Intermission with your friend Steve:
Steve looked at the barrel of the gun he had stolen from the crime scene after the investigations had abruptly concluded. He had tried to call Buck, but the calls hadn’t been answered, hadn’t even gotten through. He wanted to apologize, say that it wasn’t him who had sold him out so callously, that he knew the whole thing was rigged all along, but he couldn’t reach. He couldn’t reach anyone outside of New York anymore.
He never wanted to feel as hideous as he had these last few weeks. The force had come off and on, at first subtly, but once the strange Romanian Robert Redford with the mountain name had come along, it was more forceful. It toyed with his brain, angrily picking it over, disgusted and hateful of those beautiful memories he and Buck had shared once upon a time, even recently, when he had helped him so lovingly for his big date with the handsome foreigner. It had been unconventional sure, with even other queers appalled at the openness of the format and the intense closet of their public life.
But then, they had never been at the head of one of the top news organization. There were considerations. Stanton Bailey was an insane John Bircher. Steve had to pretend to be a crazed anti-semite just to be employed there, though Steve always suspected it was a cruel joke as he was about the most obvious Jew he knew. Such a person would have been hardly willing to employ an out gay man as well.
Plus, it helped revive the image of the paper. Under Bailey’s management, the reputation built on global investigative journalism had devolved mostly into insane conspiracy theories and seminars on how to present oneself as the Liberal Media that were mostly retreads of far-right insanity. Steve had been able to reign in that ultra-stupid construction and retain the image of impeccable journalism.
When Stanton brought in Buck to be the new wunderkid, he had some early promise and a blind luck to stumble into at least the bare bones of a story that could be knocked into shape by more competent writers. More importantly, he had the most beautiful blue eyes that Steve had ever seen. Steve could fall deeply into those eyes and had indeed done so snuggling him close in bed after a hard day in the office.
So the promise never amounted to much and Steve found himself usually massively rewriting the “ace reporter’s” crap work or slapping his name on some other better journalist’s investigation to keep his reputation good and strong enough to justify taking him on all those press junkets around the world.
And when Mr. Mountains had offered him the press secretary gig with way more pay and a chance to be witness to some really impressive history, not to mention an unlimited spending account and access to any Presidential Suite in the world, he had been too ready in hindsight to jump at the opportunity. Hadn’t he paid his price in blood? And it wasn’t like he was getting any younger. If it meant a chance to finally be out with his primary and be able to walk the streets hand-in-hand, any amount of political “fishiness” could be assuaged. Especially if he helped cover on Buck’s role as head reporter contact.
It had been a perfect plan, really. But then there was the bombing and Buck refused his role right after we pitched the offer so perfectly. It wasn’t at all like Nicolae wasn’t a seductive man. After that, it got worse. He could feel the force in his mind more often. More and more of his statements came from somewhere else. Whenever, he tried to explain the situation to Buck he felt stopped and trapped.
And then the incident at the UN happened. Steve tried to warn him in advance, but his body had moved of its own accord. Every time he had tried to explain or shout a warning or something, the voice in his head at hissed with pure hatred.
It said, “Shut up, faggot or I’ll erase another one of your precious memories doing…ugh.”
Though frankly, he should have been aware even before that when Buck first started asking those random questions about the End of Days. Weird hints fell out of his mouth, strange panics that weren’t his own and when he tried to include his own warnings of the UN trap, it merely mixed altogether with the rest of the crap.
In the end he lost his primary forever and even his position high atop this empty hotel, the voice and force wouldn’t even permit him to lose himself in base comforts.
To borrow from the mythology, he felt like he had sold his soul to the devil and for nothing.
So, Steve settled in with a bottle of Jack Daniels and once he reached bottom he picked up the gun and started at it. He checked the bullets and then set the simple pistol. Staring directly into that deep black opening with a weaving eye.
“Oh, my dear Mr. Plank, don’t do that,” a voice intoned lovingly before repeating himself in German and Swahili.
“Screw you, demon. You’re not going to get my mind,” Steve drunkenly slurred waving the gun at the blonde figure approaching him.
“Oh my dear Steve, what would I do with your mind? Such things are far above me. Now Steve, my dear Steve, why would you betray my trust like this? Not only would you deprive me of a Press Secretary on this momentous occasion, but you’d leave me with a large cleaning bill as well. Tsk tsk, poor form,” it intoned as it came close enough to grab the gun out of his hand while repeating himself in Portuguese and Korean.
“My dear drunken friend. What you need is a bedtime story. Let me tell you my favorite one. It’s about a small-time Romanian politician who late one night found God.”
Nicolae repeated himself in the voice of The Deity.
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