• Rendezvous

    tab I bought a latte having arrived early, impatient to meet this mystery person. It was seven-thirty, but I couldn’t wait any longer. It had been a long nine hours, and I had done everything from watching movies, to reading, to playing online games. I had no where else to go and nothing else to do. I walked over to the counter, sprinkling the rain off my umbrella. While waiting for my drink I sneakily gazed across the room, looking for anybody who was alone. Everybody was in pairs. There was an old couple sitting in the back corner, a young teenage couple in the arm chairs looking on a computer, and two middle aged couples near the windows. Every couple seemed engrossed in their conversation and oblivious to all else. I sighed as I picked up my cup, I realized I would have to wait a bit longer when a voice sounded behind me making me spill my drink.
    tab “Are you Jessica Riddle?” a male voice said. I turned around quickly, still holding the drink that was dripping onto my hand. There was a young man standing behind me, in his mid twenties at most. He had his arms crossed behind his back and was dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt with a rock band on it. He had long dark hair and wore glasses. He was soaked, he had forgotten an umbrella. His eyes never stopped moving around the shop, looking at every little detail.
    tab “Yes, and are you Richard Clark?” I asked, thankful that I wouldn’t have to wait as long as I had thought. He nodded and pointed at my drink.
    tab “Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to frighten you. Here, let me buy you a new drink, what did you have?” he asked politely. I shook my head.
    tab “No thank you, it didn’t spill that much, I’ll just get a napkin,” I told him. He went to go grab us a table while I cleaned my hand and cup. Richard was still looking around, constantly moving. I wandered what it was that he was so afraid of, and if I should be equally frightened. Not able to prolong our conversation any longer, I walked to the table he had chosen, the furthest from all the other couples and sat down. I waited for him to make conversation, but he said nothing, twitching and gazing suspiciously as if he excepted an attack at any moment. I realized I would have to start and asked the first question on my mind.
    tab “So, why is it that you wanted to meet with some one who also had people disappear around them?” I asked, keeping my eyes on my cup. He could have left then and I wouldn’t have noticed. My entire attention was placed on the small white cup in my hand. I only looked up when he began to talk.
    tab “I sent out that notice for one reason. I knew that talking over the web was dangerous, and I knew fully stating my reason behind this would be also. What I really wanted to talk about was conspiracy theories,” he said. I could see on his face, the fraction of a second that he looked at me, that he was terrified of my reaction. He clearly had given this opinion out before and it had been merciless received.
    tab “All right, that would be nice to hear,” I said, checking to see his reaction. He almost did a double take as he stared at me smiling, true delight in his eyes.
    tab “Thank you, that means so much. My idea is that the government is behind all this. They are kidnapping citizens, and I don’t know why. That’s why I sent that message out, I wanted to know what others thought,” he said this all very fast, as if that would make it more believable.
    tab “You think that the government has been kidnapping millions of citizens for some unknown reason?” I said, trying to keep the doubt out of my voice, but I slipped from keeping it from my face. I realized my eyebrows were raised a moment after he did. He ducked his head shamefully, his long hair obscuring his eyes so I couldn’t see his reaction clearly. I immediately felt guilty and tried my best to comfort him.
    tab “I’m sorry, it’s just a hard idea to grasp. Do you have any ideas about why they would be kidnapping people, I mean there has to be a point to it, doesn’t there?” I asked, trying to cheer him up and at the same time wanting hope. If he was right, my family might still be alive. He sat up straight, clearly feeling better.
    tab “Well, I really have no idea. But it appears that all the disappearances, center on certain people,” he leaned forward, and pulled out a notebook from his back pocket. It was blue and worn with a pencil in the spiral, “For me, it was my parents, two siblings, co-workers and school friends. Everybody I’ve interviewed said the same. How bout you? Who were the people you knew that disappeared?” he said, pulling out his pencil and finding a blank page in his almost full notebook. I sighed. He didn’t know anything, he just wanted research.
    tab “Um, I have to go, I’m sorry to take up your time like this, but I just remembered a doctor’s appointment I’m late for, I really have to get going. Bye, I’ll talk to you later or something,” I said, grabbing my bag. He stood up too, blocking my path with his outstretched arms.
    tab “No, please, I’m not trying to pry, I’m just curious, maybe we could work this out together. Two minds are better than one right? Please, don’t go,” he said, begging with his grey eyes and speech. I rolled my eyes but sat back down. A smile flashed across his face a second before leaving again. He sat back down, shoving his glasses up his nose and leaning forward.
    tab “So, what are your ideas?” he asked once I had settled down and taken a drink, “Do you think the government is involved?” I glared at him, angry that he was trying to force me into divulging my secret scheming.
    tab “No. I have no idea what the heck is going on. That’s why I agreed to meet you here,” I told him, happy that I didn’t give away my ridiculous daydreaming.
    tab “Oh come on, I know you must have something,” he said, imploring me with his eyes. It was hopeless, I couldn’t resist for much longer with those gorgeous eyes.
    tab “Aliens,” I said quietly, looking him in the eyes for a second to see what he would do. He laughed. I thought he would never stop laughing. The old couple in the corner was glaring at him, but he paid them no heed, nobody ever paid strangers any heed.
    tab “That’s your brilliant plan? Aliens,” he said, going into hysterics again. The old couple in the corner got up and left, clearly appalled by this sudden outburst of glee. I just glared at my cup, mortified by his reception; thank goodness I hadn’t told him my other ideas. I waited patiently for the storm to subside. He eventually took a deep breath and smiled, “I was thinking something a bit more logically from a girl like you.”
    tab “Sorry to disappoint,” I said softly to the cup, running my thumb along the crease binding the cup together. And people wondered why I didn’t share my thoughts.
    tab “It’s no big deal. Sorry I laughed so loud, I really didn’t mean to, it was just that it was such a funny idea and I had never thought of it. I never watched Sci-fi movies, so those kinds of things never enter my imagination. Here, I’ll share some of my ideas with you,” he said, flipping through his notepad, “I’ve got three ideas. One, our government is kidnapping people for experiments. You know, like they’re going to start a war or something on the world and need lots of test subjects. The virus is just an alibi. Two, there’s something wrong with the people’s genes. You know, they’ve got some genetic flaw of some kind that the government wants to get rid of so they just wipe them all out. And finally, it’s some kind of secret war between countries. Which government can wipe out the most of the other countries people before that country gets annihilated. They all have flaws, I think the third one is the least likely, but the other two have merit, but there’s no way we’ll ever really know. It’s impossible to get information these days, believe me I’ve tried. What do you think?” he asked, putting his elbow on the table and his head in his hand. I was stunned. My mind was reeling. I had never thought the government capable of such atrocities.
    tab “None of those sound very pleasant,” that was all I could say, and I immediately regretted it. What a dumb thing to say.
    tab “Pleasant? This is war, whether it’s with another country or with our own. We are getting battered and I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to stand for it. We need to defend ourselves. You know, like the civil rights people in the sixties. We have a right to know what’s happened to our family and friends don’t we? Come on, we can do something about this, you know we can. I can’t do it alone, but together, we can do anything. What do you say?” he said, smiling at me. It was obvious he had been practicing this speech for quite some time. Probably had even said it in front of the mirror. For the second time this conversation I was struck speechless. His words had slowly risen in volume till he was almost shouting at me. I looked around at the people who were studiously ignoring us; the level of sound in the room had remained unchanged during his speech, something I was tremendously glad for.
    tab “I don’t know what to say, I think you’re crazy and I don’t want to be a part of your plan,” I told the cup again. He sighed and spoke, keeping his voice level.
    tab “Wouldn’t you give anything to see your family again? Even if that meant you had to give your life for them?” he said. I looked up into his eyes and fell for the trap. There was nothing but compassion and longing in the abyss of grey. I knew I had nothing to fear because he wanted to see his family just as much as I did. He was some one I could trust, even if I had to put my life in his hands, I knew I could trust him.
    tab “All right,” I said, nodding slowly, “I’ll help you.” It felt like a death sentence, though I smiled. There was still hope after all.


    tab We decided the best way to get things done was to have a mass meeting of people like us. We went online and emailed all the bloggers in our area who had posted complaints and invited them to a meeting where we could discuss what to do. It was exhilarating to be a part of a secret organization. The people we emailed were hesitant at first, but eventually agreed after Richard had talked them into it, he was very good at convincing people. We met at the coffee shop every morning and stayed late in the afternoon, planning the meeting and the people involved.
    tab The meeting was only hours away when our guest list was stabilized, we had seven attendees. I smiled and glanced at Richard, we were at our new favorite hang out place, the coffee shop and it was early in the morning. We had gotten close these past few days. I had only known him for three days, but I felt as if I had known him my entire life. He was smiling too, his dark hair shiny with the rain that had landed in it only twenty minutes ago. It had been raining every since I had come back, I had yet to see the sun.
    tab “Are you excited?” he asked, smiling at me. I had grown to love his smile these past days, it was a nice substitute for the lack of sun.
    tab “You have no idea, I love secret conspiracy meetings,” I said, giggling slightly as I finished. I usually was opposed to giggling, this was new to me.
    tab “Oh yes, those are the best kinds of meetings,” he said. I giggled again. Oh no, I think I like him. The first time I had liked anybody in a long time.
    tab “Should we get going to the meeting place and get everything ready,” he asked, gathering his things up.
    tab “Yes, though it won’t take long, my house is still fairly clean,” I said. We had decided to have the meeting at my house, seeing as Richard’s apart was too small to cram seven people and a public place we had the chance that somebody might overhear and that was not good for us.
    tab We stood up and Richard grabbed the umbrella, it was still raining hard outside as we walked out the door. With the umbrella between us, we headed down the street, walking side by side in the rain.
    tab It took less time than I expected to clean the house, there was still thirty minutes before the meeting was to take place. It was scheduled for three p.m. and it was only two-thirty. I almost hoped that they would all show early, like I had in the coffee shop. It was rather awkward in my house, I was sitting on the far side of the couch with Richard sitting on the other, just sitting watching the TV. Neither of us were really watching the soap opera playing, apparently somebody had kidnapped somebody else’s baby because they were upset that they were not the father, I wasn’t really paying attention to the plot. I was nervous, there was no telling what was going to come through the door. Richard was equally nervous. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his leg bobbing up and down constantly, never ceasing in its movement. He also was continuously shoving the rims of his glasses further up his nose.