Mr. Williams was on the phone, and he was not happy. “I told you we would take care of it!” he boomed. He waited as whoever was on the other end of the phone spoke. “No, we didn’t know about the chip,” he continued. Mr. Williams sighed. “Yes, if we had known about it sooner, we might have prevented it.”
The other end said something that probably angered Mr. Williams, because his face turned as red as a fire hydrant. “You try to maintain an all-successful agency and see how you like it!” He hung up.
There was a knock on the door. “What!” he yelled. “Can’t you see I’m busy here?”
A head peeped in. “It’s me, sir,” it squeaked.
Mr. Williams’ face softened. “Come on in, Sarah,” he said.
She came in and set some files on the desk. “Sir, the specialists have analyzed all the possible alternatives,” she said.
Mr. Williams sat up straighter. “And?” he urged.
Miss Sarah shook her head. “Nothing,” she clarified.
He leaned back in his chair. His secretary could see the wrinkles of worry that had multiplied since he started here as a young man; it now filled his entire face. He cursed the specialists. His voice was full of resignation when he spoke. “We have to do it, Sarah.” His voice was a little more than a whisper. “We have to do it, or disaster will rain upon us all.”
Sarah felt that it was her job to warn him. “Sir, it’s a very risky move.”
Williams resisted the urge to shout at the tiny birdlike woman in front of him. “Don’t you see, Sarah?” It is the only option I have left.”
She nodded sympathetically. “Yes, sir, I understand.”
The man reached down to open the lowest drawer; he groaned as his muscles ached. There was a single folder in there. He took it out and placed it on the desk. “Here lays America’s ruin or her savior,” he stated. “Only one can choose. Let us hope it is the latter, Sarah.”
Not knowing what to say, the woman nodded.
Williams continued. “Bring him in, Sarah. Bring the boy in.”
It was one hour past midnight. The junkyard passed shadows as black as the corruption in everyday life. Five boys walked in the midst of all the thrown out trash. Like a troop of soldiers, they walked in a line, following their leader, an overconfident boy who would lead them to trouble.
Jason shuddered. It did not feel right to walk under mountains of junk. This must be how miners feel, he thought, on a job with the possibility of things tumbling down on them. He summoned up his nerve and asked, “Hey, are you sure we’re going in the right direction?”
He said this to both Bear Phenol and Tiny Tom, but Bear Phenol answered. “I’m as sure as ‘ole Tom there that we’re going the right way.”
It was a good answer, no doubt, one that answered the question, but not saying exactly yes or no. Jason had to give him credit for that. Although the boy was not a very good leader, he was great with words.
He glanced back at worried face of Tiny Tom; for a genius who sucked at...