Jack P Rocket-Man, Writer, Engineer, Guest Columnist, continues his latest story.
Jack P Rocket-Man is a fictitious character; his statements provide no warranty.
REM: Gregory Johnstone… Santa Clara? Your chance encounter with Johnstone in New Hampshire must have surprised you.
JPRM: Who said it was a “chance encounter?” Don’t you believe in destiny; I never used to either. I kind of learned it; I’m slow you know. Louise, my wife, spent a quarter of a century explaining to me; destiny… She says, men are stupid, it’s a hell of a lot easier to say destiny than serendipity or synchronicity.
Louise has a little bit of a speech impediment, words like “acetaminophen,” and “banana.” It’s a non-problem… BUT if she was in school nowadays they’d give her some medication or put her in a special class.
REM: Louise is pretty normal compared to you.
JPRM: Louise and I, we’re 128 years old, combined. Luck and stealth have served us faithfully. Me, well I’d be at the Diamond State Mental Hospital on Route 1A North, that place on the rocks next to the Atlantic. Did you notice it kinda looks like ALCATRAZ, the abandoned prison in California? My Grand-Uncle Jack, they were trying to put him in there; The Diamond, not Alcatraz. I’m not sure how, but somehow they didn’t…
REM: You’re wandering.
JPRM: OK. So Gregory tells me it’s nicer here in Skyhaven, our place is 400 YARDS from the ocean, instead of 45 MILES, He figured he’d come mooch off me and Louise, work on his tan… You’re still an Engineer, he asks? I tell him, it depends. Now you remember Gregory, and his office at that Image Processing Company in Massachusetts?
REM: Rumor has it they’d go in there on the long holiday weekends, meticulously shuffle his piles of books, magazines, fried electronics, and cat hairs, then fumigate the place.
JPRM: True, but he’s a lot better now. It’s as if there are two kinds of nuts… eccentrics I mean. Some get better, some get worse with age. He split up with that crazy woman and the seven cats, got off on his own for a while. Anyhow, I told him he could come inside but no promises if he could stay over. He tells me he was joking about the mooching, and he’s really staying at the Ashworth Hotel, Penthouse Floor.
Gregory made a lot of money when that California company went public. Even better, they decided they didn’t get along that well, Gregory and them, so he cashed his chips and didn’t have to worry about money for a while.
So I’m pumping him for information about work because Gregory has CASH and I don’t. I did mention to you he was one of my closest friends, didn’t I?
All of a sudden at my home, in the office, he asks me to tell him once more about that funny stuff going on at night there at the International Airport in Tura. There’s three Tura Airports, and I worked at the one 40 miles west of here back when the Massachusetts Place he and I worked at melted down in ’03.
Gregory started looking real serious. In ’03, I used to drink a lot back then, so we both figured I was on my way to another dimension, better place, whatever you call it based on your religious beliefs. So all that THT Airport stuff, Gregory didn’t believe it back then when I told him.
REM: You said you were an Atheist the other day.
JPRM: I did, but I said a “Small-A-Atheist,” that means I can change my mind when it’s convenient. So, in 2003 I was working security, rent-a-cop, on the third shift. We didn’t get to pick our shifts and I LIKED third shift, so I didn’t let on, or they’d have changed it… shifted my shift.
Right around 04:00, that’s 4:00 AM to normal people, it’s a ghost town at Tura International Airport, THT. My partner was this tall scruffy guy with old worn out duty boots and a brand new polyester and cotton-blend security suit… uniform. His name was Patrick. He smelled funny. Did I ever tell you that joke about cannibals and clowns? Anyhow…
He’d sleep in the guard shack and I’d cover, and we’d take turns, alternate nights. I’d always crack the window when it was warm out, above freezing, so his stench wouldn’t make me puke. Puking was listed in the Security Manual as inappropriate guard behavior and I didn’t want to be written up.
It was on Tuesday nights, this private jet used to show up, I never figured out why it didn’t land on the non-commercial runway half a mile away. You could see it all lit up from the main terminal at night. The private jet people must have had some serious connections. The Director at THT, his name was the same as one of them USA Astronauts; anyway Mister Director had an FBI Clearance, we all had one of some kind of federal clearance.
So Mister Director had THE Grand-Poobah Security Clearance and he could boss EVERYONE from the rent-a-cops to the county sheriff deputies to the staties, even the federals. He told us to look smart when that black private jet, it looked like one of them AMG Mercedes Supercars except bigger, when it showed up and all the skinny people disembarked.
REM: Are you wandering again?
JPRM: No, I’m not. Not now. Odd things happened on those Tuesday four-o’clock morning shifts. It was quiet, mostly, there were no pick-ups, but the wind used to increase. THT is like a miniature city, without the hoodlums and crimes though. All the private security people passed fitness and attitude tests, and we security guys were only the first tier the punks had to deal with.
The wind whistled a lot, but when that black jet came in, I could hear it coming before anyone else did. I was pushing sixty back then, and had been to a lot of rock concerts when I was younger. Remember last night I explained about the SYNESTHESIA, that cross-cognitive situation that crazy people and savants sometimes are born with? Well, it was like I was ALL EARS, and my whole body would ring like a bell.
Before the black jet showed up, my ears rang like that time I went to the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer Rock Concert way back. Nobody but me would notice it. So I was recounting to Johnstone about that night in 2003, I noticed the animals there, they have them; suburban-type critters, feral cats, wild bunnies, smelly skunks, small deer…
JPRM: This deer, white-tailed, she was crashing, trying to get INSIDE the airport terminal, BREAKING IN, you know. Very un-natural. I remember the thick tinted tempered glass panes were smearing with Bambi blood. The sheriff deputy had to send the white-tail to animal heaven with a 40-Caliber slug.
We thought it was rabid.