Amid the chaos Jimmy stepped slowly toward his brother. The mutant. “It is wrong…” was all he could mutter before they embraced each other. They then stepped past the weeping police officer on the ground. “I’m sorry,” Jimmy said to him, quietly, as they left the chamber with the others.
Bob left as well, but as he was making his depature from the facility he saw Jeffrey behind the glass in one of the labs. Jeffrey. Just a crab. He lifted the laser rifle (he wasn’t going to leave without it) and blasted the keypad.
Bob was a lonely man, but at least he had Jeffrey. He continued driving around the town acting as chauffeur for drunks and old ladies. But, at home, he was making some ass-kicking hip-hop beats. He eventually released an album online. It didn’t get many plays, but Bob was proud of it. He created something, and no one could take that from him. Not even his ex-wife. And, of course, Jeffrey was featured on the cover.
Old Lady Peterson found Biscuits her dog (he was at the animal shelter.) After the “mishap” at the Nameless Facility, she was asked to come out of retirement to design new security droids. Smick relinquished their facility only to find it empty. There was no sight of Barns, Dr. Noritz, Dr. Smite, Mr. Gunders, or the man who claimed to be Dr. Yannis. Old Lady Peterson didn’t care about any of this of course. Because she had Biscuits. And there were still local stores and restaurants, all with managers that she needed to speak with.
Mr. Gunders tried appealing to Smick Industries, pinning everything on the actions of Dr. Noritz for all that had happened. The higher-ups were, overall, dissatisfied with his performance as of late, but they were willing to let him apply for a job at one of their other facilities. A few months later, Mr. Gunders was on the other side of the country, mopping the floors of another facility. And with Abner as his manager. “Hey man,” he pointed to Abner with a half-empty chip bag, “missed a spot. How come you didn’t see it?” But Gunders didn’t say anything and the floors were soon immaculate. And every day, he found peace on a nearby stretch of green where he launched poor white balls into the sky until the sun turned to shadow.
Dr. Smite spoke to the receptionists of numerous news outlets stating that he had evidence that could expose Smick Industries. They all said he would be getting a call back, but none ever came. He then decided to start up his own blog, no longer afraid of what Smick might do. It turns out that he had nothing to fear as Smick didn’t seem to care. No one trailed him under the cover of night. No one peeked through his windows. And no one, it seemed, did not care about the truth. Smick’s stock continued to rise despite Smite’s passionate and well-articulated blog posts.
Filing cabinet lady was still filing cabinet lady. She found a filing cabinet discarded on the side of the road, nursed it back to health, and protected it with her life. No one dared to go near her filing cabinet and all was good.
Officer Barns was no longer a security guard nor a police officer. He wasn’t anything. His mind was torn apart, and he was left wandering through the rubble, looking for an identity. For a while, once a proud hero, he devolved into the town drunk. Nobody respected him as he passed-out, often, in the gutter. But, one night, he had vanished. People claim to have seen him stumbling out of town, looking for someone to drive him far away. While others claim to have seen him get snatched-up by G-Men driving in a black van. Either way though, Barns was a ghost that soon became forgotten.
Dr. Noritz disappeared without a trace and so did K-49 from the facility’s computers. But, it seemed as though Dr. Noritz had wiped the facility’s files. The higher-ups kicked themselves for not having files saved off-site, but hindsight is 20/20. But, what was Dr. Noritz planning with the information he has surely copied? No ransom ever came in. No threats. The higher-ups, at first, were riddled with fear, but they soon forgot about Dr. Noritz. However, there were reports of a man matching his description stepping out of a top-secret research facility in Russia.
“The man who claimed to be Dr. Yannis…I have met him, many times before. I never received his name. All he gave me was a number: 3303.”
“Why did he pose as Dr. Yannis?”
“I…do not know. But I can only guess from what I know of him. I have seen parts of him. Some of his memories. He was a deeply unhappy man. Untroubled. He hated the world and himself. Maybe he wanted a new life. Maybe he wanted power and the only way he knew to do that was to take the name of the man who had the most power over him.” Mindy turned to Jimmy. They both were standing in the white void.
“So…why am I here? How am I here? THough I should no better to ask…”
“I am using what remains of my strength to reach out to you. I didn’t even know this was something I could do.” She said this because Jimmy’s body was actually back at home, snug in bed, while Mindy was still housed at the nearby facility. Mindy, somehow, was speaking to him telepathically, but, it would not last long.
“I am going to die, Jimmy, and I guess, I needed to speak to someone before I go. I apologize for–”
“No. It’s fine. I wasn’t doing anything better anyway.”
“You seem happy. Almost. When I saw you last you were confused, distressed.”
“How is ‘New Jimmy’?”
“He is good. He’s happy. And so are my parents. But…there’s something that I’m kind-of worried about.”
“Is he…forcing my parents to be…happy?”
“What do you think?”
Jimmy looked down at his feet for a moment. “I…don’t think so. Because I think all New Jimmy ever wanted was a family. And he knows that my parents have to love him out of their own free will. At least that’s what I think…”
Mindy smiled. “Thank you Jimmy. I will miss you. And I will miss New Jimmy, your brother.”
“Is there no way of saving you?”
“I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter now.” And suddenly, a house materialized before them. A nice, quaint house with an archway and cozy brick walls. “I’ve only ever had the dreams and memories of others, to keep myself occupied. By this home. It isn’t much. But it’s my own creation, though still cobbled together by fragments that have come through me. Did you want to step inside for a bit?”
Jimmy nodded and they both stepped inside the house. Soon, Jimmy woke-up. The sun hung brightly in the window, and Jimmy was filled with a bittersweet feeling, mixed with both joy and sadness.
Jimmy wasn’t kidding. When he returned home with New Jimmy he was accepted, reluctantly. His parents had nearly forgotten who he was but were aware of a resentful, bitter feeling that they associated with his face. But when they saw New Jimmy with him, their eyes lit-up. Their son! Or at least, the son they liked! And they accepted Jimmy back home, with some reservation, but they grew to tolerate the known thug.
Jimmy was not respected at school, and he was suspended for beating-up those poor students and the security guard. However, the other kids seemed to fear him, slightly, and no longer wanted to pick a fight with him. They mostly just ignored him and made faces to each other when walking past him in the halls or during lunch. The teachers barely acknowledged him. Despite this, Jimmy continued to focus on his school work and managed to graduate though he wasn’t allowed to go to the graduation ceremony. He didn’t mind this though. He didn’t care for such noise and frivolity anyway. At least that’s what he told himself.
So, this all brings us back to a certain dark and stormy night. Why was Jimmy braving such a sudden and violent storm? Well, he wanted to protect his family. See, Jimmy didn’t have job prospects. After he graduated he couldn’t find work since no one wanted to hire a known criminal thug with zero job skills. And his parents only allowed him to continue living under their roof if he paid them rent. So, he formed his own solo gang and sold drugs.
And, on that dark and stormy night, he happened to be at his usual corner when he saw it. A big, black van, and a sinking feeling came over him. The corporation realized New Jimmy was still in town and knew his location. He tried to warn his family, but he was knocked down by a piece of hail. Dead.
Except not really.
The storm quickly cleared and a car pulled-up next to him. “Aw shit man!” Bob jumped out and tried dragging Jimmy. “Hey man, you gonna help or what?”
New Jimmy got out from the back of the car with his new, still slightly creepy, plastic face, and grabbed Jimmy’s ankles.
“Shit, your brother is heavy. And why is he out here? The hustle’s gonna kill him I swear!”
“Don’t move.” They stopped. Officer Shins stood before them. Yes, she had survived, somehow, after being shot in the gut. She was fine for the most part though, for some reason, salty foods now made her gag. “Just what do you think you two are doing? Rescuing the local drug dealer, huh?”
“Aw shit. Do we have to do this now?”
Shins inched toward her gun. New Jimmy saw this and his brain squirmed. But, he knew he couldn’t do it. Jimmy was right: it was wrong.
“Now boys, move away from the turd, slowly. Now!” But, suddenly, she slapped her stomach. “OOF! Fuck!” She started to tremble. “You know what? Ugh! Jesus…you two do whatever. I don’t care. God damn.” And she walked back to her police car and drove off.
New Jimmy knew that pushing people was wrong, but sometimes, in small doses, it was necessary. Bob and New Jimmy carried Jimmy away from the cold and into the backseat of the car, and Jimmy woke-up back at home, warm and certainly not dead. At least not yet.
But, after that night, he realized something. He watched as his family surrounded the TV, watching Steve Harvey dunk on people’s stupid answers on Family Feud, and laugh. And he knew that it was no longer his family. He was 18 now and he should no longer try to regain what had been lost. His parents would never love them, but it was okay because the three of them were happy. And now it was time for Jimmy to find his own happiness, preferably away from this town with its bad weather.
Jimmy left not before giving his brother one final embrace. “You take good care of them. They’re going to need it. Because they’re idiots.”
“Where to my man?”
“Out?” Bob then spotted Jimmy’s backpack sitting beside him. “Aw shit. They finally kicked you out. You know, I’m gonna miss you. And your meth. But if you decide to come back we’ve got to hang out. Deal?”
Jimmy smiled. “Sure.”
As the car drove, Jimmy noticed another black van passing by them on the opposite side of the street. This world, he thought to himself, was full of secrets, full of conspiracies held together by men who were ravaged by ego and greed. Sad, nonsensical beings. Jimmy felt powerless. Yet, he no longer feared, at least not to the degree as he did before. Perhaps it’s because he had seen a sliver of the chaos and what belies it. Or maybe there was something within, something innate that was slowly being unlocked. His eyes returned to the window. To the passing buildings. To the passing people and eventually the long, unyielding desert sands. He then closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.
“Hey man, you still never told me where you wanted to go. Like, I’ve got things I need to do. Whatever. I’ll just keep driving, man. I don’t care. It’s your life I guess.”
Welp, it’s finally over. I went a little over the 12-minute limit as you could tell, but I was eager to wrap this thing up. If you managed to read up to this point then I sincerely apologize. I had fun writing it for the most part, but glad it’s over.