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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:49 am 
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She said " An alliance between the future timeline Rex and the future timeline Gloria aka Loria is to be formed. Its up to you Max ( with aid by Wordsworth, and your crew, of course) to stop them."

" And how exactly do you propose I/ we do that?" Max asked, he caressed his own Max Headroom like coif, and pointed a muscular finger in her direction.

Maya smiled and said " Sir, your destiny is to find more time pieces than Rex, who is seeking them out too, you see he is The Time Collector."

The room was hushed. All eyes were on Maya, incredulous to this charge against Rex, even Wordsworth, aka Wordy, was taken aback.

Max breaking the silence of the library room, asked " And how do you know this? Who are you?"

Maya's dark black eyes peering behind her tinted cat-eye shaped glasses, pierced Max, she explained " I too am a time traveler, or more properly, was,
the sun dial was mine. I knew Wordsworth was going to give it to you, so I sold it to him at cost to me."

Max, became slack jawed, " Ok, so you know all this, whats going to happen to us, do we win?"

" Sorry, I am only priviledged to what the Time Master lets me know. " Maya insisted; she continued :

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:41 am 
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"Take this, it will help." she unfurls her milky white hand and displays a platinum ring, with a square onyx stone with a symbol in the middle of it.
" It's what you need... this is a time compass. When you are close to new time pieces it glows, the closer you get, the brighter it gets. Also, it is a protecter to ward off enemies." Maya says through pearly white teeth.

" Thanks," this solitary word is spoken by Max. With that, she and Wordy wish Max well and leave the library, leaving Max with still many unanswered questions, yet with hope.

" So bro, whats up?" Dave asks Max curiously, he tightens the black tie of his suit closer to his neck.

" 'The Dude', well if you were paying attention, instead of listening to the Dead Kennedys and Echo And the Bunnymen on your walkman,
you just might have learnt what my...our destiny is. Which is to stop Rex and Loria before they devise a 'Domination Plan' ". Max explains forthright.

" Whaaa, oh, you mean they are like lame Bond villians, who want to do the cliche': take over the world, sort of thing? thus, 'Domination plan'. I never get these guys, do they just not watch enough movies to know that their plans never work?"

" Very astute of you David, yet I am not surprised, you are one not to be underestimated." Max stated, he looked at the dark ring intently and smiled.

Dave smiles out" Thanks, bro, knowing you: you know what the dealio is, which is 'Perfect-o'".

" You should trademark that, David. Anyhow, you are correct in your account, or at least partially, I think I know ." Max said, the confidence in his words faded at the end of his sentence. " Its time we move, I see the ring directing us towards a time piece."

Max's crew leave the library and go towards:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:06 am 
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Civic Square.

The group arrived at Metro City's Civic Square. A 12 block plaza that consisted of the court house, city hall, the police and fire departments, hospital, museum, and other public buildings. Situated in the middle of the plaza was Founder's Park, a semi sprawling tree lined park with cobble stone paths and sculpted hedges. They gathered at a concrete picnic table adjacent to the basketball court as the clock struck the half hour chime.

Dave looked up at the clock tower and shook his head. "If you think that there is anyway we can get inside to activate that thing ..."

Bella tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to the adjacent building. "I think we are supposed to be looking at the police station, David."

Dave snapped his fingers. "Oh, that's right. Klein's Clock. It's still in the evidence lock-up."

Jake held up his hand in protest. "Ok, ok - let me get this right. Wordsworth wants us to break into the police department and steal the clock that was used to frame you 2 guys? That's stupid."

"Hey!" protested Dave. "Just because you don't get the big picture is no reason to call an idea stupid."

"No, he's right, Dave." Insisted Max. "There is absolutely no reason for all of us to take this chance. Matter of fact, the more I think about it, there is no reason any of us should take that chance."

Dave cocked his head, raised an eyebrow and stared incredulously at Max. "Dude! Are you serious. Wordsworth said-"

"Yeah, I know but it's safe right where it is for now."

Britney scratched her head in a state of confusion. "OK, I know this may sound blond but I don't get it. What kind of scavenger hunt is this anyway and why do we need a compass?"

"Speaking of that compass, Max Seconds," interjected Bella with her hands on her hips. "What was with that mysterious woman who came out of the aisles and gave that to you?"

"Yeah, she was a fox," commented Jeff.

"Stone cold fox." Added Jake shaking his right hand 3 times. "Man she was Phoebe Cates meets Audrey Hepburn hot."

Sloan punched Jake in the shoulder and tilted his head towards Bella.

"Ow! What? I'm just sayin' -" Jake caught a glimpse of Bella's dagger shooting stare. "Oh, well, you know for an older woman. She probably has kids our age."

Dave shook his head and chuckled, "Smooth, x-lax."

"Well!" demanded Bella with widening eyes.

"A friend of Wordsworth." Max stated with a 'I don't have time for this' tone. "Before you get the wrong idea about her, she's too old for me and not my type. Not that I have anything against the handicapped."

"Handicapped, HA! She looked perfectly normal to me."

Max smiled. "She was blind, Bella. The sun glasses weren't to look cool, they were to hide her eyes."

"Yeah, that was freaky." Dave stated with a shiver. "That whole dead eye thing."

"Really?" Bella queried with a remorseful tone. "Why did she give you a compass?"

Max tugged on the silver chain that hung from his belt and popped the stopwatch from his trouser pocket. He held the compass next to the stopwatch. "It's part of a set I've been collecting."

Max's words resounded in the air and smacked Dave squarely between the eyes. "It's part of a set," he repeated with an ominous awareness.

"He just said that - duh." Announced Britney.

"Maybe, but did you understand what he just said?" Dave retorted more with personal glee then as a malicious response. "Sloan, come with me."

"Hey!" protested Britney.

"Alright, you too." Dave said as he began to turn away. "Dude, I got it. It's so simple, I can't believe you didn't think of it."

Bella and the J's stared at Max, each looking for an answer. Max shrugged, "What, Dave? What is it?"

"The less you know the better. We'll catch up with ya later tonight."

"Perfect-O, Dave!" Max shouted as he watched the trio run out of sight. Turning back to Bella and the boys, he found that they were still staring at him. "I have no idea where they're off too."

They all began to walk back the few blocks to the parking lot where they left the van. Max slid his arm around Bella's waist as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

Jake suddenly turned, pushed Jeff a few steps back, shouted, "Last 1 to the van is a fag," and took off running.

Jeff regained his footing and set after in hot pursuit.

Max and Bella laughed as they watched the two teenage youths in expensive suits chase each other through the park as if they were little boys.

"I guess this park brings out the kid in everyone." Stated Bella before abruptly stopping.

Max stopped and tilted his head in wonder.

"I'm sorry, Max, I forgot. That was insensitive of me."

"Forgot what?"

"Founder's Park. This is the park your twin brother disappeared from, isn't it?"

Max looked around at the park. This is the same park he remembered all his life as a fun and happy place. Even though he knew that Rex was not his twin, he was still his little brother and it was from this park he disappeared. Suddenly Max felt a deeper longing for his brother and for his own childhood. He realized how easily the little memories that we all take for granted were precious; regardless of how insignificant they seemed. He thought too of Potts and the ripples he had lost himself in. Did he shout for the things he remembered or the things he lost? "Wow, that happened so long ago, I barely remembered it was this park."

"Still, I'm sorry."

He slid his arm back around her. "Don't be silly. There is nothing to be sorry about."

As they walked, she changed the subject. "So was that lady really blind or are you just trying to make me feel better?"

"Of course she was blind. Why would I make something like that up?"

"Because she was a beautiful woman and I am your jealous girlfriend."

"Girlfriend, huh," Max stated with a smug jest. "When did that happen?"

"Oh, I don't know. Sometime between you going to jail and a beautiful blind woman giving you expensive gifts."

"Oh, no wonder I missed it. I was so preoccupied."

Bella stopped, grabbed him by the lapels of his suit coat, and kissed him long and passionately.

Max smiled. "Now that ... that I'll remember."

"You better," she said giving 1 solid last tug on his lapels. Looking over his left shoulder, she noticed a large red and black stripped tent with several pennants flying from its poles. "Ooh, what's that?"

Max looked over his shoulder and stared at the circus like tent. He looked at the flag flying from the middle pole, a golden lion rampant on a field of red. "Hmm, looks like the Renaissance Faire is in town."

"Ren Faire," she shouted with delight. "I love Ren Faire. Can we go on Saturday? Pleeeease!"

"Sure. Sounds like fun."

Bella hopped a few paces with delight and mumbled something incoherent under her breath.

"What?" He asked as she bounced a few more feet ahead of him.

Again she mumbled something as she began to walk further ahead.

"What - did - you - say?" He repeated louder.

"I said, last 1 to the van is a fag!" she shouted as she took off running.

Max shook his head and counted off 3 seconds on his fingers before he set out after her.

As they ran past the counter charged pavilion tent, neither noticed the cold callous eyes that watched them from the shadows with-in.


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 Post subject: Rex in Effects
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:08 am 
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The dark organ music plays again...

There in the tent is Rex, 38 y/o, he in this form is the twin of Max. Max and he look identical except for Rex's dark brown eyes that are reminiscent of two Hersey's kisses,his freckles seemed to have faded away, his dark eyebrows arch, looking almost Spock-like. He is wearing a dark suit identical to the one Max and Max's crew wears, he peers out the tent observing them, a broad smile seems to have been painted across his face. He laughs to himself, then a female voice emits:

" Rex, whats so funny,dear?" Its Loria in her tradmark little black dress, she eyes him with curiousity.

" Loria, my sweet dark rose, everything the Chancellor has said is coming true. Max came here to Founder's park as the Chancellor claimed he would." Rex said, looking like someone who won the lottery.

" And just how did he know he was going to do that? " Loria inquired, massaging Rex's muscular shoulders.

" He has always had a spy follow Wordy, he never trusted him, Max happened to cross paths with Wordy, our spy hid somewhere in the library, he radioed me about what Max's next step was to be." Rex breathed in Loria, he grinned at her soft caress.

" Perfect-o, as Dave would say, blaah, how cheesey. " Loria thought outloud, then an inner voice said ' At least he has one, what do you have?' Loria frowned at this, yet tried to ignore the voice " Rexy, whats on the agenda tonight?"

Rex eyed the lovely mysterious women, his eyes traveled from the top of her head to her toes, what a vision, he was in lust. He said " They would arrest me for saying what I was thinking, haha. Yet really what I would like to do is go to Lex's Diner, grab some grub, and then get the time pieces that we are missing."

"Sounds like a great plan" The future Gloria said, then they both decided to leave to Lex's.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:46 pm 
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And so there it is in black and white, the proverbial chess game, Rex versus Max. Rex used Johnny "Judas " and his entourage and now is using the Chancellor
( who has a vendetta against Wordsworth ), Loria, and everyone he can to get to Max, unbeknowingly, Max is using his crew and Wordsworth in defense.
Rex has been holding a grudge against Max since that tragic day at Founder's Park, he believes Max knocked him unconscious and hid him in the basement of the Park's office. This was not the case, yet Rex has been holding on to that belief, and wants vengeance.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:53 am 
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Lana carefully opened Max's roll top desk. She knew that he had just purchased this and had it in a specific order, which was rather funny. For years and years their mother begged and pleaded with him to clean his room, pick up his things, etc, etc, but to no avail. Now, he is like Felix Unger in his meticulous straightening and orderly organized life style. 'If he wasn't dating Bella, I'd lay odds he was gay.' She thought as she began her search for envelopes and stamps.

Carefully opening the first drawer she found colored pens. The next, colored pencils. As she opened each drawer she found art supplies after art supplies. However, what she didn't find was even a single scrap of paper. She opened the 2 drawers on the left hand side and found them empty. Opening the type writer hutch, she found the typewriter, but again no paper.

She returned the desk to the condition she found it, deciding that her search his was futile. She quietly closed the door behind and took 3 paces before turning around and re-entering the room. "This is silly. He has art supplies but no paper?"

Opening the night stand she found cigarettes, spare change, and his ash tray but no envelopes, stamps, or paper. The chest a drawers, clothes. The closet, old games, assorted shoe boxes, and clothes. Searching through the shoe boxes she found - shoes. She blew the strands of blond hair that had fallen over her crystal blue eyes in frustration. "This is just sick," she mumbled as she placed the boxes back in order.

Closing the closet door, she scanned the room for any place left unchecked. She had already examined every logical and obvious location. Returning to the night stand, she lit a cigarette and plopped down on the bed. "Alright the Max, where would you store office supplies?" She spoke aloud to the reflection in the mirrored closet door. "Don't look at me lady, I don't know either." She smoked the remainder of the cigarette before deciding to, once again, chalk this up as futile.

Leaving the room as she had before, she took exactly 3 steps before turning around and entering Max's room for the 3rd time. "Alright, goddamn it, this is just too bizarre," she muttered as she grabbed the corner post of the foot-board and slip the bed a few feet. Getting on her hands and knees she looked under the bed for any box, bag, or case that may hold a piece of paper, a sticky note, something that resembled one. "Hell, I'd settle for a skin magazine at this point. Just something to show he's human." But, alas, she found nothing at all.

Disgusted and out of ideas, she rose to her feet. With a giant heave she shoved the bad back into position, but, she heaved too hard. The Mattress slid off the box spring and and landed with it's edge on the floor, resting at a precarious angle against the bed frame. She rolled her eyes skyward and shook her head. Flipping the comforter out of her way to grab th mattress handle, she found the objects of her hunt. Between the mattress and the box spring laid 4 sketch pad notebooks. "Jackpot."

Flipping through the pages of the sketch pads she found various drawings ranging from band logos to Dungeons & Dragons drawings. She even found a few of his Rubix Cube with some mathematical formulas and numbers next to it. Finally she came upon some sketches of him and Dave, preliminary DSoOz sketches, and then the rest were of Bella. She completed the entire pad and the remainder were that of Bella. "Poor kids got it bad."

Grabbing the last book, she found that once again, the pictures were of Bella. This time though, he had expanded from mere sketches to full on water colors, pastels, colored pencils and ink. She flipped down to the last page and she stopped, not because there were no more pages but because of the image that resided there. It was near perfect, almost a photograph. Smiling so broadly, she brought her hand to her mouth. "Little brother, you so need to get laid."

Image

The sound of closing doors alerted her of the presence of Max and others down stairs in the driveway. Hurriedly, she replaced the books and yanked the mattress back in place. She straightened the blankets and aligned the comforter back on the bed to the best of her recollection. Moving from the 2nd floor to the 1st with a graceful slide down the banister, she strode through the kitchen and out to the driveway.

"Where's Dave?" She asked expecting him to be there.

"He ran off with Sloan and Britney," stated Max as he held the van's sliding door open for Bella. "He said something about meeting us back here later. Why, can't you bare to be away from him?"

Lana rolled her head. "Like ... yah. Totally whithering away away without him. Thank gawd I didn't throw away my vibrator yet."

Max held up his hand. "T.M.I. , Sis, T.M.I."

Bella couldn't help but laugh when she saw how uncomfortable Max was with his sister's sexuality. She stepped up behind him, wrapped her arms around his waist, and whispered in his ear. "Vibrators ... dildos ... anal pleasure beads, oh my."

Max turned around and pulled Bella close to him. "Oh, I know a little girl whose in need of a good spankin'!"

Jake and Jeff, who had been quiet the entire drive back from downtown, stood next to the garage door in hushed conversation. Jake was the 1st to speak aloud. "Hey Max, can we talk to you for a minute."

"Alone," added Jeff.

"Yeah," agreed Jake. "Alone."

"It's male bonding time, Bell," announced Lana. "Why don't you come inside with me and we can have a little girl time?"

Bella released her hold on Max and backed away. "You hear that," she said cupping her ear. "Girl time. You boys go ahead and talk your man talk, Lana and I will be inside talking about the Suffragette Movement and other new fangled notions."

Max winked and mouthed, "Thank You," as Lana and Bella entered the house together.

Closing the door behind her, Lana pushed Bella a little farther into the kitchen and away from the door. "Oooh, we need to talk."

Max turned to Jake and Jeff and opened the man door to the garage/office. "Alright boys," he stated as he flipped on the florescent shop lights. "What's on your minds?"

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:10 am 
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Britney paced the corridor with a realized sense of uselessness. She didn't know how to use the microfilm machine. She didn't understand the Dewey Decimal System. She didn't even understand half of what Sloan and David were talking about. Her epiphany of inadequacy was multiplied when she realized that even now she paced alone in a cold hallway because it was the only thing she could think to do to not get in the way.

Heading downstairs to use the facilities, her hard sole brown pumps broke the deafening silence. A synchronous click-clack was issued and echoed as she descended into the large, quiet, empty library. Making a sharp left, she headed past the librarians desk and down the east hall toward the restroom when she heard muffled voices. She stopped and listened closely having recognized Sloan's voice. She realized from the metallic sound in his voice, it was a speaker amplified broadcast of him.

She reached down and took off each of her heels. Tip-toeing across the marble tiles, she approached the security room door, brushed back her auburn hair from left ear, and listened closely. Sloan was reading aloud from a newspaper article about the annexation of Vanderhall Woods into city boundaries. 'Whoa, that's an old newspaper. Vanderhall was incorporated before my parents were born,' she thought.

Stepping away from the door she continued toward the restroom. Just entering the inner foyer, she wondered why anyone was listening to Sloan? Entering the stall, she wondered when they installed microphones in the microfilm room? Setting her shoes down, she began to place the sanity liner on the seat when she wondered why anyone was listening to Sloan and David anyway? Hiking up her pleated wool skirt, she was about to slide down her panties when she thought, 'I wonder if they know they are being bugged?'

Bursting out of the stall, she ran around the backside of the library to the Children's Area. Grabbing a bright yellow piece of construction paper and a black marker she made her way around to the stair case. Bounding 2 stairs at a time, she quietly skip-glided down the corridor as she scribbled on the paper. Gently turning the handle she opened the door and stepped inside.

Sloan was still reading aloud with his back to the door and did not notice her entry. David looked up and stared at the sprawl on the yellow paper: !!! DANGER !!! ROOM IS BUGGED !!!

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 Post subject: The J's
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:37 am 
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Jeff closed the door and took his place next to Jake at the drafting table.

"So, Max," started Jake. "Don't take this the wrong way but how do we fit into your grand scheme exactly?"

"Yeah," interjected Jeff. "I mean Dave 'The Dude' is your right hand man. That's cool, Jake here is mine, but we've been thinkin' - what's our role in all of this?"

Max opened the small fridge and grabbed 3 bottles of beer. "I've been wondering when we were going to get around to having this discussion." He sat 2 of the bottles in front of the J's as he popped the 3rd and took a long swig. He knew this talk was coming but wasn't sure if the J's could comprehend or appreciate the situation. These guys were jocks and although smart guys, they were still in jock party mode. He broke it down for them in terms he thought they would understand best. "You boys are my defensive line. Think of this as an iron-man football team. I'm the quarterback, Dave's the half back, Sloan's our center and you 2 are left and right guards. But- being that this is an iron-man team, you are also my tight ends and eligible receivers."

Both boys nodded in unison, but as always, Jake spoke 1st. "So, we are the deceptive line. Visible to the other team but not considered an offensive threat until it's too late."

Taking another drink, Max pointed with the bottle. "Exactly. While everyone is busy looking at me and trying to find a way to get past you guys, they forget that you guys can also receive the ball - leaving them vulnerable in the back field."

"Cool!" exclaimed Jeff as he greedily drank from his bottle.

"Very cool," Max continued. "After all, the quarterback doesn't win the game, the team does - and you guys are my team. My 1st line of defense and my point makers. Sure, I may get the credit, but you guys get the actual glory."

"I don't know, Max." Jake interrupted with a loud belch. "What you're sayin' is all well and good but I'd feel a whole lot better if I had a playbook. I mean, right now, it feels like we are purely playing man on man and catch as catch can. Since you are the quarterback, you are also the the captain and coach. Right now, we've had some nice skirmishes but no true sense of camaraderie. We feel more like pick up players then a part of the actual team."

"We ain't sayin' it ain't fun," Jeff said as he grabbed another beer from the mini fridge. "But we kinda feel like 3rd wheels. Lets face it, that whole Johnny Judas thing ... that was because of us. We didn't have our head in the game and we got pretty beat up out there, coach. It was touch and go all the way 'til the final gun."

"Let me stop ya right there." Max sat the bottle on the table as he removed his suit jacket and hung it on the old fashioned wooden coat rack. Lighting up his cigarette with his Zippo, the lighter made a harsh clink as the lid closed. "First off, I under estimated our opponent based on our previous game with them. Yes, we had our asses handed to us in the 1st quarter, but that was my fault, not yours. I should have anticipated a game change up but I didn't. I should have prepare you guys to expect anything, but again, I didn't. As the captain of this team, I apologize. I should have discussed our game plan with you guys. I didn't keep my head in the game and I let you down; I let the team down. Any and all mistakes made here were solely caused by my negligence."

"Well, that's kinda why we wanted a copy of the playbook." Jeff stated hesitantly.

"What Jeff is trying to say, Max, is that you shouldn't have to bare the burden yourself. I mean, yeah, you got Dave and he knows the plays or at least has been there during their design. But we want to be more pro active contributors to our game plan."

"Yeah, before the whole Klein incident, it was all fun and games. We were playing everything off the cuff."

"Now, it's seems to be getting really serious. The beatin' the livin' shite outta the bullies was cool - "

"Really cool," interjected Jeff.

"But something else is going on now." Jake took off his coat and hung it next to Max's. "I can't put my finger on it, but I know things have gone to another level. You and Dave going to jail. Wordsworth actin' all tweaky. Hot blind women givin' you gifts. The trip to downtown this mornin' that was for nothin'. And that whole incident at the Banks house last night. You can't deny it, Max. Somethin's goin' down and we want to be a bigger part of it."

"Fair enough, I can respect that. Believe me, I can respect that and I appreciate you guys coming to me with this."

Jeff's smile beamed across his fas as he swayed his head from side to side like a happy puppy. "So no more secrets and we all come clean as a team then, right?"

"Absolutely, Jeffrey. You have my word on it." Max said raising his beer bottle in toast.

The boys toasted to their new found honesty among each other. Jake finished his beer and grabbed 3 more from the fridge.

"Max, can I ask you a question?" Inquired Jeff in a more serious tone.

"Only if I can ask you one back?" Max replied as he exhaled 3 perfect smoke rings.

"Why do you call me, Jeffrey? Only my mom when she is pissed or my grandparents call me Jeffrey."

Perceived importance is importance perceived." Max replied as he took the fresh beer that was handed to him. Setting the empty down, he dropped his cigarette butt into the empty glass. A muffled sizzle sound briefly emitted as the liquid remnants met the hot ember. "It's the whole Jake and Jeff mystique. Without even seeing Jake here, the name conjures visions of a rough and tough individual."

"Thank you, Max."

"Anytime, sir." Max nodded to Jake. "However, Jeff makes me think of a wimpy pencil pushing fact checker in some little cubical in an office high rise; no offense."

Jake punched Jeff in the shoulder. "That's you man."

Jeff gave Jake the middle finger before returning his attention to Max.

"Jeffrey, however, has a lofty weight about. It instills a sense of power, of breeding, of one commanding both presence and respect. Hence, a perceived importance."

Jeff's smile returned. "Cool. I always thought it sounded a little prissy and preppy, but the way you explain it, hell yeah. Jeffrey! A forced to be reckoned with."

The beer bottles clanking filled the room as they toasted in unison, "Jeffrey!"

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 Post subject: Fritz
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Dave tapped Sloan on his shoulder and pointed at Britney. "So, does it say who originally initiated the Annexation?"

Sloan read the message and stared at Britney who motioned with her head repeatedly at the door. "No, unfortunately, the reporter did not give a thorough detail in this edition. I will need to peruse ahead to subsequent editions. Did you find anything in the newsreels?"

Dave held his fingers up with the "OK" sign. "Yeah, it's a quick blurb just a few minutes long. Let me play it for us." He reached over and hit the play button on the VCR.

As the video tape began, they each crept toward the door looking for the microphones. Sloan grabbed Dave by the shoulder and pointed at the old clock on the wall. In the middle of the empty circle of the number '6' resided a small condenser mic. They stepped outside the room and ever so gently closed the door.

"What the hell is going on?" Britney asked impatiently. "This isn't good."

"No it isn't," replied Dave. "That video tape only gives us roughly 15 minutes to find out what's going on."

Sloan reached out his large hand and caressed Britney's cheek. "How did you discover that we were being eaves dropped upon, my sweet?"

Britney recited the events as they occurred, all the while her knees were locked as she lightly bounced in place. "So, old Fritz the Night Watchman is spying on us."

"This doesn't bode well, David." Announced Sloan as he walked towards the balcony's stone balustrade and peered over. Returning, he spoke in a hushed voice. "His office is directly under the table that Max and Wordsworth met at this afternoon. If his door was even the slightest bit ajar, he could have overheard the entire conversation and we would have never been aware of his presence."

"You guys are freaking me out," stated Britney as she swayed at her hips from side to side.

"I must concur with Miss Britney, David. This is becoming most peculiar in a Ian Fleming way. What have you and Max gotten us involved in anyway?"

Dave looked around and spoke in silent whispers like the rest of them. "Look, I'd love to fill ya in, but I just can't right now."

"I know Max said this is about finding his missing brother and all," replied Sloan gathering the trio into a make-shift huddle. "But it appears we have stumbled into something bigger. Some conspiracy of sorts that we are not supposed to find, yet have done just so."

"That's exactly what it is. Somebody has been messing with Max's life and his family for years now." Dave peered above the huddle for a second of quick re-con. "Years and years. There is so much I want to tell you, Sloan, but I can't right now. We've got less then 10 minutes left on that news reel, I say we make the best of it."

"What are you suggesting, sir?"

"We go downstairs and get Fritz. We find out exactly what he knows, everything he knows, and who he's been telling it too."

"Wait - you're not seriously talking about beating up that old man are you guys?" Britney innocently asked as her little bounce became increasingly urgent.

Sloan stared into Dave's eyes looking for confirmation or denial.

"If that's what it comes down to, hell yeah."

"Right, lets do this then." Announced Britney as she headed toward the stairs.

Sloan grabbed her by the hand, "Wait. I would never presume to be your superior but I must protest. I will not allow you to willing place yourself in peril."

"Peril, shmeril - I gotta go pee." She announced through clenched teeth.

Dave, who had already loosened his tie, began rolling up his sleeves as he descended the stairs. "Lets do this then."

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Coursing throught the veins of sirs David and Sloan was the the" fight or flight" hormone: Epinephrine, that plays a central role in short-term stress reactions. In the cases of the sirs, it was the " fight" that was taking over their raging hormones.

The two towering gentlemen in dark expensive suits raced down the stairs. Midway down, Sloan brought his tree branch-like bicep out to block Dave.

Sloan yells "Dave ' The Dude' as they call you, Hold on, hold on, this is assuredly lunacy, my good man! I can see what will be sprawled on the front page of the Daily Metro Times tomorrow, in black and white ' 2 local teenagers maul security guard ', thats ominous at best". His flushed face slowly returns to his normal tan complexion.

Dave, his turquise eyes now narrowed, abit flustered, he airs out " Sloan, bro, thats just perfect-o", he say this sarcastically and then continues " So, what? We let the freaking jerk escape? What the hey,bro ?"

Sloan, his diameter twice that of Dave's: cuts an imposing figure even in a brooks brothers double breasted suit, says " Sir, you are not getting my elucidation, I said it is improper for high schoolers to take out a man who has possibly seen action in WW2; if he was near our age, another story," Sloan looks side to side and continues " Amazing, and everyone thought you were the sensible one among us 2, they think this due in part to my imposing appearance."

Dave cooled down, his back to the wall,his gaze drops to the floor, says " Ok, ok, sorry,bro, I just...you know... was starting to go postal. Look, I was a dork who got beat up on a weekly business. So, Max did the perfect-o, flipping the script, was a mind-f--- which I love. And then we busted skulls again and again, it just felt--feels perfect-o to stop every jerk who wants to muck with us.'"

" Sir Dave, its unnecessary to divulge this to me, as you may recollect, I was the massive loner sitting by the lockers, no friends, no associates, nothing, then you all invited me into your circle, I thought it was a practical joke. I was waiting for the punch-line, even after that week I was still waiting, yet this is --He is real, I love Max for what he has done for me, us. Then, I got a girl friend, I thought no girl would ever go for me,yet I feel she digs me, then the DSoOZ movie going down, us rolling in monetary bank notes and commodities, its---"

" Un-F---ing believable? I am sure thats not the word you were going for, yet I think you can agree with it, just perfect-o. " Dave said, his hands on his knees,
resting abit.

Sloan nods his voluminous head.

Dave continued " Holy cow, Slaon my man, I can't even believe I was about to gang bang Fritzy, dudes older than dirt, not perfect-o.."

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* * *

Lana pushed Bella all the way through the kitchen, past the dining room and up the stairs.

"Whoa, whoa, slow down, Lana." Bella pleaded nearly tripping on the landing.

"No time, kid. I don't know how long Max will spend with the boys." Lana said as she yanked Bella into Max's room.

"Lana, slow down, you're scaring me." Bella reiterated. "If you want to tell me Max is going to break up with me, I don't want to hear about it."

"What? No, no, no. Just wait. You gotta see these." Kneeling at the side of the bed, Lana slid her hand between the mattress and the box spring and grabbed the last sketch pad. Turning around, she held the pad against her cut-off sweat shirt. "OK, you gotta promise to never tell Max I showed you these."

Bella widened her eyes and smiled like a mischievous child. She recognized the sketch pad as Max's 'private' eyes only notebook. "I swear, I swear." She squealed with built up estrogen enthusiasm.

"Ok, not here." Lana peered out in the hallway and looked both ways before crossing over to her room. Ushering Bella in , she closed the door. "Ok, ok, you gotta promise me you'll never tell him I showed you."

Bella's mind ran a mile a minute. She had never seen Lana this giddy before. Lana and her sister Becky were always the too cool for school seniors - even when they weren't. What in the world could Max have sketched that has now made Lana so anxed? Her mind was flooded with possibilities. Were they naked sketches of her? Sexual day dreams? She had to know. "Alright, I promise already. For god sake, Lana, the anticipation is killing me."

Smiling like a junior high girl again, Lana handed Bella the sketch pad but didn't completely relinquish her grip on it. "Remember your promise."

Bella tugged it out of her hand. "I swear to god, you are worse then my sister, Becky, when it comes to secrets." She opened the first page and began looking through the sketches. They were beautifully drawn pictures of her. Profiles, full body, miscellaneous poses in different clothes. She was slightly disappointed that there were no nudes of her, but at least there were no drawings of Gloria, nude or otherwise.

"Well ... well?" Urged Lana searching for the response she was looking for.

Bella squealed 1st which was echoed by Lana.

"Wait until you get to the color ones. I don't know what you've got on him, but let me tell ya, you got him."

Bella looked at her with a giddy Christmas day stare. "What do ya mean, Lan? I mean these are nice and all-" she pause and searched her mind for the right words. "I was kinda hoping there would be some nudes. You know, some whack-off fantasy stuff."

"What? Are you kidding me? This is so much better. This isn't any cheap, seeing women as objects of lust, porn crapola. This is Harlequin Romance love story quality."

"They're just sketches."

Lana threw her hands into the air. "Oh, you just don't get it. Bell. For teenage boys, it's all about the boobs and the butt. Sex, sex, sex. That's all they ever think about. It's this base primal need all boys go through. But this is so much more, Bell. Max has a thing for you, some kind of emotional thing that isn't based on what his penis says."

Bella thought about that for a moment, it flattered her but she didn't want to build her hopes up. She glanced from the sketches to Lana's smiling face. "Lots of artists draw girls, it doesn't necessarily mean anything."

"Oh my God - you're not just some random girl and it's not like you posed for these. He was thinking of you when he was drawing. You were on his mind, kind of like that Elvis Presley song... 'You are always on my mind...'" Lana swooned out to a giggling Bella. "Look, Max is a dorky boy, that's true, but any guy whether young or old wouldn't think of somebody this much if they were just a crush. I mean look at these. Really look at them. He's got you in outfits he imagines you in. That's deep - hell, that's love. And I know he's my li'l bro and all, but damn, he loves you."

Bella closed the sketch book and traced the lettering on the front with her index finger. "If that's true, then why did he sleep with Gloria?" she whispered, hoping that Lana hadn't heard her.

"My God Bella, are you that clueless? Just because he slept with her doesn't mean she means anything to him. Gloria is a slut who was selling the right stuff at the right time. Sex doesn't have to be about love. There is a significant difference between f@%king and making love. But, you'll figure that out later." Lana said and sucked in her bottom lip slightly. "Now if I can just get a man to feel that way about me. Ca'mon, we got to get this back to Max's room before he gets back." She slipped the sketchpad from Bella's hands and peaked out into the hallway.

Bella thought about what Lana just said and she let her mind swim in the possibilities. "Bella Seconds. No wait, Mrs. Bella Elizabet Seconds. Oh, that's too hip."

Lana returned and jumped on her bed, belly down, behind Bella. "Oh God, don't tell me I created a monster. Promise me you won't be one of those little air heads that draws hearts all over everything she owns with 'Bella + Max 4 Ever' written inside them."


* * *


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"So what's it gonna be, guys?" whispered Britney as came up from behind with her brown leather pumps in hand.

Dave and Sloan jumped with shock at her sudden and silent appearance. Dave gave her a stern stare and waved his index finger at her sharply while Sloan grabbed his chest in a simulated heart attack.

"Sorry," she smiled briefly. "I hate to point out the obvious but - tic toc - times a wasting. If you aren't going to beat up gramps, you better get back upstairs before he figures out we know somethings wrong."

Sloan and Dave simultaneously look at each other before slowly turning their heads to stare at Britney.

Her shoulders hunched as she stared wide-eyed and looked side to side. "What?"

"Dude, either you kiss her or I will." Announced Dave as they all headed back toward the stairs. "I'll return upstairs and pretend to carry on like before. Britney, you rush into to the security room and get him to go to the ladies room. While he's with you, Sloan can snoop around the office and find out what he can about Fritz and his buddies."

"One problem with your scenario, Sir," whispered Sloan and he gestured at his portly frame. "I do not really fit the infiltration without detection criteria. I belong upstairs, that is where my talent truly shines."

"Right, right," Dave concurred. "But you better get moving, that news reel is about finished."

Sloan gave Britney a quick kiss on the cheek as he passed her and climbed the stairs. Reaching the room, he opened the door and quietly crossed the room to stop the VCR. Taking 3 long breaths to catch his breath and slow his heart rate, he announced, "Yeah that's pretty much the same story as we already know." He hit the stop button and faked it. "According to the issue a week before," he quickly flipped the microfilm plate back 7 days and read aloud.

Dave listened for Sloan's voice to filter down the stairwell too him. 'Good, he left the door open so I could hear him. Perfect-o!' "Ok, in a few minutes, you need to burst in and get him into the bathroom to help you find something."

Britney stared at him confused. "Lost what? I don't have anything to lose."

Dave reached out, grabbed the cameo from around her neck and tugged it enough to break the clasp. "There, you lost your locket."

"Hey! That was gift to me from-"

"Don't tell me, tell him." Dave said as he pointed down to the security office. "And remember, it fell down the drain. It's a reasonable request that his old world manners will demand his actions. But just in case he's an asshole, don't take no for an answer. He's gotta go with you." Britney started to creep towards the door when Dave walked up behind her. "Why are you creeping? Put on your shoes and make some noise. Let him think you are really running and a hysterical woman."

"If I don't get that cameo back, David Lane," She mumbled as she put on her pumps. "Then you will see a hysterical woman."

"Perfect-o," whispered Dave as he hid behind the Librarian's Desk.

Britney charged down the hall and burst into the security office. Dave couldn't make out exactly what was being said, but whatever it was, took less then a minute to get the Night Watchman out of the office. Pointing the way and demanding his immediate attention to her dilemma, Fritz snapped to her pleas and demands. Waiting for them to completely enter the Ladies Room, Dave made his move.


* * *


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 Post subject: Haranguing of the GUARD
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Sloan standing erect, his long spine was rigid, looked at Dave with a raised eyebrow and said " According to Sun Tzu : to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest of excellence."

Dave usually not one to be stumped says " What the f-- are you talking about,bro?"

Sloan smiles, adjusts his black tie to its center, leans in towards Dave and says " Sir, instead of fisticuffs, we stroll in looking like warriors to instill fear
in the heart of the security guard, he will wilt in front of us just by our sight, and spill the proverbial beans. All this will be done with out shedding a drop of blood. Thus, sir, straighten up, puff your chest out, and lets do it."

Dave denies this " Bro, no offense, yes peacefully is perfect-o, yet I think you will stick out like a sore thumb, why don't you help Brittany, and I will
take care of biz-niz, sound cool?" Dave says this, lsliding his fingers smoothly under his black jacket's lapels.

Sloan expels " Sir David, I shall do as thee wish,great sir, I find myself richer to be under thine command. God Speed." Sounding Shakespeare-like as he says this, and goes off to find his beloved Britanny.

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 Post subject: Changing of the Guard
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The changing of the guard from his post to the female's wash room was swift, the elderly man fished for the locket, and retrieved it, handed it to Britanny and said he had to return back to his post, Britanny in her tight chocolate colored dress that left little to the imagination tried to seduce the old man, hugging him and even go so far as stroking his buzzed head saying " Wow, that feels fuzzy, thank you sir for saving my life. Without this, my mom would kill me."

The frail blue uniformed officer smiled, winked one of his steely eyes, and was adamant in returning to his post. He barged out the handleless door, and returned towards the office.

Just as Dave was unlocking the door, Fritz eyed the young man and said " Lad, what are you doing?" he said this in a tone of voice similar to that a parent uses when scolding their child, when said child does something wrong.


" Uh,pops, is this the private study room?" Dave asks, trying to fake out the old man.

The guard stares blankly, strokes the few strands of hair that are left standing at attention on his head, and says " Lad, if we were not in a library I could almost believe you could read, yet its clear as day on the door in black paint " Security office ", so please no shenanagins, you do not strike me as a hooligan, so please retell me 'what are you doing'". Fritz says this, he may be worse for wear, yet his mind is still intact.

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Dave, knowing he is caught, darts his eyes side to side then to the officer, looking for sympathy, and just getting a blank face in return, realizes his best option is to tell him a half truth, " Gramps, I was looking for you, it was an emergency, I was desperate, so I decided to try to bust open the door."

The old officer dressed in midnight blue, mind intact, knew that he was never going to get the complete truth out of Dave decided to go along with his story for the interim " Ok, lad, breaking an entry is illegal as you may know, you were unsuccessful because I put a damper on your fun, I am letting you off the hook this time, let it happen again and I will send you up to the big house, so off with you."

Dave's mind was rushing' Lad? Hooligan? Big House? Man this dude is ancient, anyhow, it can not end here, I got to get that info'. So dave asks:

" Look Father Time, why are you spying on us?"

The man who could be Harry Morgan's twin grinned " Ahhh, I feel this is an earnest question, the first sincere thing from your mouth all day I am guessing. Its not safe talking here, come with me." He starts walking down to the basement.

" They do not have bugs down here, we can talk freely" the officer declares. " Ok, about your question, they told me to spy on you or they would kill me. He was pointing an old fashioned Nazi luger to my temple, and said if I did not do as he said he would hunt me down like a dog. "

" Who? " Dave asked, both men were covered by shadows, and they both tried to avoid cobwebs.

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" Are you this naive, the Counselor of course. He knows you know of his existence. He always seems to be one step ahead of everyone." The old guard admitted.

" Look, we need your help, can you tell us what their plans are?"


---------------------------------------------------------------

At Max's house---

Max and the J boys are chilling playing the latest Atari video games, and downing Pringles and pop like there was no tomorrow, the door bell rings.

Max gets the door, he sees a pair of traveling sales people, a man and woman, the man is wearing a black mobster outfit, and the woman is wearing an ivory
silk gown that has a criss-cross draping of the breasts affect, she has on long silk white gloves, around her neck is a ivory choker that has a clock on it, with some strands of jet black hair in her face, her visage bears a remarkable similarity to Joanna Frank's, a famous actress from a 60s Outer Limit episode.

The salesman says " Greetings, sir, we are selling cooking ware and silverware, it would be--"

"Sorry, not interested. " Max states politely.

The man, his face is finely formed, he has strong and chiseled features like a movie star's, he has a full dark head of hair that is neatly swept to on one side, pure classic, he is not diminished " Sir, before I go, I am sure that you would be particuarly interested in this fine pots and pans set I have."

Max, almost to point of frustration, halts and says " Did you say 'Potts'? "

" Yes, indeedy, these potts withstand the test of time." The handsome young slaesman eplains like hes pitching to an angel, Max delighted at this, invites them into his home.
" Please come with me." He takes the couple to his immaculate bedroom, which he notices the matress is slightly ascew about 2 centimeters off the box spring, and says to himself that he will deal with this later. " So, the infamous Potts, and you are?" he directs his question to the queen bee look-alike.

She says:

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The Joanna Frank's dead ringer put out her right hand, Mr. Pott's put her long white cigarette holder in her gloved phalanges, she took a long drag and said " My good man, I am Mrs. Pamela Potts, wife of Mr. Potts, time traveler extraordinaire." as she says this she points to her wedding ring that bears the same symbol on Mr. Potts ring and on Max's ring that was given to him by Maya Thomas, the lady with the cate-eyed sungasses.

" Potts, you look great, how are you so young?" Max asked curiously.

" You should look in the mirror sometime, Max" Mr. Potts said, using the driest of humor, slightly reminiscent to the sahara. Potts examined the truly organized room with admiration, and said " Your grandfather was quite a man, I see you have his pocketwatch." He points to the item connected to his fob.

" Yeah,you like my set? So where are the other items? " Max asked, abit in a rush " If you can time travel, can't you go back in time to when you built the time pieces?"

" Sadly, my dear Max, it is never so simple, in real life nor in stories, the Time Master has blocked any from traveling to that time, in this streamed reality." Mrs. Potts explained.

Mrs. Pott's decided to talk for her S.O., she put out her left gloved hand, Mr. Potts opened his black metal brief case, pulled out a glass from it and placed it her adoring hand, and then poured some clear liquid into the glass from a bottle he pulled out from his attach case. Mr. Potts is not obsequious, he just likes to work for his beloved.

Max thought to himself, this Time Master sounds powerful, and he sounds like he is playing a game with all of us.

Mrs. Potts then offers Max her choker and says " Please give this to Bella, it is another time piece, and it too will help you on your way. One question, do you have the notebook?"

Max snatches up the fine jewelry, thinking this is great brownie points, Bella will love it, he was sure. Just the thought of being with Bella made Max feel invincible,
empowered, 'She is the one, I know it' Max told himself, and then said:

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The phone rang interrupting the moment, Max apologized and headed to his desk. Rolling back the lid, he picked up the old fashioned 2 piece set and brought the receiver to his ear. "This is Max."

"You met me this morning at my father's shop," stated the voice on the other end of the line. "If you understand, say: Yes operator, I will accept the charges."

"Yes operator, I will accept the charges." Max announced in a calm and normal voice. He turned to his 2 guests as he held the mouthpiece against his chest. "My brother Michael, this will only take a minute." Bringing the mouthpiece back up, her turned toward the window. "Michael, how are you?"

"Clever, kid, clever. If there is a man and woman with you say: New Jersey."

"New Jersey? What was you flight diverted?" Max replied sounding concerned.

"They are not my parents, Max. My poppa is still with me and my mother died in child birth. They are the Vanderhall's - agents of the Collector."

"Yeah, I understand. You're gonna stay the night then?"

"Did the woman give you a gift? A Time Piece? If she did it's a death trap. It will send whomever opens it 1000 years into the future where they will be gradually and painfully rendered to dust."

"Yeah, but it may take some time. Lets me see." He sat the phone down and was about to flip the cover on the jeweled watch Pamela gave him as a gift.

Pamela reached over with her gloved hand and grabber his hand to prevent the cover opening. "No, no. That is for Bella, Maxwell. To open it before hand would spoil the surprise for both of you."

"Oh, Mia coppa," replied Max. "Do you have the time?"

"But of course, it is 7:43 post meridian." Pamela replied as she released her grip.

Picking back up the phone, Max spoke, "Yeah, I can meet you their but it will take me some time. Not until 9:00 or so."

"Get away from them. Get them outta your house. Tell them anything but they will kill you if they think you know."

"Well, hang tight bro, I'm coming to get ya."

Faint and nearly inaudible, Max could hear a frail voice screaming in the background, "Library."

"What turn off was that again?"

"Poppa said go to the library before it's too late."

"Is that the one in Hasbrouck Heights?" Max replied fishing for additional information.

"The one Dave is about to die at, Max. I'll be in touch." The receiver clicked and disconnected.

Max turned to his guests. "I'm sorry. That was my brother, Mike. His flight got detoured into Newark and I need to go pick him up. Can we have this discussion at another time?"

"Well certainly, Max. That's all we have is time." Announced Pamela with a dismissive swing of her cigarette holder.

Max replaced the phone and closed his desk. "Lets say Sunday at Founder's Park?"

"Let's say noonish?" she replied as she strolled toward the door. "Oh yes, and do bring my husbands note book with you."

"But of course. I have so many questions about it." Max's smile was broad but insincere, something he had become used too as of late. He lead them downstairs and out the front door. He shook their hands and promised Sunday again before closing the door. "Jake! Jeffery! Let's go."

Jake stepped from the kitchen with half a sandwich in his mouth and a bottle of beer in the other hand. "Where we going?"

"To save Dave's ass."

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Fritz scratched his chin with his flashlight, casting sinister shadows upon his crevassed and wrinkled face. "Well, that would be a conflict of interest on my part. After all, the man had a most persuasive case."

"What are you talking about, Fritz?" Replied Dave as he took a step back. "You said he threatened you life with an old Luger."

Fritz made a guttural and low laugh. Tapping the inside of his palm with the Flashlight, it clinked against his silver ring. "Well, to be honest, Dave, and we are being honest with each other now, aren't we? It was my Luger and I did try to kill him 1st. Hardly an irrational response. Far more generous then I would have been."

Dave looked at the glint of the ring as the flashlight beam crossed it's surface. It resembled the one Maya gave to Max earlier in the day. He looked back up at Fritz and could see the malicious intent that resided in his eyes. "If you take another step, old man, and I'll-"

"Kick my ass, boy. I highly doubt it."

Dave's last step was into a cob or spider web with his back squarely against the cold cement wall. Waiting for the flashlight to strike the ring once more, he struck out with 3 short jabs to Fritz's ribcage. Fritz retaliated with the flashlight to Dave's temple, dropping him instantly.

"Nice instincts boy. Too bad you hit like a girl." Fritz said as he rolled Dave over face down and cuffed his hands behind him. Standing straight, he cracked his back and rotated his shoulders. "Speaking of girls, where did that little tramp girlfriend of yours get off too? No matter. Once I press this," Fritz pulled out a stopwatch very similar to Max's and pressed the button. The second hand clicking resounded off the hard walls of the basement; echoing every second loud and clear. "She'll not move at all. Not at all."

As he climbed the stairs, he began to whistle a festive, haunting tune.


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 Post subject: OPERATION RESCUE : Dave
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Max and the J boy's jump in their black van, and motor to the Metro Library.

" Max, dude, what's up? " Jeff asks, both he and Jake turn their heads towards Max's in anticipation to his answer.

" Gentlemen, the 4-1-1 I was handed is that Fritz the security guard is going to murder our comrade Dave!" Max says, as smoke wafts out from his mouth.

The two men who's suits are slightly busting at the seams due to their foot baller frames burst out in laughter , Jake says " Oh come on, old man Fritz is going take down Dave, come on, too funny,dude. I mean.... Sloan is in the building with him, no waaay bro, Fritz is a walking corpse, no way he can get the drop on them, bwaa haaahaaa." He continues to laugh.

" Look, as preposterous as it sounds, I trust the source, I am asking you two to accompany me to save Dave. Hey, if its a practical joke, I will pay the down payment of that used corvette you two have been eying for a while. My bad. But if my sources are correct, Dave is a dead man. So you guys in?" Max asks, hoping they take his offer.

"Of course, 'No' is not any option when it comes to helping you and Dave, bro" Jake pipes up. Max puts the pedal to the metal.

8:13 pm Metro Library

The three men exit the van.
-----------------------------

In front of the Woman's Bathroom, Sloan and Britanny are in a frozen embrace. Fritz walks towards the love birds, and pulls them apart. He caresses Britanny's face with his wilted hand.
" Ahh, my prize, how lovely are you?" He says this lustfully. He peels off his prune face, its him underneath, just with out wrinkles, he does the same for his hands, and neck. Fritzs looks 30 years younger, he corrects his posture, he looks 4 inches taller, and healthier. " I fooled them, how naive, now my dear where was I? " He combs her hair with a brush----

Suddenly, Max and the Js barge in.
" Stop, you mutha@#$er!! " Max insists, his face is flushed red, and the veins in his neck start to pop.

Then the guard pushes the white button of his golden stop watch, the Js are stopped in their tracks, frozen like Sloan and Brittany, Max is still mobile, to the displeasure of Fritz.

Max laughs and says " I am guessing it does not work on people who own one of these" Max then produces the watch, Fritz's steely blue eyes become the size of silver dollars.

" You have the other watch!!!" Fritz declared.

" You have a great knack for stating the obvious" Max says wryly,his blue eyes intensify, then he leaps for Fritz. The two struggle, Fritz amazingly pulls out his Luger and says " Freeze, no pun intended."

Max stops, the guard insists he puts his hands behind his back. Fritz goes to cuff him but Max swiftly lifts his hands backwards and hits Fritz squarely in his jaw. Turns around and gives him the beat down of his life. He cuffs Fritz up. Takes the second watch, drops the clip from the Luger, and pushes the black button that unfreezes everyone.

The rest of the crew get in a few kicks on Fritz, Brittany slaps him across the face hard and shouts " Perv".

Max thinks to himself ' It would be poetic justice to freeze just the guard, yet we can use Fritz for info.'. So Max asks him " Who put you up to this? You don't tell me, I'll use both watches on you at the same time. No telling the devastating things they could do to you if activated together."

Fritz sweat bullets, his heart races " No, I'll pass on that experience. Ok, as long as it is agreed that you do not let them know I told you. It is your twin brother Rex and Loria. "

Max has never felt this way before, happy to know the truth, yet totally angered by the truth, he is not sure to trust the guard's words, he does not want to trust him.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:37 am 
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7:51 P.M.

As Fritz climbed the stairs whistling, a lone figure walked the darkened basement of the library. Between the racks of newspapers, magazines, and damaged books it strolled unconcerned with its presence being detected. It lived between the clicking seconds. When the room and the other world were stopped, it moved, breathed, and once again joined the world of the living. But it knew full well, that when the ticking stopped, so would its existence on this plane, in this time, in this here and now.

The figure approached the stairs, beckoned by the lights and the feel on moving air. It had been so long since it last felt the stir of a breeze. So long since it smelt a new aroma. So long, it couldn’t recall when last it was here, nor did it care. At this moment - it was free again. Heading upstairs to see the world, it noticed Dave lying just inside the landing.

The figure stopped before the light fell across it. Still in the darkness and not quite out of the shadows, it bent down and examined the body at its feet. Laying its hand upon Dave, movement returned to the once frozen in time and unconscious body.

“So you ain’t dead!” commented the Figure in a pinched tenor voice.

The shooting pain to his left temple confirmed this statement. Dave’s eyes fluttered as he tried to focus on the figure. “That you, Fritzie?” He croaked.

“Fritzie . . . Do I look German to you? Then again, I guess I could look German, I do have a very strong Saxon bloodline. Did you ever notice how even though you could be several generations removed from a certain genetic attribute it can still be perceived by genetically liked people? Now you just think about that.”

Dave tried to move but soon discovered he was handcuffed. The left side of his face felt swollen and throbbed mercilessly. “Fascinating.”

“Yes, it is. Now take yourself for example. Your long slender proportions and dark hair aren’t necessarily Saxon, but many Anglo-Saxon people, such as the English, are genetically tall and slender. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule but that only validates the rule. However, being that they are partially Saxon, however diluted and conversely removed, they - you - could spot that Saxon ancestry in others, such as myself. Fascinating is putting it mildly. It’s genetic memory at its core essence, now you think about that.”

“Look, dude,” Dave grumbled has he held his cuffed hands above his spine. “I got other more pressing concerns at the moment.”

“Handcuffs, did you know that they were conceived and first used in 2200 B.C. by the Carthaginians. Can you imagine, almost 4,000 years and it only gets more refined and improved upon but not replaced? From manacles to cuffs, but the concept is still the same. You know they said that Houdini could get out of any handcuff? Straight jackets too. Any old restraint in general really. There was nothing he couldn’t escape from.”

“Except the ‘Water Torture Chamber, ‘” Dave remarked after having already rolled over, sat up, and scooted backwards so he could rest against the wall. He sat half in and half out of the stairwell light with his hands behind his back. Thinking the light would help reveal the talkative figure, he found that it aided his visibility little. “Houdini couldn’t escape that, now, could he?”

“The exception to the rule,” replied the figure as he stepped closer to the light but not completely out of the darkness. Seeing Dave’s face clearly for the 1st time, he thought he’d recognized the young man. “I know you. Lange. Dashiell Lange.”

“David Lane.” Dave corrected.

“Really? Are you sure?” Asked the Figure a little surprised by his mistake.

“Yeah, dude, I know my own name.”

“So you are sure it’s not, Lange? Maybe you changed it?”

“No, Dude.” Dave began to shake his head but the pain at his temple convinced him otherwise. “Lane. Has been all my life, before I was born even.”

“Well, maybe your grandfather changed it?” The Figure insisted. “Did you know there was a famous Victorian watchmaker named Lange? Ferdinand Adolph Lange. His timepieces were coveted for their precision accuracy. You're positive it’s not Lange?”

“Look. Lane or Lange really doesn't matter.” Dave stated as a matter of fact. “Whichever I am, I’m still handcuffed. So, even though I appreciate the family history quiz and the tales of Houdini and the Corinthians-”

“Carthaginians.”

“Them too. But I got friends and a psycho old man to deal with upstairs. So, unless you know Houdini’s escape secrets or have a key . . . ”

“Well, as the Bard once said: There lies the rub.” The Figure walked across to the shadowed wall of the basement steps. He waved his hand into the stairwell. He could feel the cool air on his flesh. “I don’t have the key, but you look limber enough to slide your arms past your ass.”

Dave did as the Figure suggested and after several attempts succeeded in bringing his arms under his legs. “Holy crap, that was-“ Dave stopped in mid sentence.

The Figure walked over to Dave and waved his hand in front of his face. Dave did not blink, or move, or breath. Hearing a commotion from upstairs, the Figure turned and stepped onto the landing. “2 watches? Interesting. I thought Potts only made one?” Returning to Dave, he knelt down once again. "Sorry I won't be here when you come around, young Mr. Lange, but such is life when one exists only in-between the clicking seconds. An endless existence between the here and the now where only in brief sporadic moments am I allowed to return. To exist again. Never take those precious seconds for granted, for 1 day, this may happen to you too. You think about that now."

As suddenly as he appeared, the Figure vanished.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:43 am 
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8:23 P. M.

“-easier than I thought.” Said Dave as he stared at Jeff and Sloan. The pale incandescent bulbs we now turned on and the basement was now dim but visible. “Where did he go?”

“Damn,” said Jeff looking at Dave’s swollen face. “He must have clocked you good.”

“We have Fritz upstairs, David.” Stated Sloan as he helped Dave to his feet. “Max has given him the old once over.”

Jeff took a closer look at Dave’s swollen forehead. “Fritz got you good. We need to get some ice on that.”

“Yeah,” complained Dave pulling his head away from Jeff’s clumsy hands. “Old Fart had to use his flashlight on me.”

Helping him up the stairs, Sloan explained, “Well, as shocking as this may sound, Fritz wasn’t as old as he made himself out to be. He has been wearing a disguise this whole time. He’s probably only in his late 40's, maybe his 50's.”

Britney ran over to Dave with the handcuff keys and unlocked them. She reached up and gently touched his swollen and bruised temple.

“It feels worse then it looks,” said Dave with a smile.

“Then it must feel like hell, dude!” announced Jake as he exited the security office. “Fritz is taking a little nap - consider it pay back, Dave.” Jake winked one eye.

Max came out of the office like he was in a military parade. His chest was out, shoulders were back, and his head was up. Walking smartly and deliberately stiff, he approached Dave. Dave, for reasons he wasn’t sure of, stood at attention, as did his friends, as if there was a silent command to attention.

“David Lane,” barked Max. “For bravery in the face of danger and going above and beyond what is expected from a friend, I present you with a token of our esteem.” Max motioned to the rest of the gang. “All of our esteem.” Taking Dave’s hand, he placed the stopwatch and the ring they took from Fritz.

Everyone gave Dave congratulatory backslaps and hugs.

“So, what are we gonna do with Fritz?” Dave asked.

Max smiled and walked him to the Library door. “Not to worry, I made a call. It’s being dealt with.”

Dave put on the silver ring and watched it shrink down to the perfect size for his finger. Talking it off, it returned to a much larger size. Placing it back on, it shrank back down as before. “What does that mean, ‘it’s being dealt with?’”

Max walked down the steps beside Dave as everyone else shot past them toward the van. “We have friends that better experienced then we are to deal with the likes of him. He’ll be well taken care of.”

Dave paused at the van’s sliding door. “Wordsworth? Klein? That Maya lady?”

Turning after he entered the van, Max replied, “He’ll be taken care of. Now lets go.”

Dave nodded his head to the side and felt the throbbing pound once again reminding him of his experience with Fritz. Opening his hand, he looked at the stopwatch. It was almost identical to Max’s except made of gold. Examining it under the street light glow, he could make out the manufacturer’s logo: A. Lange & Söhne.

Turning back to look at the library, he remembered the Figure in the basement. Placing the watch in his pocket, he climbed into the van and slid the side door closed.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:48 am 
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8:27 P. M.

Lex's Diner was over flowing with customers. Although the name conjures images of a small little roadside cafe, it was in actuality a large multi-roomed restaurant. Casual diners, birthday parties, anniversaries, or formal functions could be held here without any sense of not belonging. The military memorabilia that adorned the walls created a very patriotic ambiance and mood. Movie posters and lobby cards of famous stars mixed with actual images of famous people or moments created a well toned theme showing bravery without the suggestion of violence. The diner's several sections were also adorned with military names. The HQ, Officer Quarters, The Mess Hall, and the Brig. The kitchen was appropriately named, The Galley. Each room bore a motif an warmth that appealed to one and all. Both young and old found the establishment a comfortable and warm surrounding.

Among the other charms of Lex's Diner were the odd array of doors. Some resembled ship bulk-heads, Aircraft, barrack doors, or simple canvas draw curtains. The only room that did not have a door was that of Lex's office itself, which only added to the diner's charm. After all, the highlight of the diner was its owner, Lex, whose image graced the mural along the entry wall. Although the image was of a much younger, virile Lex, there was no mistaking the now forty-something year old man who owned the establishment. Lex had an open door policy to both his employees as well as his patrons. The placard to the right hand side of the door frame simply stated: Lex's Office - Knock Before Entering. It was this open door policy that made his employees comfortable due to the ease of accessibility but also mindful of their responsibilities because Lex could both see and hear most everything that happened in his diner.

Rex and Loria were seated in a small booth in the HQ Room. This was the 21 and older Night Club section of the restaurant complete with bar, dance floor and band stage. Black and white interspersed booths lined the upper tier, whereas 3 steps down, small white linen covered tables surrounded the dance floor. Like the rest of Lex's, the walls were strewn with Maps, War Bond Posters, tattered flags and insignias from several different era's and nations.

"I'm bored," groaned Loria as the 4 piece jazz quartet played yet another tune she didn't know.

Chewing the orange peel from his single malt on the rocks, Rex pretended not to hear her. He stared transfixed at the Abbott & Costello "Buck Privates" movie poster that hung on the wall behind his booth.

"Are you listening to me?" She said in a more demanding tone. "You said we were going to have some fun. Listening to jazz is not what I thought you had in mind."

"Shut up," snapped Rex in annoyance. "I have plans in the works which require my undivided attention. As tempting as your devotion is, my sweet pet, I cannot just indulge my base sensual pleasures. I have to stay focused."

"You mean you have to wait to find out what those 2 freaks can accomplish."

"Liberty and Justice Vanderhall make even my dark dreams seem like a trip to Disney World. They have far more experience then anyone in motion - that includes Wordsworth and the Chancellor."

Gloria reached her olive toned slender fingers into the tumbler to retrieve an ice cube. Flipping her raven hair hair over her left shoulder, she traced the contours of her neck with the melting ice. "The Chancellor, please. He's an elitist ass who thinks he's still a major player. Maybe he was something in the old regime but he is as antiquated as the relics that hang on the walls. You know, he's still never returned my Rubix Snake."

"That's because it was payment for services rendered."

She threw that half melted piece of ice at him. "Services rendered? He completely f@%ked up the Klein assignment, he forfeit his payment. Besides, what gives you the right to give away my time snake?"

"What gave you the right to reveal your presence in this time-stream to Max and give him the snake in the first place!?!" Growled Rex. "Talk about f@%king up my plans, sweetness, you've got the current monopoly on that market."

Loria could feel the tension as it engulfed her. She could feel the fury in his words, in his being, and it frightened her. "You told me to keep him and Bella from getting together. I can't very well do that hiding in the background, that's not me, and you knew that. You're the one who messed up killing Klein and framing Max."

Rex laughed loud and uproariously. "Oh, believe me, I killed Klein. I squashed his head like a guava melon and left enough of my own DNA on site that there was no way it could point to anyone other then Max. One of the benefits of being an identical twin - we are the same."

"Well, if you killed him, how the hell did he come back to life, lover?"

Rex shook his empty tumbler at a passing waitress signaling he needed a refill. "Time double. Someone grabbed one of Klein's doubles out of a ripple and supplanted him here with that cockamamie story. And people bought it too - f@%kin' brilliant. If I knew who did it, I'd put them on my payroll."

"Oooh," she purred like a cat in heat. "I thought you knew everything?"

"If I knew everything, I wouldn't have any further use for you, now, would I?"

Loria smiled and sipped her brandy. Rex's words hurt her deeper then any slap or punch he could throw. What was it about the Seconds men that made them think they could use her and discard her at will? She hated Max for choosing Bella over her and right now, she hated Rex with every fiber in her being, yet still she wanted him.

Liberty and Justice arrived at the booth just after the waitress left. "A bottle of your finest champagne." Liberty stated to the waitress before she left.

"Well, it's about time, Liberty." announced Rex before taking a swallow from his scotch.

"That's Pamela Potts if you please," Liberty replied as she slid in the booth next to Loria, basically forcing her to slide over. "You'll be pleased to know that we have a Sunday meeting scheduled with Max at the park."

"And the notebook?" Asked Loria through a partial sneer.

"Oh, that too, darling. That too."

"The fool even accepted the diamond watch as a present for, Bella." Justice chimed in as he too slid into the booth. "The fool almost opened it himself-"

"But have no fear, I prevented that." Concluded Liberty. She waved her empty cigarette holder in her brothers stoic face.

Reaching into his vest pocket, Justice removed his gold cigarette case and retrieved a non-filtered cigarette. Snatching the holder from his sisters hand, he inserted the cigarette and returned it back into her delicate gloved hand. Striking a wooden match, he proceeded to light it.

"You don't really plan on smoking that at my table, do you?" Inquired Rex in a forceful tone.

Just flicked the unlit end of the matchstick with his thumb nail and extinguished the flame.

Raising an eyebrow and tilting her head slightly, Liberty pulled the cigarette from the holder. Giving the table a cursory scan, she extinguished it in Loria's brandy.

"So, if everything went so swimmingly," Loria snidely commented. "Why do we have to wait till Sunday to get the notebook?"

"Because good things come to those who wait," replied Liberty as she drew a spiral in the air with her gloved finger that stopped at the tip of Loria's nose.

The waitress returned with the champagne and placed a glass before Liberty. Loria smiled, reached for the champagne flute, and toasted to Liberty and Justice. "You're right," she said sliding the cigarette dipped brandy glass before Liberty. "It does."

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Metro High School, 3rd floor, the big hand of the traditional school clock was creeping to 12, while the small hand was 5 minutes away to midnight.
'Wordy' Wordsworth was fueling the midnight oil, grading papers, and preparing homework for next weeks classes.

Wordy gave a small yawn, then looked at his finely crafted watch, it was gold plated, with a rotating bezel that scuba divers use to measure time.
The small watch face now read 12:00 (midnight). He decided to do just abit more work before going home.

( Wordsworth often found himself staying late hours prodigiously, to be an example to faculty and students. It also gave him free-time to peruse voluminous tomes . He was a voracious reader, he was fortuitious in being seperated from his shrew of a wife, and knew he hit the jackpot with Maya who also loved reading, albeit in Braille. Her beauty and brains were godsent, Wordy oft-times admitted to himself.)

Wordsworth heard three thuds at his office door.

" Klein, is that you? Come on in, you know my door is always open. " The spectacled professor declared unlocking the many locks on the door. ( He usually expected Klein at this time).

The wooden door with 'Wordsworth'in block letters on the front in black paint sqeaked open, the figure was obscured in the dark.

Wordsworth beckoned him in, then he noticed it was the Chancellor, a slender man in a long black trenchcoat, an officer's uniform, his shirt collar had 3 odd square insignias on it, he pushed some long locks of blond hair out of his own eyes, his bright blue eyes shined in the dim light. Wordsworth furrowed his brow at his presence and said in a serious tone "Can we end this game?"

The Chancellor skoffed at this " Hah, its only just begun, not an original statement, but a fact. Your kind, your kind, your kind are the blemish
on society and THE STATE, your kind destroy what is right and good, your kind disgust me, this will not end 'til your kind end!!"

Wordy laughed to himself and said " Chancellor, you sound like a broken LP, your kind, your kind'" he mocked the lanky uniformed man and continued " It is not I who is a 'force' for brainwashing people, spreading propaganda about a false idea of pure race and a pure time space continuum modeled after your demented way of thinking, it is you--"

Cutting off Wordy, the chancellor's face is beet red not wanting to hear what he thought was a twisted version of the truth, and he states " Your kind coddle the weak, your kind is impure, the universe needs my structure!! Your kind needs to be purified !!!Your kind is OBSOLETE"

He pulls out a 1942 black luger similar to the one Fritz carried, and fires off 3 bullets into Wordsworth heart, and said " I have purified your heart, your kind can not appreciated my vision."

Wordsworth, three slugs to the chest, lies in a pool of his own blood, the lights go out.........

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Metro High School, its 5 minutes to midnight again. Wordsworth'e eye pop open, he looks at his chest, the 3 bullet wounds are gone. He looks at his golden time piece, and smiles out " Thank the universe for your safeguarding." He praises the glittering device for its meritous ability of protection, when anything dangerous happens to the owner of said watch, the watch brings the owner back 10 minutes before the dangerous or deadly occurance happens.

It is now 12, Wordsworth is ready this time for his assailant, with a confiscated baseball bat (he took from Billy Prescott, reason:misconduct, of course).

There are the 3 thuds, Wordsworth again insists him to come in, from behind Wordy swings the bat at the blond headed man's head. He swung only hard enough to just knock the man unconscious, at least he hoped that would be the result. The uniformed man dropped, and Wordy decided to tie him up, called Max about the incident, and pointed the Chancellor's gun at his temple and said:

"Chancellor, its nice to see you."

The Chancellor, half dazed, waking from the blow says" Good play, your kind is smarter than I thought, good play indeed", the Chancellor said this as if he were a man beaten at Chess, not taking in the gravity of his situation. The beaten man is going in and out of consciousness.

Wordsworth said " The only one here who is weak is you, now lead me to the time pieces and the book store, or else" he pressed the metal barrel of the dark gun against the chancellor's head, it was cold.......

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There at the door is a nicely coifed male in a black suit, the room is still dimly lit, Wordy calls out:

" Max, Max, glad you made it, come quick, let me introduce you the thorn in my side, The Chancellor" Wordsworth exhales.

" No need for introductions, Wordy, we have met," the young figure declares ascertively,he reveals himself, his dark eyes are menacing.

" Rex, how did you figure out to come here now?" The professor, was for the first time in his life truly perplexed.

" A little thing called wire tapping, you should look into it, I listened to your's and Max's conversation on the telephone," Rex declared smugly, combing back his dark mane, he grabs the gun out of the old man's mitt, he then relinquishes the gold watch from the prof's wrist, and ties him up instead, " Now old man Wordy give us the rest of time pieces you acquired or suffer the consequences."

Wordy, without his gold watch to protect him, still braved the 2 men, and sneered at his diction " What, you two read the Ian Fleming handbook for villianous dialogue?"

At this statement, Rex punched Wordsworth in the mouth, his mouth bleeding, still manages to say " Your kind resorts to violence when they can not think, I should write that down, if I could, anyhow, I digress, you guys do not stand a chance against Max and his crew, you should give it up."

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It starts to rain and thunder outside, the dim room's lights start to flicker, shadows cross Rex's face making his raging face
more menacing, he says " Wordsworth, join us, and you--we can control time!"

" I would rather be with Poe!" referring to one of his beloved yet deceased authors : Edgar Allen Poe that is, Wordsworth shouted "Quoth the raven, `Nevermore'!!!"

" That can be arranged, old timer,( old timer? haha, pun intended). We can make arrangements for you and a pine box, of such and such porportions, yet....Why do you fight us?!!" Rex bellowed, becoming increasing irritated at the aged scholar in the dark grey suit. " It would be so simple, really, we could rule time!! Does that mean nothing to you?"

" Oh, Rex, it means everything, but not under your direction. Why are you not like Max--?" Wordsworth could hardly get out his name,when Rex shouted:

"I should kill you!!!" His mind was reeling, all he could see was blood. He pointed the gun close to Wordy's mouth and continued " Yet, I think I can use you".

" What? You going to ransom me? How original, it seems to be the only technique your kind knows; you are a malignancy!!" Wordsworth yells out, Rex gags the older man with a rag, and ties him to a chair.

Rex starts to devise a plan. In walks the imposter Pamela Potts, Ms. Liberty Vanderhall, looking gorgeous in her drenched ivory coloured raincoat.

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Murdock's Meat packing warehouse, just 3 miles northwest of Metro City, 2: 00 am,

Fritz now unconscious, is tied up, and his body is hanging by 3 strong metal chains; whoever did this was influenced by television and movie villians.
The fake blue uniformed man wakes up, and looks around his environment, he looks at his position and he starts to scream like a little girl.

"Tssk, Tssk, I expect better greeting than that," says a rather large man with a deep mediteranean accent, who walks to Fritz, he was behind a side door. His thick slicked back hair is black, and his 5'o'clock shadow has become a bit thicker. His dark black overalls match his dark features.

" Yeah, me too, Fritzy" this was said by Mr. Klein, aka Mr. Clean ( he cleans up messes) who had a similar accent, yet his was on the decline due to his many years living in the usa, he went on further " This is my good associate, Sol, we have heard you been giving our people a hard time, no one does that, NO ONE!!" Klein shouts through his slight accent.

" I came to this country, greatest of lands, to escape tyranny, I came to live American dream" the tanned larger man named simply Sol, explained " I won't let you take away the dream."

" Your racism sickens us, my family has first hand experience" Klein insists " It has to end." He says this like he carved it in stone.

Fritz starts to say:

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Fritz starts to say: 'Wait, let me explain,' but instead he shouted, "Blow me, Jew Boy!" as he tested the strength of his restraints. "You want to impress me ... show me your Auschwitz tattoo."

"Auschwitz," hissed Sol as he walked behind Fritz and examined the chain. "What does a filthy little HJ like you know about Auschwitz? How old were you? 10? 12?"

"You haven't a clue in the world, do you?" Fritz stated as he tried to spin around and see behind him. Making it about half way, his progress was stopped by Sol's meaty fist, snapping him back to his original position. He spat a gob of blood on the already stained packing house floor. "Touch a nerve, did I, Solomon?"

Klein approached Fritz as he shook his head. "You have mistaken my friend, Sol, here as a Jew. That's funny, a member of a supposed master race can't even distinguish between the races."

"A dog is a dog as the day is long. Poodle, Shepard, pointer, what's the difference? They are all dogs and if you say, 'Here Doggy,' they all come just the same. So, really, why bother familiarizing myself with each breed when one word works for you all?"

Klein looked past Fritz and nodded at Sol, who, in turn, walked into the unlit section of the warehouse. Returning his attention to Fritz, Klein stated, "Max told me you were working for his brother. Tell me, Fritz, why would you tell him a lie so easily disproved yet you hardly talk to me?"

Fritz's toothy smile was tarnished red with a wash-coat of blood. Every detail of his crooked teeth were magnified and brought to light. "Because he is white, you f@%king Heb! His blood has not been muddied with the lower life forms - such as yourself. He is, after all, Rex's brother, pure and deserving of the truth."

"Truth ... how does a shmeckle bastard like you even recognize the truth?" Quired Klein as he paced in small steps from side to side. "Your history proceeds you. You and the Chancellor are working under the leadership of a 15 year old boy? Highly doubtful that such dutiful hatemongers like you and the Chancellor would become followers. "

"You're still fishing, Hiram. A mongrel dog like you can't recognize superior greatness even when it stands before you."

"You, Fritz?" Klein rolled his eyes. "Hardly superior. You are merely a servant to an even vainer schmuck then yourself. The Chancellor has been filling your head with propaganda so long, you can't even piss without his permission. But lie, lying you can still do quite well. Almost convincingly. Almost. You and the Chancellor kidnapped young Rex years ago. It would have been a simple jump back in time. An easy abduction."

"Well, hell. You seem to have all the answers." Fritz stated most flippantly. "If you know so much, why are you asking me? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot. Rex killed you so this is a personal thing for you, isn't it, Dog?"

"Klein."

"Like I said, a Dog is a Dog. Why bother knowing anything else?"

Klein could see Sol returning but made no eye gestures or acknowledgment of this fact. "Ah, I see your point. A dog is a dog but, if you prick us, do we not bleed?"

A large meat cleaver, wielded by Sol, bit deep into Fritz's thigh. Fritz howled in pain. With equal force, the clever was then violently removed issuing rivulets of blood into the air. The blood issued forth from the wound but only momentarily. A blast of freezing high pressure freon gas collateralized the would nearly instantly. Fritz continued to howl in a new anguish.

"Don't worry, Fritz," said Klein as he grabbed Fritz screaming wide-eyed face. "This isn't Sol's first time doing this. He knows how to avoid the major arteries until he wants to to hit them. This can go on for hours - days even, if he wants it to."

Fritz jerked violently in his suspended chain cocoon. As he thrashed and howled, the wound re opened and began to slowly seep down his leg. Another blast from the nozzle slowed the flow but didn't stop the flow completely.

Releasing Fritz, he walked over to the 1st small stool next to the packing table. He listen to the screams and slowly sat, testing it's strength against his own weight. "You can stop this at any time, Fritz. Just tell me what I want to know and Sol will cease in his implementation of pain."

"f@%k you!" Fritz shouted as both tears and blood spayed his words into the air.

Using the flat of his palm, Sol slapped the wound with all his might, opening it once more. Again, Fritz howled and convulsed.

"I don't think Sol appreciates your vulgarity." Klein stated with a mock sympathetic tone. "Lets try this again, shall we?"

"Go to hell you f@%king kike!"


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Sol grunted with a thick baritone register. "You are in hell." Ripping the cut in Fritz's slacks open to reveal more of the severed flesh. He jabbed his thick fingers into the wound and held tightly to his flesh. Fritz's violent spasms of pain actually created the extended damage as the cut now tore wider. Flesh separated from muscle leaving exposed nerves, tendons, and bloody bone.

Fritz convulsed in pain beyond any he had ever experienced in his life. "Mercy! Mercy! Lord god, please have mercy!"

A freezing blast of freon was the only reply that filled the air. The exposed blood crystallized. Flesh and tissue instantly lost its color, fading to a dull bluish gray. Previously, the blast was fast and short. This time, it stayed on for seconds uncounted.

Fritz wailed until the icy blast ceased. Slumping his head forward, he was barely conscious. Sol snapped a clove of garlic under his nose and brought him back. Fritz weeped.

"Do you still want to see my Auschwitz tattoo, Herr Volmer?" Klein asked without any signs of emotion.

"No! No!" pleaded Fritz in shallow pants.

"I believe you, Fritz," announced Klein as he once again stood and approached his captive. "I honestly believe you. Now tell me, what has the Chancellor done with Rex?'

"Nothing. I swear. Rex controls the Chancellor."

"Make me believe you."

"Rex has discovered how to break the continuum. He has brought his future self to this time."

"How?"

"I don't know."

Sol waved the cleaver infront of Fritz's eyes. "I don't believe him."

"I swear, I swear," Fritz begged. "All I know is that he has collected enough of the time pieces and has found away to make the work in unison. It allows him to be his real age in his past time-line."

"How!?"

"I don't goddamn know!"

Klein patted Fritz cheek. "That I believe. Does the Chancellor know?"

"If he did, he would be able to take control back from Rex. He would be the collector. The master of the continuum."

"And create more ripples of hatred and intolerance. No thank you." Klein thought about the possibilities of probabilities. "But if Rex is the only one with this knowledge, how is Loria able to do the same thing?"

"No one knows. The Chancellor believes she is actually a ripple gravitating into our world." Fritz pauses for a second and thinks carefully about his next comment. "He has the same theory about you."

"What else does the Chancellor believe?"

Fritz look downward and to his right. Sol knelt below him and seemed to freezing the cleavers blade with the freon. A slow steady waver of gas passed over the steel as it slowly glazed with a fine frost. "He believes that ripples are collapsing inward. That Potts and others somehow made certain events purposely rippled, to hide something ... someone?"

"And Rex believes that this is Max?" Klein asked suspecting a lie would follow.

"Maybe? He's found Potts hasn't he?"

Klein expected a much different answer. Suddenly he began to believe Fritz may be actually telling truths and not just theories. "What makes you think that?"

"He has his stopwatch. I saw it, ya know." Fritz winched at the frozen tissue slowly began to regain feeling. Little icy needles tingled in his exposed leg. "I also saw the notebook. Put these 2 things together and you come to only 1 conclusion. Max has been to the store?"

"This is what prompted the involvement of the Vanderhalls?"

"Vanderhalls? They didn't get involved until that kid I clocked in the basement started researching them. The only reason he would research them was if Potts told Max to seek them out."

"Freelance scum," interjected Sol with sublime malice.

"So then why is Rex still adding to his collection if the book has been found?"

Fritz shook his head. "I don't know?"

"How many pieces does he need?"

"I don't know."

"What will happen when he gets all the pieces?"

"I don't know."

Klein turned and walked away. "Then our discussion is over, Fritz. Shalom."

Fritz looked down and witnessed Sol smile for the 1st time tonight. "Wait! Klein, where are you going? Klein! Klein!"

* * *


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Time: Past midnight, during a thunderstorm.

Setting: Metro High School, 3rd floor, Wordsworth office, Rex has a luger to Wordsworth skull, he is tied up to his chair, Chancellor is standing to his right of Rex, with another luger.


Ms. Liberty Vanderhall, soaking to the bone. A boom of thunder cracks as she opens the door, lightning shines on her through the plate glass windows.

She removes her wet white rain slicker, her white dress clings to her sculted body, she has on a gun holster for a third luger. She walks to Wordsworth and says in a smokey voice " My dear sweet Wordy, I have missed you so." She says this removing her long white gloves, then she strokes his prominent jaw with her pale phalanges, " Do you remember our days in Rome together?"

Wordsworth, not in the best of conditions, exhales " Yes...that was 40 years ago, we were the same age, I thought you were going to join the Allies."

Liberty, her dark eyes penetrated Wordsworth's, she took a long puff from her long filtered cigarette, and let it swirl out of the corner of her mouth " Wordy, you are an idealist, the Axis was always my home. Ich bin deutsch. Your offer to me was...very sweet, but I could never turn away from my motherland."

Wordsworth's heart was broken " So, all that time together meant nothing? You strung me along for your own gains?!" He became infuriated.

Liberty put her soft white hands on his shoulders " Nein, I loved you Wordy like no one could ever love someone. I really did. I just could not join the allies, thats why I am here today, to ask you to join us, my dear."

Wordsworth was annoyed, knowing she was married to Justice, knowing this is one more game said " WWII is over. I can not join you!!" At this, Chancellor squeezed Wordsworth's boney neck to try to block all the O2 from getting to his bronchi. Liberty rushed to protect him.

" So, this is what I would join? A bunch of brownshirts, never!!!!" Wordsworth declared, gasping for air.

Rex then interjected " If you do not join, you will join this!!!" All 3 lugers were aimed squarely at Wordsworth's head " So now what do you say?"

Wordsworth judging his options said " uhh---Yes" agreeing for the meantime, to devise an escape route later.

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Max closed his bedroom door gently as to not wake up his parents. The thunderstorm outside may already have them awake and he decided it was best to play it safe. His attire was a retro-look of his younger self. He wore a pair of green fatigue pants, combat boots and a black turtle neck sweater. In his left hand was a small duffel sack, slightly smaller then school book size and also Army fatigue green. Heading down stairs and out the back door, he noticed that the lights were on in the garage office. He crept through the rain drenched drive and over to the door. Hearing no noise from inside, he slowly opened the door.

Michael sat at the end of the drafting table with his back to the door and Max. Spread out before him were several of Max's blue prints, posters and sketches. In his right hand he held a beer while he rested his left on the table top for support. His sandy blond hair was wild and unkempt. His white dress shirt was heavily wrinkled and half tucked into his faded denims.

"Michael?" Announced Max as he closed the door behind him. "When did you get in town? You weren't due until Monday?"

Michael turned and grinned an inebriated smile at Max. His eyes hazel were glazed and half focused. "Hey, punk!" he slurred as hes nearly toppled the stool as he rose and staggered towards Max. "I like what ya did with the place."

Max gave his older brother a drunkards hug - more as a support post than an actual greeting. "Thanks, Mike. When did you get in? Better question, how did you get in?"

Michael released his grip on his little brother an took an unsteady step back. Waving his index and middle finger like a drunken prophet, all the while still holding onto his beer bottle, he began his tale. "I decided- Hey! Why wait 'til Monday. I'll fly in early and catch that DSoOz program you got runnin'. Shhhh. Shhh." He held his fingers up to his lips. "Don't tell Ma, I told you, I knew about."

"I won't. How did you get back here?"

Michael backed into the stool and forced himself unsteadily upon it. "Yeah, that was wild, bro. I take the airport shuttle to the hotel, I don't even remember gettin' on the shuttle. I was so stoned, kid. Some California stuff- shhh, shhh - don't tell Ma. Anyway, I walk outside and there was pops waiting on me. Waiting on me! He said Lana told him I called - but ya know what - I didn't."

Max held his hands up to slow Mike down. "Wait a minute. You didn't call but Lana told dad you had?"

Mike nodded exaggeratedly. "Weird, huh? I never called her - I swear it." He took another drink of beer and wiped his mouth on his shirt sleeve. "Anyway, me and dad ended up at the HQ Club. A few Manhattan's later and heeeere we are."

Max look over at the table an saw the papers spread out. "Interesting reading?"

"Little bro. this-" he slapped his hand on the DSoOz poster and fumbled momentarily to get ahold of it. "This is hot! Man, the one on the end, with the gun in the garter. Daaaaamn."

Max smiled as he gathered up the papers. "That's Gloria."

"Yeah ... she's smokin' for 40."

"She's not 40, Mike. She's 18, same as Lana."

Michael grabbed Max by the wrist. "No," he paused to burped and fight back his gag reflex. "She's 40, bro, she told me sooo." Releasing Max's wrist, he slowly stood and headed to the coat rack. He reached inside his gray trench-coat and pulled out a folded napkin as another thunder clap reverberated the room. "She was in the HQ. I even got her number, little bro. She didn't tell me she was part of your clique."

"She's not." Max fained the significance of Loria's chance meeting and continued sorting the papers. "Her niece is the the one in the poster. You meet Loria, the aunt. Serious family resemblance going on there."

Michael used the edge of the drafting table for support. "So - what's with the Red Dawn outfit?"

"I'm doing so covert work and things may get messy." Max stated matter-of-factly.

"Oooh - Commando Max. Look out everyone."

Max smiled knowing that Michael wouldn't remember this conversation in the morning. "That's Sargent Major Seconds, bro, and don't you forget it. From the Afghan out back to Baghdad, Iraq. Hoo-rah!"

"Hoo-rah!" echoed Michael nearly tripping as he tried to salute. "So what's in the duffel ... wet work gear?"

"Whoop!" Max replied as he returned the drawings and sketches back to their proper place. "But, shhhh - don't tell, Ma."

Michael imitated pulling a zipper across his lips as a crack of lightning supplied the sound effects.

"So, Lana knew you were coming into town? How's that you suppose?"

"Pops and I had a long talk about that very thing. He thinks I called and don't remember."

Max sat next to his brother on the table. "And what do you think?"

"I think I need another beer" Michael said as he stared no the neck of the empty bottle.

"No, what you need is to go to bed."

"With Loria," he said pulling the napkin from his shirt pocket.

Max shook his head. "Er-eh, maybe. But what about Lana - how do you think she knew about you arriving early?"

"I think she's like Grammy ... she's got the gift." Another flash of lightning instantly followed by the roll of thunder punctuated his words.

Max raised an eyebrow. "What gift?"

"Don'tcha remember growing up and visiting Grammy? We couldn't get away with nothin'. She knew what trouble we were gonna get in before we did. She was as regular as clockwork."

Max cast his eyes sideways at his brother. "Like clockwork, you say?"

"Like clockwork," repeated Michael as he tipped his empty bottle over in mid air.

Max pushed himself from the table and grabbed his duffel. "Good to know. Help yourself to the beers but leave me 1. We'll talk more in the morning."

"It's after midnight. This is the morning."

Max closed the door, ran down the drive and climbed into the van. Within seconds, the cold van's air mixed with Max's warm, wet body, and fogged the glass. Letting the defroster clear the glass as he warmed the van, he opened the duffel. Retrieving his 9 mm automatic, he inserted a 15 round clip and cocked the barrel. He inserted the piece and 2 extra clips into the thigh pocket of his fatigues. Closing the bag, he lit a cigarette and adjusted the mirrors. 'So, Grammy had the gift that was like clockwork did she?' He thought as he fastened his seat belt. 'And now, Lana, has that gift too? It just gets curiouser and curiouser.'

As the sky erupted once more, he threw the gear shift into drive and sped off toward Metro High.


* * *


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:41 am 
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The wind blew the rain hard against the classroom windows. The heavy thuds of the rain-drops threatened to break the glass panes but never did. Upon the occasional lightning strike followed by resounding thunder, the room lights would flicker and temporarily cease. During these phases, the room was lit with silhouetted rain streaks, both beautifully strange and ominous.

Wordsworth sat and examined his three new compatriots. He knew that neither Liberty nor the Chancellor were to be trusted, but Rex was similar at first observation to his brother, Max. The only difference was that Rex was evil. Not just evil in his motivations but evil down to the very marrow of his core. He was the Time Collector, but more importantly, he was the stealer of his lovely Maya's sight. Although she never told him of the things Rex did to her, she did confess that it was he who had made her blind, and for that, he despised him.

Rex stood about 5 foot nine, was maybe 165 pounds. With the exception of having a ruttier tone to his hair, he and Max were near identical twins. However, their mannerisms, and the way they carried themselves with their body language made them distinct individuals. Even now he sat in Wordsworth chair, leaning back with his feet on the desk, and his hands locked behind his head. Max would never place himself in such an overt position of superiority to everyone else in the room. Max also carried himself like a dignified, proper, straight forth and upright gentleman. Rex held the same outward appearance but his body language was that of a common thug. A bad boy. Although both men were charming, Max's was sincere, whereas Rex's was a act. A very good act but an act nonetheless.

Wordsworth, found his attention to be drawn more and more to Liberty. Underneath her flamboyant exuberance and smiles was a raving lunatic. Psychopathic, most assuredly, but beyond that, someone who is in a word, malignant. She cared nothing for her fellow man, nothing about any form of principle or ideal, nothing except herself -- save for maybe her brother, Justice. Like Max and Rex, Liberty and Justice were twins. Being the older by 3 minutes, she never let him forget that she was the elder. From the time of their birth to this very moment, she was an ultimate control of both their lives. Which made Wordsworth wonder, why wasn't Justice here? These 2 we're nearly inseparable. Where you found one, the other was not far away. Yet, where was he?

Wordsworth's attention was now trained on the Chancellor. He was an old foe, a nemesis really, someone who had always been there, and had always chosen a side against his own. When the two stood at the dividing line, Wordsworth, knew instinctively which path he would choose and which path too the Chancellor would choose. They had been at odds since childhood, maybe before childhood, neither one really remembered the exact instant or even the duration. Neither one cared anymore the reasons or whys, they had grown to accept that they were each the others bane. Maybe in a past life, they too were twins, each struggling for dominance over the other, and this eternal feud had carried over into this life. The only thing he knew for certain was that each of these 3 individuals were polar opposites of himself.

He glanced at the clock above the chalkboard, 12:15 a.m.. He knew that Max would be arriving soon, and he knew to that Max would be unprepared for the trio that inhabited this room with him. At this late hour, there was no way Max could contact any of his fellow compatriots. At their current ages, parents would get involved and eyebrows would be raised. He knew that Max would come alone, and would probably be armed, but would still be unprepared. He needed to formulate a plan to warn Max. He needed to find some way to let Max know of the danger he would be entering. But like the rain that washed against the windows, he knew that his time was running out. And yes, although he was well acquainted with time, time was not his friend.

"Excuse me," Wordsworth coughed to gain their attention. "I don't suppose it would be too much to ask if you would care to untie me."

Liberty turned and slowly walked towards Wordsworth. "Oh, poor Wordy. Have we been neglecting our host?"

"Partner," he corrected with a toothy smile.

"That remains to be seen," announced the Chancellor with a slight Eastern European accent.. "To agree to a compact with ones lips does not always constitute what is held in one's heart."

Liberty slowly wrapped herself around Wordsworth and came to rest upon his lap. "You forget, Chancellor, I once held this heart." She stroked the side of Wordsworth's' face and pressed her cheek next to his as she spoke into his ear. "This is a good heart. A pure, loving, incorruptible, and passionate heart." Then, suddenly, she pulled away and stared into his eyes with cold blooded malice. "A heart that would never betray his belief, his cause - or his FRIENDS!" She slapped him full force across his jaw, sending his spectacles hurling across the room.

"A heart that has seen the pages inside the notebook of Belasco Potts," interrupted Rex.

Liberty took on the expression of sadness and caring. She once again began to stoke Wordsworth cheek. "Poor, Wordy. Sweet, Wordy."

Wordsworth recoiled from the touch. "You are correct, Rex - most astute. I have seen what lies between the faded green canvas cover. I have touched those yellowed pages and read the inked words that were written upon them."

"You and your idle cryptic words you incessantly spout ..." retorted the Chancellor as he stooped to pick-up the broken spectacles. "You don't tell us anything other then you have seen the book. Bah! We know well what it looks like. Fritz has already reported all of this in detail."

Wordsworth nipped at Liberty's to get her to stop touching him. Liberty gave him a mock pout and ground herself into his lap before vacating it. Wordsworth returned his attention to the Chancellor. "Fritz ... I nearly forgot about him. He is - scratch that - was a good operative. He will be missed."

"Alright, Professor, I'll bite." The Chancellor stated as he tapped the spectacles into his palm methodically as he approached. "Why will he be missed?"

Squinting upward and trying to focus on the hazy figure he presumed was the Chancellor, Wordsworth's face was highlighted by a lightning flash. "Why do you think? Why does any of us need remembering?"

The Chancellor placed the spectacles in Wordsworth's breast pocket of his shirt before gripping hold of his chin. His black leather gloves rubbed hard against Wordsworth's thin skin and facial stubble. Tiny slivers of the broken lenses that had embed into the leather glove now tore at his flesh. "Nice try, Wordsworth. Nice try. As Rex has already told you, we've tapped Max's phone. Other then your phone call, the only other call placed to or from that number was a collect call from Michael Seconds. This call was also witnessed by sweet lady Liberty here. Max has made absolutely no moves without our knowledge. Your petty diversions and delays will not save your life, partner. You live only because it serves our purpose and when that purpose has reached its fruition ... so will our arrangement." He released Wordsworth chin with a downward thrust.

Wordsworth stretched his jaw to return the blood flow. "You say that with such absolute certainty. Then again, you say everything with an absolute certainty, even though you hardly ever are." He looked to Liberty. "Tell him, my treacherous shrew. Explain to him how I have never been learned in the ways of deceit. You, among all others, know me best. Am I lying when I say," He returned his attention to the Chancellor. "Fritz ... is ... Dead."

Liberty proclaimed, "Oh, I believe you," as she made an exaggerated sweep, ala Betty Davis, with her freshly lit cigarette.

Chancellor reached into his black overcoat's inner breast pocket and retrieved his 21st century 2-way communicator. Setting the frequency channel, he keyed down the talk button. "Fritz, ist es Zeit für Ihren Report. Über" He waited 3 seconds and repeated his request. Closing the lid, he eyed Wordsworth with contempt. "He obviously has it turned off."

"Obviously," Wordsworth stated behind an equally contemptuous smile. "Absolutely, but it lacks your characteristic certainty."

Liberty broke into a hysterical cackled laugh, which infuriated the Chancellor.

The Chancellor reared back and delivered a single heeled boot kick squarely to Wordsworth's chest. The force pushed Wordsworth and chair backward a good foot but did not topple them over.

Liberty laughed louder.

Chancellor removed his Luger from its holster as he stomped towards Wordsworth. He forced the barrel into Wordsworth mouth.

"Chancellor!" bellowed Rex in a voice that challenged the thunder outside. "Fritz is insignificant to our design. Just as Wordsworth, here, is insignificant.

Chancellor forcibly released Wordsworth and holster the Luger once more.

Wordsworth laughed a nervous laugh. "Tell me, Rex? If that's the case, why keep me alive at all?"

"No." Rex replied without any further explanation.

"Pardon?" Wordsworth asked to elicit more information.

Rex removed his feet from the desk and slid the chair inward to the desk. "You are a clever man, Wordy. You know how to form a mutual hatred / mutual trust relationship. You, Liberty, and our friend, the Chancellor have been carrying this tell-all relationship for decades now. But me," Rex stood up and approached Wordsworth. "You and I have no relationship. You and I are not friends, Words - worth." He purposely elongated and separated words from worth. "You have absolutely no clue as to what is going on but you are playing and old and familiar game. Problem is, where you are old, you and I are not familiar. So I watched your game. I spotted your tell but you still don't know mine; do you?"

"Yes, Rex, I think I do." Wordsworth coughed as he finally began to breath normally. "You see, there I go again. I swear, sometimes, once I start it's hard to get me to stop talking."

"I can vouch for that," interjected Liberty.

Wordsworth continued, "You have a secret that you can't figure out but are bursting to tell someone. You know you can't trust the racist or the psychotic, but you can tell me. You and I, in a lot of ways, are alike-"

"You and I aren't anything." Rex said firmly but not emotionally. "You are at the beckon call of my brother. You would say or try to persuade me anything, all for the glory of, Max. You play the same tired game that you learned from Hamlet, Henry, Richard, and Macbeth. But old timer, I too have learned the Bard's advise: 'Listen to many, speak to a few.' And you, Words - worth, are not among the few.”

"I understand now what happened to Maya. She became one of the few."

"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool." Rex replied as he returned to the desk and the lightning flashed. "Tell me about Potts Notebook, Words - worth."

Wordsworth laughed with a false bravado. "That was when we were partners. Everyone here has made that painfully clear, that will never be the case between us. We are what we are from the day we were born."

Rex turned and fired 3 shots around Wordsworth body. Each just missing him and shattering the chalkboard on the wall. "Until the day that we die."

* * *


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Driving through the heavy down pour, Max arrived to the school. He idled the van across the street and stared at the vacant school. He could sense something wasn't right. He had that feeling. That 6th sense Michael was talking about. Max was unsure whether it was his training and experience or the possibility of truly having a 6th sense, but this thought didn't last long. From Wordsworth's 3rd floor window, Max saw 3 gun shot flashes. Putting the van in reverse, he slowly backed up and parked in the darkened area between the streetlights. Exiting the van, he knew 2 things. Wordsworth hated guns and the Chancellor brought one. Grabbing the duffel bag from the passenger seat, he closed the van and made his way toward the high school.


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The loud clap of thunder masked the breaking grass on the driveway door. A black leather gloved hand reached through the opening and unlocked the door. As he stepped inside, water streamed from his black wool suit. Stepping across the linoleum flooring, a watery trail marked his passage. Advancing through the dining room, he made a squishing bee-line towards the dying glow of the fireplace. Taking the poker from the stand, he pulled the chain and opened the spark screen. Stirring the embers with the unburnt wood, the fire began to roar back to life. Releasing the poker, he stood and examined the family portrait above the mantle. His narrow dark brown eyes scanned the smaller individual portraits that were staggered arranged off to the sides of the main portrait. Taking the last picture, the youngest family member from the stone wall, he stared at the face that looked back. Water drops gently fell from the tip of his nose, hair and chin, landing with ornate patterns upon the glass. Removing the back of the frame, he took the picture out and casually tossed it in the fire. Justice warmed himself by the fires glow.

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Dave laid in bed, staring at the spray acoustic ceiling of his bedroom. The left side of his face felt as if it was three times larger than normal, and it hurt like hell. Although he knew that Fritz was being taken care of, he couldn't help longing to be there. The little love tap that now throbbed and ached was a less than gentle reminder that Dave was in serious need of payback. 'I wonder who Max called?' He thought as he gently touched his swollen temple. 'Wordsworth's too much of a pussy and Maya is blind. That just leaves Klein, but he doesn't strike me as someone who is up to the challenge. Even if he is as he claims, an ex- Israeli intelligence operative. f@%k, I wish I could've join that party. Just to get some vengeful satisfaction on Fritz's old ass.'

Rolling out of bed, he shook a mostly liquid ice pack and sighed. Trudging from his bedroom to the kitchen, he empty the warm water from the ice pack into the sink and refill the contents with fresh cold ice. Walking through the dining room, he examined the family pictures that rested atop the piano. As a younger boy, he used to spend countless hours staring at these photographs, wondering who these people were. However, over the past 8 to 10 years, he has barely given them any notice. Like everything else in his parent's house, he has always just taken it for granted. They were the collective memories and furnishings of his parents, not of his own. They neither reflected his style, nor his taste, they were just ornamentations of his childhood. But after the past few days, he is come to realize that his past and present are an equally important part of his future. The future for the first time, he now looks forward to.

The storm outside made it hard to concentrate. His left eye could barely focus and the last time he looked in the mirror, it had partially filled with blood. With each rumble of the ever excessive thunder, his entire head felt like it was going to explode. Holding the ice pack to his left temple, he turned on the dining room light and twisted the dimmer dial to half illumination. He, of course, recognized his aunts and uncles, cousins, mom, dad, grandparents, etc. But there were always 3 pictures he was never quite sure of. An elderly couple, together, and then as individual pictures. The shot of them together was obviously a wedding picture, and it was dated 1898. Each of the individual pictures, however, bore different dates and different ages during their lifespan. Taking the picture of the man with him, he clicked off the light and returned to his room.

In the privacy of his room, he turned on the light. Sitting down on the corner of his bed, he examined the picture down to it's my most minute detail. He studied the man's eyes, his jaw line, even his hairstyle. Looking into his bureau mirror, he could see a most distinctive reflection. Etched in the lower right-hand corner of the picture, in a fine Silver-leaf script, was the date 1911. Flipping the frame over, he loosened the two tabs that held the backboard in place. Removing the board, he gently lifted the picture out of the frame. Written on the back, although having faded from time, was the name, D. Lange - Dresden..

"Daschle Lange," he impulsively found himself saying aloud.

* * *


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It had taken Max exactly 7 minutes to reach the back entrance to the school's first floor. He had circumvented being seen by utilizing the backyards and shadows of the neighboring houses that surrounded the school. Coming in from the track-side bungalows and using this large, ominous shadows and shape of the gymnasium, he was fairly certain that his presence had not been detected. Waiting for a crackle of lightning to cover the sound of the opening door, he slowly entered the darkened corridors of the school. He looked at his watch, 12:33 A. M.

* * *


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Justice had spent the last several minutes, stirring the embers until the tip of the poker was near white hot. With poker in his left hand, he turned and walk towards the stairs that led to the upstairs bedrooms. Stepping only on the forest green running carpet, that was situated in the middle of a staircase, he slowly ascended the stairs. With each footstep, a little more water would squeeze out of his leather solw shoes. Equally, with each footstep, he listened for any noise or any stirring from the bedrooms before him. Hearing none, he methodically continued his assent.

The hardwood floors of the upper landing creaked slightly as Justice placed his weight upon them. Walking diligently, he took 3 steps down the corridor and stopped before the first bedroom door he came across. Reaching up with his right hand, he ran his gloved fingers over the nameplate that proclaimed the occupant of the room. Using his index finger, he traced the letters, and in an audible whisper, spoke them very quietly, "B--E--L--L--A."

Turning the knob, he slowly opened the door to Bella's room.

* * *


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It took David less then five attempts to login to the Metro community college server. He was amazed at how fast the information would travel. With his new 2400 baud modem, it was almost like being at the college. He searched for any and every information he get a hold of in regards to Daschle Lange. After a few minutes of plugging away, he found two entries in the college's data base.

Daschle Lange was born on August 3, 1880 in Dresden, Germany.
Father: Leopold Lange
Mother: Gretchen Pottsdorff.


His eyebrow raised as much as his swollen face would allow him to raise it. 'Pottsdorff? Potts? Interesting?' He thought.

The second document was an immigration record from Ellis Island. Daschle and Victoria Lange - changed to Lane by immigration - on November 19, 1913. 'Holy shite, he was right. I am a Lange.'

In both cases, David pushed the Print Screen key on his keyboard. Within seconds his dot matrix printer began to screech and punch the information onto his form feed paper.

He then typed in the new search criteria, Conrad Lane, his grandfather. Within moments, the blackened 14" screen was ablaze with amber text.

Conrad Lane -1916: Yorkville. {White}
Parents: Daniel and Victoria Lane. {White}
Drafted into Military Service: Navy - August, 1942.
Discharged: Honorable - July, 1946.
Married: Irene Johnson, 1939. {White}
Children: Male. (1) Alvin Daniel Lane, 1941: Metro City {White}


He printed the screen and then typed in his fathers name, Alvin Daniel Lane, with no results other than the home address and phone number turned up. He then typed in: Daniel Lane.

Daniel Lane - Born: 1880? Died: Metro City, 1958.
Spouse: Victoria Lane - Born: 1890? Died: Metro City, 1938 {UNSOLVED}


David hit the scroll lock key and stared at that "UNSOLVED" tag. Again, he printed the screen. Releasing the scroll lock, he then typed in: Victoria Lane. Within moments, his screen was filled with numerous references that all contained the words: 3 Missing Women Found in Vanderhall Woods.

David clicked on the first post and waited for the information to fill his screen.

* * *


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Wordsworth's office had been deadly silent since the gun shots. Other then the sound of the elements outside, only the occasional heavy breath of frustration and waiting filled the room. The storm had knocked out the power for multiple blocks, leaving the area blacked out except for the incessant lightning flashes. The Chancellor stood huddled in the rear of the room away from the others. Periodically, he would bring his hand to his mouth and whisper something in German, but he never received any reply.

"He told you, Fritz is dead. Kaput!" announced Rex breaking the smothering silence. "Stop calling for him. He can't answer in hell."

The Chancellor closed his 2-way and stuffed it inside his overcoats hip pocket disgruntled. "What are we waiting for? It is blatantly apparent, Max will not come."

"Why, Chancellor?" Replied Rex dumbfounded by the statement. "Why would you say such a thing? Not everyone is as loathsome as yourself. Some of us actually have friends."

"Friends! What do you know of friends?"

"I know that many people have them. I also know that friends come to one another's aid - sometimes for no other reason then friendship."

Chancellor marched over to Rex who still sat behind the large oak paneled desk. "Fritz was my friend. More then a friend, he was like a brother to me."

"Excuse me?" Rex asked with his hand cupped to his ear. "Was that Brother or Lover? I didn't quite make it out through your accent."

"Boys, behave yourself," commanded Liberty. "Can't you see we are upsetting our host with your bickering?"

Wordsworth looked side to side before replying with a large toothy smile. "Who, me? Don't worry about me, I'm fine. Continue on, really, speak your mind, we are all friends here."

"I don't know what you are smiling about?" Snapped the Chancellor. "A weakling like you doesn't have the moral fortitude to kill, Fritz. He'd have some mongrel dogs do his dirty work for fear of dirt getting under his fingernails. Fritz, on the other hand, had no such qualms. He made sure his enemies looked him in the eye at their time of reckoning."

Liberty coiled her arms around the Chancellor. "You make it sound, so romantic. So passionate. So ... blood thirsty."

A bright flash of lightning filled the room with a loud crackle and deafening snap. Rex looked at the clock above the shattered blackboard and smiled. "He's here."

* * *


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Bella's bedroom smelt of lavender and vanilla. The flashes of lightning streamed through the open slots of the shutters, keeping the room lightly illuminated and equally shadowed. Justice twirled the poker in his hand once like a baton and made the tip glow, leaving trails of half white, half orange-red.

He passed the vanity without a glance a headed for the foot of the 4-post carriage bed. Lying under the pastel pink and white comforter, the thin, delicate form, breathed heavily. Restfully. Peacefully. He inhaled the air deeply, breathing in the scent of the room. It smelt young, fresh, and tender. He twirled the poker once more.

* * *


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Max knelt in the darkened corridor and listened to his surroundings. He started to get that old funny feeling again. Maybe he had been in this situation in Iraq or Afghanistan, but he was getting a serious case of deja vu. He lit his Zippo and placed it on the ground by his feet to illuminate his immediate area. Reaching inside his turtleneck, he pulled on a leather lanyard and brought up his stop watch and compass ring. Untying the knot behind his neck, he slid the ring off the leather and placed it upon his finger. Upon doing so, the ring shrank to fit his finger and instantly pointed out 3 locations within a degree of one another, but the center point became the most concentrated reference. He tied the leather strap around his left wrist with enough slack to, easy and effortlessly, flip the watch into his palm. He tested this out several times until it worked as he felt it should.

Opening the duffel pouch, he pulled out a set of night vision goggles. They weren't the 1998 NATO issue he was used to wearing, but what can you expect in 1985 from a mail order house. These were, however, ones he had used when he was first trained. They still had the annoying green filter, even though he had asked for red, but at least they had the anti-dazzle feature in case the lights suddenly came back on or he looked at a lightning strike. Sliding them on, he turned them on and off as he stared at the lighters flame. A cold shiver ran down his back but he knew it had nothing to do with the weather.

Closing the Zippo, he stared at the duffel yet again. He had one last item but wasn't sure whether or not to bring it with him. He started to stand but the hairs on his neck prevented him from doing so. 'Damn Grammy and her gift,' he thought as he reached into the bag for the last time. He retrieved a small, 21st century 2-way radio. Setting it to channel 1, he squeezed the Talk button, and waited for a response. He changed to channel 2 and pushed the button again. It chirped as did the 1st try, but still he received no response. He changed the channel again to 3 and pushed the button. Within moments he received a reply. One word. "Fritz?"

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After nearly a minute the information appeared big, bold, and amber on Dave's 14 inch screen. Instinctively, he hit the Print Screen and the dot matrix printer roared to clattering, screeching life once more. Holding his left hand over his left eye, to help him focus, he began to read.

August 14, 1938 - Vanderhall Woods

The three missing women from Metro City were found today by State Police and Metro City Detectives. Aiding in their quest was local resident and self proclaimed psychic, Miriam Se-


The screen cathode tube went black with an electronic whirp. The computer powered down and the printer ceased its printing cycle. Dave banged on the side of the monitor vigorously. "No! No! No! No! Not now - not now. Arhhh! God damned storm."

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Justice slowly peeled back the comforter and released the built up heat from beneath the blankets. Closing his eyes, he let the warmth pass over his flesh. He waited for the next lightning flash to illuminate his prey. He envisioned her in a silk nightie with spaghetti straps, it softly clinging to every curve and nuance of her young suppled body. However, as the lightning final revealed, she was in a man's white dress shirt. Hearing a light click, a short second lightning burst reflected in his eyes and revealed that she was also wearing white ruffled panties.

He slowly wiped the saliva from the corners of his mouth with his gloved right hand as a low hum was momentarily heard in the darkness. He could feel his heart begin to race with anticipation. Gripping hold of each finger tip individually with his teeth, he slowly worked the leather free from his hand. Curling his hand, he brought it to his mouth and blew into it 3 times to warm it up. Slowly, he gently placed his hand upon what he believed to be her thigh, for although he could hear the thunder, there was no lightning to illuminate his target. Touching flesh, he noted a small murmur of reaction to his touch, although her breathing remained deep. He slowly traced the contours of her leg with his fingers. He could feel her flesh react to his touch and his heart beat faster.

Growing impatient for the returning lightning, he brought the poker inward toward her skin to get a closer look, but the illumination properties had long since dissipated. The thunder roared and his heart raced faster still as he waited for the lightning to show him what his fingers dragged upon, but the flash ever came. Again, he waited as his anxiety grew and, again, there was thunder but no lightning flash. 'Is the storm moving away?' He thought as he cast his eyes to the shutters. He found he was in total darkness. He could no longer see the shutters, nor the vanity; not anything. He stepped back and waved the poker, but the bright orange that once radiated brightly, had lost its glow. Although still very hot, it was no longer the beacon it had been mere minutes ago. He snarled in frustration. His anger and anxious heart brought his patience to a boil. He returned to the bed and reached down, but found the flesh had moved. His snarl deepened.

He felt the violent impact of a foot smashing into his testicles from behind. Falling to 1 knee, he whirled the poker behind him, but made no contact. Whirling around the other direction, he still made no contact. He grunted as he rose back to his feet only to have the same foot reinflict the same pain upon him. Biting his bottom lip hard, blood flowed down his chin as he fell to both knees with a guttural groan.

"Welcome to my world, Justice."

He exhaled, hot liquidity, before he responded, "Maya!"

* * *


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"Yes."

"Maya Thomas?" Asked Lana a little bit taken aback.

Resting her hand on the door jam, Maya adjusted her sunglasses to better hide her eyes. "Yes, that's correct. Maya Thomas, may I help you?"

"Maya Thomas, the notary public?" Lana asked again, bewildered at the fact that she was blind.

"Well, I haven't been a notary public for many, many years. May I ask what this is all about?"

Lana stared at the svelte blind lady. Although in her mid-to late 50s, Maya Thomas was an incredibly attractive woman. She was thin without being frail, mature without being old, and stood with the poise of a ballet dancer. Although Lana was only in her early 40s, she hoped to look that good in 20 years. "I'm sorry. Let me introduced myself, I am Lana Kittridge. You notarized a document for my brother, Randy."

"I'm sorry Miss," Maya replied, as her right hand reached for the door. "You have me confused with another person. As you can probably tell, I haven't been able to notarize anything for quite some time now."

"Wait, wait," Lana pleaded. "This is very important. My brother Max is in a coma and this piece of paper will terminate his life. If I can just have seconds of your time. A man's life hangs in the balance."

Maya seemed to stare at Lana with a look of recognition. Lana could have sworn she gave her the once over with her eyes, silly as it seemed. A small, delicate smile formed in the corners of Maya's mouth. "I'm sorry dear, I have forgotten your name already."

Lana smiled out of reflex. "Lana. Lana Kittridge."

"Kittridge . . . Kittridge," Maya pondered aloud as her index finger tapped the bottom of her chin. "Are you any relation Jody Kittridge?"

Still smiling, Lana replied, "Yes. He is my husband, well ... ex-husband."

"You said a man's life hangs in the balance. Do come in," Maya stepped inside with her back to the open door. "The door stoop is no place for polite conversation -- or even impolite."

Lana walked into the darkened hallway of the small apartment. "Is it alright if I turn on the light?"

"I'm sorry, it's on your right. Opposite of the door."

Lana clicked the light-switch up and down without any change. "I think the lights out?"

"Damn, maintenance man. Bob, I think his name is. Always leaves the lights on whenever he comes over. I think he does it on purpose, you know." Maya had reached the blinds behind her small sofa. Opening them for the 1st time in months, bright morning summer sunlight filled the living room. "It justifies the Engineering and Maintenance fee they tack on to my lease every year. How's that? Any better?"

Lana looked at the furnishings and pictures that adorned the room. Sensible with a slight touch of lavish. "Much better, thank you." She paused at the end of the hall and examined the last portrait. An 8x10, black and white glossy, of a much younger, glamorous, Maya. The caption airbrushed on the lower right hand corner read: Maya the Cat Woman.

"Me in my, younger, more care free, days," Maya commented.

Lana cocked her head. "How did you know?"

"That's the picture everyone stops at. That's why I leave it hanging there." She felt her way around the coffee table and sat on the sofa. "I wasn't a notary all my life. When I was younger, I was an exotic dancer. 'Maya the Cat Woman,' they called me."

"Wow! You were a stripper?" Lana gushed.

"Heavens, no!" Maya protested. "I was an exotic dancer. I never took my clothes off -- I didn't have to." Her cherub smile was most disarming, even at her age.

Lana looked closer at the older woman in the sunlight. Her hair was a little unkempt but her make-up was impeccable. As she looked closer, she could see that it was permanent, tattooed make-up. She had only seen this once before, but couldn't remember when or on whom. "I'm sorry, but haven't we met before?"

Maya tilted her head skyward and to the left. "Not that I can recall. But you do have me at a serious disadvantage."

Lana crossed the room and sat on the opposite end of the couch. "You seem so familiar to me. Like we met before? A long time ago?"

"It is possible. I have lived here in Metro for a good portion of my later years. And like I said, I do know you're ex-husband, Jody. Perhaps we met during better times."

Lana contemplated Maya's answer. Maybe it was, as she said, during business relations with her husband, Jody? It sounded logical, simple even, but there was a nagging, gnawing sensation that told her it was earlier still. Much earlier. "You don't happen to know my brother, Max, do you?"

"Max Kittridge?"

"No, Seconds. Maxwell Seconds."

"Yes." Maya's reply was deadpanned flat. It neither hinted at a fondness nor a dislike for him.

"Did you know he was in the hospital? In a coma?"

Maya looked uneasy, as if she was hiding something. "No, I didn't know this, but knew that someday he would be. I didn't realize how long of a journey he actually made." Maya suddenly change subjects. "My that's a lovely watch you are wearing. You don't see that style very much anymore. It must be a family heirloom?"

Lana reached up and touched the brooch watch that was pinned the above her left breast. "Why, yes, yes it is. It belonged to my grandmother. But how did you know, I was wearing a watch? And an old brooch watch at that?"

"Being blind, I no longer have the need of a watch. The ticking was very noticeable as you sat next to me. As too was the location, high up on your body. So, unless you are sitting with your hands above your chest, it could only be a brooch. Since nobody wears brooch watches in this day in age, it must naturally be an heirloom, and an old one at that. Single mechanism by the sound of it. Quartz watches don't have that slight whine to them as the gears rotate. It must be quite the conversation piece at you PTA functions?"

Lana shrugged, "To be honest, you're the first person I can remember ever commenting about it." She let hold of her grasp and it flopped back down against her breast. "Getting back to my brother,"

"Which one? Max or Rex?"

'How the hell did she know we used to call, Randy, Rex?' She thought as she stared at Maya with a furrowed brow. 'This blind old bitch is playing some type of damn game with me, and it ends now.'

From underneath the coffee table, a small irritated growl emerged.

"Bella, stop that," commanded Maya. Out from under the table came a small white terrier. Leaping into it's masters lap, it made a half circle and laid down, never taking it's eyes off Lana. "Now you just behave, Bella. Lana, here, is our guest." She returned her attention to Lana. "I'm sorry, Ms. Kittridge. I don't know what gets into her. She is so protective of me, sometimes without reason."

Lana stood as the tingles raced down her spine in waves. "Your dog's name is, Bella?"

Scratching Bella between here ears, Maya smiled her little cherub smile once more. "Yes. I helped a young lady out twenty-some odd years ago. I protected her then, so, in remembrance, I named my dog, Bella - after her. Now she protects me. The karmic balance is paid."

Shaking her head, Lana maneuvered around the small coffee table. "I'm sorry. I need to go."

"So soon? But we haven't even began to talk about your brothers or David Lane."

The last tingle wave crashed upon her spine and paralyzed her where she stood. "We have met before, haven't we?"

"Come, sit down, Lana." Maya patted the sofa cushion next to her. "I want to share with you a story-"

"I don't wanna hear no story!"

"Oh, but this story you do. You see it concerns your brothers, in particular, Max, and his current condition."

"Then you do know, Max, and what's going on with him?"

Stroking Bella from the top of her head to mid spine, Maya continued. "I know both your brothers very well. Extremely well. That piece of paper you are holding happens to be the last thing I ever notarized before I lost my sight. Your brother, Rex, saw to that. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Come, sit down, and let me share this with you. Please. I've held it for so long now. I need to tell someone, but most importantly, I need to tell you."

"Why? Why me?"

"Because you are part of the story, a key element in it; and this is when and where your journey begins."

"Will this story help save my brother's life?"

Maya patted the sofa cushion once more. "Let's just say, a lot of people are counting on you hearing this story. Max's is just one life left hanging in the balance with the knowledge I desperately want - no - need to share with you."

Lana returned to the sofa and sat down. "You have mentioned 'journey' twice now. Once about Max and now about me. What kind of journey is it? Where does it lead to and how long will it last?"

Maya shook her head, "Only you can answer that. I can only share with you the story. It takes place 23 years ago, but it began much earlier for some, and, as you will find out, much later for others. But regardless, it has ... will happen in 1985."

"1985? What the hell can I do about 1985?"

"You are getting ahead of me."

Lana sat and listened as Maya began to share with her the story.

* * *


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3 minutes after 3 a.m.
The Meat Packing plant

Sol, roughly 6'4 270 pounds of pure muscle, pulls Fritz down from the 3 chains that were bearing his weight. He then proceeds, through hairy knuckled hands, to throw him on a butcher's table that slathered in freeze dried cow's blood. Sol's smile, from under his dark mustache, extends outward bearing his large canines. Sol says in a thick accent " In my country,we had a legacy of forging people toghether. Your kind likes to divide and conquer. Disgusting!!!" He pulls out a butcher's knife from a drawer, and starts to lightly glide the tip over Fritz's neck.

" You are a backward desert people, who were NOT strong enough to live by yourselves! You are weak! " The hate is evident from the bile that Fritz spews. " Where is your precious country now?!--"

" Shut your mouth, you know nothing of desert people, you swine!" Sol explodes, he digs the tip of the knife into Fritz's exposed shoulder, Fritz lets out a great howl, he then jabs the tip into his other shoulder. " Now, I can continue this, or you take me to Rex, choice is yours." Sol pulls the tip out, and presses a cold towel on the wounds.

"Very well, untie me from this table, and I shall" Fritz insists, blood oozing out his mouth.

---------------------------------
Elsewhere,
3 minutes past 3 am, Metro High School

Max is three steps away from the third floor, he checks his inventory, everything is a go. He heads to Wordsworth's office, and decides to knock on the door.
The door slowly creaks open, he sees Wordworth standing there alone, his bespectacled eyes blink twice, then one eye blinks, then both eyes blink 3 times. Max remembering his military service, says to himself " Morse Code, he must be blinking the word 'Go'".

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Max blinked twice and shook his head to clear the images. Looking at his watch, it was 12:42 AM. 'Oh, great. Now I'm getting visions too.' He thought as he removed the night vision goggles. 'That gives me a little over 2 hours to clean this up if the visions are correct.'

"Fritz, sind Sie dort?" Announced the near frantic voice over the 2-way. "Sprechen Sie mit mir. Fritz? Fritz!"

"Fritz is dead, Chancellor - or soon will be - unless you release, Wordsworth."

A long pause followed Max's statement.

"Kill him, Max." Announced a younger and somewhat fimilar voice Max suspected as Rex. "Save us all the trouble by doing our work for us. As for Words-Worth ... no chance. There will be blood tonight. Fritz's, Words-worth's, Bella's, does it really matter?"

Max growled in the darkness as the thunder challenged him. "What does Bella have to do with this, Rexie? Come on down to the 1st floor and we will settle this man to man, or do you not have the guts?"

"Big talk from such a little boy."

Max smiled and brought the 2-way to his mouth again. "Fine, then little brother. Send the bitch down because she apparently is wearing the balls for all 3 of you."

"You've done your homework, Max. Won't mom be so proud of her little boy?"

Max pulled the goggles down and began to walk down the hallway keeping his eye on his compass ring. 1 of the players had separated from the group and has heading towards the east end stairwell. "At least mom still remembers me. You, I don't recall her remembering you at all. Not even a lit candle on our birthday. It was as if you weren't even born. Just like you never existed."

"I Exist!" Bellowed Rex through the speaker. "No thanks to you."

"Oooh, we'll have to discuss this later. I see one of your group has come down to play with me. We'll carry on this discussion when I dispatch them."

Max turned off the 2-way and placed it in his pocket as he entered the Auditorium.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:05 am 
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Time And Realative Dimension In Space
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* * *

Dave yanked the paper from the printer, half tearing it as it was forced from its tractor feeds. Sitting back down at his desk, the 3 flickering candles and the glow from the ember of his cigarette provided his light. He flipped through the folded pages, which streamed to the floor, until he came to where he left off on the screen.

... self proclaimed psychic, Miriam Seconds.

'Holy shite! That's Max's Grandmother,' leaped through his mind as if charged by the crashing lightning outside his window.

Mrs. Seconds led State and Local Authorities to a grizzly scene in the unincorporated Vanderhall Woods outside Metro City. This 23 acre property is privately own land and is not patrolled by Local or County authorities. Within an abandoned hunting cabin, authorities discovered the remains of Mrs. Thelma Dunn, 45, mother of three, and Mrs Victoria Lane, 48, mother of one. Both women were pronounced Dead On Scene. Mrs. Dunn had disappeared in April of 1937 and Mrs. Lane having disappeared just 2 weeks ago. As accounted by an anonymous officer on the scene, "Both women were killed less then an hour earlier. The blood was still fresh and had not yet coagulated."

The lone survivor of this ghastly nightmare was Mrs. Pamela Potts, 30, who was in the throws of child birth when authorities found her hiding in the dank, dark root cellar. Having self delivered her own baby, she later died en route to Metro Community Hospital from internal hemorrhaging. This reporter has learned that Baby Potts is alive and in good health, a boy, 7 lbs. 9 oz. Mrs. Potts had disappeared 9 months ago and it is not clear if she had been pregnant prior to her abduction. Mr. Belasco Potts was inconsolable at the time of this reporters interview and was unavailable for comment.


"That's some f@%ked up shite right there." Dave exhaled a thick plum of smoke and tapped his cigarette thrice along the ashtray's rim.

Among the site, Police discovered a minimum of twelve more unmarked graves. The remains are currently being exhumed and sent to the coroners department for cause of deaths; and possible identification. Sheriff Charlie Koch unofficially can not state how many more graves may be found here. "An exhaustive search that may take months or years is in order. Any figure at this time would be a completely sensationalized inaccuracy." As for the perpetrator of these ghoulish crimes, the Sheriff had no comment.

I briefly spoke with Mrs. Miriam Seconds regarding her psychic ability. Mrs. Seconds stated, "I am not a psychic or fortune teller. I have been telling the police for years now that there was something not right going on in these woods. I would be awakened from my sleep with terrible visions of savage butchery and the screams ... blood curdling, anguished screams. They haunted me for many years now. They will haunt me forever."

When this reporter asked, Sheriff Koch, why, after all these years of reporting her suspicions, did the authorities finally take note? Again, the Sheriff had no comment. In this reporters eyes, the logical reason would be that this is an election year and the election is less than 3 months away. Alas, there are 3 members of the community who won't be able to cast their vote. But one thing is certain in this reporters eyes, the Annexation of Vanderhall Woods has come too late for these ladies and the unidentified others; at a cost much too high. The cost of blood. The cost of their lives.


* * *


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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:13 am 
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Justice peered through the pitch black darkness but was unable to distinguish depths, shapes, or anything at all. He tried to listen for Maya's breath, her heartbeat, any slight movement, but this availed him not. He tried to inhale the air, but the only scent was that of the lavender and vanilla mixed with the wet wool suit that he was wearing. Isolated and confused, Justice swung the poker wildly about him. "I know you're here, bitch. It's just a matter of time until I find you. And God help you when I do."

Maya's laugh seemed to come from all directions. "Is poor little Justice afraid? All alone in the dark, unable to see, confused and helpless?" Suddenly her tone changed from playful to taunting. "Are you afraid, Justice? Are you afraid of big, bad, Maya?"

Justice could feel the lingering heat from the end of the poker. Its trails were barely visible as he swung wildly around him. "Just keep talking, bitch. This room is not big enough to hide forever."

"That's where you're wrong, Justice."

"Just keep talking whore. I'll find ya." He turned to the direction he heard her voices and make slight cutting motions with the poker.

"Whore ... whore? Nope, doesn't sound like a job I ever held. A notary, a dancer, a magician's assistant, and a knife throwers assistant; but never a whore. Funny thing is, I was in a lot of carnival acts that did have whores. And the favorite lady was always named, Liberty. Now isn't that funny?"

'She is right there.' He thought and swung the poker hard in the direction of her voice. Missing with the poker, his left fist slammed into the carriage bed post. "Stop moving damn you!"

"Did I mention I once dated a ventriloquist?" Her voice came from behind him and he turned in kind. "He taught me how to throw my voice." She spoke now from his right side and he turned to match. "It's always a big hit at parties." She now spoke from his left side causing him to spin around.

Justice exclaimed, "Gotcha!" as he swung with his right arm to his right side. His right wrist slammed against the same bed post. "Bitch!"

"I must say, it's still fun now."

"Sight or no sight, I'm gonna kill you, blind girl. I will make you suffer for for these indignities. I don't need my eyes to find you, harlot. You can't see, I can't see. We both have the same disadvantage."

"You forget, I've been blind for a long, long time now." Her voice floated on the ceiling above him. "But I can remember the day that Rex stole my vision from me. I remember it like it was yesterday, and it was just like it is now for you. Scared? Unsure? Desperately grasping for some hint, some sense of light. But the light never comes Justice -- well, the light won't come for you."

"Oh, but the light will come for you, Maya." He began to pace away from the bed, counting his steps. "All are welcome into the light."

Maya continued with her voice coming from opposite his pacing. "While all you can see is the blackness about you, thick and infinite, to my eyes, you glow like a white hot sun. All those little trinkets you carry bring vision to my eyes. The medallion around your neck illuminates the true human nature of your face. The vile evil creases that tried to hide your frightened eyes. But I'm looking at them now, Justice. I can see the terror and fear swelling in them."

Justice turned his head in all directions and was certain she was to his left.

"That's right, Justice, just a little closer. You're almost to me."

Justice swung awkwardly and without full extension as he kept his left elbow close to his waist. The poker whooshed through the air but contacted nothing. However, from behind him, 2 cupped hands slapped his ears with swift and tremendous force. The sudden pressure burst his right eardrum. Cocking his head to the right, he violently swung around him, but continued to only stir the air.

"That sounded like it hurt a lot," Maya snickered. "Did it, Justice? Did it hurt a lot?"

"I will make you suffer like no other before you!" He bellowed into the scented air. "My previous works will pale in comparison to the majesty I have set aside for you."

Maya's laughter, again, seemed to come from all directions. "Do you know how I was blinded, Justice? I was forced to look into the mouth of time. In that brief instant, I saw the creation of time itself, and every infinitesimal ripple that would ever be. Where Rex thought that he blinded me, he actually opened my eyes. He gave me the ability to see beyond your limited comprehension. He gave me the ability to see this night. To see the repercussions of the obscenities you were to commit. The worlds you would shatter. The ripples you would unleash. But karma, like me, is a fickled Mistress. What goes around, comes around, and I'm here to tell you, I come seeking vengeance."

"Vengeance for what, Maya? A slutty little 16 year old you don't even know?" He jabbed the tip of the poker with violent certainty into the vanity mirror, shattering it into pieces.

She picked up two large shards of glass as she silently maneuvered around him. "Oh goody, now I have a weapon too. Lots of them."

Justice laughed. "I could make out my reflection in the mirror, Maya. My eyes are adjusting to the darkness. That means you and karma are running out of time. Tick, tick, tick."

"Tock!" she yelled into his left ear. She ducked his whirling arm and lunged up with the first shard, driving it deep into his left arm pit. As Justice followed through with his right arm, she side stepped the blow while dragging the 2nd shard across his chest. Slicing both cloth and flesh, she yanked the exposed medallion from around his neck as she withdrew from melee and waited for his reaction.

* * *


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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:15 am 
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As the Chancellor arrived on the 1st floor, a loud crackle of lightning struck outside and reverberated the metal lockers along the hallway walls. Squinting to protect his sight, he continued down the corridor and stopped in front of the auditorium doors. Both sets were fully propped open giving him ample access to either aisle. He grinned with only half a smile. 'Smart kid. With only one set open, it would have been easy to guess which side he was on. With both sets open, he gives nothing away. Damn! I think Rex has under estimated him.'

Placing his back to the exterior left-hand door, he brought his Luger up in both hands and peered his head around, into the darkened theater. 'Odds are that he is in the middle. Best vantage point regardless which way I enter. The storm would give me away if I tried a side entrance.' "Well played, young Maxwell. Well played." He knew his only chance was to get Max to talk back and give away his position. "Nobody has to die here tonight. Not you, not I, certainly not Wordsworth. Give us Potts' Notebook and we can all leave here intact and alive. Do you hear me, Maxwell? Give me the Notebook and all will be forgiven."

Between lightning flashes he glanced down the aisles and tried to examine the rows of chairs for any movement, a flash of steel, a silhouette, but nothing out of the ordinary appeared. "I know you can hear me, Max. You are young, yet. Not like me. Neither of us want to die for our own reasons. Give me the Notebook, Max." Placing the Luger on the ground, he kicked it down the aisle and stepped into the center of the doorway. "You see. I am unarmed." He raised his hands in the air. "We can come to an arrangement, you and I."

* * *


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