National Security:Turn the PagebyStangStar06©
Hi Folks. First I'd like to thank you guys and you ladies too for all of the comments and letters on last week's story. Some of you seemed to get really upset about it. It left me wondering if your anger was really about the story, or simply your feelings about the theories on birth order. I got a lot of E-mails from people who explained how badly they were treated or how they were ignored whether they were a first child, a middle child or the baby. My favorite was of course the guy who described himself as a practice kid.
Anyway, it was only a story it was only entertainment and the cool thing about stories and fiction in general is that it's all made up. We can change anything we want just by turning the page. It's almost like the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards. You get your wife back, your dog back and your house back. My new series is called, "Turn the page," and like my "Cheaters in..." series it will pop up from time to time. In Turn the page stories, I'll explore what happened after the end of a certain story and how things changed or didn't after the story ended.
The first of these stories is a story I wrote a couple of years ago called, "In the Interest of National Security." A lot of readers were shocked by the ending of that story. I got so many letters from people who wanted to see the story end differently. Most of them wanted to see the beautiful Asian agent survive somehow. I think my view is a little bit more twisted, but she's in there, somewhere. Some of you have already re-read the original story. (I did suggest that on Twitter this week) If you haven't now might be a good time to do that to refresh your memory. If you do decide to read the original I have to apologize for its roughness. I didn't have the incredible Mikothebaby looking over my shoulder when I wrote it. I'm also not promising you that you'll all be happy with this ending. Maybe I'll do another alternate ending someday, who knows anything can happen when you "Turn the page."
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In the interest of National Security: conclusion
The pre-dawn silence was shattered with the sound of the gigantic warehouse doors opening. Almost before the doors were fully open, the driver piloted his large truck through them.
The driver, Corporal Timothy Dennings was just about to shift into a higher gear and floor it, when suddenly a figure appeared before his truck.
Dennings rolled down his window as the figure stepped over to the driver's side.
"Get your ass out of that truck so I can talk to you boy!" shouted the figure, craning his head to see Dennings.
Dennings jumped down to the ground and still towered over the figure. His heartbeat was so loud that he was sure the man could hear it. His worst nightmare had just come true. The small man in front of him was the bane of all of the military truckers' lives. Master Sergeant Donald Dockerty was the man in charge of everything that came out of or went into the warehouse.
"What are you attempting to transport out of my base," asked Dockerty with a sneer.
Dockerty, at only 5'2", was an imposing figure despite his lack of height. He also had a funny voice that had earned him the nickname "Donald Duck," among the enlisted men. Dockerty wore mirrored sunglasses 24/7 that just seemed incongruous here in the dark. But the way they masked his eyes, effectively rendering his expression unreadable, was very potent. Sometimes you couldn't tell if Donald Duck was seriously out to get you, or if he was just yanking your chain.
"Let's see your load manifest," he spat.
"That's a hell of a lot of ordinance," he continued, "Where's it going?"
He cranked his sunglasses down onto the tip of his nose and just glared at Dennings.
"I think it's going to Iraq sir," croaked Dennings.
"The troops over there need all the firepower they can get," Dennings said in a small voice.
"But they won't get it if you don't get that God Damned truck off of this base," said a voice from behind them.
"Duckerty," said the voice, mispronouncing the name so it sounded almost like the Sergeant's hated nick name.
"Yes Sir, Lieutenant Sir," shouted Dockerty, snapping to attention.
"Did you notice who signed the shipping orders on the manifest you're holding in your shit stained hands?" asked the Lieutenant.
"Yes sir, I did Sir," shouted Dockerty "It was General Hammond, sir."
"Then why are you giving the corporal a hard time?"
"Just doing my job Sir," said the sergeant.
"Get that fucking truck out of my fucking sight before I have you scrubbing fucking latrines for the rest of your fucking life Sergeant," said the Lieutenant, turning to walk away.
"You heard the Lieutenant, Corporal, get the hell out of here," snapped Dockerty, turning and walking in the direction directly opposite of the one the Lieutenant had taken.
Dennings jumped into his truck and was soon off the base. It was a good thing the lieutenant had been there to intercede for him. They wouldn't have wanted that fucking Donald Duck to snoop too much into this shipment.
Dennings expertly piloted the big truck down the road. A few miles down the road, he was passed by a charcoal gray Mustang GT that went by him like he was standing still. The driver of the car gave him the thumbs up sign as he shot past the lumbering truck.
'After a few more of these extra-curricular loads, I'm going to get a car just like that one,' thought Dennings.
20 minutes further down the road, Dennings pulled into a freeway rest stop. Before the truck had stopped moving, a big Hispanic man, whose name was Tito got into the cab next to Dennings.
He didn't say a word just tipped his baseball cap down further over his eyes and leaned his head back into the seat.
"Hey, I'm right on-time," said Dennings cheerfully.
"So fucking what," said the man in heavily accented English.
Dennings drove another 50 miles in absolute silence. He pulled into a parking lot on the outskirts of a National Forestry park just outside of West Virginia and waited.
Within 5 minutes, another truck approximately the same size as the one Dennings was driving pulled up next to him. Dennings left his truck's motor running and stayed in his seat. His passenger got out of the truck and went to the rear.
Another man and a woman got out of the second truck and joined Dennings' passenger.
Suddenly, a car came down the road and pulled up behind the truck. Dennings could see through the trucks rear view mirror that it was the same Mustang that had passed him on the road over an hour ago.
The driver of the Mustang got out. He was about 30 or 40 feet away from Dennings' passenger and he yelled over to him.
"Hey Dude, are you sure I can't use your phone?"
Recognition was instant as Tito's eyes lit up and he reached for his hidden gun. The Mustang's driver was quicker though and shot Tito before he could raise the gun.
Both the man and the woman watched Tito drop to his knees. The shot went completely through his shoulder and wasn't fatal but was obviously a serious wound. The man raised his hand and they noticed that they had those red lights from a laser targeting system all over their bodies. They raised their hands slowly and got down on their knees as well.
"You should have let me use that phone, Dude" said the man who drove the Mustang.
Black clothed figures surrounded both trucks. Dennings put his foot on the gas and considered making a run for it. At the sound of him giving his motor a little gas, a rocket launched from somewhere over the trees and lit up the sky as it exploded and tore up the ground only 20 feet in front of the truck. The debris from the explosion pelted the windshield of the truck, scaring the shit out of Dennings.
Game over, Dennings raised his hands and climbed down out of the truck.
He was escorted into a van, where he found himself handcuffed to Tito, the 2 people he'd met with, and his lieutenant.
Dan Almond sat on the hood of his Charcoal Gray Mustang GT. He took off his Kevlar vest as he was joined by Arnie Sizemore, his section chief and friend.
"Well, this one's wrapped up and we got all of them," said Arnie.
"Good job, all around," he said. "But you confronting them like that was still pretty fucking cowboy, Dan. I thought you had all of that drama out of your system."
"Take tomorrow off," he said. "But stop by my office to debrief when you get back in."
"Uhm Arnie..." said Dan. "It's an hour's drive back to DC even the way I drive."
"Yeah?" said Arnie.
"Well, the hospital's visiting hours are over in 2 hours," said Dan.
Arnie sighed and looked down.
"Dan," he said quietly "it's been over 6 months." He paused before continuing.
"The doctors did the best job they could," he continued. "They saved her life when no one thought it was possible." He paused again to let his words sink in. He knew he was on very shaky ground. And whether he was Dan's superior or not, it was only their friendship that had allowed him to say what he'd already said and live through it. Dan was one of the deadliest men alive.
"At first, we all thought that it might be one of those remarkable things we all read about in first year psychology," he said. "You know, those cases where an object goes completely through a person's brain and leaves them relatively unharmed." Dan's eyes narrowed slightly.
"But Meg isn't there anymore," said Arnie quietly. He chose his words very carefully because he really did not want Dan to go off.
"The doctors say that she could wake up at any time," snapped Dan.
"Okay," snapped Arnie back. "What if she does wake up and is a vegetable?"
"Or what if she can't remember you at all, or can't remember anything at all?" continued Arnie. "Is that really a life?"
"And let's say that this miracle you're hoping for does come through, what then?" he asked. "She'd still be a fucking murderer and a serial cheater," he snapped.
"You were divorcing her yourself," said Arnie. "In case you don't remember, that was the straw that broke the fucking camel's back and drove her completely bat-shit nuts."
"She couldn't handle life without you, so she shot a fellow asset and then shot herself," he said.
"So for all of our sakes, I think it would be better if she just never regained consciousness," he said.
"But you do what you want," he said, turning to leave.
"Dan," he said softy "I need you to take over the case that she was working on when it all went down, if it's not too painful for you."
"I'll have the files delivered to your office, before you get back to work day after tomorrow," he said.
Barely over an hour later, Dan strode purposefully into the nursing ward in a hospital back in DC. He smiled at the nurse behind the desk and pointed to a door. The nurse smiled back and nodded her head.
Dan entered the room and looked around, the flowers he'd had delivered only a couple of days ago were already fading. They would have to be replaced. He'd bring new ones when he came tomorrow.
Dan crossed the room and looked down on the figure lying on the bed. If he didn't know what they'd been through he would have thought that she was only sleeping.
He looked at the monitors and saw that she was fine. Over the past 8 weeks, he'd gotten to the point where he could interpret her readings nearly as well as the medical personnel could.
"Well, we closed down my arms dealer case today," he told her. "That's why I was late."
"Yes Meg, I wore my vest, just like you always tell me to," he said.
Dan always spoke to the sleeping woman as if she was awake and listening to him.
"Okay, where did we leave off in the book?" he asked, as he picked up the book from her bedside table.
Dan sometimes spoke to his wife for hours, and read to her too. He massaged her legs, arms and back and rolled her over at times to avoid bed sores. Sometimes he sat her up, other times he left her lying down. He moved her joints everyday to avoid muscle atrophy. He brushed her hair daily. He'd started just after the stitches in her head had been removed. He had insisted on plastic surgery to fix the scar on her forehead where the bullet had entered. He didn't want her to have an ugly scar when she woke up. Dan always said when because he was sure that she'd come out of this.
Sometimes it seemed as if he was pushing a boulder uphill alone. After a month, even her mom had started to only visit twice a month. She was sure that he or the hospital staff would let her know if there was any change in her condition.
Dan was extremely sure that Meg was going to pull out of this. He wasn't a religious man. He never had been. He'd seen too many things during his career to believe that anything or any God that was sane could allow people to treat each other so badly. So in his mind, there was only random chance. And Meg had a long history of beating the odds.
It had been a near miracle that she had survived the gunshot wound to her head that brought her here in the first place. She had died twice on her way to the hospital. Only the luck of the draw had put her in the hands of EMTs so talented and driven that they had refused to let her die before she reached the hospital.
Then it had been touch and go for several days after her surgery to remove the bullet fragments that remained in her skull. Even more frightening for Dan had been the first few moments when they had taken her off of the ventilator to see if she was capable of breathing on her own. At first nothing happened and Dan couldn't believe it himself when he started crying. The doctors had warned him that there was an above average chance, that Meg would never take another breath. Why should he care any way, he'd been on the verge of divorcing her for cheating on him for almost a year with several different men.
But as he looked at that beautiful face; a face that he had lived with and loved for more than 10 years, things changed. He realized that he might lose her, he had in fact lost her, but he didn't want to lose her to the serenity of death.
So it surprised even him when through tears he didn't even realize he had shed, he heard his own voice choke out the words "Damn it Meg, start breathing right now. I can't do this one for you."
And then her chest, to the amazement of everyone present, started to rise and fall. At first tentatively and irregular but over the next few minutes it became stronger and regular. Everyone had cheered and Dan's tears flowed freely. It was at that moment that he knew that he had to put thoughts of everything except getting her well again behind him. There'd be plenty of time for divorces and perhaps further revenge when Meg was on her feet or at least conscious. And Dan knew as well as he knew the sun would rise the next morning that Meg would survive this.
Meg had once told him that her heart beat in response to his. Well, his heart was still beating so hers had to keep on as well.
"Speaking of heart beats," he said aloud. "Yours is just a bit higher than it's been Meg. Calm down. This book is really good but it isn't so frigging good that you need to have a heart attack." He'd been reading a book called, "When we were married," to her. Somehow reading a story about a divorce to the woman he'd been about to divorce just seemed right.
"Meg, how would you feel about me finishing your last case?" he asked.
"Arnie wants to assign me to it, he says there's been movement on that front again," said Dan.
"I think I'd like to finish it for you. It would be almost like we'd worked this last case together," he said. "What do you think?" he asked, taking her hand. Dan squeezed Meg's hand because it felt different today. Her hand was warmer and her pulse was stronger.
"Meg, honey wake up," he said. Dan studied Meg's face looking for a reaction.
Did her right eyelid just flutter slightly?
Just then the nurse opened the door silently and tapped on the wall.
"Mr. Almond, visiting hours were over a while ago," she said. "I let you stay a bit longer because you got here late."
"Thanks," said Dan, then to Meg, he added. "And you, my girl, I'll be here all day tomorrow, we need to do your workout to get you back in shape."
The nurse laughed. Like many on this floor, she'd gathered bits and pieces of Meg and Dan's story from several sources until she thought she knew the entire story.
Supposedly, Meg had cheated on her husband and he'd decided to divorce her. Had even gotten a lawyer and had the papers drawn up. He was having lunch with a female co worker when Meg had gotten served and she just snapped. She shot the woman Dan was with and then herself before anyone could move.
She didn't believe any of it. In the first place, Meg would've had to have been stupid to cheat on a man as devoted to her as Dan was and she didn't look stupid. Secondly, if you loved a man so much that you'd literally kill anyone he was interested in and then yourself, why would you cheat on him?
There was also the fact that Dan clearly loved his wife beyond all reason, divorce or no divorce, those two could only be separated by death.
"Can you keep an eye on her tonight?" asked Dan. "She's a little warmer than she'd been and her heart rate is up just a bit."
"Mr. Almond, the doctor already explained to you that everyone's vitals vary from time to time. It's just her biorhythms." said the nurse.
During the drive home, Dan thought back on the events of the past few months. First, of course, there was his unanticipated experience of seeing his wife having oral sex with her partner. That was the big one, the one that started the snow ball rolling.
Then, of course, there was his revenge against Ray. That was another snowball. Dan had used a sniper rifle to literally castrate Ray. He felt bad about doing it now, because the doctors had not been able to restore function to Ray's penis. He used a catheter now for urination and without radical advances in medicine would have to for the rest of his life.
Ray's wife, Betty, had left him when she found out the circumstances behind his injury and what he'd been doing at the time. So Ray didn't really have to worry about a sex life, but if he did someday find some needy woman, who was willing to put up with his physical disfigurement, there was always the option of using a strap-on.
Dan felt bad about being the instrument of Ray's castration, but not about it happening. He stuck his dick somewhere that it didn't belong and it got taken away from him, Dan thought.
Perhaps the strangest thing that had occurred as a result of Meg's affairs was Dan having to arrest a mortician. Though Dan didn't feel responsible for Ray's situation, he did feel terrible about what happened to Kelly.
Kelly was smart, beautiful, and headed for a very bright future. But she'd made the mistake of stepping between two objects that were probably fated to be together. It was kind of like those idiots on TV who make a living sticking their arms in an alligator's mouth and everybody feels bad for them when they finally get bitten.
Kelly had made the mistake of trying to come between Dan and Meg, and she'd gotten bit by the bullet from a security team member's gun that Meg had snatched.
Dan blamed himself because he had underestimated his own wife. You often heard people say things like they couldn't live without their significant other, or I'll kill her if she comes near you, but Meg was serious. She had literally loved her husband so much that she didn't want to live without having him in her life. But she was also not going to let anyone else try to get him and live.
So she'd shot Kelly, right through her eye and then shot herself. It all happened so fast that no one near them could react or prevent it. Dan had been splashed with Kelly's blood. The thing that seemed to make no sense though, was that Dan ran, not to Kelly, but to Meg. While everyone else on the scene checked on the supposed victim, Dan's concern as always was with Meg.