. Ruth began to glisten. Every inch of her from her manicured size 6 feet to the top of her creamy white head. Her hair, usually constrained in a ponytail, now flew in every direction in slow motion and her large breasts undulated in rhythm with her steps, up and down, up and down, although her pert nipples always remained pointing northward.
Ok, I’d better slow down a bit before I have her disappearing into her bedroom to retrieve something from her nightstand.
Anyway, I think I’ve made my point. And that point is if they ever make this into a movie I’m going to be visited by plenty of Ruth-wannabes eager to show me their treadmill skills under the misguided notion that I will somehow be influential in the casting of the part. And I will say nothing to the contrary, you can believe that.
I apologize to the non-lesbian females reading this. I realize that I might have crossed some sort of line here but let’s face it … sex sells. If I can mention that Nap shaves his pubes I certainly give a quick shout out to Ruth’s large, gravity-defying rack.
After she was done she retreated to the refrigerator where she quickly wiped out what was left in the tub labeled orange sherbet. A quick shower was followed by some late night television and the realization that tomorrow was another day. She rested her head on the pillow and closed her eyes, blissfully unaware that a black helicopter was quickly making its way for a visit.
“It’s time I put these glasses to better use. Maybe a quick reading of The Constitution tomorrow,” was her final thought before the blackness enveloped her.
Note that nobody goes to sleep in novels. Blackness envelopes them. I would have much rather said she fell asleep but that’s one of those little compromises you make as an artist. If you want a best seller, you’d better play ball; have blackness envelope whomever it wants.
Dawn broke and it had every appearance of being a beautiful day. Nap yawned and stretched as his eyes adjusted to the dim light in his motel room. Ruth yawned and stretched in her bed and began the daily routine of getting ready for work at the library. The large chiseled man would have yawned and no doubt thrown in a quick stretch if he wasn’t already fully awake with one leg hanging out of black helicopter flying low over the rooftops of the sleepy town. Unencumbered by the tasks of yawning and such he devoted himself instead to watching the tiny dots that were people below him and wondering if he could kill them from this height at this speed.
He was pretty sure he could.
Nap felt the copter before he heard it. A low drumming in the back of his head. Instinctively he moved closer to the building he was walking past and began to search the skies. Eventually he heard the drone of the blades and saw it move quickly past him.
His first and only thought was that it was there for him. Something had come up that needed his immediate participation and this was his ride. He wondered how they found him.
He looked down at the paper in his hand. Pictured on it was a small brown Labrador with the word LOST written in bold letters. There was no question that this might be the most adorable dog Nap had ever laid eyes on and as soon as he saw the flyer on the telephone pole outside the motel he knew what he was going to be doing the rest of the day. It would be tedious work but there was no danger whatsoever that finding the stray dog and returning it to its owner would in any way save the world so it sounded just like what he needed.
He was on his way to a local pet store- a lot of people who find lost dogs check there first to see if they can find out information on the dog- when he saw the black helicopter. Now his eyes went back and forth between Scrappy and the direction where he saw the copter heading. It was slowing down and he thought he might as well be polite and let them know that he had no interest in cutting his vacation short.
After all, this dog wasn’t going to find itself.
Inside the library Ruth neither heard nor saw the black helicopter. In fact she was completely engrossed in reading a copy of The Constitution.
“Holy moly me oh my, it has the N word in it,” she said to nobody in particular. She looked around to see if there was anybody within earshot because the more she read the document the more she wanted to tell somebody what was really going on in the minds of the Founding Fathers. She had no idea this was such an idealistic and outspoken group of gentlemen. She was just starting Article Four when another “Holy moly …” began to form on her lips.
It was a few paragraphs later before the “… me oh my” followed.
This time she had to tell somebody but when she looked around the library was empty except for a small group of people huddled at the entrance.
“I wonder what this is all about,” she thought to herself as she removed her glasses and began to wander over to see what all the excitement was about.
Standing in front of the double doors with his arms folded across his chest was her boss Ed. As she got closer she could see there was some sort of disturbance in the front of the library because all eyes seemed glued to the foyer and beyond. Ed was glaring at somebody with his best “What is this all about?” face on, although later some witnesses will swear it was more of a “Now where do you think you’re going?” face and Ruth was just about to touch his arm and inquire what was going on when Ed fell back limply.
A small red hole between his eyes.
The reason for the hole, and the motive behind the former “What is this all about?” face came into view in the form of a small automatic weapon being brandished by large man wearing a black mask. The remaining bystanders needed little more by way of encouragement to cease and desist with the gawking and begin a scheme heavy on the yelling and fleeing.
Ruth, after a few seconds of shock, decided that she could do without so much of the yelling but thought the fleeing part of the strategy sounded right up her alley and began to put it into effect.
The large man in the black mask took note of this and raised his weapon.
Having once again located the black helicopter Nap watched it land in the middle of the street and wondered aloud what could be so important that they would be landing a black helicopter in broad daylight. That was exactly the type of behavior associated with assassinations and UFO crashes and the last thing the government or military needed. It was the kind of helicopter that even the most naive viewer could tell did not officially exist. It bristled with weaponry and had a sheen that seemed to challenge radar to try to pick it up. Just seeing one fly by was enough for the average citizen to stand as little straighter and lower his voice when it came time to criticize an elected official. To have one landing in the middle of street seemed madness and Nap was certain that the very fate of the planet must be hanging in the balance.
He cut through the building sitting between the helicopter and himself, eager to explain to whomever had been sent to collect him that they would be sorely disappointed because he had a dog to find instead.
In the old days all the covert forces would just wear wool masks over their faces. It didn’t allow the enemy to see their facial features and helped them blend in a bit more. The downside was that they were hot as balls and after only a few minutes in the field the agent would be sweating like a pig. These days the balaclavas are made of Nomex, a material that although more durable also breathes a little and is fireproof to help against burns from fire/stun munitions. Visually there is very little difference though. Just two holes to allow the agent to see. In the case of the agent whose gun was trained on Ruth the mask had two additional holes for a grand total of four. Two which allowed him to see and two which allowed Nap’s bullet to enter and exit his head.
Ruth ran towards the stranger who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere to save her as he worked to put together what exactly was happening. He half expected Ruth to level a killer karate chop in his direction to indicate he had once again shot the wrong guy but she maintained her innocent demeanor as she hurriedly made her way towards him.
He could immediately see the killer bod that Ruth took great pains to conceal. One eyebrow began to creep upwards and he was about to introduce himself when he noticed two more men clad in the requisite black apparel entering the library.
Introductions would have to wait.
He grabbed Ruth and made for the periodicals.
The sound of bullets on the metal shelving had Ruth wishing she would have lobbied harder for the wood shelving she originally wanted. It was more expensive but would have given the library a much more sophisticated air about it. At the time though budgets were tight and it was either go with steel shelving or lose the small bubbling fountain that sat in the middle of the computer lab.
Nap was trying to make it to the back entrance from where he had originally come in but the two men in black had split up and were slowly working their way around the perimeter. Eventually they were going to get a clean shot on one or both of them and Nap reminded himself that Scrappy still needed finding so the last thing he could afford to do was get killed.
“Scrappy is missing?” Ruth asked.
He gave her a quick “How did you know that, are you reading my mind or something?” look but followed her eyes to the flyer he still held in his non-gun hand.
“I saw him by the water tower earlier this morning.”
“That’s helpful.” Nap replied. “Any idea who these guys are and why they’re shooting at you?”
A bullet tore through the picture of Scrappy. This upset Nap to no end and he stood up. It must be something about libraries but he got a “now you’ve done it” look on his face. Perhaps it’s because talking is frowned upon that people tend to be more expressive but it can’t be a coincidence that three people got particular looks on their face when up until now nobody had gotten even one. Even the way I describe the reaction of people talking in a library, “frowned upon,” is a facial expression.
Nap walked to the center of the room. On the way he shot and killed the two agents who had seen him stand up and who had felt certain that he was about to end this little stand-off. Add overconfidence to the list of things that killed the cat.
Nap turned to face Ruth. “No idea at all? None whatsoever huh? Three trained killers and you have no clue why they attempted to gun you down right in the middle of the library?”
He saw her confused look and then he saw her shocked and surprised look and instinctively reached around his own head and fired blindly at the entrance. When he finally turned his head he saw exactly what he expected to see … another man in black crumbling to his knees.
Well, not entirely what he expected to see. I mean to say he saw what he expected to see but he then heard what he did not expect to hear.
The large chiseled man, mid crumble, slowly raised a hand and pulled off his black durable fireproof mask.
“I didn’t know it … was you … Nap.”
Nap ran over to him, his gun still raised in case Tim decided he’d like some company in the great beyond.
Tim dropped his gun and his mask and the rest of himself to the ground.
“I didn’t know it was you Tim. No offense intended.”
“None …” the words trailed off. A few drops of blood began to ooze dramatically from his lips.
“Taken?” Nap said helpfully.
Tim nodded slightly and then the little light that people have in their eyes to indicate that someone is home flicked off.
Nap looked at the entrance expecting more men. When a minute passed and no more materialized he let out his breath and looked again at Ruth.
In the distance he could hear a helicopter taking off. If he were a betting man he would have bet that officially it didn’t exist.
“You knew him?” Ruth asked tentatively.
“He was a good man.” Then Nap thought about it some more. “Actually he was a very bad man.”
“He was … a very good bad man.”
“And what are you?” Ruth asked.
“I’m more of a very good … bad good man.”
“Well thank you, whatever you are.”
“Can you point me to the water tower?”
Ruth looked a bit dazed. “Why on earth would you want to go to the water tower after killing four men?”
“I have to find Scrappy and to do that I need to leave before the police arrive.” To Nap it seemed pretty straightforward. To Ruth everything about it seemed insane. Papers were still floating down and electrical things that had been damaged by flying lead were fizzling and sparking all around her. Some of the lights were even flickering a bit. I think even you the reader might be a little cavalier about the whole thing. Too many movies and television shows where after a huge gunfight or explosion everyone returns to normal and the hero(s) just walks off without a care in the world apparently. To normal people this kind of thing, when it actually happens to them, can be very upsetting so let’s slow down a bit and give Ruth a few minutes to compose herself before you expect her to start moving the story along again.
“You’d better come with me until I sort this all out,” Nap offered grudgingly. “But I’m telling you now, if you are either planning on destroying the world or planning on stopping someone from destroying the world I will cut you loose in a heartbeat. Not interested.”
This kind of talk did not help Ruth regain her footing any quicker.
Motioning to the back door Nap made it clear that she was expected to fall in behind him.
“I’m on vacation, damn it.”