Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chapter 6

By David A. Kearns

They did not, in fact, leave the old Seminole Indian named Red Dancing Bear in the roadside John attached to the country-store type purveyor of plastic items, diet cola, ice, porn, monster truck magazines, beer and cigarettes. No, Jeffery was sufficiently chagrinned at his behavior by his wife Helen’s lambasting, he disallowed himself from doing something so cruel, but otherwise, so very logical.
They drove along through the summer wind, sort of like that “coo coo” Summer Wind of Frank Sinatra fame, with their failing air conditioner blasting out warm air tinged with the smell of radiator fluid. All harbored their own thoughts about the last two days. They were growing very fast, thought Red, almost too fast.
Jeffery was first to speak, breaking the silence the way a prisoner would talk to a confidant on the assize yard about a pending break.
“You think I haven’t thought of all of this before, Red? You think you’re so damned smart for bringing this to my attention?”
“Speak, Jeffery. Let it out. It burdens you like a crippling heart affliction and in fact, it will become one before too long.”
“I’m not sure what it’s all about but that compartmentalization, that stuff you were talking about; yeah, they got that stuff down. Everything is so compartmentalized. It’s like you’re not even a human being anymore.”
“Then what are you?”
“It’s like you’re a chimpanzee in some lab. There you sit at your table with all your blocks cut out of various shapes and sizes; and you have your box of cut out holes you’re supposed to fit them into. Of course there’s some metallic probe on your head, all wired up to the system…”
“You’re speaking metaphorically, of course.”
“Christ Chief, I’m not nuts. Geez, just shut up and listen for a minute.”
“Sorry Jeffery. Continue.”
“So there you sit, trying to be happy like the chimp that you are about your little shapes and your box of cut outs; happy that you can pass all the shapes through the holes by the end of the day, raise your chimpy arms and go “yaaaaaay!
“And some days you can do it. You can pass the test.”
“Which is?”
“To seem good at it, seem concerned about it all, and above all, happy that you’re doing it for them.”
“And on other days?”
“On other days, you can’t help but notice the lab proctors sticking you with needles as they note your reactions, as they scribble on their little pads.”
“Honey,” piped Helen from the back seat. “Are you saying Doctors are poking you with things at your work?”
“I think, Helen, Jeffery is speaking in metaphors.”
Jeffery shook his head and glowered slightly at the Chief. There was no way he was going to be able to make Helen understand them at this point in the conversation, so he shouldn’t really try. Jeff had given up years ago. Who was Red to come in here and even make the attempt?
“I am sorry, Jeff. Continue.”
“Started to notice some strange things a few years back. And it was like, the second I did, the more clearances I was required to get. It wasn’t even something I said or did, really. I look back on it and I just know, someone could read it by a look on my face. They just knew that I knew …what it was all about.”
“One day this guy says he wants to have a meet with me at lunchtime, over near this utility shed outside my window. This low building, looks more like a place where the lawn guy would keep the weed whackers, is surrounded by gravel and a stainless barbed wire fence.”
“That’s good, the level of detail. It means they haven’t wiped all your slates clean.”
“Never really noticed this little building before, you know? It was just sort of outside our main complex, like an annex.”
“Go on.”
“So, I go out there and there’s this guy waiting for me outside. He’s been working in my sector for a few years. I’ve never said shit to him, nor him to me. But he’s always been around, in on all the key meetings. Never knew his name that I can remember.”
“He says something about the fact that I am about to begin the process of getting the highest security clearance I can get. Which sounds great ‘cause it means more money.”
“Well, inside what had looked like a shed there was this waiting room; like the ones you’d see outside a doctor’s office. We walk through that to a double bolted heavy duty galvanized door that he gets through with a card swipe, into a foyer of sorts, which we leave behind by thumb-print pad. From there we’re into an even smaller room he gets through by retina scan, which they also administer to me. Once in there, we’re inside his office and that’s where the real fun started; an on-the-spot polygraph.
“An hour later, we walk down a flight of stairs in what I thought was going to be his office john, to a below ground level corridor. On the wall there are signs that read “USE OF DEADLY FORCE AUTHORISED.” Every one hundred feet or so, stood a Marine with an assault rifle. Above us is a line of whirling red lights on the ceiling letting anyone in the hall know that someone now walking past them has not yet been cleared to be here. The Marines looked straight ahead, their weapons across their chests pointed down with fingers outside the trigger guards at the ready. I just know all safeties were off. If I’d a so much as twitched, I’d be dead now.”
“So me and this guy, call’s himself ‘Jim’ at this point, we get to this second set of stairs and we’re up and outside again in this blazing field of Florida rock, with about 100 yards of walkway between us and this blockhouse kind of building. The tunnel had taken us under a tree-line that I had never seen beyond; and now here we were beyond it walking toward this grayish white block house building; looked like a pump-house or something but the more we walked between all the guard towers the more it dawned on me this thing was huge and I had never seen it before. It sort of remained camouflaged in clouds and treetops.
“The guy tells me, ‘Don’t step off the path.’ And I don’t need to ask why.
“We get to the building, have a thumb-print and retina scan, again, go through a fence with coiled razor wire above us up a flight of stairs and again with the lights whirring above on the ceiling of this long, featureless hallway. Above every door is a sign with either a red or a green light.
“The guy says ‘room 23. Go in and sit down.’ So I comply having no idea what I have walked into. I get to room 23 and walk through. No retina scan, no anal probe,
“ …no anything. And I thought what the hell is this, some kind of sick joke?”
“What was it?”
“It’s a movie theatre, an IMAX movie theatre, at that. Place has maybe twenty seats. I’m the only one in the room.”
“You sit, as the man told you.”
“I do. And I mean the moment my ass touched the seat the lights dimmed and the show started.”
“What show?”
“The movie. It started out as sort of a promotional flick about the company; it’s work during World War II perfecting radial, supercharged and then jet engines for weaponry. But then the announcer says, ‘But CSI was soon thereafter given a sacred trust which will be revealed later in the program should you desire to learn more about your company.’”
“And here is where they told you about the alien beast?” Red Dancing Bear asked.
But Jeffery flinched at this. He would not be so easily diverted from his task.
“No. Here it skewed into American history; the relationships between America and some Old World secret societies, you know, from Europe.”
“Ah,” said Red Dancing Bear. “The Masons.”
“Right. The Masonic Order… how they were entrusted with certain truths passed down to them from the days of the Roman Empire and how that sacred knowledge was one of the reason England sought to destroy the orders and lodges and why key figures in the Revolutionary War, on the American side, were targeted for execution; all of whom were Masons.”
“Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock ...”
“And those truths were?”
“One of these was there must always be a separation between church and state; which the Romans, the Byzantines and the Egyptians had learned the hard way.”
“This whorish business of governance, yes. There’s truth here. Indeed. Like prostitution and masturbation, a necessary evil of sorts.”
“Whatever, Chief. The point is, the movie said there were certain truths that ensured the existence of freedom were carried like a torch from old world Europe to the United States, and right or wrong, the United States was now a guardian of those truths.”
“I am hearing a ‘but’ here.”
“It’s more like an ‘And…’
“And, now there are newer threats, to newer truths. Those ‘newer’ truths will be guarded by patriotic men, and that was one thing, the movie stressed men understood the nature of warfare and try as enemies might to reduce the man in our culture, he would be continued to be trusted to guard those newer truths.”
“And those truths, Jeff.”
“Technology has been acquired by us; sometime during the 1940s.”
“This Roswell thing ...”
“Was a joke. Was a carnival sideshow, a freak act for newspapers. Nothing more.”
“Jeff, I won’t hear talk like that. You know how I hate for you to disparage my beliefs.”
“Helen, that’s not what I mean. If Roswell actually happened it was something that someone wanted us to see, to divert us from whatever indeed really has been found.”
“And what is that?” the Chief asked, unable for once in his life to see through the veneer of thought clouding someone else’s mind.
Jeff shook his head. Sweat now bubbled around his lips and over his brows.
“I have signed certain documents to get those clearances. They can put me in jail for twenty years. Not to mention…”
“What, Jeff?”
“My initials are alongside certain character strings in those contracts.”
“Character strings?”
“Forward slash, forward slash, a series of random numbers bracketed by another set of forward slashes.”
“And what does that mean?”
Jeff shrugged. Tears welled in his eyes. “Got me. But, I bet if I blew anything off in those contracts, these folks behind me wouldn’t be safe, not for one minute.”
“You mean they were some kind of code?”
“It was implied. There were exactly five such bracketed sets of numbers; one for …”
“Every member of your family. Yes, I should have foreseen this. This is new. They were, or, are, doing this now.”
“What do the numbers mean, honey?” asked Helen. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this before?”
“The numbers are serial numbers; for every one of us. Assuming the technology is available, and it is, it would take little effort to task a satellite to find someone who had been tagged with a microchip complete with a serial number,” sighed Jeff.
“And of course, they have never explicitly spelled any of this out to you,” said Red Dancing Bear.
“Didn’t need to. They see that they can rely on your own intellect to put all the pieces together later, at the prescribed speed; otherwise…”
“You would not have been selected in the first place. They search for those of us who are cool, rational, tinged with just enough natural paranoia that would alarm others of the heard if it came on too suddenly, but otherwise sane enough that we would be a credible source, making us dangerous to the farmer. So the farmer provides those calves and bucks with…”
“Right, the incentives for shutting up; for years at a stretch.”
By now, Jeffery was sweating bullets. The words weren’t coming easily.
“And Jeff, this is all to protect this thing you call The United States Constitution; or at least part of the reason. And in doing so, the farmer has so thoroughly hog-tide you, you no longer possess the right of free speech to discuss your misgivings with those closest to you. It has gotten so bad over the years, medically, psychologically, nay, BIOLOGICALLY, you no longer possess the ability of Free Speech. They have robbed you of your right to think and speak freely, down to your cellular level; you are passing it on to your young as a form of instinct; a Pavlovian reaction to keep your mouth shut and your brain tuned out as a means of self preservation. The great irony is that this is all happening in the one country that ostensibly values this concept, free thought, free will, freedom, above all others. Oh, these beasts have humor, they do. It strikes me they were behind that great joke played out over one-thousand years ago.”
“What joke?”
“Guys with huge knives slashing away in the name of Christ! Crusaders, of course! Tell me Jeff, can you see the fences now?”
“Yes Chief. I can see them. Are you saying the Crusaders themselves were driven by this farmer as you call him?”
“Without a doubt this is so. How else could you coax Christians to commit murder, all the while extolling Christianity as they slash through bone and flesh. As I said, at least they are not without a sense of humor, or cruel irony at the very least.”
“Hmmmmm, what Jeff?”
“The farmer, as you call him. We’re conditioned to call him ‘the customer’ or ‘the client.’”
“Yes, that fits. Subtlety, easy does it.”
“I started to notice this when some of the higher ups said things like ‘yes the contract ostensibly is for the USG’s department of DOD but the customer remains invisible on this one.’ Sometimes the contracts would use the character strings again, indicating a block of knowledge within the contract, that had to be completed as well.”
“Go on.”
“Once I was called in for a hands-on proximity inspection of the payload as it was hauled out of the hangar. I’m not sure why I was there, I mean, I’m not a structures guy. Anyway, the thing they put inside the payload bus just wasn’t made by human hands. It was mechanical, sure, and I guess we had a part in its manufacture but it was infinitely intricate and it looked animate; like it had a personality, more like it had an anti-soul, really. It was all in matte black and it retracted and folded into that small space the way a squid or a cuttlefish retracts when it shoots off. There was a bottomless, soulless power coming from it; like it hummed with hatred and contempt for us. But you had to marvel at how well it all folded down into the payload bus.
“You just knew the other guys were thinking the same thing too, when it was fitted into position, like what in God’s name is that, who paid for it, and where did it come from?”
“Even though the room was brightly lit it seemed so dark and malevolent, like those monsters from H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds, only in reverse in that we were putting it into the spacecraft and sending into space. And not one of us really knew what the thing was, nor why we were sending it up. I can safely say whoever did, isn’t from around here. Not at all.”
“Which brings your newly freed mind to the question, who are they and what do they want?”
“Right. Like why us? Just who the hell are you and why can’t you show yourselves?”
“Yes, Jeff. And they are so good at concealing themselves you begin to wonder why?”
“I know that there are a few other people at the Cape who have reached the level of clearance that I have reached, and there seems to be a common theme in their lives.”
“Ah, now you’re getting into the shaky area; what you fear the most.”
“Right. Murder suicide. At least two of the guys I know have been cleared as far as I have, have flipped out. One guy just three weeks ago. Drives to Norfolk with his wife and kids, kills them all then turns the gun on himself.”
“And you believe that’s exactly what happened? That’s what he did, huh?”
“I don’t know what to believe. I think that once you have your entire world flipped upside down and you realize, that your worst nightmare from a 1950s comic doesn’t even come close to the reality…”
“And why doesn’t it come close, Jeff?”
“Well shit, because in all those dramas, the battle lines are so fucking clear. I mean, here come the ships let’s get ready, arm some nukes or something. When Godzilla attacks the Japanese fishing villages or fights with Mothra in the streets of Tokyo, the citizens can at least band together and have that sense that, there’s the enemy gang. Let’s get it!”
“And in the current case?”
“The enemy has already won. When you finally figure it all out, the last freedom you have, the last act of self determination you possess is the right to take your family out before they can get on with their experiment or whatever it is they have planned for us, and that’s what these guys are doing, Chief. That’s what they’re doing. They’re not saying they DON’T love their families anymore, and are the most evil selfish sons of bitches in the universe. These are good people, family men, with hopes and dreams. Sometimes they’re right in the midst of sending their kids off to school. No, these men are saying ‘you can’t have me motherfucker! Not for one second longer, nor can you have my offspring.’”
“Yes, as with the noble Celtiberians of Gaul who…”
“Impaled themselves with their own swords after killing their families, rather than submit to Roman rule.”
“Is this the way, Jeff?” the chief asked. And the way Red Dancing Bear said it caused alarm; without harsh judgment, with understanding. But that was to be expected. The man named Red Dancing Bear had anticipated that reaction, and Jeff, predictably stalled; actually considering it. He wasn’t prepared to answer yet, not honestly anyway.
“I’ve seen what they do to your memory, your family after that and it is not pretty. They go through your computers at work and at home, and all the sudden somehow they churn up all this shit of their own invention; kiddie porn, snuff films on video, gambling debts, allegiances to radical groups, you never had. They burn your name so bad all your buddies want to do is forget you ever lived. They use the media, the local goddamned shit-assed newspaper that never checks a fucking fact beyond what’s written in a police report. They run with it, again, and again and again so much so, it’s a miracle if the surviving family members don’t off themselves as well. Like I say, there are other considerations, aside from which it is cowardly.”
“Jeff, the ancient Celts didn’t think it was cowardly, nor did the Roman artists who immortalized their final act. Many of those who died in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg knew they were committing suicide but Robert E. Lee told them they were doing a great service for their country in deciding something once and for all, then and there. Did the brave Japanese warriors who committed suicide on Iwo Jima against best-equipped best-trained fighting force in the world, did they have cowardice in their veins? Does that sound cowardly?”
“What are you saying, Chief?”
“Nothing. Just musing as an old man is prone to do.”
“Yeah, well, that kind of statement isn’t in me. Not yet anyway.”
“I was merely making the point that you should not be so quick to judge someone. You know, when the Tlaxcalans saw that Texcoco and Mexica were allied with the invader, Cortez; many of the mothers set themselves aflame as their husbands went off to war. Some jumped into the giant lake, others carried their newborns to the smoldering top of Mount Popo and flung themselves into the volcano.”
“Really? How do you know this?”
“I’m not sure. I just do. Sometimes I show off, and I shouldn’t do that. I know it angers you and now that you and I are allied, I should refrain from doing this. I am human, Jeff. I am sorry.”
“Now worries, Chief.”

Chapter 5

(c) David A. Kearns

Jeffery Becomes a Man …Again.

Two hours later Jeffery Thompson was smoking a joint poolside with two gorgeous exotic dancers. He wasn’t sure how this had happened and by this point he didn’t care. They were clad in bikini bottoms and T-Shirts that read “The Stables at Tom’s Roadhouse”
“See, he’s so completely full of shit. And the goddamned arrogance is enough to make you want to vomit,” Jeffrey said squinting as he prepared to take a second blast of smoke into his lungs
The one named Trina caressed the hairs of his neck just beneath his ear with her expensively manicured nails.
“I like this fur he’s got down here. It feels cool. Dawn, do this down here beneath his ears. Close your eyes and picture your daddy’s beard.”
“All I can picture is Eddie’s back.”
“Ewwwwww, total buzzkill, bitch! Why’d you do that to me?” This sent both women into peals of laughter.
As they rolled their heads back into the bushes for a private conversation, literally behind Jeffery’s back, Trina grabbed him in the jeans, right in the crotch.
“Fucking Red the Roadside goddamned Indian. Should have killed him, rolled his ass up in some dumpster somewhere….just like in that movie… can’t remember which.”
“Fort Apache, the Bronx.”
It was Red Dancing Bear, framed in silhouette from the lights of the house and the pool behind him, like some all-knowing dark God, wandering the halls of imagination, present like a phantom the moment someone thinks about him. There was a single glowing orb located in the center of his ghostly shade. It was either one of his chacras coming into orgasmic alignment or the lit end of something smokeable. The air around him was thick with smoke but was it opium, tobacco, or more Jamaican marijuana? Perhaps it was all three bound tightly in a deadly stick of mental rape. Perhaps he would now force-feed it to Jeffery, his newfound psychological hamster.
“Fort Apache the Bronx. That was the movie you’re talking about. Where the serial killing hooker was rolled up in a carpet and thrown into a dumpster, remember? Where Paul Newman and that other cop sort of threw that kid off a roof? C’mon Jeff, don’t tell me they’ve even taken away your memories of movies? I mean, that’s history you used to love!”
“Well I think your memory of movies is a little rusty. You may have some of that scene wrong, Red. But I take your point.”
“Movies, like thoughts now, are all derivative. There is no original essence in any of them. Doesn’t that concern you Jeff? You’re a scientist. What do you think it means? When there are no more original thoughts or concepts, yet, somehow, somewhere, all this new technology is coming into being.”
“Look man, I got no clue…”
“Yes, and now you are angry with me again. Anger in place of answers, in place of reason and logic.”
“…and I would just like to know, how the fuck you are doing all this to me? How is this happening?”
“The truth is happening, Jeff. Your mind is being infected with it, and it hurts. Fortunately I have provided you with a temporary salve to numb the blow.”
Jeff was about to say something threatening, but Red Dancing Bear cut him off.
“And you’re not bred for killing Jeffery, face it. Your kind has long ago ceased to need to kill which is why you can only do so now, at the touch of a button, or behind a video screen.”
“I can take care of myself, thank you very much, Red.”
“Yes, the presence of these fine young women here shows me that there is still something of the man left in you, and this is good.”
“Now hold on just a god damned minute there, Tonto.”
A tongue was then in Jeffery’s ear. That would be Dawn. Trina was fumbling with his belt buckle, digging those expertly manicured nails between folds of skin and his elastic waistband.
“But you still have a very long way to go, my white brother.”
The belt buckle came undone and the confined beast was released to assume its stalwart salute to the world. This was immediately covered in Dawn’s warm generosity as Trina’s hand went to work on Jeff’s chest hairs with her lips as she hiked her T-shirt over her enormous, perfect breasts. They smelled like honey and pool water.
Jeff’s eyes rolled back in his head.
When he opened them again he was amazed to see the demonic face of Red Dancing Bear glowing in the lit end of whatever it was that he had been smoking.
“Take a hit of this, my white brother.” His voiced echoed a sinister demand in those black dotted orbs. “Or else” the eyes seemed to say, from the bottom of a bat-lined cave. Could Red Dancing Bear make Dawn bite down on what remained of Jeff’s manhood with one strong mental pulse? Probably.
Jeff sucked, just as Dawn was sucking, just as Trina was sucking and licking his pectorals.
The smoke was thick as paste. It hummed into his lungs with the animal musk of the women, who began devouring Jeffery like warm, moist vampire angels. The voices of at least 100 people partying inside the house mingled with the strines of “Can’t You See?” by Marshall Tucker. The crickets in the pine trees rimming the patio sang in tune.
Then, just as suddenly as he had appeared, Red Dancing Bear was gone with his evil stick of death-weed, and Jeffery Thompson – beaten down, corporate engineer Jeffery -- became every raging animal in the mammalian order, over and over, and over.
“That shit will make you fuck like a white jackrabbit, my brother,” he heard Red Dancing Bear whisper from across the patio. “Just never you mind about anything else right now. I’m taking care of your family for you. I got your back.”
Jeffery awoke in the middle of a flesh pile of four other warm bodies sleeping soundly in a huge quadruple bed. He lifted the cool sheet to count the legs and torsos. Two honey brown strippers and the lesbian journalist were all breathing at the same rate. But someone in the pile, not Jeffery, had a whirring snore, which began about an hour ago and showed no signs of letting up. Jeff gingerly removed a leg from the pile, then his hip.
Bright sunshine filled the room, blasting into every last dark cavity of his mind.
“What we do here, we do in the name of all humanity.” Jeff heard somewhere in the back of his scattering dreams. The voice, of course, had belonged to Red Dancing Bear. Who else would say such a thing?
He reached to place a toe on the brown shag carpet but retracted it to get better view of the land. There were used condoms, and pizza crusts littering the view like bomb shrapnel. Someone left a pack of Camel filters on a nightstand. Jeff lit one, dragged the essence of the clarifying tobacco into his lungs.
Someone else was stirring. That troublesome, additional head that Jeff had tried to ignore. That had been the snorer, some 19 year old boy Jeff now remembered. He had a tattoo on his arm, a Celtic Cross with two eagle feathers behind it. Strangely, the lesbian journalist began spooning Jeffery. She kissed his neck and reached her hand around his midriff to catch hold of his….
Ugggh. Things were about to get weird again. Where was home? What had happened?
Jeff got off the bed and negotiated the minefield of pie-crusts and unmentionables searching for his clothes which he found, one item at a time. Peering through the window out into the pool area he could see his pants draped across a wrought iron, green patio chair.
He had to get to that and put them on before he ran into Helen. Damage control, that was the answer now. Damage control, then get the hell out of this nut house.
Just before he could reach his pants he heard the voice.
“Amen, brother. Amen.” It belonged to Red Dancing Bear, who was sitting beneath the patio overhang before the living room, fresh as a daisy. Clapping his hands.
“Bravo. Bravo Jeff. Welcome back to the land of the living. I gotta tell you, you and pizza boy made me proud to be a man, just watching you handle those women was something well beyond expectation.”
“Well you’re certainly pleased with yourself this morning, Chief. Anything you want to admit to me? Like where my kids are? Where’s my wife?”
“They are sleeping soundly in a guest bedroom. Your wife thinks that you and I got into a long philosophical discussion, which we did, and that we went out to a local strip club, which we did. What she doesn’t know is that two strippers came back with us; what she doesn’t know is that half the people that closed the place also did too. Some of them can be seen this morning gathering their things preparing to leave. Included in that bunch is a very confused Catholic priest. In all, that was a good evening.
“Where’s your friend Fred, the American Confucius?” Jeff asked.
“Oh, he’s around. He’s here somewhere.”
The answer was evasive.
“What’s wrong? What is it you’re not telling me?”
“Well among other things, Fred’s time has arrived. I didn’t see it coming but then, that’s the way of things these days. The world is catching up faster than we can escape. We’re running like the plains Indians now, trying to outrun, to hide in the hills and mountains.”
“Escape what?”
“C’mon Jeffery. After everything we talked about last night. You still have to ask?”
“So the aliens are coming for him?”
“Well, not exactly. As a matter of fact, it’s a member of the United State’s Marshall Service that will head up the task force. See, Fred has a tax problem. A big one. At least that’s what they will tell him. Then, as he searches his memory and his records, and as they are confiscating everything, taking this house and everything he owns, killing all of his files with viruses so he can’t even defend himself in court, he’ll blow his brains out with a snub-nose 38.
“Goodbye American Confucius. He’ll sit in this chair right here when he does it. Blood will get all over that cheese head hat, which he will also be wearing in strange salute to absurdity. Then his exotic tropical fish will die of anoxia and starvation after the power is cut off.
“We’ll have to get out of here. We don’t want to have your children see all that. Aside from which we have to stay focused.”
“Well where is he now, going to get the gun?”
“Oh, no, he’s getting a shower right now. I haven’t told him but the signs are there.”
“What signs?”
“Well a phone message from Agent Bluefield of the U.S. Marshall’s service in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for one thing. Plus a couple of his e-mails. These folks mean business.”
“You dug through his phone messages and his e-mails? What kind of friend are you?”
“This is wartime, Jeffery. We have to be prepared to do whatever is necessary to fight the enemy. Even if the enemy is working through our friends. History has been altered. There it is.”
“Because as enemies go, the more intelligence they have, the more dangerous they are. The enemy can’t really afford to have someone like Fred living and breathing, preaching the word when there are people smart enough to listen to him, now can they? People like you and me?”
“You’re saying that our being here, is changing history?”
“I’m saying our being here, has already happened. History is now changed and they know we are here. We have to move on, back into the protective cover of the woods, the camouflage of the open road. Its randomness of infinite probability will shield us for a time. They can’t see us there. Plus, I still have to get to see Lester.”
“I’m not buying this shit. I think you should stay here. Last night for me was…”
“A breakthrough as a man? Yes it was. And as far as I can tell, Jeff, you don’t really have a choice in the matter now, do you?”
“What are you talking about?”
Red merely lifted his huge paw to reveal a VCR tape, with one word written in red permanent marker on the label “Jeffery”
“Oh yes I did, Jeff. Oh yes I did. If there are any vinyl albums in his collection you would like, I suggest you take them. He’s not going to use them where he’s going and they’ll be wasted in an FBI storehouse. We have to move. They’re watching us now, and above all, we have to protect your daughter who is the mother of all modern humanity."

No one spoke or said a word now. They were miles down the road. The creepy uneasy feeling Jeffery was feeling rose to the top of his head like panic’s light bulb. But it was too late; he had been corralled; a young mustang kicking at the ropes around his slender ankles, a look of fury in his glistening eye.
And Helen wasn’t talking yet either, which was good. That was a showdown that would have pain in it, and they didn’t need that right now. Better to let them wonder. Better to let them heal for a while with the numbing calm of the open road.
They had taken Georgia Highway 400 back to 285 and from here, wound their way round westward toward I-20. Thence they would pass through Birmingham, Tupelo, on toward Memphis. Maybe Red would spend a day trying to convince them Elvis had been an alien. Although, he sensed they were more mature than that now. A lot had happened. Perhaps that could be used as a diversion.
Red Dancing Bear’s ass ached from sitting and they weren’t even to Alabama State line yet.
“When the need or desire of one human being to overcome another becomes more than a need, becomes a reality, posterity, and history must listen, must try to understand what reality itself is saying through the lives of the conquered and the conqueror, alike,” Red Dancing Bear said.
“Shut up Chief. No more of that shit right now.”
“I’m just sayin’ is all.”
“What you’re saying has been said. Darwin said it. Those who followed Hitler as an historical argument have said it.”
“Yes sweetheart?”
“Doesn’t mean it’s not true,” mumbled Red Dancing Bear.
“I have to pee.”
“Okay honey. Can you hold it for a little while? Daddy’s making some good time here.”
“I really got to go, Daddy.”
“Okay honey….say Red?”
“What was all that gibberish you and American Confucius were talking about back there, about her being the mother of humanity?
“You mean Heather?
“She has a name, you know, Jeff. Don’t you think you should use it?”
“C’mon, no more deflections. What did you mean by that?”
“Sometimes you can look into the future and just know that certain things are true. They say that all of us are descended from one common mother. They, and by that I mean those them, that they who say, you know the uh…”
“The experts. The scientists. The far advanced in their fields.”
“Right, those folks. They have been able to determine the common ancestry of all humanity from one mother living in Africa some 250 thousand years ago or something.”
“Right. I read about this. They were using mitochondrial DNA.”
“Yes, and as a matter of fact you got the information from a special on the Discovery Channel but that’s okay. But in so proving that, they came to the realization that something in the Bible was correct, which was pretty embarrassing for science but it was an important fact; that we are all descended from a common Eve.”
“So Heather is the next Eve.”
“Then who is Adam?”
“Or, what is Adam.”
“Or what?
“No, I mean you tell me.”
“I’m saying Adam may be a what, and that’s what we have to guard against. That’s not something we can let happen.”
“Exactly. Consider our common Mother, Jeffery.”
“Yeah, so what?”
“Now, did she have an Adam, per say, a single Adam that she mated with?”
By now Jeffery had learned to avoid the obvious answer.
“I don’t know.”
“The wisest thing you have yet said, and so too, with science. The jury is still out, and will remain so for all time, but that is beside the point. The point is, likely not. It is likely that the common ancestry of all humanity has three of four male lineages, three males that she was likely sleeping with, or her daughters slept with, which is even more likely. And unless those three were brothers, that’s good for the genetic variations that those lineages provided, otherwise, human beings would be thought of as the universe’s answer to inbred Appalachians.”
“But back there in that dim distant past, you realize of course that our Eve probably more resembled a monkey, and was in fact, more monkey than human.”
“Yeah, I’m down with that. I can relate. I’m not one of these whacko fundamentalists.”
“Yes, that’s good Jeff. But you have to admit that we don’t really resemble our simian ancestors so closely today.”
“Well, how do you think that happened?”
“Oh, wait. Let me guess, some sort of alien sponsored cross breeding program that genetically engineered us? Is that what you’re saying chief?”
“Jeff, maybe I have asked you this before and maybe I haven’t but take a look over in that field over there.”
Jeffery looked off to his left and witnessed the rolling fields of flowing soy, interspersed with rows of cabbage.
“So what?”
“Look a little further, Jeff.”
Beyond those rows of agriculture sat a rolling green hillside dotted with cows. Some were standing chewing cud. Others were lying down in the afternoon heat.
“Yeah, so?”
“Do you suppose those cows can smell all those crops?”
“Do you think it occurs to them to amble on over into the farmer’s product and start chomping on them?”
“Probably not.”
“Do you think the cows can see that fence in front of them or if they can even realize it’s there and what it’s for? Do you think they can rationalize the relationship between the fence and the crops and the whole operating scheme of the farm?”
“No, chief. You got me. I don’t suppose they can work it all out in their little cow brains. No.”
“Because, if they could, that moment for those cows, that moment of realization would be a cold dark moment, upsetting everything they have been bred and led to believe their entire lives.”
“Come again?”
“Because they would be able to see the inner workings of the farm Jeff. C’mon, brother, walk with me in the garden here. They would see that they were being farmed too, that they were a product, that the farmer considered them more a product than an entity worthy of dignity. They would realize their sense of security was false. They would be able to project, to extrapolate into the future, Jeff, what those fences meant for their fate. They would be able to detect the swing of the ball-peen hammer, or whatever device they use today, long before it occurred.
“You ever notice, Jeff, you never hear the word stampede being used anymore unless it’s used talking about humans?”
Jeffery sat in silence thinking about what the chief was saying. He reached over to turn on the radio dial.
“No, Jeff. Not yet.”
“Why not yet? I’m going to turn on the damned radio, will ya? What’s big damned deal?”
“Jeff, let’s continue my little talk here about the farmer for a moment before you sample the wonders of modern media.”
Jeffery seemed tired of humoring an old Indian named Red Dancing Bear. The same said old Indian would have to choose his words very carefully at this point.
“Fine Chief, go ahead with your thunderously apt illusions and scintillating conversation. I just can’t wait to hear what you have to say next, I am waiting for…”
“Jeff, I get it. Please, allow me to continue without the benefit of your barbed sarcasm.”
“Fine, go for it.”
“Okay, I will.”
“Please do. No…”
“I will Jeff. If you would kindly shut the fuck up.”
“Consider me shut and fucked up.”
“Fine. As I was saying, Jeff, The Farmer has his ways of calling the animals into the barn, correct? Certain sounds. When he imagines that one of his heard has wandered a-field, he sends his representatives out on horseback, and before they reach the wandering stray, they begin with their cries and whistles to gain the attention of the wandering animal, yes?”
“Your point is well taken.”
“In that?”
“I have no fucking clue what in God’s name you’re trying to say with it.”
“So too with our common Farmer, the one now searching for us. Events have transpired to alert this Farmer to the fact that we, the livestock, are fleeing him, down corridors of the intellect that he would rather we not stray into. There are those among us who have been anticipating a major corralling event, a gathering of the heard for stock inventory.
“I have been waiting my whole life for this event…”
“Yeah 157 years is a long time..”
“ …and now that it is here, I am also fortunate enough to have found you, and to have found this little girl in the back seat who is…”
“…the mother of all humanity..”
“But now, the Farmer knows what we are about. He knows we are dangerous to him.”
“Because we can see the fences you and I. We see they are there. And if we can see them, then we can also figure out how to tear them down. It will require great sacrifice on our parts, all our parts. We will be asked to give up some things and adopt ways that in a normal day and age, in a normal world, would seem criminal, cruel and murderous. But we must make those sacrifices.”
“Go back to the part about seeing the fences. All I see are the fences in that field.”
“Tell me you don’t see the fences in your life, Jeff, sapping your will to cross into the furrowed garden and eat like the man-beast you are. You drive to and from your job. When you get there you satisfy yourself that you are earning a living. In the back of your mind you know that all your efforts in a day will be spent creating but a small part of something, that will either spy on your fellow man, kill him, or will be used to poison the groundwater beneath what was once the land of the Ais, Mayaca and the Seminole.”
“Hey, we have enemies, Chief. Life’s a bitch. In case you haven’t noticed they have taken to bombing our government buildings, our cruise ships, our offices, our embassies, assassinating our religious figures, holding ambassadors’ children hostage.”
“Yes, enemies. Like maddened beasts of war you and your enemies trade shots across CNN. The fires of hatred burned into both your religions, pitting you against each other, so that the true enemy goes undetected.”
“This thing you call religion, what does it hold as a basic tenant?”
“That there is one true God.”
“Bullshit Jeff. You’re an Episcopalian? I am guessing, a follower of Christ?”
“And what did this Christ believe when it came to saving the world?”
“That they had to follow him.”
“Bullshit. Too easy…”
“Would you stop cursing Chief?”
“Alright damn it but you make me mad with your obtuse answers. You know what I am getting at.”
“That crap about turning the other cheek, no doubt, that garbage about…”
“Loving your enemy. Yes. Not spying on him. Not bombing the shit out of him. Not even passively surveying him by watching his market transactions. No, according to this Christ, the best way to change your enemy is to love him to destruction; love him until the enemy inside him dies, and the friend and brother emerges. It means putting down the metal detectors and welcoming him through the airports with open arms.”
“Yeah, that will happen.”
“Hey, pal. That’s your religion; the religion that you supposedly aspire to every Sunday, punctuated by weeks and weeks of making bombs and components for spy satellites. That’s you, Jeff. Those are your fences. Love your enemy, until the boss tells you to complete that assignment that will get you and your group of cubical buddies paid, for killing him. That’s your life. That’s how f’d up you are. Not me.”
“You and your buddies are the mindless cattle, the yoke beasts upholding the entire structure of the power that is steamrolling the world with destruction.”
“Hey I don’t make any excuses for defending my country and getting paid something for it.”
“Fine. That’s good. Be a man. Accept things as they are. Just don’t call yourself a Christian.”
“Why not? I believe in God.”
“You believe he’s there, Jeff. You just don’t give a shit about his opinions, opinions that would have long ago, allowed you and every other human on the face of this earth to see the common enemy from the outside, the real vicious beast that needs to be destroyed. The beast of Nothingness, the zombie Farmer who means you and the entire planet ill.”
“I can’t help it if some rag head whacko reads the Qu’ran and decides he has to kill all of us.”
“Then if you would at least have the guts to act as a man, and defend yourself on those terms without congratulating yourself every Sunday before Christ, who thinks you, and everyone like you, are assholes. Then at least your mind would stop fighting itself.
“What was it Abe Lincoln said?”
“I suppose you were even at the Gettysburg address.”
“He said, ‘A House Divided cannot stand.’ So, too, with your mind. Can’t you see, the Farmer actually wants you to stand there every day in front of the mirror and ask yourself, who the hell am I, anyway? And he wants you to walk away from the mirror empty handed every time, without the slightest idea. If you can accept that you’re more interested in your own wealth, you’re on personal materials and the safety of your family than you are any bullshit religion, your mind will stop fighting itself and one fine day when you look in the mirror and ask the question, you’ll come away with an answer. I am Jeff, avionics software engineer, son of Steve, taxidermist, son of Winthrop, meteorologist, son of Nelson, merchant seaman, and so on. Broad vistas of history will open up, and the Creator will communicate to you through the lives of your ancestors, as was meant to be. A connection to the ground beneath your feet will be forged, and you will be forced to love nature and find a balance.
“You’ll be forced to find a new way to make a living as anything but what you are. Anything you do that destroys Earth will become abhorrent to the touch. You’ll find that in defending you and yours the best way is to understand your brothers around you, first, preventing needless conflict before it sparks. The planet itself will teach you that, yes, the best way for you to live is by loving those whom call you their enemy, until they can no longer summon the hatred, since it no longer exists in their hearts.”
“Sounds great Chief. Sounds great. Yeah.”
“But all of these lessons now are really beside the point because the Farmer that I spoke of is attempting to find you and I and this family.”
“Why’s that? Explain that bit of psychotic paranoia again?”
“Because the waves of thought that we have set in motion have repercussions in the future that they have detected. Now they must find us an neutralize the threat at the source; the time in history before they have propagated at all.”
“And I am riding around the southeast on my vacation with a paranoid delusional in my car.”
“Which is why I love the randomness of the open road.”
“You mentioned that before. What do you mean by it?”
“Each one of these cars passing us is an eventuality; a rolling set of odds and outcomes. Every second of time a car drives down the highway, probability sets crowd the front bumper like bow waves deflecting off into either direction, port and starboard. Greater than fifty-fifty odds follow the car down the centerline, along its forward direction of travel. But those wakes, of 20 percent chances, 10 percent chances ricochet out to the sides, are collecting in waves in time-space off the reflected waves from other cars. Between these four lanes are huge standing waves of randomness and probability, which make it difficult for anyone to track us within recorded history.
“You can’t be serious.”
“It is true. These roads are like the rambling brooks that escaped convicts use to throw the scent of bloodhounds.”
“And there are bloodhounds after us?”
“If you wish. I am happy with that analogy having escaped enough prisons and been chased by enough bloodhounds in my time.”
“You were in prison?”
“Yes. I have been imprisoned many times in my life.”
“Anything violent?”
“Certainly. I am a man, aren’t I?”
“Give me a for instance.”
“When I was much younger and the blood was up, I did violence to my fellow man. Yes, I have even killed him. But those days are over.”
“You were acting in self-defense?” Jeff Thompson asked hopefully.
“As you wish,” Red Dancing Bear said, thinking that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor under the very pretense.
That brought a moment of silence as Jeff considered the fact the chief admitting to having a violent past, and the fact he didn’t want anyone listening to the radio right now. Added to the hasty retreat from the home in Alpharetta and the fact he was capable of blackmail all added up to bad news.
In Tupelo, Mississippi they got off the two-lane blacktop where two major sections of highway had not yet been joined by more asphalt laid over a wider area. The verdant land steamed around them. The kids slept in the sweltering van until the dewy moist beads of perspiration and the sun’s pulsating incandescence dragged them back to reality.
They stumbled into the cracker-box roadside convenience store with the dusty wood floors.
Jeff had a smoke. His first in a while. Helen followed the children inside the store.
“That crap you were talking back there, Chief,” began Jeff as Red Dancing Bear leaned on the side of the van and ate an egg salad sandwich out of a plastic triangle shaped container.
“You’re serious about that stuff?”
“Jeff, let me ask you something. Some of the black projects that come through your office, how do they make you feel?”
“Well, we’re not supposed to talk about them. They relate to National Security and even mentioning them means I could be tripped up.”
“You mean your periodic polygraphs?”
“Exactly. You have to take those, otherwise…”
“You don’t get promoted, yes. I have heard of this process. Your regular promotions, each requiring a performance review and a polygraph examination, are directly linked. Should you fail to get promoted, your standing among your peers diminishes. Your whole social standing then, by chain of events, is linked to the polygraph examination and …”
“And should they ever ask me have I ever revealed any classified information…”
“Let me ask you something else, Jeff.”
“If you were to find that as a black op, under the auspices of National Security, the company accepted an Air Force contract hauling loads of Jewish or native American citizens, such as myself to unknown locations for ‘processing’ would that…?”
“I fail to see any comparisons between Nazi tactics and …”
“I am merely providing you with a hypothetical as a means to answer your question and yet you cannot even play along.”
“I’m not in the mood for goddamn games right now, Chief.”
“So too, you answer my response with deflection and profanity when it doesn’t suit you, or when the response opens up areas of thought into which you would rather not travel …”
“Please, and what was the damned question anyway?”
“ …so much so you cannot even remember your initial line of inquiry. Very interesting…”
“Hey chief I’m not some specimen in a zoo, what are you saying here? And be specific.”
“I’m saying, Jeffery, you are far more brainwashed than you realize. I’m saying the vacant look on your wife’s face is in direct response to her defenses from you. She has subsumed her personality to such an extent she scarcely exists anymore, other than as an organic extension of your will; a life support system to the family you no longer notice. It’s in response to the fact you have become such a compartmentalizing, rationalizing machine at their behest; maintaining a social structure which only exists in facsimile of human interaction, that the only way to deal with you is mechanically, like a robot. The only encouraging news is, you have noticed how artificial your wife has become and you begin to wonder why.”
“Hey Chief, don’t hold back. Why don’t you really let me have it. You know, don’t filter when you damn me with faint praise like this. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ. Try to bring home the money, try to provide for college, for the future and you get nothing but kicked in the goddamned teeth.”
“More anger when a point is scored. Jeffery, you should be thanking me. That you can realize your situation; that you note with alarm the fact your wife is disappearing means there is hope for you. You must reveal everything you know about what they’re doing. Unburden your heart, Jeff. I am here for you my brother.”
“Negative kemo sabe. That job is the only thing we have going for us. Plus….”
“Plus you don’t know what they would do to you if you attempted to leave them.”
“Plus, no, now, damn it Chief, it’s not like that. I was going to say, plus…”
“Jeff, listen to yourself, sputtering there like an old Buick, ‘plus, plus, plus….’ You are dangerously close to becoming a mental patient. Funny, that you have all the trappings of sanity and none of the substance. While I, society’s outcast, a wandering Indian who doesn’t know precisely how long he has lived, and believes himself a ripe 157 years old, I am really the grounded one.”
“Hey you old Native American gasbag, I’m grounded!”
“No you just shut the fuck up for a minute…”
Jeff grabbed at the sandwich in the chief’s hands with alarming fluidity. Red Dancing Bear swirled to conceal the sandwich and found himself pinned against the side of the van.
“No, you shut up… gimme that.”
Jeff pried loose one of the chief’s hands and managed to grab the sandwich container, which squished sending a glop of egg salad out over the chief’s hand.
“See that chief. You see that!”
“Yes Jeff.”
“That shit didn’t just happen in a vacuum, I paid for that, pal. And some…”
“Jeff, you need to let go…”
“No, and some fucking chicken somewhere, you asshole, gave up the time…”
“Jeff ..”
“And the energy to crap that egg out of her. And now…”
“No, you eat it, Chief. And now, a human being is going to derive sustenance, as is the natural order…. Eat that shit now, goddamnit! Eat it you smelly old excuse for a gasbag, psychoanalytic Indian!
The children and their mother emerged from the store to witness Red Dancing Bear, with egg salad smeared on his face, chunks of egg dangling from his horsetail hair in clumps, walking toward one of the ill-kept restrooms. Jeff was dousing Red with shots of foaming Coke from a plastic bottle he was shaking. All that was left in the bottle were brown foamy bubbles. There was a gravel powdered hole or two in Red’s shirt. Jeffery’s elbows were covered in white marl dust and he was bleeding slightly from scuffs on each.
“Hey Chief what about this? Huh, try this shit in a vacuum. Whoops, hey how’d that happen? Must have been the aliens pal, they must have done it, hey!”
“What happened?” asked Helen innocently.
“Nothing,” Red said. “Jeffery is growing as a man, and there is some pain to be expected in that, pain for all of us.”
“Crazy old bastard…”
“Glad you have sufficiently deflected our conversation Jeffery, that you can pass your next polygraph. Rest assured all those state secrets you know are safe and you have maintained your post for another six months.
“Hey, fuck you, Chief.”
“Jeffery, the children.”
“Have them get in the car, honey. We’re going to leave his ass here.”
“I heard that.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chapter 4

By David Kearns

“Pancreatic cancer’s almost as bad as love.”
Red Dancing Bear.

"The same level of change that brought us out of the trees will be required to prevent us from killing ourselves and our entire planet," -American Confucius

“God told him in a dream that the aliens were here to take the place over - just the way Cortes came and took the land of Mexico away from the Mexicans. Just the way John Smith was trying to take the land away from the Powhatans before young Pocahantas stepped in, just the way ...”
“We get the point Red Dancing Bear, but how did this get your son in trouble with the military,” Jeffrey Thompson said wearily.
“The U.S. government thinks all that stuff they are learning from the aliens is too neat to pass up and they don’t want to hear about any part-Indian trying to tell them that what they are doing is basically selling out their own kind, the way the Ais were sold out by the Creeks and the Yamassee, like the ...”
“Right, Red Dancing Bear, we get it ,” spat Jeffery, with the beginnings of an ulcer flaring up in the area just beneath his esophogeal sphincter.
“So what happened to your son?” asked Jeffery, now more interested by the strange ramblings of the old Indian, than annoyed at the Indian for being in his vehicle.
“Once they found out that Tiger Lester Sun Cloud Owens was not too pleased about what he had been a part of, they realized that they had moved him into control over projects that he had never been cleared for in the first place.
“Those clearances required psychological evaluations that he never took. They always suspected that he was kind of agnostic or atheist or something, but he wasn’t. His momma raised him Catholic, even though he was Christened with the Indian name and everything.
“Anyway, they freaked when he even mentioned God. Let’s not talk about how they felt when my son said God came to him, personally, in a dream. That was, you know, way out there from their line of thinking,” Red Dancing Bear said.
“All at once, his lack of a proper security clearance became the reason for them to move him to other air bases like some kind of chess piece in a never-ending game.
"Like it had been his fault for tricking them into not making him go through all the steps of getting those clearances.
"Now they transfer him more often than some people change clothes. I'm getting tired of it. All the stress is causing me acid backup in my pancreas and if I don't watch that I'll get cancer there and there's no cure for that.
"Pancreas cancer's almost as bad a love," said Red Dancing Bear.

"Look, I know you people are heading out west to see the UFO stuff and all the other sights. If you take me I can show you many things out that way and you can drop me off in Nevada because that's probably where I'll find Lester Sun Cloud," said Red Dancing Bear getting down to business.
After haggling for two hours, it was agreed, with Jeffery - whose prostate had grown one millimeter in size because of stress and his greasy breakfast - half-heartedly voting in the minority.
The first place Red Dancing Bear meant to take his new-found family, before then end of it all, was to a man who lived in Alpharetta, Georgia, who would soon be known as the American Confucius.
The tabloids already knew of this man and the major media players were only waiting for a respectable period of time to elapse before they could 'discover' him on their own.
The man happened to live near a woman who said she regularly spoke with the Virgin Mary through a statue in her backyard.
The statue was not the virgin. It never had been faced with the choice of the small shed or the road. The statue had never uttered a word. Red Dancing Bear knew this but the rest of the world did not, apparently.
The woman used this elaborate religious hoax to get money from people who liked to come and kneel in her peaceful garden in Alpharetta.
Many claimed to come away from the garden with a feeling of peace and closure. The garden itself, like many they possessed in their own back yards, had been the reason. The Virgin had not been there at all.
Just the same, the woman who constructed this tax-free hoax was named Dorothy Pickels. She had been named after a 12-year old girl in a movie and her life never really gained a realtime edge to it , to quote Lester Sun Cloud.
The fact Dorothy and her garden existed was the only reason the tabloids had stumbled upon the American Confucius.
He lived down the street from her.
The discovery had gone like this.
Guy with a camera is taking pictures for a tabloid story, of all of these people in Dorothy Pickels' back yard kneeling before a statue. The statue is featureless and gray with the affects of acid rain and bird droppings, which pockmarked and sullied it.
Someone comes up to the camera guy and whispers; "You think this is interesting, we've got a regular Confucius living in this neighborhood too. He's right down the street. You gotta meet this guy."
The rest would soon be history.
The Creator works in mysterious ways indeed, thought Red Dancing Bear.
American Confucius had given up his name. He eschewed all wealth now, despite a successful career as an insurance claims adjuster.
His family had left him to his devices; with his preference for Darjeeling tea and little else in the way of nutrition.
His mortgage had been recently paid off by a trust fund and perhaps not coincidentally, it was at the precise moment when he no longer needed to worry about the mortgage anymore, nor any other financial worries, that he underwent this strange transformation in his life.
The tabloids, of course, got most of his quotes wrong, thought Red Dancing Bear, diluting or bastardizing pure sweet logic that only dawns upon mankind once or twice in a millennium.
"Truth is a substance and a form of energy," was a misquote attributed to American Confucius; a misquote that just so happened to become enhanced in the erroneous translation.
What the man had actually said was "Truth possesses all the properties of matter and energy."
The natural corollary to this, following physics, would be "Truth can neither be created nor destroyed. It merely changes form."
American Confucius had not yet said this but he soon would on an armchair quest to save the planet, which Red Dancing Bear thought would fail miserably.
But American Confucius was interesting. He was like a road sign on the highway to hell. In an easier age, when man was not fighting against the tide of his own creations, American Confucius's logic would have gone to strengthen the culture.
Now he was like a useless prophesier of doom - like Cassandra or Montezuma - spewing truth, which was drowned out by a chorus of noise from his detractors.
He was a sad joke, thought Red Dancing Bear, but he was interesting and like Chimney Rock or Brass Town Bald, he was on the list of things to see in this part of the world.
When they pulled up to the man's house it was evident to Red Dancing Bear that they had come at a good time. He was holding court as evidenced by 12 cars, two trucks, three vans and a semi-tractor trailer rig parked in front of a stately, red brick two story Georgian home.
As the family all piled out of the car and walked towards the front door, Red Dancing Bear explained that American Confucius was actually a man named Fred Heddinger who had been a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity member at the University of Georgia, a few years back.
That wasn't that important only that he had roomed with a guy who was a first cousin to former President Bill Clinton, while at the fraternity house.
Red Dancing Bear had been impressed by this fact. It was also interesting that the dreams he had begun having in the late 1980s were caused by a small tumor that had grown in the left side of his brain.
The tumor had been sparked by prolonged exposure to video games, which his nephew had been responsible for hooking him up with, like a drug dealer giving a middle school student his first free hit of crack.
Jeffery Thompson asked Red Dancing Bear how he had come by so much information on this man and Red Dancing Bear lied. He said he had read it in an article printed in a tabloid magazine. The article hadn't run yet, but it read essentially how Red Dancing Bear had described it.
The article at that moment was being researched by a writer whose journalism background had consisted of watching, "All the President's Men" and liking the movie very much.
They knocked on the door and waited patiently for whomever American Confucius had asked to be the greeter for the day.
It was known that American Confucius kept strange hours and even stranger rituals. He held forth in week-long celebrations wherein he would invite inside all who came to his door into his home -- from the milkman to the meter reader -- so that they might bask in the glory of being near him while his mind entered the fugues which possessed him between bouts of table tennis, lawn games of every variety, drinking and listening to great hits from 1970s southern rock legends such as The Alman Brothers Band, Lynard Skynard, Marsall Tucker and Molly Hatchet.
The door flung open to reveal a young woman with dark hair and thick eyeglasses, who sniffed the air the moment her eyes fell upon Red Dancing Bear.
In some cultures she would have just asked Red Dancing Bear to go to bed with her, although he suspected she had not been trying to convey that message at all. He suspected that she was a homosexual, anyway.
"Who are you people?" she blurted.
“I have brought these lost people to hear the words of the American Confucius, to give them comfort in knowing that their culture did produce at least one intellect worthy of the ages; one intellect which will survive the passing of Americana, if only in the form of his sayings and his curious brand of haiku," said Red Dancing Bear.
She appeared to actually gulp at this; apparently she had been caught like a balking pitcher just prior to hurling an insult laced with dogma in their direction when Red Dancing Bear's words found their mark.
This was the freelance writer of the article that, though Red Dancing Bear had read it, did not exist yet. He was partially quoting her and she was about to appropriate these words and use them in her article.
Red Dancing Bear loved the phenomenon of circular paradox.
"He hasn't told anyone about his poetry yet. How did you know about it?" she demanded.
"If you will let these tired, soulless people come in, I will try to explain," said Red Dancing Bear.
And the writer let the family into the home of the American Confucius, who had been born Fred Heddinger of Knoxville, Tennessee.
American Confucius was playing bad mitten at that moment, with a cameraman from a tabloid television news network.
His manner and wit had so disarmed the cameraman and the writer/producer of a television spot that was due to air in three days, the writer producer had passed out from drinking those little Jack Daniel's flavored drinks near the poolside.
The writer producer had also smuggled some marijuana into the home and felt the urge to light this evil, sweet smelling weed after taping only five minutes of American Confucious's ramblings.
American Confucius just scored a point against his cameraman opponent, who had made a fair attempt to dive after the birdie only to cut his shin on the edge of a low brick wall beside the pool.
American Confucius paid no attention to the member of the media whose shin now bled freely. He set his racquet down and made his way towards the old American Indian as though the two were lifelong friends.
"I've seen you before friend, in a dream," he said.
“I know. I've seen you too, Fred. You look exactly as you seem in my dreams," Red Dancing Bear said.
"What brings you here?" asked American Confucius, taking Red Dancing Bear's hand almost reverently.
“I wanted the victims of the dying urban white culture to meet you before the end of their days. So there would be one aspect of their culture that they could know would live on. It would make them go to the great beyond a little easier of mind.
"But sir, you have this one here with you. If I am not mistaken I have seen her in my dreams as well,” said American Confucius, regarding the poised little girl named Heather with a blond mop of curls.
"Yes, I suspect she is the mother of all humanity after the great cataclysm," said Red Dancing Bear.
"So it is coming," stated American Confucius.
"As any self-fulfilling prophecy, just as the brain tumor grows inside your head," Red Dancing bear now regarded the lesbian writer...just as this young woman will write an article so laced with inaccuracies and her own opinion it will be a miracle that anything you say will be able to shine through, Fred," he said.
American Confucius bent down to gaze into the eyes of the little child with blond hair.
“I thank you for coming and showing me this little girl. For just seeing her is something that I can take with me, prophet, when the shit hits the fan," said Fred Hettinger to Red Dancing Bear.
Helen Thompson gasped at this. Jeffery was beyond comment now; the afternoon had degenerated too far for him to make any sense of it. All he wanted to do was sit down and apparently this man called the American Confucius was a man of means and there were after all many places to sit in his home, which appeared comfortable and tastefully accoutremented.
They all moved away from the edge of the pool and into an area surrounded by pillars of marble and carpeted by cool, Mexican tile. This was an interpose between the pool area and an expansive living room. The transition from outside to inside was only made known by a rim of metal on the floor that held the glass doors, which for the moment remained flung wide-open.
The music of the Alman Brothers played upon the summer air as American Confucius escorted Red Dancing Bear and his party to some chairs surrounding a translucent glass table near the stereo speakers.
The media man and the writer hobbled past the Thompson’s, American Confucius and Red Dancing Bear, as they made their way inside the house in search of a bong-hit and a band-aid.
"Prophet, what has made you search me out besides these people. Surely there is some wisdom you seek from me. Is there something for me to ponder, some universal truth that you would like to know?
Red Dancing Bear opened his mouth to form a response but he was cut off.
"Is there some burning question in your soul that you must have extinguished with the light of true reason, for if there is, prophet, you have only to ask," American Confucius continued.
Again Red Dancing Bear tried to speak but he was prevented by the truckload of words that fell from American Confucius’s mouth.
Fuck it, thought Red Dancing Bear.
When American Confucius had finally spent himself verbally he admitted to Red Dancing Bear that he would rather have the gift of prescience than the light of deep wisdom, any day.
If there was anything in these end times that he would appreciate more than a bong-hit, he said, he would rather have the ability to know what was the core truth of something immediately, as Red Dancing Bear did, rather than the ability to mouth the esoteric truths which would only be lost when, "the shit hits the fan" as he put it.
"Oh c'mon, Fred, I mean, you're the man. The main man," Red Dancing Bear said unconvincingly.
"Yes, but that's really so transient. Isn't it?" answered American Confucious to this.
"In two months, Fred, you’ll be on the cover of People Magazine. You’ll make the cover of Time Magazine by Christmas and you’ll be on Larry King Live by the New Year.
"I mean, in this culture, what more could you want?” Red Dancing Bear asked.
"Not to have this tumor in my head?" said American Confucius. "Would that be so much to ask?"
Red Dancing Bear let it go.
"A gift and a curse. The Yin with the Yang," said American Confucius, answering his own question.
"Yeah, that's a raw deal fate did you, man. Can't have one without the other," Red Dancing Bear said.
"It must be difficult for you," Red Dancing Bear added.
"Oh, I don't know. I expect the food is a little better from where I'm sitting. You know I once had a dream that you were eating out of a dumpster, Prophet, and the funny thing was the dumpster was located in the parking lot of a Jai ali arena. Were you trying to tell me something in this vision?" he asked.
"Yeah, I was trying to tell you that I was damned hungry," Red Dancing Bear said.
"But you would have only to have crossed that barren parking lot and entered the jai ail arena and bet a dollar on the first trifecta to have started an evening of betting which would have inevitably provided you with enough to eat for weeks.
"So, were you trying to say something to me fundamental about hunger? Were you trying to show me the transience of existence, the bareness, or perhaps the irony, in man's attempt to control fate? What?" demanded Confucius.
“I was trying to show that I was so damned tired that I didn’t even notice where the dumpster was situated. I never saw the jai ali sign, Fred, until after I slept off my hangover inside the dumpster.
"Perhaps God was trying to show you these things using me as a conduit. I'm only glad my misery was both thought-provoking and entertaining," Red Dancing Bear said.
By now the Thompson family was lost in a sea of confusion. How strange the afternoon had become in such a short period of time.
Did Red Dancing Bear actually have some inner knowledge, some prescience that enabled him to delve beyond the veil of reality; that allowed him to see what fate held in-store for some?
"Fred, you got any beer in this place of yours," said Red Dancing Bear, breaking the silence of the mellowing, southern afternoon.
"Shit, I am sorry prophet. I clean forgot my manners," said American Confucius getting up from his seat and moving into his living room.
He looked back at the table and asked if anyone else wanted anything. The boy asked for a Coca Cola, as did the mother of all humanity. Jeffery Thompson also settled on a beer. His wife asked if there was any wine about. She agreed upon a glass of white Zinfandel, which was not white at all, nor was it made in Germany.
When Fred, aka American Confucius, came back to the table he was ridiculously attired as a waiter in a T-shirt that was made to look like the upper portion of a tuxedo. He also wore a giant piece of Styrofoam cheese on his head, obviously a remnant from a recent football season.
"I didn't realize you were a Green Bay fan, Fred. Me I'm kinda partial to the Washington Red Skins," said Red Dancing Bear.
"But prophet, I'm amazed that you don't find the Red Skin emblem and the name the least bit offensive," asked American Confucius.
"Hell no. I love them. I love the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Red Skins the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Indians and the Florida State University Seminoles.
"They're my favorite. It is good to know where you come from.
"Oh to be sure, it saddens me that white urban culture has a need to pacify that which it fears and respects, almost to the point of extinction before they then honor these beings as totems of what they have conquered," Red Dancing Bear said.
"Fuckin’ A, Prophet. Go on now. Get down with your bad self," said American Confucius.
"That aspect of what white urban culture does bother me, yes. But on the other hand I still think the tomahawk-chop is an awesome tool one group of fans can use on another. It can be extremely intimidating. It's one of the best things that ever to happen to sports.
"Look at what it did for the 1991 Atlanta Braves. They were nowhere until someone thought to steal the chop from the Seminole fans, and then all at once, it was as though they gained a new sense of purpose," he said.
A. Confucius had only listened partially to what Red Dancing Bear was saying now. Some errant thought had drifted into his mind.
“I see your point, Prophet. You can divorce yourself from the anger of the ages," said Confucius.
"No. I just think it's neat," said Red Dancing Bear under his breath. He did not want to offend this man, who for whatever reason, the Creator had decided to endow with a kind of wisdom that only graces mankind once or twice in a millennium.
Today that wisdom was nowhere to be found and more or less, American Confucius was just a man named Fred, who had smoked a little grass and had a couple of beers earlier in the day, and was in a relaxed, somewhat philosophical mood.
The weird thing about this American Confucius was that even though he had a tumor in his head there was no other discernible sign that he would ever acquire any disease or malady currently known to man.
If the tumor stopped growing now, he would never get sick and if he died within the next 40 years it would only be the result of some stupid or tragic accident, assassination, which was entirely possible, or if he decided to kill himself.
The later was conceivable if the pain and swelling inside his head became too great. Red Dancing Bear couldn't tell whether this would happen or not. One of fate's toss-ups.
Otherwise, there was every indication that American Confucius would live well into his 100s, just like figures in the bible who had direct communication with the Creator.
There was some constant within the soul of a man who had heard the voice of the Creator. Somehow that voice had bolstered the soul, it must provide such a bulwark of confidence within the psyche, thought Red Dancing Bear, that it actually affected the physiology of a man, or woman.
Perhaps even the tumor would disappear, just as Confucius had asked. For the moment it was growing but not very rapidly.
Talking with the Creator made those fortunate enough to be able to do so seem impregnable to the maladies which constant killed or crippled other humans, who spent their lives wallowing in fear which cut down their immunity.
"We'd love a pizza at this juncture," said Red Dancing Bear.
"Sustenance will be provided," American Confucius said.
"Hey, you!" he said yelling at the woman from the tabloid magazine.
She seemed shocked that he was speaking to her.
"Yes you. Take $100 out of my sock drawer and go get pizza for everybody," he said.
"What kind of pizza ...master?" she asked sheepishly.
"Dominos. The last pizza I had at Pizza Hut got me sick. Extra cheese, deep dish, everything on them. And get the Cherry Coke in 2 liter bottles," he said.
"Yes master,” she said, before turning back.
"Master?" she said sheepishly.
"Dominos' Pizza delivers," she stated hopefully.
“I know but I want you out of this house for a while so I can speak freely with my friends without fear of your incessant scribbling. Now get out," he said before turning to his new-found friend, who he had always known from dreams.
“Red I’ve been meaning to ask you this: exactly how old are you now?”
“I am 157 years old come November.”
“Now that’s complete bullshit!” said Jeffery Thompson.
“Hey, Jeff, glad you finally found your tongue,” said Red Dancing Bear. “No, in fact it is not bullshit. It’s a mixture of batshit and a hyacythn found in the dark, still waters of my homeland brewed in a tea. That and gator meat. I mean to tell you that will surely make a man out of you.”
“I heard that, Red,” said A. Confucius.
“You mean to tell me you’re 157 years old.”
“Yep, I was born on the day Jeb Stuart led the raid of the Rappahannock,” Red Dancing Bear said. “Greatest true cavalryman this country ever saw.”
“Who?” asked Jeffery. “You expect me to believe that since you can dredge up some obscure fact about some dead Civil War general.”
“Well point of fact, Jeff. He was a Lt. General. Grant only gave him full status …”
“I don’t care if he was a major general. There’s no way in hell you’re 157 years old.”
“…after he died. And it’s a good thing for the Lakota nation that it was him who died in 1864 and not Gen. George Custer. Cause Custer it turned out was the worst cavalryman, bar none, the world has ever seen.”
“I still don’t buy it, Chief; or I’m sorry, Red, since we’re calling you that now.”
“This is what I am talking about Fred. I’m not telling him anything but stuff that’s supposedly from his history, and he doesn’t know any of it.”
“For instance, if he knew his own Bible, he’d know that people frequently lived well beyond 100 years in the days before disease and technology. Sure enough they’ll erase that on us too, declare the true parts of the bible are bunk, keep all the crap. He’d also know that a certain Juan Ponce De Leon, newly established governor of Puerto Rico, in the early 1500s sailed for Florida because there was rumored to be a place with waters of great curative, restorative powers; the place of course is Lake Okeechobee. And if this guy had the first inkling that there was a world outside his corporate office, he’d realize that for some strange reason, some government agency somewhere, some when, decided to put a huge dyke around the lake keeping most of the people out of it, most of the time.”
“Ah, now wait a minute, chief, cause this part of my Florida history I do remember,” interjected Jeffery, taking a belt of beer to whet his whistle.
“I’m glad to hear it, Jeff. Continue.”
“There was a hurricane, sometime back in the 1920s. When it crossed over land the backside winds sent a huge wave across the lake from the west and sloshed it up into Palm Beach County killing about 6,000 people, and that was the reason the U.S. Army Corps of engineers decided to build the dyke there.”
“I’m going to get myself another beer,” said American Confucius, “Anyone else? Mrs. Thompson, another glass of wine.”
“Yes, please. I’m just fascinated by all this. Jeffery I didn’t know you were a history buff?”
“When were dating, honey, don’t you remember what my minor was?”
“No, I don’t. Hon. I’m sorry I’ve forgotten.”
“Sure you do, Helen. Don’t you recall? He wanted to be a famous meteorologist, like his grandfather. The computer science and electrical engineering, that just came slightly easier to him.”
Now Jeffery was completely silent.
“Plus there was more money in it,” finished Red Dancing Bear, cooking Jeffery’s goose with a wink and a drag on his bottle.
In the living room A. Confucius was shutting off the CD player and opening the record player. He was in one of his moods. Now he wanted to be contrary.
An electronic low base whir was followed by heart beat drum sounds, then the jabbing notes from a guitar.
“Good choice Fred. Zenyatta Mandatta”
“Well I figured since you guys were talking about Jeff’s college days. And he looks about the same age as me.”
The song, Don’t Stand So Close to me indeed, had reached the top ten, the year Jeff entered school.
“They say that the song that reaches number one the year you graduate high school, has an impact on the rest of your life,” said American Confucius. “It could almost be described as your theme song, your motto.”
He then muttered something about his own penchant for younger women, and his overriding fear of commitment to relationships that he could not totally dominate with his will or his intellect.
It seemed ridiculous, that he was spouting the wisdom of the ages with an enormous piece of cheese on his head, but there it was. He also was slipping the album cover back into its place among a wall of vynl.
“Jesus, you have this on vynl,” said Red, astonished. “I wonder how much it’s worth now?”
“Well Red, you can’t get it on CD. Not unless you call a bunch of people up or send your credit card out over the Internet and even I don’t feel the world is that far gone yet, that I want my identity and my bank account whipped out.”
“Heard that.”
“Jeff, you look like you could use something stronger than Bud.”
“I could.”
“What would you prefer? Some 151 Bacardi? I’ve got some anejo tequila here.”
“Yes, give him the fruit of the agave. This will not only mellow his mood, but take away that murderous look in his eye. Now, I know your history, Jeffery. You are a Romanized Britton through and through. How refreshing.”
“My people are French Canadians,” Jeff said on impulse. “You wouldn’t recognize nor be able to dissect them as easily as you have me, I can garuntee that.”
“And your parlor tricks and your half hearted dime-store magic wouldn’t work on them either.”
“Yeah right.”
Jeff obviously thought all this was some act, some strange indoctrination into a cult. The words “identity theft” and Internet, sparked this theory. They had been followed, tailed by cult members who would now swallow them into their ranks.
Sensing her husband’s inflamed paranoia, Helen got up from her chair and walked over to the pool deck. The baby was asleep in a Graco crib near a book shelf. She took Heather by the hand and led her inside the house where Nathan was busy on the Play Station battling a very stoned cameraman in an ongoing X-treme skateboard competition. Nathan was winning. The cameraman, who at one time had been an excellent skateboarder, in the community of Roswell, Georgia, would not relent.
Fred, aka American Confucius brought a double shot of Don Diego tequila in a small snifter along with a lime and salt for his agitated guest, as well as another frosty bottle of beer.
“There now, Mr. Thompson. Get that in you.”
“He grimaces the way a man does when he enjoys it. Look at him, becoming a man again. The weight of the world and the prying eyes of his company off his back for a moment. It’s good to see you this way Jeff.”
“Listen Chief,” said Jeffery sucking his salt lime, and taking up his bottle of beer for the wash-down. “I’m not through with you yet. I sense you don’t want to argue meteorology with me, not to mention debate historic established fact. That’s fine, but just how in God’s name you knew about my grandfather, I’ve got to know that.”
“Your grandfather, yes, something about him going with navy rear admiral Richard Byrd to Antarctica. Yes. Something else about him helping a Dr. Paul Siple of Ohio, come up with the concept of “Wind Chill Factor.”
“See, you could have read that. That’s something you could have read.” Jeffery said, stabbing an accusatory finger at Red Dancing Bear.
“I could, Jeff. But I don’t read much these days. I’m on the road a lot. If you know what I mean.”
Suddenly the fact they had picked the old Seminole up and a truck stop on exit 13 in Tifton early this morning, seemed imbedded in the dim, distant past.
“And I never challenged your theory Jeffery, because it is based in a shred of historic fact, as often these plausible, but inadequate, explanations are. There was a violent hurricane that struck Florida precisely when you say. It did cause massive winds and waves on the lake. Only, the wave that killed all those people, six thousand to be round about, wasn’t caused by any wind this planet has ever seen. In fact, that wave was caused by something else entirely. You know your science and yet I am amazed this had never occurred to you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You talk about this wave, coming up so fast, killing that many people all at once. Does that sound like storm surge to you?”
Jeff didn’t answer.
“No, that wave reminds me of something else, like what happens when an iceberg falls off the Ross Ice Shelf, or a chunk of a mountain sloughs off into the sea, or two oceanic crustal plates become unhinged.”
Jeffery Thompson again, didn’t answer. Red Dancing Bear could watch each of his words hit the mark on Jeff’s thought processes, the way a fighter pilot walked his tracer bullets into the target. His mind replayed a scene from the World War II file footage where the gas freighter detonated in a shock-wave thud beneath a barrage of tracers.
“Magnetic anomalies aren’t the only things that make flying metallic aircraft fall from the sky, Jeffery. Hurricanes can do that too.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chapter 3

By David Kearns

The van was stopped behind a row of cars waiting to enter the front gate of Warner Robbins Air Force Base, a few miles south of Macon Georgia.
"Somebody wake up the chief before we get to the guard post," said Jeffrey Thompson causing Red Dancing Bear to spring forward into the sitting position and begin to rub his eyes.
"We're here chief, we just need to find out where it is we are supposed to take you so you can hook up with your son," said Jeffrey, who was betraying more and more unpleasantness with his tone.
When the van lurched to a halt before the guard, Red Dancing Bear leaned forward and told Jeffrey the name of his son,
"Tell him we're here to see Lt. Col. Lester Owens," said Red Dancing Bear.
"Yes, we're here to see Lt. Col. Lester Owens," said Jeffrey sweetly to the impassive guard. The guard began scanning the list in his hand.
Three vehicles bearing Air Force personnel were waved around the van while the guard, named Davidson, who was in perfect health, went through page after page of a duty-roaster for the day. He then went inside the guardhouse to check a computer terminal.
He popped back out and shook his head.
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm not showing any such officer listed here," said the guard.
"He works in Air Force Intelligence," said Helen hopefully.
"Are you sure he is posted here?" asked the guard.
"Goddamn that Lester, I'll kill him if he did this to an old man again," said Red Dancing Bear right on queue.
"Did what, chief?" asked Jeffrey with all the civility-gritted teeth could muster.
"Got stationed somewhere else without telling me," said Red Dancing Bear. The guard, who had heard Red Dancing Bear, leaned into the van window.
"Sir, was he stationed here permanently or was he only here on TDY?" he asked. "What?" asked Red Dancing Bear. Temporarily? Was he only here for temporary duty?" asked the guard.
"Maybe," admitted Red Dancing Bear wistfully.
When they got back on the highway Red Dancing Bear feigned embarrassment glazed over with sadness.
"He does this, ever since he got reassigned after witnessing what he can't talk about," said Red Dancing Bear offering the bait.
"And what was that?" asked Helen."Things he has seen in a place called Area-51." They keep reassigning him all over the country. I can't keep up with him anymore. It gives me nothing but sadness to know that a government, which is supposedly founded on truth, justice, and the American way …”
"No chief, that's the preamble to Superman, not the Constitution," interjected Jeffrey.
“ ... can just shut someone up like that. Can take over their whole life. Wipe away their identity, their history, he said.
By now Helen's goose was cooked and ready to be brought out of the oven.
Jeffrey, by this point was as anti-Red Dancing Bear as a person could be.
He gripped the wheel and turned the van slowly back out towards Interstate 75. A thought went through his mind that Red Dancing Bear only caught glimpses of, something about Red Dancing Bear's body rolled up in a carpet, stuffed inside a dumpster next to a Day's Inn off the highway near the city of Forsythe, Georgia.
For some reason Jeffrey never crossed his wife, who clearly was not about to let anyone put the old Indian by the side of the road; dead inside a carpet, stuffed in a dumpster next to a hotel.
The kids would not be a problem, thought Red Dancing Bear, they would all be on his side.
Nathan seemed pleased just to have a friend and the mother of all humanity, Heather, she was asleep. The baby; Red Dancing Bear did not know the baby's name. That would come soon enough.
He had some explaining to do first, however. There was a pregnant pause that can only follow being turned away from the front gate of an Air Force Base, a pause that begs for an explanation from whomever had brought you to the front of that Air Force Base in the first place. He knew it. It was a required step in the dance.
Red Dancing Bear would not get away without explaining the reason why his son was not listed on the Warner Robbins' duty roster.
To a man, woman and child, everyone in the van demanded to know what had befallen the son of Red Dancing Bear, now allegedly a Lt. Colonel in Air Force Intelligence.
It was a small price to pay for over one thousand miles of road between here and "out west."
Surely they would not let him starve, nor force him to sleep in the rain during the journey.
And no, Helen, now his most ardent ally, would never allow Jeffrey to kill Red Dancing Bear and roll his body into an old worn-out rug collected from a trash-pit off the side of the highway and then stuff him into a garbage dumpster near a hotel.
Red Dancing Bear calculated the story he was about to render for the Thompson family, including hotel room, food, and mileage, to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $550 , not counting sales tax.
It would be worth every penny and them some, he thought.
After all, these poor urban whites were about to lose everything, their lives, their histories, their culture and they should not be disappointed, he thought.
What better place to begin but at the beginning, the birth of Lester Owens, who had in his early days, gone by the name of Sun Cloud.

It seemed that Sun Cloud had been born on the Big Cypress Reservation in the early sixties, a day after an Irish Catholic President, who had been neither in practice, when you got right down to it, was shot dead in a long sleek convertible which had been traveling at precisely 11 miles per hour in Deale Plaza, Dallas Texas.
The mother had wanted to name him John even before she had learned by two-way radio, that the President had been killed.
She had been out taking pictures of marsh birds, documenting the vanishing wildlife of the Big Cypress Reservation, when she met and fell in love with a very self-satisfied Seminole named Red Dancing Bear, who frequently wandered the reservation living off the land and doing as he damned-well pleased.
During the baby's gestation period, mother and father argued over the name of the child.
Red Dancing Bear had not wanted to name the boy after the President.
It seemed a cheap thing to do. Besides he saw into the eyes of the President and the man was not whom he appeared to be.
Sara Langford could not see in Kennedy what Red Dancing Bear could divine from the photos of the man, which had been plastered all over hell and creation those years just after he became president.
That Kennedy man was a hard man, thought Red Dancing Bear.
He could be mean and uncaring, ruthless even. This is what Red Dancing Bear had found disturbing, not the man himself but the hypocrisy of a society that would lavish such a man with overwhelming and perhaps even underserved love and engender him with an almost Godlike reverence, when he was just another man; imperfect and horny as many men his age.
He did not want his son to be named John for this reason. Red Dancing Bear named the boy Tiger Lester Sun Cloud.
Tiger was a name that would remain with the boy even after his death. It was part of his name attached to his soul. It was for his royal clan. It wouldn’t matter if that part of his name were never spoken again. It was there, always.
And Red Dancing Bear had never met a man named Lester who was not pleasant, open, honest and good with his hands. It seemed to Red Dancing Bear that every Lester he had ever known was capable of fixing things and being of good spirit when he did so.
Lester was a name he liked, and the rest was added for the type of day it had been when this Lester came into the world.
There were the familiar puffy, gray white clouds floating in the breeze that day. When the sun shined directly behind them they created the image of a cotton ball on fire; a Sun Cloud. He liked the name and the boy's mother finally agreed to it.
Sara Langford gave up her career as an aspiring photographer for National Geographic Magazine and became a professor of history at a small Central Florida college in order to pay for raising the boy.
They settled southeast of Orlando were she commuted daily to earn her living.
The boy grew towards manhood while Red Dancing Bear grew more tired of urban life. He eventually moved back down onto the reservation again.
Unlike the former President, Red Dancing Bear did not try to hide the fact he enjoyed sleeping with many other women, some white, some Indian, some Latin and some black.
To Red Dancing Bear the only thing that mattered in those days was that a woman looked good and liked having sex with a man named Red Dancing Bear.
He explained, that this was all before Red Dancing Bear had discovered the Lord Jesus, who told him not to act this way.
But that conversion in Red Dancing Bear's lifestyle had come too late for Sara Langford. She would not abide such a husband and eventually felt well rid of Red Dancing Bear.
She took up with an English professor named John Owens. An owl sort of fellow that Red Dancing Bear had met once on a visit to see how his boy, Lester, had been developing.
Red Dancing Bear had been amused by this Owens, who had been nervous and overly polite.
Owens obviously lacked sunshine as well as manhood, but to his credit he did adopt the boy, Lester, in that curious white way; as though a piece of paper could convey ownership over a boy that neither Red Dancing Bear or Sara Langford nor anyone possessed.
Anyway, Owens probably was not a very affective lover due to a circulation problem, obvious to Red Dancing Bear. He felt Owen's shortcomings were a pity for the woman he had once been married to, had enjoyed good sex during their time together.
Red Dancing Bear was warned by Mrs. Thompson not to dwell on the subject of sex too much and he continued his story.
During the visit when Red Dancing Bear went to see his son, the man Owens acted guilty, as though he had been wrong for taking up with Sara, a woman that Red Dancing Bear had abandoned years before.
It was sad to see how shamelessly the urban whites gave away their manhood.
Worst of all, in Red Dancing Bear’s view, Owens was a lifelong Floridian and not even an FSU fan. He was more partial to The Gators.
Never the less, somehow, Red Dancing Bear’s son had managed to become a wonderful football player and top-notch scientist during his high school career, as well as a young man who could fix anything with a great, big smile on his face.
He ended up as far away from his stepfather as anyone could imagine, with an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The boy gained a bachelors degree in aeronautics with a minor in military and world history in 1985.
He learned how to fly a T-38 at Reese Air Force Base. He learned how to fly something called a KC-135 strato-tanker in Warner Robbins, the AWACS surveillance plane in Oklahoma City.
After brief stints as squadron commander in Weisbadden, West Germany, and Ryadd, Saudi Arabia, Lester Sun Cloud Owens, also spent some time in Miami, helping to train foreign dictators from small Latin American countries how to keep their military people in line, so that coups did not crop up every other week.
He also showed them how to keep their motor pools running, even when U.S. Congress clamped down on humanitarian aid.
Aside from Panama City, Palmerola, and Grenada, Lester also spent time in Area-51 - located in Nevada, telling civvies and airmen how to deal with having their Judeo-Christian World turned upside down by what was stored inside that air base.
When Red Dancing Bear talked about Area 51, Helen Thompson's eyes lit up like Christmas trees.
Area-51, the Mecca for the UFO fans.
Red Dancing Bear knew all about Area 51,he said. He knew all about how the government was supposedly testing alien spacecraft there, incorporating alien technologies into military applications and so forth. People, as usual, did not know the whole story about that area but Red Dancing Bear knew, he said, because Lester had told him once.
"My son saw things there he was not supposed to see. Was part of things he had not been cleared for,” he said.
"Did he see any alien space craft there?" asked Helen.
"Oh, yes, he saw many. Including the one that crashed in Roswell New Mexico and three others that the Mexican government found in the Yucatan peninsula that same year, 1947.
"My son said something called a magnetic anomaly caused the crashes," he said.
"Cool," said Nathan.
"There is a big meteor in the ocean near Merida on the Yucatan peninsula. It crashed there a lot of millions of years ago. Even today airplanes and boats going close enough to this get their compasses screwed up for a second or two from the magnetic field.
"The people in Air Force Intelligence estimate that this magnetic anomaly caused the alien spacecraft to screw up some of their inbound flights and crack up on land. They think there have been several more crashes like this in the water only the craft were never recovered," said Red Dancing Bear.
"So what did your son see that got him in so much trouble with the air force?" asked Helen.
“He saw God,” said Red Dancing Bear, speaking the truth.