1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
“O Christ, looks like you gassed Deacon Mitchum’s kid.” Pierce chuckled.
“What in the hell are you doin’ out here Jesse?” Officer Fabre inquired.
“Not now,” I said. “He needs to get warm and quick.”
I escorted the stricken captive up the stairs.
“I ain’t gonna bathe you, the water is probably gonna irritate your skin at first, but the steam will do good for your mucous membranes. We made sure to have hot fucking water. So you’re in luck. I think you can find your way back down to the living room and back down the stairs. We know who you are now and I could get you in a hell of a lot of trouble so there’s no point in braving the cold and runnin off. Got it, kid?”
The ruddy-faced giant just sort of nodded in a defeated way and went into the bathroom to nurse his wounds.
“So I guess those weren’t your bootmarks I found round the greenhouse,” I said to Fabre.
“O no, you won’t find trace of Phillipe Fabre.”
“You don’t track a coonass, a coonass tracks you.” Doc Pierce enjoined.
“Well, whatever. In either…in both cases, I ain’t too pleased. What’s that kid doin tresspassin…what are you doin’ tresspassin without a warrant?”
“Well, this is my town.”
“This is outside of your jurisdiction…”
I shook my head.
“You understand that from even a basic legal standpoint you are in the wrong. And since this is a military operation you could be in a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“I still don’t know what the hell this is all about. All these exotic plants, ya’ll are real young too, there’s no way that one is a colonel…” Fabre said pointing to Schmidt.
I laughed. “Nepotism.”
“Ain’t that just the way it always is…” Pierce affected a southern drawl.
“Also, we’re a bit older than we look. That’s part of the schtick. I’m twenty-eight, Schmidt is thirty, Sam is twenty-six, and the two boffins are also about to hit thirty rock.”
“Ok…so what’s all this…”
“Well…frankly I don’t have to tell you anything, I could hand you over, and you’d have an assfull of fines and NDA’s. But that means more work for me….paperwork…so….”
I weighed my options again momentarily.
“So it’s easier just to tell you that we’re here conducting research on behalf of Uncle Sam. I’m basically security and liaison, Schmidt is team leader, Sam is a toxicologist for DARPA, Chuck is a UC Davis botanist, and Graham is here just cause we like him and we share your approach to flaunting regulations.”
“That still doesn’t tell me what’s goin’ on…” Fabre said with a befuddled look.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I asked.
“You’re doing chemical research…” Doc Pierce offered.
“Close. The full explanation is that we’re studying the effects of various psychedelics and subliminally induced states. Along with a tad of work on understanding and neutralizing viral and bacterial agents.”
“So you’re a Psyops and Bio Warfare outfit…”
“In a manner of speaking.”
There was some small span of silence as the two visitors digested the information.
“Hold on if you’ve got the kind of clearance you say you do, and this is that kind of operation…there’s no way that top brass doesn’t already know we’re here.”
I chuckled. “You think we’re being surveilled?”
“I guarantee it. That is if you’re being honest.”
“Ok…so sound weapons, leapfrog tactics, tear gas, and a greenhouse full of military grade psilocybin and nightshade on crack don’t convince you…”
“It’s just really out there…”
“Well, reality is really out there. We’re on a rock hurling itself round the sun and in the span of a few generations we’ve gone from riding four-legged animals to walking on the moon…”
“I guess it’s possible.”
“Damn right. But you know what’s impossible…?”
The two men humored my dramatic pause.
“Spying on Alan Baird.”
“I think you underestimate the snoopiness of your employers.” Pierce remarked.
“There are three things necessary to keep tabs as close as you’re suggesting. The first is manpower, the second is probable cause, and the third is technical facility.”
“And I’d assume that whatever Black Ops juju you’re involved with has all three in spades.”
“Your antique assumption of competence is charming Doc. But, the complexities and vulnerabilities of digital systems are highly exploitable. And politics has weaseled itself even further up the chain of command and past every conceivable barrier of clearance.”
“Yep, case in point, take a look at Schmidtty over there…handsome ain’t he?”
“I don’t swing that way brother,” Fabre said.
“Don’t be a homophobe you know you’re a sucker for those sweet baby blues. So is Alison…”
“Hey Ali! How was that trip to Malibu with….Lukey Pooohhh. DAWWWWWWW!” I said boisterously as I pretended to speak into a hidden microphone behind a tapestry. “His daddy sure has a nice little beach house doesn’t he..you spoiled fucks...”
“Eh, I dunno, I think you’re setting yourself up for trouble…”
“Oh…we would be if that was the extent of our capabilities.”
“What she and the rest of the donut dippers are listening to is actually an artfully rendered loop, of us acting out, the sorts of things we’re supposed to be up to. She simply makes sure the charade is complete by hammering out any inconsistencies.”
“Don’t underestimate the corrupting influence of an attractive brunette in a sea of IT geeks.”
There was yet another pause as the two men took in the full weight of everything that was going on.
“Wait, there’s a precedent, you’re…you’re the successors of Ewen Cameron’s abortion…”