Lost in the Bells – Short Story Pt 1

“Why are we out here again?”

“She said he had to do it.  He listened this time.  He’s young, still vigorous.  He has to show that.”

“But this?  THIS?  Man this is not what I was expecting when I drew this detail.”

“I know I know.  None of us really were. You were in the service though; you’ve spent plenty of nights outside.”

“Man I was on Okinawa four of those six years.  The other two were in the sandbox. I’ve never seen a pine tree nearly this big.”

“Not much of that in the South Bronx huh?”

“I ever say I was from the Bronx to you?”

“Nope, you’ve never seen where you were from. There’s a pool.”

“I know dat.  He know where I’m from.  That what matter.”

“Cut that out. Your putting on an accent is, well I don’t know what it is.”

“Anyway, looks like the rain is finally letting up.  Have you seen Dodd?”

“He left about an hour, hour and a half ago.  When it was really coming down.  Headed up trail, said he wanted to get high, something about being able to hit a tower up there.”

“We’ve got sat phones what’s he wants a tower for?”

“He’s not interested in getting ahold of town.  Remember, he worked out here for years before he came to Chicago.  He’s worried about something and didn’t say what exactly.”

“Dodd freaks me out sometimes.  He’s quiet in the woods.  He can be behind you and you know damned well he’s there but you don’t hear him.  I’ve been around guys like that enough in the Marine Corps, don’t meet many civilians like that.  If he is a civilian. And that whistle he carries.  He’s always got it, but he never uses it.”

“Yeah, that thing’s almost a fetish for him.  Fetish, talisman, whatever, he doesn’t take it off.  Even when we were all down to our shorts drying out after having waded that creek he kept it on.  It’s like he HAS to have it with him.  And don’t say something about sex fetishes.  I’ve seen your public resume, You’ve enough education to know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I can see that.  Never thought I’d see the President in just his skivvies but there he was, wet as the rest of us.”

“Hell, I never thought there’d be two ex-presidents living in Chicago while a third was in the White House.”

“Does make the possibility of an all Chicago World Series even more interesting though doesn’t it.”

“That it does gentlemen, that it does. I don’t suppose either of you made coffee did you?

“There is hot water on the jet boil Mr. President.  I’ll see if I can find some grounds.”

“Thank you.  So Dodd left during the storm you said?”

“yeah, just how log were you listening sir?”

“Long enough to know there’s a pool about where Agent James is from.  I will let you know when you or someone else works it out Agent Gonzales.  Any of the boys up yet?”

“Nah, awake maybe but no one’s crawled out yet.  Sun’s up in half an hour, but God only knows when it will clear that ridge.  Well God and maybe Dodd.”

“I’m sure he could work it out.  Tell us how to too if we asked.  I’m glad we did this.  Yeah, it’s wet, it’s cold, it’s hard, but I’m learning a lot.  It’s different and it’s good for the boys.”

As the former President began to filter water through the coffee grounds the sat phone chirped and Agent Gonzales reached for it.

“Looks like it’s Dodd calling in.  Must have found what he was looking for. – This is Gonzalez go ahead.”

“Get everyone up in the next half hour, we may need to move soon.  I should be back about an hour after sunrise.  We may have a problem.  Actually we may have two problems.  If you guys have any night vision gear with you get away from the fire and switch it on.  Don’t alarm anyone about that.”

Moving towards his tent Gonzales spoke softly into the sat phone

“You think someone’s out here with us?  A threat to the former President?”

“I’ve seen some tracks up here, fresh in the mu…..”

“SHIT! He’s gone.  Damned sat phones.”

“Alright what was all that about?”

“He said we may have a problem and that he’ll be back about an hour after sunrise.  We need to get everyone up in the next half an hour.  He also wanted me to turn on the night vision gear but he cut out before he could say why.  I guess the ridge is blocking the satalite. “

“Guess we need to get to work on that then.  I take it he didn’t say anything about taking down the tents?”

“After yesterday when they almost got taken down while wet with the dew I’m not going to dare move them without checking. “

“Gentlemen, after the way he reacted to that yesterday I’m not sure even I would want to try it.”

“Just where’d he come from anyway sir?”

“He works down on the South Side with the Obamas.  His wife works for the library, he does, well he does just about everything, helps with their after school programs, is part of Barack’s Team of Heros, works with the housing projects, the bike project, just about everything.  He was a ranger out here for years, it’s why Barak brought that youth team out here last year.  I’m sure you discussed it with his detail before we came out.  My wife said that I needed to bring some kids from the North Side out.  Since she’s trying to get at least some votes from outdoorsy people in November I guess I had to.  This whole First Dude role is still a work in progress after all.”

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