I hand signal Morgan to cut his radio comm and he does. I tell him what I am going to do..the big decision I’ve made. He looks at me like I am mad. Then calmly says “I know that look. Nothing I say would...” Nope, nothing he can say. “They’ll arrest you, mate.” I nod and say “Just get everyone to hospital #2. It’s almost ready.” and he nods and goes to help bury our guys.
Grabbing my small briefcase, I place it alongside the bigger case I had prepared for Morgan. I take out two of the 9 checkbooks, my personal investment data, and half the cash. I place those things in the smaller briefcase for Dan. At half the age he was, he won’t be able to go back to his old life. Who’d believe him? Then I go to help bury my guys as well. Take a last look around the cemetery that holds some good men and children. I hope people will understand all this.
See, this hospital is illegal. I got too tired of waiting on red tape. You have no idea how much red tape there is to building a hospital in Africa - where they need them the most! When I discovered I could run “a mining camp with medical staff” for the price of a business license, hell I jumped on it. But the two new hospitals are totally legitimate. The one almost finished, is in Tunisia, the most stable Muslim country in Africa. And the most European and free, the home of Carthage from ancient history. But Tunisia has met us half way in everything. Expedited everything for our corporations even. A truly beautiful exotic country and stable. Imagine that. And the third hospital. Could be one of two places, depending on the governments. One our corporations is negotiating building contracts already. Plus we have bids on four other pieces of property around the continent. Future looks good.
Yeah, the mercs will have to continue their specialized profession. There is always someone who needs “wet work” done. Don’t want to be too public with such things, though. It’s a good living if you have the skills and the stomach for it. I don’t anymore. This little decision will have to be sprung on Dan once I have him seat belted in the chopper.
April 8th, 2003, 11:12 AM
Can anyone please explain to me how the woman I love more than life itself can be such a pain-in-the-ass male?
"Just what the hell do you think you're doing this time, Gabe? What streak of nobility has robbed you of your mind? I tried to cold cock you the first time we met; do I need to do it again?"
Sheepish look but fire in the eyes and starch in the back bone. This is going to be one of those long, drawn out arguments and there isn't time for that right now. I got guys to bury and Gabe isn't going anywhere; that's the look on his face, the "I'm not going anywhere" look. How can such a decent man be such a dumb son-of-a-bitch?
"Hey, Gabe, I think I know you well enough right now to call you a dumb son-of-a-bitch, you dumb son-of-a-bitch."
Almost got through to him that time. He almost laughed. That's a good sign.
"Got to go participate in a burial detail. See you in a while."
Defiant wave of the hand, defiant grin, all cocky as hell.
Yeah, that's me.
April 8th, 2003, 11:27 AM
I think about the 7 mercenaries killed. All talented people. Their skills will be replaced quickly though. Hell, we have a damned waiting list of people who have already been checked by all our contacts, interviewed by Morgan and me. Just a matter now of Morgan deciding how to reshuffled his assets. I hope he remembers that we got two jobs almost ready to come down. Just waiting on confirmation of money received in our la Banque Nationale Suisse account. Of course, the money will be rolled out of there so damned fast and channeled into the proper accounts.
It's a business you see. Corporate wrangling, lawyers, accountants, secretaries to support the legitimate business fronts. Eventually we get the money where we need it - to outifitting our guys with the best money can buy on the black market. And trust me -everything is available on the black market. Everything! Hope that makes you sleep comfortably tonight.
I take a walk outside and look around and hear the two choppers inbound. But I also hear the 'Roonie' trucks (mercs have nicknames for everyone) coming up my moutain. It's going to be close for the guys. Just our luck too. A torrential downpour is starting. Good it will slow down the trucks coming up the dirt road. Won't slow the choppers though. I lean my head back and let the rain baptize me once again.
Africa, the hottest continent on earth - and it has the coldest rains.
April 8th, 2003, 11:50 AM
No, god damn it! NO! NO! NO!
Gabe just dropped. I'm stalking off with righteous indignation and Gabe just dropped. What kind of melodramatic crap is this? This is not how it ends, damn it! THIS IS NOT HOW IT ENDS!
Me sitting against one of the buildings, Gabe in my lap back of his head resting against my stomach, the rest of him sprawled out in front of me. Not a mark! Not a scratch to be seen. His heart gives way? Isn't possible; can't be possible.
Something flowing down my cheeks, wet, salty,
I'm just rocking back and forth.
Last chopper in; Morgan comes over, drops the sample case with the laptop and some checkbooks. Says something about us needing it and I just stare at the damned fool. He looks again at Gabe, waves at me, runs for the chopper. They're gone. They're all gone.
As it was in the beginning, me and Gabe.
Except it isn't me and Gabe.
Stupid son-of-a-bitch got his way after all. Died so I could live. Stupid son-of-a-bitch.
The mist teaching us about love! Yeah, right. Your a genius, Dan, a real damned genius. Does this look like a love affair in its prime? Does this even look like best buddies raising hell in the world?
This looks like one side died and the other side has to figure out how to go on. What if the other side doesn't want to go on? What about that, huh? What if I think a world without Gabe is not a world worth living in?
Not what Gabe would want? Is that motivation for going on? Gabe didn't ask me what I wanted. Made up his own damned mind! I've got a mind, too, and I can make it up just like he did.
The mist comes down from the roof of the building, slowly encircling the men on the ground. It may be the tears that keep it's activity from registering in Dan's mind. It may the terrible anger/sorrow/despair he feels. It may be none of these. In a matter of moments, the men are surrounded, sitting, a sample case at their feet, Dan crying and not noticing still that the bodies are shimmering.
April 8th, 2003, 01:28 PM
I hear a door bang open and a squeal of "MOMMY!". I manage to open my eyes just in time to catch the jumping 3 year old. "Mommy, Santa came!" he announces excitedly, his muscles all in motion. I look at the eyes, the face, the hair and I moan "Oh Dan. Not my kid again!" Danny thinks I'm not paying attention and cradles my face in his warm chubby little boy hands. "MOMMY!" he says seriously. "Santa Came!"
The bed shifts next to me and I hear a deep voice say "Come here, son!" and the real Dan, the adult Dan reaches over and pulls the boy off me. I know my jaw is hanging open. He is so handsome, somewhere in his early 30's. "Santa came, uh?" he asks his son. I am staring at the two of the them. The original and the copy. Dan leans over to kiss me, whispering "Hell, I just got to sleep!" and winks. I feel the moisture and know "Yelp, we did just get to sleep!" and I smile back at him. I watch as he flips Danny around to straddle his neck and they start for the bedroom door.
Taking my time, though "Mommy" shouts are repeatedly heard, I stretch and get out of bed. I stop by the mirror and check my figure. My hand rubs gently down my rounded, pregnant profile, though it didn't seem to stop Dan! I know exactly where we live - New York in a nice condo near the United Nations where Dan has an office. It's springtime 2003. And I start laughing at my paranoia.
Then, I spot them. Both of them. The dog-earred royal blue la Banque Nationale Suisse checkbooks lying under Dan's wallet, next to his wedding ring and watch on the dresser. The bank's logo mostly worn off. I remember them so well. I look at my face in the mirror, I'm not more than 29 to 31.
And I wonder.........is the mist screwing with us again?
April 9th, 2003, 01:10 AM
Holbrook closes the book, sniffs and sighs:(
July 21st, 2003, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by Holbrook
Holbrook closes the book, sniffs and sighs:(
Thank you Holbrook! Yes, "The Mist" story is completed, **sniff and sigh**
And thanks to you Hereford Eye for writing this gem with me!!! It was an honor and a pleasure. And the Gabe and Dan characters will always be two of my favorites in fictional characters. Pam
July 21st, 2003, 12:40 PM
The first time is always special. This was our first and it meant more to me than just killing time on the web. It was the most fun a computer ever provided me.
Sorry this one had to end.
But it did.