“You must stop them, you do know that,” she replied as the lines on her forehead became like furrows in a farmers field, exposing her concern. I nodded in agreement, but I had no answer for her.
“You need to form a group of your own and bring them to reason.”
“I know, I know. I keep trying to see who to I let in on this. It’s difficult! For sure some of
them may be close to us. If I let the wrong people know it can get dangerous for us,” I said as I put my arms around her shoulders, and continued, “For us, our family! I would rather die than let anything happen to you and the kids.”
“But we must think of the greater need, the world needs to be protected,” she exclaimed, “Think of the kid’s future!”
“I know and I’m working on it, tomorrow I will feel some people out.”
“How about Yanis? Your bud!”
“Yes but whom else and how do we know he’s not a part of the group?”
“Never mind who else, start with one, him, then build from there. You should call him
tonight, but don’t blurt it out. Feel him out to see if knows something, see if he is in the group, and if he will try to bring you into it?”
Those same thoughts had been floating around in my mind since the party, and it was great to hear her articulate them. It made up my mind to do just that. So before turning in, I called him.
“Garboozle Yanis!” I blurted out when he picked up the phone, “Haven’t heard from you in a while. How are you?”
Garboozle me pal,” he responded. We’re homeboys, as the kids like to say here. We come from the same world and came here on the same ship. We’re more than friends, we’re family. He tried to dissuade me from marrying Gloria. But when he realized how much I loved her, he embraced her too, and became my best man. So I greeted him in our tongue, which we very seldom get to use anymore since we’re always using local dialects.
“Say, we haven’t seen you in a while…how bout we get together for breakfast or tea in the morning? We love tea, for us it’s an energy drink, it animates us.”
“Ahhhhhhh, man…I would love to but I have an important meeting then.”
“How about lunch?”
“Oh Orniz…this is really agonizing, this meeting could go on all day, but if you like we can meet for a snack in the afternoon…late afternoon.”
“So how about a drink at Hogan’s around…
“Six,” he interjected.
“Okay, see you then,” I responded and hung up.
Boy, he called me Orniz! Nobody calls me that except my brothers back home. It made me
feel good, he’s like my brother here, no he is my brother. But it made me wonder what kind of business had him busy all day long. After that business with Adolf in the last century, we made it against our laws to get involved in all business affairs here. I wondered if he was a part of the secret group, or was involved in some kind of project. No, no I thought better of that. He would have told me if he was in any kind of business. He always runs things by me. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t run anything by me lately. Maybe he just learned of the secret group and wondered if I was a part of it too. I was restless, couldn’t sleep, and was up at four. I slipped out of bed without waking Gloria, she looked like an angel. So I sneaked out into the living room. I did some stretches then went for a jog in the woods. It was a good run, I returned home, and took a long hot shower. At home we can’t do that, water being such a precious resource. Back there our hygiene consists of a topical light cleansing. Its warm rays are quick and kill all bacteria on our skin. But here I can take my time and enjoy the soothing, massaging, gentle force of the water for as long I want. Afterwards I got dressed. It was six o’clock, tempus fugit, damn time does fly. It’s the same back home, for that matter it’s the same all over the cosmos. It’s the same everywhere, tempus fugit indeed. It was time to re-energize the body, and I sat down for breakfast, tea
toast, and some sweet pears.
“Good morning my love,” she smiled. It was sweet music to my ears. But then, she followed that with, “What time are you meeting Yanis?”
She heard my stomach growl, and saw the frown on my face. It was time to face reality and the day ahead. I had to find out what was going on with Yanis, the group, and who ever was a part of what ever was going down. Too much was at stake.
“What’s the matter?”
“We’ll be meeting later this evening, but this whole…this is…”
“Don’t let it get to you, you need to stay focused,” she was going on when,
“Daddy, daddy,” the kids were up, and it was the best time of the day for me as the hugs and kisses made my troubles disappear. Truly love is the best medicine for everything. The kids had their colored doodle cereals, and after one had a breakfast treat, and the other a doughnut. It was a healing half hour hanging with them. But alas, tempus fugit, suddenly the yellow bus was in front of the house. They were off to school and Gloria was off to look after Tad, our little guy who was still asleep. It was time for me to get down to business. I
got comfortable in my den, my office…my man cave, and started to call some people.
“Hi Evelyn, how are you?”
“Hello Mr. Ornious,” she responded, as my mind wandered trying to find words to start our chat. She was the go to for information. She coordinated all projects, making sure there weren’t any overlapping details, and that all information was shared where it was needed. She knew who needed to know and who didn’t.
“It’s been a while, how are you? Anything new?”
“Funny, I was going to ask you the same…any knew projects in the works?”
“No not that I’m aware! As far as I know, everything’s the same as when we last spoke.
“So it’s the same old, uh.”
“Alright then, I was just checking in, I don’t want to be out of the loop.”
“Oh no, not you Mr. Ornious, you know everything I do.”
There was no way to broach the subject, if she wasn’t part of the group, she wouldn’t know anything, and if she was she would know who was in and who was out. At this point it was obvious I was out. So I said goodbye and hung up. Oh what the hell was I suppose to do now. That was a pretty feeble attempt at being a Sherlock. Over the next few hours I was truly on pins and needles. The thought of devastating this paradise made me restless. I was in great pain, Gloria knew it and she was wise beyond her years to know enough to give me the space I needed.
I called a bunch of people, and couldn’t get anything out of anybody. Though I’m no Sherlock of course, I don’t know if even he could have done any better. Mostly the chats went like it had with Eve, dancing around the issue, and not getting anywhere. It was late in the afternoon and I was thinking of a snack, when I got a strange call.
“Yeash,” I jokingly responded, thinking it was Yanis, and continued, “We’re still on right?”
Nobody else in this world calls me Orniz, not even Gloria.
“On…you obviously think I’m somebody else.”
He threw me for a loop, it wasn’t Yanis. So I asked:
“Who is this?”
“We need to talk, it’s urgent. Can we meet around six this evening? It’s important, very important! You name the place.”
He sounded ominous, and strange. He knew my real name, my nick name and nobody knows that except Yanis. If he was playing a prank on me he deserved an Oscar.
“Look Yanis, cut the crap.”
“Orniz, Orniz. I’m not Yanis, and you know me. So where can we meet?”
The guy had me going good, I wanted to meet him, but he wanted to meet at the same time as my meet with Yanis.
“I have a meeting at that time. Can we make it tomorrow?”
“No, and this is too important, why don’t you cancel your date and meet me. You won’t regret it.”
In light of what was going on, I decided to call Yanis, and cancel our date.
“Okay then, but this better be important, pal. So where do you want to meet?”
“How about that Taco place…across the street from Hogan’s bar?”
“See you then,” I responded and hung up.
The guy, I’m sure it was a guy, but am not sure, wanted to meet me badly. Unfortunately it was at the same time as my meet with Yanis. So I called him and cancelled.
“Hey Yanis, I’m really sorry but something came up. I hope we can do this another time, real soon.”
He wasn’t answering his cell, so I left him a voice mail. I changed my mind about a snack. It was almost five o’clock, and by the time I got ready and drove over it would be six. Gloria would be with the kids, and I was getting anxious about this character. I thought about taking Yanis with me, but he wasn’t answering his phone. So I got the next best thing. My magun. It fits in my pocket, and in case of danger, one click of a button makes me invisible. In that state I can do anything to my adversary if I need to, or I can just leave, no harm done. It manipulates the magnetic field, rearranges the light around me and I literally vanish.
I was racking my mind trying to remember who else could possibly know me by Orniz. Then I remembered Doobiz, a crew member from our ship. It had to be him. Although I had not seen him in a long time, we once shared a meal with Yanis. Yes, yes, it was him. It had to be him. When our ship crashed in that dessert, we were the only ones who survived. Damn, it was such an unnecessary…a silly excursion, we just wanted to see how these primitive peoples lived. To see what kind of technology they had, then Nancis screwed up. She had never, ever made an error, then…we still don’t know what the hell she did, but she crashed, and died. Poor Yorbiz died with her and only Yaniz, Doobiz and myself managed to crawl out. Then we walked for days and made it out of the wilderness. Thank Aba for our maguns, we were able to walk right through their silly military efforts. But they got our ship, and the remains of our pals. Somehow we escaped with a few gadgets, but mostly we walked off with the clothes on our backs. Damn, that was almost seventy years ago. A few days later we came upon some Mexicans, who welcomed us with open arms, and shared what they had with us. We might have died if not for them. They probably thought we were sneaking in too. Doobiz had the only translator and he told them we were being chased by the military.
“See see…it’s La Migra!” They said.
It wasn’t until much later that we learned they were illegal immigrants. La Migra was
Mexican speak for ICE, the American law enforcement agency that deals with them.
Anyway they were dining on cold burritos, tacos, tortillas, and Mexican water. During the meal Yanis happened to slip and called me Orniz. It must have been the water, it inebriated us, and he slipped. I guess Doobiz never forgot it. It had to be him, who else could it be, and what had he been doing all this time? Last I knew he was working at the moon office, and he wasn’t at the last party, or any of the others either. I started going nuts trying to figure out what he had been up to all this time. Why and how did he ever find me now? Did he know anything about the conspiracy? Was he involved? Did he want me to be a part of it? Or did he want to warm me? So many damned questions were floating in my head. The only way to get any answers was to meet him. So I got into my old jalopy, old cars don’t attract attention, and went off to see him. Funny he wanted to meet at a taco joint, maybe he wanted to relive our escape.
We live in a small community in the mountains it’s a small town right off the interstate. It
has all the restaurant chains, and a few bars. In the winter people come here to ski, we have some really cool slopes, and the place comes alive. The remainder of the year it’s a really cool, sleepy, quiet place. You can write or enjoy the peace and quiet away from the city. If you wanted to disappear this would be an ideal place to do it. People here mind their own business, and nobody knows what anybody else does. I love it here.
Juanito’s Taco Joint looks out of place amongst the chains. It looks like it belongs in one of those Tex/Mex border towns. It’s small and has a white and blue store front with a white door. The signage on the windows is a Spanish menu, promoting their specials in big black
letters on a yellow background. Man they have it all, tamales, enchiladas, tortillas, refried beans, and their specialty tacos. They have beef, chicken, fish and some narrow minded ass holes here believe even dog or cat. They keep saying the dogs and cats disappeared when the Mexes came. But we know better.
I was a few minutes early, and decided to get a table close to the door. I wanted to see who would show up. The place was starting to fill up, it seems everybody is into Mexican food now a days. It’s great finger food, like pizza, and you don’t need a knife and fork to enjoy it. The minute I stepped in I realize there weren’t any tables to be had. I was looking around, when someone grabbed me from behind with a huge bear hug.
“Orniz! How are you?” Doobiz joyfully screamed as he let go and stood back to look at me.
I smiled, relieved it was him, and hugged him back.
“Where have you been, pal? I thought it might be you.”
“Really!” He smiled.
“Yea, nobody calls me Orniz, only Yanis calls me that, and just once in a blue moon. I was racking my brain trying to figure out who it was.”
“Yea and you sounded so strange…and so ominous!”
He looked around, and realized we weren’t going to get a table anytime soon, so he called a waitress over.
“Como para la maysa?” He muttered.
“Oh, joo mean how long joo has to wait for a tabla,” she responded.
“Oh mebbe twenny, tirty meenootoes,” came her reply.
Turning to me he asked: “Orniz can we take it out, eat in the car?”
“Sure,” I said, “it’s better that way, you know more privacy.
“For sure,” then he looked at her and asked: “Can we get take out oh, and how longo will it take?”
“Shore joo can, only a few meenootoes. Wat joo want?”
“I want a coupla of tacos…wat kind?
“We gots shee cant, veef, fishy” she responded.
“Chicken, also enchiladas…you got tamales?”
“Gimme chicken and a soda.”
“What kind of soda?”
“Ginger ale okay?”
“Okay,” she smiled and turned to me.
“Oh heck gimme the same, and make it a cola.”
“Okay, joo wait maybe ten meenootoes, okay.”
“Okay!” Doobiz responded. We moved out of the way and waited by the wall close to the register.
“So Doobiz, what’s been happening with you?”
“A lot of things, I want to let you in on some things, but not here. I heard you married and went native, uh.”
“It gets lonely here, besides she looks like Moiva, man.”
“Ah…like the ancient mythological love goddess, uh.”
I smiled, “Like I said it gets lonely here pal. But I truly love her, and we have three kids.”
“No biggie dude, me too, I did the same, no kids though. She can’t have any. We live in a place much like this too, but on the west coast.
Truly time flies, as we were catching up on things, the waitress showed up, and before I could do or say anything Doobiz grabbed our order and paid for it.
“Lets go Orniz,” he smiled and out the door we went. He led me to his car, a brand new T bird punked out with all the latest toys.
“It’s comfy, man. The seat feels like the one on our ship.” He apologized for it as he opened the door, and added, “It’s a rental!”
We got comfortable and as we started unwrapping our humble feast, Doobiz exclaimed:
Before he took bite one, he said, “You aren’t going to believe this, but I promise you it’s the truth. So, please don’t interrupt me until I’m finished. Then I’ll answer any question you have. Okay!”
“So go on then, I’m all ears.”
“Damn!” He exclaimed, gulped, swallowed some air, suddenly he was visibly nervous. Then he continued, “This is really hard Orniz, I really don’t know how to start or to say this, but…well here goes, man. There’s a group that has managed to come together. They come from different parts of the expanse, the Cosmos, they aren’t from any one world in particular nor galaxy for that matter. They started to come together sometime ago after the last festivities on the moon. Others met randomly down here, and introduced their acquaintances to one another. They’re brilliant souls, coming together slowly after realizing they had common scientific interest, and grew in number. We have no idea how big they are or who is in it. This has been going on for a long time. Their activities aren’t part of our common interest. We have rules that govern our projects to prevent us from working on things that may expose us to the world. But they don’t care. All they want is to contact their home worlds at any expense. We, well a few of us have become aware of their activities. We know they exist! They’re a danger to this world, and as a result to
all of us. We know for sure, and I hate to tell you this pal, but Yanis is one of them.”
“Please wait till I’m finished, man.”
“Okay, okay.” I nervously responded.
“Alright then, I know how close you two are, and it’s why our little group picked me to let you in on this.”
We never took a bite out of our meal, and I forgot how hungry I was. I was all ears. He took a sip of his soda, to clear his throat, and I did the same, then he continued.
“They’re working on a cosmic transmitter, and when and if they use it, it will create a huge power surge. It will be so big that it will be observed through out the world. Make no mistake everybody in this world will become aware of it. We think they’re ready to go with it, and the only thing keeping them from going ahead with it is a struggle within. They’re fighting amongst themselves. All of them want their world to be contacted first. That is their one weakness, and the only thing we’ve got going for us. Our community’s leaders don’t know yet, and if they do they haven’t let on because at this point we don’t know whom to trust. What we do know is that we have to stop them.”
He stopped took a pen out of his pocket, and nervously wrote a number on a napkin,
“Look if anything happens to me call Jokid at this number. He’ll know I’ve made contact with you. I can’t tell you how desperately we need to stop them. At this moment there are about six guys in our group, maybe seven. I’m taking a chance here, because we don’t know where you stand on this. But, I believe you aren’t part of them. We’ve been observing them for a while now, and we haven’t seen you in contact with any of them. As a matter of fact you haven’t even been in touch with Yanis in some time. Right?”
Before I could answer there was a sizzling sound, followed by a bright flash. It was so quick my first thought was that it was the head lights of an eighteen wheeler or a speeding car. It momentarily blinded me, and it was followed by a malodorous stench of burning meat. I opened my eyes to see Doobiz slumped over the steering wheel. Smoke was rising from a neat hole between his eyes. It was a laser gun. Somebody followed him and smoked him. Instinctively I crouched in the well below the passenger seat. My heart was pounding, and I was breathing quickly. I was scared. Hell, they just took him out right in front of me. Who ever it was may well have had me in their sights too. I sat there for what seemed like for ever. Then I felt my right hand reach for the door handle. I opened it, slid out on to the
ground, got up into a crouch and ran like hell.
I ran between cars out of the parking lot and into the bushes. While hiding I nervously put my hands in my pockets and felt my magun. I had forgotten that I had it with me. I smiled as I clicked it and stood up. Hell, now I was invisible and who ever those butt holes were couldn’t see me. I walked back to his car to see three guys dragging him away. Two others were scouting the area, obviously they knew he was meeting somebody, and they were looking for me. I only hoped they hadn’t seen me. I feared for my family, and immediately the thought flashed an image of Gloria and the kids through my mind. But, for now though, I was invisible and they couldn’t see me.