Item Number Six By James Rumpel
Item Number Six By James Rumpel
As the security guard completed his inspection of the area and continued his check of the perimeter of the compound, two mysterious figures crouched in the impeccably manicured shrubbery beyond the fence. Once the guard had moved out of the vicinity, the two onlookers, both dressed in oversized, dark hoodies, baggy jeans, and Converse sneakers, began talking in, nearly inaudible, hushed tones.
“Okay, we don’t have a lot of time. Get me over that fence.”
“Not yet. First I have to take down the surveillance system.” Reaching into the front pocket of his hoodie, the mysterious intruder pulled out a small spherical device. Setting it on the ground, the hooded figure flipped a tiny toggle located at the gadget’s top. One faint pulse of light indicated that the machine was now active.
“What does that do, Ed?”
“I have now transferred all control of the video cameras and alarms to Mary at the control center. She can manipulate all live or recorded images. She knows to keep us from being seen on camera. This is actually pretty simple since all the recording equipment is linked by wifi….”
“I don’t need an explanation. Let’s get moving. How are we going to get over the fence?”
“I have just the thing. Follow me.”
The invaders stealthily moved to the twelve-foot-tall, electrified wire barrier. Ed, again reached into his hoodie, this time extracting a cylindrical object which resembled a flashlight.
“Ready, John?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned on the device. A beam of blue light erupted from the cylinder and engulfed his partner. Slowly, Ed tilted the beam upward and John rose from the ground.
“It’s an anti-gravity ray,” explained Ed as he lifted his comrade over the fence and settled him into the plush grass on the opposite side. “Now, you bring me.” Ed tossed the device over the wire barricade. John returned the favor.
John handed the anti-gravity ray back to his companion. “That’s why I choose you for a partner, you’ve got a gadget for everything.”
“I hope I do.”
The trespassers moved in a hunched dash before taking refuge behind an expansive, gurgling water fountain. A majestic oak tree stood a short distance to the left. Its thick boughs and branches reaching into the night sky. On the opposite side of the fountain was the back side of a luxurious two-story brick home. The rear door was guarded by two imposing men. They wore identical, black two-piece suits.
Leaning close together the two hooded figures conferred.
“I am certain this is the American President’s vacation home. We should find him sleeping in a first-floor room. I have my stun-gun, but I would prefer to use it as little as possible. Do you have something that can get us past those two guards?”
“Maybe.” From his, apparently, bottomless hoodie pocket John withdrew a brown rectangular box. “If we can get the guards to speak, this device, among its many functions, can record and reproduce their speech. I think this will work.” Ed activated the gadget. “Mary will take control of it. She knows what to do.”
Silently the box began to change shape. Four mechanical legs emerged from the bottom. The first two to appear were short and ended in tiny claws. The second set of legs were much longer and more powerful, made for jumping. A section from one of the top edges slid back and a billiard ball sized head rose from the box. The head soon developed two tiny ears and a pointed nose. The opposite edge sprouted a long fuzzy tail. The device soon took the shape of a reasonable facsimile of a squirrel.
The squirrel moved to a position behind the immense oak, away from the security guards. Through a tiny speaker, just below its mouth, a loud sound emanated. Mary was broadcasting the sound of someone running through underbrush.
“William, do you hear that?” asked one of the guards.
“Yes,” replied the other. “Go check it out.”
“OK, I’ll be right back.”
The first guard reached for the gun he had holstered at his side and walked at a brisk pace toward the area beyond the tree.
The squirrel had already moved, drawing the investigating guard further from the home, away from the exterior lighting. After a couple of minutes, a voice called from the darkness.
“William, come here now.”
The second guard, hesitated, not wanting to leave his post. However, after a second call from the darkness, he took off running in the direction of the voice.”
“Let’s go, quick.” Ed and John sprinted to the now vacant doorway. Ed touched the keypad with a small pyramid shaped object and the lock immediately gave way.
Once inside the building, John turned to his companion and asked, “What if they catch the squirrel?”
“They won’t catch it, and even if they did, Mary knows to use its self-destruct function. The President’s room will be down this hall to the left.”
With great care, they peered down the passageway. Three doors down, a single guard stood, arms crossed, in front of a doorway.
John shrugged and made a hand motion to indicate that he would take care of this obstacle. He pulled an odd-looking pistol from his hoodie. Double checking that the gun was set to stun, he took careful aim and pulled the trigger. There was no noise or muzzle flash. No beam emerged from the barrel. There was no indication that John had fired the weapon. However, the guard instantly slumped to the carpet, unconscious.
“Sorry, that’s all I could think of.”
Rushing to the door, the invaders again used the pyramid device to disengage the lock and entered the President’s bedroom.
The American leader and his wife were both fast asleep in a king-sized four-poster bed. The President’s mouth was wide open and a tiny bit of drool was dripping from the corner of his mouth. Unceremoniously, John proceeded to shoot both of the bed’s occupants with the knock-out gun.
“Don’t want them to wake-up before we finish.”
Ed nodded his head, though the motion was barely detectable because of the sizable hood that concealed his face. “Well, let’s get this done.” He reached into his pants pocket and extracted a thin card-shaped device.
John took position next to the president, putting his face side by side with the sleeping man.
“Your hood,” whispered Ed.
“Oh yeah.” John pulled back the hood of his sweatshirt, revealing his face. John’s alien head was football-shaped, though the top was more rounded than his chin. Two, baseball-sized eyes, black and unblinking, dominated his features. A very thin, lipless mouth occupied the lower half of his face. Where there should have been a nose was a single opening, covered by a retractable flap of grey skin. Forming a circle with his mouth, his races version of a smile, John nodded for Ed to take the picture.
“Got it,” said John upon completion.
“Great. We will make our escape through the window to avoid the guards posted by the door. So, what’s item seven on the list.”
Ed glanced down at the device he held in his hands. He used one of his inhumanly long and skinny fingers to change the screen.
“Oh, the next one’s easy. We just need to get some cow entrails.”
“They’ve had that one on the list forever. I think my grandfather had to get entrails on his camp scavenger hunt. Well, let’s get going. They’re going to be waking soon and it is going to take a while to get to Wisconsin.”
Copyright James Rumpel 2020