As he lied in bed, with his right leg in the air, a childhood memory surfaced.
He was seven years old at his home in California. It was the beginning of summer, and he had just returned from his towns annual Flower Festival. He was grinning ear to ear with excitement because he had been waiting for this day to arrive for at least three months, and for a child, three months can seem like a decade, if not more.
Other than today’s agenda for him, this festival was the only thing to look forward to, if you were a kid in this sleepy town. It had stuff for the grownups to do, which was pretty much escaping your reality at the local bar, but if you were under the age of puberty, you had to rely on your imagination for entertainment, especially if you were the loner type.
He wasn’t an outcast or anything. He played with the neighborhood kids, but when it came to fun, or what he considered “real fun” he preferred his own company. He figured out that it was best not to invite any one over when he was being creative. Because his type of creativity, had been reported back to some stupid parent in the past for being dangerous, cruel, or in how the blabber kid said, “It was scary!” So, to avoid any punishment, his experiments had become top secret missions.
So, it was just him and his test subject, which was a field mouse that he had captured the day before.
Today’s "Fun" would be if he could fly this rodent over the hills that had shadowed his town. And since his folks house sat at the base of these hills, it shouldn’t be too difficult, he figured. But the question that had been bouncing around in his head was “How many balloons would it take?”
And this is the reason why he had to keep his curiosity on hold for so many months, since this weekend was the only time that he could find helium balloons, due to the towns festivities.
Five? Seven? He figured that he would play it safe with an even ten.
It was do or die time!
After smuggling the balloons up to his families sun deck, he gathered his test subject from its waiting room ( which was actually just a shoe box) and put the little critter in its flying capsule ( which were two plastic baskets originally intended for holding strawberries at the local super market).
“Good luck mouse.” He said calmly. And without any countdown, he released the balloons into the air.
Ten were more than enough. The aircraft shot straight up into the blue sky, until the little cage disappeared into the heavens above. And as soon as the balloons were just a a mere dot, the ocean breeze blew it over its intended goal, never to be seen again.
But he had to save his victory dance for another time because of the footsteps coming up quickly from behind, followed by his mothers voice.
"What the hell are you doing?"
He had been caught. He didn't know how much she had witnessed, but knowing his mother, information gathering was her stong suit.
"Was that a mouse? What's wrong with you? Jesus Christ, answer me!" his mothers asked in fury.
At first, he just stood there with his head towards the ground, before mumbling his answer back to his infuriated mother.
"Uh huh. I was just playing." he responded.
"PLAYING?" His mother shouted back at him with now confusion in her voice.
"I wanted to go....but I'm too big."He said.
"I wanted to see where the red star goes. It flies over our house sometimes."
He then lowered his head back down while mumbling "Sorry".
The two just stood there in silence until his mother spoke up.
" I understand."
This response confused him to the point of looking up to his mother and witnessing the small tear
rolling down her cheek.
"I've seen it too...when I was a girl." She said.
"Have you seen other things as well, mama? You know...like scary things?" He asked.
She then hugged her son and said, " Yes. I still do from time to time. You will get used to it."
And get used to it he did, to the point that he preferred the things that went bump in the night than the normal boring life his peers resided in.
He liked this memory.
It was one of those incidents in his life that stuck around after all of these years, and eventually gave him the idea that completed his latest mission. And with is bum leg, he smiled and thought to himself, “These muscle relaxers are really good.”
Then, his drug induced sleep over took him.
But suddenly, his much needed rest was rudely interrupted by the flash grenade that was tossed through the living room window.They had found him.
Two days ago, he had floated a bottle of sarin gas, the same way as he did the mouse, into a audience that had different views of decency than he. He escaped by leaping off an apartment complex and into a dumpster, as the feds kicked open the roofs door from above.
"This was fun." He said to himself, as the swat team poured into the house.
"But I'm tired of playing. Maybe I will finally get to find out where that ship was heading."
Right after those eighteen words exited his mouth, he picked up the pistol that was lying at his side, put the barrel in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.