Protocol Six: Episode Eight

Protocol Six: Episode Eight
by Alan Augustson
09 March 2017

Dawn was creeping through the living-room windows as Michael collected and stacked a horde of vinyl records. David emerged from the kitchen and offered a cup of black coffee to Michael, who sank into the couch with it.

“Nothing’s missing,” he said. “Not a goddamned thing. What. The. Hell.”

David shook his head and spoke between sips from his own mug. “I don’t know. I’m sorry, man; this is some spooky crap… would it be better if I crashed someplace else?”

“Dude,” Michael half-chuckled. “It’s not like you did this. And whaddaya gonna do, sleep under a bridge? Although I guess that would lend your gloom-and-doom projections some cred. We should get you a barrel or some rags to wear for your next presentation.”

David permitted himself a grin and sat, as Michael riffled through his mail. “Bill… bill… collection notice…”

“Deadbeat,” David laughed.

“Fuck you… bill… bill… something for you…”

Michael grinned and tossed a thick envelope to David.

“The hell…? Who knows I’m here?”

“You didn’t put in your change of address?”

David nodded, “Only two days ago, though. There’s no way. And look, this hasn’t been forwarded anyway.”

He opened the voluminous, hand-addressed envelope and had hardly scanned the first page when the eyeroll came. “Oh, damn it, this idiot.”

Michael brow furrowed. “Here, see for yourself,” David said, flipping the envelope across the room to him. He barely scanned the first two paragraphs or so before looking at David in bewilderment.

“This is ten… no… eleven pages… handwritten on both sides… what?”

“I’ll save you the trouble, David answered in disdain. “Guy’s been writing me at least a couple times a month, for maybe a year now. Conspiracy-theorist; serious tin-foil hat material.”

“But what does he want?”

“Attention? You tell me,” David said, closing his eyes in exasperation.

Michael tried to read. “DNA evidence? King Solomon? Is this guy a neo-Nazi or something?”

David laughed. “Ohhhh, even better. Thinks I’m the King of America, basically.”

“The fuck… ?”

“Keep reading,” David grinned. “Genius says that while the Constitution was being written, a number of Freemasons among the Founders cut a side deal. If an heir of King Solomon was ever found, he would be installed as our ruler.”

“And you’re the lucky bastard? Nice gig if you can get it.”

“Oh- shit!” David burst out. “Lorelei and I got separated when we got to the theater. Could you, I dunno, thank her for me when you see her next?”

“You and who?”

“Lorelei,” David went on. “Punk chick, pink hair; face full of piercings. Cute, actually; just maybe a little extreme… you sent her to pick me up.”

Michael shook his head. “That’s not anyone I know.”

David slumped in his chair, and felt real unease for the first time. That paranoid had to have known where he was before he’d even finished moving in. Both places had been broken into. And now this.

“Okay,” he said. “We start with the letter. We’ll see what the police think of it.”

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