Pluribus 16

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September 18, 2031, 4:30 PM.

Tap could not believe it. “They built on an Indian burial ground? Come on!”
Jeff was thoughtful. “Well not technically. I mean they was Indians but they was massacred and did not bury themselves. That is how the Antzens got around the law. That and a little money. See, land used to be real expensive and for all their money, the Antzens are cheap bastards. Them bones got concrete poured right on top of them.”

As cynical as Tap was, he had to pursue. “Is that why the building was destroyed?”

The left corner of his mouth went up. “Some say yes, but some say it was Antzen himself.”

Tap nodded. “Well that is consistent anyway. How did it happen?”

“Antzen hired a bunch of refugees and hired me to boss them cause I spoke Vietnamese and he did not. He sold the company to Netrosonics. They did not say so, but it was pretty clear they did not like the Vietnamese. They brought in all these blond people from up north, army officer types to boss us around. They put up that Building 3 there. Put all kinds of security on it. People working in these buildings called it Siberia, seeing how it was farther way and cause they must have kept the air conditioning so cold.

Hard times came and the war started, more army officer types showed up. If the boss wanted to get rid of you they moved you to Building 3. People who went there just disappeared. Rumor was they just worked you to death. We were told not to talk to them or about them. Bosses would whisper that they were not very good, but we knew these people and knew it was not true.

To stay in good with the bosses you had to be in something they called the Savior Circle. If you were not in it, you were not saved. First they got rid of the Vietnamese, then they got rid of foreigners, then people with no kids like me and Tommy. You know, people like you.” He waved to Tap.

Tap gently encouraged Jeff. “Tell me about Tommy.”

“Tommy is a Raven Indian. You know what that means? Raven is a joker, a trickster, and a storyteller. He could meet somebody and imitate them right off. Used to make us all laugh. He could tell you exactly what some boss was going to do. He would just pretend to be the boss and figure out what the stupidest thing to do was and plan accordingly

Well the bosses called him Tonto behind his back. You know, Indian giver, stuff like that. They put him in that building, but he kept talking to other people. They gave him harder and harder things to do. They kept letting other people go and gave him their work. He would come by after work and could imitate all the people he replaced. It was like he captured their spirit. Then bosses made him work on some project that no one had ever finished. He finished and disappeared. They tried to duplicate what he did and could not. They kept adding people but it was not enough.

Strange things started happening in that building. Electrical stuff. People said it was haunted. The bosses emptied the building. I got laid off too when they closed these buildings.

The war got worse and then people started fighting back east. There was the earthquake and the fighting spread here. All those Savior Circle people showed up with their kids and boarded themselves up in Building 3. A battalion surrounded the place and asked them real nice to surrender. The soldiers never fired a shot, but the building just blew up. Saw it on the news. I figured with a second wave of people falling to invaders there must be a bunch of hungry ghosts, I better move in and keep them company.

It is funny, but I never saw Tommy until a few nights ago. He came to me and said you were coming to visit and I should give you what he gave me just before he left. He said what you are looking for is between the Indian and the buffalo.”

Jeff came over to Don and reached into his own pocket and gave him a coin.

It was a nickel, the same as the one he found in Freid’s apartment back in Shanghai.

E Pluribus Unum.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.