Friday, January 18, 2013

A Day in the Life of Monty (pt 3)

What Next?
It took Monty almost two hours to take care of the baby, feed her, change her, and play with her until she was tired enough to lay back down.  Finally, after making sure she had her bottle he hurried back to his room.
God, it was going to be tough to settled down again to get to a point where he could relax, and shut out the outside world.  He quietly closed the door, shut the Rolladen, and settled into the chaise.  Should he use the noise-canceling headset or not?  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  No, in case the baby cried out again he had to be able to hear her… so perhaps with extra effort he could close out just enough of the world to find his way to where he needed to go.
Here is where routine was to pay off.  Early on, Monty had found if he followed the same routine every day it was much easier to slip into his altered state.   While that routine was obviously altered today, the steps from sitting in the chaise would be the same, the thoughts, the images, the whole process would be the same.  And so it went, breathing, heart rate, and blood flow, into that new dimension. 
He concentrated on the facts before him and sought out the CEO of Humanity Services, searching for her as she first awoke, so that he could follow her to the point where he had first intercepted her.  Before he had been using a random time, well before the time he believed she would make the announcement, and had found her fighting for her life.  Now he would pick a time he assumed she would be safe and secure and track her to that tragic event.
Through time, across space, and in some unique, to him, dimension he traveled.  Without too much effort he found the CEO, Gloria Harrington, asleep in her bed, alone in a large penthouse located on the 96th floor of a New York high rise.  He sensed others in the house, but could not focus on them, for fear of separating the link that now held them both.  He often wondered if his subjects knew of his intrusion.  There was never anything obvious mind you, but occasionally he would notice them looking over their shoulder, or pulling their collars up, as if against the cold.  He wondered if there were others with his gift and as they passed across this dimension it was their presence that led people to believe in ghosts.
He moved to find a favorable place to observe her, and in the process noticed, for the first time, what an attractive woman she was.  She was a brunette, colored he assumed, in her mid-forties.  She was well proportioned, not fat, but not skinny either.  Her hips and waist made an appealing curve as she rolled from her back to her side in response to some subtle noise from the other room.  As her alarm went off a slender arm extended to quiet it, and without pause she sat up in bed.
Monty watched as she stepped away from the bed, her silken nightgown dropping away as she stepped into the bath.  He was amazed at this, as he was normally quite aloof as he spied on his subjects.  But this was different.  Something was drawing him to her.  But he new he didn’t have time, not now, not here.  He had a thought and the scene before him began to play in fast forward.  It was as if he was viewing a video in three times speed.  Gloria moved quickly from the bath, to the dressing room, to the gym, to the bath, then the shower, the dressing room, the breakfast table and then out the door.  Startled, Monty flashed forward to the lobby where he watched as she entered a Bentley that pulled up in front.  He moved effortlessly to a position across from her to observe her while they traveled towards whatever was to occur sometime in the near future.
This was new for Monty.  Usually he could fast forward through time and space to see what would happen, but precise details of exactly where and exactly when had, up until now, never been that terribly important.  His ability to forecast based on the details he had observed was so effective in positioning his clients for the events to come; that within a very small circle he was thought of as pure gold.  Most of his clients didn’t really know how he worked, and while curious, were not so curious that they pressed for more information when told any future inquiries would lead to their loss of any contact.
But this subject was different; he was now connected to her in a way unlike any of his previous surveillances.  The more he observed, the more he wanted to know.  A disturbing thought crossed some other part of his mind; surely he was not becoming attracted to this woman, was he?  No! That could not be it; he just needed to know the details of what catastrophe awaited her so when he talked to Bryan he would have the necessary details.
The car stopped, and Gloria rose and left the car.  Where were they?  How long had it been?  Monty saw her moving away and adapted his thoughts to follow her.  She was entering a skyscraper in the heart of the city, as the doors slid shut Monty was there beside her, and all the sudden it became clear to him, this was the box he had seen in his earlier surveillance. Was she in the headquarters of Humanity Services?   Was he about to see the same tragedy repeated?  Surely an elevator didn’t catch fire?  Who had ever heard of such a thing?
At that instant Monty knew he would have to try something he’d never done before.   He would need to connect to several people in the same proximity to see if they have a shared future, and if so, is this where that future ends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Day in the Life of Monty (pt 2)

The Dilemma
As soon as he could gain control of his pulse -- he worked to slow it down to a normal pace.  As he did, he thought through the options available to him.  Should he call the CEO of Humanity Services?  What would he tell her?  No, that would never do.  The last thing you want to do is try and convince someone you know something about them and… and what?  In the best of cases you come off as a nut, in the worst-case scenario you are a stalker and when that accident happens who is number one on the suspect list?
Monty’s business was unique, he was a private detective, in fact, he was the most private of private detectives, and only a small handful of people knew of his abilities, an even smaller number knew him by sight.  Only one, his Control, actually knew where he lived.  So reaching out to the CEO was definitely off the table, in fact, about the only option that Monty saw was to call Bryan, his controller, and layout the events as he saw them, and seek Control’s advice on what should be done.
But there was the rub.  His contact with Bryan was by a very specific schedule.  He called him at precisely 1:23 in the afternoon.  Neither early nor late, if he missed the call his information would have to wait for a whole day.  The problem was Monty didn’t know exactly what time the CEO of Humanity Services was in trouble.  In his surprise and excitement, he had not thought to find a way to put the event into a time reference.  He did know that her speech was for later in the afternoon, somewhere around dinnertime, but he also knew she was in another time zone, and he may have found her well before the meeting if her theta waves were amplified by the horrific events he had witnessed.
What could he do?   What should he?  Rising up from his chaise he paced the dark room, searching for answers.   Was there any other option, anything at all he could do?  Still wound up from the excitement, he decided to slip down to the kitchen and have his morning glass of guava and pomegranate juice.
Sitting at the breakfast table, sipping his juice, he slowly came to realize with the hours on his hands before he could call Bryan, his contact and control, he should do some more investigative work to see exactly what was going on with his subject, so he could offer something more than the excited ramblings of a frightened spectator.
The only problem, and one he wasn’t sure how he would handle, was the house would be coming to life, as would be the world around him.  Noise was not his friend.  Anything that drew his consciousness and concentration away from the task at hand would make it just that much harder to accomplish what he wanted to.  There were some simple modifications to his home, ostensibly normal things that would not appear out of place that should help with the noise, but he tried very hard not to use them, to avoid inquisitive neighbors or even his wife.
So, leaving the kitchen he climbed the stairs to resume his work.  This time he lowered the sound deadening Rolladen shutters he had brought back from Germany.  This would keep the room dark, and block most of the outside noise.  The rest could be taken care of by his noise-cancelling headset.  On the door he hung a simple note to his wife, explaining that one of those day stopping migraine headaches had returned and he was retreating to his study to try and avoid another hospital admission.  Crippling migraines were, apparently, a by-product of his ability.  As a young man they had come without warning and with increasing frequency, but over the past five years he had learned to control his diet and thought patterns so that now they were a rare event, but remained a good excuse to be left alone.
Once Monty was secure in his fortress of solitude he settled into the chair.  Donning his headphones he began the process of gaining mental control of his body.  Using the relaxation techniques he first learned to fight his headaches he began to sense his toes, feeling the way the toe nails rubbed his slippers, and then relaxing the muscles and tendons of each toe individually.  Slowly he moved up his legs until they were completely relaxed.  Then he shifted to his fingers, flexing, stretching and relaxing.  He continued this process for what seemed like an hour, but in truth was but a few minutes.  As he went through his routine he was separating himself from the normal time keeping our bodies use to a completely different clock.
At last he started to slow his breathing…. Feeling his heart’s beat he focused on slowing each pulse just a fraction, and then a fraction longer… As the blood flowed through the heart he began to search for that elusive blood cell that would focus all his attention.  When all the sudden the piercing cry of a baby shattered his concentration… Damn! Damn! Damn!  He had forgotten today was his day to watch the baby and his wife was going to a meeting downtown.   What else was going to go wrong with this day?  Slowly he got up, moving too fast when he had slowed his pulse would lead to a quick visit to the floor as he fainted.  He moved to open the Rolladen and take down the sign from the door.  He then walked to the baby’s room calling his wife to let her know he was there and would take care of breakfast. 
Just how quickly could he get these chores handled and the baby back asleep?  That was indeed the question.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Day in the Life of Monty

The day has not yet arrived; it is that quiet time when life hangs suspended between the night and the day.  The world is quiet, disturbed only by the gentle rasps and creaks of a sleeping house.  If you can release them it is in these times all the worries of the world seem to slip into that darkness that surrounds you.  The still quiet offers the space to clear your mind and imagine what can be, not what is or was.
So many cannot stand the emptiness found here.  They try to fill it with anything, or everything they can.  For normal people, this is the time they dig deep into the comforters on their beds.  Monty, on the other hand, cherished it.  It renewed him as he prepared for the day.  He took comfort in routine; a place for everything and everything in its place was his motto.  In this time of dark the world seemed ordered and precise to him, even if it was anything but!
The motorway was just beyond the next hill, and if he strained hard enough he could hear the automobiles and trucks as they sped along, oblivious to the world just beyond the fence.  But then why wouldn’t they be oblivious?  Hadn’t technology replaced the humans who guided them with automatic systems some years earlier?  Now the cargo, both human and otherwise, was carried along the highway by fully efficient and safely controlled robots.  But who was that control that controlled them? That’s what Monty wanted to know, but there never seemed to be anyone to ask when he tried to find out.
So here he sat, sunk deep into the chaise, his eyes closed, as he slowed his breathing to just a few breaths a minute, focusing on the sound his heart made as it moved his blood.  He fought to find just the right rhythm so he could follow a single blood cell through his veins.  This ability seemed natural to him, but he knew that few others shared it, and when he tried to explain how it worked they looked at him with the same look he imagined they gave the snake oil salesmen of the American west some two hundred years earlier.
Once he found just the right cell to latch onto, his concentration rose to a new level.  The world opened before him and he could see the new day unfold with all its complexities, anxieties, hostilities, in fact, all the “ities” he could think of.  Mrs. Beaverton, in the next town over was going to drop the skillet on her big toe.  Josh, her son, would come running in when she cried out, slip on the spilled grease from the skillet and end up splitting his head on the counter as he fell heavy at her feet. 
The couple on Weaver Place would arise at the sound of the six thirty alarm and with their usual efficiency head towards the kitchen and the shower, one in each direction.  Passing back and forth, as each went through their individual morning routines, unaware that in just a few short hours they would discover they were expecting a child.
These were interesting footnotes in the day, but it was not the information Monty was interested in.  It was not what the investment companies were paying him for, and it was not what the government asked of him as they sought ways to know what was going on with the population they controlled.  So after just a few moments of looking into the personal lives he found fascinating, Monty turned his attention to the issues that paid the bills.
His first stop in this grand journey was to look into what the CEO of Humanity Services had in store for her.  A competitor had heard that she was nervous about a new product HS was going to unveil, and was looking for an edge they could use to get a leg up on them.  They had provided Monty with all the personal information he needed to focus into her, and he now went through that information as his mind crossed the boundaries of one reality to another.  All the sudden, she and her thoughts came into view, almost as if he was tuning the remote performance box to see the latest Broadway show.  Her features were clear, but the reality before her was troubling.  He did not see her standing on the stage as he expected, but she was trapped in some kind of box, screaming for help and fighting against the flames that lapped at her feet.  Monty cried out in pain and fled from the scene.  This was something totally unexpected and he was not sure what to do.
His pulse raced as adrenaline hit his system and he lost hold of his focus, causing him to leave one dimension and return to his own reality.  He sat there with a rapidly beating pulse, elevated temperature but yet was in a cold sweat.  What should he do? 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Football Weekend

So we come down to the final four teams for the NFL.  In the first game next weekend the 49ers travel to Atlanta and then immediately afterwards the Ravens will be in New England to play the Patriots.  I am guessing that Jack’s sons, Jim and John, are working on the charter flight arrangements to get him from Atlanta to Boston to see both games.
You’ve got to tip your hat to the NFL.  For the most part, the divisional contests were close and kept you interested right to the end. I was glad to see Pete Carroll call a timeout as the ball was being snapped, and give Atlanta a chance to miss the practice kick.  It made the game winner just that much sweeter as Matt Bryant put it through the uprights with 8-seconds left.
For the record I don’t think Atlanta will be able to contain Colin Kaspernick, and if he rushes for another 180 yards it will be a long day for the Falcons.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thoughts from the Roof

Today was a beautiful day, and as the first weekend after epiphany, so I get to take the outside Christmas lights down.  While I am up on the roof, basking in the sun, and doing simple tasks my mind wanders.  I think to a snippet of a conversation I had yesterday with a General.  I must be getting way too old, because it was too similar to the ones I would expect to have with a Lieutenant.
It is unfortunate the experience we provide future Generals, as they grow up, does not vest in them much more than a need change things and the belief they are superior to those around them because no one is willing to tell them they are not. 
 When I was younger there was a book I read about the foundation of the Air Force.  I can’t remember the title but it dealt with a group of officers who were Captains in the Army during the 1930’s, and who would later go on to be the Generals who, during the World War would build the greatest air force the world had ever seen.
These were the men who created the tactical doctrine that built the Eight Air Force, and eventually led to the recognition of the Air Force as a Service, equal to the Army and the Navy.  Names like Carl Spaatz, Ira Eaker, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay come to mind.
I wonder if they were different then the Generals we create today?
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