Welcome To the Neighbourhood

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

5 Miles Up

The phone call had come at 3 a.m., exactly as Klaus had said it would. The call display showed no number, and Leo had a hunch that his phone records would show no such call had been made. It’s how it has gone down before.

Leo had just arrived at the small landing strip near the “Indian” Reservation. He always felt like such a bigot for referring to aboriginal peoples as “Indians”, but that is what they are called. Reserves. And they had Indians on them. It had taken him nearly two hours to get here, and the Cessna had already landed. Two men, armed to the teeth with what looked like an array of SWAT gear, stood outside the airplane and Leo had a hunch that this plane ride would be different from the others.

“Park the truck over there” said the man on the right. He had a terribly scarred face that looked like he had once flossed his teeth with barbed wire. He motioned to an area behind some large shrubs, 12 feet tall maybe. Leo started his truck, turned off the radio and maneuvered it in behind the shrubs.

“Cover it” said the other man, tossing Leo a large bundle of 3-D camouflage. “And make sure you tie it down well” snarled the scar-faced man.

Leo finished covering his truck with the large bundle of burlap and shredded rags and headed for the Cessna. It was black with a silver aluminum underbody and had a red, round circle on the tail. There was some sort of pattern, a rose or something in the detail, but Leo couldn’t pinpoint it. He didn’t want to look too untrusting. The number 8008135 was written in white just below it, Leo noticed just before getting patted down by the two guardsmen.

Leo was escorted aboard the plane. Inside it was sparse. It was cladded in riveted aluminum inside and featured two chairs near the pilot's cabin. The third chair faced the back of the plane and was situated inside a type of cubicle, also made out of metal. It had a television and a couple of speakers, and that was it.

Leo took his seat in the odd-looking cubicle and immediately noticed something. He couldn’t move his legs. As he sat down, the chair immediately latched around his ankles and knees, and one of the guards moved to secure a pin to keep the latch from opening. There were more even more straps.

“It will be a short flight” said 'scarface' as Leo had already designated him.

The chair was obviously there to prevent him from moving about the plane and the blinds were situated such that he could not see out the windows. Little use, though, as the window shutters were all pulled down.

After securing Leo’s arms, chest and legs to the chair, Scarface tripped the red switch on the cubicle, causing a high-pitched whine to emit from somewhere within its walls. Initially Leo had thought that the television was turned on, but it wasn’t.

“This will keep you from pulling any smart moves again, Leo” the scarfaced guard smirked.

Last time, Leo had figured out the flight path of the Cessna using his internal compass. It was something the tribes had taught him as a boy, and he honed it as a young man by riding in trunks of cars and guessing where he had been taken. His parents would yell at him whenever they caught him, but basically took it all in stride until he figured out that his father wasn’t bowling on Saturday evenings, but was in consort with a woman his mother had once called a whore.

The cubicle was obviously some device that Klaus had purchased or developed to prevent Leo from figuring out where he was being flown this time.

After the Cessna had climbed to 30,000 feet, the television came on and a figure appeared on the screen. It was Klaus.

“Get him his headset!” Klaus exclaimed, obviously yelling at the guards. Leo was surprised when it became evident that the headset seemed to have been made by minions of Dr. Moreau rather than Motorola. It was a hastily-prepared metal headband with nodes, pins, rivets, circuits and wires attached to it. As it was placed on Leo’s head, he noticed that the high-pitched hum of the cubicle had increased. It was louder.

“That’s to stop you from transmitting, Leo. It’s only you and I now, so let’s get down to business”.

“As we agreed, gentlemen” Klaus said, bluntly.

The scarfaced guard took a small red box out of his pocket and pulled out two needles. He handed one to the other guard, and they removed the protective cases from the needle tips. Within a split second, the needles plunged into their thighs and they collapsed in their chairs. Unconscious or dead, Leo hadn’t a clue.

“Leo, it’s just you and I right now. The plane is in auto pilot. It’s my new software, capable of flying any plane anywhere in the world from any one of my flight simulators. Your plane is actually being flown from Saskatchewan right now, Leo”.

Leo found that one hard to believe. And he’s seen a lot. Klaus seemed to be given to wild claims and meeting this way was his idea, ever since Leo hooked up with Jocasta. Klaus claimed that Jocasta could sense things, but that her perceptions did not extend to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Leo and Klaus had been meeting five miles up ever since.

“I went to Zurich last week, Leo. I have sent the jewels to New York. They will arrive in one month. . . ”

* Interview Interruptus
* Jocasta awakes
* Prosser meets the police
* Delta Smith
* Keith Prosser


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