November 30, 2009

Camp Crystal Lake



            Virtual penguins gently arced across the screen.  For Version XI Drone War Idol introduced a new animated feature.  The young man watched in disbelief as the penguins zapped various targets on a world map with cartoon lightning bolts.  He turned the sound down on his flat-screen so as not to bother the sleeping Susie Martin, but she rolled over under the heavy blanket and opened one eye.  Without thinking the boy slid down under the sheets next to her. 

            "Why do you always slip your hand between my legs?" she was clearly a little annoyed. 

            "Because when you part your legs I know you want to make love.  And when you say 'why do you always slip your hand between my legs?' I know you don't."  The young man sat back up in bed, shoulders hunched forward, slightly embarrassed, and turned the volume back up.

            "Tempered idealists say don't make Perfection the enemy of Good," the Federal Government President gave his weekly Saturday message from the Drone War Idol stage.  "Well, the bleeding-hearts can have their fantasy world.  Our enemies, on the other side of the isle, say don't make Mediocrity the enemy of Bad.  Well I've said it all along and I'll say it again.  We can beat them because what my Pragmatic Centrist Administration believes is: don't make Goodness the enemy of Mediocrity!"

            Both of them laughed and dove back under the covers. 

"Rise and shine," his brother's unwelcome voice came from the other side of the wooden cabin door.    He instinctively jumped out of bed and grabbed his tidy whities off the floor.  Susie Martin rolled on her side and gave him a withering look.  She propped herself up on an elbow and burned her hot eyes into his.  The disappointment on her face came through loud and clear.  She obviously thought he made the world's worst decision by getting out of bed -- but, honestly, there wasn't anything he could do.  Camp Crystal Lake patrols were scheduled well in advance, and this morning it was his turn to take the drug delivery run up to the government men at the top of the mountain.  "We have to keep the Feds off our backs, didn't we?" he entreated her. 

            Up there at the top of the cliff the government forces resembled a clan of cavemen.  Small units were stationed atop the ridges to keep watch over the dissident insurgent children at the various summer camps that shared the shoreline of the mountain lake.  He thought the Government men he saw milling about their forward position at the mouth of the cave on the next bluff up probably struck him much like the Neanderthals struck the original homo-sapiens when they made their way up north through Europe.  The men sat around a fire with big bushy beards -- their tattered gray suites crudely stitched together. They roasted a small bird they had impaled on a branch they fashioned into a crewed spit.

A couple of months had passed since Dog Company was last issued razors.  Platoon Leader Sergeant Margay Holster was third-generation Federal Government soldier.  His grandfather had fought in Vietnam, and his father had done five tours of duty in Afghanistan.  This war wasn't anything like those.  It wasn't even a war.  They were an occupation force in their own back yard.  In Vietnam his grandfather had all the ammunition he could dream of.  They spent days, the old man used to brag, firing shells at the face of a mountain just for the hell of it, just to kill their boredom.  Afghanistan was high-tech.  The Sergeant kicked a small rock.  In this mission he was, any minute, liable to have to order his men to shoot at a troop of Cub Scouts.  And that was only if they could scrounge up the spare rounds.  Their high-tech communications consisted of a couple of out-dated military issue PDAs.  Heck, he ran his fingers through his long, black facial hair, he couldn't remember the last time he had taken a bath, or screwed a woman. 

"I heard the administration was gonna reinstitute the burning of witches," Sergeant Margay Holster joked when the boy arrived.  The young man stood in the center of the circling government men.  There was a lot of menacing small-arms gunplay.  Everyone in the company knew the boy was sweet on Susie Martin.  "That girl of yours is headed for the stake if she don't watch her ways," the Sergeant laid it on thicker.  The rest of the men all nodded in agreement and stuck their pistols back in their belts.  "She cuts a pretty nice figure," one of the other Feds piled it on.  "But it's them fiery eyes of hers that's gonna get her in trouble."

All the way up to the Rocky Mountain crag the young man felt like he was on Cloud Nine.  His pillows and sheets would still smell like Susie when he got back down to the lake -- and, to boot, it was a beautiful sunny warm day.  In the company of these Neanderthals it was like he had been basking in the glory of some heavenly perch when a bunch of trash fell on his head, and he looked up to see these hairy cavemen standing above him sweeping their empty cans and spent cigarette butts off Cloud Ten. 

"I got three different kinds of antidepressant, including Paxil," the boy unzipped his backpack and displayed his wares.  "And plenty more. Nembutal.  Addirall.  Whatever you want.  But this time it's going to cost ya."

"Like hell," one of the government men pulled out a long shiny knife.

What the simple-minded boy wanted to do was quote the Rolling Stones' lyrics from "Get Off My Cloud."  But he knew none of these government goons would get his meaning.  What he did instead, after he stared every one of the company down, was simply to say: "Don't be stupid."

Even though the Feds were just ribbing him about the government burning Susie Martin alive, he descended from the crag full of awful premonitions.  He wanted to get back as fast as he could and make sure she was still safe and sound.  It didn't help his fragile state of mind that the sun was going down and an over-sized pink moon was already fixed in the baby blue sky over the mountain peak behind him.  The boy knew once he got back to camp his older brother would calm him down and set him straight again.  Maybe his brother would even decide it wasn't such a good idea after all to send him alone on these dangerous drug runs to the government men in the mountains.  But in the meantime he ran down the mountain as fast as he could sensitive to every little sound around him.

"In the news today, a rocket hit the Denver Marriot," Pirate Radio 1 reported.  "The night was dark and cold.  Regardless of the fact the hotel was walled up like a fortress the rocket penetrated its fortifications with enough force to dig up a massive crater the size of a big league baseball infield.  We tried to interview the concierge, one of the few ground-level survivors who emerged from the wreckage after the explosion.  But the man was covered in other people's blood and he was an incoherent mess who obviously suffered from the traumatic shock of his experience. Our correspondent instead helped him to the medical tent... 

"In other news," Pirate Radio 1 paused over the feed as if she couldn't believe what she was about to read, "The present Administration is, no kidding, actually considering in all seriousness reinstating the ancient New England Puritan laws that denounced those legally condemned for witchcraft to death by burning or drowning.  As we like to say here on Pirate Radio: if you think things are bad now, just wait five minutes!  The House votes on the bill early next week. Pirate Radio expects a close vote.  If approved, we predict a tighter vote still in the Senate."


--Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2009

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November 23, 2009

Semper Kill



            Sinfry Tittler cried loudly in her crib.  The nannybot processed the tone of the baby's scream through its database and concluded she needed her diaper changed.  But when the machine checked the child was dry.  Sinfry Tittler's screams got louder and the robot once again ran the sound against its databank.  This time all indications were that she was hungry.  But when it tried to spoon some food into the kid's mouth she spit it right back in the domestic robot's face. 

            Not knowing nearly drove Udal Tittler insane.  She picked up the phone.  A man on the other end said great harm would come to her husband if she didn't do exactly as she was told. 

            Orlando was in lock-down mode.  The Chinese Space Center of Florida's inauguration was in a few hours.  Premier China Brightstar, herself, was in Cape Canaveral along with a star-studded cast of dignitaries and investors from Dragon States, the United Emirates, Africa, South America, and the Russian Federation. 

Udal Tittler stood on her balcony with her telephone pressed up against her ear and desperately looked out over the city.  Snipers crouched on every rooftop.  Roads were closed.  "Even if I try," she spoke into the phone, "I can't get into a car.  I can't even walk, or bicycle to the proposed rendezvous." 

All the major metropolitan areas surrounding the space center were under siege by Chinese security troops.  Newly erected bunkers and roadblocks choked every street.  It was impossible to move around.  Almost overnight sandbagged armaments and barbed wire fence had sprung up everywhere she looked.  A plague of nanodrones patrolled the skies.  "Orders are for the entire population to remain indoors until the curfew is lifted," she tried to reason with the kidnapper.  "We are all prisoners in our own homes!"

            Video cameras and lights were hastily set up.  Stirner Tittler III had no choice but to read from his prepared script.  Rebel Army soldiers stood behind him brandishing their M-16 automatic rifles.  "Our corrupt government is unconstitutional," were the first words he gleaned from his copy of the statement.  "The current administration's victory is the product of a tainted election.  Ballot boxes were stuffed.  Results were fixed.  The entire process was mired in fraud."

            "Please," Udal Tittler begged the man on the phone.  "Even if I could somehow get it to you, we don't have that kind of money.  When Wall Street moved NYSE and NASDAQ to off-shore tax-havens in the Cayman Islands and Bahamas we were ruined right along with all the other US investors."

            Screams from a baby on the other end of the phone drowned out the mother's voice.  "If you don't pay up Mrs. Tittler," the rebel kidnapper tried to talk over the crying child, "We will be forced to take drastic measures, and you know what that means for your husband, Mrs. Tittler, don't you?  If you don't come through, he's as good as dead."  The kidnapper wasn't sure if she had heard his warning over the noisy baby.  "Do you understand me, Mrs. Tittler?" 

            "It's not like a bomb went off," the young President waved a golden shovel in front of the new Chinese Space Center.  The ceremony had begun.  Digital cameras 'clicked' in rapid-fire succession.  "It's not like an explosion and you can look around afterwards and see all the dead bodies.  It's much different than that," he told the press.  "Progress happens in excruciating slow-motion." 

            Stirner Tittler III had trouble reading the next line of the text the Florida Rouge Army Militia cell supplied him.  "Free-floating anger, hatred, which has spilled over to..."  He struggled to make out the scrawled handwriting.  "On the topic... the rise of populism... I'm sorry," he handed the piece of paper back to his nearest captor.  "I simply can't make out the last bit."

            The blindfolded Stirner Tittler III was packed into a commercial van by his captors.  Both of his arms were bound to his midsection with duct tape.  At the first stop he heard the kidnappers in the cab up front talk to the Chinese guards in broken Mandarin.  He wasn't sure exactly what had transpired, but he figured it must have been a checkpoint somewhere outside of the city.  The van was waved through.  There was more Chinese banter at the second stop.  He heard his name mentioned and the men outside the truck seemed to understand.  The kidnappers slid the side-door of the van open and he was walked to another truck.  "This is where we get off, Mr. Tittler," was all he was told by the men who had nabbed him outside his Korean franchise the day before.

            "You wouldn't dare!" Udal Tittler slammed the receiver down and immediately regretted it.  She couldn't do much but pace around the apartment nervously and watch the inauguration ceremony on TV.  All the many rows of bleachers almost gave the whole spectacle a stadium-like feel.  And as a capper to the event the Chinese were going to launch their first rocket at sundown that evening. 

"A great deal of controversy overshadows the festivities," Pirate Radio 1 quipped.  "Not only does the day mark the final demise of NASA -- our nation is basically handing over the keys to the new owners -- but what is more, the Chinese Space Program advocates very different ideas about extraterrestrial exploration than does the US.  Most significantly, they believe it is far too expensive and inefficient to bring their astronauts back alive.  These folks tonight are all scheduled for the deep-space variety of a one-way trip!"

"Will that be all, Mrs.?"  The nannybot stood in front of her with baby food smeared all over the plastic visor of its faceplate, but Udal Tittler was too frantic to notice.  Instead she stared at the inert phone as if she could will it to ring.  She hoped if they just called back maybe she could stall them long enough to think up some plan or other to save her husband. 

On television the hundred and fifty astronauts scheduled for the first flight were marched to the Cape Canaveral launch pad, dressed in bright orange jumpsuits. 

Something about one of them caught Udal Tittler's attention.  She leaned closer to the screen.  Something about the way he carried himself struck her as familiar, as if she might have known him, something about the boyish shock of hair that curled over his eyes.  She tried to dismiss the idea, but couldn't help but look more closely.  The man was hunched forward as he glumly made his way past the camera, but just as he came up to the lens he raised his head.  It was her husband!  Even though she had only got a passing glimpse of him, she was sure of it.  The kidnapper-rat-bastards, it suddenly hit her like a fist square to her stomach, had already sold her husband to the Space Program!  She could hardly breath. 

"The official news out of Beijing makes it out like the space explorers are all a bunch of happy-go-lucky volunteers and they were forced to turn away droves of American citizens who applied for the first rocket mission," Pirate Radio 1 did her best to temper her scorn.  "But we here at Pirate Radio believe that as this story unfolds it will become painfully clear the 'one-way ticket' Space Program is politically motivated.  It is now known that almost every single one of the astronauts listed on the final mission roster -- made public only this afternoon -- were previously deemed enemies of one state or another, including, oddly enough, the Territorial Authority of the Rebel Army the US has repeatedly labeled a terrorist stronghold.  Frankly, we here at Pirate Radio believe what is going on is that the rogues-list of parties involved are using the maiden voyage to launch unwanted dissidents into outer space."

Udal Tittler couldn't believe her ears.  "Murderers!  Criminals!  All of them, every one, a bunch of cutthroats!"  She had never felt so alone in the world.  Now it was just her and Sinfry.  "Pour me a stiff drink!" she looked around for the nannybot.

Version X of Drone Wars made it abundantly clear any unauthorized intrusion into Cape Canaveral airspace during the rocket launch was illegal.  Nevertheless, several suspicious drones were reported in the no-fly zone only moments before the scheduled lift-off.  They were on an intercept trajectory with the Space Center.  Corporal Ruby Spaulding sat up in his chair.  He knew the drill.  "Semper Kill!" he saluted the portrait of the young President that hung in his cubicle and quickly punched in the green light scramble alert for Drone War Idol contestants. 

"What a mell of a hess," the Corporal thought as he monitored the remote control robot air-war from his desk in an undisclosed warehouse in Nevada.  If the Chinese rocket didn't make it off the pad he was going to catch a world of trouble.


--Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2009

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Recent Paintings


Daniel Mendel-Black, Painting #137, 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 52" x 58"




Daniel Mendel-Black, Wall-Sculpture #6, 2009, acrylic on wood, 22" x 25"





Daniel Mendel-Black, Painting #136, 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 38" x 45"


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November 15, 2009

Death Lottery

tent city jail.jpg


"Our kids don't have clean drinking water!  What are you going to do about the sky-rocketing child mortality rate?" Sonora Philemon yelled from the back of a town hall meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

            "It's not like blah-blah-blah, the Fed's totally broke, and that's the joke," Senatorial candidate Loudan Rich was thrown off his Republican talking points by the unexpected outburst. 

Her stars-and-stripes flag was ripped from her hands by secret service agents who knocked Sonora Philemon to the ground, hogtied her, and led her out of the building. 

            Despite efforts by local police to beat them down, protesters closed in on the windowless, bunker-like, black angular edifice of the newly erected government sponsored church.  Banners and painted cardboard signs read "Down With The Supreme Christian Council of the United States!" and "No To The Death Lottery!"  A dark cloud of swarming nanodrones (reportedly subcontracted to Russian Federation prison inmates) menaced the marchers. 

Sonora Philemon was arrested and booked along with the tens-of-thousands of others who had protested outside the building.  They were all temporarily rendered to a provisional corral set up outside of town. 

            To an otherwise cheering audience Senatorial candidate Loudan Rich vowed to challenge the young Center-Right President's "Death Lottery".  His rallying cry was that the administration's "sweeping historical" legislation was far too liberal.  "Social Security, Welfare and Medicare is what got us into this mess!" he pronounced.  "Well that's all ancient history.  Now the pragmatists have substituted those old entitlement programs with raffle tickets.  To win the lottery ya gotta die first and just maybe your number will come up.  'It's better than nothing,' the President says.  But we say even after they're dead there ain't no free lunch for dissidents!"

            Strip-searches were mandatory for all Federal detainees.  Sonora Philemon was ordered to undress, hosed down, and rudely probed by a latex-covered finger.  As far as she could make out the only reason was to humiliate her. 

            "The young administration can relocate their 'New Federal Government' to the Dominican Republic for all we care," Senatorial candidate Loudan Rich sang out before the highly screened audience.  "The traitors can run, but they can't hide.  The Supreme Council knows where they are!"

            Specs for Drone-Wars IX were posted all over the prison camp.  It clearly stated that hits on Federal detainees were worth Drone-War Idol "Bonus Points".  Arrested protesters sat outside their tents and tried as best they could to make light conversation, weary of the constant buzz of the circling drones. 

            "Not now, not ever!" Senatorial candidate Loudan Rich proclaimed to the cheering town hall crowd.  "The Far-Christian-Right position is: 'No Death Lottery for illegals and insurgents!'  I will fight it all the way to Capitol Hill!"

            "Everyone dies sooner or later don't they?" a slight man who introduced himself as Charlie Frost tried to rationalize the policy.  He sat next to Sonora Philemon outside the prison tent.  "That's just a plain fact ain't it?  Now the country's gone bust, we can't expect the government to keep folks alive for living longer than they are productive members of the economy, can we?"  He lit a cigarette.  "My great aunt was one of the first lottery winners.  The government buried her in style in a huge mausoleum.  Her family is set for life!" 

            Some effort was required on her part, but Senora Philemon bit her tongue.  It seemed to her that mainstream, corporate media's "either/or" version of reportage was some kind of weird enabler for crackpots like Charlie Frost.  "I put my numbers in at the local convenience store on my way to the town-hall-meeting," she offered the gaunt man blankly.  "I heard no one had won for the last three weeks going and the prize was up to twelve billion dollars." 

            In the prison pen nanodrones were worse than horseflies.  "Worse than skeeters," the skeletal Charlie Frost complained.  The remote control bugs took pictures of everyone in the dissident holding area and transmitted the information back to National Intelligence Agency servers.  The information was in turn coded, filed, and published on the Internet so that Predator Drone gamers could easily isolate those deemed preferential high-value targets by the government from the rest of the rabble.  Senora Philemon swatted at one particular electronic insect to no avail.  No matter how often she waved the metal bug away, it came back and hovered within inches of her face. 

            To everyone 's dismay Charlie Frost took a hard drag from his cigarette and coughed: "I think Loudan Rich is going to be our next Senator.  For one he's got the money.  Besides he ain't got no truck with illigels.  He says they shouldn't get a dime from the Death Lottery and I sure gotta agree with that reasoning.  I think he's gonna bring the current administration down on account of their soft position on insurgents."

            "Radical-Right-Wingers were the ones who lobbied for the Death Lottery in the first place!" another much younger man in the circle blurted out.  "You make it sound like a Center-Right bill, but the Right-Wingers were the ones who pushed it through.  Now you want to blame the Administration for the holes in your own maniac legislation! "

            You would never have thought by looking at her that the delicate looking homely woman who sat next to the young man had it in her, but she twisted her mouth up and blared out:  "It sickens me we gotta do everything by the lottery.  The Right says it's Christian, but this ain't no Christian way to go about saving folks.  'Landmark Health Legislation', what a lark, the Center-Right and the Far Right can take a swim.  It's usury, gambling, and money worship pure and simple!"

            "Now I wouldn't mind a solid gold headstone, " the young man played it like he was reasonable, "but them death worshippers on Capitol Hill," he about faced and angrily pounded the dust out of his hat, "just want to make everything good in this old world illegal -- including and especially life itself!"

            Everyone knew it was just a matter of time before the drones swooped in.  And eventually they did wipe out the camp -- for most Drone-War Idol contestants the extra points were simply too tempting and easy to pass up.  But before the Hellfire missiles were let loose on the tent city, Charlie Frost raised himself up on the two wobbly pins he had for legs, pulled out a silver pistol as long as his lower arm and heavy enough so he had to hold it with both hands to keep it steady, and fired directly into the group of folks huddled around the tent.  Bodies flew backwards like so many rag dolls.  He later turned the gun on himself and, with one single shot, blew off the entire right side of his head.  Senora Philemon was among the dead.  She left behind a husband and child.

"Eyewitnesses claimed the man yelled out, 'Praise the Lord' just before he opened fire on his fellow inmates," Pirate Radio 1 railed.  "Afterwards it was officially revealed the gunman was a well-known psychotic religious fundamentalist.  The government purposely planted him in the prison camp.  Military brass and FBI -- clearly evidenced by internal memoranda -- were well aware of Charlie Frost's zealous beliefs and his fragile state of mental health.  They knew he was a suicidal, ticking bomb.  It was simply a matter of time before he went off the rails and did something crazy.  To them the lunatic was a potential weapon, and the decision was made that the man could best serve the government if he was separated from the population at large and placed among dissident inmates to stir up trouble.  Maybe, officials glibly figured, he would take out some enemy insurgents before he killed himself.  Unfortunately, they were right.

            "On a side-note," Pirate Radio 1 added.  "Loudan Rich narrowly won his bid for a Senatorial seat in New Mexico, but has since been implicated in the prison scandal." 


--Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2009

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November 09, 2009

Rebel TV



            Burned out vehicles were piled up on the freeway like so much metal carnage.  Rain drizzled lightly.  The blackened wreckage ahead of them glinted in the car's headlights.  Iris d'Mint told the girls to look away as they passed what was left of a Dodge Minivan.  The charred remains of a family of five sat exactly as they had at the moment of the drone attack. 

            But Rainbow d'Mint peeked out the window just as they passed the next car.  The dead driver's face was pressed up against the window, disfigured by flame like the most terrifying fright-mask imaginable.  She screamed at the top of her lungs and buried her head in her lap. 

            "These people were just trying to get out of 'Dodge' after the missile attacks," Wilson d'Mint told his wife.  "They were just trying to get out of town, and escape north to Mississippi, just like us."  The family was headed to Snake's Head where Iris had relatives.  Wilson d'Mint slowly drove their old Buick along the shoulder of the interstate.  It took them more than an hour to get past the massacred exodus. 

            "Last week's Drone-War Idol winner is a Canary Island youth who lives just off Generalissimo Franco Blvd.," Pirate Radio 1 dejectedly confirmed.  The signal was weak.  Iris d'Mint tried to tune her in better.  "He was awarded extra points for his ambush of what officials are calling the single most successful strike against illegals in this country's history.  According to Top Cop Stalker Flogum this could be the 'turning point' in our nation's war on terror." 

"Try telling that to the surviving family members," Iris d'Mint cried out.  "I dare you!"

"All we know about Tardif Disconesia is he is the youngest son of an infamous expatriate Greek painter who apparently had to leave the country on account of his outspoken Fascist political views," Pirate Radio 1's spirits seemed to pick up a bit.

"Version VIII brags that other countries around the globe have adopted the same drone policy as the US.  Combined with the Snake's Tail Massacre on I-30 in Arkansas, Tardif Disconesia was also credited for a major takedown of anti-government farmers protesting in Lisbon, Portugal and an entire wedding party of striking Unionists in Manchester, England.  The last two targets effectively put him 'over the top' in last week's round.  According to Drone-War Idol Cable Network post-game analysis, he is 'well ahead' of his nearest rival in the competition."

            "Them Drone-War Idol contestants should all be made to come here to the good ol' US-of-A," Iris d'Mint hissed and rolled down her window to let the cool breeze in.  "The crowd would tear them apart.  There ain't no form of punishment too harsh for them!"

            A Stuckey's Pecan Log Roll they picked up back in Arkadelphia was unwrapped and passed back to the girls in the backseat who reached out for it with happy smiles.  The highway death-scene several dozen miles back seemed forgotten.  Both girls tore off chunks of sweet bread and chewed with abandon like nothing had ever happened.  Wilson and his wife looked at each other and let out a sigh of relief. 

            Something about "how the last administration were 'war criminals' in foreign policy and the young administration are 'war criminals' on the domestic front" was the last thing he heard Pirate Radio 1 say before Wilson d'Mint leaned forward and turned off the radio. 

            The girls had a little portable electronic media player in the backseat.  Rainbow was older by almost three years.  Her baby sister liked to watch whatever she liked. 

            They knew better than to linger on Drone-War Idol.  Rainbow flipped past it and paused on HitList.  Tonight was the Rebel Network premier.  Ever since Drone-War Idol was hacked the rogue army vowed to go after the leading contestants and  "bring them back for justice".  It was the show's catchphrase.  The program consisted of an ex-Navy Seal, and a retired Special Forces Green Beret who had become disillusioned with the government's policies.  The camera crew followed them to secret meetings and stakeouts.  A different top Drone-War Idol contestant was targeted every week.  They traveled all over the world.  So far, for the show's big opener, they managed to locate last week's big winner. 

            The drizzle finally let up as Wilson d'Mint passed through the bombed out husk of Little Rock and got on the I-40 Northbound.

            "Tardif Disconesia can't make a move without HitList 's knowledge.  They have his apartment staked out 24/7," Rainbow shouted from the back of the car.  She bounced up and down on her seat.  "They got him trapped in his parent's apartment."

            "When we 'clean' the target all the evidence gets wiped out," Hunter Beafheart warned the ex-Navy Seal during the trailer: the two were seated on a bench by the harbor, seagulls circled overhead.  It was sage advice from a hardened operative and the language was cryptic enough to suggest that the information was key to the success of the mission. 

In the next scene agents were staked out in front of Tardif Disconesia's apartment.  "Somebody just opened a window," Rainbow yelled out.  "Subject is home," the crackle of a disembodied voice confirmed.  Another agent in the surveillance van parked across the street from the apartment building declared he had the subject's "vehicle "in site.  It was a bicycle.  A camera zoomed in on the shiny spokes of the front wheel. 

            "Target is on the move," another excited voice announced through a walky-talky. 

            Both sisters watched the boy exit the building and jump into a waiting taxicab.  "He doesn't look like much," Rainbow frowned.  "Just a dumb boy, like all the other dumb boys I've ever seen." 

As soon as Tardif Disconesia was inside the cab it took off down the narrow street at a high rate of speed.  The stakeout vehicle followed in hot pursuit.  But the van was no match for the cab.  It shot the gap of a side street, darted into an alleyway, and merged into the traffic of the busy boulevard at the other end.  Eventually the HitList cameras lost site of it.  The show was over.  Tardif Disconesia was still on the loose.  "Darn it!" Rainbow pouted.  She was frustrated.  Her little sister and her would have to wait a whole other week to find out what happened. 

            Maybe it was irrational, but Iris d'Mint felt a little more relaxed once they crossed over to Mississippi.  She told the girls to try and get some sleep.  Her brother's place was still a few hours away. 


--Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2009

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