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Drama Suspense

HUDSON'S SWEET SHOP - NYC

“Hurry up and choose a flavor or we'll miss our bus”. The mother gently prodded her son. He shuffled from foot to foot, anxious and impatient with himself for holding them up.

“I have it narrowed down to green apple, strawberry banana, or coconut delight.” He said, looking up at his mother. “Which would you choose?” he asked.

“I'd take the lemon lime if I were you”. She put her hand on his shoulder as a sign of her urgent attempt to get moving to the bus stop on the corner.

“Yuk. Much too sour”

“Just pick one already, and hurry”.

He thought for a few minutes more and then noticed that there were plenty of green apple and strawberry banana pops but only one coconut delight sitting in a corner by itself. 

“I'll take that lonely little coconut delight sitting by himself.” Harold had a way of personifying inanimate objects, which his mother usually found endearing but right now her eagerness to keep moving overshadowed any other emotions. She paid the man behind the counter with a ten and anxiously awaited her change. 

“For goodness sake, Harold. It wasn't an earth shaking decision. It's not like picking the wrong flavor would start World War III. It's a pop for God's sake!” The man behind the counter smiled in empathy with Harold's mother and gave him his coconut delight lollypop. 

“There you go,” he said amiably. “ And you are still in time for your bus. Enjoy your lolly'' he called as Harold's mother pulled him out the door. 

AREA 51 

“Brief me one more time. What do we expect to get from Ambassador Sylvester during this meeting?”

Corporal Thomas Copetti looked around the table at the assembled dignitaries. He was anxious for General Ray Lyman, Secretary of Defense, to arrive. It was he who would lead the meeting Some of them coughed nervously and some just looked down obviously not wanting to speak. Finally a tall man stood. 

“Ronald Higgens, sir. US Ambassador to the United Nations”

“I know who you are, man, just speak, I need to be as prepared as possible just in case Lyman is late for whatever reason. Higgens shifted positions and continued. 

“Rumor has it that somehow Sylvester has classified information about area 51 and our First Line of Defense Project.” As he had nothing else to contribute Ambassador Higgens quickly retook his seat.

Corporal Copetti, newly appointed Assistant to Secretary of Defense, looked once more around the room. 

“So I just ask him where he got it, just come out and say 'look old chap where did you get all that classified info' just like that eh? Come on people, help me out here. Exactly what facts do we have? I've had a little less than two hours to prepare for this and damn it, I need more to go on if Secretary Lyman gets held up somehow.”

“Sorry I'm late” a grey haired man in uniform rushed into the room. Having just arrived he hadn't

had the time to brief his staff.

“General Lyman!! Thank God you're here.” Copetti was obviously relieved to see his boss. He rose from his seat and crossed the room to meet him.

“Well, since I was already in Washington the President chose to meet with me and get me up to speed so that I could do the same for you.” A hand went up in the back of the room. An older man apparently seasoned in this type of thing, spoke. 

“If I may ask, why isn't the President himself here?” Lyman looked at the group and gave the answer to the question that he was sure was foremost in the minds of everyone in the room.

“They are only sending Ambassador Sylvester and a few lesser officials. We can't dignify that delegation by having our President attend. Their president could have come but didn't. Does everyone understand. Nods of agreement went around the room, and he continued. “Now we all know that Sylvester is a powerful man. In fact at this point we don't really know just how far that power reaches. So we treat this as a top level meeting between the presidents of the respective countries. Understood?”

AN AIRSTRIP SOMEWHERE IN ARIZONA

The giant 747 made a near perfect landing, but it didn't please the main occupant of the aircraft. Teryid Sylvester was a man who was near impossible to please and never allowed anyone to forget it. 

“Good landing, eh, Sylvester?” His aid looked at him warily.

“It was bumpy.” he growled. “Now let's get on with this meeting, before I fall asleep from utter boredom.” His staff bustled around readying things for his departure.

“Ready sir.”

“Is the chopper here?” he asked in a grouchy voice.

“Yes sir. Here and ready for takeoff.” The speaker stood at attention.

“Good, good.” Sylvester's mood softened. He could be a very sane and reasonable man when the circumstances were going in his favor. 

They departed the aircraft and hurried straight to the large black hawk copter sitting with its rotors fully engaged, ready for a rapid takeoff. Ducking to avoid the blades Teryid Sylvester and his entourage made a hurried entrance and after buckling in and putting on their headphones the black bird took off almost immediately, bound for Area 51.

THE WHITE HOUSE – WASHINGTON D.C.

“So those are the facts gentlemen. And not too encouraging I might add”. The President of the United States took a deep breath and then a sip of his coffee. “I have complete confidence in 

General Lyman and his staff to diffuse the situation while still getting us the information that we need. Any questions?” The small group of men scattered about the room shifted in their seats and simultaneously indicated their answer by nodding their heads. 

“All sources available indicate that this is just a show of power and that we haven't got too much to worry about. But when dealing with Sylvester there is always a possibility of escalation. His temper is volatile and his sanity is highly questionable. We must proceed with extreme caution and I have every reason to believe that our delegation will do so. It is the belief of our top men that they are sending Sylvester to make us squirm. Which, gentlemen, we shall not do.” His statement was followed by a few moments of silence as the collection of top officials processed what the Commander in Chief had just said. 

“Mr. President, then the possibility of escalation depends on how well General Lyman and his crew can handle the moods of a madman?” The speaker was the former Secretary of Defense, now retired due to health reasons. He was a highly competent and capable man, as were all of the small assembly gathered for the meeting.

“Yes,” answered the President, “but since this meeting has been classified as merely a show of power meant to shake us up, as my sources inform me, then there is not too much to worry about.The delegation will proceed with extreme caution and will play their little charade with them while surreptitiously extracting the information we hope to attain. As of this moment we are treating it as a non-security issue.”

“And why Area 51?” 

“It was at the request of their delegation. We have no reason to believe that the purpose of the Area has anything to do with what they want to discuss. When questioned they merely said that from their point of view it is the most secure place in our country. There is no way they will be allowed access to any classified information. They will not even get past the first level. Again, we are playing their game in order to have the meeting go smoothly so that we can learn what we need to. There is no danger of any security being breached. I promise you.”

ON A BUS SOMEWHERE IN NYC

Harold held on to his lollypop as through it were made of precious metal. He occasionally lifted it to his face and smiled.

“Would you eat that already, Harold. You're going to lose it or drop it on this dirty floor and then I won't let you eat it.” His mother shifted her packages in her arms and took a close look at her son. He was perfectly happy doing exactly what he was doing. He didn't appear to have heard her until he glanced at her and smiled.

“He was the only one left of his kind, so there must be a ceremony before eating takes place, don't you think so?” His mother sighed. When he was on one of his imaginative adventures there was no getting through to him. She was used to it. His teacher had said to encourage his imagination as much as possible, that it was a healthy pastime for a boy his age to pretend. She believed his teacher, as some of his written compositions had come home marked with glowing praise. And he had used his imagination to write those, hadn't he. She wouldn't discourage his fantasies.

“I'll have a ceremony when we first get home, and then I'll eat it. I'm so glad that I chose coconut delight. I'm sure it is the best flavor of all. I do like coconut you know.”

“Well it sure took you long enough to decide.” His mother lovingly patted his arm.

“Well,” he answered confidently, “it was a big decision.” 

AREA 51

The giant helicopter set down on a pad near a large white building. Ambassador Sylvester was the next to the last passenger to deplane. He stood at the door and surveyed his surroundings. 

“So this is it.” he said to no one in particular. “The famous Area 51.” He paused, then “Let us not keep our hosts waiting. They have been very cooperative so far.” An aide handed him a briefcase and he, along with the rest of his retinue, proceeded towards the group of dignitaries walking towards them led by the major negotiator, General Lyman.

“Welcome Ambassador Sylvester, welcome. It is an honor to have you visit us” 

“The pleasure is all mine.” countered Sylvester. “It is a great honor to be welcomed no nobly to your great country”. Clutching the briefcase in his left hand he followed the honor guard inside. They all, Americans included, walked through a stringent security check, then went straight to the conference room.

They got the formalities out of the way as quickly as possible with everyone seated at the table being introduced and given a name plaque to place in front of them. Then they began in earnest. As it turned out, the president had been correct in assuming that nothing of any real national importance was discussed. A request for an agreement of non interference concerning two small warring countries, petitions for several other seemingly insignificant proposals, all of which the General had been given the authority to sign. Lyman couldn't help but noticing that Sylvester kept a tight hold onto his briefcase throughout the meeting, and kept his guard up in case something of significance was yet to be addressed. He was aware that security had checked the briefcase with their new laser scanner. The state of the art security swept each of them as they walked through it. They had informed him that the briefcase held nothing but papers and a small rabbits foot keychain with no keys on it. An enigma to be sure, but then he considered that he was dealing with a man of dubious sanity. What the sophisticated machine couldn't see however was the ray resistant substance that he had painted on his left hand.

The meeting ended on a cordial note and the two men said their goodbyes. 

“Oh, I almost forgot.” said the Ambassador as he neared the black hawk, “I must get my favorite American delicacy before returning home. Gentlemen, can a stop in New York City be arranged before our final departure?”

Lyman had Copetti get the details of exactly where they were going and arrange for the security that would be needed on this abrupt change of itinerary. It was all completed swiftly. The General thought it a rather strange request, but decided to oblige to keep the good mood going. The man was undeniably a bit off balance. They would keep him and his party safe in New York then quickly get them back to their 747 to return them to their homeland. Only then would the General completely relax. 

“Just for the record,” he asked Copetti as they slowly walked backed into the building. “What restaurant in New York serves this delicacy that is so important to our guest?” Copetti looked at the General and smiled. 

“It isn't a restaurant at all, but a candy store on the east side of town.” Both men laughed. “So I guess he is human after all.”

HUDSON'S CANDY STORE – NEW YORK CITY

“Yes, my friends,” said Sylvester in his native tongue. “I heard about this place from a dear friend who was vacationing with his family. They carry my favorite candy. I shall buy them all out of it and then we leave for home. Right?” His entourage nodded amused agreement. The store had been carefully checked prior to their arrival and was perfectly safe to enter for the foreign dignitary. When they arrived, another quick check was made by the Secret Service who gave it their 'okay'.

There was one person in the store, the man behind the counter. With security stationed at both the front and back doors, Sylvester was allowed to enter alone, at his insistent request. He walked to the counter with a smile on his face.

“Hello friend,” he began. The clerk was nervous. He knew nothing about this strange man only that he had the tightest security that he had ever seen or heard of. He must be very important, he thought, and worried that he would say the wrong thing. He tried.

“Welcome to my candy shop. I am Dennis, the owner and maker of these delicious candies. How may I serve you?” So far so good he thought, but what came next?

“Nice to meet you, Dennis. In my country there are no such places as your beautiful shop. I have a friend who recommended you. His children gave me some of the candy they brought from here and it was delicious. I must have another piece or maybe a whole bag of them.” He was still smiling as he spoke. 

“You can have all we have of it, free of charge. It isn't every day that we have such a distinguished visitor.” He had no idea who exactly he was talking to, but he reasoned that he must be a very important man considering all the preparations they went through for his visit. Yes, Dennis thought he must be very important. What he failed to see was that he was also quite insane. “What kind of candy would you like sir” he asked.

“My favorite of course. A candy on a stick, what do you call them...?

“Lollypops”

“Ah yes, lollypops. I'll have a bag of coconut delight lollypops. And make it fast, I have a plane to catch.” Dennis's face fell. He had sold the last one just a few hours ago.

“I'm sorry sir, but we don't have any in that flavor. What else would you like?” Sylvester's fist came down upon the counter when he heard this. His face grew red.

“I have come very far to get this candy and I will have some! Get some! Immediately! Dennis was getting frightened at this point but suddenly the anger seemed to dissipate. “Let me show you something” the man said in a calm voice as he put his briefcase on top of the glass. But instead of opening it, he twisted the handle and it popped open. Inside the handle were three small buttons. “See this button here?” he asked. “That one is Los Angeles. The one next to it is Washington D.C.. And this one here” he said putting his finger on the third one. “This one is New York City. Now think again. Do you have any of the coconut delight, how did you call them? Ah yes lollypops. Do you have any for me now?' 

Dennis was having trouble breathing. With all the security surrounding them he was still alone with this maniac. To any one observing the men were just having a casual conversation.

“What do you mean that the buttons are cities? I...I don't understand.

“These buttons are connected to bombs that have been planted in each of these cities. When I press the button... Boom! City gone, people gone, nothing left but a mushroom cloud. You have heard of such bombs, yes? Dennis knew exactly what kind of bomb he was talking about. But he didn't know what to do.

“I'll give you three chances. Now do you have my candy”

Dennis was weeping now and shook his head. The madman pressed one of the buttons. “There goes Los Angeles. Do you want another chance? he asked. Dennis didn't say anything.

“Now do you have my coconut delight lollypop?” Dennis stood there numb with fear. “Oh” said the madman pressing the second button. “There goes your President. He is in Washington now I know”

“No third chances. I am tired of playing games.” He pressed the third button and started for the door. 

But, of course, he never made it.

May 25, 2021 03:02

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