I will be leaving for summer camp tomorrow, but don’t worry campers, I have already written next weeks installment and it will be posted next Saturday, so just enjoy the lazy days of summer, knowing that I have been sweating and pounding away at the keyboard to get two chapters completed in one week.
“So the question is what does or did my father have to do with her, I mean why direct us to come here?” Gary whispered to the other two.
Sharon nodded and answered in a similar whisper. “Did your Dad need money for his research?”
Andrew leaned in so he could hear Gary’s answer. Gary whispered back. “My father worked on video game controllers, not video games, no video game systems, he worked on hand held controls, you know push the red button, shoot the gun, push the green button make the character jump that type of thing. As far as I know when he left the private industry he stopped doing research. I looked through his books and papers and all he did was teach basic electrical engineering and computer courses.”
Sharon and Gary had talked about this before, but never in great detail. She just knew that he had stopped doing research.
“So why did your father contact Mrs. Eastman?” Andrew asked.
“Gary’s father did not contact me; I am the one that initiated the relationship.”
The voice came from the entrance to the room. There stood Mrs. Eastman, flanked by the man in grey who stood a half a step behind the older woman. She was short and thin, but not frail looking, she was using a cane but Sharon would have guessed that she used it more to make people underestimate her than as a true walking stick. She was dressed in a simple floral print dress that Sharon was sure cost more than the comic book store deposited in a week.
All three of them stood as the older lady entered the room and came around and shook each of their hands then took her seat across from them in a straight back chair with a decorative floral print pillow.
When they were all seated again, and Mrs. Eastman had instructed the man in grey to bring them tea and he had left the room she surveyed them all quietly with her hands resting on the ornate cane positioned to her left. After a detailed study of each of them she spoke. “The answer to your first question Gary is I don’t know. I do not currently know where your father or god father are. The next question you may ask.”
“You said currently, does that mean you know when the might be coming back?”
“Not exactly, although I do know when they will be coming back, but I do know they most likely will be coming back.”
Gary was getting frustrated. “Okay do you know where they were going before the disappeared?”
Mrs. Eastman could see the young man was getting upset but she knew of no short way to answer his questions. “I don’t know exactly where they were going but I do know the mechanism by which they left”
Gary was growing tired of the funny answers. “The mechanism, what exactly is that supposed to mean?”
The older lady let out a sigh and continued. “I am sorry, but there is no way to tell you except to tell you the complete story, and I fear that I might not have enough time to tell you the entire thing properly.”
Sharon chimed in now. “I understand some of the details are very important madam but we have been looking for a way to find Gary’s father for a few months now, any thing you can do to explain it quickly and today would put all of are minds at ease.”
Mrs. Eastman looked at Sharon and smiled then turned her attention back towards Gary. “I will explain as best I can in a short time frame but without all the details, I do not think you will believe me.” It was then that the man in grey came back into the room, and began to serve tea. Once they all had their tea in fine china cups situated she continued. “It all started for me back in college, my boyfriend who would later become my first husband got involved with some very crazy things, things that should not have been possible. Things that almost but not quite broke the laws of physics, biology and mathematics. I cannot go into details right now let us just say that these incredible scientific breakthroughs were not only unsustainable but were never able to be duplicated again.” She looked up at the young people and did not see the disbelief that normally accompanied her stories, maybe because she had left out so many incredible details in an effort to be brief. “Several years later, while my husband worked hard as a biologist he started to document other strange events. Usually taking place around persons with a scientific background but not seeming to obey the normal established logic or cause and effect, similar to what happened to him while he was in college.”
It was then that Gary had enough. “Excuse me Mrs. Eastman, you keep saying strange things, but what kind of strange things are you talking about?”
Mrs. Eastman looked a little embarrassed. “You are not going to believe me, but here goes, a spray on invisibility formula that wears off with water, a super strength formula that is only good for a couple of hours, downloading computer information into a human’s brain. These are some of the things I saw. There are other things like time travel, creating living breathing people using computer, a substance that defies the laws of entropy.” When she made this statements she looked at Gary with hopeful eyes.
Gary looked around at Sharon and Andrew, who were both looking at him and back at Mrs. Eastman. Finally the silence in the room was broken. “Lady you are crazy.”
Sharon looked at Gary and he was about the stand up when she leaned over and whispered something in his ear. He turned and looked at her and she nodded, and then looked at her again as if seeing her for the first time. She then leaned over and whispered into his ear again. He looked at her and she grabbed his hand. Then Gary nodded and looked back towards Mrs. Eastman. “And you said you approached my father, why?”
“Well after my first husband died a put all his papers away, secured, but away. I moved on with my life I married Mr. Eastman and moved here. We had a wonderful life together, but two years ago he died. After a year of mourning I was looking for something to give my life meaning, and while getting rid of a great deal of clutter in my life I came upon Dexter’s research.”
Andrew interrupted at this point, even though he had been silent all this time. “Dexter was your first husband, the one in college who strange things kept happening around.”
Mrs. Eastman nodded and continued. “Dexter’s research was far greater than I ever imagined, in fact he started a research group which is still operating to this day, initially a mail in program, but later updated and moved on-line. Dexter funded it and left the group in place, but every year a report would be generated, well researched and thoroughly investigated stories, that were just on the verge of being impossible but had more than two credible eyewitness that could not be shaken.” Mrs. Eastman stopped to cough at this moment and the man in grey was at her side in a moment, she waved him off when the coughing stopped, but she took the glass of water he offered her.
Gary spoke up as the man in grey took the empty glass away. “You stated earlier all these events took place around people with scientific backgrounds, how did my father figure into all this?”
Mrs. Eastman looked at him. “One of those events occurred when your father was in high school. Did you know your father was a finalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search.”
“Yes, and he would have won if his best friend Gary had not destroyed his entry when he accidentally let the trailer containing the entry drift into traffic and get smashed by and eighteen wheeler.”
Andrew and Sharon both grimaced at this, they had heard a lot of stories about the older Gary screwing up, but that was pretty horrific.
“So what was the incident that occurred when my father was in high school?” Gary asked with a even tone, having heard the story many times it really was just that to him now a story.
“One time when your grand parents were not home, Gary had a crazy idea to a make simulated woman, your father took this idea and ran with it and in some bizarre way they created from all reports a living, breathing, totally interactive, flesh and blood woman.”
Gary looked at the Mrs. Eastman with that look of total disbelief again. Sharon again reached out and held his hand, but Gary did not even notice and stood up looking over the old woman. “You are nuts.” He looked at Sharon who was shocked at his outburst. He looked over at Andrew who was just staring at the old woman as well. “I am out of here.” Gary got around them and stomped out of the room. He was about to walk out the front door and realized he did not have his coat, he walked over to the hidden closet and grabbed his coat and walked out the door leaving his two friends behind.
“Well that went better than I thought it would.” Mrs. Eastman said as she looked towards the two remaining young people.
It was about fifteen minutes later that Andrew and Sharon caught up to Gary walking down Main Street.
Andrew slowed the car and Sharon rolled down her window. “Do you want to walk all the way back or do you want a ride now.”
Gary continued to walk.
“You had better not be mad at me; all I said was let’s hear her out.”
Gary stopped and slid on an icy patch of unshoveled snow almost falling, he then turned towards the car. He was about to say she had said more than that but was caught off guard when he saw that her face was red from crying. “I am sorry,” and he walked over towards the car. He hugged her as best as he could through the open car window. “no I am not mad at you.”
Andrew’s voice came from inside the car. “You are not mad a me are you, I mean I am just the driver?”
Gary laughed. “No I am not mad at you either.”
“Well then get in the car. We have got to get back to the shop.”
“Why what is the big rush?”
“Well if we want to go to the JLA movie tonight at 9 we got a lot of reading to do beforehand.”
Gary responded quickly. “For the last time I am not going to read your ‘list of the twenty comics you should read before seeing the JLA Movie’.
Sharon laughed. “No dummy,” Sharon responded. “Mrs. Eastman provided us copies of her files, and the biggest one is about your father.”
“A file about my father?”
“Not just a file, a big box with interviews, police reports, all kinds of stuff.” Andrew responded and pointed towards the trunk.
“Move over sweetie.” Gary said opening the car door smiling now. “We’se gots some reading to do.”