The man was identified as Oswald Madness, a drifter through time and space and now under special scrutiny in a locked room down in the hidden bowels of Denver International Airport. Two men from security stood around him. They were both wearing white dress shirts and red ties and sunglasses the deep dark color of alien eyes. The younger one was sucking on a colored toothpick. The older one had his foot up on a chair and was twiddling his thumbs while he looked at the detainee with a dubious stare.
Then he cleared his throat. “What business do you have in Denver?” he asked.
Oswald looked at him and then the other before speaking. “Leisure.”
“Vacation?” the younger one asked.
“Something like that,” Oswald answered.
The older one brought his foot down off the chair and walked slowly around the small, brightly lit room with no windows. “Something like what? Could you be more specific?”
“I’ve come to visit a friend in Arvada. He’s a butcher and he’s invited me to the grand opening of his new shop. That specific enough for you?”
The younger one chuckled. “Do you enjoy the complete and utter annihilation of others?”
Oswald made a what the fuck face. “I don’t understand.”
“The knives Mr. Madness,” the older one chimed in. “We discovered the knives. In your backpack.” He glanced over at his partner. “What are the knives for?”
“I told you. My friend is a butcher. They’re a gift for him. To celebrate his new way of life.”
The younger one laughed again, broke his toothpick, and threw it into some invisible space in the corner of the room. “Just how did you get through security in Milwaukee with a backpack full of knives?” he desperately wanted to know.
Oswald was quiet for a moment. “Security doesn’t ever see me.”
“So, you bypass security somehow?” the younger one said, glancing quickly at his partner.
Oswald looked at him deeply. “No, they just don’t see me. I stand in the queue, I politely wait my turn, I go on through. I don’t know what else to tell you.”
The older one went over to the younger one and whispered something. He shielded his words with a hand thinking that would keep Oswald from hearing what was said.
But he heard anyway.
“Have them pull surveillance from Milwaukee…”
There was a light knocking and the heads of the two interrogators snapped toward the door.
“Oh, shit,” groaned the younger one. Then he looked at Oswald. “Whatever you do, don’t piss her off when she asks you questions.” He went over to open the ugly door, and what appeared in the frame like sudden magic was something Oswald had never expected. It was the young girl who had been sitting in the airport food court and staring at him.
She looked at the two officers. “Leave me alone with him,” she ordered, and they quickly hustled out of the room. The door closed with a heavy, metallic click. The girl slowly circled Oswald like he was prey. She didn’t look like she did before. The conservative religious sect garb of yesteryear was replaced by a loose-fitting snappy navy-blue pant suit, and she wore a crisp white shirt and had on a red tie like the other two. Her hair, the color of a lemon-yellow sun, was pulled back tight and the excess pinned neatly into a circular mass on top of her head, and it looked like she was wearing a cinnamon roll for a hat. She wore black-rimmed glasses over her small eyes that hung below her oddly oversized forehead. Her nose was like a rabbit’s and her small mouth poked out like a swirling peppermint candy. Her stern look made Oswald nervous, but at the time he wanted to laugh at her because she was swimming in those clothes, and she made the harsh room smell like bubblegum.
The girl stopped moving and sat down in the chair opposite him. She looked so small and awkward in it, he thought.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Who are you?” she shot back.
“You must already know.”
She leaned forward and put her small arms on the table. “I know a lot of things,” she said. “Most of all I know that you have disrupted the vibrations of my particular plane in time and space.”
“Look,” Oswald began. “I was on an airplane to come see my friend in Arvada to help him celebrate the launch of his new business. The next thing I know, the world goes weird and suddenly I’m here being accused of whatever I’m being accused of.”
“Bullshit,” the young girl said so plainly and straightforward that it forced Oswald to take her more seriously. “That sounds like a very normal story but there is nothing normal about you.”
“Where are your parents?”
“I am the parent,” she snapped back.
“You’re in charge around here?”
“You seem so surprised, Mr. Madness.”
“You’re a kid. How old are you?”
He studied her intently. “Yes.”
“12… Yesterday I may have been 54. I never really know until I get there.”
“I don’t really get what you could possibly mean. Can I get a lawyer?”
“But it’s my right.”
Oswald pulled on the restraint that kept him chained to the table like an animal. “You can’t do this!”
The girl stood up and made a face to the camera in the corner of the ceiling. She made a strange nod with her head. A moment later two people entered the room, a man and a woman, and they were garbed like doctors. One wrapped something around Oswald’s head to keep him from spitting and screaming while the other one quickly injected something into his arm with a long needle. The girl happily smiled while watching the green liquid enter him.
TO BE CONTINUED
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