Chapter 05

Wanderer Chapter 05

 

Present – Erast (Ben) – Washington DC

 

God damn, there's a fucking rat biting my head. I fight like hell with it and wake up yelling, "It's not a fucking mistake!"

 

I look at my hands. They're trembling as I shake my head to clear the cobwebs. It's not a rat after all, it's my fucking wig. I just had a terrible dream where I saw the doctor and he kept telling me it was a mistake to leave Ms. Donaldson because surgery could fix everything. He kept repeating over and over like a broken record. Then it switched to rats from the time when that bastard Hussein tortured me.

 

For a minute I really wonder if I've made the biggest mistake of my life. Perhaps the doctors at Walter Reed were wrong, perhaps the other doctor is right, perhaps one surgery, no matter how painful would really fix everything. But what if the surgery didn't work, I'd be saddling Ms. Donaldson with a broken half-man who couldn't give her the children she so desires. I conclude I did the right thing, because I love her with all my heart and can't risk ruining her life.

 

Earlier last night, after leaving 'the shop' and changing into my disguise, I stopped by Greenwalls to drop off my prescription. They said I can pick it up tomorrow evening which will be great timing because I will have my documents from Wilhelm by then. I visit a couple other places just to see how well the disguise works and to practice - the disguise works great since no one identifies me.

 

Because I don't have my documents and I can't sleep at 'the shop' so I decide to find a nice suburban street and sleep in the car. I find a street with other cars parked on it, pull in between two of them and sack out until the fucking nightmare wakes me up. Shit! I'm not sure what's worse, the nightmares of the victims faces or the nightmare I just had. At least Ms. Donaldson won't have to go through them with me. I shake my head because it's hard as hell not to keep thinking about her and wondering if she is okay. I really… Aw Hell! Who am I trying to fool! She'll have another man within a month.

 

I guess I need to put the fucking rat, I mean wig, back on my head, find some chow and then meet Dwight to pick up the rest of my gear…

 

Present – Jens – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

Liz and the twins want to take me to the hospital, but I'm damn fine other than the bullshit with Ben going fucking crazy and acting like a grade A asshole. I demand to be taken to the station and once there I commandeer Liz's office (Shit! She never uses it anyway) to set up my command post. Liz goes along with everything until I start tossing her foo-foo shit in boxes. She complains, "Jens I paid an interior designer a bunch of money to furnish this office."

 

I look at the office with all the shit and comment, "Well however much you paid it was too damn much since all this crap is distracting and in my way. Don't worry, when I'm done finding Ben I'll pay for little Miss Foo-Foo to come back in here and foo-foo it back up for you."

 

She pleads, "At least be careful with it. Some of those items are expensive."

 

I'm in no mood for bullshit so I grumble, "Well if you and the twins would help instead of standing around and scratching your asses then it might get done to your liking." To accent my point, I toss a vase into the box but it breaks.

 

Liz gasps and complains, "Jens, that's it! Let me know what you want left in my office and leave for an hour. We will take care of moving everything out of your way."

 

I smile because this was my plan all along and I dictate, "Liz, please leave me the work table and all the chairs. I want three more phones in here and network drops for six computers. Please put a little table over there and I want a real coffee pot on it not that piece of bullshit thing you have in here now. The mini-fridge can stay but I want it over by the coffee pot with the microwave on the top of it. Please fill the fridge, with energy drinks, you know the ones I like, and healthy, microwaveable meals. While you're at it find me a couple cases of MRE's just in case and make sure they aren't expired like so many of the ones sold in the civilian market. And I want two folding cots in the corner."

 

I take a breath and continue, "Ira, please find me a Benelli M41 tactical shotgun with a selection of shells for it some lethal and some non-lethal, in fact let's see if we can find some of the new Taser Xreps2 but first talk to Benelli and make sure the M4 will handle them. I also want a real rifle, something as accurate as your PSG-1's but smaller and easier to handle and let's get it in some other caliber than five-point-five-six with a crap load of ammo and mags. Make sure it's not fucking gas impingement3 because I don't want to be cleaning the fucker all the time. Now Ira, for the sidearm which I will be wearing at all times I want a Kimber Pro Carry4 in forty-five ACP with crimson trace grips. Give me ten mags with it and I want the hottest golden saber rounds you can get for it."

 

1 Awesome auto-loading shotgun used by the USMC

2 A self-contained Taser in a 12 gauge shotgun shell. 100ft. range. First knocks them down from the impact then keeps them down from the shock.

3 Direct gas impingement - is a type of gas operation for a firearm that directs gas from a fired cartridge directly to the bolt carrier or slide assembly to cycle the action. The main disadvantage of direct impingement is that the breech of the firearm becomes fouled more quickly. This is caused by solids from the high-temperature gas condensing as they cool and being deposited on the bolt face and primary operating mechanism

4 Same as the full sized Kimber just easier to conceal and carry.

 

The three of them are astonished while I smile at them and continue, "Now my good friend and pharmacist Mira, please get me extra body armor from Herr Henrick. While you're at it give him a call and see if he can make some that's twice as thick. You will need to coordinate with Liz for my likes and sizes. Also get me a bunch of underwear, a few need to be sexy, a couple nice outfits, one business suit, one or two of the slinky black outfits you guys wear and a week's worth of BDU's - I don't give a fuck what color or branch of the service. I want a full combat setup like I used in Iraq and Afghanistan including a normal holster and a concealed carry holster for the Kimber. I need a military pack to carry my stuff, something similar to what you two use. I need my basic make up and toiletries. For shoes get me a selection including dress shoes, combat boots and running shoes. And if you would be so kind to make up a little medical kit for me from your pharmacy with a bit of everything including some stay-awakes."

 

"Finally ladies, I want a better lock put on this door and Liz my best friend in the world, I need a secretary, no I need a girl Friday and she has to be combat trained. Pay her whatever you have to and tell her she's with me twenty-four-seven until this mission is over."

 

They all stand there with their mouths hanging open. I snap them out of it when I yell, "Move your asses because I want the office setup in two hours, the Kimber yesterday, the rest of the weapons by tomorrow night and the fucking clothes whenever! Now do any of you remember everything I just said?"

 

They start stepping and fetching and Ira says, "We memorized your exorbitantly extensive list but it sounds like you are planning a war, not setting up an office."

 

I smile and confirm, "You're right, I am planning a war. I'm fucking serious as a heart attack and I'm going to win this war. We need to try to find Ben before he leaves DC because after that he's going to be hell to find. Now I'm going downstairs to record a commercial then I'm headed out to buy some computers and I expect to see some things finished when I get back." I hustle out of the office to begin my chores.

 

Present – Mira and Ira – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

We start to help Ms. Morgan dismantle and destroy her lovely office and I say to Ira in our special language, "Ira, what are your feelings about Ms. Donaldson and her actions."

 

She places a very expensive vase carefully in a box, wraps it and answers, "She is a woman on a very big mission and we should have seen it coming."

 

I agree, "Yes, it was a minor miscalculation on our part thinking her mother would be a distraction. But we still have your plan." I grin at her.

 

Ira smiles back and replies, "I think we need to have a brief meeting with Ms. Morgan and persuade her to follow our plan. I do not think it will be hard because I know the perfect way to approach it. You just need to follow along and agree with everything."

                                                                                        

I answer, "Then let's do it now."

 

Ira clears her voice and asks, "Ms. Morgan I think we need to take a short break and discuss what is happening. Mira and I would like to know how you feel about things and we have some ideas for things that might help."

 

Ms. Morgan replies, "I would love to talk, but do you think we can spare the time?"

 

I reply, "Ms. Morgan, as long as we have the office clear and Ms. Donaldson's sidearm by the time she gets back, she will be happy."

 

Ms. Morgan looks relieved and says, "That's great news because I was afraid she was going to go all crazy again - did you see the look in her eyes?"

 

We both giggle because you could not miss the look in Ms. Donaldson's eyes; she is a fired up determined woman on a mission. Ms. Morgan sits at the table, Ira follows her and I bring all of us a cold drink from the mini refrigerator. As I hand them around the table, Ira smiles at me and Ms. Morgan says, "Thanks, I can really use this."

 

We all take a drink and Ira starts to weave her web, "Ms. Donaldson is very focused now on finding Mr. Blaine. Because of this Mira and I have no worries she will go crazy again." I nod my head and Ira continues, "The most important thing is that we support her to the utmost of our abilities, because if she thinks anyone hinders her from finding Mr. Blaine, they will instantly become her enemy."

 

Ms. Morgan questions, "So what else can we do besides what she's asked us to do?"

 

Ira smiles and reminds Ms. Morgan, "Ms. Donaldson is so focused on finding Mr. Blaine she has forgotten two things which might be used to persuade him to return."

 

Ms. Morgan blinks her eyes and replies, "I have no idea what two things you are talking about."

 

Ira and I both smile and Ira says, "She has forgotten about the two young girls Zarika and Yasmeen in Tajikistan who Mr. Blaine promised to bring to America. They are still very impatiently waiting for Ms. Donaldson, you or Mr. Blaine to come and bring them to America as they were promised. If we bring them here, we could put them on the television pleading for Mr. Blaine to come home."

 

We both anxiously watch as Ms. Morgan thinks about what we just said. Finally she smiles and answers, "I really like this idea. Ben won't expect this at all. And while he may have gone crazy and left Jens, I doubt he could ignore the two of them. Okay you two can go and bring them to America."

 

Ira instantly replies, "Ms. Morgan, they have very specific orders from Mr. Blaine that only he, Ms. Donaldson or you are to come and bring them to America. You will need to come with us or they will not come without a big fight."

 

She shakes her head, "Okay, I will need to figure a way to sell this to Jens. But we can't do anything until we get her all set up and settled in."

 

Ira and I smile at each other, because while Ms. Donaldson might be able to ignore her mother, she will not be able to ignore those two girls. They are just as determined as she is and on equal but opposite missions.

 

Ms. Morgan says, "Well we better get back to destroying my lovely office. I knew I should have given Jens her own office."

 

Present – Zarika – Tajikistan

 

I am very sad because it has been such a long time since Yasmeen and I have seen or even heard from one of the nice ladies. And it seems like an entire lifetime ago when I saw Ben. I wonder if we have been forgotten.

 

The man with no tongue, who cannot speak, was able to get a television for us so at least we have it for some entertainment. Of course Yasmeen, the little suka, hogs it and spends much of the day watching music shows and trying to sing. I think she sounds more like a dying donkey.

 

I yell at Yasmeen, "Give me the remote thing. I want to watch the news."

 

She has become sassier than ever and says, "No way Jose. I'm not done yet."

 

I swear since she has been watching so much television she has picked up even more stupid sayings than before, like the one she just used with me. I threaten, "Yasmeen, I will kick your rear if you do not give me the remote thing."

 

Yasmeen giggles and says, "Don't freak out." She then throws me the remote thing.

 

The last time I watched the news there were very bad things happening in America and many other countries in the world. I find the news station and it seems things are better now in most of the world since the chewchemeks have been beaten in most places are have gone back into hiding. Then I see an American commercial and yell, "Yasmeen look on the television."

 

She turns over then comes and sits beside me, "Look Zarika, it's our husband Ben. I wonder if he is now a famous television star?"

 

I try to understand the words, but they are in English and make no sense to me. So I do my best to read the sign but it looks like funny squiggles to me. The commercial is over and I ask Yasmeen, "Could you understand anything that was said?"

 

She grins at me and answers, "I think it said our husband Ben is now a big movie star. Did you see the big amount of money on the screen - I think that is how much he makes each day." She sniffles some and says, "Zarika, I really miss our husband Ben. Do you think he will come for us soon?"

 

I grin at her and say, "If he is a big rich movie star I think he will come for us very soon."

 

Present – Erast (Ben) – Washington DC

 

I approach the meeting point with Dwight, pull over, park the car, and take off my disguise. Then I run to the top of a hill overlooking the whole area. I can't be sure Dwight hasn't been followed because there are a lot of bastards who'd turn me in for the twenty grand reward Ms. Donaldson is offering for me. I chuckle to myself because I always wanted to be a desperado, and now I have a wanted poster and the whole fucking country is looking for me. And all I did was the do right thing! I guess it is true, 'no good deed goes unpunished.' Oh well, Ms. Donaldson will grow tired of the chase soon enough and leave me alone. But I need to get focused because I have a job to do tonight. And being distracted is a quick way to die. Even though I really don't have a life left, without Ms. Donaldson, I still have a job to do.

 

I observe Dwight drive up and son-of-a-bitch, the old fool was followed and didn't even notice. I sure as hell hope I die before I get that old! I smile because with my new mission parameters death has become a very distinct possibility.

 

I pull out my mobile phone and call Dwight. He answers with a question, "Ben, where are you?"

 

I want to chew his ass, but decide it won't do any good so I explain, "Dwight, I've been watching you and you have a tail. It's going to take me about thirty minutes to work my way around and take care of him. Sit on a bench and relax for a bit."

 

I drop back over the ridge, run parallel to it for about a klick and then slowly move back to the top. I see Dwight sitting on the bench and his tail still watching from his car with his back to my location. I analyze the slope, the terrain and ground cover to plan my path to the car. I then head off down the hill, using the bushes and trees as cover and always keeping the bastard in sight.

 

I'm down to the last fifty, and most critical, feet so I crawl, inching my way closer to the car. I get to the back of the car, slip my pistol out of my holster and slide along the ground until I'm just below the driver's door. I rise up, put my pistol close to the face of the driver and say, "Get your fucking ass out of the car and you'd better move in slow motion."

 

Some idiots never learn so he reaches for his weapon sitting on the passenger seat. I pistol whip the hell out of him and he goes out like a light.

 

Son of a bitch, now I have to do all the work. I open the door, pop the trunk, then I drag his sorry ass to the back of the car. I search him well, take his shoes, wallet and mobile phone, then stuff him in the trunk. I find the emergency release handle for the trunk and use the tire iron to bust the shit out of it so it doesn't work, 'accidentally' hitting him several times. Then I slam the truck closed. I look at his mobile phone, bring up the last number dialed and hear, "You have reached the Truth Network information line for Ben Blaine. Do you have any information on the whereabouts of Ben Blaine?"

 

I decide to have some fun and say, "I sure the fuck do. This is Ben Blaine. Let me speak with Ms. Jennifer Donaldson."

 

The voice says, "You know, I'm really getting tired of all these prank calls." And the phone goes dead.

 

Prank calls… that give me a great fucking idea. I punch up the number for Liz's office. I'm going to leave her a voicemail because she's never in her office. Instead of voicemail I hear, "This is Liz, your dime buys my time."

 

She surprises the hell out of me and I start to choke as I hear her say, "Hello, hello? Is everything okay?"

 

I yell in the phone, "Tell Ms. Donaldson to leave me the fuck alone." Then I hang up the phone.

 

The phone rings again almost right away and it's her number. I pick it up and hear, "Ben is that you?"

 

I yell, "Liz you and Ms. Donaldson leave me the fuck alone!" and hang up the phone. Then I dial the international number for Moscow weather, it's a looped recording that keeps repeating. Next I throw the phone in the bushes. Paying for this phone bill should teach that fucker.

 

Speaking of the fucker, it sounds like he's awake, banging on the inside of the trunk and yelling his fool head off. I go over and slam my fist down on the trunk and yell, "If you make any more noise I'm going to start firing into the trunk."

 

He sobs, "Please let me out of here. I hate small dark places."

 

I threaten, "You keep it up and I'll drive your car into a lake."

 

He starts crying like a baby and I decide I need to stop fucking around and get my gear from Dwight. I jump in his car, start it up and head towards Dwight. I guess the fucker really thinks I'll drive his car in the lake because he's screaming like a banshee, crying like a baby and kicking the shit out of the trunk.

 

I wave at Dwight as I pull up, jump out of the car and run over close to him. He says, "What the hell do you have in the trunk of that car? It sounds someone trying to play a violin with a cat that's in heat."

 

I laugh and say, "It's the fucker that tailed you." I toss him the keys and continue, "You can let him out after I leave if you want. Did you bring my gear?"

 

He smiles, "Of course I did. Hey, thanks for taking care of the tail for me."

 

I give him a serious look, "Dwight, you really need to take a long hard look at what you've become and who you've let into 'the shop.' My guess is you might even have a couple ATF agents lurking in the crowd. I'd fucking clean house if I were you and go back to the original few of us you let in."

 

He agrees, "Yeah, it just sort of snowballed on me and the next thing I knew there were people I didn't even know. Shit! If there is an ATF agent, they'll take everything from me."

 

I clap him on the back and say, "Well, you know what to do so do it. Thanks for the gear, I only need most of it for my mission tonight and will return it tomorrow."

 

He gives me a sad look, "I sort of hoped you'd stay around and help me clean up 'the shop.'"

 

I smile at him and say, "Dwight, there's nothing I'd rather do than stay here and help you clean up 'the shop.' But you saw the wanted posters for me. For a while, possibly for a long while Ms. Donaldson's going to be looking for me and I know her, sooner or later she's going to find 'the shop'." I grab the gear pack, shake his hand and say, "Take care of yourself Dwight, I'll see you in the morning."

 

I turn to leave up the hill and he says, "Shit! I almost forgot. There's a special gift in the pack for you. I think you'll know what to do with it. See you tomorrow."

 

Did you ever wish you could do something to stop a coming disaster, but you know whatever you do, it won't be enough? Shit! I'd saved Dwight's life once, I gave him the best advice I can but somehow I know it won't work, not this time.

 

Present – Jens – Retail Therapy (shopping) – Washington DC

 

Well, I recorded a commercial where I beg Ben to come back to me. Yeah it is humiliating as hell to be begging, but I love him and have to try at least this once to entice Ben to come back. But if he doesn't come back after watching me beg and cry on television then it's all-out war! I'll hunt his hardhearted ass down and extract my revenge.

 

Now, on to buy the computers I need. On the way to the local computer store, I decide to stop in a local instant mart and get a cup of coffee. I walk in the door and am shocked to find out the fucking, blood sucking tabloids haven't wasted anytime! Crazy assed stories about us are plastered on the covers. I stop in my tracks and read the headlines.

 

Ben Blaine captured by aliens, taken to mothership and being probed.

 

I about laughed my ass off, if he doesn't come back home I'll give him a fucking probing with my boot.

 

Ben Blaine runs off with Vegas stripper and leaves fiancée heartbroken.

 

I look at the picture and it's an old fucking picture of him with that fat cow Susan bitch. She looks more like a broken down old Vegas whore, not a stripper.

 

Old girlfriend says Jennifer dumps Ben because he can't keep her happy

 

Wow that one was pretty close to the truth only backasswards. The fucking fat cow even gave and interview, she's next on my ass kicking list, right after Ben!

 

Ben leaves Jennifer when he finds out she's a HE!

 

There's a fucking picture of me with a close up on my crotch and, what the fuck, they made it look like I have a huge fucking package! Damn idiots, can't they tell it's the bump from something else I need monthly?

 

Jennifer Donaldson goes crazy, becomes a cannibal and eats fiancée.

 

There's a very poorly “photoshopped” picture of me where I'm chewing on what looks like a leg bone. It's sickening.

 

Ben Blaine runs off with Angelina - Jennifer and Brad heartbroken and console each other

 

This shows two “photoshopped” images - one of Ben and Angelina and one of Brad Pitt holding me. Pul-eeze! Like I would ever take rusty old nail hole (brad pit – think about it) over Ben but I sure like the size of the breasts on the woman's body they put my head on - I'd certainly take those!

 

Ben Blaine dumps Jennifer for two underage girls.

 

 Now this picture really gets me pissed off since it's Ben and those two girls of his from Tajikistan. What the hell are their names? Where the hell did they get this picture and… Hey where the hell are those two girls?

 

There are more, but I need to get going. So I grab one of each tabloid off the rack (I figure I can use a good laugh when I read them later), my cup of coffee and head to the register. The guy behind the register gives me a silly grin, points at the top tabloid and says, "I know who you are - you're her!"

 

I just grunt at him. He continues, "So are any or all of those stories true?"

 

I decide to have some fucking fun, pay for my coffee and tabloids and say, "Only one."

 

He gets all excited, "Which one?"

 

I lick my lips, grin and say, "The cannibal one of course. By the way I am getting a little hungry."

 

He turns ghostly white as I walk out the door. I can't believe the crap they print and I really don’t understand the people who read it and believe it. No wonder this country is so messed up. But the probed story was truly funny.

 

I just get ready to drive away when my mobile phone rings. It's Liz, so I bitch, "I sure the hell hope my command post is ready."

 

She ignores my bitching and says, "Jens, Ben just called my office phone."

 

I smile and immediately think it's about fucking time! He saw my commercial, came to his senses and called Liz to find out how pissed off I am before he comes crawling back with his tail tucked between his legs. I confidently ask Liz, "So when is my fiancé coming back?"

 

The phone goes quiet for what seems like forever until I hear Liz cry as she says, "Jens I don't think he is coming back. He yelled at me that we should both leave him the fuck alone."

 

My hope immediately flashes to anger and I yell, "He said what?"

 

Liz meekly repeats, "Jens, he said we should leave him the fuck alone."

 

Now I am totally pissed off so I demand, "Did you call him back?"

 

She replies, "Yes I did and he told me the same thing again. I've tried calling several times and all I get now is a busy signal. I've got our best people trying to track the location of the phone."

 

I swear, "Damn him! Leave HIM the fuck alone! I'll show him the fuck alone when I anally probe him with my size seven boot! He won't sit down for a month."

 

I hang up the damn phone and burn rubber all the way out of the parking lot. Leave HIM the fuck alone! I'm not going to let him the fuck off that easy. I'll find him if I have to chase him to perditions gates and then kick down the gates, to get to him. Leave HIM the fuck alone, I don't fucking think so! I go on national fucking television, humiliate myself even crying and begging his sorry ass to come home and he fucking responds with: Leave HIM the fuck alone! Mr. Ben fuckhead Blaine you will pay for that fucking chicken shit comment!

 

I fly to the computer store and think: What the fuck is it about, about, about men and their fucking packages! They make such a big fucking deal about it like it's the most important piece of meat in the world. I guess it can give some pleasure but hey, it's not like it's the only way a woman can be pleasured. It's like all men worship at the over highly exalted Temple of Penis and if there's ever any little problem with it they get all fucking hysterical and act like a bunch of babies. And they dare call women emotional – now that's a fucking joke! So his pee-pee is a little broken. Does he stay and go to doctors until it's fixed? Hell No! He goes all crazy, thinking I only love him for his penis, when I've never even tried it! And he forgets about everything else we've shared!

 

I am calmer when I pull into the parking lot so I take out my mobile phone and call Liz. She meekly answers, "Hello, Jens are you okay?"

 

Oh shit! I can tell she's really upset! It's my fault and I need to fix things so I respond, "Hey sorry sister, about being such a super bitch earlier. Please forgive me?"

 

She sounds a little better when she replies, "Jens, I was just worried you were going to go all crazy again and this time I wasn't with you to help you. I'm so sorry Ben said what he said but I don't know what the hell is wrong with him."

 

I decide, even though I don't feel like it, that I need to tell her a little joke to cheer her up so I offer my explanation: "Liz, the bastard is being a typical male and thinking with his little head which is broken and not his big head."

 

I know it works because she's laughing like crazy and adds, "Jens you're right about that. What is it about men and their toys. Their toy gets broken and they turn back into boys."

 

Now it's my turn to laugh, "Liz my sister and best girlfriend in the world, you're so right. Hey listen, I need you to go down and pull that commercial I just made and try to keep it from being aired anywhere else if you can."

 

She asks, like I knew she would, "Why Jens, what's going on?"

 

I'm embarrassed as hell when I respond, "Well Liz, I publicly humiliated myself, begging and crying for Ben to come back. It's obvious to me with his, his, his…" I pause and take a breath to keep from getting upset again, then continue, "It's obvious from his answer he doesn't give a fuck about my public humiliation or the commercial. So I've tried the carrot on him and it didn't work. Now he gets a taste of the stick and I've got a big assed stick and I'm going to beat the hell out of him."

 

She laughs and says, "Oh boy is he ever in trouble. Are you sure he saw the commercial?"

 

I answer, "I'm pretty damn sure that's what made him call. By the way, I also need to apologize for being so bossy to you and the twins earlier and for breaking your vase."

 

I can tell damage control is done when she says, "Jens, it's nothing and you were really upset so we all forgive you. We're working like hell to get everything done for you, when will you be back?"

 

I think for a minute and reply, "Liz, I'm at the computer store and I'm not sure how long this will take. Here's what I'd really like done as soon as possible, and if you can have these things done by the time I get back I'll be really happy."

 

She asks, "Hold on Jens, let me get a pen and paper." She comes back and starts with, "Okay shoot!"

 

And I grin, thinking how I'd like to shoot Mr. Ben Blaine's ass with a full load of rock salt. I shake my head, get the image of him jumping around and yelling out of my mind and politely ask, "Liz, please try to have the office ready and I'm really sorry for destroying it like I did. I will make it up to you. Please ask Ira nicely to find me that Kimber because I feel half-naked out on the streets without it. And also nicely ask Mira to find me the combat gear. Oh, and some sort of military looking black rifle, it doesn't even have to fire because I'm just using it for a prop for right now. And I really need a girl Friday."

 

Liz replies, "Jens, we'll do our best!"

 

Present – Maria Gonzalez (Not young Jens) – Truth Network - Elizabeth Morgan's 'office?'

 

I've been back from Iraq for three months, I’m bored as hell and trying to figure out what to do with my life. Even though I wasn't supposed to be 'in harm's way' because I'm a woman (now that's a big fucking joke, I can fight as well as many men), I still saw my fair share of action and found out I really enjoyed the hell out of it and now that it's gone I crave it like a drug. But what sort of work can a woman get to fuel my addiction to Iraq type action?

 

I sure as hell can't go back to being a secretary. I tried that for one week, I was bored as hell and when the bastard boss trapped me in the storage room and put his hand up my dress, I broke his arm. I looked some at becoming a mercenary but I'm not sure I'm ready to totally give up my feminine side and become that butch.

 

My days are incredibly boring and mundane. Oh I still wake up at 0400 everyday, no matter how late I party the night before. Then it's one full hour of hard PT, followed by one hour of running, many times with a pack and then I finish off with my favorite - one hour of martial arts training. I need to stay fit for my favorite part of the day - night time. But we'll talk about that later.

 

Then the breakfast of champions: Tecate beer over corn flakes. That's the start of my drinking for the day. After my breakfast, I open a large bottle of cheap wine, sit in front of the idiot box and drink wine all day while rotting my mind with silly-assed soap operas and even worse daytime talk shows. I'm pretty sauced by the time night rolls around and if there's one thing I've become, it is a mean-assed drunk bitch that you don't want to fuck with.

 

Ah and finally it's the night time, the right time for fighting. I put on my fighting outfit, usually a cute as hell dress and some nights if I'm really daring I even go commando. Nothing fires the men up as much as catching a glimpse of a bare snatch. Then I find myself a bar (my favorites are military bars), especially sailor bars because sailors are always horny as hell.

 

Of course I attract attention because I'm a terrible flirt. I pick a table of four or five guys as my target for the night and wait. It doesn't take long until I'm invited to the table and inevitably, one of them will get fresh with me. That's what I've been waiting for and I take the bastard down. Of course his friends get upset so I take them down too. And if I'm really lucky the whole bar gets going and it's a huge fucking free-for-all. When it's all done and they're lying on the floor bleeding, I finally feel the release in my body and my craving for action goes away. But like clockwork it will be back tomorrow night.

 

It's 1000, I'm sitting at home about a fourth of the way through a large bottle of wine, when I get a phone call from a friend, who got a phone call from a friend, who got a phone call from another friend - you know how the whole networking thing goes.

 

Millie says, "Hi Maria how are you doing?"

 

She's such a good friend and has been worried as hell about me since I've been back. I answer with a slur, "Hi Millie, I'm bored as hell and working on getting drunk as a skunk."

 

She scolds, "Maria you've got to stop doing this to yourself. You're going to kill yourself!”

 

I laugh, "Well, I always wanted to die young and leave a good looking corpse. Maybe I'll get lucky and the mortician will bonk me before he puts me in the box. You know the last great fuck before the great beyond."

 

She threatens, "Maria, you're too good a woman to be doing this to yourself. If you keep doing this, I'm going to have you committed."

 

I threaten back, "You do that and I'll kick your scrawny white ass."

 

Millie changes the subject, "Look a friend called me and I think I've found the perfect job for you."

 

I burp and almost throw up when I see that blonde bitch again on the television begging and crying for her man, who's run away, to come back to her. If I could fucking afford it I would throw the bottle of wine through the TV, but to be truthful I'm pretty damn broke right now and it's even starting to impact my drinking. And, that really sucks! Shit! She's cute as hell and could have her choice of men and she's begging some bastard to come back to her? Fuck It! No man is worth that shit!

 

I answer Millie, "Is this anything like the last two jobs you found me, because they sucked!"

 

She answers, "Listen this job is perfect for you. Someone at the Truth Network needs what they're calling a girl Friday and a whole lot more. They're looking for someone with secretarial experience and military training. Plus your boss would be a woman named Jennifer Donaldson."

 

I reply, "Shit, isn't she the bitch I keep seeing on TV begging her man to come back. I'm not sure I could work for anyone who would grovel and humiliate themselves like that."

 

Millie asks, "Not even for six grand a month?"

 

Even with my quarter-addled mind I can tell that's a hell of a deal. I answer, "Millie that certainly has my attention. What do I need to do?"

 

She tells me and then hangs up the phone. I figure I can work for this bitch for six months and have enough money to live on until the next gift horse comes around. Besides, I just might be able to teach blondie a thing or two about men because she is fucking embarrassing the whole female race with her groveling.

 

And that's how I got here in Elizabeth Morgan's office. When I got here there was a line out the door, but out of all of them, I'm the only one who made it into the office. I think it had something to do with these two twins standing by Ms. Morgan. First they laughed a little when I introduced myself and I wondered what the hell was so funny about my name. I thought about kicking both their asses, but I can tell even though they are beautiful, they are also dangerous. And if I get this job, I'm certainly going to keep an eye on them.

 

So I'm even more bored, sitting in a chair in what has to be the biggest dump of an office I've ever been in. It looks more like a briefing room combined with a crappy-assed dorm room than an office. I've been waiting forever for 'the princess' to get back from shopping. I can only imagine what she was shopping for, probably some frilly underwear.

 

Present – Jens – Retail Therapy (shopping) – Washington DC

 

I'm glad I got things worked out with Liz, even though she loves the hell out of Ben. When I'm in my right mind I know she would never take him from me and she is the closest thing I have to a sister. In fact, I'm pretty calm right now and can't wait to get my computers, get back to my office and get to work finding my bastard, the run-away fiancé.

 

I walk into the computer store, walk up to the computers I'm interested in and wait for a salesperson to come up to me. Normally they're like sharks circling prey, but I see them all in the back of the store playing grab ass with each other. My calm mood slowly starts to fade.

 

This shit has gone on long enough and I need some way to get some attention, so I knock a computer monitor on the floor. It makes a hell-of-a satisfying noise accompanied with sparks and smoke. The next thing I know I have all the attention I could ever want. All the salespeople and manager come running and the manager demands, "What happened here?"

 

I look him in the eyes and say, "If you're finished with your circle jerk, I'd like to buy some computers."

 

He pursues his original thought, "You did that on purpose?"

 

I grin at him and reply, "Yes I did."

 

He starts turning red until one of the salesgirls whispers in his ear and then he says, "Sorry Ms. Donaldson that we weren't here to help you right away. I'm here to personally assist you, what can I do for you?"

 

I point to the salesgirl who recognized me and say, "I want her to help me and she'd better get one hundred percent of the commission on this sale or I will call the CEO of this company, who is a personal friend."

 

The manager apologizes, "Yes Ms. Donaldson, I understand. Gretchen, please help Ms. Donaldson.

 

I grin, because if you look up geek chick in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Gretchen. She comes up, and gushes, "Gee Ms. Donaldson, I'm one of your biggest fans."

 

I reply, "Gretchen, since we're friends now, please, call me Jennifer or Jens.

 

She gives me a cute as hell blush. It briefly reminds me of my fucking run-away fiancé and she continues, "Thanks Jennifer, ever since I studied some of your programs in college, it has been a dream of mine to meet you."

 

Well this shocks me since I figured even though she looks geek, she still knows me from all the publicity, not the stuff I did in school. Wow that seems like a whole lifetime ago when, well, when I met Ben in the gym and we almost… Anyway, the night ended in a huge mess and I went off to school the next morning.

 

I ask, "What's your major?"

 

She smiles, "Computer Science just like you."

 

I realize I've made a very good choice so I grin and explain, "Gretchen, I want you to pretend that money is no concern and you're buying seven computers: Two of them are servers, two are desktops and three of them are laptops. Now I'm just interested in hardware because I have my own OS that I use."

 

She boldly sasses and I like the hell out of her, "Duh, do you think I'm such a newb that I didn't know you used your own OS. I think that's so cool. Now you're sure, money's no concern?"

 

She sort of reminds me of me when, well, I guess she's not that much younger than I am. I pull out my credit card and said, "Well, if it goes over the limit on this card then I guess it's a concern. I'd like the servers and desktops delivered to the Truth Network building and I'd like to take the laptops with me."

 

She says, "Thank you Jennifer, I'll do my best."

 

She takes off like a kid in a free candy store and I wander the aisles looking at all the cool things. I stop at some sort of game console, pick up a controller and look at it. I swing the controller and my player hits a tennis ball across the court, the computer player hits it back but I miss it because I'm looking at this cool controller in my hand. Gretchen flies by and says, "Isn't that the coolest thing you've ever seen. We just got them in."

 

I spend the next thirty minutes playing tennis with the computer and I tell you what, that lady in the computer is a real bitch when it comes to tennis. Stuff that I would blow past many players she fires back at me at a tremendous speed.

 

I hear someone clear their voice behind me and miss her serve so the damn computer bitch player celebrates the ace by dancing around. I want to jump over the net and kill her skanky ass with the racquet. I turn and the whole store is watching, they start clapping and I blush. Gretchen comes up and says, "Wow, you've done better on that than anyone I've ever seen."

 

I tell her, "You know that was really fun and very relaxing, I'd like two of these with all the games you think are any good."

 

She replies, "Would you also like to take those with you?"

 

I answer, "I sure would, I guess I'll also need a TV to play this on."

 

She grins, "I provided thirty-two inch monitors and you can play the game on those."

 

She rings up the total and with the games it comes to almost 25k. She gives me a guilty look and whispers, "I hope it's not too much."

 

I look over the list - it's outstanding and a really good deal. I reply, "Gretchen, this is perfect. It's better than I would have purchased and for a lower price. Ring it up!"

 

She finishes the paperwork and the laptops and the game systems are with me. I grab a laptop and a game system, hand them to her and say, "These are for you because you're such an excellent saleslady." She beams and is speechless.

 

The manager is watching, comes over and complains, "I'm not sure you can do that." I watch as the look fades on her face. He pisses me off, but I will deal with him later. I look at Gretchen and say, "You know we have an opening at the station in the computer department that would be perfect for you. Why don't you finish out your day here, so you get your commission? Then quit and come to work for us." The manager's mouth falls open and I ask Gretchen, "Will you help me take everything to my car?"

 

She's grinning from ear to ear and helps me haul everything to the car. We get to my car, put everything in except for the laptop and game system I gave her and I say, "Sorry for getting you in trouble with that asshole. Let's go and put these in your car."

 

As we head to her beat up old car she asks, "Were you serious about the job?"

 

I answer, "Serious as a heart attack. Show up tomorrow and you've got a job."

 

She replies, "If you don't mind I'd like to make it in two days. I want to make sure your order doesn't get messed up and that it gets delivered on time."

 

I give her a big hug and say, "Gretchen you have a job whenever you want it. But I was really hoping you'd come tomorrow and help me setup everything I just bought."

 

She shakes her head and explains, "Listen, if I don't stick around until your order is delivered it's going to get messed up because I've seen it happen before." She glances around and adds, "But I could stop by later tonight after work and setup everything. Just make sure you don't tell my boss."

 

I grin and tease, "So I'm not supposed to tell myself?"

 

She laughs, "Yeah, I guess you are my boss."

 

We walk back to my car, I jump in and say, "I'd like to talk longer, but I need to get back and try to find my run-away fiancé. See you later tonight."

 

On the way back to the Truth Network I make that call to the CEO of the computer company, give him a good talking to and threaten to never use their computers again. He falls all over himself apologizing to me and promises he will personally take care of things. I also tell him how wonderful Gretchen is and how she better get all her commission on the sale. He assures me she will, then I really fry his ass when I tell him, "By the way, I hired her away from you tonight." I laugh as I hang up the phone.

 

Present – Liz – Truth Network - Jens 'office?'

 

I am so proud! With Mira and Ira's help we are able to get the place all tore up like Jens wants it. Ira finds her a pistol, Mira finds most of her clothes and best of all I think we have the perfect girl Friday for her. Jens is going to be so happy when she gets back.

 

At first Mira and Ira act a little strange when they met Maria - they even chuckle at her name. But they look over her military training and the both agree she is the perfect girl Friday for Jens.

 

I can tell those two are up to something nefarious since they're talking more than ever in their special language and I keep catching them glancing at me. I thought they got the whole stupid baby idea out of their minds, because we had a big talk about it on the flight when Jens was unconscious. But now I'm not so sure. Just in case while they were busy, I slipped off to my gynecologist and got a prescription for birth control pills. I look at what used to be my beautiful office and wonder if it will ever be the same again, but Jens needs this, just like she need me.

 

She's finally returned from her shopping trip and is carrying two bags and a bunch of newspapers. She flies into the 'office', takes a long look around, sees the pistol on the desk and the clothes on the garment rack (Mira's idea), smiles and says, "Liz thank you, this is perfect."

 

I'm still excited to introduce her to her new girl Friday, so I grab her hand and say, "Thanks Jens, but I have even a better surprise." We walk over in front of Maria, she stands up and I say, "Jens this is Maria Gonzalez, she's going to be your new girl Friday."

 

Jens looks at me and say, "Liz are you fucking kidding me?" She looks at Maria and says, "What the hell did you say your name was?"

 

Present – Ira and Mira – Truth Network - Jens 'office?'

 

Sometimes God is good to us. We could not have planned this better if we had worked together, and we can come up with very creative plans. Mira found the name of the girlfriend who broke L.Cpl. Blaine's heart when they were together at the spy school. It was not hard to determine she used a fake name and was really General Donaldson's underage daughter, and with some extremely diligent work we were able to determine she was also Mr. Blaine's mystery woman.

 

The minute we hear Maria's name we both laugh a little. But we control ourselves when she begins to get upset. When we look at her military record, perform a full background check, determine she is known for starting bar fights (and finishing them), then we know she is the only one to choose for Ms. Donaldson's aide. She is marginally stable and should make the cart of apples unsteady, causing great distractions for Ms. Donaldson.

 

We still have big hopes of somehow getting Ms. Morgan and Mr. Blaine together. Ms. Morgan has a very deep love for him, which is understandable because my sister Mira still loves him and talks about him occasionally.  I am quite jealous because I have never felt this love for a man that she still feels for Mr. Blaine. And even though Mr. Blaine loved Ms. Donaldson, he has also discarded her so we do not feel bad about what we are doing. We plan on finding many distractions for Ms. Donaldson to deal with while we work on finding Mr. Blaine and getting him and Ms. Morgan together.

 

There are only two problems with our plan. The first is actually finding Mr. Blaine. This has proven to be very difficult and frustrating because he is an expert at being sneaky and hiding. But the second part of the plan, actually getting the two of them together we have not even started on.

 

Oh yes, Ms. Morgan thought she was able to sneak away from us during all our work and go to her female doctor, but Mira followed her. Once she came back, Mira found her birth control pills and exchanged them for sugar pills. Yes we both have determined it's time for Ms. Morgan to have a baby, Mr. Blaine's baby to be exact.

 

The meeting between Ms. Donaldson and Maria is going even better than expected, Ms. Donaldson thinks Ms. Morgan is playing a joke on her, but it is us! And Maria being a fiery Latina is getting upset!

 

Present – Maria Gonzalez (Not young Jens) – Truth Network - Elizabeth Morgan's 'office?'

 

I immediately dislike Ms. Donaldson as she flies into the room like she owns the place and doesn't even acknowledge me until they walk over in front of me. I stand up and Ms. Morgan says, "Jens this is Maria Gonzalez, she's going to be your new girl Friday."

 

The bitch doesn't even look at me, she glares at Ms. Morgan and says, "Liz are you fucking kidding me?"

 

Then she finally looks at me and rudely demands, "What the hell did you say your name was?"

 

Even though I hate the bitch, I wouldn't mind separating her from some of her money. So I extend my hand for a hand shake and proudly say, "My name is Maria Antonietta Gonzalez, pleased to meet you Ms. Donaldson." Yeah Maria Antonietta, mom was a big fan of the French and I get stuck with this name which I really hate - but don't you laugh or I'll kick your ass.

 

She totally ignores my hand, looks at Ms. Morgan and says, "I'm going to believe you that this isn't some sort of sick joke, but she's, she's, she's totally unsuitable for this job."

 

Damn! This is the first time I ever lost a job before I even had a shot at it, and it's all over my name? What's wrong with this psycho bitch, does she hate Latina's?

 

So I open my mouth and complain, "Excuse me princess, but I've put on my best suit, come down here and sat on my ass all day waiting for you to show up - and then you dismiss me over my name! I figure you at least owe me the courtesy of a decent interview." Then I smile at her.

 

She comes over, gets in my face and yells, "Excuse me! What the hell did you just call me?"

 

Present – Liz – Truth Network - Jens'  'office?'

 

This is a big disaster! Jens has an immediate and uncalled for dislike of Maria because of her name? I don't understand. Then Maria calls Jens a princess and gets Jens all fired up - she hates being called a princess.

 

I move to separate them, but Mira holds me back and says, "Ms. Morgan, I would not get between those two right now or you might get injured."

 

Maria back talks Jens, her voice drips with sarcasm as she taunts, "I called you a p-r-i-n-c-e-s-s! If the glass shoe fits, fucking wear it."

 

Jens angrily snaps, "No one talks to me that way!"

 

Maria laughs and barks, "Well I just did!"

 

Jens is pissed off, and bitches, "You call me a fucking princess when you're the one named Maria Antonietta! That's a big fucking joke!" Then she laughs.

 

Maria yells, "You're saying my name is a fucking joke? You better take that back bitch!"

 

Jens takes a step back, grins and taunts, "Make me you Latina perra!"

 

Ira interrupts and I think finally someone is going to do something to stop this train wreck. It's disappointing when she says, "Ladies, I think before we further destroy this office we should take this discussion into the gym."

 

Maria says, "That suits me just fine because I'm going to teach this white princess bitch some manners. Lead the way, your royal highness!"

 

Jens takes off and says, "Try to keep up with me Speedy!"

 

Maria yells, "I'm going to kick your ass for that comment!"

 

We storm down to the gym and everyone who sees us jumps out of our way…

 

Present – Maria  – Truth Network - gym

 

Damn, I lose the chance at this golden egg over my name? At least I'm going to get the chance to teach this white bitch some manners. She's one of the most rude and annoying people I've ever met. First she insults my name implying I'm more of a princess than she is, and then she further insults not just my name, but also my heritage by calling me 'Speedy!' Oh yeah this bitch is going to fucking pay for her smart-assed mouth!

 

We storm down some hallways and into the gym, gathering a crowd as we go. Good the more the merrier to see me whip this white bitch's ass. I throw off my suit jacket, kick off my shoes and say, "Come on princess because I'm going to kick that flat ass of yours." We start circling each other on the gym mat.

 

The bitch barks back, "Like hell you are, I'm going to kick your ass so hard you won't sit for a week."

 

I grin and say, "I'm your Huckleberry!"

 

For some reason that shocks her, she stops for a moment then replies, "Like hell you are! I'm your Fuckleberry Huckleberry!"

 

She lunges towards me, catches me off guard with her speed, punches me in the mouth and celebrates yelling, "First blood! You can still give up, apologize and save the ass whipping I'm going to give you!"

 

I wipe the blood off my mouth with the back of my hand! I'm pissed as hell - no one hits me and gets away with it! She's a fast and sneaky princess bitch. I fake with my right, follow with a quick left to that smart mouth of hers and reply, "That should teach you to smart off to people who are better than you." My skirt is in the way so I drop back, unzip it and let it fall to the floor.

 

She yells, "No one punches me in the mouth and gets away with it. I'm going to make you pay for that."

 

I tease, "Well boo-fucking-hoo! Why don't you go on TV and humiliate yourself again by crying me a river like you did over that worthless prick of a man that left you!" Well, I must have pushed one of her buttons, because she finally attacks me like the psycho bitch she really is.

 

Present – Mira and Ira – Truth Network - gym

 

This is even better than we hoped for. At first Ira and I worry they are just going to insult each other to death and it is very boring, even though it is a big battle to keep Ms. Morgan from getting between them and getting hurt. Then Maria makes a fortuitous (for our plans) 'mistake' of bringing up the embarrassing television advertisement Ms. Donaldson made. Then Ms. Donaldson and Maria finally get serious.

 

It is very fun to watch the two of them because they are both very good fighters. Maria has some martial arts skills and has extensive, practical street fighting experience where Ms. Donaldson has many years of martial arts but not as extensive experience.

 

Ms. Morgan orders, "Mira, you must stop them before they hurt each other!"

 

I reply, "Sorry Ms. Morgan, I would prefer not to. Besides they are both enraged and if anyone tries to stop them they will both turn on that person. I do not think they will do permanent injury to each other so we need to let them work out their differences."

 

Ms. Donaldson lands an extremely effective kick which knocks Maria on her rear and yells, "I told you I was going to kick your ass!"

 

Maria jumps right up, dances up close to Ms. Donaldson and punches her so hard it makes my chest hurt. Ms. Donaldson falls back on her rear and Maria says, "Oh yeah, how do you like them apples princess!"

 

They keep it up for over an hour until they are both, bruised, bleeding, totally exhausted and can barely keep their hands up. Ira and I are wondering who will end this fight, because with this distraction, we have been the ones who won. We watch as they both punch each other at the same time, knocking each other to the floor, they struggle to get up but they are both too tired.

 

Present – Maria – Truth Network - gym

 

I have underestimated the princess, she's much tougher than she looks and is a hell of a fighter once she gets fired up. Finally we knock each other to the mat and we're both too tired to get up. I'm shocked as she battles me to a draw! She looks over at me, starts to laugh and states, "You're a hell of a fighter!"

 

I laugh (damn that hurts) and reply, "You're pretty damn good yourself. You ready to apologize and give me that interview now?"

 

She crawls over, lies beside me and says, "Only if you promise never to say anything bad about Ben again and to never ever call me princess."

 

I counter with, "I'll do that if you lay off the comments about my name and heritage."

 

She holds out her hand, we shake and both say, Deal."

 

I say, "Well, let me get dressed and then you can do my interview."

 

She grins and replies, "Maria, that was your interview and you're hired."

 

Ms. Morgan and the twins come over beside us and Ms. Morgan says, "Jens, remind me to never ask you for a job interview! Mira and Ira please help these two up and take care of their injuries."

 

One of the twins helps me up with just a little struggle, the other twin has a bit more problem with my princess boss (hey if I don't say it out loud it doesn't count) and they take us into the locker room.

 

My new princess boss grins at me and says, "You're face is a mess."

 

I grin back despite the pain and reply, "Well, you're certainly not going to win any beauty pageants any time soon."

 

Present – Jens – Truth Network - gym

 

Maria is one tough cookie and surprises me by almost kicking my ass. That hasn't happened for a very long time, which makes her perfect! If she can control that fiery Latina temper of hers, I have my girl Friday.

 

I have recovered some and look at my face in the mirror. It looks just as bad as Maria's. And shit! I still have a new commercial to shoot tonight. I think for a moment and ask, "Mira, did you get the combat uniform I requested?"

 

She replies, "Yes Ms. Donaldson, it's upstairs in the place you refer to as your 'office'."

 

It suddenly occurs to me, the twins have been a little snide and sarcastic lately with their comments towards me. If I wasn't so beat up and tired I'd do something about it. But Maria surprises me when she says to Mira, "Hey, what are you dissing my boss's office for? Do you need an attitude readjustment?"

 

Mira grins at Maria and says, "In your current condition it would be a waste of my time. But once you're fully recovered I would enjoy the chance to play with you."

 

I look at Maria and decide I need to keep her from getting anymore hurt than she is. I say, "Maria, let's hit the showers. Mira and Ira please go up to my office and bring back my camo face paint, the combat uniform, something to help with the pain we are both feeling and try to find some clothes for Maria if you can."

 

They both smile and say, "Yes Ms. Donaldson. We will be right back."

 

Maria and I hobble to the showers and Maria queries, "So what's the story with those two?"

 

I look at my body and see that I'm bruised in many places and going to be sore as hell tomorrow. I reply, "They are Liz's body guards, she picked them up in Tajikistan when she was looking for my fiancé Ben. They used to be NSC agents and perhaps a little bit more. I'd be very careful about ever picking a fight with either of them. And whatever you do don't insult or attack Liz because that gets them really fired up."

 

Maria replies, "Yeah they're beautiful as hell, but under that beauty I can tell they're hard as nails and I bet they're all business. It sounds to me like you have first-hand experience getting them fired up. Are you the reason Ms. Morgan has black eyes?"

 

I laugh, "Yeah I got pissed off when I found out they'd hid the fact of Ben running away on me so I went crazy and punched her in the face. Mira, the one that was working on me, came to her defense. She got distracted, so I landed a lucky punch and knocked her ass out. But Ira, was a different story, I didn't realize how strong she is and she damn near snapped my arm in two."

 

Maria questions, "Is that why you still favor your left arm."

 

She's sure perceptive. I reply, "Yeah it's still sore. I think she hyper-extended my elbow."

 

Maria offers, "I'll show you a few tricks later that will help it recover. I keep hearing you talk about your fiancé Ben, so what the hell is going on with him."

 

I had dreaded this question, but I knew it was coming. So I went through the big, long explanation of everything. It took several minutes to finish. We are out of the shower, drying and Maria says, "Listen, I don't want to start another fight with you, and I also don't want to insult you. But I've been dying to ask you this question. You're a great looking woman, you have a ton of personality and you're filthy rich so you could have any man in the world. Is Ben really worth it?"

 

I smile at her, pause and briefly remember many of the good times Ben and I had together and explain, "Maria, I have no doubts in my mind. You ever love someone so much you can't live without them?"

 

Maria answers with a question, "You mean hypothetically?"

 

I answer, "No Maria, I mean it for real. If I can't find my fiancé Ben then there's no reason for me to go on living."

 

She is analyzing me and finally says, "You're fucking serious! You'll kill yourself if you can't find him."

 

I bite my lower lip (shit that hurts on two levels) and reply, "Maria, every day I'm away from him, a little piece of me dies inside. It's hard to explain, but it feels like, well it feels like my will to live is dying. I have analyzed it and calculated the effect. I have about a year until I won't have any will to live left. Then I don't know what I will do."

 

Maria stands up and states, "Then we'd better work our asses off to find him before it's too late for you."

 

I feel encouragement and relief because I finally have someone other than Liz on my team. The twins show up with our stuff and help us get dressed. Maria questions, "What's the deal with the combat uniform that looks like what I used to wear in Iraq." She comes over and helps adjust it, it so reminds me of what Ben used to do for me.

 

I start gingerly putting on my camo face paint and respond, "I'm going to shoot a new commercial tonight."

 

Maria blurts out, "I sure as hell it's not as embarrassing as your last commercial. You set feminism back fifty years with that commercial." She realizes what she said and adds, "Sorry about that, it just sort of slipped out. Please forgive me."

 

I don't even get upset because she is right, so I explain, "Maria, I hate to say it, but you're right. It was humiliating and embarrassing as hell to record that commercial but I figured I owed Ben one chance at a peaceful resolution before I declared all-out war on him. Have you heard of the principle of the carrot and the stick?"

 

Maria reiterates, "That's when you offer the donkey a carrot and if he doesn't move you beat him with a stick?"

 

I laugh and then wince, "You've got it. That commercial was the carrot. Ben responded like an ass so tonight's commercial is the stick."

 

Maria says, "Well what did he say when he saw the commercial."

 

I get angry as I tell her, "He called the station and told Liz we needed to leave HIM the fuck alone."

 

Maria gets fired up and says, "Leave HIM the fuck alone. Who the hell does he think he is talking to you that way after you fucking humiliate yourself for him?  I'm going to kick his ass for that comment."

 

I reply, "Well stand in line Maria, because I'm first." Ira adds, "Mira and I are next." Liz walks in and says, "I'm going to take care of anything they leave."

 

Maria laughs, "So you're telling me I get sloppy fifths? Shit! It sucks being the new person." We all laugh as we head to the studio for the stick commercial.

 

Present – Erast (Ben) – Washington DC

 

I've have a productive day. I picked up the rest of the weapons from Dwight, picked up my new ID's, and finally picked up my prescription. Then, I found a secluded place to prepare all my equipment for tonight. Dwight's surprise is incredible and I feel badly that I can't hang around to help him clean up 'the shop'. But Ms. Donaldson has the whole fucking country looking for me and I bet by now she has figured out where 'the shop' is. It'll be so much better when she finally gives up.

 

I decide not to waste any time so I head to a sporting goods store and stock up on camping supplies since I'm going to need them very soon. Then I wheel by an ATM and pull out more money because I'm getting low. I decide I need to get some food and then catch some rest so I head to a chain restaurant, sit in the bar and watch TV while I eat. I'm really enjoying my meal until Ms. Donaldson comes on the TV screen in a commercial. She's in full combat gear and even has on face and hand camo paint. I look closely at her and notice her face doesn't look quite right - sort of swollen in places, I hope she hasn't been crying.

 

She's serious as hell as she says, "This is for my runaway fiancé Ben Blaine. I found your response to my earlier commercial where I humiliated myself and begged you to come back to be very insulting! So, you want to play hardball on this, well I'm your Huckleberry. From today on, I've declared all-out war on you. I will hunt you night and day forever and you will never get any rest until you come to your senses and crawl back to me like the dog that you are! I am also increasing the reward for information leading to the apprehension of my errant fiancé to fifty-thousand dollars."

 

She looks at the camera and a tear slips down her cheek, she finishes with, "Ben come back home to me. I don't care about anything other than being with you! You're being silly and hurting both of us."

 

I'm very glad I have my disguise on because a guy at the bar yells out, "Shit! Fifty-thousand dollars just for information! We'll see you later guys, I'm going to find that bastard, hogtie him and drag him back to his cute as hell fiancée. She might even pay me more if I bring him in." The rest of the bar agrees and the next thing I know, I'm the only one left. I finish my meal, pay for it and head out to the car. Damn! I need to finish my mission and get the hell out of here. I don't worry about the average Joe, because they're just an annoyance, but with Ms. Donaldson offering that much money, it will bring out the mercenaries and they're liable to wound me first then bring me in. And what the hell is she talking about, "the first commercial." I haven't seen any commercials except for this one.

 

I find a nice street, pull over and try to get some rest, but sleep won't come. I keep seeing Ms. Donaldson in combat gear and I remember our short military career together. I see the tear and hear her say, "I don't care about anything other than being with you." I finally figure out it's a trick to get me to come back and if I came back she'd be disappointed in me.

 

Darkness slowly descends and it's time for my mission so I push thoughts of Ms. Donaldson out of my mind and slowly drive close to the building I'd chosen for my vantage point. I jump out of the car, open the truck and grab my gear. Then, I head to the roof and start setting up my equipment.

 

The alley is well lit from the two street lamps on each corner, but not for long. I look over the edge of the roof and son-of-a-bitch, I'm just in time! The bastards have taken another young woman prisoner and are just starting on the interminable abuse they have planned for her. I watch and my anger grows. She's surrounded by them and every time she tries to escape from their circle one of them rips off another piece of her clothing. She's screaming and crying and begging for mercy but the bastards are graphically explaining what they are going to do to her.

 

I've seen more than enough so I pull up the M4 Crossbow and shoot out one of the street lights. The bastards pause for a moment trying to figure out what happened. That gives me just enough time to reload and take out the other street light. Now the alley is totally dark and the fuckers are yelling and complaining. I turn on Dwight's gift, a damn fine pair of thermal goggles, they flash and now I can see everything just fine, even though it's just in shades of gray. I jump over the side of the building and rappel down to the ground. I slip my Benelli M4 shotgun around and blast the first bastard with a Taser Xrep! It knocks him to the ground and he satisfyingly flops around like a fish out of water. The bastards see the flash and fire where I was, but I’ve already moved and take out two more. I'm trying to get to the young lady and get her the hell out of here. I watch as she runs into one of the bastards and he yells, "You fucking bitch," and shoves a knife into her.

 

I don't believe it watching her blood spray out! Even with the thermal goggles it is too much for me to tolerate. I feel something I haven't felt in a very long time as hard Ben comes out to play.

 

Present – Thom – TSIFFTS Mission - Washington DC

 

Things are finally winding down in DC but we have some questionable intel about a supposed terrorist cell. It seems accurate enough that it needs to be investigated, so I send Linus and Hammer to put eyes on the building and give a field report.

 

I know. I should send Todd because he's the best for this sort of thing, but I want to get Linus back into the saddle and Hammer the hell out of my hair.

 

I sit at the computer and rub my bald head, trying to figure out what our next mission will be.

 

My ruminations are interrupted by a call on the radio. "Mothership, this is Bravo team requesting emergency assistance!"

 

Jim answers, "Bravo this is mothership what's the nature of your emergency."

 

Linus replies, "Well the intel was more than right and we're in a fucking war. We're pinned in the building across the street by a contingent of about fifty tangos." We hear a bunch of firing as Linus continues, "We could really use a couple more guys."

 

I get on the horn and say, "Linus, you and Hammer keep them at bay - we're all coming!"

 

I look at the rest of the team in the trailer and say, "Let's lock and load. We've got a war to fight."

 

And like a well-oiled machine everyone gears up in five minutes flat. I look at the team and declare, "Guys, I don't have to tell you, this is a bad one. Our primary mission is to extricate Linus and Hammer, not kill the terrorists. We can always let the feds know where they are and they can deal with them later. You all know your duties so let's roll!"

 

We jump into the car and fly towards the location. About one klick away we slow and Byron bails out. We make a hard left go half a click, slow and Todd bails out. Jim and I continue right into the mouth of the dragon.

 

Present – Byron – TSIFFTS Mission - Washington DC

 

Son-of-a-bitch, I am sleeping soundly because I am tired from doing so many missions when the call comes in from Linus. But the call wakes me up faster than a cup of coffee. Before Thom says anything, I'm already gearing up because no bastards shoot at my friends and get away with it! This is a scenario we've planned for many times, but this is the first time we've had to execute the plan. I bail out of the car about a klick from the building and head towards the highest building in the area. I’m with my favorite girl Betsy - my fifty BMG.

 

I race up the stairs in record time from the surge of adrenaline, carefully move to the edge of the roof and peek over the rail. Good I have a perfect view of the terrorists building. I see one of the sneaky bastards hiding behind a car so put my mildot scope on him and read point-five mil on his torso. I do the math and that equals a range of nine-hundred-fourteen meters5. I pull out my range card and dial in my scope. I look through the scope, and using the mirage off the street I calculate the windage to be a balmy three miles per hour right to left. At this range that won't even bother Betsy. I take a deep breath, let it half way out and tickle the trigger. Betsy barks and when I reacquire the target he's dead.

 

5 The human male torso is usually between seventeen and nineteen inches in length. Here's the formula to range in meters using a mildot scope

size in inches * 25.4 / mils read

18 * 25.4 /.5 = 914.4

 

I see some more targets in the building firing at Linus and Hammer. I range them and they are just a bit further so I pull out my range card and give the elevation knob three more clicks. Then I acquire the target, fire,  reacquire and determine he's dead.

 

Present – Todd – TSIFFTS Mission - Washington DC

 

I'm not the type to go storming into a building and take it by force, that's Hammers job. I'd rather quietly infiltrate the building and deal with things in my own way. But this is different because we have team members trapped and in harm's way.

 

While Byron's the best shot with a rifle of the whole group, I'm the second best. Oh Linus tried to tell me he was one day, until I proved he wasn't. It's just that the rifle is such a noisy and impersonal way to kill someone. I much prefer a cold, very cold steel blade.

 

Thom is an excellent tactician and we always have a plan for an incident like this. Byron's always the first out of the car then I'm dropped to one side and a little closer. I get to the roof, setup my sniper rifle, use a laser rangefinder and note the range at six-hundred-thirty-two meters.  I adjust my scope and start firing. Now we have the terrorists in a cross fire between myself and Byron.

 

Present – Thom – TSIFFTS Mission - Washington DC

 

Yes Jim and I are headed right into the mouth of the dragon and we're going to raise some major hell. We round the corner four blocks from the terrorists building as I set the cruise control, aim, the car at the terrorists building, look at Jim and say, "Now!" And we each bail out of our sides of the car and roll. The car continues on, attracts the terrorist’s attention like it's supposed to, crashes into their building and blows up rocking the whole neighborhood and setting the building on fire.

 

I love using the fucking bastards own trick against them. Only I'm not ready to be a fucking suicide car bomber. Jim and I take cover, the terrorists start fleeing the burning building like rats leaving a sinking ship, but we're waiting for them and in ten minutes it's all over.

 

I hear sirens and radio the team, "Let's get out of here guys and meet up at the rendezvous point." I hear affirmation from the whole team. Jim and I tear down our rifles, hide them in our packs and jog back to pick up my good friend Byron. He's waiting for us in the doorway of his building and is all smiles. I grin because his rifle now looks like a walking stick. I've seen him do it: He puts the lower in a pack and the barrel somehow goes into a tube. But I still don't understand how he does it. I laugh because he reminds me of Gandalf from the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

 

He smiles and says, "Now that was a fun way to wake up."

 

I answer, "So you and Betsy had a good day?"

 

He answers, "Oh yeah one of the best."

 

I look at Jim, "And how was your day?"

 

He grins, "Better than sitting on my ass in a tin can."

 

I don't worry about Todd, well, because you never have to worry about Todd and you never ever see Todd unless he wants you to see him. And I know that Linus and Hammer are headed back in a different direction since it's never good to have too large a crowd around a disaster scene. I chuckle and Byron asks, "What's so funny?"

 

I reply, "I'm wondering how Liz Morgan is going to spin this story."

 

Byron suggests, "She won't have to because she'll just let it come out they were terrorists and there won't be any questions."

 

Yeah, Byron was right because no one asks questions when it's terrorists. Oh some three letter branch of the federal government will get the credit, but that's fine as long as we don't.

 

We walk about three klicks, and the sun is rising. We turn down an alley and find a ghastly sight! There are nine guys on the ground - they have had the holy shit kicked out of them and are barely alive. All of them have at least one broken knee and many have both knees broken. Byron bends down and says, "Thom, you need to see this."

 

I walk over as Byron lifts a blanket and it's the body of a young woman. She's been stripped and stabbed but someone covered her up with a blanket. There's a note so I slip on gloves, pick it up and read it - the handwriting is atrocious,

 

These bastards have been kidnapping and raping women. Here are the licenses of the women they have already raped and killed. I tried to save her, but the one dead bastard knifed her before I could get to her.

 

I'm sorry I could not save her.

 

Jim makes a hell of a noise so I look and he's throwing up. I ask, "Jim what the hell is wrong?”

 

Jim answers, "Thom, I'm not sure what happened to this guy, but it looks like he exploded."

 

I walk over and it's horrifying! Jim's right, it looks like he exploded. His whole abdominal cavity is, well everywhere!

 

I look at Jim and Byron and state, "Whoever did this is one angry and dangerous son-of-a-bitch and I sure as hell hope I never meet him in a dark alley."

 

Present – Erast (Ben) – Washington DC

 

It's dawn as I wake from the dream and nine more faces have disappeared. But their disappearance has the others clamoring for their justice. I know I can't be totally free until all are avenged.

 

 After hard Ben took over, I don't remember much of anything other than catching the bastard that knifed the girl, shoving the wasp knife6 I got from Dwight into his low back and pressing the button. He let out a blood curdling scream and exploded.

 

6 Wasp injection system – a knife that delivers a cold ball of compressed gas into the target. At 800 psi and volume the size of a basketball, the press of a button starts the gas flow instantly into the target.

 

I explore myself: I'm all cleaned up and I’ve even changed my clothes. I sure hope I had sense enough to destroy my old clothes because they were covered with his evidence. I hang my head and think about how I was this close to saving that young girl. Shit! It must have been her time to die.

 

I pull on my disguise and check everything. Shit! I've even put all the things I'm taking in my pack. I hop out, open the trunk and notice all the gear I'm returning to Dwight is already stowed nicely.

 

I'm sick of this damn city and sick of the East coast. I never did care for it or the fast paced lifestyle. And I feel it in my heart, the call of the mountains. Yes, I need to get back to the healing of the mountains. But I can't forget the faces and the revenge they demand.

 

I get in the car, start it up and head to the bus station. I call Dwight, thank him profusely and tell him where to find his car. I walk into the station and buy a one way ticket west - but not all the way to the mountains, not yet, because there's still work I need to do.

 

Present – Mira and Ira – Truth Network – Washington DC

 

I have purposely not talked about Mr. Blaine in the past because it is too painful for me. I still have a deep love for him from our time at the school together and I often think of our many adventures together. He is possibly the only man who ever treated me with care and respect. Ira does not like it when I talk about him and she even knows when I let my mind drift and think about him so I try to avoid it. Here she comes so I need to end my thoughts.

 

I say in our special language, "Ira my sister, it's good to see you."

 

She frowns a little, "Mira, I know you were thinking about him because, it shows on your face. You don't need to hide it from me."

 

I answer, "Sorry, my sister, but sometimes it happens. You will understand when you finally meet him."

 

She is uncomfortable and changes the subject, "Mira, I think that Maria will be an excellent distraction for Ms. Donaldson. And since she's here we should persuade Ms. Morgan to come with us to Tajikistan and bring back the girls."

 

We walk over to where the three of them are and Ira says, "Excuse me, but Mira and I have come up with an idea which might help bring Mr. Blaine back."

 

Ms. Donaldson gets all excited and says, "Well, what are you waiting for, tell us."

 

Ira continues, "We have already presented this idea to Ms. Morgan and she thinks it's an excellent plan. Ms. Donaldson, have you forgotten about Mr. Blaine's adopted sisters in Tajikistan?"

 

Ms. Donaldson replies, "I had until I saw this tabloid earlier in the day and I was wondering what happened to them."

 

I reply, "Ira and I have them in a safe place where they will not be found and won't escape. But they are very impatient about coming to America."

 

Ms. Morgan adds, (we both smile because she is excited about our plan, but for the wrong reasons.) "Jens, the twins think I should go to Tajikistan and bring them back to America. With all the three of them went through in his escape I bet he still has really strong feelings for them. We can put them on TV asking for Ben to come back and be with them. And since you have Maria, I'm comfortable with leaving you for a few days."

 

We both fight to control our emotions because we do not want to give our secret away, I become very uncomfortable with the look Maria is giving us. Finally Ms. Donaldson smiles and says, "Mira and Ira, this is a wonderful plan. Liz you're right, I will be fine with Maria here to help and I think you should go and pick up those girls right away." She looks at us and asks, "Will there be any problems with passports or visas?"

 

Ira replies, "Of course not Ms. Donaldson, we have already taken care of those minor annoyances."

 

Ms. Donaldson jumps up give us all a big hug and says, "Liz, get your ass moving and bring those two back here."

 

My phone rings, I excuse myself and answer the call. Some of it is very good, but old news. Another part is very disturbing.  I come back to the group and say, "Excuse me Ms. Donaldson, but I have found the location of 'the shop.'"

 

I have to fight laughter when she declares, "It's about fucking time, where is it Mira?"

 

As I tell her, she looks at us and states, "I hope you girls have as good hunting in Tajikistan as we're going to have here. Stay in touch and let me know what happens. Come on Maria we have a runaway fiancé to rope and tie."

 

They fly out of the Truth network and Ms. Morgan says, "That was certainly good news, perhaps we don't need to go to Tajikistan after all."

 

Ira replies, "Oh no Ms. Morgan we should still go just in case Mr. Blaine is no longer at 'the shop'. It will be our back up plan."

 

She slumps into a chair and answers, "Okay, I agree. Listen, I'm beat so will you two arrange the trip while I rest?"

 

I gladly reply, "Certainly Ms. Morgan. You rest and we will take care of everything."

 

We move away and Ira says, "Mira I can tell there was more to that phone call than what you shared. Why are you so upset?"

 

I look at her, a tear slips down my cheek as I explain, "We just missed Mr. Blaine. He performed an extremely brutal mission on a street gang which raped and tortured young women. Our agent says he was like an enraged animal, broke all of their knees so they will never walk correctly again and beat most of them almost to death. He did something horrendous to one of them which caused him to cry out in agony and explode. The agent shot Mr. Blaine with a tranquillizer dart and all it did was further infuriate him. He caught our agent and beat him so badly he's in the hospital."

 

Ira wipes the tear from my cheek, smiles at me and comforts, "Mira, my sister do not worry. We will find Mr. Blaine and I have a big surprise for you!"

 

I get very excited because Ira's surprises are the best, "Ira don't torture me, tell me the surprise!"

 

She gives me a wicked little grin and replies, "Mira, after we catch Mr. Blaine and have him repaired. I have decided that not only is it time for Ms. Morgan to have his baby, I also think it is time we both have his baby too!"

 

I almost faint but Ira catches me and surprisingly almost drops me, "Ira are you sure about this. I would love to have his baby, but you? You've never talked about something like that before."

 

She smiles and says, "Well we are sisters and twins and we do everything together. I would endure having a baby just for you."

 

I kiss her on the cheek, "Ira, you're the best sister in the world. You won't be sorry about this decision. By the way what has happened to your strength?"

 

She says, "I am not sure, but it seems to be reduced from when Ms. Donaldson first healed me."

 

I stop and think about it and add, "Ira, my hearing is not as acute as it was then. I hope the healing Ms. Donaldson did does not reverse."

 

She holds me and says, "Mira, I don't think it will because my ribs still feel fine."

 

I enjoy her embrace and secretly wish it was Mr. Blaine embracing me and then I daydream about having his baby! The image of Ms. Morgan, myself and Ira all having big pregnant bellies at the same time makes me giggle.

 

Yes, my sister Mira is dreaming about Mr. Blaine again. I knew she would after I told her my big surprise so I tolerate it as much as possible. Her happiness is more important to me than anything in the world. So yes, I will even endure having Mr. Blaine's baby for her, but I do not think I will enjoy Mr. Blaine.

 

Present – Maria – Headed to 'the shop'- Washington DC

 

I was worried this job wouldn't have enough action to keep me from getting bored? Shit was that big mistake! I have a knock down drag out with my princess boss, get to watch her record a hell of a threatening commercial, (but she shouldn't have let the tear slip out for that bastard fiancé of hers) and now, after grabbing a bunch of weapons and four other guys, are headed to something called 'the shop.' Shit going on an assault mission in the suburbs of Washington DC, I never dreamed I would be doing that.

 

I look at the guys and can see they're pretty tough bastards but I could probably take most of them if I had too. However we're all scared shitless right now because my princess boss is driving this fucking van like a maniac, I didn't even know vans could go this fast. I look at the two mercs across from me (I think my princess boss called them Matt and Jim) and they look like they're praying - I wonder if it might not be a bad idea.

 

I sure as hell don't care for Ms. Morgan's twins and I trust them even less. They are beautiful and sneaky bitches and are running some sort of scheme, but I haven't figured out what - yet. Oh but I will if I have to fight both of them at once. One thing for sure I'm going to have to keep my eye on both of them.

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