Saturday, February 4, 2017

The End and the Never Ending Beginnings

(I hope you don't mind me sharing like this, between making a living, paying more than I make a living and finding the time to write seems a struggle, as with all of us. This story has taken a life of its own since I first thought of the character, or he called out to me. I sat for a long time pondering on the perfect story to give him, since he demanded so much of my mind at the time, that I think now he can finally have some peace when the story is finished. I have never had a character is my stories demand so much attention from me. So now when I have time I will work on it until it completes and he can finally get what he is seeking. Thanks again for reading.)

Back in Manhattan...

Here I am, back again at the family home. Forty two and a fair bit wiser, well since the last time I was here anyways. I must admit it has been many years, I guess the last time is when dad died. Not to be rude but I was cheering for him, anyone who can stay that long with that woman is one in my books.
 The house is finally quiet, I can actually finally hear the train. Usually it was was them yelling or that fucking television as background noise, to hide the sound of the train.... Black and white radiation box as loud as you can turn it, usually Lucy or some other golden oldie. She use to say they lost comedy to violence on television, I was too busy laughing at Die Hard to notice. Speaking of books, what am I going to do with all the old mans books.

I can still smell the cigarettes tho, the walls stained with two packs a day each habit. Funny both never died from smoking. My father was shot on his way home, the police said he must have gotten in the way of a drive by shooting. My mother drowned in the tub, to weak to lift herself up. Last time I saw her she was doing just fine. House was clean and if you look, it still is. I guess she was just getting old. So much bloody nicotine on the walls, I guess I have a hard day of cleaning. She did last, my mother that is. Fought death until the very end. I figured as much, true evil never dies. Is that bad? Ah well that was the past and now I must make due with the things I have now.

First I am selling the house and donating 75% to charity. Gentrification turned my old neighborhood into a million dollar whole foods upper class yuppy fest. Today's prices on homes is a sellers market and my friend Kwan can sell anything. Number one in New York if you believed his bus ad, bench ad, magazine ad, actually I don't think you can take a shit without seeing this man. His cousin owns the ad agency, so he tells me he gets the family discount and he does get the calls. Also he  is always good at getting in at the clubs. One of the reasons why I hang with him, the other is he doesn't take shit. We first met when I was 11, and the first white person ever to walk in their New York home. Kwan is now 39 and still looking for the perfect white woman, something that still strikes heavy with his parents. They are third generation Japanese in America, and they think he should meet a nice American Japanese girl. If only his parents knew the amount of money he wastes on shooter girls and bar stars. I carry a black marker where ever I go just to ruin that perfect smile. Fuck you buddy. 

Things are a little too quiet, might as well put some tunes on. I did amazon ship her a Bluetooth speaker for mothers day. He goes into her room and turns on the light seeing it right away. Unopened still in the wrapping. Opening it up and setting it with my phone, I set it to youtube and through both on the counter as I start to clean. This one is for you Mom and Dad.

He starts cleaning up the apartment, his mother has done a good job keeping everything perfect. The pillows are still in the exact same spot where she first put them. The couch that was never to be sat on... He goes over to the old mans liquor cabinet and finds a bottle of Ardberg he bought him for his 75 Birthday. Looks like one glass was poured. Well old man, tonight we will finish it.
He goes and jumps on the couch with his muddy boots on, the emerald green stained with salt water and dirt. He calls up his friend Kwan to confirm the deal. Yea get the best price you can get, and remember the "Family Price". Sure I will meet you at the Bridge Cafe at 11, I just need to work on two cases and than I can relax a little. No over the top shit, I don't care what club you have VIP to, I need to get shit done. No more drinking till five. Well than blow me.

Always the dick jokes. I was a dick I admit it, I leaned from the best. The old man was funny, always at the expense of others, usually me if I was in the room. So naturally I picked up his asshole ways. And became a dick, well a private dick to commemorate the title. My office is in Brooklyn, my apartment is in Newark and my life is usually on a phone behind a wheel or a computer behind a desk, and that all depends on traffic. I thought being a private investigator would be fun, chasing runaway bail jumpers and finding the big case. The one that would put me on easy street. Instead I find myself dealing mostly with stalkers and insurance fraud. Chasing a man around all day in a wheel chair waiting for him to stand or just slip up is not proud work. What did I become?  He returns to sorting through the stuff that will go to goodwill and the rest he can sell. He is donating mostly everything to a boy's shelter that let him stay the odd night when he needed a place to stay as a adolescent kid. He opens the large drawer in his parents room, one that his father moved out of in his 60's. Inside was a gift, wrapped in some pages from some novel, it looked like physics. Son, I spent so often in books that I forgot to watch you grow, and now I ask
The phone rings as he fumbles for the phone putting the book shaped wrapped object in his pocket. Hello?
Good evening sir, we heard you we thinking of selling your property, the voice over the phone says. Do you mind if we take a look tonight? Sorry, I am still cleaning the place. I don't know if you got this number from Kwan, the property is not for sale as of yet.
You sure we couldn't just stop in for a second? We are just around the corner, it wouldn't be a bother to us at all. No, thanks but no thanks. I heard you guys get pretty persistent, and I am willing to sell. I just need to move everything out first. Hello? Hello...

He looks at the note and sticks it in his pocket. He goes back to packing when he hears a knock on the door. He starts to walk towards the stairs when he hears the door getting kicked in. He goes and hides behind the door. He looks through the half way open door as two gunshots fire from the downstairs tearing the wood in the door. Shards flying past him, as he looks for cover. He can jump out the window, the terrace use to hold him when he was in high school, it should be able to hold him now. He also remembers his dad having a gun by the couch, he never trusted this neighborhood. As he rushes towards the window he hears the guy rushing up trip on the boot scrubber that his mother made his father install, giving him just enough time, he runs out the window and walks partly on the terrace when it gives way. The gunman gets up firing through the window, grazing his arm as he falls. He gets up quickly as the man from the window starts shooting again. What the hell is going on! He dashes to the back alley, knowing this area like the back of his hand from all those mischievous nights with his friends, he easily makes his escape.

Knowing that Jack's place is right by, his parents old watering hole and someone Jorge loved very much. He jumped a few fences and ducked behind his old high school before running there. I know I can call the police, since my phone is sitting on the counter. He runs to the local bar and takes a back booth. Knowing the place all too well the waitress brings over his usual drink Complements on the bar and Jack tells me that your money is no good tonight. He takes a drink as a man walks in quick and out of the bar. The man looks around only seeing a hand taking of people laughing and drinking and a few lots having drinks alone, and runs back out the door. The owner Jack, a family friend who has owned the bar for 55 years walks up to the booth. You hungry?  Yea Jack I am and thanks. I need a bandage, as I take off my coat showing my wound. Just need to clean this up a bit. I also need a phone. Not asking for much are you Jorge, Jack laughs and gives him a hug. Sorry about your mom. She was a good woman, you just never got a chance to know the real her.
After giving his statement and having the police look around and give it the all clear, he returned to shut everything off. In such a panic he forget to lock and turn off the lights. His first real taste of excitement and I run away. So much for chasing the big score.
As he walks out of the apartment, meaning to go there later after everything starts making sense, he notices a black limo pulling up. He turns around as the drivers side door opens and a young man gets out.
Mr Santoin would like to have a moment of your time Mr Hellick. Sorry I have no time for anyone, I need to get home and ...
No said the little weasel with the white smile, we insist you see him. To turn down such a offer would be a grave mistake on your part.  I remember the love he said when he used the word grave, as if this man held no life other than his own for worth. I really am... Get in the car Jorge before I have to  ask you a little less kind. Okay, okay. I will jump in the black limo at night, nothing weird about this at all. I tried to step in when the guy pushed me between two sausages. Well they looked liked sausages, gym monkeys set on lifting everyday.. The look of these two you would only have to feed them protein shakes and have a big mirror to keep them around. They were finally dressed, almost as if these boys didn't come from New York. I was stuck right by the door as a man sat smoking one cheap ass cigar, something you would find at the dollar store that doesn't even sell tobacco. Probably thinks it's a Cuban. This smell will will never come out of my jacket. Up front by the driver lay a blob of a man, one drunk on riches and too many cheese burgers. You can see packets of ketchup splashed on the floor, the empty packages littler every inch of floor space. Well I hope that's ketchup. Beside the dark shadow lay a man with black slicked hair and three hundred dollar shoes. Someone  you expect working for the government dealing with things governments try to forget.
We give our condolences to the loss of family Mr Hellick, we have heard of the tales of your father for many years now. Shame how he went. Tales of my father? Look I don't know who the fuck you are or what the hell you are talking about. If this is about the house, the house is not for sale yet.
No we are not here for the house. Your parents, Amel, and Caroline, we watching something for me. Something that needs to be taken care of, and we think it might have been given to you. Have they given you anything Mr Hellick, something they were watching for me?
Look I don't know what you are talking about, I just had a fucked up night and I need a drink. Here, the man in the fine suit says as he hands over a card. If you find anything, unusual, give us a call.
So I'm free to go? You were never a prisoner Mr Hellick.

The limo pulls away as the odor lingers off his coat. I  need to get home and get some sleep. First I. better phone Tracey. Shit Tracey, he checks his phone to see 42 messages. Bloody hell woman, I am going to have a hard time explaining this one, she is never going to believe me. He picks up the phone and gives her a call. After trying to explain what happened he ended up hanging  up. I like her so much except she just doesn't trust me. Maybe it was all those old black and white movies I watched, where the P.I. would save the day and get the girl. I tried to explain that it was only a movie, that I was totally happy at home, which he was. My line of work is filled with strange hours, I am not at the club, I promise. Yes we have been dating for five months, thank you for reminding me that. Under his breath, every month. Look I have to go.

He gets in his over priced 2011 Chevy Cruze, a lemon since day one. As usual they promise the world and bill you for everything. He was never one as a mechanic, most his friend just rode the train, he however wanted the freedom of the open road. To be able to leave and go to California and Learn to surf. Only to get shafted by a shady salesmen on a miserable rainy day. The day he got the inheritance from his father. He pissed it up a tree, Vegas , women  and drugs. The things you do with guilt money So much money up ones nose. The stupidity of money in my hands. who knows I think I might have learned my lesson, having to drag myself out of the gutter with nothing to show for it except strength and a passion and to actually live for once. I am doing better now, by my own hard work. His fathers life's work gone in one hell of a party. After a hour drive he finally arrives at  home. He opens the bottle that he was able to salvage from all the excitement and throws the bag in the hallway and makes himself dinner.  Things will get better, he whispers to himself.

That night as he slept he had the most vivid dream. He awoke in a old encampment, surrounded by soldiers. He was in front of the map giving orders. In his hand he felt a small ball, his strength, his will was in that ball. He assigned the positions of the ranks and went to lead the charge. He was wearing a metal and leather suit of armor. Broad sword and heavy steed. The horn blared as he screamed his battle cry and charged against the opposing army. He opens his hand, a silver ball carved with small symbols shines from his palm. He holds it tight as he gets his sword ready. With the fog in the air and the hooves shaking the ground the armies met in the field. Bodies and animals collided, the stones and rocks shock from the clash of such opposing force. Alistar, with his glowing sphere, slashes his way through to victory. The armies are pushed back again. The people of Hills Pass Gate are safe for now. After ordering to bury their dead and tend to the wounded, He made his way back to the castle where the beautiful princess waited for him. As he walked in the room she faced him and started lifting off the gown when the phone rang. Both looked startled, as if they never heard such a sound, he fights to hold the dream. Just to lay with this goddess... And he wakes from his bed, fist sweating from it being clenched, holding that precious cargo. Cursing who ever is on the other line.

Who is this?
Oh Ms Simmons, I will deliver the information you asked for, and yes sorry for missing our appointment. I can meet you still at the office? He looks at his cell phone and it is blank, he remembered turning on the alarm when he went to bed and it was fully charged. He tries to turn it on when it shows no battery. Okay I will meet you at your hairdressers downtown, I will see you in thirty minutes,
What, fuck do I need to get a new battery? He grabs his windbreaker coat from the front closet and heads off to meet his already upset client. Tracey is going to kill me again. As he walks out Tracey is by his car leaning on the hood of hers enjoying the sun. Hey babe, I am running late, I was going to call you. Yea sure... Just you? Yea... shut up he thinks to himself, I will only make it worse. My phone is acting weird, maybe it was damaged yesterday. When you were almost shot? Yes when I was almost shot, would you like to go to the police and let them explain last night to you? No I believe you, I saw it in the news this morning, I wanted to see if you are all right. Are you all right? No just got a small cut on my arm, I was very lucky. Lucky my ass it was divine providence. Look not everything can be answered by Jesus. Babe I am late for a meeting and I have to to meet them at her hairdressers, I will call you after work. He kisses her and gets in his car and heads off to his client

As he arrives at a dog boutique of all places he walks in the door and she automatically starts talking about her dog.  This is Sir Alistar, my little poochie woochie. He is in desperate need of a haircut. He stops and asks her again what the name of the dog was? Alistar, a name my grandfather use to tell stories about when I was a child. I am told he is a decedent of  Barbet, and such a good boy. And such a brave boy she says as she bends over and gives the dog a big kiss on the mouth. He just watched it lick another dogs ass. Her is all the information on your husband, for what I can find he is not having a affair. He rented the apartment downtown to relax in, he goes there every night after work and watches science fiction movies and eats junk food. Science fiction and garbage? He liked that trash when we first started dating, I thought with all my families influence he would have turned into a more proper man. Thank you for this, he will be living in the apartment all by himself from now on. Me and Alistar can have the bed right my strong boy. Here is the check. He opens it to find five thousand dollars. I hope this will never be talked about again Mr Hellick? No I will never mention this again, thank you very much. If you ever need me again, and anything at all please do not hesitate to call. I will she says and good day to you sir, we must now have stairs built so Alistar can climb up into the bed. We don't want him hurting himself on such a big bed.  He walks out shaking his head, I wonder why the husband got his own place to relax. Watching those two all day would make anyone go a little crazy.

Okay Next stop to watch Mr Charlie. I've been watching him for a week now, he said he threw out his back while on the job. And of course the company would rather pay me a small bit to catch his ass than to pay him out fully. Once in awhile I give a few breaks to the working families, like my last catch Ross. Hard working man and his wife got sick. He thought he could hurt himself so he could be getting paid to be at home taking care of the children and his wife. The guy was good man. A few beer a week, loved his family very much. He dressed up as a superhero every night for his boy to read a story, and brushed his daughters hair as she reads him a story. I lied and told them that he was sick and tried to help the guy out with a sob story, so they can leave the trail as it lies. One thing I learned is that not everyone is evil. It took me awhile to figure that one out. When you have a family as fucked as mine, you tend to not trust anyone, even myself. We all have our faults and I would have done the same as that man Ross, I would do anything for the ones I truly love. It is going on 11:20 and I am sure this guy is not even out of bed yet. He just got hired at a new company and hurt himself first week on the job in a major accident. The investigators are looking to see who was at fault. The man claimed he hurt his back was not able to walk without a cane.
I pull up to his house at 12:15 and like a gift from the gods, if I believed in them, here he is kissing this very beautiful woman... while helping her unpack  I pulled out to the side and grabbed the camera and took a few pictures. My curiosity getting the best of me I grabbed a pamphlet that this Christian must have placed on my wiper blades and got out of the car and started slowly walking to the house.

Honey this is so beautiful, I don't believe you found a house and a company that pays so well. You sure you will not get in any trouble for missing work, you just got there? No, they are paying me to move everything in, I told you we, oh hey. Hi my name is Frank and I want to give you this and welcome you to the neighborhood? Oh thank you the woman says, yes we just moved in, well Charlie has been here working for the last three months while I got the kids ready for the big move. They should be showing up any hour with my sister and her husband. And you live here? No, I was just in the area and I thought I would give you the good news. Oh thanks she says as she takes the pamphlet, but I don't believe in religion. Well he believes in you folks enjoy your new home. He believes in you, tears are still rolling down my eyes. I should have went into acting, it is second nature to me. I guess ole Charlie is fucked. Thank you for making this day easy. Now to drop off the information to the insurance company and get my check and take the girl out. As he walks to his car he finds a hundred blowing in the wind. Hey this is my lucky day after all.That night I took  Tracey out for her favorite dinner and went for drinks, after we went back to her place. Tracey needed to work early and I am allergic to her cat so I went home and put on the new Star Wars again. This is my third time and I don't know if I like it. South Park is right, it's just filled with memberberries.

With what little money I did earn, from a good job a few years back and my savings, I bought myself a small house with a very new warehouse built in the back that I converted into a studio. Kwan found it for me at a very good price. I usually rent out the house however the last tenant moved back to her parents claiming that the price of school and bills was a little too much for her. Smart kid, I wished her the best. I will mail her a small gift for her once the house goes through. I have been doing the work on it for three years now, it looks like a mancave puked a library. I love history, it was the greatest thing my father ever taught me. We spent hours in the library , my father looked through books and studies always trying to find something that I was too young to understand, once I got older the more I didn't care. I once looked at his book, the one he wrote all day on. It was of leather binding, large with small delicate print. As if he was writing a novel that only he can read. I was very young and the words were too big to understand. I remember smelling it, the odor smelling of old books in a older book stores. The smell of my father. Thinking of my father, I remember the small package that he gave me. I go to the bag and dig out the small little gift.

Inside the box was a folded library card from the New York Public library Mid-Manhattan branch, with the location of a book using the Dewey decimal, a game we use to play to keep me amused. What is this old man... I really do not have time for games, except I am doing nothing. Getting dressed I head out to the car and start to drive, as I not even get a block away I notice two cars on my tail. Life isn't like the movies, I seldom get to follow anyone or have high speed chases. Usually it's corporate gigs, I seldom sway from the big bucks. However I do know how to follow a car, and the four, two in each car, are a couple of amateurs. Well let's see how good they can drive. Doing this drive now for the past few years, I learnt a thing or two about the turns and exits. If you are not familiar with the roads, you will get lost pretty quick. Not driving like an idiot, fast enough to give these two a surprise, I head towards a series of corners, intersections and tunnels. Within 6 minutes I lost the first one, he did put up a fight, the second car knows his roads, and how to drive. I figure I will take him quickly on the highways and leave him behind by speed. The cars looked like rentals and those things are usually set with a device that stops the car from going full speed. Mine might look like shit on the outside, the engine is top within. Flying down the highway I lose him instantly, taking the smarter way, I keep the peddle just past a full blown police chase and made the long way to the library, making sure I still wasn't followed. I parked just in front, the cars looked very light and the parking was very easy this evening. I remember this place being so busy when I was a kid, right until it closed than the older kids would be playing guitar on the steps and smoking grass. My dad had a key to lock up, so may years I roamed the place while everyone was gone. Living adventures in my mind , writing my own adventures as a conquered strange unknown lands.

As I walk in I notice right away all the new work done to the old place. I knew it was built in the 70's and I am sure it needed a lot of work. Shit. I went in and headed for the spot where the book would be, only to find a new bathroom. Walking over to where the woman was working the help desk, I asked he about the spot in the catalog. She told me that the book was long overdue, and the name was Endless Cycles by Amel Hellick... Strange I don't remember my father ever writing a book. She also says that the person who borrowed the book also contained the same name as the author. Even stranger. I decide to make my way up the floor my old man use to work on. Maybe I will be able to see a familiar face, even though it has been what, twenty years? And right when I get off the elevator I see a face I haven't seen since I was a kid, Ms Davis. As I start walking towards her, her body stops and the books she is carrying drops from her hands. Oh my god, Jorge? Is that really you? Yes Misses Davis it's me, how did you know? You are a splitting image of your father, when I first met him so many years ago. You knew my dad before he worked here? Yes, she says. We were colleges in school, your father was a real history buff, always searching for something he deemed his family lost or one of your family had hidden years ago. I tried to help him with his quest and got him the job here before he lost everything chasing for whatever he was looking for. What brings you here? My dad left me this and a note, oh shit he remembers, the note. It is still sitting in his pocket. Thanks the gods he was so bad at doing his laundry. He reaches in his pocket and shows her the library card. Yes she says as she takes the card. I might just have what you are looking for, here come with me. I see you have a wedding ring on, you finally got married. I remember you as a kid fighting for your rights, How is Susan? She passed away a few years ago, breast cancer got the best of her. She was a fighter right to the end. We got married on July 26, 2011, two days after it was legal. She died a year after that. I am sorry for your loss, I said. What loss Jorge? We lived a great life with so many memories. Even through the bad we still had each other. As we walk into her room, I notice most of her possessions are in boxes. Are you leaving? Yes she laughs, I am finally retiring. Which is amazing because this is my last night, I am really just packing up. You might not have ever gotten this, as I forgot I had it. Sorry, with her sickness and everything, I did not have time to find you and than I grew old and forgetful. No please Misses Davis, I understand, and I thank you for holding it as long as you did. Well your father meant a lot to me when we were in school. He stood by me for every rally against racism and homophobia, he was a true friend. I never knew, I said. My father all of a sudden gave up doing anything after awhile and his past was something we never had a chance to talk about. He never had his head out of a book for more than a minute to ask him anything, I think to myself. She walks over and digs in a box filled with books. Here it is she says as she hands me my fathers old book. The one he spent his entire life writing into. The book I was a little jealous of. That book knew more of my father than both me and my mother could ever imagine. I grab it and say thank you. We talk for a bit as she walks me out her office, we start walking towards the window I notice the same two cars that were following me earlier, pull up beside my car and look at the library, park and get out. They must be looking for me. Thank you Misses Davis for everything, I must run now. I hope retirement does you good, you look like you haven't aged a day since I first saw you. You were always such a sweet boy. May I ask a small favor, for memory sake? Yes dear anything. May I use the back way to get out, I use to love going trough there. Sure, sweetie, you go have fun. She gives him a hug as he makes his way through the back entrance. How did they find me, he wonders.

Getting to the main floor and looking to see that no one was at the doors, I quickly jump in my car and take off home. I quickly hurried up, feeling a little aggravated after tonight's experience I park the car in the houses driveway, and walked around to the warehouse. I have a fence separating the two buildings, so not to disrupt the tenants that might be living there. Once inside I look through my pants for the note that was with the gift


 I spent my life so often in books that I forgot to watch you grow, and now I must ask you to help me solve the puzzle my father gave to me. You will find everything you need in the book. I know I am close to finding what was lost so long ago. You must first have to find the book as I could not keep it with me. The more I get closer, the closer "THEY" are to finding me. I cannot say everything so please son, I do love you. I am sorry that I grew so far away from you. I just didn't know if you would have believed me, let alone help me. Now if you are reading this than it is too late for me, and I am sorry to leave you with my burden. I know you have always been cleaver and I know you can find it. Just remember that once you do, things always change. I wish I can tell you more, that is all I really know.

Putting the note down I look at the first page. What is the sphere? The book seems to be a collection of stories from history that involve this sphere. As I go through the pages I come to a very old delicate drawing that was passed down 10 generations ago. The paper was so frail I worried about tearing it as I opened the pages. Looking at the pictures I quickly noticed it was the same sphere from my dream not that long ago. It shows great detail of the object. On the second drawing is the same sphere again with what it looks to be a open USB port. Looking closely at the details it looks exactly like one. These pages can't be as old as it says, however he has held on old paper before. And unless they spent a long time chemically aging it, the note seemed to be very old and on paper I have never seen such beautiful quality before. I stop to notice the silent alarm has been triggered at the house. Going to the cameras I see 6 men armed with handguns rushing the front door. What the fuck?

I can't see what is going on inside, I can imagine their disappointment when the find the house empty. I watch them come back out, one walks over to my car and makes a call on his phone. I switch over to see the others walk the area. Two in the backyard, three looking in the buildings with flashlights. There is nothing downstairs, I was hoping one day to rent it out, if the neighborhood gets any proper zoning. They all walk back to the two cars, four jump in one and drive away, the other two drive right in front of my place and turn off the car. Well looks like I have to be replacing the door. And all this over what, dad what did you get me into?  

I knew they weren't getting far, sitting like a couple oddities in a usually quiet place. I look back to the book my father gave me, all this seems just a distraction. I notice in the book is a business card, and some writing with pen, which I never saw once in the book. It said I will never hold it for them... What do you mean dad? There is a card stuck in that page, a name and a corporation I know all too well. They gouge me on insurance. My right to travel. I had a friend who told me he could travel without a licence as a god given right, he is spending two years with driving with no licence and unregistered weapons. I think he might have a gofundme while in prison to fight the charges. I agree fuck the system, except this drunk ass was a disaster to everyone he knew. Well just like me, we are a product of our environment. I turn out the lights and rest for the night, I seldom sleep, my dreams keep me more awake than my real life. As if everything was coming to some conclusion to a question I never gave a fuck about. My dad turned on me and kicked me out. I thought he was such a great man when he turned out to be just like the rest of this world, a cold hearted prick. It is funny how we still can't get past our own pasts, Even thou I cannot change it now.

That morning I awoke with the two dummies sleeping in the car. I phoned the impound and as usual  they came right away to claim the loot. Blood sucking thieves. At least they are more reliable than the police, which doesn't say much in my neck of the woods. Once the two were asked ever so rudely to move, I went and inspected my car only to find a tracking signal, and a pretty small one to add. Whoever was following me had money, and that equals trouble that will not give up to easily. I get in the car still holding the tracking system, if I am going to throw them off it better be smart and fast. I rode to the gas station and dropped it off  on the first close to ideal car. I just stood at the waiting line at a local high priced coffee shop. Once done I left to the last clue in my dads book, a old church that was built in 1884 called The Catholic Mission of the Italian Colony of the City of Brooklyn. My father was never the religious type. He alienated us away from his family, his friends and us his family to look for something that seems right now to be utter pointless. How special can this antique be?

As I pull up to the address I see that the church is nowhere to be found. In its place is a large building with many floors and no real purpose. I get out of the car and walk over to the building to see who or what it is. It was a basic lobby with key card entry. I did not see the name of my insurance company on the business list, I did however notice the design on the largest plaque on the wall. The exact same one in my dads book. I look up and notice that I have a camera right on me, I try to return out the building when I notice it is locked. I give it a slam and the door rattles a bit. I step back proceeding to give the door the full weight of my body with some force when the door opens on the other side and a beautiful woman walks out. You do not have to do that Mr Hellick, we only would like to have a minute of your time. Just her voice made me stop. Long hair, casual but relaxed outfit, beautiful face. Excuse me do I know you? No Mr Hellick but I know you. Look I don't know what is going on, can you just open the door. Just give us a few minutes Mr Hellick, it will be not long at all I promise you. My name is Jorge, Mr Hellick was my father. (Such a bad joke) Well Mr Hellick if you have a few minutes to spare, we would love to show you around. We? Oh yes she says, we have been waiting a long time for you. We tried to get your father to come visit, except he just wasn't the most kindest man I have ever came across. And you are? My name is Jessica Wilco, head of research for the Wilco foundation. And why have you been waiting for me? Oh you will see Mr Hellick. Inside the hall is two security guards watching the elevators and cameras of the front lobby. She presses he key card against the pad and returned it to her top right pocket. When the door opens she hits floor 17 and we arrive in a bigger room with only one guard. The guard gets up and they take me to the door at the end of the room and she uses the card again to enter the next area which consists of a large clean room, medical equipment and a chair surrounded by different cameras. All this for me, I say in a sarcastic tone. The guard is off to the side in a aggressive stance. He is not holding the gun at me directly, you do get the hint that I am not able to leave. Have a seat My Hellick, we will be with you in a moment. What if I do not want to sit? That is your choice Mr Hellick, I only ask so we can get everything done as quick as possible and you can go home. And what is it you need me to do? Behind me the elevator doors open and a man in a nice suit walks out into the room followed by four armed and familiar faces, the same guys who were following me the night before. I really did myself good here. Jorge my boy, what a pleasure it is to finally meet you. He looks over at the security guard and tells the man he can go back to his post. When the security walks out the room all four men pull out handguns. This time all eyes were on me, and all barrels.

Years ago my father was breaking ground for this place, his little insurance agency was branching out and he got a great deal on a old  lot that once held a church. Within the ground they found a burial tomb filled with a small fortune and a mysterious ball. When we were looking through the room my fathers business partner saw the sphere buried within the wall and asked one of the workers to get it out. The guy using gloves broke the ball out easy enough, now when he handed it to Jack, he instantly dropped dead. Worried, we grabbed the gloves and hid the sphere and called the medics. We didn't know what we had, all we did know is that whatever it was it, it was important. With the treasure that was found my father headed a special investigation into what this was. One of the goons walks over to a cabinet and grabs a wooden box out and walks over and hands it to the man talking. He grabs it and opens the box in front of me. Inside lay the fabled sphere my father spent his lifetime trying to find. And what do you want from me? Simple Jorge all we want you to do is hold it. You just told me that the last person who touched it died, and now you want me to? What are you nuts? Look Mr Hellick we have been following the history of the sphere for a very long time. Not as extensive as your father mind you. We know that earlier generations of your family have been able to hold it, we have a portrait of one of relatives holding it close to his heart in a painting from 1642. As I said we have done our homework. The only thing is we would like to be able to control this, and terminate anything that we might find dangerous. What do you mean terminate? Not you Mr Hellick, we know from records that all you get is a small boost of knowledge. Nothing we cannot handle. Knowing that I do not have much of a choice and very much intrigued in what might happen, I sit and let the woman hook me up to all her devices. If this only gives me a small boost of smarts, what is in it for you, what do you get from this? Truthfully we think there is something more to it. We just can't seem to get it to do anything but kill people. Wait, how many people has this thing killed? Nothing Jorge, do not worry about it. Just relax and if things get out of hand we have my associate here who will remove the sphere from your hands. The big muscle walks over wearing a set of long gloves that run past his elbow. Okay the video is rolling, and now we need you to pick up the sphere. I look at it nervous, the three men lift their guns again at me. Just pick it up Jorge, you have nothing to worry about. Fuck you I think to myself as I reach out to the ball..

As I pick it up the first thing I notice is that I am not dead, or this thing doesn't work. I can see the smile on their faces that I am doing something more exciting than what was truly happening. I am sitting in a room surrounded by strangers pointing guns smiling while I fondle some old ball. I laugh out loud when their smiles faded. Are you okay Jorge? Yea sorry ,I feel nothing. As I grasp the ball a panel emerges and scans my fingerprint. Everything happened so fast I held on for a second trying to understand what was going on. A voice comes out of the ball, scaring the hell out of me as I drop it. This is a recorded message, you have ten minutes of uninterrupted time to make your escape. Do not forget to pick up me up. As I looked around confused I noticed the stillness of everything. Their smiles sat as pictures on a screen. I reach out and grab the ball and stand up. Around me is a room lost in some old black and white Twilight Show, I run for the door noticing that it was locked. Knowing the only card in the area was in the pocket of that women's breast, I searched the guards until I found theirs. Leaving in this strange moment, I used the key card to open the door. It is a struggle moving the door, it is not locked, it is just heavy. As if something resisted the movement. Knowing that the elevator would be a bad idea, I make my way to the emergency stairs and start running down all seventeen floors. As I reach the main floor grasping for breath, I stumble out the emergency exit and slam the door. This thing  said I have ten minutes and I've already wasted five. I run to my car and jump in and I start it it, only to find it will not start. I know it's not the car, it must be whatever this thing did. I get out of the car and I stop to look around. Over head I see a plane was passing, now stuck in that exact spot in the sky. The cab drivers face at the guy who must have hit his breaks to quick, the taxi nearly hitting him. A man on a cell phone stuck with his leg lifted . I walk closer to him. He has no strain in his face so he is not even noticing that his leg is lifted. To the right of me a pigeon is stuck in flight, chased off by a pug dog , who looked like he was frozen barking. That is another thing there is no sound. Even my steps don't make noise. I start stamping my feet and look up when I notice a memory locked within. A woman was walking past, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I stop, I had to look at her beauty, I am mesmerized by her looks. Her face looks like the one of kindness, never having a bad thought about anyone. Her eyes the color blue so bright. Within my mind I keep asking myself where have I seen her before. As I am facing her time starts back up and she walks right into me. I quickly try to catch her as she bounces off me, I at least understood why we collided. Where did you come from?

I am sorry about that, I just came out this building here, as I point at a wall of a building, I mean the street. I ran across the street and didn't notice. Well please watch where you are going next time. I will, my name is Jorge. My name is Iris. Like Goddess of the rainbow. What?, she said startled. Nothing. No you are right, goddess of the rainbow. My parents are history nuts. Sorry I am running late I have a job interview she says. I noticed I was still holding her as we talked, and she didn't stop me.  I have to go she says, Nice meeting you Jorge. Be more careful next time crossing the street.  I of a sudden remember that I was running from someone, I run back to my car and drove off. Knowing that my place isn't truly safe I phone Kwan and ask him if he has any place that I can lay low for awhile. After telling him five times that it is not about another woman he sets me up with a house he is sitting for a client. One of the many jobs he has.

It took me a hour to drive there, giving me enough time to not understand one thing that was going on. All I knew is that I was holding my fathers dream in my pocket. A dream I though he had loved more than my mother and me. The place is nice. A few plants, and a soft couch with a large swimming pool and hot tub.. I sit down and start looking at the object of my fathers desires.  I press my finger again on it and a piece of it opens up. I move the piece back and find a USB port, exactly as the hand drawn picture. I look around the house looking for a USB cable, noticing one hanging out a home computer. I sit down in front of it and boot it up.. When It comes on I immediately plug it in hoping for something as cool as the freezing time. Nothing. I go to the setting and computer and it is not registering. Shit.
I notice the flat screen in the living and remove the cord from the computer and walk over and plug it in. Nothing. Huh. Not giving up I search the rooms for one of those wall USB plugins, finding one in a storage box with full of cords. Okay this must be it I think to myself as I plug it in. Fuck, nothing. It looks exactly like a USB cord. Thinking to myself, what is also the one thing that never works on a computer, my phone. I was so mad, I tried ever Samsung program and nothing. Going through the box again, looking for a cell phone charging cord. Finding nothing and remembering that I have one in my car for charging, I run out to get it. Coming back in the house I sit down and plug it into my phone. The screen goes black and resets itself. In a very familiar voice as it asks me to place my thumb on the screen. I put it on when it says ID accepted. A face pops up on the screen, a face that I have seen everyday since I stared looking in the mirror. It was me. I need you to be sitting down when you her this, me says on the phone. I already am I say to myself. Good I say. I have some shocking news for you and I want you to know this first of all. You are not real.

You are real, just not now.
Now that makes a hell of a lot of sense. What the fuck are you talking about?
What we are is part of a living computer and we are just the programs of this computer. We were real once, a living being on earth. Now we are imprints of those memories in a computer generated world. You mean like the Matrix? No, nothing like that. Sure sounds like it. Listen, what we know of the world is little. Earth was about to be destroyed so humanity gathered as much DNA as they could. Grabbing from every sperm bank, collecting as many samples as they can to send in a time capsule to record everything of our history. The good and the bad. They did not have the technology to abandon earth, so they did the next best thing and shot our DNA and out history into space to circle our planet at a safe distance and await to be found, and it was. A ancient alien race found the beacon that signaled the capsule and found the contents inside. With their technology they were able to clone us exactly at the moment of our DNA signature with all the memories attached and recorded it. recording all of us. 2.5 billion human souls.

What we know is they were looking for a certain strain, the strain of the first human. His name we know as Atom. That is why we are different. Our DNA, our soul has been running in this program the longest. Wait. Wait, so you are me? I am a collection of all the other us's. Once you hold the orb, your collection of memories imprints with the rest of us. Each life, each us is always different. Our history and our lives change as quick as our feelings, that is why they like us so much. How many of us are there? Almost a thousand. Why are we the longest running program? We meet him in the real world, and lead the alien race to find a sliver of his true DNA. What we were told is that a tsunami wiped out where he lived and what was left of his body was found wrapped in plastic from the home that he lived at. He sealed the place with so much plastic that when the wave came the A frame that he was living in folded around him and wrapping him as one might have done to a mummy back in Egypt's old time. Preserving enough traces to build him again. What is so special about him? As we can only remember this one life, he is able to unlock all his history, right down to the first moment of life. He is the true history of humanity, a walking memory of every incarnation of his life. From caveman to spaceman, he remembers it all. Buried, sealed to forever remember and recorded into his DNA.

We as a species were created by the aliens, enhancing the growth of our ancestors with a beam of light and Atom was the first seed, as with Eve. You mean Adam and Eve from the Bible? A story much older than the bible itself. We do not know much about Atom, we know what we are told from one we think is part of the system. And what is the system? The human known as Atom is the computer program, we are a part of his dream. They used the memories of all the humans to be a separate and living part of the system. So when Atom meets another, it will not be just a representation of himself, which will bring a sense of a false reality that he will notice and the program will not work. The system, Atom, is too smart for simple tricks. And they need this to be as real as possible so they can unlock his memories. And why are his memories so important? They like us. At first it was all a experiment, to flourish life on other planets that were not close to a evolutionary goal. To manipulate different forms of life by giving them knowledge. You mean like the tale of the forbidden fruit? Yes as that story goes. Something happened, they started liking our lives, our struggles and our accomplishments. They loved our minds and the beauty we saw in everything. They love our music, our movies and stories. This period more than any other. Who we are changed their culture and we became the greatest thing to reignite a species lost on cold calculations and precision. A life of science without the need for emotion, love or sex. So, we are entertainment? Yes as Shakespeare said, all the worlds a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
And one man plays many parts...

You get it says me from the phone. No I don't get it, we are just a show? Really he is the show, we are merely bits of the program. So I was once alive and now a computer recorded memory from a copy of me that was grown from the sperm found in space by a alien race who now uses us for amusement to help their boredom? Well I guess you can put it that way. Remember in the Matrix the reality was created by machines? Yes. Well how did the machines know what tastes were, what experience really was. As with the cold aliens that found us they would only know logic, not emotion. It would never work. You would need real memories, real flavors and real experiences to be able to pass them off as real life and have a populace believe it. To ignore the unreality of everything and live as if they were truly alive. What am I suppose to do, what is the point of my program? Your part has ended for all they are concerned, now what do with your time is up to you. As of right now I have changed your bank account to read millions and gave you free long distance on your phone. You can sit here in ignorance and do nothing or you could collect more information, help us understand more of what is truly going on. And what did you do, I ask my phone self.. Most of  us looked for Atom, to meet him. A few did nothing and wasted their lives on women and drugs. And what happened when you met Atom? Nothing, we never get enough time with him to ask him anything. We are collectively afraid to tell him anything that might bring attention to the program itself. You mean they are not watching him? Yes and no, he is the main system, however it is us who are all tied in together to be part of the show. So what can I do, what do we think we should do? We need to find the core, the central system and we do not know where it is. If this is just a program what is the core? It is where they keep Atom. This program is all created with all of our shared experiences from the billions of individual sets of human DNA and let lose in one central mind and that mind has a real projection in this reality. So I need to do like you and find the real Atom and do what? We want to live. Not just as a memory but in real life. The aliens have a way to bring us back, to repopulate and give life another chance. We need to show them that we are more than just a program to watch. That we could be more if given a chance to live again. Okay, you do understand how crazy that sounds right? We have been a part of this program so long we want to be something more than a collection of memories. If you can think of something better we are all ears.
I need a drink.
You need a drink me says also.

I walk to the store with a head full of questions, grabbing a few bottles just in case I need more than a few drinks. Passing by a dispensary I tip the guy 200.00 to sell me a couple grams of weed without a license. the guy looked nervous except I was very persistent. I needed something stronger to handle all this. I stop at the local store and grab some snacks and rolling papers. When I get back I go out back and smoke a big fat joint. It has been awhile, shit not since I was in high school so it hit me pretty hard. I go back in the house, my mind not so whirling with questions about my own reality. Finding out you are not real is one hell of a trip. When I go back in the house the phone is playing Nirvana heart Shaped Box. You like Nirvana as ask the phone, thinking how strange this is. I never heard of them before, as I said all life is different. In our collective past, none of us have heard this band. In our realities this singer had taken another road. Think of it as a parallel universe, except there is no universe. We relive each life not knowing that we are doing it and each life has its own different reality. But you know of the Matrix? Yes that story is weirdly shared in all realities, just with different actors. You had Reeves play Neo, my reality I had Nick Carter play Neo. Nick Carter like the singer? In your time yes he was a singer, in my time he was just a bad actor. Okay who were the people who were holding the ball? What I can tell from the internet is that in your reality, your ancestor lost the orb and it ended up in the hands of this corporation. I think they have some understanding that this orb is like nothing that has ever been seen before. And how did my ancestor get it? It was created by Atom and handed to us by him. Whoever is helping us has embedded this in the program, so every life might be different for some, we are held a task given by the person himself in a time lost in our memory. Usually the orb opens at 21 when we are at a age when we can handle such thoughts, you of coarse are given this knowledge much later. No matter what we do find it, as it is written by something we do not truly know what. So Atom is the one helping us? Yes and no. Again with the yes and no's what do you mean, just spit it out. We think that Atom is fighting the system and using us to bring us together, except the Atom in this reality doesn't know it. It is as if a part of Atom is coherent in the program and is doing everything it its power to help us. While the reflection of Atom in this reality lives his life unknowing that he the dreamer. The sleeper must awaken. What did you say said the phone me. The sleeper must awaken, it is a line from a novel I once read called dune. Yes that is it, the phone me says. We must wake the sleeper, you must wake the sleeper. How can we find him? We know where he is, he is on a small island in the pacific in Canada. How do you know? This thing called Facebook. Oh yea right.

Okay well you need to get out of here and get on a plane. First go and do some shopping and grab some clothes. Yes I need to take a shower. Okay first get some sleep, you will need the rest. Taking off my shoes and laying on the couch I did just that. Falling back again to the same dream I had once before, however this dream was different. I was murdered while walking down the hallway of my castle, the person stabbing me in the back with a short sword, I watch him dig in my pockets with a cloth and remove the orb from my coat. It was Merlin, the only one I confided with about the orb. He called himself a man of magic, hah it was nothing more than parlor tricks without the help of the orb. We found a way to attach the orb to a staff and wield a bolt of light that set the skin of my enemies on fire. Since I was the only man who could touch it, it was my power to hold. Power always corrupts.

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