tagMind ControlMy Only Talent Ch. 26

My Only Talent Ch. 26

byconanthe©

Note: The descriptions and accounts in these stories are fictional and do not portray any actual people or events. The delay in posting this chapter and perhaps the next few may be ascribed to some unexpected turbulence and travel in the author's schedule.

*****

The monitor made a loud 'beep beep boop!' like something was wrong, and then four new seats on the map began to blink red. Two were in the exit rows right over the wings, and the other two were seats in world club near the galley, closest to the stairs that I had used to come up to the flight deck. Another 'beep beep boop!' sounded and the two seats other than mine that had been highlighted in orange now turned blinking red, too!

Elizabeth's vocal tone had suddenly changed from sweet and syrupy to serious and stressed. "Heads up, Roberts, we may be in for spot of trouble!"

The brain between my legs fought the brain between my ears for control, beginning the contest with a major blood flow advantage. However, primal logic soon triumphed: if the plane went down, there would never be any more nookie. My circulation adjusted and my associative cortex came online. "What triggers the flashing red?"

I flattered myself briefly by assuming there would be a delay while Elizabeth was making a similar adjustment in her concentration, but her response was rapid and clear: "Any adverse change in the assessment of the status of the person in the seat. It could be anything from a student visa expiring up to and including active information about a planned attack."

"Who can make the change?"

"Let's see who made this one." She did a three key combination and a screen came up with some text delineated by dates and times in reverse order. "That's funny!"

"What do you mean?"

"This update came from one of the two Air Marshalls on the plane. Usually that means they have observed something in flight. But there is no notation as to what he observed, and there should be." She pointed on the screen to a very pale and young looking guy with a long black ponytail in the previously described ratty jeans and tee shirt outfit. If this had been Austin, I would have expected to see him behind the counter at Oat Willie's selling incense and rolling papers.

"He's where the update came from, but he is just sitting there and not entering what he observed. That is not right."

She watched as the video switched to another section of the cabin, and then pointed to an attractive woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties. She was dressed in a pink and green sweater vest and skirt outfit with perfectly done blond hair, and if this had been Austin, she would have been stepping out of a Caspian Blue Metallic Volvo XC-90 to pick up two darling daughters at Saint Andrew's private school. "He didn't update the other Marshall, and that's weird. He just posted direct to the info section. It's almost as if he wanted to change the status in such a way that nobody on the aircraft would see it." She looked puzzled and a little alarmed. I certainly did not like seeing her look that worried.

No longer inhibited by the brain between my legs, my bladder suddenly posted its own little status update: I had to pee, very soon and very much. "What do we do now?"

"We have to wait and observe. We are hours from our destination, and even if there were a planned attack or hijack, it is much more likely to happen right after takeoff or just before landing, not now."

"Where's the nearest bathroom?"

She gave me one of those quintessentially female looks. "It's just forward of the bunk beds on the opposite side of the corridor. It's unmarked: just push on the wall next to the bunks and it will pop open."

Relief flooded through me, so to speak: I really had to go. I moved out into the corridor and pushed tentatively on the opposite wall between the bunks and the flight deck. Sure enough, a door popped open, revealing a standard but very small aircraft toilet. I set about my business with dispatch. It felt even better than I thought it would, and suddenly I was very relaxed, perhaps more than I should be given the uncertain situation on board the aircraft. Fully drained, I cheerfully washed my face and hands and readjusted my clothes.

*******

Sarah Stevens Susskind just thought she was bored back at home before Christmas. She only thought she had been crushingly bored before, but after the relatively moderate excitement of Christmas day, she realized how bad it was going to be. Terrell, Texas was not a big town. Sarah realized her folks were probably the richest and most well educated two people in the whole of Kauffman County, much less in town, and that her home environment had been thus full of interests and distractions for a smart little girl. When she arrived in Austin and started school at ESU, a whole new world had opened up for her. By comparison, coming back home now seemed like closing the curtains on a hearse that she was trapped inside of. She felt a shiver, the same kind of embarrassing shake that she got when she thought about Robbie Roberts. She certainly could have handled that better. Robbie, like ESU, had really opened her eyes, among other things. Well, best to put that behind her, although every time she spent the night with Ms. Wyrickie, another new experience, she couldn't help but think about how Robbie had sent both of them 'round the bend with excitement when he had been there too.

Like many Texans, boredom often drove her to eat, drink, or drive. Some of them had a problem with inappropriately combining the latter two: it did kept the ER docs busy. Sarah settled for just driving. Her parents were at some kind of early planning meeting for the annual Heritage Jubilee. She took her TDI out of the driveway, turning left on Griffith Avenue, heading northwest at first, with no particular destination in mind. She didn't want to drive through boring countryside, so she turned back on 205 toward town and soon found herself at Moore Avenue. She turned back towards the west, on a whim, and found herself going by the trailer park where the guy they called "Billy Bong Water" had lived.

Sarah had a bit of crush on him in high school - perhaps because he was exactly the kind of boy her parents would very much not approve of. He was the 'skateboarder' type with long hair who looked very young for his age, and a slacker attitude. But he was also kind of good looking and dangerous, and was rumored to have the best dope in town. She was surprised to hear that he was going to college, but it turned out to be junior college in Dallas. Curiosity got the better of her, and her car seemed to drive itself into the trailer park and around to where Billy used to live. It turned out he was home for Christmas too - and he was outside using some very smelly varnish on a skateboard that was sitting on a sawhorse in front of his parent's old trailer.

"Hi, Billy."

He looked up and smiled. "Hi, Sarah. I bet you are just as bored as I am." He did not look her up and down like she was hoping, and he didn't seem as edgy and dangerous as he used to, either.

He finished coating the skateboard and put the lid on the varnish, washing his brush out in a Mason jar filled with clear liquid. "My folks are visiting my Aunt Ida in Gun Barrel City, and they won't be home for several hours. Do ya' wanna get high?"

She considered it. She hadn't smoked any dope since she started school at ESU, but what the hell. At least it wouldn't be boring. She followed Billy into the trailer. He went back into his old bedroom and came back with a black plastic Pelican case like her dad used for his prized shotguns, but much shorter. He opened the case and took out a glass contraption that looked like some flasks and beakers and tubes from chemistry lab all stuck together, but with green and blue tinted glass and five spiral condenser tubes in parallel, and a mouth piece that looked a little bit like a gas mask! He set it on the table proudly, and then went over to the refrigerator. He opened the freezer section on top and retrieved a freezer worn Stouffer's family size lasagna box like her mom used to heat up when her least favorite in-laws 'just dropped by' for supper. Then he reached down into the refrigerator section and further into a 12 pack of Coca-Cola and pulled out a single can from the back. He set them both on the coffee table.

She knew Billy was no Boy Scout, but he sure seemed to be prepared for the munchies. But when he opened the frozen lasagna box, she saw it did not have a plastic food dish inside but a shiny cold metal thingy in it, which he snapped into the blue and green glass contraption right in the middle of those five condenser tubes. The Coca-Cola can had a screw off lid on top, and from it he took a marijuana bud that looked like fluffy green and brown clothes dryer lint all stuck together, and put it in the bowl of what she now realized must be the most high tech bong in town, if not the state. He took out his stainless steel butane lighter and fired up the bowl, taking a massive hit from the mask like mouthpiece.

Her heartbeat sped up. This was some serious doper shit here, not just puffing a joint at party, which was the sum total of all her previous experience. She took the pipe and he held the lighter for her, and she took a tentative draw on it, anticipating the hot smoke and determined not to cough and look un-cool. But the smoke was not hot and dry, but cold and wet. It went down smooth and easy, and suddenly her lungs were full of it. A strange feeling welled up behind her eyes, and she felt her skin flush.

*******

Suzanne continued to dominate her new academician sub. "How did you come up with this theory, August? Were you struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration in the shower, dream about two snakes chasing each other's tails, or did an apple fall on your head?" Suzanne snapped the Cat o' nine tails menacingly on her open palm.

"Actually I arrived at it in a very systematic manner. Not by economic insight, but via academic politics." He watched her expectantly, not wanting another 50 lashes. Maybe five or ten would be nice, he thought, especially if she would take off a little more of that outfit. Who WAS this woman, anyway?

"Go on, August, and succinctly!"

"I had to pick a dissertation topic that my primary professor would approve, and that a committee would be interested in, and want to see brought forward, and keep approving along the way. My then Mistress would also be on the committee, and she had some very definite political ideals that the findings of the work would have to support."

"So you decided on the conclusions and results before you even defined the topic?"

"Of course! That's the way you get approvals and funding!" he continued. Suzanne was now absolutely furious, but he went on. "I also wanted to do a 'metadata' study by combining results of other studies, rather than having to do primary research myself."

"Of course!" Suzanne's blood was now boiling. "What was your real goal for all this, Auguste?"

"Well, I wanted to finish my PhD, get a faculty job, get paid, and then get tenure. I wanted people to think that I was the world's foremost expert on properly managed complex socialist economies, and the only one who could really be counted on to successfully manage one."

"And what did you actually accomplish?"

"Well, I got my PhD, I got a job, I got paid more than I ever thought I would, and I got grants, wrote papers, and then I got tenure!"

"And..."

"And now lots of politicians are talking up my ideas, and moving toward implementing them."

*******

Elizabeth's hands flew over the console trying to gather as much data as she could. She did not want to alarm Robbie any more than necessary, but there was definitely something squirrely about that young male Air Marshall. Using an access code no one else on board had, she pulled up his personnel jacket. He was very young, and he had no military experience. He had come right out of an American junior college two year associate's degree in CJ and went right into the Marshall program. The background investigation was very sparse, much less than it would have been for anyone who had a security clearance in the military. She wondered if his clearance process had been outsourced to USIS LLC.

Motion on one of the screens caught her eye. The young Marshall had left his seat in the rear of the plane and was moving forward. The camera's automatic switching came at just the wrong time, and she did not see him again until he was midway through the main cabin. He was walking normally, but carrying something in his left hand, holding it close to his tee shirt. Should she go get Robbie from the bathroom, or stay here and leave both of them hidden for now? The video switcher went back to the rear cabin, and Elizabeth missed the young Marshall turning and running up the stairs that led to the corridor and to the flight deck.

*******

I felt gloriously empty, relaxed and at peace as I pushed open the bathroom door and stepped out into the corridor, moving back toward the berth and Elizabeth. Then I heard a grunting noise from the direction of the stairs and saw the ponytailed Air Marshall running up the stairs toward me. I felt instant fear and alarm - the same feeling I had at the tennis tournament in Austin when Pavel was running toward Lara. Time suddenly slowed down, and also just like with Pavel, a gun in ponytail's right hand very slowly rose up towards me. Time slowed down even more, and I realized this was some funny kind of revolver with a really long and fat cylinder and a very short barrel and a hole in the front that was at least twice as big as Pavel's little .22 long! In his left hand, he had something that looked like an aluminum Frisbee with grey plastic on the underside. He looked really surprised to see me, but then in slow motion his face contorted and I felt his rage: almost like receiving a very strong Suzie signal, but very unwelcome and scary as hell. Somehow I knew this was a kill or be killed situation.

I felt a galvanic buzz all up and down my spine and right behind my eyes, and as I looked at the Marshall, now only about four feet away and on his way through me to Elizabeth and then the flight deck, a single thought took over my entire being: NO! It came out like the Suzie blast I had directed at Melanie back in her dorm room at the first of the fall semester, but a hundred times as strong, and aimed right at ponytail. I suddenly felt kind of woozy, but things were still in slow motion and I knew what I had to do. We used to have boxing and wrestling instruction after school in the tennis teams off season, but I was never very good at either one. I told myself to just do your best Robbie, and remember what Dwight said about the next time you might be in this kind of trouble: get in the first damaging blow, and the second, and then just keep at it until you are sure your opponent is down and out, and no longer a threat.

*******

Suzanne tightened the restraints on Professor Auguste F.I. Haubenfelter, such that he was absolutely immobilized in a horizontal position about a foot above the tile floor of his rented apartment. "Tell me more August."

"Well, I got lots of attention from coeds who wanted to pass my class and maybe have a little thrill from a professor and student fantasy, and I enjoyed it immensely. I got fawned over by the press, who seemed to like my vision of the perfect socialist economy even though they really didn't understand it, but they pretended they did, and they also loved the way I destroyed any conservative economist without having to actually debate my ideas."

Suzanne didn't doubt that. "So everyone would realize how wonderful you were, eh?"

"Oh, no, no! If everyone actually knew how wonderful I really am, they would either worship me or resent me, and neither would be particularly useful to me, although I did like it when some of the coeds worshipped me." He hoped that she would not lose her ability to dominate him, now that she was beginning to see how fantastic he was.

"Auguste, I am going to ask you some questions, and you must answer me with complete and total honesty. If you do not, you will be punished to the point of near death, and damaged forever. If you answer honestly, I can help you enter a new and even more rewarding phase of your life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mistress! I promise to be completely forthcoming." He would do anything to see more of her underneath that outfit, too.

"Do you really think your ideas, if implemented, would produce a perfect economy?"

He considered responding with his normal bluster and superior attitude, as he had so many times before, but she popped the Cat, and leaned over him, offering some wonderful cleavage, and he decided to try honesty for a change. "I have no idea. I just proposed what I thought would further my career the most, and I don't know if it would work or not."

"Very good, Auguste." Honestly must be rewarded. Suzanne slowly took off her top, exposing her breasts to his view, stretching seductively, and standing right over him.

Auguste could not believe this woman. He had never seen such a beautiful pair of breasts in his life, even in his dreams. She was a perfect vision, muscular yet curvy. She bent over him again, and he imagined taking those perfect nipples in his mouth. His entire body was on fire now, and his brain was racing like it never had before.

"Do you really think those politicians would implement your ideas, and really let you control the economy?"

He was in an entirely new state of mind now, and it felt good to just respond instantly, and not have to pause and carefully construct a self serving narrative. "No. They would use me to gain more information and control, and then use that increased power over the economy to do whatever the lobbyists would pay the most for, just like they do now!"

"Good boy! I knew you were actually an intelligent man, and that somewhere in there you were not kidding yourself about all this. Are you ready to enter a whole new chapter of your life? Are you ready for me to do what must be done to set you free?"

He would say or do anything if he could just set those pants free of her hips! "Oh yes, Mistress, yes! I am yours to shape as you will!"

Suzanne smiled, displaying a feral look that she seldom let show. Auguste missed it.

*******

Elizabeth heard a noise in the corridor, and assumed it was Robbie coming back from the bathroom. Then she heard another noise from the other direction, back toward the rear of aircraft, and she opened the berth door to see the young male Marshall running at Robbie. Her instant and very emotional response triggered her flight or fight reaction, and then everything slowed down. When she tested for joining HQ, they explained that she possessed a very strong 'tachypsychic' reaction: under stress, she got cool, calm and collected, and her mind's internal clock seemed to speed up like a high speed camera, making the real world seem to be in slow motion. She saw the young Marshall raise his revolver at Robbie. She knew the .45 caliber standard loads were either 'bean bags' designed to knock a person down or plastic shot shells designed to shred flesh at short ranges, both without penetrating the skin of the aircraft. She did not want to think about what either load would do to Robbie.

But before the Marshall could fire, he seemed to stumble! He lurched towards Robbie, chin forward, and reflexively flapped his arms out to the side to try to regain his balance. It was like a scene from a bad boxing movie, where the champ suddenly becomes a chump and gives the underdog a perfect knockout shot at his chin. She watched as if in slow motion as Robbie swung his right hand from down near his waist up toward the Marshall's chin, catching him right on the button, distorting his face, shaking his jowls, and sending the Marshall's head spinning away from Robbie and towards the Marshall's right shoulder. It was a textbook knockout blow. She reveled in what happened next: Robbie quickly drew his arm back, recovered his balance, shifted his weight back his right leg, and used his shifting momentum to deliver a front kick with his left foot, catching the Marshall right in the nose about half way through his falling head's journey down toward the floor. Robbie's weight shifted back to his left foot, and he quickly kicked the Marshall hard again with his right foot, twice, on the Marshall's left temple. Bloody well done, Robbie!

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