Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Picture 6 Of 7

It was a typical August day. The sun was high overhead, and its rays speared the ground uninhibited by the cloudless sky, where they would rebound and lance back into the sky. A pleasant breeze, sent from the highlands, rolled through the city, ruffling hair and dresses alike, scattering the lighter debris not yet picked up by the cleaners. That same breeze brushed across the face of the president as he paced back and forth on the patio of the White House. To his left was the open lawn of the area, where a pair of lawn care professionals - watched over by a Social Security agent - were tending to the grass, cutting it just right, creating patterns so the birds flying high above would have something pleasant to look at amid the urban landscape. To the president's right were the doors to the White House, one slightly ajar, the air conditioned air mixing with the hot air outside, their interactions invisible to the eye.

Also invisible to the untrained eye was a man clad in full black, standing in the shadows at the far end of the patio. A pair of shades mitigate any sun rays daring enough to try to pierce the shadow, but that was the only part of the outfit suited for the day. The stiff black suit would be hell to wear this day, and one could only imagine that the man would be altogether too happy once this was all over.

"Sir." His voice cut through the air, the breeze delivering it to the president before crumbling the message away. It would never be heard by anyone else.

"Yes." As the president stated this, he kept his back turned to the man. They had had multiple such encounters before, and it had been made clear on the first that the identity of the man, who went by Mr. Black, was to be kept unknown, even to the president. The president had no doubt he could obtain this man's true name - he certainly had power enough - but he chose not to. It would drive him away, and his services were invaluable.

"The Laps gather." The Laps were a boisterous political group, most of whom were not above intimidation and aggression as tactics to gain votes. They were sly, their movements unknown. There were few Americans who knew of their existence who did not work in the intelligence sectors, or who had not been obviously confronted by them. Those who tried to make a story of it were silenced. To the majority of the public, the Laps were just another political party that had recently popped up, like all the others.

Recently, there had been an upsurge of political parties. With Bin Laden finally captured, and a cheap source of alternative energy developed, and no natural disasters on the horizon, America turned to politics. Politics had always been large in the life of the average American, but now, it was nearly the largest thing in everybody's life. There was not a single American who was not strongly affiliated with any party, not a single American who did not know how they would vote in the next election. Sure, the voter turnout was nearly 100%, but the huge variety of political parties meant that gaining more than double digits in any election was a feat, a feat which could give victory.

And with all that political deviation, thuggish parties like the Laps were inevitable. Most were small, restricted to cities, a problem for the city, but the Laps had gained a foothold in California at first, gaining control of the governorship as it finally pulled out of its economic downturn. With that foothold, they moved to other states. First the Pacific Northwest, then the south. The East Coast came next, with the Midwest the last to succumb. The public could still remember Shotgun Sam, the farmer who attended the first Laps rally in Tennessee with his loaded Ithaca 37. He was labelled a crazy during the lawsuits and sensationalist news reports which followed the deaths of five prominent Laps members. He was saved from jail, much to the outcries of the public, via a series of well-greased hands, all slipping off of one another. The first had started from the White House.

"When." The Laps were associated with several pro-vigilante justice groups in the United States, and these groups usually had their own perverse views of how the law should be interpreted, usually in the way which would give them the most profit and fame. The Laps were not above attacking other parties, and used the groups as scapegoats for the resulting slaughters. The White House had been hunting them for months, trying not to expose themselves in the process. It was hard, and trying. They had to kill the whole operation at once, not eat at them slowly. The hydra had to be stabbed in the body, not in one of its many necks.

"Two weeks."

"Then you have two weeks. Get your forces together."

"The bait, sir?"

"Stage political rallies."

"The bait." Someone would die. More than one someone. That was for sure.

"Whoever you can find." The ones who would die would be prisoners, long forgotten in their cells, locked away by the chains of their imprisonment as well as those of time. Their bodies would be altered by plastic surgery and they would be offered freedom if they did a single task for the government. Heaven was a sort of freedom.

"Yes sir. Have a good day sir." With a padded footstep, the figure was gone, away to begin planning the extermination. The Laps had been around far too long, and now the nuisance had to be dealt with in the government's own way. Secretly, beneath the headlines of the news. And it was all so very illegal.

The president was left with his thoughts on that quiet August day. It was about to get a lot louder. A lot.

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