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My Father’s Son

Categories: Case Histories

By John Tynes, (c) 1997

I’m in this dream, deep down, and there’s a baby crying. It’s a boy. The scene is murky. I assume it’s a hospital, but I’m just grafting assumptions on, limning a shadow with whitewash. It’s baffling. The boy is crying. I’m dreaming. “Wake up.”

I’m twenty-seven. I’ve just gotten my masters diploma in Political Science. My dad is there. My mom is there. They’ve brought their “friends,” those three guys that turn up at every big occasion in my life. It’s weird. They’re like a Greek chorus. They show up, they don’t give their names, they offer me homilies about my progress. Around them, my parents are affable but subtly guarded. These men were at my Eagle Scout ceremony, they were at my high school graduation, they were at my bachelor’s graduation, they were at my writing award ceremony, and now they’re here. My younger sister isn’t here today, but I’ve talked to her about these three men. They never go to her events. Just mine. My parents refuse to discuss this. They just say that the men are people who are interested in my progress, friends of dad’s from the State Department. When I’ve pressed them on this issue, mom starts to cry. Dad says, “See what you’ve done?”

I’m seventeen. I’m at a party at Doug’s house and I’m pretty drunk. Sarah is a senior, a year older than me. She leads me into one of the upstairs bedrooms. We chase out Ricky who is passed out in a corner. Sarah takes my hand and we sit on the bed. I’m nervous, I haven’t done this before. She kisses me. It’s nice. It’s wet. Suddenly she grabs the folds of my shirt and pulls it up over my head and then tosses it in the corner. We’re still kissing. Her hands run down my chest, stroke my skin. She rubs me for a moment just above my waist. She stops kissing me and looks down, baffled. She looks back up at me. “Why don’t you have a belly button?”

I’m twenty-nine. I’m an agent with the DEA. I’m in Colombia in a personnel carrier full of local troops. A rocket strikes the carrier in front of us; there’s a massive explosion. Our vehicle swerves to avoid the flaming wreckage and we go off the road. Inside the carrier, we’re falling all over each other. Outside, the carrier is tumbling down a hillside. I hang onto cargo straps as bodies flail around me. The carrier comes to a stop. I shove the door open and climb outside, dizzy and stumbling and spattered with blood from the injuries sustained by the troops during the wreck. A dark shape obscures my vision. “What does the shape look like?”

“What?”

“The shape, the one in your dream. What does it look like?”

“It’s not a dream. I was in the DEA.”

“Derek, please. I’m familiar with your history. You were never in the DEA. This is just a dream. The drugs are confusing you. What does the shape look like?”

“It looks like my father.”

***

Derek takes a drag on the cigarette. His feet, shod in expensive Italian shoes, are propped irreverently on the conference table. His fingers, carefully manicured, tap on the sides of the cigarette like it was a trumpet. His hair, combed and oiled, is just short enough to be regulation but just styled enough to look out of place in the bureaucracy of the federal government. His teeth are where his skeleton shows through, dead white. When he grins it’s as if the skin is gone and there is nothing but his skull before you. He doesn’t mean it that way–he’s a nice guy. It just happens.

We move slowly over the table, beginning at Derek’s end. The table is a modern piece of shit, particle board overlaid with contact paper. You could buy it at an office furniture store for $150. The Pentagon paid $600 for it. Of the additional $450, $100 went to the requisition officer, $100 went to the sales rep, and $250 went to the owner of the vendor. The only thing French about this tacky piece of American crap furniture is that the process it was acquired by was strictly de rigeur.

For starters, we see a speckled-green cardstock folder in front of Derek. It’s currently closed. Affixed to the cover of the folder is a chalky piece of cardstock with an orange border an inch and a half wide. Repeated at the top and bottom, in large orange sans serif letters, are the words TOP SECRET. In the middle, also printed in orange but much smaller, are the words:

ALL INDIVIDUALS HANDLING THIS INFORMATION ARE REQUIRED TO PROTECT IT FROM UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE IN THE INTEREST OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES.

HANDLING, STORAGE, REPRODUCTION AND DISPOSITION OF THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE EXECUTIVE ORDER(S), STATUTE(S) AND AGENCY IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS.

(This cover sheet is unclassified.)

Cigarette ash dots the cover sheet.

Moving forward, we pass Charlie. Like Derek, he’s in the DEA. Unlike Derek, his feet are on the floor. He has an identical folder and cover sheet in front of him. His copy is open, disgorging an unkempt sheaf of papers, photographs, and charts, amended with various notes he’s made.

Beyond Charlie, we pass an expanse of bare table until we reach the end. Seated there is Special Agent Matthew Carpenter, a Deputy Director within the FBI national headquarters in Washington, D.C. Carpenter doesn’t have a folder in front of him; he doesn’t need it. Its contents have become a catechism for him. He could summarize or repeat verbatim any paragraph on any page within the primary report. As we cease our movement across the length of the table, he speaks. (We are ignoring the two armed guards standing outside in the hall, securing the entrance to this Pentagon briefing room. The incongruous nature of a meeting within the Pentagon chaired by an FBI deputy director and attended by two DEA agents does not concern us; the meeting is, after all, of Delta Green origin.)

“His name is Darryl Montgomery. He’s 32, works for NYC gov pulling corpses outta the Hudson. Masters in Library Science, believe it or not, though he’s done jack shit with it. Near as we can tell he’s a complete non-entity.”

Derek chuckled. “And the punchline is…?”

“The punchline is that an NSC analyst spotted him in three photographs of three apparently unrelated national security incidents in NYC during the past year: an accidental car wreck resulting in the death of a Russian Embassy attachÈ, a hit by a Jamaican posse on an NSA file clerk deep in debt with a bad coke habit, and the suicide of NYC Deputy Mayor Andrew Smith–his brother is the CIA station chief in Lisbon. There was no connection between these incidents whatsoever until the NSC realized that this guy Darryl was at the scene every time in after-the-fact photographs taken by reporters and investigators. As a result, we can’t be sure that he wasn’t there from the get-go and maybe had a hand in things. It is the official and classified opinion of the NSC that he’s a low-rank schmo in with one of the five families of the east coast La Cosa Nostra, and that they somehow had their hands in each one of these situations. It is my official and top-secret opinion that the NSC is full of shit. They don’t know from mobsters; that’s my turf. They did know shit far enough from shinola to hand me the investigation, at least. I’ve got an FBI task force assembled and I’ve fed them the usual line of bull. You two bright boys are the real investigation.”

Charlie stroked his jaw and tried to look thoughtful. He seemed to fail.

Derek looked away from Charlie, took his feet off the desk, and leaned forward. “I’ve heard the punchline, but I don’t get the joke. What makes the investigation of Mister Synchronicity a DG op?”

“All three victims–the attache, the file clerk, and the Deputy Mayor–appear on our routine surveillance roster of known persons frequenting Club Apocalypse.”

***

I’m twenty-three. Lisa and I are in love. We’ve been dating since we were freshmen. Now we’re planning our future, seriously. Graduation is just a few weeks away. I’ve already applied to grad school for the fall. But Lisa and I have a secret plan. We’re going to elope after graduation. I’m not going to grad school. Her dad owns a chain of small bookstores in the northwest. He’s going to let us manage one. We’re moving to Portland in two months. If it goes well, we’ll buy the store from him as soon as we can afford to. We’re very happy. This is the life I want to live. I hold her close. “I love you.”

I’m eighteen. I’m in the hospital. My parents’ three friends are here. I lie on the table while the plastic surgeon works on me. I’m sedated but semi-conscious. The three men are paying for this procedure. I don’t understand why. But I’m going along with it just the same. The surgeon is nervous. He’s never worked in an Army hospital before, but they wanted it done here instead of his clinic. He’s supposed to be very good. The three men are buying me a belly button. “You may feel some discomfort.”

I’m thirty-one. I’m in the library of congress. Dr. Camp is showing me an old statue. It smells to me of Colombia and what I saw there. There are inscriptions around the base. I can’t translate them. He’s clucking away about antiquity and legend. I’m nodding, doing my best to keep up. I’m not sure why my boss at the DEA sent me here today; what does this have to do with me? Then Dr. Camp looks at me cannily. “We know what you saw.”

I’m twenty-four. Graduation is behind me. I’m wearing the sweater that Lisa gave me for my birthday last week. She says it’s chilly in Portland. We’re eloping tomorrow. I’m packing up my apartment. There’s a knock at the door. I open it. It’s the three men, the Greek chorus. They look grave. They say there’s been an accident. They say Lisa is in the hospital. They say it looks bad. They say they’re very sorry. Then they say that my parents found out about our plans to elope and they are very unhappy. Mom and dad? “No. Your parents.”

“What does that mean?”

“I’m adopted.”

“That’s ridiculous, Derek. You’re not adopted.”

“I’m adopted.”

“Derek, please, I thought we got through this already. You’re not adopted, it’s just this idea you’ve embraced to justify your estrangement from your mother and father.”

“You know!”

“What?”

“Even you know! Your behavior is just as institutionalized as the Greek chorus!”

“What do you mean, Derek?”

“Even you, doc. Even you can’t refer to my mom and dad as my parents. Because you know they’re not.”

***

We begin at the bar. Chet is behind the counter, pouring drinks for an eager clientele. We drift lazily across the ceiling, looking down. The band Charnel Dreams is on stage, making a lot of noise. The crowd is dancing frenetically. Anton Merriweather, the lead singer, is flailing about with the microphone. He’s cut himself again with the microphone stand, a clean red line across his bare chest slowly dripping streaks of blood mingled with sweat. We pass Belial, standing idle and looking immaculate all at once. He watches Anton on stage, watches the crowd watching Anton, and keeps a mysterious smile in reserve solely for himself. We drift further, over the heads of moshers, over the small candle-lit tables crowded with the tragically hip, over the uneasy jock lounging against a pillar and trying to fit in, over the high-school Goth poseur here alone on a dare, over the married swingers here for new conquests, over the drunken would-be poet here for inspiration, over the waiter who takes weekend trips to upstate New York with his zoophilic friends to fuck goats, over the twenty-something photocopy-shop clerk who is itching to try watersports, over the black corner-market owner who yells at Koreans, over an aging realtor whose desperate clutch at fame was that she hung out at Warhol’s Factory in the early 1970s but never scored a mention in anyone’s memoirs, over the reporter for the New York Post who thinks he’s scoring a coup by getting in here but doesn’t realize that the last of his life-blood will pump out of his veins late tonight in the private club down the spiral staircase from the club proper, over the old man who masturbates on the train every day as it passes by the World Trade Center, over the young couple out on the town and in over their heads, over the guy dealing Aklo, over the girl wearing nothing but wax paper, over the musician tapping his foot to the music in his head, over the web designer who wants to score with the girl in the wax paper, over the janitor from the NY Public Library who is writing a biography of his mother, over the counselor from P.S. 159 whose life is a procrastinated suicide, over the six terminally bland yuppies here because one of their college-age children said she heard it was “a happenin’ spot,” over the guy who OD’ed on alcohol ten minutes ago but who hasn’t been noticed yet except by Belial who finds it amusing that a librarian is still trying to hit on the guy, over the librarian who’s still trying to hit on the guy, over the rad dyke who wants to hit on the librarian and wishes that she’d stop hitting on that passed-out drunk, over the crew of crack dealers here to make a bargain with some Russian mafia fuckwits to ace a mutual competitor, over the Metro Vice cops here to get drunk on the house tab and write faked reports on the laudable lack of drug traffic in Club Apocalypse, over poor Darryl Montgomery whispering the secrets of the dead to himself near the entrance, over the two DEA/Delta Green agents just now walking in the front door, and then we come to a stop over their heads as Derek and Charlie both spot Darryl simultaneously and start moving towards him as innocuously as possible and we watch them as they move off into the crowd.

***

I’m thirty-three. I’ve been a Delta Green agent for eighteen months. It’s exciting. I feel privy to a world of secrets. I’ve seen things I never could have imagined. The world isn’t the place I was told it was. I’m in San Francisco, staking out an alleged crack house–that’s what my report will say. It’s not a crack house. It’s an abattoir. The walls are lined with human skin. A shelf in the kitchen holds a row of dried genitalia. The bathtub is full of feces. He extracts it from the digestive tracts of his victims. He wants them to be clean. He washes them, inside and out, shampooing hair and organs alike. Purifies them. For the ritual. For the offering. A light goes off. It’s time. I sprint across the street, Charlie close behind. I kick in the door. I don’t wave my badge. I don’t shout a warning. I just shoot the fucker. Charlie slams the door shut behind us. We’ve just broken a host of procedures and laws–but not in the eyes of Delta Green, who sent us here. Blood and chunks of brain run down the wall behind the dead murderer. We grin. Charlie speaks: “Good shot, cowboy.”

I’m nine. I’m playing in a stream near my home. My friend Tim is there. We’re skipping stones. An old guy, maybe fifty, with salt-and-pepper hair and a dark suit, steps out of the bushes. He smiles at me. He reaches in his jacket and pulls out a gun. He aims it at me. A shot rings out. There’s a hole in the center of the man’s forehead. His head snaps back. He drops to his knees. His gun falls into the stream along with streaks of his blood and bits of brain and skull from where the bullet blew out the back of his head. One of my parents’ friends, a member of the Greek chorus, is behind me. There is another gun present. He puts his left hand over my eyes and holds me close. There’s another shot. He leads me away from the stream. He takes something from me. I hear two voices behind us. I never see Tim again. The papers say he was kidnapped by a wanted child molester. His blood flows down the stream with the dead man’s. The man with his hand over my eyes smells of something which I imagine to be cologne but will much later in life recognize as semen. My right hand is bruised and it smells of something I will recognize much later in life as cordite. “That was a close one, kid. Shame about your friend.”

I’m twelve. My parents and I are at the cabin on the lake. The afternoon is spent fishing from the balcony on the second floor over the water. My dad has a beer. He’s smiling, a little drunk. My sister is off riding her bike. My mom is reading a magazine. My line jerks. I’ve got a bite. My dad is excited. He coaches me. I fight the fish. Eventually I win. I reel it up through the air. It’s a three-pound bass. I’m ecstatic. My dad hugs me. He looks at my mom. There’s a tear in her eye. She lies: “It can always be like this.”

I’m thirty-five. I’m in a long corridor underground at Los Alamos. There’s a large pane of glass before me. I’m wearing a technician’s outfit. The MP-5 is jammed in under my shirt. Fake identification hangs from my chest. A micro-camera is in my lapel. I’m looking in the window to another room. There’s a bed, surrounded by all sorts of equipment. Something is lying in the bed. It’s humanoid, built like a short and stocky Graeco-Roman wrestler. Its skin is slick, even in the dry recirculated air. It’s sea-green. Its head lolls stupidly to one side. The instruments beep. Its crystalline eyes, which never seem to close, are the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. They’ve seen all the secrets I’ve seen a hundred times over and still found them fresh and wondrous. “What is it?”

“I don’t know. I’m just here to take photos of it.”

“What were you told?”

“Not much. Just that there was a patient in this room and I should photograph him.”

“Were you told to record data from the instruments?”

“No. Just pictures.”

“What did you do with the pictures?”

“I gave them to you. To Dr. Camp.”

“Who was the patient in the bed? Who did you tell about this assignment?”

“I don’t know. No one.”

***

“Darryl,” Derek says. “We’d like to have a word with you.”

Darryl stares at Charlie and Derek stupidly. His face does not lack a certain native intelligence, but he has no idea who these men are or what they want and he cannot help but look confused; he is not a very adaptable human being; he cannot control his reactions. He is the most unwittingly honest man in this room.

“Sure, okay,” Darryl says. The three men find a conveniently empty table and sit down. None of them realize, unfortunately, that Belial had the table’s previous occupants shooed away a minute ago in anticipation of their need.

“Who do you work for, Darryl?” Charlie asks. “We know what you’ve been up to.”

Darryl looks sheepish. “I work for the City of New York.”

“Bullshit,” Derek says. He splays out photographs showing Darryl at the scene of the three incidents that drew the NSC’s attention. “Some people think you work for the mob. We know better. We think you work for Bobby Hubert–a.k.a. Belial. That’s fine. Lots of folks do. What we want to know is, what did Bobby Hubert have to do with these three deaths?”

Darryl looks at the photographs. “I don’t know nothing about these things. I was writing down prices.”

Derek and Charlie look at each other in practiced fashion. “Prices? What do you mean, Darryl?”

Darryl points generally at the photographs. “Prices. I was writing down prices, see?”

Derek and Charlie look at the photographs. Darryl is in different places in each one, coming and going. But in each, barely glimpsed at the fringes of the photo, there is always a different glass-front store with big price banners in the window: “$1.99!” “HALF PRICE: $2.75” “PICKLES 98¢”. Derek and Charlie look at each other, exasperated. Derek seems to do a better job than Charlie.

“Okay, Darryl. You were writing down prices. I can accept that. Who were you writing down prices for?”

“Mister Hubert.”

Derek and Charlie both perk up. “Mister Hubert?” Derek says. “You were writing down prices for Mister Hubert? What for?”

Darryl looks back and gives away nothing. “‘Cuz he asked me to.”

Derek lights a cigarette and looks at Charlie. “Ask a stupid fucking question.”

***

I’m thirty-four. I’m standing in an alleyway in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a few blocks from my hotel. This place makes me fucking sick. The casinos are full of decrepit old wasters. There’s no life, no vitality, in these people. There’s some pathetic drunken fuck leaning against the wall of the alley, panhandling for slot-machine quarters, trying to take even my vitality. By morning I’d be just another wrinkled loser in a cripple-walker, betting my social security check against a full house. What a piece of shit town this is. I can’t stand it anymore–the shit, the degradation, the deception, the lies, it’s too fucking much. I take three steps towards this old drunk, clasp my hands on his shoulders with a big shit-eating grin on my face like I’m about to do him the biggest favor in the fucking world, and then I live up to my promise. I do him the biggest fucking favor in the world. I do him–I do him in. I knee him in the crotch, he wheezes out a hot breath of malt liquor and puke, I throw my hands around his throat and smash the back of his head into the brick wall, he goes down like the sack of pathetic shit that he is. He’s wheezing. He’s lost his breath. I flex my wrist. The combat knife pops into my hand. I shove it into his neck, jerk it roughly to one side. Blood pours down onto his filthy shirt. The swift kill comes courtesy of my DEA training. We weren’t trained to shiv bums in particular, but that’s what’s good about civil-service training: it has uses in such a variety of situations. The corpse falls forward into the trash of the alley. I kick him in the head with a $140 leather wingtip just for spite. I turn around and look out at this loathsome excuse for a city and the hatred I feel for the human race is absolute. “Fuck you all.”

I’m fourteen. Amy is thirteen. We’re in our special hiding place where the grown-ups never find us. We’re the closest of friends. We keep it a secret from everyone. We don’t have sex–our friendship and love is too pure for that. We’re soul-mates. Years later, my love for Lisa will stand as only a dim shadow of what I had with Amy. On this special afternoon in April, I take a rock and beat Amy’s head in. Her brains finally spill out, disgorging all of their bloody secrets into the spring air for me to inhale. I keep smashing the rock down, again and again and again, sucking in the thick and meaty stink of her brains for my own enjoyment. She’s long since dead. When I finish, I cum in my pubescent jeans. From the bushes, one of the Greek chorus steps forth. “Don’t worry, kid. I’ll clean it up. Go home and play.”

I’m thirty. I’ve learned to live a lie. I’m undetectable. I pass among the rest of the bleating herd unseen, unknown. I’m ready. I’m prepared. The rest of my life spreads out before me like the legs of a dead whore. I’m going to fuck this world into the graveyard and keep going until it begs for more. Humans have only one real god: Thanatos. I’m death and I walk among them. They’ll fuck me until they bleed to terminal, then wonder what went wrong. I’m le grand mal made flesh. “Derek Johnson, DEA. Glad to meet ya, Charlie.”

I’m thirty-six. I waxed Amy and Lisa and the pepper-and-salt-haired guy and Tim and the troops in Colombia and so many others. I’ve escaped detection all this time, even–for three decades–by myself. The Greek chorus sings for me, belting out stanzas of rubber stamps and official denials and altered reports. Even Dr. Camp and his lame excuse for mind control can’t stop me. I’m hardcore. I’m unstoppable. I’m your end. I am my father’s son. “Who is your parent?”

“You know. Mister State Department. Andy Woodrew.”

“He’s your father, Derek, but he’s not your parent.”

“That’s right.”

“So who is your parent?”

“These drugs you’ve got me on, all these questions–you’re just trying to confuse me, to get the truth out of me.”

“That’s right. And when I’m done, you won’t remember a word of this conversation.”

“Good fucking luck, Dr. Camp. Good fucking luck. I didn’t think Delta Green did this to its agents.”

“We don’t.”

***

Darryl looked around the club nervously. “It’s not safe to talk here,” he says. In silent agreement, we begin to track away from the threesome at the table, drifting silently across the crowded nightclub. Darryl and the two DEA/DG agents get up and head for an unmarked door at the back of the club. Darryl, for once in his life, leads the way.

The door leads the men onto a landing, from which an ancient and decrepit spiral staircase leads down into the gloom. Darryl starts down without a second thought.

“Hold up,” Derek says. Charlie looks at him anxiously. His look is not feigned, for the first time since Derek met him, but Derek doesn’t notice.

“Yeah?” says Darryl.

“What’s down here?”

“Just a meeting room. We can talk privately. Mister Hubert, he’s got people all over the club up there.”

“All right,” Derek says. “But if we aren’t alone, I kill whomever we meet.”

Darryl nods anxiously, eager to please. He resumes his descent of the stairs, followed by the two agents. As they descend, a strange smell wafts over them: a musty, decrepit smell, like that of an overburdened crypt, motes of skeleton-dust drifting lazily in the draft. They arrive at a landing, and Darryl gestures toward the door. “We can talk in here.”

“Oh we can, can we?” Derek responds. “I’ll just see about that.”

Derek sidles quietly over to the door. With his gun drawn, he uses his free hand to shove the door open and then jumps inside, crouched very low to duck panic fire from any occupants, his MP-5 surveying the room, an extension of his eyes and arms. No sound greets him from the gloom.

“Come on,” he whispers.

Charlie steps next to him and presses the muzzle of his .44 Desert Eagle to Derek’s temple.

“I’m here,” Charlie responds grimly. Outside, Darryl scurries up the stairs.

“What the fuck?” Derek says, twitching slightly until Charlie presses the gun tight against his skin once more.

“Just sit tight, motherfucker,” Charlie says.

The lights come on.

Stephen Alzis stands in the middle of an empty room.

He regards the two agents for a second, and then approaches them, holding a seemingly ancient bound volume. He walks over slowly, taking in the scene greedily.

“Excellent work, agent. This is the sperm I’ve been looking for.”

The Greek chorus coalesces from nothing. They no longer appear as three individuals; they are interconnected in strange, unwholesome ways that defy terrestrial biology.

Derek flushes. “What the fuck is this?”

“You know what this is, Derek,” Alzis says. “It’s a homecoming.”

“The book!” Charlie blares, with a strength and surety that Derek has not heard in the seven years they’ve been colleagues. It is suddenly evident to Derek that things have not been what they have seemed for a very long time.

Alzis steps forward and hands the book to Charlie. “A fair swap, I should think. This seed of mine has been wreaking altogether too much havoc in the world of men.”

Charlie takes the book and steps back beyond the threshold. “Whatever. The fucker is yours now.”

“He always was,” Alzis says. “He always was.”

Charlie’s face pretends to lighten for a moment, the way it has pretended so many things in the last seven years. “Hey–I know this is an irregular request, but this is a pretty irregular fucking situation. Do you mind if I put a bullet in his head?” Behind the cynical, jocular violence of his request lies a coiled snake.

Alzis shakes his head in a bemused fashion. “Do whatever you like, agent. It is irrelevant.”

Charlie stares down at Derek with burning eyes, the gun reaching out into Derek’s reality like an extension of Charlie’s arm. “My real name is Mark. Amy was my sister, you piece of shit.” He pulls the trigger.

Derek’s brains blow out through his temple. His face hits the wooden floor like a mallet on meat. Charlie/Mark speaks.

“All these years you weren’t a DG agent, motherfucker. You were a DG op.

Mark stands stock still for a moment, holding the smoking gun in mid-air with one hand and the weird book with the other. He extends his tongue and licks the blood on his face for a brief moment.

“Glad we could do business, Alzis.”

“My pleasure, Agent Darrin. I’m sorry it took so long to make this arrangement.”

“Quite all right. Quite all right.”

Mark steps backwards slowly, holding his gun out just in case. Alzis stands there in the darkened room as his wayward son’s life-blood soaks into the floor and runs down the metal drain put here for occasions like this. The Greek chorus fades into insubstantiality, their reality-buoyancy provided solely by Derek’s unconscious guilt-complex and ungrasped magickal potential, and now erased, in death.

Mark follows Darryl Montgomery’s recent path up the staircase, incredulous and silent. Arriving at the top floor, Mark sees Darryl get a drink and doesn’t care what happens to the man. Mark leaves Club Apocalypse and meets with Deputy Director Matthew Carpenter in an undisclosed location. We are not privy to the contents of their conversation.

***

Dr. Camp is hard at work. He is preparing an electronic file on DEA Agent Derek Anderson, who could not escape his heritage nor fully assimilate his station in life. “It is of the same small bricks that the greatest and the worst men are made,” writes Dr. Camp. He clips this short note to a crumpled piece of writing in Agent Derek Anderson’s script, written when he was sixteen but recovered by an FBI forensics team from his mother and father’s home when he was thirty-four:

“I AM SORRY AMY. I LOVE YOU. I DID NOT WANT TO HURT YOU. BUT MY FATHER TOLD ME WHAT TO DO.”

Dr. Camp puts the note in with the rest of the documents assembled in the speckled-green cardstock folder prepared by Delta Green and prefixed by the chalky white piece of cardstock with an inch-and-a-half wide orange border. Repeated at the top and bottom, in large orange sans serif letters, are the words TOP SECRET. In the middle, also printed in orange but much smaller, are the words:

ALL INDIVIDUALS HANDLING THIS INFORMATION ARE REQUIRED TO PROTECT IT FROM UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE IN THE INTEREST OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES.

HANDLING, STORAGE, REPRODUCTION AND DISPOSITION OF THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE EXECUTIVE ORDER(S), STATUTE(S) AND AGENCY IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS.

(This cover sheet is unclassified.)

Cigarette ash dots the cover sheet, until Dr. Camp blows it away.

Dr. Camp files the folder in with the rest of his private files at the Library of Congress. DEA Agent Mark Darrin goes on to his next assignment. DEA agent, human being, and being of something simultaneously greater and lesser than human Derek Anderson ceases to exist. Dr. Camp lights a candle over Derek’s file. “In the fires of passion are cold realities cast,” Dr. Camp says. He wishes Derek’s spirit the best and the worst of luck, and privately wonders which came out on top in the end.

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