THE SEEKER BEGINS:

 

DEDICATION:

I DEDICATE THIS TO THE POWERLESS WHO FEEL THEY CAN’T FIGHT THE POWERFUL BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHANCE. YOU DO HAVE A CHANCE. WILL YOU BE OPEN AND READY TO RECEIVE WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY ARISES?

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Thank you to my soul for getting brighter each time I take a step forward in my evolutionary journey. The things I want to accomplish won’t be easy, but become easier the more truthful I am with myself, and the more facets of my soul I discover. We can rise as a people because we truly see each other, or we can fall as a people because we refuse to look outside of ourselves and see how everything is interconnected.

We can make the world and humanity better by building it up, or we can make it worse by tearing it down. Or is it a combination of both? We have a choice. It’s up to us and only us.

 

FORWARD:

There is a passion that burns within me for positive, social and political change. The solutions to fix most of the world’s problems are simple, but difficult at the same time. Ever felt like you were running around in circles? What if you suddenly weren’t interested in eternally chasing your tail anymore, and were ready to not only seek out and live your true potential, but to heal and then improve the world for all its inhabitants? My reason for writing this book is to encourage movement towards conscious evolution.

It’s time we slowed down and took time to smell the roses. I’m not always talking about leaning down to smell flowers that are important to some gardener but not you. That’s the thing though, sometimes it’s literally stooping down to smell pretty flowers on the side of the road. Sometimes it’s taking a walk on a sunny day, going to see a movie, or getting ice cream with friends.

This is only the first step, it helps us relax and realize that to grow and bring in the things we need to bring in, we need to let go. We need to let go of the things that don’t mean anything to us, because if we don’t, how do we expect to allow in what’s important? It’s like we only have so much storage space and need to prioritize the important aspects of our lives. What are we going to fill it with, something good or something bad?

Everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten, humans need to get back to nature, we all need to get back to basics, however it’s vocalized, it all describes the same idea. We need to get back to what makes us human.

We need to remember our humanity for each other. We build from there, it’s where we start.

If we could start our day remembering to treat others how we’d like to be treated, to share, to not destroy land where we live so it’s healthy for us and everybody that comes after us, that we all want to be loved, that nobody is better than anybody else, to see each other in ourselves, to see our common humanity, to courageously and vigilantly hold those in power accountable for their transgressions, and to remind the string pullers of their responsibility to the people that vastly outnumber them. If we could do all that, we wouldn’t be worried about the huge obstacle in front of us.

We simply need to remember why we took the first step. It’s because of us that we move forward, nobody else. We raise our consciousness, precisely so we can raise everyone else’s consciousness.

 

PROLOGUE

Jason and Christina are average twenty somethings with long term goals and a fiery passion for making the world a better place.

Jason was walking through Stewart Park one day trying to get some air, process where he’s at in life, where he’s been and where he’d like to go. He rested his 5’4’’ frame on a bench beneath a huge, beautiful Japanese maple tree that caught his eye. He knew he needed rest, but there was another reason he sat down; like some other force wanted to see if he was ready to let go of what didn’t serve him, and grab onto what did. Feeling his life was in limbo, he decided to not hold onto the beauty of the world, but allow it to flow through him.

This was the moment Christina sauntered by and parked her equally short stature on the same bench. On a normal day, Jason would have questioned why she sat next to him. There were many empty benches and many beautiful trees to sit under, why did she choose this one and this bench? But he didn’t endlessly question, he just decided to let it happen, whatever will be, will be and what is meant to come will. Was it the tree, Christina and her long flowing brown hair, or some other cosmic force trying to show him the path he should be taking?

After talking for a while, Jason and Christina realized they had much in common. They both had a strong passion for helping the world evolve and become more conscious. The more they talked, the more they knew their passions were aligned.

Jason was raised by his dad after his parents got divorced when he was three. Jason’s dad always questioned things, but didn’t take it the next step once he found the answer. He never really knew what to do or where to go with information even though he listened to the news, the radio, read and took in as much information as he could.

New people would come in and out of Jason’s life teaching him lessons he needed to learn, and helping him grow in the direction he needed to grow. It was his love of information and truth finding behind the scenes that led Jason to his degree in journalism and creative writing, and an extremely long beard he didn’t cut until after he graduated. He wanted to move forward, which was the first step in searching for truth. Light was illuminating the first section of path Jason was supposed to take.

Christina’s story is much the same, but a little more focused. She was raised by activist parents who always told her something bigger and better was out there, but she’d have to find it herself. They could help guide her when she needed help, but the majority of choices would have to be made by her blazing her own path. That is what led Christina to school and her search for truth, which came in the form of an anthropology degree. Her path included tracking down forensic evidence to discover why things happened.

Why are some things covered up while some aren’t? Why is there a block in front of humanities evolution?

Jason and Christina have a strong sense of responsibility to question why things are the way they are. Is society waiting for people to be conscious enough to know all that the world needs, is for them to realize that humanism and accountability are the solutions to the deeply ingrained and generational problems that have been fought over and over and over again? Jason and Christina’s deep love for positive change is what brought them together, and what guides them together. They both know that it’s not about bringing the revolution so change can begin. It’s about the next revolution that will push humans forward, because they know how many revolutions society has been through to get to this evolutionary point in its existence.

Jason and Christina feel a strong injustice is keeping people from coming together, distractions that keep them from agreeing on what they already know they agree on. If they can bring working class people together, they would have the support of the majority of the world’s people. Elites don’t give up their power without a fight because they’ve been building it up for long periods of time. This illusion of power crumbles however when the elites realize they can never overcome the peoples numbers no matter what weapons they have at their disposal. This is when the top dogs figure if they can’t beat the people, they might as well join them.

This is a concept Jason and Christina always knew was possible, but never knew what the first step was to making it happen. Now that they’ve met each other on a beautiful day under an amazing Japanese maple, they know. They know they were pulled together for a reason bigger than themselves that is only beginning to reveal itself. Like life, it becomes clearer over time.

Jason and Christina hung out a lot after that first chance meeting. The more time they spent getting to know each other, the more they discovered they were alike in what they were looking for, what they wanted, what they needed and what they wanted to do for the world. Each day was a new expedition, a new hill to climb, a new issue to decipher, and a new reason to love the world and humanity. The love they have for each other proved they were waiting their whole lives for someone like the other.

Adventure starts anew every day, and always finds a way to teach something. Whenever they wake up together, Jason and Christina look into each other’s equally brown eyes and know a better world is out there. If they could help each other find what they’re looking for, maybe they could help the world find what it’s looking for.

Jason and Christina help the world build up its positive energy, by building up their own positive energy; they have to take time to fill their own cup. They must move forward with consciousness, openness, love for all things, but most importantly, gratitude for just being alive. They know that being thankful for what they have, instead of being upset over what they don’t have, is what will truly move them and the world forward.

 

CHAPTER ONE

“Do I take the job I’ve always wanted, or stay with the only woman I’ve ever truly loved? I don’t know what to do. Is there a way to do both? Why do I have to make a decision? I’ve always been shy with the ladies, ever since I was very young. I used to pass notes to girls because I was too nervous to speak with them face to face. I always wanted to feel their touch. You know, feel their warm embrace like the old cliché goes. Seriously, until I met Christina, I hadn’t kissed many girls, let alone made love to many. Even though I wasn’t very experienced, she said I had quite the loving ways.

I love that she knows what I’m thinking, when I’m truthful, and when I’m happy. Sure, I dated before, but none of them were truly interested in me. Christina is tuned into me, gives a shit about what happens to me, and always wants me to strive for more in life. I had always seen an angel in my dreams, until that fateful day when the angel decided to sit next to me on a bench under a big Japanese maple. Little did I know that angel would be my love, my woman, my completeness, my world, my life.

Well I guess that’s not entirely true, maybe just 90%. I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. I remember playing baseball when I was seven with the other kids in school, always wanting to be an announcer. My other spare time was spent reading and writing short stories. All through my school days and even now I love writing, I feel it’s a very honest way to express one’s inner thoughts. I published poems, football articles and other small and short feature pieces.

Now I have a job offer and I don’t know what to do. Should I take the job that’s a springboard into the business? It would give me a higher salary than anybody I’ve personally known. When I go to write a book it would be a lot easier to sell, because people would know who I am. Or do I stay with the only woman I’ve ever truly loved, the only woman that’s ever truly loved me (except my mom of course which is something totally different). Christina is my soul mate, if there could ever be one.

How can I as a person be made to choose between my love and my future life? I mean if I take the position I’ll love my life. I’ll have the perfect job, and will be fulfilling a lifelong dream to spread consciousness to the world; raising collective thinking so people can see outside their bubble. I’ll also miss out on the woman I love, maybe once I make a name for myself I can move back, or at least find where she is so I can see her regularly. I’d be able to write from wherever because I could send anything to anybody; my name would prove my reliability.

If I stay with Christina I’ll be with my love every day. I’d wake up next to her, make love to her, make breakfast for her, have romantic dinners with her, stare into her eyes and know I’m not alone in life. I love her so much I’m thinking about kissing her right now. Even though she wasn’t the first person I ever kissed, she tasted so sweet. She has a very special aura about her. If I stay with my love, I’ll always have this undercurrent of what if? I’ll always wonder what could have happened.

Sure there are magazines in California, and I might be able to get my name out with them and then work for whomever, but it wouldn’t be the same. It’s not a question

of whether I would have made it, but a question of luck, and how long it took. Should I take advantage of instant stardom and money, or stay with my love?

I still hold onto the position that no human being should have to choose between their dreams and love. Why can’t people have both? Why should someone have to choose between love and money? We need both to survive in society, but is one more important than the other? If a person chooses to take a job in their field for less pay because of love or location, they can have love and a job that can be built into what they might have turned down in the first place.

Society runs into trouble when we try to decide between love and money. Both are necessities of being human, at least in the western world. The Beatles said “all you need is love.” Well you can have all the love in the world, but if you don’t have any money you will be homeless just like that crack-head you passed on your way to school who was talking to himself. So if society dictates that we need money to survive, what importance does love hold? It’s one of those things that you can’t define so I’m not going to try. It’s something so primal, something passed down through the ages.

I’ll say one thing, if the world was more concerned with love than money, we wouldn’t have as many wars, ethnic struggles or any killing in the name of religion. People would actually be accepting of others, instead of hurting them for being different. If everybody had love, it would magnify to such a great extent that it would spread across the universe like wildfire.

The need for money would no longer be there, anything anybody needed as far as food, clothing, or whatever else would be provided by friends or neighbors. Materialism would melt away and corporations would fall, as would many governments. The people that were left would reinvent the world so anybody on earth could go anywhere and would be welcomed with open arms.

If it still comes down to love and money, can one bring the other? Can a change be made from within or without? I need to remember that love and good feelings are extremely contagious, and can cause money to come in, or eliminate the need for it all together. Money can bring the power to change the system and inject the love the world so desperately needs, also eliminating money.

Love or money, love and money, the chicken or the egg, it doesn’t matter which one came first, it just matters how each ends up. What the finished product ends up being, no matter what anybody says, thinks, acts, or writes, it’s me who decides.”

Christina and Jason were sitting at the breakfast table when Christina observed Jason staring off into space. He was either deep in thought or, waiting for his coffee to kick in.

“What are you thinking about sweetheart, I can see the hamster running on its wheel inside that noggin of yours,” Christina expressed as she sipped her coffee, trying to charge her batteries for the day ahead.

“Yeah, I just feel so lucky to be with you. We both have the want and need to bring truth. I sometimes ask why I’ve been blessed like this?” replied Jason as he looked adoringly into Christina’s eyes.

“We just have a connection that can’t be ignored. I might come from the path of science and you might come from the path of the media, but we meet up at the same enlightenment apex that we’re both striving towards. It’s just from our own unique paths. Kind of how the world’s major religions are basically the same at their root, all striving towards the same basic place of light and love,” Christina continued as her thoughts started flowing easily.

“That right there, is one of the reasons I love you. You took the words right out of my mouth. Not only do you and I have a lot in common, obviously, but so does the world. I would bet that most people could agree more than not, they just have to get out of their own way.”

“Yeah, kind of like everybody has to figure out what kind of human being they want to be.”

Christina got up from the table to pour another cup of coffee, and look out from their second floor apartment. The windows were big, which made them easy to look through considering Christina and Jason were both 5’4’’.

Outside it was cloudy and damp, but inside was filled with love, and the delicious smell of Christina’s famous pancakes and eggs, and Jason’s famous hash browns. He always got them just right.

“How do you get the hash browns so crispy without burning them? Whenever I try making them I always mess them up somehow, either not cook them enough and they’re soggy, or too much and it’s like chewing on pure carbon,” inferred Christina, looking to Jason for guidance on the subject.

“I just focus in. It’s all about how it looks. Not flipping it too early, being patient, and paying attention the whole time is the key,” Jason retorted with a smirk on his face, waiting for a smart ass comeback.

“I guess it would be easier if I took three hours to make breakfast too, but sometimes I get a little hungry before 12 o’clock.”

“Yeah my food might take a while to prepare, but it always tastes good. It’s like a fine wine. It takes a while till it’s at its most delicious.”

“Well seeing as how I’d like to eat breakfast before tomorrow, I thought I would do it.”

Jason got up and moved over toward the stove where Christina was standing, he grabbed her yoga pants covered hips and pulled her close to him, rubbing up against her.

“That’s not how we do it faster,” blurted Christina, realizing that she threw Jason a softball he wouldn’t be able to resist.

“I can do it faster or slower, however you want. As far as the hash browns, you just stick them in and move them around until it feels right. Then you work with the potatoes.” Jason lovingly looked into Christina’s eyes with as mischievous a smile as any American man would have who had a beautiful woman in his arms.

“Okay, we can have plenty of fun after breakfast, but I’d like to get some food and coffee in me so I have energy for you, as well as for me.”

They both smiled knowing they were being turned on in the same ways, sexually, intellectually and spiritually by the person that was meant for them.

Their apartment was an average after college residence, two bedrooms and a kitchen to cook a nice meal in with plenty of room, or entertain friends with their newest cooking creation. Jason and Christina loved to cook. They both believed that through the stomach was the way to the other one’s heart.

It was cloudy, and the wind was picking up a bit, but no threat of rain. Nothing like ten years ago when the rain didn’t stop pounding and the rivers were full. Now there was a drought and they were wondering like CCR did, had they ever seen the rain?

“It looks crappy outside, I don’t know what we should do today,” Christina deduced as she sat down to breakfast with no help from Jason who had been lovingly grinding against her the whole time.

“It does, but I’m sure we could find something to do,” Jason sniped with a wink and a smile.

“That’s always great when it’s nasty and cold outside, but I want more. I feel something extraordinary is right around the corner.”

“It probably is. Something always happens when you get those feelings,” Jason exclaimed as he sat down and took a bite of the delicious pancakes, causing syrup to drip everywhere. “There does seem to be electricity in the air. Like something is on the precipice of happening.”

“Yeah, it’s like we’re on the path we’re supposed to be on.”

“Wasn’t without it’s pitfalls though, and it’s challenges. This is starting to feel like the water park.”

They both immediately swan dived into their thoughts, like an automated flashback switch had been pulled.

“That was a crazy time, and a crazy story,” Jason remembered as he guzzled his coffee, needing the caffeine to circulate through his veins so he could fully articulate his feelings on the subject. “Who knew all those things would happen because I felt like going on the big water slide. It was a hot day, I just wanted to cool off.”

 

CHAPTER TWO

The Fun Rapids water park was like any other refuge for an overheated community to cool off. They had the basic array of water slides, and a wave pool for people too scared to go in the actual ocean. There were many spots to relax, enjoy a snack and a cool drink before you went on a plethora of water adventures. There were twisty ones, short ones, long ones, and as any water park worth their salt would have, the big colossal thrill slide that either a person would go on because they conquered it before, or because they were dared to by a friend or family member who was too scared to go on it themselves.

Jason decided to go to this particular water park because it was the only place in town where he wouldn’t feel like the weirdo that possessed his soul when the temperature crested 100. He went without Christina because she was working, and he happened to have the day off with nothing to do. Instead of hiding in their air conditioned apartment all day with the blinds drawn, Jason decided to venture out and cool off somewhere fun.

When he entered the main drag of the park, massive crowds were corralled like cattle around the most popular rides and slides. The bumper boats were always Jason’s favorite, but since Christina wasn’t there, they wouldn’t be as entertaining without trying to bump her into the water. They had an amazing bond, but they both saw nothing wrong with keeping each other on their toes. If they could make themselves laugh without offending and upsetting the other person too much, they would do it. They lived to test each other’s limits.

Jason walked up to the snack bar, grabbed a soda and sat down at the nearest table to figure out which slide he wanted to go on first. Lots of women in bikinis were displaying themselves while men were checking them out like a T-bone steak in a butcher shop. They knew the other was playing games, but they didn’t care because each move the other made was a boost to their own ego.

Jason decided to walk around and check which line was the shortest. He walked up to the Twisty Goat because it was a medium sized water slide, and an easy way to work into the day he needed to be fun.

Jason bought the all-day pass, which allowed him access to the fast moving express line. Some people bought per ride tickets which were cheaper, but the lines were ten times longer. The all-dayer was surely the better deal, but with the economy the way it was, people saved a buck whenever and wherever they could.

The only catch was, when the person ran out of tickets it caused arguments between the person wanting to ride, and the person working the ride. The verbatim response went something like, “Come on man, let me on. What would it hurt you? Like it would be so much work for you to just wave your hand and let me by.” This would usually be followed by, “I’m sorry but you have to go buy more tickets to ride, or get an all-day pass.”

Sometimes the people were courteous, and would head over to the ticket booth to purchase more tickets. Sometimes though, the person wouldn’t take the advice. Sometimes they would get downright angry. “What do you mean you won’t let me ride? You have something against me? Do you not like the cut of my jib or where I come from? Maybe I slept with your girlfriend in high school, and now you can finally pay me back because you feel you have power over me.”

It was this exchange that Jason was used to, just part of the whole water park experience. He knew some people try to get away with whatever they can, constantly testing their limits. It was in this context that he entered a crowd gathered around the big slide, changing the trajectory of his life forever.

The Big Lizard slide was known for making wusses out of big egos, and heroes out of nerdy weaklings. Jason rode it once before, and knew it was no joke. Not only had it scared the crap out of him, but his shorts almost flew off about halfway into his run.

Since the slide was so big and tall, many people stood on the sides and watched people ride down. Sometimes young boys watched and hoped for a girl’s bikini top to fly off, or foreign tourists being entertained by the latest crazy American. Sometimes, it was just bored people waiting for something new to happen.

Jason walked up and got in the express line. After fifteen minutes and a ton of stairs, he was at the front and ready to go. The guy working the slide told him to wait till the person in front of him was clear. Of course this particular delay was because the guy working the slide was staring down the bikini top of a particular busty rider. After a bit of a chuckle, he let her go down.

The slide guy placed Jason in position to be next, when somebody came up behind him and started yelling. “Hey man, let me on.”

“No man, you have to wait in line.”

“Like last night, when I made your wife wait until she couldn’t wait anymore. I gave her more pleasure than you could ever dream of.”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about. My girl would never go for someone like you when she has someone like me at home.”

“Is that why she said I was so much bigger than her small dicked husband that never amounted to anything.”

“You shouldn’t say stuff like that, you never know what people are capable of.”

“That’s right, you never do.”

In response the crazy guy walked away and back down the staircase of the slide, disappearing into the crowd like it was a cornfield. After a very heated exchange, Jason wondered if this particular slide operator was okay because his eyes were twitching. “You alright man?”

“It’s none of your business. Besides, some people think they can get away with anything because nobody ever told them they aren’t the center of the universe. He needs somebody to teach him a lesson.”

It was at this point that Jason just wanted to go down the slide and get away from this emotionally unstable and volatile situation. The guy sat him down in position with his legs crossed, and his arms crossed over his chest. When Jason was ready, he was told to go. Whoosh, he went so fast down the slide, he could already feel his shorts slipping off. Not wanting them to fly off when he hit the middle of the slide, (just the point when pieces of clothing that were bound to come off did) he held onto his shorts with one hand as he made his way down the remainder of the slide.

This precise maneuver kept Jason’s shorts on, but flipped him around in the process. He went down the bottom third of the slide backwards, hitting the splash down pool without knowing which way was up. The crowd was cheering him on as Jason struggled to catch his breath, and figure out what happened. As he blearily looked around at everybody laughing and applauding the crazy ride he just made, the guy at the top of the slide gave him an evil glare; the type reserved for the most hated people in society, like Jason had stolen his soul or raped his mother. Although he thought it was a bit odd and wondered if it had to do with the comment he made, Jason decided to let him be the little man he was, not wanting it to spoil what was turning out to be just what he needed.

After getting pelted with water and the intense sun light simultaneously, Jason bought one of the parks famous homemade ice creams and sat down in the shade. After he finished, Jason went over to the locker he put his bag in, and grabbed out his cell phone to call Christina.

“Hey baby, how are you? I’m down at the water park enjoying this beautiful no clouds in the sky day, but mainly trying to cool off. The water feels so good I wish you could enjoy it with me. You’re probably busy right now, so I’ll let you go, but give me a ring when you leave work. I’ll make us a good dinner tonight. What the hell is that?”

Not the best way to end a voice mail to the love of your life, but when Jason turned his glance from the way too hot for their own good nineteen year olds in string bikinis back to the slide he just rode down, something wasn’t right. The water cascading down had a dark red tint. Everybody started screaming as a badly mangled, and blood spurting body plopped into the splashdown pool.

Having abruptly ended his message to Christina, Jason walked up to take a look. Being a news reporter he knew he had to prepare for anything, because anything was possible when searching for truth.

Jason looked into the eyes of the victim. It was the crazy guy who heckled the slide operator.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Michael was normal as far as society thought, but, if you looked under the covers, you’d know his was not the life of a nobody. He was a 6’2’’, bald headed track star in school, married his high school sweetheart, started his own construction company, and had two beautiful, intelligent and very driven kids. They were the stereotypical happy family, so why did he end up dead going down the area’s most popular water slide?

“It looks like his throat was cut, and then pushed down the slide,” observed the young and clean security guard hungry for action like he was auditioning for the elite force of the army. “That’s a good possibility considering the marks on his throat, but the real question is why? Why kill this guy with everybody and their brother watching? He must have wanted to make an example,” the senior security officer shot back who had actually been in an elite unit, but was thrown out for shooting up heroin.

Jason strolled closer to the scene that was being cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. A crowd of very curious onlookers were gawking. “Looks like that dude lost his head,” a guy whispered to his girlfriend, trying to make her laugh.” “You shouldn’t joke about your boss like that. He might have been a jerk, but he didn’t deserve this, nobody does.”

Jason moseyed over to the young couple who were both no older than twenty two. “My name is Jason and I’m a reporter for the Times. I overheard you saying this guy was your boss?” Jason spoke with care and thoughtfulness, but a straight to the point directness that was about to make him a star at his small town paper. He held the job for some time, writing human interest stories, features, reviews, obituaries, basically everything nobody else wanted to write.

Jason knew that stuff had to be written, and would lead to bigger and better things. He had to pay his dues, and pick through the crap to find the one golden nugget that will lead him forward. Jason knew this might be one of those nuggets.

“So how long did you work for this guy?” Jason queried with a concerned but intense look because he knew he was onto something.

“Three years, he hired me a year after high school,” the man answered while clearing his throat because he was sincerely heartbroken. “He didn’t deserve to go out like this.” The dead guy had been his boss for a few years, what he didn’t add was the guy took him in after his parents threw him out.

He got into trouble with the law, had no direction and fell into drugs pretty heavily. When he forged a check from his mom’s purse to buy a twenty sack, his parents booted him out, leaving him to wander the streets. He looked like he’d be lost forever until a nice man with a construction company took a chance.

“You obviously have an emotional connection to the guy, do you know anybody that would want to harm him?” questioned Jason as the afternoon sun was shining right in his face, causing multiple beads of sweat to tumble down his forehead. “Any enemies that hated him enough to display his mangled body for the world to see?”

“I don’t know. He was the nicest, most hard working guy and treated everyone with respect. Nobody ever spoke ill of him. That is until we did some work on a high end development downtown. We were under a tight deadline because the corporation sub-contracting his company were assholes, and demanded everything be done yesterday.”

“I rode that slide right before his body came down. I witnessed him and some guy at the top screaming at each other. At first he was giving the guy crap, and the guy was giving him crap back. Then the heckler started talking about how he slept with the other guy’s wife, and how he could never satisfy her like he could, basically fighting words. The verbal onslaught started when he saw who was giving the okay for people to slide,” added Jason, feeling like this wasn’t a chance meeting.

“Sometimes the person funding the job would cruise by to check things out, and ask how much longer it was going to take. The big boss would always have a pissed off look on his face, accompanied by his trophy wife who wore way too much makeup to be anywhere near a construction site. I mean who wears high heels to walk through mud?”

“You think your guy was sleeping with her?”

“They always gave each other the eyes whenever she walked by, you know the ones that undress the other?”

“I know the look. It’s the same one my girlfriend and I exchange every morning. Anything else you can tell me?”

“Well he did just….” The guy was cutoff by his girlfriend pulling his arm with a let’s get out of here, very bored look.

“Aren’t you done yakking? I’m hungry and it’s like a million degrees out here,” the girl bellowed with a very annoyed, but happy look on her face. “I’m going to the snack bar for something to drink, then under that palm tree for some shade. Just don’t make it to long alright we have to be at my friends by five.”

“No problem honey, I’ll be just a few more minutes,” the young guy conveyed to his girlfriend as he watched her ass all the way to the snack bar.

“You have some other stuff to tell me, what is it?” Jason quizzed with a very eager look on his face.

“I just didn’t want to say anything with her around because she’d kill me,” chuckled the guy with a smirk on his face.

“Kill you figuratively not literally, right?”

“Yeah of course”

Jason and the guy had a good laugh as they moved to a nearby picnic table for the rest of their conversation.

“Remember that lady I thought was having an affair with my boss who came down the slide. She was sleeping with most of the work crew, guess the old man really couldn’t satisfy her,” blurted the young guy with a devious smile.

“So she slept with everybody? Including you?” Jason insinuated, even more interested than before because he felt some truth coming on.

“Yes, that’s why I didn’t say anything around my girl. The old man’s wife usually slept around very indiscriminately, but sometimes was just a tease. She knew you were checking her out, and liked it. Instead of following it up by pulling you into the bathroom, she was sent in to smooth over problems.”

“What do you mean smooth over problems?”

“She would talk to the workers when they had a complaint. Whether it was a problem with the company itself, coworkers, their rate of pay, or working conditions, the boss would always send his lady in to take care of it. I corroborated this by talking to other people that went through it.”

“So whenever there was a complaint, they would send her in huh?”

“She would meet them in the boss’s office when he wasn’t there, almost like they both planned it and got off on it. Anyway, I made a suggestion for a small cost of living adjustment. You know how it is when you work hard every day and never seem to get ahead. I told the big boss that if he couldn’t give me that raise, I would look elsewhere for work. Not wanting to lose me he sent his girlfriend or wife or whatever in to talk to me. When he left his office, she walked in. She said a raise wasn’t in the cards, but she could raise something else.”

“You think that’s what happened here?”

“Michael was a family man and carried himself like he was satisfied by his wife every night. I don’t know why he would want that sleazy trash. I mean its crazy right, a boss sending his wife to fuck his employees when they had a complaint. I mean he was probably jerking off in the corner when it went down.”

“Any idea what Michael’s complaint was?”

“I don’t know exactly, but he did express concern about some illegals the big boss hired. He was feeling pushed out by somebody that would work harder and for less money. Kind of the problem I had too, but the difference is I didn’t end up dead.”

“Thanks, you’ve been very helpful. The only thing I’m curious about is when I was at the top of the slide, Michael yelled at the guy working the slide that he slept with his wife?”

“Yeah sorry, the guy I currently work for and the guy that Michael used to work for also owns this water park. For some unknown reason he works the big slide on the weekends. I swear it’s only to look down the cleavage of hot ladies.”

“Well thank you again for your time. You should get back to your girlfriend. She’s giving the death look, like aren’t you done yet, jeez,” Jason cajoled as they both cracked up, completely relating to each other and the situation.

“No problem man, if more reporters were as down to earth and human as you, people would pay more attention to the information they need.”

Jason and the guy parted ways, walking off in opposite directions. It was at this point Jason immediately pulled out his cell phone to call Christina because his voicemail ended so abruptly.

“Hey babe how you doing, sorry about that earlier,” Jason attempted to say lovingly.

“What the hell happened? Are you okay?” Christina queried with contempt in her voice, tinged with worry.

“I was watching people come down the big slide as I was talking to you, when a dead body rolled down.”

Christina hurriedly turned on the news to see if they said anything about what happened. “The news is saying some guy was killed at the top of the slide, and shoved down for everybody to see. They don’t have a suspect yet, but are talking to a bunch of witnesses.”

“Right before I came down, I heard this guy Michael having an argument with the guy operating the slide. I didn’t think anything of it other than this guy has issues, so I rode down. Next thing I know, I’m leaving you a message and Michael comes down the slide with his throat cut,” explained Jason with his voice breaking because he was still freaked out.

“When the cops figure that out, they’ll want to talk to you.”

“They probably will, but being the diligent reporter I am, I questioned people who might know something. Some very interesting incidents happened between Michael and the other guy, who happened to be his boss,” stated Jason with authority.

“Really, the major TV networks aren’t even talking about that, you must have gotten a scoop they weren’t able to get,” revealed Christina in a very sweet tone.

“I think I have enough for a story here, I’m going to come home so I can write it up as soon as possible. The Times could put it on the front page.”

“That would be awesome,” exclaimed Christina as she hung up the phone. Knowing Jason would want to talk about his water park adventure when he got home, Christina prepared for an onslaught of truth seeking. After all, it drove both of them. What would a perfect couple be without helping the other grow and become a better person?

After settling down, her phone rang again. Thinking it was Jason asking if he should pick up anything at the store like he asked every night, she answered it and abruptly said, “We don’t need anything.”

“Sorry, what? Christina it’s me, Mellissa, your sister. I need to talk to you about what happened at the water park.”

“I know there was a murder there, crazy stuff.”

“That’s true, but I saw something that will burn in my memory forever.”

 

CHAPTER FOUR

“What did you see?” Christina nervously inquired with terror in her voice.

“I saw the murder happen. I saw that man get his throat sliced before being pushed down the slide like trash down a garbage chute,” Mellissa stated numbly and still in shock.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Christina poured herself a cocktail and sat down in her most comfortable chair.

“I had never been on a really big slide before and wanted to try it out. I’ve always been scared of heights, but I wanted to conquer it. If I’m to move forward in my life and go after what I truly want, I have to confront my fears and overcome them. Little did I know that what happened would make me never want to go on a water slide again.”

“It’s good you confronted what you’re scared of. You couldn’t have known what was going to happen,” Christina compassionately replied as she took a big sip of her bourbon and ginger ale.

“That’s true, but still. Anyway, so I start making my way towards the slide. There was a long line and it was really hot, it seemed awful to have to wait an eternity for a ride that lasts less than a minute. Then I realized that by the time I got to the top, I’d be so eager to cool off, I would just go down the slide, no problem.”

“Then what happened?”

“The line moved like a snail slithering along. After what seemed like hours, but was probably less than one, I was near the top. I saw Jason and was waving at him to say hello, but he couldn’t see me. It looked like he was talking to the guy operating the slide. Then some other guy comes up and starts screaming. That lasted for a few minutes before the guy moved back towards the stairs to leave.”

“Yeah Jason told me about the two guys arguing, but then he said they stopped and he went down the slide. He doesn’t know what happened after.”

“Well I hope I can give you a more information so Jason can write up a big story, and nail this guy’s ass to the wall.”

“I’ll definitely let him know when he gets back,” Christina supportively expressed, so transfixed by what her sister was saying that a bomb could have exploded next to her and she wouldn’t have noticed.

“The guy walked away, but must have been so pissed off, that he walked back up and started yelling even louder this time. The funny part was that the loads of people in line didn’t seem to notice what was going on. They were too busy talking or just zoning out, but not me. I saw each and every thing that happened.

The guy jumps on the slide like he was going to ride down. Of course since he was just arguing with the guy that would give the okay, I knew there would be a fight. It all happened so fast, but if I wasn’t tuned in, just knowing in the depths of my soul that something crazy was about to happen, I wouldn’t have seen it. The slide operator pulled what looked a knife from his pocket.

The other guy was in the ready position, so he didn’t see the slide operator take a quick slice across his neck and then push him down all in one motion. The operator waited a minute, sent one more person down the slide and then nodded to his coworker that he was going on a break. They must have an employee’s only way of getting up and down because I didn’t see him after that.

Needless to say, I scurried out of line and flew down the stairs. I didn’t want to stay in that water park one more second, so I left and got in my car. That’s when I decided I needed to tell somebody and called you.”

By this time Christina had finished her drink awash in dis-belief. Was her sister telling her the truth, did she just witness a murder? How was she the only one to see it when there were hundreds of people around?

“Do you want to come over? Want me to keep you company or anything?” Christina offered with much sisterly concern.

“That would be good. I need to do a few things first, and then I’ll swing by,” Mellissa related with ease in her voice that somebody had her back.

Christina leaned back in her chair, eagerly awaiting Jason’s return so she could tell him what she discovered; it was a sign. The irony was not lost that her boyfriend called to say he saw a dead body come down a water slide minutes after he went down. Followed by her sister calling to say that she saw it happen, synchronicities reveal many layers of truth.

Christina decided to pour herself another beverage when the phone rang again. “Who the hell could it be this time, maybe the murderer is calling me to confess,” she flippantly ruminated to herself, not thinking it possible, but not sure about anything at this point.

“Hey babe, I’m on my way home, do you need anything from the store while I’m out?” Jason questioned excitedly as he knew he would see his love soon.

“Oh good it’s you”

“Of course it’s me, are you okay? What’s wrong?”

“I can’t really explain over the phone. I need to tell you in person. It would be great if you could just pick up some burritos, I don’t feel like cooking.”

“No problem. Is everything all right, you’re not hurt are you? You haven’t been cheating on me?” Jason bantered half-jokingly.

“Of course not, just an interesting call from my sister.”

“About what, care to give me a clue so I’m not guessing all the way home, the suspense will kill me.”

“She witnessed a murder.”

 

CHAPTER FIVE

Reminiscing about the past, Christina inquired, “Don’t you remember it was your article that brought the guy to justice? It was because of the details in your story that the cops investigated, and then arrested him right in front of all his workers.

They took him to jail where he stayed until his trial. It should have ended with the death penalty, because it was definitely premeditated. Instead they gave him life in prison without the possibility of parole. The justice system knew he would get the respect that a slave driving, employer who takes advantage of hard working illegal immigrants deserves.” Christina’s face was beet red with rage.

“It’s coming back to me now. They put him in a prison that was 80% Mexican. Once they heard who the new fish was, they showed him a real good time,” smirked Jason very darkly.

“If you call being repeatedly raped and beaten every day a good time, then he had a blast.”

“More like, they blasted something inside of him.”

“You’re gross.”

“You know you like it. Anyway, after a while they put him in solitary for the rest of his term where his only human contact was his lawyer once a week, and the prison guards who were antsy to see him experience all the pain he dispensed.”

Christina couldn’t handle the gory details anymore and got up from the table. “I’m going to grab a whiskey, you want one?”

“It’s eleven in the morning. Although it is Friday, and you know what they say, it’s five o’clock somewhere,” chided Jason with a laugh.

“Yeah after that conversation, I need a drink.”

She filled two glasses with two fingers each, and then sat back down at the table. Once they took a sip, they both knew this was the good stuff.

“You didn’t open my bottle of fifteen year did you?” Jason inquired.

“No, it’s the twelve year,” Christina fired back, eager for liquid refreshment.

“The water park can’t be coming up now for an inexplicable reason. I mean, why did we randomly start talking about it two years later?” Jason theorized, second guessing his own thoughts.

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Christina added reassuringly.

“For some reason Mellissa was the only person to witness the murder, and then called to tell you all about it. If it wasn’t for her, nobody would ever know what really happened.”

They settled in to eat what was left of their breakfast, which was now cold because of the trip into the dark recesses of their minds. Without saying anything, they just ate the room temperature, boring food. It tasted good sure, but it didn’t have the same pop as when freshly made.

With both of their plates empty, rinsed off and in the sink, the two lovebirds sat on their couch to relax and smoke a joint.

Christina was always the best at rolling, even though Jason tried really hard. His were functional and would smoke, but were always pregnant in the middle.

“Aren’t you done rolling that thing yet,” Jason needled, eager to get high and explore why the water park story flowed back into their consciousness.

“Hold on, hold on, don’t get your panties in a bunch, I’m almost done. Mine take just a few seconds longer than yours because they’re beautiful, just like me,” Christina teased back with a devilish grin.

“Well you are beautiful, and I would love to wrap my lips around you, just like that joint.”

“Let’s smoke this thing and then maybe I’ll let you.”

They settled in, easily finding the well-worn spots that seemed designed just for them. They pulled the coffee table up close, made sure the ashtray was within reach and then sparked up.

“This tastes good, what strain is this?” Christina wondered after taking a long, deep hit.

“I think its good green bud number five which is better than that stuff I had last week. What was it called, oh yeah, good green bud number six,” Jason joked as she handed him the joint so he could take a rip. “The whole water park thing feels like it was yesterday.

I remember the whole series of events, me going down the slide, me seeing the body and then calling you about it. Me coming home with burritos, and you telling me your sister saw the slide operator slash that guy’s throat before escaping down the staircase. Me writing up the story, and having it printed on the front page because I had the exclusive interview with what appeared to be the only witness. Goes to show that a construction magnate who owns a water park, shouldn’t be working a water slide if murder is anywhere on his mind, the whole thing was crazy.”

“It was crazy, but don’t forget it wasn’t just about the murder, it’s the why that was the craziest thing,” Christina recollected, trying to settle the uneasy mess sitting next to her.

“You’re right, it didn’t just happen out of the blue. An influential man with lots of money thought he could get away with smuggling illegal immigrants for construction work at slave wages, while cramming them in little shacks after a sixteen hour workday.

If anybody complained, he’d report them to ICE, which only happened a few times. Everybody was frightened because they knew they could disappear at any moment.

He kept them fed with crappy food, living in crappy houses, wearing crappy clothes, and held all their IDs and personal papers for what he said was their own security. Well if it was for their own security, then how come he kept them in a big safe in a special room at his house that always had two armed guards outside of it?”

“He knew how to keep them in line. He knew that if they couldn’t run to the police, couldn’t run to another employer, and they couldn’t escape home, he could make them do whatever he wanted,” fumed Christina.

“Yep, another example of the powerful taking advantage of the powerless for personal gains.”

Jason took a big drag off the joint, so much that it started a big run.

“Do you have any oars, because its looks like you want to go canoeing? Oh wait you already have.” Christina laughed heartily while she grabbed a lighter to fix the joint.

“I was going to ask you earlier how much you got paid an hour?”

“How much do I get paid an hour?”

“How much do you get paid to babysit that joint?” teased Jason like he told a joke that just wasn’t funny.

“Yeah, it doesn’t really work when you make a comeback five minutes later. That must mean you’re stoned. What do you expect though with good green bud number five, or is it, number nine?”

They both laughed so hard that their bellies rumbled just like Santa’s would if somebody told him a joke. The joint was almost gone, so Christina decided to twist up another. It was Friday and they didn’t have anything to do, except get high, chill, go out and do something, or just stay in and love on each other. Of course if they went out they would probably love on each other anyway, they did love adventure and were both turned on by the possibility of getting caught.

“What the hell, it sounds like something is ringing,” Jason remarked with a surprised look on his face that showed how truly stoned he was.

“Relax, I think it’s the phone. How high are you?”

“I’m fine, I can still speak straight words right?”

“Sounds like it.”

“Good.”

Christina comically reached over Jason to answer the portable phone. It was sitting on the coffee table, so they didn’t have to get up when they were hanging out.

“Jason, it’s for you, and I hope you’re ready.”

 

CHAPTER SIX

Jason grabbed the phone out of Christina’s hands like it was the last doughnut. “What are you talking about? Am I ready? Who is on the phone?”

With a huge smile Christina very happily replied, “Life works in very mysterious ways. Sometimes all we have to do is talk about something, and it becomes real. We were reminiscing about the water park and all the crazy crap that happened. How you discovered details of the story that nobody else did, and why we were thinking of it out of the blue. This phone call is the universe listening.”

Jason thought of all the possibilities, but it made his mind spin like a dreidel on the eighth night of Hanukkah. When the whole thing snowballed, he knew whomever was on the other end of the phone was sure to take him the next step. The conversation/flashback he and Christina had was a step forward in their consciousness, this phone call, was yet one more step.

“Aren’t you going to answer it,” Christina pushed with excitement protruding from the deepest part of her soul.

“Of course, I’m sorry. I feel like an avalanche just hit me and I had to quickly assess what was happening, what the possibilities of this phone call could be, and what could happen with it.” Jason took a deep breath and looked at Christina. They stared at each other for a minute, as if Christina was trying to tell Jason through her eyes and heart like only two people who were bound to each other could, that it was okay, and she loved him, whatever ended up happening.

“Hello, this is Jason.”

“Hi, this is Marty from Democratic Republic magazine. How are you doing today?”

“I just finished up some coffee and breakfast with my girlfriend, and now we’re relaxing before we decide what to do today. Wait, you said you were from Democratic Republic, just like that big time magazine in New York?”

“Yep, just like that big time magazine in New York. I must say that was one of the more interesting responses I’ve gotten when I’ve called somebody without warning. I’m definitely going to pass that around the newsroom later. Anyway, the reason I called, remember the article you wrote about the waterpark murder? How you helped uncover a conspiracy dealing with construction sites run by human smuggling rings to keep them supplied with extremely cheap labor?”

“Yeah I remember that, in fact my girlfriend and I were just talking about how crazy the whole sequence of events was,” Jason remarked. He thought it was weird some guy was calling about a story he wrote two years ago, a story nobody had asked about since. Plenty of people inquired after it happened because he had the exclusive statement from Christina’s sister. Nobody knew that the big boss had his wife sleep with his “legal” employees who had complaints, and would retaliate hard against those who refused the gesture. A whole operation was uncovered because of what Jason was told and what he heard.

“Some colleagues and I have been talking about that whole series of events too. How were you able to get what nobody else could? Everybody was asking about the murder, how could anybody do it? Where was the security? Where were the safety precautions that would have prevented it in the first place? Basically, the big networks picked up the story and talked about all its sensational elements, but not the details.

As more media outlets picked up the story, it became hyped more and more. When they made the murder sound more scripted than real life, I knew a TV movie was around the corner. Half the time, they report what they portray as a story, the other half they report on each other reporting. Not you though, you were actually talking to somebody who saw it. It was as if everybody was concerned with the what, when, how and where, instead of the why,” Marty pointed out to Jason, because his cynical mind had been thinking about it all day.

“All I know is that doing my job as a reporter, drives me to find hard facts. Why something happened is the most important part of the process. That’s what they taught me in journalism school,” Jason orated with a confidence he only expressed when he was passionate about what he knew in his heart was the right thing.

“I have to know, how did you get a statement from that woman? How could she be the only witness? I mean there were hundreds of people there and half of them were in line for that slide, how could anybody else not have seen it?”

“Obviously, I can’t tell you how I interviewed her. I have to protect my source. All I can say is that I was in the right place at the right time and things just came together.”

“That sounds like fundamentals, or a big coincidence. What else can you tell me?”

“I was really glad to help end that smuggling operation. Nobody deserves that when they’re trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. I believe in what this country is supposed to be about, freedom for everybody, not just for the few at the top with money and influence.

They think they can get away with anything because of who they are and what they do. They feel above the law and think they write the law, which in some cases they actually do. So you asked what else I can tell you, I’m very passionate about making the world a better place one event at a time.

I struggled to find my voice for a while, not knowing where to go or how to move forward. Everybody in my life seemed to be doing so many more important things than me. When I saw a body come down a big water slide in front of me, I knew it was a life changing opportunity.

I was given a chance to make a difference in a real way. Like somebody was looking right at me and asked what I was going to do, how was I, Jason, personally, going to fix this problem and make everything better? That’s when I started talking to people. The network execs must not have liked the truth I printed, because they eventually dropped the story.”

“It’s interesting that you felt this story was your opportunity to make a real difference in the world. When we talked about the story in the newsroom, we discussed all its ins and outs and how it came together. We started thinking about why it came together, and how somebody was able to put it together. We realized we were being struck by an opportunity of our own,” Marty identified with an authenticity that exuded beauty from his soul.

It was at this point Jason knew something was about to happen. He knew that when an improbable but not impossible series of events begins to commence, you have to go along for the ride. It started with a joint with his beautiful girlfriend after breakfast on a lazy Friday. Then the conversation, then their thoughts of the people and the exact series of events, everything began flowing and they had no control over it.

When a guy called to say he was chatting with his colleagues about his story at one of the country’s leading authorities on investigative journalism, Jason had to go along for the ride

After the challenges he’s had, he was nervous about what was out there and what was to become of it, making it hard for Jason to take the proverbial next step. It felt like a bunch of waiting and loneliness. Once he met Christina however, she helped put things in perspective; which is why they work so well together, and have the ability to help each other grow.

Christina made Jason remember to never take life too seriously, to always have fun, and realize situations aren’t always what they seem; and can have different inherent meanings if looked at in different ways.

This phone call to Jason seemed like it was meant to happen, like he was expecting but not waiting for it. He was bettering himself and his life while helping out as many people as he could along the way.

After an eternity of internal dialogue which was really only half a second, Jason spoke up, “What kind of opportunity did you realize you had? Was it like any I’ve had that I hoped would last longer, or at least until I left a positive mark on the world? I need to feel in my heart that the planet is a little better for me having lived in it.”

“Well, seeing as we’re all humans and have gone through much of the same stuff, I’m sure at some point there were similarities. This differs from all those events in the past because it will shape the future, and affect everyone. Our opportunity you asked, what is it? You are.”

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

Jason didn’t know what was going on or what to say, he was caught totally off-guard. Why on earth did this guy really call him? Why would an editor from one of the most well-known and respected media outlets call him? How on earth could somebody with as huge an apparatus as the Democratic Republic, miss something that a lowly, small town reporter didn’t? How did he get the best of them?

“What do you mean I’m your opportunity?” Jason blurted out with much wonderment and intrigue. He was having a hard time sitting down and had been pacing around the kitchen in his slippers for the last five minutes while talking to Marty. Christina, who was watching from the couch, was enjoying the show like a kid about to get a Christmas present they always wanted.

“You’re our opportunity because you come from a small town paper and aren’t known outside media circles. We want you to work for us,” Marty stated with as much confidence as he could muster.

“You want me to come work for you, little ole me? Well how could I turn that down? I have to know though, how did you not pick up the story angle I did? How did you not find the larger conspiracy or the wife sleeping with the employees or any of that?” Jason theorized with a certain edge, not ego per say, but validated confidence. He didn’t know where this line of questioning was going, but he had to ask. He had to prove worthy of the position they were about to offer him.

“We hunted and searched for anything we could find, but all we located was the physical evidence of the murder, and some witnesses around the splashdown pool that saw the body slide down. I guess we didn’t talk to the right people,” Marty fired back with arrogance, as if he knew Jason was bettering him.

Marty knew the best reporters were always trying to prove themselves, trying to be one step ahead of the next guy so they could get the bigger scoop.

“I guess you didn’t talk to the right people. Of course I didn’t know who the right people were either until I talked to them. A former employee by the pool gave me all the inside information I needed to investigate, and then prove the sequence of events. It was as if I was the right person in the right place at the right time.

I’m very passionate about helping people and bettering their situations. Once I discovered that illegal immigrant laborers were forced to live in horrible conditions while making slave wages, I got fired up. I had to do something.” Jason was speaking with a fiery passion that burned throughout his soul because this conversation brought up the exact reasons he was a truth seeker.

“That’s exactly why we want you. You’re passionate about what you report. You want and need to report the truth. Too many reporters get caught up in corporate network politics of what the higher ups want. If it’s not the editors, it’s the publishers, advertisers, the FCC or any number of government, military or spy agencies breathing down your neck to portray a story in a certain way.

I can tell you go after what you feel passionate about, and screw what other people think. Others get caught up in million dollar contracts and not losing the comfortable position they feel they’ve earned. They think the eventual next step for them is to be where they are. You don’t care about the prestige, the position or the money, all you care about is truth. That’s the reason you’re our opportunity. We must have you on our team.”

Marty didn’t know how Jason would reply. He knew Jason was the most raw and talented reporter he’d seen in a long time. Would the newsroom be happy he hired somebody like that, because Jason was just like him when he was young? Marty remembered what it was like to have passion and go after what he believed in. He knows he used to have it. Had he become too comfortable, like the people he warned Jason about, the people too comfortable in their positions to rock the boat? Had Marty grown afraid to ask hard questions and cover the tough stories no matter what anybody or anything said, because it was the right thing to do.

“That is quite a compliment coming from you. Your magazine has published amazing investigative pieces over the years, from all corners of the globe,” Jason respectfully noted. There was a loving energy surrounding him, controlling his thoughts and actions. “I love that I’m getting this opportunity, I’m getting the chance to really move forward.”

Jason knew this was the chance of a life time. How on earth could he possibly turn it down? How could he lead the life he wanted if he didn’t consider it? His life was heading in the positive direction he always dreamed of, but could never get to. That is until he let go of all the crap that stopped him from moving forward. He learned a lot of things in life are placed in our way to slow our progress and evolution. Jason came to realize most of these road blocks are placed by ourselves because we don’t want to give up the unfulfilling, but very comfortable existence we’ve built for ourselves.

“Moving forward, it’s interesting you use those words. I was just telling one of my reporters the other day that if we aren’t moving forward we’re moving backward. In the news game, if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. If you’re dying, then the public won’t be as informed as they should be, ignorance will spread. The country will then be taken over by conservative and religious zealots who only want to make a buck for themselves and their inner circle, while screwing over the rest of the world. Wait, that’s already happened.” Marty was extremely passionate when he spoke. He knew all his years of reporting in the trenches were leading to this point in time. “Sorry about that, when I get passionate about something, I let it fly.”

“You and I are a lot alike in that way. When a problem seems impossible from every angle, sometimes I feel like there has to be a way,” Jason shot back as a smile crept in because he sensed what was happening.

“I respect that about you, it’s one of the reasons I called. You have a passion that burns deep, constantly yearning to be put to good use, and to help human-kind take the next step in its positive and collective evolution. I’d like to offer you a job. Would you like to work for us?”

“Wow, that’s a big opportunity. Would I work there or from anywhere I wanted because I’d be reporting from all over?

“While it’s true you’d be reporting from all over making major travel a must, your home base would be here in New York.”

“I’m guessing I’d have to move there?”

“You would.”

Jason wasn’t sure what to say. He knew Christina couldn’t leave because she was plugged into Shane Corp. who did forensic work for major federal agencies and task forces. When a really crazy case sprung up that the government couldn’t solve, they’d give it to Christina’s company.

True she was the low person on the totem pole and would have to work her way up to the fun stuff, but she was working towards her passion. That is one of the reasons she and Jason got together in the first place, they both had a deep burning passion for truth which they had to go out and find, and then, they found each other.

“Did I mention the pay,” Marty teased, hoping he could sweeten the deal because he knew how important Jason would be to his magazine and the world because he was such a passionate truth seeker.

“Sorry, I was in a daze for a minute, what did you say?” Jason hesitantly replied, a little scared but excited thinking about possibilities. He wasn’t feeling a buzz off the joint he and Christina smoked what seemed like an eternity ago, but he had the deep thoughts that usually accompanied it. This conversation had sobered him up.

“The pay, I got so caught up in talking about our passions for seeking truth that I forgot. The pay is $200,000 a year to start, with stock options, full retirement and health benefits. Basically, we’ll provide whatever you need to stay healthy so we can get as much truth out of you as we can.

You’ll have a corner office with a view. A personal secretary will take care of appointments and interview scheduling, as well be your advisor if you ever need a second opinion. You will have complete creative control in how you report and what stories you choose to cover. We want to give you as many resources as you need, then turn you loose and see what you come up with.”

“What can I say?” Jason spouted nervously because this is what he always dreamed of.

“That’s easy, just say yes,” Marty quipped, very eagerly wanting Jason to join the DR team, and willing to do anything to get him.

“It sounds like everything I’ve been looking for. I just need some time to think about it. I have to discuss this with my girlfriend to see what she thinks about the whole idea.”

“That’s completely fine, and I would do the same thing. The only thing is we need a decision by tomorrow morning. Today is Friday, and we want to go with somebody new on Monday so we can start the week off fresh. Take tonight and think about it, it’s a major decision and a major move.

If you can’t decide or don’t call back in the morning, I won’t respect you any less and neither will my team. We will just have to go with somebody else on the list even though you were our number one choice by far. My number is 212-555-7685 I very much hope to hear from you tomorrow.”

“I’ll sleep on it and let you know. Thanks again for the opportunity,” expressed Jason, feeling gratitude like he never felt before.

“No problem man, good bye.”

“Goodbye.”

Jason hung up the phone after what seemed like forever. Christina was staring at him with baited breath, wondering who was on the phone, and what they had to say.

“So, who was that? When I answered the phone all he said was this is Marty, can I talk to Jason. So I’m dying to know, who was he and what did he want?” Christina inquired with a lot of excitement in her voice. She hoisted herself from the couch where she was watching the whole phone call transpire, to being 5 inches from Jason’s face. “What happened?”

“When you handed me the phone, you asked if I was ready. Well, I think I am. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. But I think the question really is, are we ready for it? Can we handle it?”

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

If Jason was ever interested in taking down people who either beat the system, or built the system so they could beat it, then now was the time. Was he ready to act instead of endlessly dreaming? Could he take the step that would advance him toward what he wanted to accomplish big picture?

“You ever heard of the people in Congress that do insider trading?” inquired Marty, testing the waters for the story he was going to pitch.

“Yeah I’ve heard of them, it’s pretty much called all of Congress. Let’s not forget the Senate too, judges, lawyers, everyone in Washington seems to work by their own set of rules,” Jason fired back as he felt his energy rise.

“That’s for sure, they all do stuff that would send me or you to jail in a heartbeat. If the person with all the gold writes down the rules, then the person who makes the gold available, is the one who creates the rules,” expounded Marty, feeling like he was standing on one of his soapboxes.

“What’s your point?” demanded Jason, very eager to see what Marty was building to.

“I got wind of a new scam that Congress-people are pulling. They take disseminated information and make as much money as they can off of it.”

“That doesn’t sound new to me, they do that all the time, probably every day of the week.”

“Right, but the difference this time is what they’re doing with the information.”

“Okay, so what are they doing with it?”

“They’re taking it and making a lot of money off of it of course. Then when no more can be squeezed out without people catching wind, they start shell companies. Well not shell companies in the usual sense of being a front for the CIA or something. No, they are just a means of creating information. That way, they receive inside information on a guaranteed and regular basis, cranking it out like their own personal ATM.”

Jason sat there for a minute, trying to absorb it all before he spoke. “That’s crazy, but not totally unexpected, greed knows no boundaries. Is this something they all do? Is there evidence leading towards one individual we could go after because you figured out their weak spot?”

“This is just stuff I’ve noticed for a while. After the market crash and all the crazy radicals made their way into the capitol, the gloves are off.”

“What do you mean the gloves are off?”

“I mean the rule book was thrown out the window, and new plans are being explored.” Jason took a deep breath as Marty continued. “I’ve hit up some of my best sources, and as expected this is something that’s always happened, except now corrupt politicians want to do things out in the open because their egos have grown so big.

To do it on the grand scale they want, they have to expand their reach, but with everybody having a camera in their pocket and the internet being everywhere, they had to rephrase it. Instead of insider information, they call it doing their homework. Instead of stealing information, they’re gaining ground on their enemy that wants the entire system to fall.

Instead of committing financial crimes that should land anybody in federal prison for many years, they say they’re only being smart about where the world is going and don’t want the money to fall in the wrong hands.”

“So it’s a classic example of double speak, them saying one thing but doing another.” Jason looked up at Marty and saw that he was nodding in agreement. “They really are making this world a little more like 1984 everyday huh?”

“It certainly seems like it,” expressed Marty with fright about where the world was heading, but excitement because the intelligent, and passionate young man sitting across from him was getting what he was throwing down.

“I’ll ask again, what do you want me to do with this?”

“I want to see what you can dig up. Now is the time to test your journalistic skills and see what you can discover. I know you’re new to the city, and it can take a while to build up trustworthy contacts, but I want to see what you can do. That water park story was one thing, but we’re talking about corruption on a global scale that will bleed this planet dry.”

“I’m up for that, its sounds like quite the challenge. I’ve been waiting my whole life for an opportunity like this to take somebody down that deserved it Thank you I will not let you down.”

“I know you won’t, because that’s the kind of person you are. Just keep me updated on what you find and when you have material to print. We’ll give you as much time as you need, but we want to make sure this isn’t going on forever without a payoff. Just keep me in the loop.”

“I will Marty, thanks. Thank you for everything, the limo from the airport, the place to live which is amazing and better than I ever imagined. This job is what I’ve dreamed of since I was little, so again, thank you.”

“Okay let’s end this emotional outbreak before we both grow lady parts,” Marty quipped causing them both to have a big laugh. Jason was glad Marty had the same sense of humor as him, and vice versa. “Before I send you off to the races, I have to show you to your office. I would say new office, but I don’t know if you’ve had one before.”

Not wanting to sound too excited, but wanting to express gratitude in as professional and clear a way as he could, Jason spoke, “I’ve never had a real office, but I always work better and more productively when I have a space dedicated to finding truth. That’s what it comes down to for me, finding what people in power don’t want you to know, and then telling the masses so they can tell everybody they know.

It keeps spreading and spreading until the powerful who thought they could always get off scott-free, can’t find anywhere to hide. They cower in the corner knowing they can’t pull one over on the people anymore.”

“That’s exactly it and once again reaffirms my hiring you. I want people with intelligent minds to go into easily understandable detail when they’re articulating the problem. There are billions of people in the world that need to know. We must make it so that everyone from your liberal commie uncle, to your conservative aunt who worships Ayn Rand understands. Basically, something that breaks down walls and is for the benefit of everybody.”

“I’m so down for that, show me to my workspace and I’ll get started.”

“We could go back and forth about this all day, but there is plenty of time for that later. Your office is this way, follow me.”

Jason and Marty got on the elevator and hit the down button. When they got off, they walked down a long hallway with doors on either side that opened up to various break rooms, copy/fax rooms and office supply areas. The Democratic Republic was all business, but there was something about it that exuded energy, built for people to produce as much truth as possible.

“Here is your new office. I even had your name put on the door to make it more official,” bantered Marty, pointing to the name tag inserted on the door. “If you stay here long enough, we might even paint it on.”

Jason got the joke and they both chuckled, but just a little because it included a lot of truth. “Don’t worry, I plan on staying as long as I have to, until I feel it’s the right time to move on.”

“That’s what I hoped you would say. Go on in and get comfortable, it will be your home away from home. If you need anything, I’m only a phone call away. You can come and go as you please as long as you produce results. This stuff can be taken away just as fast as it was given. This isn’t my first rodeo.”

“I completely understand, I’ll talk to you soon.”

Marty wore a smile that said “show me what you’re made of kid” while he walked down the hall for the elevator ride back up to his office. Jason stood there for a minute and tried to take it all in. When he was younger and did sports reporting and column work, he wondered if he’d ever be influential. He also spent a lot of time lonely and wondering if a woman would ever love him, then along came Christina. Life is funny sometimes in that it provides you with what you need when you need it, even if you don’t know it.

Instead of standing in the hallway all day, Jason decided to turn the knob, walk into his office and into his destiny.

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Jason walked into the wonderland that would be his life for the next chunk of time and wondered if he could handle it. Would he feel the support of Christina who always stood by him when he was unable to journey forward with his dreams? Would he feel the love from his mom who always set him on a course to succeed the best she could, always making sure he could bounce ideas off her and talk to her about anything?

Almost as if he was scared to cross the threshold, he paused for a minute. They say your whole life flashes in front of your eyes the moment before you die. Jason was experiencing this sensation because he was taking concrete steps towards what he knew in his heart and soul he always wanted.

Was this real? Was he dreaming? Would he wake up in a pool of sweat next to Christina and wonder why he was given such a message? Jason knew his whole life had been building to this moment and he had to take advantage of the opportunity. The whole world was at his fingertips now, he had to move.

Jason walked around his office and was simply amazed. There was beautiful, real carpeting on the floor, not the usual ugly office stuff. Original paintings tastefully adorned the walls, which he knew could be replaced if he was going to call this place home for a while.

Jason walked toward a beautiful old oak desk with a shine he could see himself in. Behind it sat a chair fit for a king, and leather bound too. He sat and looked over the office, scanning his surroundings. He moved the laptop sitting on his desk to the side so he could observe everything. He proceeded to spin around in his chair like he would have when he was a little kid, but immediately stopped when he looked out the window.

Jason had a beautiful view of the city from behind his desk where he could see almost the entire skyline. He knew the 29th floor was high up, even though there were buildings in this city that seemed like they had 129 floors. Jason knew he made it, he arrived inside his dream. Now he had to make this chance at greatness that was thrust upon him worthwhile.

He started opening the drawers in the desk and found regular office supplies, ink cartridges for the printer, stapler, paper clips, pens, paper etc… One of the drawers had a phone in it, and chargers for every possible device. There was also a booklet for restaurants in town, which was the same that was in his apartment.

Jason felt like it was almost lunchtime, but he really didn’t care if it wasn’t. If he was going to take on the powerful that didn’t like to be challenged, he knew he couldn’t do it on an empty stomach. He pulled out the company credit card and flipped through the restaurant book. There was the Cuban place and many Mexican and Puerto Rican places, but Jason wanted to try something different. Not crazy different, just something he never had in the city.

There was food from any country he could think of, many of which he had to try at some point. Ethiopian, Afghani, Iraqi, Russian, German, the choices were endless. He knew he would have to spend a few weekends with some of the good stuff Bryan gave him and just have a munchies fest.

What was tickling Jason’s palette today was something from a famous Jewish deli. He was always a sucker for a Rueben, and wanted to see how good they made them in the Big Apple.

He called up the Carnegie deli because it caught his eye. He had been to one in a Vegas casino years ago and figured they knew how to serve it up right. He ordered the biggest Reuben they had, along with some matzo ball soup for later. Jason knew it would never be as good as his mom’s, but it would have to do for now.

Jason had a nice fridge, microwave, oven and stove with a sink on the side. He never saw an office with a kitchen and couches in the corners, almost like Marty knew he’d be spending long hours in there and wanted him to be comfortable. Jason felt that with all this, how could he not be?

The food came twenty minutes later steaming hot and smelling amazing. “How much do I owe you?” Jason stammered with his mouth watering at the thought of sinking his teeth into the deliciousness.

“That will be 15 bucks,” replied the delivery man that wasn’t interested in where he was or who Jason was, he had been in an office like this a thousand times. It was all in a day’s work.

“Cool, do you take visa? Can I put the tip on there?” Jason wanted the delivery guy to know he understood what it was like working for tips as he had done so many years ago.

“I do and yes,” cheerily answered the delivery guy, knowing he would be compensated. He pulled a phone from his pocket with a card reader attached to the top. Jason gave the guy his card which he proceeded to slide in what looked like any card reader you’d find at a store. The driver also had something attached to his belt which was beeping. All of a sudden the thing lit up and started making noise. Jason was amazed at what was happening before him.

“Wow, so you slide my credit card on your phone and print me a receipt from your belt, crazy the technology that’s around now. I remember delivering pizza way back and we never had anything close to that,” Jason exclaimed, amazed by what he was seeing.

“Yeah, I’ve been doing this for a while but we only got these new units a year ago. It’s a trip, but it does make things a lot easier and much more mobile. It seems the whole world has gotten in to some big damn hurry, like they want everything yesterday. I must say, at least its job security,” the delivery man bellowed with passion, yet apprehension about what the world had become and where he thought it was leading.

“It’s the instant gratification culture we live in. People aren’t satisfied with what they have and always want more. It’s what I’ve spent my whole writing career trying to address. I’d love to show the world’s population that if they’re thankful for what they have instead of upset about what they don’t, they will be happier throughout the day. They will have the motivation to sustain them so they can achieve what they never thought possible.” Jason felt his energy pouring out, hoping he wasn’t boring the poor delivery guy too much.

“I couldn’t agree with you more, and couldn’t have said it better myself,” the delivery guy shot back with an authentic smile on his face, compared with the halfcocked “oh do I really have to smile” smile he walked in with.

After the receipt came out, Jason signed it, gave the guy a twenty dollar tip and handed it back.

“Thanks man, I appreciate it. Good luck with your whole trying to fix people thing. There are a lot of sick people that need to get their priorities straight, whether you’re talking about Joe Shmoe walking down the street, Senators, Congressman, Governors or Presidents, we could all benefit. People need to realize politicians don’t fall out of the sky. We’re the ones that create them and their bad thoughts, which only get worse as they reach high office because they are us. So thank you, and good luck with your work. The world could surely use more people like you.”

“Thank you, I appreciate the compliment, and I’m ready to go to work. The world needs saving, and I’d like to do my part while I’m here. Thank you again and take care.”

“Take care as well, and remember, when we take care of ourselves, we do it so we can take care of the world, not in spite of it. See ya.”

“See ya.”

The delivery guy strolled out the door, as Jason clutched the Rueben and soup and returned to his desk. What a great random conversation he thought. It seemed like it was happening more and more since he arrived in the city. The more he opened up to all of life’s possibilities, and let them happen instead of making them happen, the more easily they flowed through him. If this was any sign of the future, Jason liked what he was seeing.

He sat down at his desk, put the soup in the fridge for later, and took a big bite of the Reuben, causing Swiss cheese to ooze out the sides. Mmmmmmmm he thought, this was quite possibly the best Reuben he ever tasted, and he has had quite a few, as many as anybody who really loved corn beef brisket would expect.

He looked out the window of his shiny new office and contemplated where he came from. He started writing for a newspaper while he was still in high school, cranking out stories late at night to be turned in the next day before class. Hunched over his dad’s computer while the internet was still wearing diapers was when Jason first got published.

Then there were the columns for the paper after he got his diploma, and was living near his mom. Crammed into her little studio apartment, Jason would beat himself up over what to write, how he would say it and how he could possibly have something to say the world would listen to.

Then Jason went to college, and everything changed. He wrote for the school paper and the school magazine. He discovered his love for writing that would really take off, once he put his full effort forward.

After he graduated he was lost for a bit. He found a job at a local paper, met Christina, and then did a story about a water park and a murder that happened. Which Jason only witnessed, because he was riding down the same water slide where the murder happened. Now, he was sitting in his fancy office, looking down at a view of the city, eating a Rueben ordered off the company credit card and wondering where all the time went. More importantly, where was it all leading?

While Jason finished his sandwich, he recalled all the bad pay for crappy stories, and the struggle to get respected in the business had led him to this moment now. Would he take advantage of it, or would he let it fall by the wayside?

A grin broke out on Jason’s face because he knew he was the leader of his own destiny, he was the only one that could make choices for himself. He was the one that decided where his life went and what he spent his time on, nobody else.

He got up from his desk, poured himself a scotch out of his office mini-bar that was stocked with only the good stuff, and walked back to the window.

As he took a sip, Jason knew this was it. He would grow from here, this place, now. He looked out at the city and ideas of where to investigate insider trading started flowing.

Jason knew he was getting a chance to leave his mark, to make the world just a little bit better.

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN

When people get away with something for long periods of time, they feel confident in their life choices and the positives they appear to bring. Jason knew this fight wouldn’t be easy, but it was something he had to do.

With the scotch gone and his ideas flowing, Jason decided he better get to it. He knew Congressmen and Senators made billions off insider trading because for them, it technically wasn’t illegal. They also weren’t going to like somebody snooping around their cover ups.

Jason grabbed the laptop and set it on the desk in front of him. This technological marvel had been given to him by Marty with all the bells and whistles, the fast processor, tons of memory, but most importantly, the ability to ghost itself so it couldn’t be traced. Jason knew being anonymous was vital once he started digging. The necessary research he was never able to do before, was now possible.

He opened the laptop and turned it on. While it warmed up, Jason began to envision what was he was embarking on. He was about to investigate the richest and most powerful people in the world, how would he handle it? Jason still felt a hole where Christina used to be, he felt she was gone and it pained him. He began to think love might not find him again, forcing him to endure many unsatisfying dates and one night stands he knew would be as unsatisfying as they led on to be.

In the past, Jason would go after things he knew would make him unhappy in the long run, because they made him feel happy in the short run. Now was the time for change in that dynamic, which consisted of healthier choices in each area of life.

All these thoughts were rushing through Jason’s head while he was thinking of which direction to search. Who should he go after, Congressman, Senators, Judges, the President himself? The people that most deserved to be brought down he figured was a good place to start.

Jason knew many insider traders love to take advantage of cheap labor, so he started researching what Senators and Congressman had the loudest anti-immigrant voices. He knew people that spoke the most passionately against it, were usually the people participating in its subterfuge. Similar to the way a closet homosexual espouses hate for gay people, because they can’t accept themselves for being gay. Anti-immigrant folk lash out so they don’t have to deal, which is much easier than looking inward for answers.

Jason started poking around and wasn’t surprised by what popped up. He found the usual amount of politicians speaking about supposed illegal aliens invading the country to steal American jobs.

It appeared some senators were gathering to speak against immigration in the city later that day. A coalition Tea Party, Conservative, Radical, anti-immigrant rally was being held to promote mass deportations. How they were going to round up twelve million people and then take them all home, Jason had no clue.

Jason knew this way of thinking was based on not actually thinking at all. The politicians spewing this bile counted on people not thinking, because the second a critical thought came in, everything fell apart.

Jason needed help and a ride to the rally, so he phoned Bryan because he knew he could bounce ideas off him. “Hey Bryan, what’s up man, how you doing today?”

“I’m pretty good man, just been working hard, you know the tune,” Bryan chuckled because he was used to punching a clock. “How are you doing?

“I was just sitting in my office having a drink, thinking about where to go with this story idea Marty gave me, and figured you could help,” explained Jason, hoping Bryan would provide fresh insight. “Marty told me about Congressman and Senators and the insider trading they get away with because there’s no direct law against it.”

“There definitely should be a law against it. If you or I even thought of doing half the stuff they do, we’d end up in real prison, not the club fed they’d go to for six months.”

“That’s true, that’s why they must be stopped. I’d like to see a few of them go to real jail, and for the first time in their lives pay for the crimes they committed.”

Jason knew he and Bryan were on the same page. He thought it was great Marty provided him a driver that was his assistant, advisor and just about everything else.

Jason wondered though if it wasn’t real, and if Bryan was planted there to spy on him. He feared the actions this line of thinking might produce, but he always had it in the back of his mind. He knew the powers that be were ruthless, and if they did hurt you it would be from the place you least expected, the people close to you.

“Swing by my office when you get a sec. I want to tell you my ideas, including where I want to go tonight,” stated Jason with hopeful excitement. While it was true he was suspicious about Bryan and his motives, he also knew he had a history of sabotaging things meant for his benefit.

Jason poured himself another drink because he wasn’t driving. Not that he was getting drunk, but Jason knew a little liquid courage would be helpful before he walked into the belly of the beast with somebody he didn’t know watching his back.

Twenty minutes later, Bryan sauntered in. “What’s up man, I was just about to go home, it’s almost four in the afternoon,” Bryan commented like he didn’t want to talk that long, but also wanted to show Jason support. “What can I help you with?”

“You know how I told you Marty said I should look into insider trading?”

“Yeah, that is the root of a lot of evil doings,” answered Bryan, wondering where this was going, but couldn’t deny that he was intrigued.

“I was sitting at my desk sipping on a beautiful scotch and thinking, what creates so much money for insider traders? What’s the one thing they need to keep their conglomerates working and profitable? How can they keep making their millions and billions while keeping labor costs as cheap as possible?” Jason inquired, testing Bryan to see what he would say.

“I’d say illegal immigration. The powerful need cheap labor to work in their factories and fields so they can make lots of money while having few complaints about working conditions over fear of being deported,” Bryan blurted out. He was just getting warmed up, but needed to slow his roll because his breath was almost gone. “Sorry, I get fired up over that stuff.”

Jason flashed him a smile, feeling this would be the right guy to work with, because he had equal passion for what was right and what was wrong. Jason also knew that to move forward, and accomplish what he wanted he needed a partner in crime. Somebody he could go back and forth with that had his back when the powerful came threatening. He knew it would happen when they got close, but the fear of danger never stopped Jason from doing something that would make society as a whole better.

Locked in his head for a minute, Jason felt he should say something before Bryan thought something was wrong. “I agree with everything you said. The cheap labor that fills factories is the grease that keeps companies making money so Congressmen and Senators can insider trade in the first place,” Jason blurted out as he saw Bryan nodding in agreement. “Once we start mining, tentacles will shoot out in all directions, uncovering all sorts of heinous crimes. I want to make sure that when stuff comes to light, insider trading is made illegal for everybody.”

Jason and Bryan imagined all the possibilities and very real challenges they would face in the near future. If they were both ready for this only time would tell.

“So when you called me over here it sounded like you needed a ride somewhere. I assume now it has something to do with illegal immigration,” queried Bryan in a very supportive, but let’s get down to business tone of voice. “What do you got?”

“There’s an anti-immigrant rally tonight and I don’t know the city, so I was wondering if you could drive me there?” Jason hoped that Bryan would act not just as a chauffeur and adviser, but also a partner in crime helping him to figure things out, an equal partner on the team. “I was thinking we could poke around a bit and see what we can find.”

“We could mingle amongst the people and see what kind of dirt we can dig up, or just what flows out freely,” added Bryan, liking the idea.

“I was reading they have an open bar, so when their alcohol fueled passion gets fired up, there’s no telling what will spill out. They say you’re more truthful when you’re drunk. Well let’s just see what kind of vitriol spews forth once their filters are gone, and they think they’re amongst a bunch of like-minded people,” spouted Jason, knowing it would be enlightening to walk behind the curtain.

“Sounds like a plan. Follow me down to the garage, and don’t worry it’s not a limo this time. I thought about what you said, it is a little conspicuous driving around the city in a limo, especially if you’re trying to blend in.”

Jason and Bryan got down to the garage, and in the spot marked for the limo, was a jet black 61 Lincoln convertible with suicide doors.

“How did…..”

“When Marty and I were looking at your profile, you listed this car as one of your favorites, and one that you’d love to own,” exclaimed Bryan, watching the smile take over Jason’s face. “We were thinking about the 67 corvette because that was your number one, but that’s something you want to play in, not work in. This car will be our home away from home while we’re on the road.”

“I don’t know what to say, this is awesome.” Jason could barely contain his excitement over uncovering government schemes in of his dream cars. “This is real right, I’m not dreaming?”

“You’re not dreaming man trust me, this is for real. It’ll get a lot more real shortly, are you ready for it? Are you ready to walk in to that rally and do what you were brought here to do?”

 

CHAPTER TWENTY

Jason and Bryan were tooling down the road to the rally when a song came on the radio that sent Jason into a flashback.

“This was Christina’s and my song,” lamented Jason, remembering fond memories. “Well not really our song, but my song for her. It’s Crazy On You by Heart, who is amazing live by the way if you ever have the chance. Talk about women that can really rock it. Her song for me was Magic Man by Heart.”

“That’s funny, you like classic rock, me too. Have you been to many shows?” quizzed Bryan, eager to see what Jason had been up to before he rode into the city on a wave of optimism.

“I’ve been to a lot. As a nice Jewish boy, I even worked maintenance at a Lutheran camp one summer to save up money. Except I didn’t save any and saw ten concerts instead, it was amazing and something I’ll never forget,” remarked Jason.

As they wound through the city, all the familiar sites Jason had seen pictures of were there; the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and a bunch of others that he couldn’t remember the names of.

This was the big apple he thought, this was it. Was it the cutthroat, winner take all, I’ll stomp on you if you get in my way place he heard about? Or were tons of people just trying to make it amidst a constantly changing and evolving world, learning each day how to handle chaos like all humans before them?

“Here we are, the Elks Lodge,” Bryan bellowed as they pulled in to find a parking spot.

“I didn’t know they had these in the big city, you see them all over back home. I guess they have them in not only small town and middle America, but also in the city that never sleeps. Do they even know what an elk looks like around here?” snickered Jason said as he started to laugh.

“They know what an elk looks like because they shoot them from helicopters, no wait that’s wolves,” teased Bryan who always knew how to take a joke too far, even though there was usually truth in what he said that needed to be explored.

Jason and Bryan pulled into a spot and got out. They would act as reporters, not undercover people trying to infiltrate an organization to see what they were up to. Jason decided the best course of action was to ask questions, ones that didn’t step on anybody’s toes, but questions that said, “I would like to know, but I’m not going to pester you for an answer because I’m an information conduit.”

There were a lot of cars parked out front even though the building looked like it would seat 100 at most. Traffic was whizzing by, stopping, and then moving again just like it always did. There was a strange air around this building and Jason could feel it. He knew something was up and was going to find out what.

“When you get this many anti-immigrant people together, somebody in the crowd always says something stupid, we can start from there,” sniped Jason, trying to lay down a game plan. If he and Bryan were going to walk into a place with hostiles but didn’t want to be seen as hostiles themselves, they needed to blend in and act like they were just reporting on the rally; not use evidence they find to link a politician to insider trading.

“That sounds like a good idea. If we don’t go in there with a strategy, they’ll sniff us out and make it ten times harder to find the next leg of the spider web,” stated Bryan. He was glad that Jason thought of something, and that he might work out after all. He did seem to have a passion that drove him forward no matter what.

They walked toward the building as scores of people arrived. Some had funny hats with tea bags hanging off of them. Some wore t-shirts with racist sayings, but all were carrying signs, stickers and flags signifying what they believed in and were only so happy to tell you all about.

“These illegals need to go home and stop trying to take our jobs,” yelled one guy to Jason as he walked in the building with his wife.

“Why do these people come here when they got a perfectly good country of their own,” spouted another as Jason and Bryan got closer to the door. “They think they can just do whatever they want and suck on Uncle Sam’s tit forever. That’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it.”

“These people are very passionate,” Jason whispered in Bryan’s ear, not wanting to start a fight before they got in the door. “They seem like the type that if you question what they think or why they think it, they won’t be able to answer. They’ll stumble on their words and then walk away, or think you’re out to get them because you disagree with them. Which is funny because disagreements are one of the reasons we ask questions in the first place.”

Bryan let Jason finish his diatribe because he looked like he needed to get it out, he could tell the new guy not only had something to prove, but was fired up and ready to go. By the time they reached the front door, they had to wait in a line, so they decided to talk to a few people while they had a minute.

“Hey I’m Jason and I’m here reporting so more people hear about the cause and what they can do about it. Would you like to comment?” Jason inquired of the clean cut man behind him who was wearing an expensive suit, despite dirty tennis shoes.

“Yeah, I’m here because immigration has gotten out of control. This place will just let anybody in and say hey, come here and live. Take our benefits, use our schools, hospitals, and drive on our roads, but don’t pay any taxes, or vote in our elections, or even have descent American values. They don’t know what it’s like to make a real and honest living, they don’t know what a hard day of work is like,” spewed the man aching to express himself.

Bryan looked at Jason like, here we go. He thought Jason would go off on this guy by how strong his opinions were when they were talking amongst themselves in his office and the car. He was worried Jason would mess the whole thing up, and they’d have to go back to square one. This was Jason’s first real test as a reporter, to see if he could handle people in a professional manner to get at the heart of an issue; which was the only reason he would even think of coming to a rally like this in the first place.

“Is there a way we could fix this problem, something we could do to teach them the American way of life?” Jason theorized, leading the man on. He felt the secret to taking right-wingers down in verbal combat was just letting them talk. They would eventually say something to disprove the point they just made, basically the conversational version of set it and forget it.

“We could build a wall with gun turrets and a moat along the whole length of the border. We could even plant land mines, but none of that would work, they would just find some other way in. We have to stop them. We have to throw out politicians that don’t want to push any meaningful security measures through. They’re the lousy pinko commies that want to let anybody in with no rules, and let it be a free for all.

You think crime is bad now, just wait and see what happens if we keep sitting on our hands. See what happens if we keep electing politicians that say they want to stop illegal immigration, but then turn around and do nothing. They are the real problem. They are the real people we need to get rid of. Why do Congress people say illegals are a bad thing, then, when they have a chance to do something about it, they don’t? What are they hiding, and why and where are they hiding it?”

Jason thought it was mighty interesting somebody on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum as him, could probably agree with him a lot more than he thought. It’s amazing what can be seen when you get to the root of what’s wrong.

This guy wants to take down politicians who aren’t tough on immigration when they say they will be. Jason wants to take them down because they support illegal immigration when it keeps their fields and factories filled with cheap labor because it makes them more money. Then, they insider trade with the information of where people are and the best way to hide them and put them to work. They might come from two different places, and might think of the perfect world as two different locations, but on this they might come together. Was this the key to the whole thing? Could people come together when they see their end goals are basically the same by virtue of being human? Could they see that what they want is the same, and what they think they want has fogged over their critical thinking skills?

“Well thank you for your thoughts sir, and I agree something has to be done about Senators and Congressmen who say one thing and do another. It’s poisoning the whole political landscape, but the more people like you that ask questions, and get to the root of what nobody wants to talk about, the better off we’ll all be. See you in there,” responded Jason as he waved at the guy, who waved back, and then disappeared into the building.

“That was quite something, but I see where you were going. We can use that guy for what we want to do,” deduced Bryan, pleased by Jason’s craftiness.

“It’s not so much using him, as much as coming together where we agree. He wants to take somebody down, and so do we. If we can help each other, not use each other, not only will we take down corrupt politicians, but we will unite people. If we have any hope of taking down the powerful, we need numbers. We need people to see who the real enemy is,” Jason orated as the words flowed out of him like they came from somewhere else.

“I couldn’t have said it better,” conferred Bryan as he nodded at Jason because he fully supported him and had his back. Marty was right, Jason was special. He could be the next great journalist. Or he could be just a nice, honest and conscious guy that wants to do good in the short time he’s here. Either way, Bryan was excited to have Jason on his team, and was very much looking forward to what was coming next. Right now however, it was time for them to go into the rally and be surrounded.

“You ready for this man, you ready to be engulfed by the other side?” Bryan teased with a smirk.

“In a situation like this I’d usually say I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, but instead I will just say yes, I’m ready to take the next step. Let’s do it.”