Jack P Rocket-Man Narrative, part R.05.
Jack P Rocket-Man is FICTION. No warranties expressed or implied.
REM: Shift Supervisor Mickey pinged you on the portable guard radio.
JPRM: Mickey Rodriguez, same last name as that 911-WTC janitor William Rodriguez who rescued people out of the North Tower. Except, first name Mickey… retired cop, diligent, but a serious badass if… I did mention there were three types of Security Guards at the THT International Airport, didn’t I?
Anyway, “Security 81…” that’s the communication protocol at the International Airport. Transmitting, Mickey, is “Security 80,” I’m receiving as “Security 81″ that night. It sounds counter-intuitive but there’s an extremely good reason it’s done that way. Mickey is paging me, Jack P.
“Eighty-One here…” Did Mickey discover my buddy Patrick snoring in the guard shack? Those enclosures at THT are constructed of welded quarter-inch steel, two-inch thick hardwood core, and on top of that some sort of composite, fiberglass… kevlar… I forgot what Patrick called that stuff. What I’m saying is those guard shacks are MILITARY GRADE, inside a commercial airport!
I didn’t think smelly snory Patrick was the main problem. That MACHINE I had found, it found ME actually, it shut down when my walkie-talkie activated. Bad news, I’m busted at alien-spying, the black jet left without them, The Airport Director, he’s “The Incredible Hulk,” only he’s EVEN BIGGER than Lou Ferrigno, and he doesn’t look nearly as nice and friendly. I am one seriously dead man!
“Security Eighty-One, didn’t you hear Eighty-Two? He’s covering, take fifteen. Come on up! Coffee, medium, cream, no sugar, Red Bull chaser!”
My eidetic memory for sounds and feelings kicks in. Inside my head an FM radio commercial is touting, “Red Bull Gives You Wings.” Great, Mickey and Red Bull. I am about to be granted TWO SETS of wings… straight to… heaven, or hell? I’m a double-dead man!
REM: Did he kill you twice?
JPRM: No. He has the coffee and the Red Bull, it’s 05:00, I’ve burnt a lot of calories because of wind-chill, fear, and stress. Next Mickey brings out donuts, glazed, filled, and chocolate. I’m damn sure Mickey wouldn’t waste donuts on someone he was going to destroy; I told you, he used to be a cop. Donuts!
Then he reaches for the SIG SAUER, but no, he goes into his pants pocket. It’s a chubby cellphone with a cluttered-looking display and a QWERTY Keyboard! Not to be outdone, I whip out that alien device which latched onto me, the MACHINE! A matter of reflex, fatigue, plus I’m an incorrigible engineer. I just did it!
Do you know what you have, Mickey asks. He doesn’t seem surprised or angry, merely curious.
“It’s physical, biological, has sensors, it warms your hands, and the display has about sixty-four million pixels. In addition, it reads minds… and changes sizes,” I volunteered.
“Like a Star-Trek Tricorder,” suggests Mickey. Yes! Why didn’t I think of that?
“What about Floor Six-Point-Five,” he knows that I know. “Patrick is a hell of a lot smarter than he looks, he studied architecture. Want to go up?” I said YES.
I’m replaying that movie I watched one night when Louise was away visiting. She hates horror shows, tells me I’m all the fright she can take!
The movie plot was familiar, eerily déjà vu, about a kid escaping a mental hospital, they chase him, he gets away. A pretty basic horror flick… I’m an engineer, not an artist. I enjoy mediocre movies.
The kid they chased gets all grown up, becomes a shrink, and goes back inside mental hospital… It’s only a movie, an entertaining diversion from real horror – LIFE – I’m reviewing the photography and all the corridors and stairs and the angles, the strange lighting. Really, it does not take much to entertain me, strange geometry, brilliant special effects, killing. That kid who went back to the nut-house: he got revenge on the evil-doers.
Mickey’s Security Office is on the north wall, so we walk south, toward the control tower. Once we’re there in the tower, Floor One is baggage claims, Two through Four are a mini-mall: books, magazines, newspapers; this was before eReaders. Also toothpaste, first-aid, smokes, a bar, and most importantly, Dunkin’ Donuts.
Floor Five is the Administration Offices, half of it; the rest of Five is escalators and stairways to the Observation Area, which is about forty vertical feet of glass, thick and tinted lovely luminescent green, adjusting for lighting and solar radiation, photochromic-plus. It faces south. The synergy of height, sparkling glass, and huge airplanes arriving and departing, while immersed in near-silence is breathtaking.
Wouldn’t you know it, the Supervisor is heading toward the donut place, but then he takes out his access keys, he’s very organized, and there’s not all that many keys. One of the keys is a little different, titanium-colored. He uses it. Like I said: Floor Six-Point-Five, you’d never find it, yet surprisingly, the access is simple. Six-Point-Five is intertwined, meshed within the conglomeration of Admin Offices, communications wiring, plumbing, and HVAC.
I never realized it, the whole tower is pentagonal, that probably magnified the strange perspectives I noticed while I was observing the meeting of the Airport Director and his mysterious guests. I figure, a pentagon, that’s a nice aesthetic feature, perhaps it’s patriotic like in Washington DC, or worst case, these guys are black-magicians.
REM: You said it was bright and cheerful in there, except for the visitors, are you prejudiced?
JPRM: Prejudiced against people who don’t listen. Like you.
These visitors, all four, as I told you yesterday, were unusually pigmented, BUT not as in PLANT or ANIMAL Surface Finishes. I was thinking more like, an F-117 Stealth Fighter.
All is peaceful inside, the air is fresh, ionized, no pollen or jet-fuel-smell, almost like living on the Atlantic, even though we are forty miles inland. Nothing claustrophobic, no rough edges, there is nice dark, geometrically precise hardwood flooring and furniture. Like you see inside one of those penthouses at New York City you can watch on those HGTV real-estate shows.
Mr. Director seems to be not quite as loomingly large; it’s his relaxed body language. He’s looking calm, non-lethal. The four visitors: well, I’m a good judge of character. Louise, my wife, explains judgement is related to brain-wiring. There’s normal, crazy, and “sensitive” individuals she says. I’m wondering if Louise is only trying to be polite…
The four visitors, they’re sentient, very. Although, the classic categories of “Vegetable, Animal, or Mineral,” do not seem to apply. I noticed they are very much in tune with one another, like hippies or fraternity members. Somewhat like Louise and me: Soul Mates, except four. Polygamists? As I said, I am pretty liberal when it comes to culture and diversity, of which these visitors have plenty!
Mr. Director, he’s smart, smarter than Mickey and that says a lot. Possibly as smart as me, and he’s a pro-active communicator.
“Our visitors have a temporal problem,” he tells Mickey and me. I’m old: my hearing’s a bit fried…
“Temporary problem, the black jet? It’s gone?”
“TEMPORAL problem. Time. About One Century.”