"We would like to meet with you please. We know what you did and we would like to express our gratitude in person. "
Sitting here minding my own business, trying to work in a sea of cubicles where far too much noise was permeating the grey walls that surround each of us. I look up; look around to see if some "friend" is making an attempt at humor. I find no one looking back at me.
"If you could meet us on 13th street, we would appreciate it."
Why do I always get the weirdos?
I find myself searching frantically through my brain. Whose voice was that? What are they referring to? Actually contemplating heading to 13th street was almost as unnerving as seeing the two people headed to my desk. Straight out of a scene from The Matrix, a very serious man and woman dressed in black with sunglasses on (yeah, inside a building, see what I mean? Weirdos. What did I do?
"Greetings.” Mr. Not-Gonna-Crack-A-Smile says to me. No hand extended to shake mine. How very Howie Mandel I think. "We are here to make sure you get to 13th Street uninterrupted. "
"Can you explain what this is about? It’s a little crazy that I am just supposed to get up and leave with two strangers. "
"I understand your concern. It's about the cab ride. "
The reality of those words sets in, heavy on my chest. Yesterday I reacted based on impulse and emotion with little thought to the outcome. I was already regretting it.
I took a deep breath, gathered my things and headed to the transport area. I kept thinking over and over "Man. You. Are. Stupid. "
Cursed really. I have what are quite possibly the dumbest super powers EVER. I can't heal the sick, reverse time, or snap my fingers and transport. No, I am blessed with two things. 1. I can immediately sense good versus evil. 2. I can make you think you are someone other than what exists in your own reality.
Okay, maybe not number 1 because that kind of comes in handy when dating. Number 2 causes me nothing but trouble. It was REALLY funny the day in 6th grade that I convinced my brother he was a bullfrog all day, not so funny when my parents got a call from his kindergarten teacher because he was sitting in the water fountain asking for flies with his Kool aid for snack. They grounded me that day until I turned 18 and did the same many times after.
So when random people jump in my cab when I am trying to get to work, you can probably understand how bad habits quickly surface under stress. Just as I am about to give my destination to the driver, a fat, old guy jumps in the front seat babbling about some radio DJ he just met.
“Excuse me, this cab is taken.”
“So sorry miss, he was my favorite baseball player back in the day and now he has a show I love. I got his autograph, look!” He shoves a baseball with Sharpie scribbles in my face.
“Nice. Okay, I don’t mind sharing but…”
Slam, the back door closes and I look over and a man has joined us in the backseat. Older, fair skin, hair, eyes and a black suit. My heart races, he is a preparer.
“Sir, if you will just step out of the cab, I will get you to your destination safely.” He gently whispers, attempting to influence him and gain control.
I respond without thinking, pushing ahead of his thoughts and effecting an immediate change.
“Oh thank you, are you a fan? I just arrived at work but for your generosity, here is a baseball I just signed.” He promptly hands the ball to the preparer and jumps out of the car on his way to what he thinks is his radio show job.
“You will regret this.” He whispers to me on his way out of the backseat.
Not the people I want angry with me. Ugh. Most people have powers; most people don’t have powers that would directly result in pissing off the other side.
Of course, I hadn’t thought, just reacted, at the time. Now these people are escorting me to the transport system and thanking me.
“He was one of our greatest scientists and advocates for learning to block the other side from influencing humans. They have been targeting him for a long time but we lost him when he ran into the building. We didn’t know he was a fan, or that he would ever break routine. Your flip in the cab allowed us to catch up with him when he came back in the lobby. This however, created another problem. One for you.”
“Me? I am low man on the corporate totem pole, how do I have a problem from the other side?” Shock and panic spread through my mind quickly. I didn’t like the way this was going.
“They see you as a threat to their progress. They have sent a preparer to kill you.”