Chapter 24

Arthur stood speechless. Gerald Sr. had not yet made an appearance during this invasion.  Most of Arthur’s team assumed the reins were passed down to the younger generation, while their parents relaxed on a beach enjoying their spoils.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Gerald Sr. said gruffly pushing past a stoney faced Arthur.

“Your team has improved since you started tracking us,” he glanced around Arthur’s cramped apartment, quickly inspecting screens with live feeds, computers with calculations, maps, charts and photographs.

He turned to look at Arthur, grinning, “The family tree is wrong.  Janelle is Dolly’s daughter, not mine.”

Arthur was in utter shock.  He could hear the things Gerald Sr. said, but was stunned by his mere presence and mass.  He couldn’t help but think of the first time he saw Gerald Sr.  It was the cousins first appearance, since Arthur joined the team.  Although he mostly did research and tracking, an undercover clerk was needed unexpectedly.  Eager to prove himself and to interact with the conniving cousins, Arthur volunteered.  He went to work undercover, expecting Gerald Jr. to buy or steal athletic supplies.  Gerald Jr. never showed; Senior walked into the store, a massive man, with a huge head, dark, intelligent eyes, and shoulders as wide as the doorway.  Arthur thought briefly of a train bearing down at him as Gerald Sr. approached.  He quickly resumed his undercover work.  “Find everything you need, sir?”  Gerald Sr. smirked, “Now I have.” His hand moved, grabbing Arthur’s collar with surprising speed.  “Tell your boss, you will never catch us.” He set Arthur down, threw some cash at him, and marched out with his purchase as though nothing had happened.

Arthur looked at Gerald Sr. now, still the same menacing presence, but a head of grey – instead of black – hair.  

“I remember you, too,” smiled Gerald, “we were both younger then, more sprightly.”

“You didn’t come here to reminisce about old times.  Get it over with.  Wipe our computers, fry our surveillance, kill me if that’s what you are after,” Arthur huffed.

“Kill you?” Gerald Sr. scoffed, “Why would we kill you?  We need you.  You are an essential piece of our plan and have done quite a number on my niece, Birdie.  She’s head over heals for you.”

Arthur, feeling the blood rush to his face, replied, “Then why are you here?”

“By now I am sure you have discovered how we can manipulate things so you hear only what we want you to hear.  We also are responsible for Beatrice being unable to hear or see certain things.  I know it is frustrating her, and it must be quite distracting for you.”

Arthur watched as Gerald Sr. meandered around his apartment.  “I came to give you a message and a gift.  Time is up.  We will succeed.  Say goodbye to Beatrice – you won’t be seeing her again.  Good bye, Arthur.”

“The gift?”

“Oh, you’ll find it soon enough,” Gerald Sr. replied with the door crashing behind him.

– M.R. Gavin


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