“Kind of a rough night, don’t remember much besides dinner with Sheryl.”
“Oh…my frigging…god!” started Stanley as he interrupted and sat on the arm of the chair. “You nailed the fiery freckled vixen next door! Ok, ok, I just want to know one thing! Does the carpet match the drapes?” Jacob just shook his head.
“No Stan, it was just dinner.”
“Just dinner my ass, dude you are completely shit faced! You sure you didn’t bang her and just don’t remember? Wait…maybe she drugged you and took it. Aww man, that is awesome, you were raped by a Crimson Red Goddess!” Stanley then looks up toward the sky.
“Are you finished?” asked Jacob.
“Do you smell something?” asked Stanley now sniffing about the air. “Crab cakes! He’s back!” and just as simple as that Jacob found himself sitting alone.
“Did I rescue you in time?” Jacob looked over surprised to see Dr. Kendal.
“Rescue?” replied Jacob confused. Dr. Kendal pointed at Stanley who now could be seen stacking plates of Crab Cakes on top one another. Jacob just smiled shaking his head.
“Before you say anything I know you don’t like surprises and I know it was kind of against my code of ethics the way I came about getting you here—for that I apologize. But again Jacob, the truth is you’re fine, the tests were fine so please try and relax.” Jacob remained silent.
“It seems for some reason you want something to be wrong.”
“It’s not that…Dr. Kendal I…”
“Robert, please call me Robert, it’s not like we don’t know each other.”
“Yeah you’re right I’ve just been different ever since—”
“I know, and you don’t have to say it, it’s fine,” said Dr. Kendal interrupting a second time. “How about I make you an offer? I know you think my salary is great, but I have bills too. So how bout we enjoy ourselves now and kick depression in its rear. I’ve spent a nice penny getting this together and today is proof that you’re not getting any younger, so how about you go enjoy yourself Jacob? Oh, and just between me and you, after talking to some of your co-workers I’m surprised you haven’t done yourself in.”
Jacob smiled at Robert. “Yeah, they can be a bit of a handful.” he said. Robert then turns around to see Stanley with Pricilla on his shoulders, plate in one hand and drink in another trying to dance.
“Son, that is an understatement,” and with that Robert gave Jacob a pat on his leg and proceeded to join the chaos he’d help create. Jacob however sat motionless for a moment and drank a bit more of his beer. Tonight, he would make a decision and hopefully stick with it.
“Hi Jake, it’s me Mandy from the third floor.” Jacob’s attention was drawn to a young lady with long curly brown hair. Jacob was familiar with Mandy Patterson and even more familiar with the fact of her most recent divorce. She leaned forward speaking softly to Jacob while blinking rapidly and swaying from intoxication. “I…know you’re single and I’m not saying I want anything serious….um…I really have this thing where I like to…you know, give…but only to guys I like.” Jacob raised an eyebrow in wonderment. For the likes of anything he couldn’t figure out what Mandy was trying to explain. “I figured, that you know since it was your birthday and the fact that I have been wanting you for a while now anyhow...I” and that is far as Mandy made it before falling face first into Jacob’s crotch and passing out.
“Um Stanley, can I get a little help here?” queried Jacob across the room. Stanley ran over to Jacob and stopped in front of him.
“Wait a sec.” Stanley said while fumbling in his pants pocket. He then pulled out his cell phone and took a picture of Jacob and Mandy while grinning ear to ear. “Never know when you might need something like this,” he continued, now grabbing Mandy and placing her in the opposing lounge chair. “You know leverage, blackmail, that sort of thing. So that’s as far as she got huh? Poor girl had been going on all afternoon about it.”
“About what?” asked Jacob now even more confused.
“Well, ‘miss thing’ here has a fetish for ‘knob slobbing’. She’s been talking about giving you a nice ‘polish’ for a few weeks now.”
“Wait, what? How do you know these things?!” exclaimed Jacob.
“Work Wide Web, Jakey baby, as a matter of fact you’re probably one of the only people who didn’t know. Anyhow I knew it wouldn’t happen and now I’m plus fifty bucks. Just didn’t see it going in this direction, geez what a lush this one.”
“Wait a minute, you mean you bet on me?”
“Well not on you, kind of against you but hey I love you no less man.”
Jacob shook his head and gave a fake smile, “You are really a piece of work Stanley.”
“Thank you, oh if she wakes up and you wanna—”
“Go away Stanley!” shouted Jacob now pointing at Stanley. As Stanley walked away, Jacob looked over at Mandy for a short moment. She was quite beautiful and at the same time quite lost. At that point, Jacob had decided he would retire for the evening and slipped away unnoticed.
He returned home and after a long shower decided to do what he did best, get organized! He took the watch along with the booklet and studied them well. Jacob found nothing out of the ordinary except the back of the watch felt just a tad bit abrasive as if it had been scratched. He then placed the watch about his right wrist and looked into the mirror. Nothing had changed the numbers still winding down relentlessly, bringing him closer and closer to his demise. But this time he didn’t panic. This time he would try to understand the mysteries behind his family heirloom instead of fearing. Jacob turned around, his thoughts now distracted by his cellphone humming away. It still sat on the table sliding closer and closer to the edge with every ring. Of course, Jacob missed the call but instead of returning it, he decided to plow through the plethora of voicemails he’d accumulated. So, one by one Jacob listened to the many birthday messages he’d missed until he got to the last voicemail. It was Sheryl. “Hi Jacob about last night, I want to let you know that it’s ok. I mean if you’re not ready I understand. I just wanted to tell you I had the craziest dream about you later after you left, you were in...” Then there was a distinct beep from the phone and the message ended. Did her call drop mid message? What was she going to say? Jacob pondered. He’d dare not knock on her door and relive the night before…the embarrassment. He just wasn’t ready to face her yet. He’d give it some time, and for now he would rest.
The next morning Jacob sprang from his slumber, his watch doing its job once more flawlessly. He looked next to his bed and grabbed his laptop deciding this time, he would be prepared! A quick search on the web revealed a one-stop shop for everything Jacob had in mind for his mission ahead. So he made a quick list as he got dressed, and finally headed out. His watch was home again, securely attached to his wrist as he now embraced this new-found gift. He’d acquired Sight of all as he walked to his car, and to his pleasure every last person seemed to have plenty of time ahead, safe for many seasons to come. But as the streets grew busy, the numeral entities became obstacles as they quickly crowded his vision. So, Jacob unsnapped his watch and let it hang about his wrist. At least that way it was safe and completely accessible if he wanted to use its power. As he continued to his garage, he passed a familiar squad car parked across from a now even more familiar deli. Officer Borelli appeared to be about his normal routine grabbing his favorite bite to eat before duty. Jacob smiled, remembering what the officer had said. Hero, that word. Maybe he could…just maybe he could be. So, with phone charged and calculator in pocket Jacob drove for the next two hours to his destination.
As he stepped into the uniform and weapons shop, Jacob noticed a slew of police officers and detectives all fumbling through clearance surveillance equipment. This place had it all, from miniature binoculars to pinhole sized cameras. Badges and guns were abundant, and you could tell the officers were all regulars.
Jacob approached one of the sales associates who held a shotgun in his hand explaining its features to another customer. With a cigar hanging from his mouth (just about to fall), he continued jabbering with his loud and raspy voice through furls of cigar smoke. Jacob also noticed the blatant “No Smoking” sign directly behind the man that clearly wasn’t meant for him.
“One moment Jeff I got another customer,” he said while walking behind the counter toward Jacob (shotgun still in hand). “Here officer see what you think of her, we just got them in,” and with that he tossed Jacob the shotgun. Nervously, Jacob caught it before speaking.
“No... uh you’re mistaken sir, see I’m not a police officer,” replied Jacob walking closer to the counter.
“Ok then…lemme guess, P.I.? You know Gumshoe, Dic?” Jacob looked at the man confused.
“Oh, you mean private detective? No, I’m more of a glorified accountant than anything.”
“Accountant!” exclaimed the salesman as he quickly grabbed the gun from Jacob’s hands. “So then, what can I get you mister?” Jacob cautiously handed the man his list.
“I checked your website and it said you have all of these items in stock.” The man studied the list carefully while taking a short puff from the cigar. “Ok, most of these are in the back, look around for a few minutes and I’ll be back.” Jacob nodded and began looking around the shop.
“Holy hell, James is that you?” A tall thin police detective ran toward Jacob and grabbed his hand shaking it furiously, his grip crushing.
“I think you have me confused with someone else sir.”
“You don’t have a brother Jeffrey that works 32nd district?”
Jacob shook his head.
“Wow you’re a dead ringer for James.”
“Well he sounds like a nice guy,” replied Jacob.
“You bet he is, and a damn good cop too! Hey nice talking to you buddy but I gotta run.” Jacob could hear the officer’s radio as he tapped his partner and they both darted out of the shop.
“Alright I found everything you asked for,” said the store clerk as he returned with a small box. Jacob anxiously stepped back toward the counter and looked through the contents of the box. “So, Mr. Accountant what’s all this stuff for? Looks like you’re preparing for something major. Some type of crackdown or company audit?”
“More like amateur stalking...but in a good way,” replied Jacob smiling nervously. The sales clerk just stared at Jacob for moment before letting out a dry cough.
“This shit’s gonna kill me one day,” he said as he finally removed the cigar from his mouth. At that moment Jacob quickly snapped his watch latch closed receiving sight of the man’s time.
“Well not anytime soon,” replied Jacob smiling at the clerk once more. “So, what do I owe you?” he continued as he placed his credit card on the counter. The clerk pointed at the receipt as it spewed from the register. And with his transaction complete, Jacob took the bag and exited the store. The salesman, however, looked in the air hoping to see what Jacob was looking at, before putting the cigar back in his mouth and taking another short puff.
From the store, Jacob drove directly to Rebecca’s. He figured he should get a better understanding of his surroundings and find a safe place to camp for when the day arrived. He didn’t see either of the cars in the driveway and the garage door was open and empty as well. He decided to try his binoculars and looked about the landscape of the house. “Wow this is pretty neat.” Jacob whispered to himself. He could see a great distance and with maximum clarity. In the next few days, he would make a difference, he thought to himself. In the next few days, he would save a second person’s life!
That night Jacob dreamt deeply. Literally tons of different scenarios presented themselves throughout his slumber. Each one scripted with a different outcome of how poor Rebecca might come about her end and how he would heroically be there to prevent it. And while some proved to have more favorable outcomes, there were the few that were so bad Jacob found himself awake in a pool of sweat. And it was the last dream, where Jacob found himself up for good taking a break from his nightly adventures.
He prepared a relaxing cup of tea with hopes of securing a more placid audience with his thoughts. But as he sipped slowly from the edge of his bed, his thoughts still raced about their normal routine, frantically scattered and on various courses of their own. Seeking clarity, Jacob wondered what his father would do if he’d been the one. For his dad was an adventurous and courageous man, afraid of nothing. As a kid, Jacob remembered the wonderful tales of exploration his dad shared with him. Jacob never knew photography could be so risky and daring but it all seemed so.
With smiles abound, Jacob stepped to his closet door and opened it. Neatly pressed shirts and slacks were plentiful, though he hadn’t use for formal wear since his so-called “vacation.” Atop a small shelf, Jacob grabbed a photo album. Lightly covered in dust, the particles flowed slowly through the air almost causing Jacob to sneeze. It was a delightful feeling, however, opening the cover and seeing his father again.
In every picture, Henry Parnell stood with a half-smile, as if unaffected by the marvels of discovery around him. Some had Henry alone while others shown him mid handshake with many reputable archeologists, geologists, and other scientists, all experts in their craft. Jacob was very proud of his father. Nothing was too dangerous, he always told his son. That’s what makes a discovery a discovery, and it was his job to be there to capture the moment. Jacob’s smile dropped however upon turning to the next page of the album. In the third picture, an old man stood shaking his father’s hand. Jacob was sure his eyes were deceiving him. The likelihood was improbable, better yet, impossible! But sure enough, shaking the hand of a much younger Henry Parnell was Earnest! He looked just as he did when they met at the watch shop, but how could this be? These photographs were well over 20 plus years old. Jacob closed the album in hopes that reopening it would propose a different outcome, but to his dismay the photos remained the same. Earnest still appeared with his father with that decrepit smile plastered to his face. Jacob closed the album once more, filling the air with dust. He grabbed his phone and called his father only to receive his voicemail. Jacob knew it better not to leave a message. What the hell would he say without sounding like a complete lunatic? But it all had to mean something right? This was no mere coincidence. Jacob again opened the album and took one final look at the pictures. All remained as before but this time he noticed something the old shopkeeper was wearing. It was the last item that was given to him by Earnest…the glasses. Jacob hadn’t seen them since his episode when he’d broken the mirror. Tossing the album aside, he got to his knees and sure enough they too were underneath his bed as the watch previously, but much further and out of reach. Jacob left the room momentarily and returned with a broom easily retrieving the glasses and then putting them on. Again, his vision blurred terribly as he tried to focus with the spectacles on. He opened the album and studied the photo in a final attempt to harvest a clue. Maybe the two would work together somehow. Nothing! As far as he had gotten was achieving strained watery eyes and a mild headache.
Not too disappointed in his failed attempt at discovery (which he’d grown quite accustomed to) Jacob decided to continue his ventures once more in his dreams. With that he returned to bed with the intent to call his father again in the morning.
The next few days Jacob became a hermit. He hadn’t answered his phone and ignored the numerous but discrete knocks at his door from Sheryl. He didn’t eat much and slept most of the days away, obsessed with what would come to pass this very evening. When it was time, he was dressed from head to toe in black tactical gear, including pants, long sleeve shirt, and small vest. Jacob wanted to make sure he would blend with the darkness, as it would be his only cover. Now, it was time for a quick inventory. Binoculars, flashlight, stopwatch, gloves, and last…a mini spy-cam. Jacob had no idea what he would
use it for but got it anyway just in case. Unfortunately, the more Jacob prepared and readied himself, the more he fumbled and dropped almost everything he laid his hands on. This was no good, he needed to calm down and fast. And so again that fable drawer flung open but...there was nothing!!! “Damn, just great!” he complained. Jacob forgot that he had drank what liquor he’d had left, and now would have to find other means to deal with his nerves. So, he opened the other drawer as he’d done countless times before. “Please tell me this is what I’m supposed to be doing...please.” Jacob pleaded while holding Theresa’s picture tightly. Soon he could slowly feel himself relax as he gazed into her eyes. Peaceful and beautiful….as they always were. Jacob gathered the remainder of his equipment and placed it in a small duffle bag. He put the digital stopwatch around his neck and prepared it for synchronization. If he left now he would have at least a forty-five-minute head start until Rebecca’s “event.”
“Now!” exclaimed Jacob, his expression hardened and serious. He grabbed the bag and quickly left galloping down the stairs making his way to his vehicle. The tires screeched as he pulled from his driveway. He knew exactly which route he would take and with great haste, Jacob made it to the interstate and floored it. Weaving in and out of traffic and bypassing the slower moving cars, Jacob noticed an overabundance of brake lights not too far ahead. Soon he too found himself at a great reduction in speed amidst thickening traffic. It just didn’t make sense to him. This time of evening never boasted such numbers in motorists as he was witnessing at the moment. Something had to be wrong. Furthermore, Jacob noticed he’d fallen several minutes behind schedule, so he literally didn’t have time for this! Finally, traffic managed to come to a complete halt and Jacob began to grow nervous. He grabbed the stopwatch and shook his head as he noticed he now had less than a half hour to make it to Rebecca. Jacob rolled down the driver’s side window and stuck his head out in hopes of a better view. He noticed that all traffic seemed to be merging into one lane and could see a steady stream of construction-type cones in the distance. The driver directly in front of him had his arm out of the window with cigarette in hand. Jacob pulled as close as possible, so he could get the driver’s attention.
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