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The Last Supper: Part 2

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Mr. Favors looked at Tito with a pleased, almost perverted stare. He began tapping on the glass table that illuminated like a dozen crooked light bulbs all focused at one point.  He waved his hand in the air and a diaphanous screen appeared, with a large keyboard and a thin monitor running a thousand numbers per second.  Typing in a code, the screen went blank for two, three seconds, before a woman’s face appeared in the screen.  Mr. Favors then waved his hand again, rerouting the whole diaphragm before the screen went blank, and a vile green hologram figure of the woman appeared between the two men.

“Mr. Lorenzo, very, very pleased to meet you.  Mr. Favors has told me that you are the right  man for this particular job that we have.  Let me introduce myself: I am Cassandra Blanc, Vice President of Internal Affairs.  What we deal with is none of your immediate concern, but do know that we hold the best interests of the North American Alliance.

You have heard of a movement called The Rise.  Not a very imaginative name, granted many other names have already been in use.  They are led by a woman named Janet Williams, 5’6, hazel eyes, who has an alluring voice and a genuine sentiment for the poor. The movement prides itself in having people love one another, help one another, especially those that are poor and neglected by society.”

Tito kept nodding his head, making sure his posture was upright and that his face appeared to be completely absorbed by what the woman was saying.  He had a million questions surfacing to his head — why a simple Government clerk like himself, why has he never heard of Internal Affairs before, how did they know who the leader of The Rise was when they were purported to be a movement without a singular leader — but he knew such questions were not only unwarranted, but dangerous.  Any question that his examiners (and he had every right to believe they were examiners, despite the fact that they wanted to enlist him for a special mission) deemed as a breach of conduct could land him in jail; worse, any statement that was considered seditious would cost him his life.

“This does not bode well for our way of life.  Such way of thinking interferes with what the Government wants out of its citizens: peace, harmony, complete obedience.  Do you understand?”

Tito again nodded his head profusely, wanting with all his heart to please his superiors.

“Very well Mr. Lorenzo.  Our data shows that Janet was once married to a man named Alexander Ortiz.  A fair-skinned man, with olive eyes, approximately six feet tall.  Not built, but not husky either.  He appeared to be a shy man, but could be forceful when necessary.   He was killed a year ago, in a rally near Central Park.  The police was trying to escort the protesters out of the park; mayhem ensued.  There was a fight that broke out, laser-guns were used, fifteen people, including Mr. Ortiz, were killed.  It was a huge tragedy and the bureau of Domestic Affairs went through a huge clean-up:  reneged park licenses indefinitely for all protestors, shifted the blame back to The Rise, who was shown to be in the park without a permit.  No grounds for lawsuits were found, several other key members arrested or otherwise detained, but Ms. Williams was not detained.  After having her husband killed, we believed the movement would end.

But it grew stronger.  He became a symbol for the movement and Ms. Williams is their new leader.  She has assumed a role our data-people did not believe she was capable of. Given her mild history, her average intelligence, her mild-tempered personality, we did not think she was capable of successfully assuming a leadership role.  The calculations are so out of her favor, it is preposterous that she has actually advanced this far!”

At this Tito jumped; high officials don’t normally yell, are usually stern, reserved, always making the appropriate statement.  The only person ever afforded such behavior on a regular basis was the President, an old, round man who has been in office for the last three decades. He nodded again, trying to hide his exasperation and utter surprise at this unsightly revolt.

“You will be of use Mr. Lorenzo.  You have always wanted to be of use, correct?  You have always wanted to serve your country to the best of your abilities, correct Mr. Lorenzo?”

“Yes Ms. Blanc, I would like nothing more than to fully serve the state.  However, I am confused as to why I have been summoned.  As a simple clerk, I have heard about The Rise, have been privy to accidently walk by one of their demonstrations on my way to work, and have…” Tito stopped.  He was sure he had said too much.  He nodded again, not sure how to fix that which has been unsettled.

Ms. Blanc and Mr. Favors began to speak to one another; somehow Tito’s ears were muffled.  It was strange to see two people talking — the hologram woman, who was as stern and vociferous as the President, talking with a man whose stare could unsettle you, that demanded more respect than any other official he had ever met without saying a word.  Both were dangerous; he could sense he was in a different league of officials, walking steadfast towards a downward spiral that would lead to something new in his life, something exciting, albeit something that could cost him his life in more ways than one.

“Mr. Timothy Lorenzo, we are going to ask you to infiltrate the rabidly growing movement called The Rise for one purpose: to kill Janet Williams.”

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The Last Supper: Part 1

Monday, January 7th, 2013

When Tito Lorenzo arrived on the dark and misty establishment south of Broadway, he was surprised at the lack of security.  The building, early twenty-first century architecture that was so solid and colorless, it appeared different from the rest of the city, like a sequestered memento of the past.  “Too gray, way too gray,” he said out loud to no one, looking both ways of the vacant street, aware of the the temporary curfew instituted by the Government, and finding that the streets appeared more chaotic, not peaceful.

He entered through the glass doors, the smell carbon dioxide and sweet air freshners slapping his face.  The entrance looked clean and polished, the floor glistening like the midtown skyline. From the distance, the reception desk was empty; however, as he approached it a hologram appeared.

“Good Afternoon Mr. Lorenzo.  Mr. Favors is waiting for you in the twenty-second floor.  Please take a right through the turnstile and take the elevator up.  When you reach the twenty-second floor, go to room 227.”

Tito wanted to ask a the hologram-man a question, but he disappeared as soon as the message finished.  He took a look at his watch: eleven past nine.  He was over the curfew by an hour and nine minutes.  After straightening his jacket and tie, Tito walked through the turnstile, took the elevator to the twenty-second floor, and prayed that he was not only capable of accomplishing his mission, but that he had the luck and will power to survive.

_________________________________________________________________________

Mr. Favors was seated upright on a leather upholstered chair, his back turned to the door.  He was looking through long glass windows that overlooked the whole city, marveling at its altitude, at the small figurines of parked cars and synthetic trees below.

Tito wasn’t sure whether he should properly announce himself or wait until Mr. Favors turned around from his enviable view.  Mr. Favors was sure to have known that he had arrived and was waiting for his assignment, so if he wasn’t acknowledging him it was either out of resigned spite or clear enjoyment out of what he was doing.

“The new buildings aren’t made at this altitude any longer.  Ever since Congress enacted severe birth rate regulations during the middle of the twenty-first century, and Manhattan underwent sweeping renovations, there is no longer any need for buildings this high any longer.  This building used to be called the Empire State Building.  At one point it was the biggest building in the city, after the Twin Towers were attacked by terrorist.  Of course bigger buildings appeared afterwards, but there was always something special about this building.”

Tito drew closer, trying to catch a glimpse of the view that mesmerized and ensnared Mr. Favors.  As he approached, Mr. Favors swung around the swivel chair in one fast, breath-taking motion, with one finger held up in the air like a music director motioning to a whole concerto to pause before hitting the next notes.  “Sit down at that seat over there Mr. Lorenzo.  You are not aware that you are breaking a cardinal rule.  Please refrain from making any further attempts to get closer.”

There was only one other chair in the room, approximately 10, 12 feet away from Mr. Favors, 15 feet away from the window.  He sat down accordingly, making sure his posture indicated that he was slavish and cordial, that there was nothing threatening about him, and that he had taken the training very seriously. —Always be cordial in the presence of a superior.  Never make any sudden movements.  Never give the person pretense to create a note on your record.  Even if there appears to be no other people in the room, there are other people in the room.  Be at your best behavior—-

Controlled breathing, controlled movements; never look at the other person directly in the eye for more than three seconds at a time or they will believe you are challenging them.  If you feel the need to say something, make sure to pronounce your words slowly or the person will take your statements as dissent.  Above all, behave, behave…

“Ssss-ir,” Tito said, adding extra syllables to his words where they did not belong. “I have been told by my immediate su-pe-ri-ors to meet you here today.  How can I be of a-ssis-tence.”  He spoke slowly, deliberately, and when he was done he looked at Mr. Favors he saw that the man was smiling and felt pleased with himself.