Death! He knew it was standing behind him now. Breathing laboriously he glanced over his shoulder. Yes! It was there. A helpless moan escaped his parched, meaty lips and died away. He blinked at blurry outline of rubber clad figure of assassin who waited there for him all these hours. It happened almost too quickly. He didn't have a chance to cry out in helpless terror and deepest despair as the killer stepped forward, swept him in his arms (!) and hurled him over the rocks into the heart of deadly chasm below.
When the last cries ceased to shake frozen and deadly air and grave- like stillness came back once more the assassin located a small portfolio lying on a ground, picked it up and dropped it into his cave - deep pocket with deadly grin. His job was done.
It was a fine day to dine. Jennifer Smith, a daughter of well known Senator Jezebia Smith and the most eligible bride in the entire Washington DC was perching on plush chair in highly exclusive restaurant Le Petit Bonjour les Tires. The restaurant was famous for its exquisite cooking and also its posh, soundproof facilities. All politicians and big shots gathered for lunches and dinners there (Not in facilities, but in restaurant, OK?)
Jennifer was rich and beautiful. She had everything that any women could only dream of: an auburn hair, whose length and smoothness always astonished friends and strangers alike, awe inspiring voice, clever hazel eyes and much, much more. Alas. Nothing of it mattered to her. She was deeply unhappy.
'I'll never meet my perfect love', she thought, masticating absentmindedly on large portion of 'liberty' fries. Restaurant patrons - powerful politicians, famous film starts, renowned journalists, dentists, childcare professionals and couple of plumbers –shot at her glances full of burning desire and badly restrained longing. She ignored them all. 'No. Not a single man living on this Earth is able to make me happy. I'll never get married. I'll never give birth to tons of children. Too damn bad. It'll never happen. I feel it in my water.'
She received marriage proposals every day, 365 days a year but what was the use? Since the day her mother died from cancer she (not mother who died anyway) lost all interest in life. Suddenly her eyes fell on man sitting at the next table. Jesus Christ! He was 'it'! 'He's my perfect love! I found it! I found it!' – She shuddered. Oh my Gosh! Wasn't he nice looking guy indeed! He looked like a movie actor only better (?). She rose on her tiny feet, adored by sub normally expensive Italian shoes (insert a name here) and darted toward the stranger.
'Excuse me,' – She said, shivering from head to toe.
'Yes?' – A man looked up and opened his mouth, clearly astonished by her pluck and beauty.
'Do you know the way to the ladies room by any chance?' – She gasped.
'Hmm. It must be over there, '– The man pointed toward the sign 'Restrooms' and made a futile attempt to camouflage his boyish blush with crumbled edition of yesterday's newspaper that he had held on his muscular knee.
'Thank you, '- Moaned Jennifer 'Thank you loads!'
'You're perfectly welcome, '– He brushed off rivulets of sweat that began to trickle down his enormous forehead, nose and other parts of his face. His thin but strong mouth twitched. Jennifer suddenly recognized him. But of course! The man was a famous Joshua Tompkins – nationwide celebrity and internationally acclaimed cretinologist! Darn! Who didn't know this characteristic twitching? It was all over national TV screens five times a week! Indeed… Joshua Tompkins - a famous author of highly scientific book Domestication of gray hippopotami in ancient world – benefits and challenges of husbandry at the Down of humankind, a TV host of popular Nature Program Nesting habits of North Atlantic sharks and renown author of best selling cookbook Easy and delightful cooking tips for closeted anorexics – the yummy things you can make with tap water was sitting in front of her and mopping perspiration off his face with a sleeve of his academic tweed jacket!
She squeaked in delight, grabbed the newspaper that he still held in front of his face and threw it aside.
'But I do know you. You're a famous Joshua Tompkins! I simply adore your programs about sharks! Every time I watch it I cannot help myself but cry. They are so cuuuteee! Oh my! Jeez!'
'And you must be that beautiful Jennifer Smith,' – He smiled in return.
'Oh don't mention my name, please,' – Jennifer grimaced.
'Why not?' – A sound of his whizzing, deep throated voice was fatherly gentle.
'I'd rather be someone else,'- She replied in hoarse whisper.
'Is it some sort of childhood tragedy that poisons your life?' – He inquired with the deepest tenderness.
'Yes, it is.'
'But your father…'
'I hate him.'
'My mom died from cancer.'
'Jeez, I'm sorry.'
'The one and half minute before she died she said to me…' – Jennifer suppressed a mighty groan and almost collapsed on top of her sympathetic listener.
'What did she say to you?' – His voice became persistent.
'“It pays to be careful, daughter,” she said'.
'Damn wise words, they…' – Joshua Tompkins sighed and wiped off a tear.
'I must go now but we'll meet again.'
'Tomorrow. Here. Three a.m. sharp.'
'Well, as a matter of fact within half an hour I'll be departing to the North Pole. You see, I'm going there to find my lost friend. He's renowned scientist, just like I am now. He was appointed to perform a highly classified scientific mission. His goal was to reach the North Pole. He departed three months ago yet he never got there. I must find him. It's absolutely crucial for US science besides he owes me a large sum of money.'
'Some other day then?'
'As soon as I'd be back, certainly.'
'Great. I'll see you.'
She spun around and waved to the nearest waiter.
'Ahoy sunshine! Catch me my God damned bill!'
Joshua Tompkins watched her go and murmured to himself 'What a beautiful woman.' He seriously fell in love.
Senator Jezebia Smith lit an elephantine cigar with massive golden lighter, heaved it back on a floor and slouched on plush one 'size fit 'em all' seat of his special extra roomy government limo. He felt proud of his achievements and he liked his limo a lot. It was assigned to his sole use as a sign of special privilege. It contained everything one might ever need during those lengthy drives across Washington DC: TV, Fridge, Restroom and tiny kitchen that contained all sorts of delicacies, swimming pool, hobby room, massage room, couple of cosy bedrooms and much, much more! Although the car was lavishly built and rather big its main body was so cleverly designed that in case of emergency the whole thing collapsed at once and then it could be easily squeezed into medium sized briefcase. The interior of the limo was adorned with rare wood panels, silk screens, pop up messages and marble columns. Its main body was bulletproof and missile proof as well. It was rumored that the car was able to withstand a direct hit of an atomic bomb although it wasn't proven yet.
Senator Smith glanced out of the tinted bullet-and- bum proof window. His stern, immobile face broke into lifeless, demented grin.
'One day I'll be the President of United States,' – He whispered to himself and nodded with grim satisfaction. Those who saw the Senator for the first time were always astonished by his aura of enormous power, ambition and authority. He leaned forward and barked into a crater of an intercom that connected him to his driver.
'To my office!'
Once back in his office Senator poured himself generous portion of scotch, gulped it down and climbed into his favorite seat behind his enormous desk. Suddenly his eyes caught a tiny figure of a man standing in the corner. There was something unmistakably evil in stranger's shabby, unremarkable appearance.
'Huh, huh! Senator Smith?' – The man croaked.
'Yeah. Who the Hell are you?' – barked Senator.
'It is beside the point. I've heard you wish to be the next candidate for US presidency.'
'Yeah but so what?'
'Perhaps I could help you there.'
The stranger crossed the room and placed before Senator large file.
'Have a look.'
Senator Smith grunted and opened the file. For a few moments he kept squinting at small print, reading it word by word then kicked the file across the table and roared:
'What the Heck is this?'
'You don't know what this is?'
'Looks like some God damned scientific document to me.'
'You're absolutely right. These are highly classified materials: results of scientific survey that we've gotten hold of. Have you scanned it carefully?'
'Jeez man. So I did. Almost… It says here that the Earth is flat!'
'And so it is Senator. And so it is.'
'But…Oh shit. It looks like a government tried to cover up it for years, huh? With these documents I'll be able to topple current administration just like this!' - He tried to produce a clicking sound with his fingers but gave up and knocked down another drink instead.
'Of course you'll topple the administration,'- The stranger said soothingly.
'But why the Hell did you bring it to me then?'
'Perhaps we wish to see you as the next President of US.'
'You do huh? What will be my side of a bargain then?'
'We'll let you know later. For now I would suggest calling for the largest Press conference. These materials must be revealed to the public at once.'
'You bet they are. Where is my God damned phone?'
THE FINAL CHAPTERS TOMORROW
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