Honolulu, HI – September, 1980
As night fell on the island, Jack and Adhira had dinner at Roy’s Hawaii Kai.
“Food’s great here. Remember when we worked that surveillance gig back in’78?”
“Yea. That was a crazy time, Adhira. It’s been two years. You still look the same.”
“You look a little tired, Jack. Have you read the file?”
“Probably jet lag, that’s all. Yea, I read it on the plane out here. The guy seems a bit nuts but I don’t see the urgency here.”
“Well, if Marty hired you it must mean something. How bad is your life? You’re in Hawaii for goodness’ sake.”
“Yea, but why are you here, Adhira?”
“Oh, thanks a lot, Jack. Way to make a girl feel welcome.”
“You know what I mean. I always work alone. I just like it that way. Free to move around how and when I want.”
“Marty just thought that you could use a little company on the road for this sort of job. You know my skills. One of them is to keep whoever I’m with calm and centered. And you know how you can sometimes be.”
“How can I be, Adhira?”
“A little intense. You tend to get a little obsessed with the work. I’m here to provide you with a bit of balance.”
“Did Marty tell you that about me?”
“There are files on all of us, Jack. Now eat your butterfish.”
Jack grinned and took a mouthful. He looked into Adhira’s dark eyes. She smiled and sipped her wine. He always wondered how such a beautiful woman could end up working at the agency. That lovely face framed with raven tresses that tumbled about her shoulders like a moonless river.
“So what’s your take on this guy, Jack?”
“Well, as I said, he seems a little nuts. Textbook upbringing. His father was a sergeant in the air force, and his mom was a nurse. Dad was a little abusive to his mom and he never felt like his old man loved him. That sounds like my family. What son hasn’t thought that about their father?”
“Yea, and he wasn’t athletic in school and sort of a poor student. Kind of a loser.”
“Yea, kind of like me. But then there’s all the religious stuff he’s gotten into. I think that’s where the real trouble normally begins. People get these righteous ideas, and some can get a little fanatical about that. My ex-wife was religious and she had a lot of good intentions if you get what I mean.”
“Yea. The road to hell is paved with them. I get you. This guy did have some early success working at that kid’s camp in Georgia. Maybe he should have just kept doing that.”
“But I think as he’s gotten older he’s started to unravel a bit. I don’t know what happens to some people. Most of us get disillusioned and sad about stuff, but we move on. Then other people just can’t seem to pull themselves out of it. It’s a real shame.”
Did you see in the file how he starts to get into these altercations with the camp counselors and can’t seem to fit in anywhere?”
“Right. Which for some odd reason brings him out here. It’s odd. It’s expensive to live on this island. It’s a resort. Then he attempts suicide by asphyxiation in his car but screws that up too when the hose he stuck on the exhaust pipe melts, and he survives. Some people move to California thinking they’ll start a new life. But like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath, it’s just the last exit for the lost. But why Hawaii to kill yourself?”
“Maybe to die in paradise? Didn’t they give him a job at the mental hospital they stuck him after his attempted suicide?”
“Yea, but then he got into an altercation with the head nurse and quit. I think the last job he held was as a security guard. Funny how he’s good with the kids at the camp, then works at a hospital, and then in security. It’s like he’s always working in jobs that serve and protect human life. But then he starts drinking and that’s never a good thing if you’re suffering from mental illness.”
“I think it’s only made his obsessions worse.”
“Yea, booze makes you feel better in the beginning but after a while, it sledgehammers everything else in your life.”
“Speaking from personal experience, Jack?”
“What do you think?”
Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!
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