I’d been waiting twelve years when I finally got the phone call. The funny part was I hadn’t even realized I was waiting until a week before the agent called me to inform me that the mission had been resumed. Of course I’ve been thinking about the mission’s first manifestation and have often wondered what life would have been like had it have been a success, but twelve years is a long time, and sometimes its easier to let dreams die. Sometimes it can be a good idea. My actions in the first mission have faded in my memory, probably as a result of the “medication” prescribed by my recently unmasked captors. How subtly have I been deceived!
It was this medication, I now know, that prevented the Organization from contacting me previously. All agents work under a condition of anonymity, of course, so I couldn’t very well seek them out. Meanwhile, those little pills I’ve swallowed so willingly for “headaches” have been interfering with the GPS the Organization grafted onto my skull. Only when I stopped taking the pills were they able to locate me precisely enough to deduce my phone number.
The lies I have been fed these dozen years! Not just the simple untruths – you cannot blame the layman for his ignorance of the Organization’s unseen and pervasive hand. No – the lies, that’s the worst part. Not just to me, but to my beautiful Veronica and by extension our children – unless, she too… no, I cannot think that. The weavers of these fabrications are clearly aware of the Organization, set on obstructing it, and, most horrifyingly, apparently at least as powerful and invisible. They have been deceiving my family for far too long, and in the near future I will rescue my loved ones. It will certainly shock my wife and children not only to learn of the Organization’s existence but also the degree to which I am involved with them. Of course I couldn’t tell of my past life, for their safety and the world’s, but it is now impossible to keep my secrets hidden. None can have seen what I have seen and oppose the Organization’s Operation Sisyphus.
I am spending the night in the same hotel room I stayed that fateful night twelve years ago. Just as I hoped, the secret compartment beneath the floorboards (courtesy of the Organization of course) remains unmolested; I have my old notes and better still, a map pinpointing the equipment I hid around the Phoenix valley. It is simply a matter of digging it up.
I eagerly await my next contact with the Organization. If the past is any indication – but oh, it was so long ago – I will receive my instructions along with a thick dossier on the subject in a black envelope slid under or placed beside the door, if it will not fit. It is curious, due to my irregular waking hours, that the agents never visit while I am awake, but seem to slip me the crucial data the moment I drift off, but this is merely to maintain the anonymity of the mission. The fact that they can instantly tell the moment I fall asleep is indicative of their omniscience, for I have torn the room apart searching for cameras to no avail. Most likely they have implanted a device to monitor my heart rate, and the only real mystery is when they did it, and how many other people they are similarly monitoring. I know that they had been watching me long before I stumbled across them, and I’ve seen the files they have on civilians, seemingly randomly selected – rooms and rooms of paper.
Until I receive my instructions I am a man divided. My shock is being replaced with rage, and I lust for vengeance against those who have impeded me, deceived me, and may easily stoop to harming my family in order to stop me; I cannot, however, allow my anger to compromise the mission. In any case, I have a feeling I will be able to complete my task and get my revenge simultaneously, and my family and I will live through the purges and on into the Organization’s coming Utopia. The best thing, I think, is to get some sleep; the clock has just passed the four o’clock mark. In the morning, when my orders have arrived, I will be able to assess my situation with a clearer mind.
Three o’clock in the afternoon. I’ve been sleeping for eleven hours but I’m exhausted. My jaw hurts, and my mouth feels sickly sweet and gummy, like a chain smoker’s, but I haven’t smoked since I was a young man. There was something… there! Just as I thought, a black envelope slipped under the door… and… something else… that package! How did it get on the table? I didn’t bring it. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – of course any agent could easily infiltrate a room like this one. The package is obviously linked to my instructions whatever they may be. Yet I remember a time when I refused to believe in the Organization, and again, when the dream defeated seemed to fade every day. But finally they’ve returned to me, and none can tell me they don’t exist – what more proof do you need than the package on the table, the letter on the floor? And in any case, wasn’t I there? Didn’t I see the disaster? The building consumed in a blossom of flame, flowering at the foundations while the uppermost floors crumbled in on themselves, like an avalanche on fire. And that summer night in the rain, the agents’ guns going off like concentrated thunder and lightning rolled into a little lead ball. I didn’t have a gun that night – I didn’t have the nerve, but I’ve got the nerve now.
I open the letter. Printed from a typewriter is a list of names and cities. Some of them I recognize, some of them I don’t. Some are names I haven’t thought of for decades.
Doctor Jacob Hansen, Phoenix, AZ
Marjory McDonald, Phoenix, AZ
Timothy Douglass, Santa Fe, NM
Patrick Schlitz, Portland, OR
…And so on. There are twenty-five names. I turn to the package on the table. It’s wrapped in brown paper, and there’s a strip of duct tape holding it shut. I use my pocketknife to tear the paper along the seam.
I knew from the weight and feel of it as soon as I picked it up what it was (odd that I should think of it and then it should appear) but once I get the paper off the gun fells immensely satisfying in my hands. Again, odd – the Organization is usually far more specific in their instructions, but I suppose you can’t get much more explicit than a gun and a list of names. My suspicions have been confirmed – fifteen of the twenty-five people had topped my list of suspected adversaries. Vengeance will be mine, after all, and I shall collect my family and we shall live in secret, doing what we must until the Glorious Day dawns. Smiling to myself, I take the gun and get in the car. I’m going to be visiting St. Jude’s Hospital, which I am only too familiar with. My memories of the place are dim, or rather, crackled like an out-of-focus television set, but I remember the faces of the doctors, ever happy and encouraging. I’m looking for an old friend, Dr. Jacob Hansen, I practice saying. It’s been too long since I’ve seen his smiling face.