THEN IS NOW

Posted: November 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Kay Morgan by Marcus Gloger - Black catsuit & citroen survolt -

The bombing of the Desert Rock Towne Center rocked the minds and souls of the town’s people. Forty-two people were dead, 400 injured. Near the center of the blast lay the charred bodies of Jason Reardon, Natalie Kurston and a valet attendant. The war was to finally arrive on the desert scene.

Jason Reardon was born in Desert Rock, and never found a reason to leave. He spent a few weeks here and there in some of the big cities, but they couldn’t hold Jason’s interest. He was quiet and unassuming, growing up in the middle of the bell curve and enjoying every minute of it. He played sports, but never excelled in them. His body was naturally rugged, more genetically inspired than motivationally dedicated. Jason opened an auto shop in a very large building near the east side of town. He spent the better part of his adult career creating both a business and that became the most modern state-of-the-art auto shop imaginable.

Desert Rock was a growing metropolis located right smack dab in the middle of the Arizona desert. It had become a refuge from the bombings plaguing major cities throughout the world. For some reason, Desert Rock and a few other towns like it escaped the carnage of the war. There was no explanation for it, except possibly, blowing Desert Rock off the map would never make it on the World News Network.

People from the major cities began to find their way into Desert Rock about 10 years after the bombings had started. It was almost by accident at first. Desert Rock was an abandoned real estate development site started over a hundred years earlier, when building codes, sewage and other amenities were not part of the growth program. The development failed in the business sense, but at least 70 people managed to hang on until the migration began. Then, almost by chance, a city couple driving past Desert Rock noticed a withered billboard advertising the give-away prices of the homes. The billboard and the prices were dozens of years old and forgotten. No one had bothered to take it down. The couple bought a home on the spot, sold their city home and used the excess capital to fix up their home and the surrounding area.

As the couple began to brag to their city friends, more couples started to make the move. It avalanched from there. The first pioneers to Desert Rock were called immigrants, a historical twist to the classic notion of the term. It seems one of the original 70 inhabitants of Desert Rock saw the people coming from the big cities as foreigners migrating to a new land, even though most of them were all United State citizens. It was a historical pun, but the term stuck.

Eventually when the bombing started to spread, Desert Rock boomed. It was a safe haven, and that was good enough for everyone concerned.

In the beginning, the war’s main fronts were mainly in the Middle East and Africa. Historians now look back and categorize them as purely religious wars: extremist Muslims waging jihad against devil Christians and Jews; in turn, Christians and Jews waging war on terrorist killers. The basic idea on both sides was to maintain a fundamentalist view of their respective cultures. In hindsight, few people understood how similar the adversaries were in character, combining traditional political conservatism with archaic religious zeal. That soon changed, as bombing became a romantic means of changing ideologies in a global society.

The first spillover into “social devastation for devastation sake” began with a militant Hispanic group, calling themselves El Cholos Para La Libertad or simply El Cholos. Their leadership, fueled by their toughest members inside high-security prisons, began a crusade against upper-middle class America. Hispanic labor had completely saturated the lower working class of the economy, serving low paid workers in a rather affluent society. This pissed off the El Cholos. In searching for a way to avenge their fellow compadres, they decided to indiscriminately bomb upper-middle class suburbia without a hint of remorse.

Interestingly, the violence did not target whites only, but every ethnic group that embraced upper middle class standards. This was not an ethnic revenge; it was not an economic war either. It wasn’t a war based on class equality, or equal access to social opportunity. Their efforts were not aimed at Marxist restructuring of power for laborers. There was no objective, no want list, no demands, just death.  The El Cholos never gained anything in the process. The US Homeland Security Forces wiped them out within two years. Still, this event triggered an emerging trend of violence.

In Ohio, a group of six high school teenagers bombed a high school football game killing over 1,000 people. Their rationale for the bombing: They wanted more soft drink choices in the cafeteria. In court documents disclosed a few years later, one of the teenager’s statements noted: “It was fun, it was cool, it was way better than any computer game we’ve every played.” This event created the fad for bombings.

Soon after the Ohio high school bombing, seventeen Meredith Junior College students bombed a dorm hall as part of a fraternity initiation. They were caught, convicted and sentenced to death. The fad became real. Bombing became an urban symbol of cheating death at the hands of the state and grew from there. A few years later, bombing was part of the city landscape.

 Jason Reardon’s special skill was digital auto mechanics. Car mechanics no longer involved adjusting and replacing mechanical parts. Although cars still had moving parts, the bulk of a car was a vast assortment of digital nodes networked into the body and engine of the car. A typical car used over 2,500 microprocessors, and millions of small software programs keeping everything in check. Every aspect of the car was controlled by small digital components: the engine, doors, exhaust, the entertainment centers, navigational systems, steering, brakes and transmission. Every element of the car was powered by a constantly balancing set of intricate digital circuitry designed to maximize performance, reduce wear, and ultimately to remove any control from the driver, except for turning the steering wheel in the desired direction.

At 42, Jason created one of the best digital auto shops in the South Western United States with his arcane ability to diagnosis and calibrate a vast assortment of digital malfunctions. The basis of his success was ensuring updated software, coding patches to manufacturer’s specification, and ensuring seamless driving operation with good, fast and responsive customer service. Auto manufacturers loved him.

His shop was large, with a cross hatch of independent mechanics keeping the shop a fashionable hangout. If the truth be told, the independents were merely glorified software engineers, since most of their day was spent writing code from manufacturer’s specification updates. The old-time mechanical repairs virtually disappeared, since digital precision kept the cars from falling apart, regardless of the driver’s ineptitude; although one of the independents actually did mechanical work since, at rare times, a physical part needed to be replaced.

History provides the modern age with the clearest vision of the present. With the filter of history we can look back with 20-20 hindsight and assess the foibles of our ancestors, resting assured our modern world would never be so dim witted. It was difficult to imagine that once upon a time, women couldn’t drive a car in Saudi Arabia, or black slaves were held bondage on Southern cotton farms, or Chinese immigrants were paid $1 a day for building the railroads of the Old West. History is a perfect arm-chair coach, but it lacks human sentiment. It’s like imagining living through the Black Death in the Middle Ages. It can’t be done. Essentially history is an emotional iceberg when it comes to human tragedy. We look upon the events of history as folklore, stories of human rights and wrongs, of character and cracks.  History is always a good story, but its tragedies or success never hit our current-event nerve.

History’s lesson was not lost in the battle between the sexes. Women’s rights had waxed and waned over the past hundred years.  In the never ending cycle of history, men dominated for a phase, and then women dominated for a phase, and back and forth, ad nauseum. Although gender confrontation and dominance did have its time on the world stage, over the years it became a tiresome ritual that frankly bored the modern appetite. Women were women, and men were men. They had always played a this-for-that game of ping-pong, sometimes the women winning, sometimes the men.

Over the millenniums of human civilization, some things never changed in the relationship between men and women. Men seemed to eat a lot, lacked emotional sensitivity, farted without remorse and forgot to shave on weekends. Women endlessly painted themselves, obsessed over clothes, enjoyed lunch salads and generally sought harmony rather than conflict. And, when they wanted man to do something for them they innately unpack their effete cello: that high, whiny voice, the swaying body movements, the flutter of the eyes, the “forget everything I’ve said or done up to this point” glance, followed by, “Oh, Yoo Hoooo, Barton, or Fred, or Milton, (it didn’t matter), would you do something for little ol’me.” It’s like the sound of nails scratching against a blackboard.

Jason was acutely sensitive to the “I Want” whine”, as he called it. It seemed his professions, as many fix-it professions were particularly infested with the “I Want” whine. For some reason, women felt that men who fixed things automatically became surrogate husbands, or mules, or donkeys or brute force movers.  It was an occupational hazard.

One day, by a sheer accident of nature, in a single moment of synchronized convergence, a sixth sense reaction shifted the layers of dogmatic tradition. Jason had discovered the meaning of the American contract, the quid pro quo of human interaction. This for that, something for something, a promise for a promise plus consideration, the fair exchange of value for promised actions. Lawyers have been making billions of dollars for thousands of years, based on the understanding that all law is really a contract at it roots. Criminal law is a contract between the citizen and the governing state. Financial gain or loss is merely a function of a business contract played out to its greatest extent boundary in a real-time arena.

The contract between a man and a woman functions exactly the same:  each gets something from the other person, and each gives something to the other person. That’s archeological balance. Exploitation is when the art of mutual giving breaks down, and one person decides to run off with the goods, no recompense, no remuneration. That’s bad business for everyone.

At the moment of his inspiration, Jason decided then and there to make this universal yin and yang, the give and take between a man and woman his all abiding law. This sovereign principle of truth would govern his life at the most basic level until his death. Little did he know how prophetic he was.

Most of Jason’s customers were men, not that they cherished their cars, or even cared about digital enhancements. It’s like a man who doesn’t care about football. Yet, he would cut off his right arm instead of admit it in front of a bunch of guys in a sports bar. Most of the time, that’s what it’s like with car repairs. Guys never even think of whining or smiling or curtseying at the shop. But, they do pretend to know about the relationship between heat resistance and capacitance to the main CAN switch on the frame, or the number of milliohms required to run the interior light array. Jason always nodded in agreement, enthusiastically listening to every word as if they were unveiling a hidden formula that thousands of technical experts had overlooked. Jason would pat them on their back saying, “Wow, I would have never thought about that. That’ll be one of the first things I check. I’m sure glad you were around to give me that astute advice.” No one ever got the joke.

But, with women, Jason merely embraced the enigma he had uncovered. He saw the natural beauty in human relationships; he bear-hugged the chance to play in the “Big Game” of gender croquet, and began to put his bewildering understanding of the human contract into play with the universal “woman-customer”. Let the games begin.

Jason began slowly. “Oh, Jason, would you do me a favor?” There it was, the familiar “I Want” whine”.

“Why of course not Melanie. What would you like me to do?”

“Would you look at my plasma screen, it seems to cut in and out when I’m taking the kids to practice?”

“Why, that sounds like it’s in need of a new Glatimere Screen driver. I can download that for you in no time. Excuse me, Melanie, would you mind getting me a burger, fries and root beer over at the Desert Rock Diner. I’m starving, and I bet by the time you got back, your screen is not going to cause you or your kids the slightest problem. Uh, could you make that a double burger, extra large fries, and, oh, instead of root beer, could you get me an extra large chocolate shake?”

Jason got his lunch and Melanie got a working TV for her kids. Both sides win, no one loses, and life goes on beating a happy heartbeat.

Late one winter afternoon Jason was reading the newspaper on his screen. Four more bombings, 322 dead, five executions, one group plotting to overthrow the JFG Financial Group, another group wanting rebate rejections automatically put before the World Court, all daily occurrences in major cities throughout the world. The terrorist wars were 63 years old, spreading through-out the globe, and especially into the United States. Thousands died in suicide bombings. Jason never knew a day without war. They raged since before he was born, and had become a silent backdrop to his everyday life. As long as it stayed in the big cities, he was satisfied to remain deaf, dumb and blind to the destruction.

Spring was beginning to stretch out it arms, fanning the warm air of the sun’s deepening heat. Flower buds peaked out of their bramble bush homes, while desert birds, lizards, and jack rabbits vaulted to attention. Spring sang its perennial song of rebirth. Standing tall, it knuckled winter’s cold hands underground; victorious in gaining its seasonal championship.

Jason was snappy on this particular morning. There was no particular reason for feeling good, just a good man’s sense of working hard and appreciating it. His back ached a little, but not like it did in the middle of winter. In a moment, Jason’s world would transform into a one-way ticket to oblivion.

A black Lemintra TurboZ3q convertible suddenly swung into the shop’s driveway. The brakes screeched to a stop. Jason could make out a silhouetted figure stepping out of the car, legs first, then a tall and graceful, slender figure followed, with movements that emulated the morning breeze. As the feline shape drew closer, a beautiful woman emerged with a Rodin-esque sculptured face, straight, shoulder length black hair, pearl white skin and dark green eyes. Poetry held her hand as eloquence swept through her bones epitomizing artistic expression. Jason was mesmerized.

He saw a striking but very serious woman in front of him. Her exotic demeanor pelted his poise leaving him dazed. She looked around 35 years old, but peppered with an old-soul worldliness that bonded with the inelasticity of concrete.

“Hello.” The mesmerizing figure reached out to shake Jason’s hand. “My name is Natalie Kurston. A friend of mine said you could fix my car. There seems to be something wrong with the acceleration when I shift into 6th gear.”

“That’s a beautiful car, Miss.”

“Please call me Natalie. Can you fix it?”

“Sure, fuel node probably needs a Formander Delta T-2065 upgrade, and I may have to write a patch to the specs and review the Malenthall Manufacturing specs. It might take a few days but I don’t see any problem.”

For once, he waited for the “I Want” whine to start. It never came. This made his wheels spin in digital reverse. She didn’t even crack a smile, but remained stoic, assessing the situation with arctic determination. She pulled out her phone, hit a few keys and then spoke a few mumbling words in staccato cadence. After hanging up she turned back to Jason with a death grip look.

“Okay, that will be perfect,” she said, as if resolving a small claims debt in court. “I’m new here, and want to get things settled as soon as possible.”

It seemed Natalie was one of the newest arrivals from New York; an immigrant who had enough of the trembling nights of the city and wanted to move to a safe haven.

“How long have you been in town?” Jason was biding his time to let the game germinate.

“Only a few weeks, a friend told me about Desert Rock.”

Jason was able to squeeze out of her some simple biographical facts:  that she came from New York, that she worked for a major technology corporation selling enterprise systems to Fortune 500 companies. She traveled from one major city to another, always in the silhouette of the war and came to Desert Rock to realize a new dream.

A few minutes later a car stopped on the street outside the shop, a brand new blue Nevk coupe with tinted windows. Jason couldn’t see the driver, but noticed that Natalie abruptly turned around and got into the car without even a whimper or whine. Jason was flabbergasted.

As Jason stood flatfooted, he stared at the open shop door. Jason mused, “What happened? Natalie never compromised, never lifted a single high-pitched note, not even a peep of a squeal.”

Jason found himself bewitched by Natalie. She was different, strange, foreboding. Jason was breaking his own rules. He wanted to play this game with Natalie on different terms; no quid pro quo, just pure “male chases woman” rules with no holds barred. He let himself become magnetized by Natalie’s aloof temperament. Jason pulled up a nearby stool and plopped his head into his open hands. Natalie never moved from her inner focus, buttressed in a charismatic mantra of intrigue. Natalie was a “must-have” for Jason.

Natalie came back into the next day to pick up her car. She was slightly nervous and her hands shook. It seemed to Jason that nervous jitters were part of the assimilation process from moving from a big city to Desert Rock. Nevertheless, he couldn’t get over the fact that she didn’t once ask for a favor, a reduced price, an advantage in her repair bills. He blatantly began to flirt with her, attempted to bait her into a conversation other than her car. He was standing on his hands and she wasn’t clapping.

Natalie paid the bill, coldly and silently, and walked toward her car as she fumbled for her keys in her purse. As she reached her door, she stopped and turned abruptly back to Jason looking directly into his eyes. “I need to have an adjustment made to the trunk of my car in the next few days. Do you think you can fit it in your schedule?”

“Ah ha! Finally, she comes home to roost,” thought Jason to himself. “Certainly. What seems to be the problem?”

“The auto-open remote is not working,” she replied.

“You bet.” Jason was standing at full attention.

“I be back in a few days,” she replied.

She turned, got into the car and drove away without as much as a hint of flirtation.

Jason began to feel agitated as he waited nervously for Natalie’s return to the shop. He rehearsed a thousand different lines to break the ice. He polished his boots, spit shined his belt buckle, even stopped playing the game during Natalie’s absence.

This went on for four days until on a Friday morning she drove into the shop. It was a crisp morning, sunny and starting to get hot fast. Jason was tinkering with some new Golathian FET specs from Jarna Jeeps when his ears perked up at the sound of the Lemintra engine.

Natalie was immaculately dressed in a black business suit, white silk shirt, black leather high heels and matching leather black purse. As she came into view, Jason could see her lips, stoic and still, glossed with mild ruby, concentrated and alert, accented with light blue mascara that highlighted her dark green eyes. Her white skin blushed with a tint of rouge on her cheeks while her body flowed out of her car with an angular grace of a paragon jewel. She swayed wind-like towards Jason. “As I mentioned the other day, my remote does not open my trunk any longer. How long will it take to fix it?” Her voice was pleasant, professional yet showed no sign of withering into the familiar coquette samba.

“I’ll have it done by noon.” A thousand nanoseconds passed slowly as Jason blurted out, “Look, this isn’t going to be that complicated to fix. I can download the upgrade, install it, re-scramble the encryption codes and have it ready for you in no time. Would you mind if I buy you lunch when you come to pick up your car. You’re new in town, and maybe I can give you some hints on the highs and the lows of Desert Rock’s inner circle.” He had broken all his own rules. He knew it, but for some reason he did not care.

Natalie looked at him, her body shuttered as if shaking off desert dust, thought silently for a moment, then looked directly into Jason’s eyes and answered, “I’ll tell you what, I have something to do this afternoon but I’ll take you up on your offer for a lunch date tomorrow, if that works out for you?”

Jason stood frozen in front of her. “Yes, that works perfect for me, then tomorrow for lunch and today at noon for your car. Perfect.” He was ecstatic, although slightly disappointed over his dissipated will power.

The blue Nevk coupe pulled up in front of the shop, she stepped in without looking back.  Later that morning Natalie called Jason to tell him to leave her car in front of the shop with the keys under the mat. She would not be able to pick it up until later that night.

Early the next morning, Jason noticed Natalie’s car was gone as he expected, and promptly began preparing for his lunch date with her. He didn’t want to be a mechanic today, he wanted to be a man falling in love. “Wait,” he muttered to himself, “I can’t be falling in love. I don’t even know this woman. I know it’s some weird infatuation because she didn’t do the girl-dance.”

The hours and minutes ticked away slowly. He puttered around the shop, tried to play a game of pool, but couldn’t sink a ball if the corner pockets were the size of an open man hole on Main Street. Finally, he heard the roar of Natalie’s car pulling into the shop. Jason patted his hair down on both sides, breathed a deep sigh, stood up straight and began walking the full distance of the shop to meet her. She looked surprisingly happy, with a small glint of a smile, and the loss of the serious, iceberg-plagued stare that previously seemed glued to her face. She was wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy shirt and a pair of worn jeans. Her long black hair bounced on her shoulders as she walked to an invisible halfway point to meet him. Jason was overwhelmed how ravishingly beautiful she was.

“Well, I hope I am making a successful transition into desert life,” she shouted to Jason as she turned in a 360º circle to show off her Desert Rock western outfit.

“Well done, if I do say so myself, clapping his hands as if mimicking a standing ovation at the Desert Rock Theater. You look like you’ve lived here all your life.” Jason was happier than a gambler with four aces. “What would you like to eat?”

“I was hoping we could go down to the Desert Rock Center. People tell me its brimming full of people on a Saturday,” Natalie said curtseying while her arms spread an invisible dress into angel wings.

“You bet it’s crowded. It’s where everyone in this town goes on Saturday. It has everything, a farmer’s market, happy hour all day, restaurants galore and enough people to fill a desert valley. Good choice. Let’s go.” Jason rubbed his hands together and began heading for his car.

“Do you mind if I drive us in my car,” asked Natalie. “I want to find my way around this place, and, for me, there’s no better way than hands-on.”

As they pulled into the Desert Rock Center, Natalie drove directly to the valet parking in front of one of the restaurants. She waved to one of the valet attendant’s, in a way that was strangely familiar, as if she knew him.

“Is that a friend of yours?” asked Jason.

“No, I haven’t been around long enough to get to know anybody yet. But I hope that will change sooner than later.”

Natalie tossed a flirtatious glance at Jason. He was elated. The valet attendant moved the car into a VIP space by the restaurant, along a row of luxury cars, a stretch limousine … and the blue Nevk coupe.

“Hum,” thought Jason, “that’s strange, or maybe just a Russian Roulette coincidence.”

Natalie noticed his stare, put her arms around his waist and gave him a nudging hug. He forgot about the blue Nevk coupe.

After an hour of walking through the cascade of people, Natalie tucked her arm into Jason’s and said, “Let’s get something to eat, I’m famished. I saw just the place I wanted to go.” She led him to the outside tables of the restaurant where her car was parked. She picked out the table, and ordered two beers and a large tray of oysters without looking at the menu.

“How did you know they served oysters? That’s a rare dish in this town.” Jason was a little surprised. It was as if she had been there before.

“Are you kidding, this place reeks of oysters, it was a good guess.” Again, Jason was satisfied.

After more than a few beers, three large trays of oysters, and endless small talk, Natalie turned to Jason, lifted her glass of beer and toasted the afternoon.  She swung her hair back, leaned forward and began to tell Jason her story.

“You know, I’ve been in big cities all my life. I was raised with lots of money around me, always got everything I wanted, and through all that I could never find happiness. Nothing seemed to move me deep inside. It seemed as though all the nice things I received swam on the surface of my skin and never took the plunge into my soul. My brain gets plenty of food, my romantic life has always been full, my career is an unending success, doors fly open for me and I never have to wait in lines.”

Jason’s enchantment grew to the size of a fresh summer watermelon as she spoke.

“Then one day, I realized that a person only goes around the world once. That there’s only a short time to make a personal statement, a statement that counts, one left behind for others to remember. A person only has one chance to make a short trip into the world of celebrity to somewhere beyond the familiar; a bright star gazing into the lives of those you never met. I made that realization two years ago. Today is that special day when dreams trade places with reality.”

Jason buoyantly raised his hand to the waitress, circling it in the air. “Two more of everything.” The waitress nodded, as Jason leaned forward as if pulled by an invisible rope.

Natalie, breathed deeply, stretched out her arms as she dropped her head back looking up to the sky. “My whole life has lead up to this day, this hour, this exact point in time. A friend in New York moved to Desert Rock and told me all about it, especially how it was a haven from the bombings. I couldn’t imagine a place safe from fear. New York always seems to be ground zero for the fear, the loathing of waiting for an explosion, wondering if it was your time or not.”

The beer and oysters arrived. Jason moved things around the table like a roadie adjusting a microphone for a rock concert. He was riveted to Natalie’s story.

Natalie didn’t even glance at the food, but picked up the beer and drank half the glass, slamming the glass on the table. “I realized that to make a difference, to become recognized by a new group of people, I would have to bring them something they never knew, had not experienced, something creative and yet deathly real. Then it all came to me in a spark of divine inspiration. I called my friend and told him about my idea. He loved it and wanted to be part of it. I don’t think he wanted to be part of my dream as much as he wanted to be in love with me and feel love in return. I hope he’s not disappointed.”

She stopped for a moment, took a sip of beer, and continued, “You see, Jason, every man I have ever met falls head over heels in love with me, just like you’re doing now, like you did since the first moment you looked at me. I can sense when it happens in a man, because it’s happened a thousand times over. I know that wooly-eyed glare like the back of my hand. In a sense, you’re no different than the rest, except you happen to be here on my day of deliverance.”

Jason began to speak in his own defense, but Natalie put her finger to her lips. Jason fell silent.

“Let me continue Jason. Like you, every time a man would come in close contact with me, regardless of my intent, they began to relinquish their standards, their ideals, morals, wives, children, dreams just to be close to me. It never failed. At first, I was resentful, confused, rejecting. Then I realized it was all a matter of give and take, a small contract of life, a quid pro quo of getting something for giving something”.

“Wow, this is weird,” mumbled Jason. He didn’t know if he was experiencing a parallel universe in counterpoint syncopation, or a soul mate destined to be perpetually connected to his hip bone.

Natalie continued, “I didn’t mind giving a man a small glimpse of happiness, a smile to keep his motor purring, a touch of my hand to buttress his sense of manliness. Nevertheless, I wanted something in return. I wanted a mutual exchange. It didn’t matter what it was, just as long as it fulfilled a sense of mutual respectability.”

Jason started to twitch and move uncomfortably in his chair. He then grabbed his glass and slugged down a big gulp beer. He was feeling a swirling motion. Dizziness pulled up a chair beside him, grabbed his shoulder and patted him on the back.

Natalie continued, “That valet attendant over there is my friend from New York. I told you a small fib, but with the purpose of building up to a lofty finale.” Natalie waved at the valet attendant, and he waved back. “He loves me dearly, but I had to maintain my strict obedience to mutual exchange, just like I am doing with you Jason.”

Natalie stopped and looked around the restaurant. “Ah yes, another little fib. I’ve been here a dozen times with my friend planning my exit strategy. He was satisfied merely to be next to me.”

Jason looked around erratically, sensing the building of an unanticipated crescendo. He attempted to grasp the thematic high point, but was only able to glimpse a shadow exiting stage right.

“I came to you not wanting anything but my car fixed. I would have gone away happy if you would have fixed my car and left it at that. But, as a man, just like every other man, you couldn’t help but stamp your footprint on my being, my time, my soul, my existence. You had to steal some of me and could not leave well enough alone. So, I acquiesced, and in acquiescing wanted something in exchange. I took it without asking.”

Jason couldn’t move. His mind had become marmalade in a soothsayer’s continental breakfast.

“I decided that to make myself known, to become an influence on the world, I would bring something to this town that they never knew … fear. The same fear I experienced everyday of my life in New York. In a few minutes, everyone remaining alive in this town will know my name. In that same moment I will become a permanent fixture in their lives. Do you see the pun Jason? Don’t you see the cataclysmic layers: instant celebrity, influencing thousands of unknown people, changing history, the shift of a mindset from peace to fear, all in one split second in time?

Natalie dramatically faked a swoon as a Shakespearian actor emphasizing the punch line of a tragedy.  Jason had become cold and stoic. He couldn’t move a muscle, couldn’t smile or even coax an emotional twinge from his frayed mind.

Natalie continued, not swayed by Jason’s pale appearance. “Right now, at this very moment, we are at that point in time where the dream dies and reality takes its place. We are the only ones that can appreciate that moment, because we are the only ones who know it. This is a future moment happening right now. Don’t you get it Jason, then is now. In a few minutes, the present reality we are experiencing will be gone; the dream will have ended because it became reality. All of these stratums of reality, the multiplicity of cascading sheets of our world are about to morph, and shift, and sort, all in one small single point in time.”

Natalie stopped, brushed back Jason’s hair, sipped her beer and delicately lifted the last oyster into her mouth.

“Don’t you love the warping of time and space? Being in the future before it’s the future, knowing that the lines connecting us all will shift in an Einsteinium flash. That is a gigantic coup for me Jason. I hope you appreciate the aesthetic eloquence of the moment.”

Natalie’s eyes grew cold and calculating again. “Oh, one more thing Jason, I get the added bonus of keeping my ideals alive, my pact of mutual exchange. My friend gives me the opportunity to park my car in front of a large gathering of people and gets to die with me. You get the privilege of being my mechanic, my last confessor who also get to die with me. In exchange, I have given you my last moments on this planet. Gosh, I hope you appreciate that Jason.”

Natalie grabbed her purse from the next chair and pulled out her keys.

“You see, I needed the trunk wired to my remote so that my friend over there could rig a bomb in the trunk, so when I pushed this button a bomb would go off in front of all these people, something like this …”

Boom!

When the bomb in Natalie’s car exploded, it also triggered the one in the blue Nevk coupe. The center of the blast carved molten bodies in a perfect circle, as the wounded screamed on the outer peripheral of the blast. The survivors scattered like mice. Instantly, Desert Rock’s mindset changed. It had been invited to the world stage and ironically, charmingly, accepted its appearance at its debutante ball.

Within minutes of the bombing, an email arrived simultaneously at the Desert Rock Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Time Herald, the Desert Rock Courier and the FBI Offices in Washington DC. Natalie Kurston identified herself as the person responsible for the bombing and included a twelve page attachment explaining her reasoning.  A multi-department investigation into the bombings began a few days later, coordinated by the Director of Homeland Security.

As the investigation proceeded, newspaper accounts pointed the finger at Jason Reardon and the Valet Attendant as co-conspirators of the bombing. Evidentially, the valet attendant had left a diary in his room detailing the bombing plot. He took complete credit for the bombing, never mentioning Natalie’s name. Evidently, he felt spurned by Natalie and posthumously exacted his revenge. The last entries of the diary identified Jason Reardon as the person who helped him rig the trunk remote. The valet attendant had inadvertently scribbled Jason’s shop address on a note pad. Natalie Kurston was never considered part of the plot. In reviewing her file, investigators found an impeccable job record, excellent recommendations from business associates and clients, and soaring praise from high-profile men whose names were found in her address book found in her apartment. As investigators combed the evidence they felt Natalie Kurston was in all probability a patsy, set up by the two conspirators to take the fall. Her name was dropped from the investigation and never mentioned again.

The press eventually dubbed the bombings the “Jason Reardon Bombings”. Desert Rock embraced its new celebrity and relished its short recognition on the World News Network. TV reporters from all over the world gathered in Desert Rock for over two weeks after the bombings, and then vanished with a poof as if they had never been there. A university professor researching the history of bombings wrote what would become the official history concerning the Jason Reardon Bombing. Over the years it was studied in history classes throughout the world, along with the fall of the Roman Empire, World War’s I & II, the El Cholo bombings, the Meredith Fraternity convictions and the early 21st Century Religious Wars. They all made wonderful stories and provided great insight into the foibles and talents of modern civilization.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Pato says: “Good story. Will play well on the teli. Deserves lots of commercials”

  2. cm3kz0ut says:

    Alyssa Bustamante, Missouri Teenager, Describes Killing As ‘Ahmazing’ And ‘Pretty Enjoyable’
    February 6, 2012

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri teenager who admitted stabbing, strangling and slitting the throat of a young neighbor girl wrote in her journal on the night of the killing that it was an “ahmazing” and “pretty enjoyable” experience – then headed off to church with a laugh.

    The words written by Alyssa Bustamante were read aloud in court Monday as part of a sentencing hearing to determine whether she should get life in prison or something less for the October 2009 murder of her neighbor, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, in a small town west of Jefferson City.

    Bustamante, 18, sat silently – occasionally glancing at those testifying about her, often looking down or to the side – as law enforcement officers, attorneys and forensics experts read aloud her inner most thoughts that she had recorded as a 15-year-old high school sophomore.

    The most poignant part of Monday’s testimony came when a handwriting expert described how he was able to see through the blue ink that Bustamante had used in an attempt to cover up her original journal entry on the night of Elizabeth’s murder. He then read the entry aloud in court:

    “I just f—— killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel atm. It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the “ohmygawd I can’t do this” feeling, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’m kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now…lol.”

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