The events of this story are true. It occurred in North Dakota in 2010. The names have been changed to protect the victims. Everything else has been told exactly as it happened.
Bismarck, North Dakota
Now our story takes two paths. In the first we meet Jerry a meek man with a red noise, boring grey suit, and bloodhound eyes as he pulls into the Boar’s Head, which was outfit in the traditional Western style - so a lot of wood animal heads mostly. The bar was relatively empty. There were only a couple of patrons, noticeably a fat man with in a he-man shirt. Jerry scanned around for the person he was supposed to be meeting. He finally noticed the woman sitting behind the bear’s head. He was pretty sure this was her - six foot three, short bleached blond hair, a thick muscular frame.
Jerry sat down. “Um, are you the person I’m supposed to be meeting? I mean I don’t want to assume, because you know what they say about people who assume," said Jerry.
“So you’re Jerry Janes," she said with a slight British accent.
“So you’re from England. I didn’t know that," said Jerry.
“Thank you. So I’m not sure how this is done usually. I’ve never done one of these types of things before," said Jerry.
“Jerry, it’s simple. We pay a million dollars, you vote the way we want.”
“Yes, it’s really against my character," said Jerry.
The woman twitched ever so slightly when Jerry said that.
“Twenty years I’ve been on that council. I’ve been honest that whole time," said Jerry.
“Mr. Jones, can I ask you, have you ever heard of the tale of the smartest dog in the world?”
“Uh uh," said Jerry.
“Despite its intelligence, the only thing it was ever really interested in was chasing squirrels.”
“Uh huh," said Jerry.
“Are you following me on the dog?”
“Yes, yes, it was a smart dog," said Jerry.
“Do you want to know what the dog’s accomplishment was?”
“It ran out on the street chasing a squirrel; it got hit by a car.”
‘True, true," said Jerry.
The next moment was horrible for Jerry. It was long, It was so very long.
“So, about…..so, uh, uh," said Jerry.
“Yes, Mr. Janes.”
“So, about the money," said Jerry.
The woman pulled up a solid metal briefcase. Jerry opened it; he saw the most money he had ever seen in his life.
“Gosh," said Jerry.
The woman quickly slammed it shut.
“Uh, how much money was in there?" said Jerry.
“Five hundred thousand dollars.”
“Gosh, that is certainly a heck of a lot of money," said Jerry.
“Yes, it is Jerry. Have you ever served in the military?”
“No, I can’t say that I have," said Jerry.
“So, I’d like to give you something, Jerry.”
She pulled out of her pocket a revolver. Jerry quickly grabbed it, hid it in his coat.
“What are you doing?" said Jerry.
“Don’t worry, Jerry.”
“There are people around here," said Jerry.
The woman scanned the room; her eyes landed on the obese man in the he-man shirt. She looked back at Jerry.
“Sure there are, Jerry. Jerry, you are now part of an organization that is bigger and more complex than you’ll ever know. We feel it is appropriate that you maintain a firearm on yourself.”
“Okay, okay, I understand it. I have been a loyal soldier for the party. I will be a loyal soldier for my new friends," said Jerry.
“You’re a good man, Jerry. “
There was another pause. Jerry, not wanting to be rude or anything, was not entirely sure if the conversation was over yet. When the woman continued talking, he knew it wasn’t. Being as Jerry didn’t want to seem rude to end the conversation before it came to a natural end, there was another of those terrible pauses.
Finally she said, “Jerry, feel free to leave. There’s nothing keeping you here.”
“Um, okay, thank you," said Jerry.
“We’ll be in touch.”
As Jerry walked out of the bar, he noticed that the obese man in the he-man shirt walked out too with only a scarf on.
Slightly inebriated, he came over to Jerry and said, “I know you.”
“You’re Jerry. I voted for you," said He-man.
“Thank you kindly," said Jerry.
As he walked out of the bar, he noticed a minivan pulling up to it. ‘I’ve gotta go," said Jerry.
The door opened; the man climbed into the minivan. “Mom that's Jerry Janes. I voted for him," said He-man.
“That’s nice, dear," said He-man’s mom.
Jerry got into his car. He noticed the minivan was going in the same direction. Jerry thought, “What a coincidence. He's probably from the town.”
Visibility was low on account of the snow and the darkness. Jerry felt weirdly confident. He felt as if he was on the other side of something fantastic and wonderful; as he drove he seemed ready for his new life. He had his money; he even had a gun out of the equation. He drove ready and confident to enter this new world. It was then that he noticed a girl about seventeen in a Super Girl costume in the middle of the road. He swerved to miss her. His car flipped over. He heard loud ringing, then, taking the butt of the gun, he broke his window. He was okay. The case was not. He could see the money flying out of the car. Taking the butt of the gun, he cracked the window further, climbed out.
It was then that he noticed He-man staring up at all the money flying around. In that second Jerry shot the obese man in the head and the heart. Then he shot up the minivan. Opening up the minivan, he noticed an older woman in it who had grey, curled hair. She was wearing a lumber jack jacket. She looked to be about 70. He closed the door. He was relieved to know that she was dead, was less relieved as he saw the headlights of another car come up. The driver swerved, lost control of the car and hit a tree. Jerry shot the car then gathered up as much of the money as he could, got in his car and drove off into the night.
Now that same night across town there was a Halloween ride that every year on Halloween the Wilmar Presbyterian Church has on harvest festival to, you know, keep teens away from drinking, drugs, sex - all things teenagers hate. Once again, Zoyna Gunderson – Zoe to her friends - ended up here. She had sworn she wouldn’t go to it she even dyed her hair blue with she thought would make her look cooler and, help distract from the achene it dint help, all in hopes that she would actually go to a real fun place instead . That would mean actually talking to people. That was not Zoyna’s favorite thing to do. So once again she was on a hayride with a bunch of hay geeks. Zoyna thought that that was a super duper mean thing to think, so she silently apologized to them in her head, or so she thought. But she actually yelled aloud, “I’m sorry.” It was weird. Everybody looked at her like she was crazy. She wasn’t. She was readily assured that all the things she experienced were normal teenage girl things – just a little extra on top of that.
So eventually the hay ride, the singing, all the things ended, and she got back to the festival. It was long; it was arduous; it was terrible, it happened. There was a tag football game and Zoyna thought that that would sort of be entertaining. It wasn’t. The flag football game had a bunch of old men. In a few years Zoyna would wonder why old men were willing to play with a bunch of teenagers, but now she thought, “Eh, it’s best to put thoughts like that outside your head.”
Whatever – life was life; she was calm; there was nothing going wrong at the moment. Then something weird happened – not meaning an alien or anything like that. Somebody talked to her. That somebody was somebody she didn’t recognize. He was Ray Fitzpatrick, or Fritz, as his friends used to call him. He looked outgoing.
He said, “Hi.”
“Hi,” said Zoyna.
“Is this your idea of fun?” said Zoyna.
“I assume it’s a 43-year-old Evangelical’s idea of a fun time.”
“Oh come on. Don’t say that. I mean there was a hay ride. What’s not fun about riding on hay?” said Fritz.
“Wait. No, you’re right; I’m wrong. Of course that makes it the most fun thing in the world.”
“I’m glad you see that," said Fritz.
“You’re not being serious, are you, because I’m being very sarcastic," said Zoyna.
“No, I’m joking," said Fritz.
Then they introduced themselves - you know, boy meets a girl at a Christian youth thing. Both of them had a feeling that at any minute now they would start going at it, but for the moment they sat back and watched the flag football game.
They looked as ants to Tomorrow Girl. That didn’t really matter to Tomorrow Girl; she didn’t even realize who they were. When her ship had crashed into the desolate waste land of Minnesota, she staggered out confused. Bleeding, badly injured, half blind, she began jumping around, looking for something, any sign of help. One of Tomorrow Girl’s lesser stated abilities is her jumping prowess. If she can build up enough speed, she can display truly staggering feats, like leaping. She had a perfect phrase to describe how far she could jump. You could almost say she could jump a well-sized apartment complex in a singular thrust. She also wondered if there was a simpler way to put that; she was desperate. There was also a slightly less talked about fact, especially for Tomorrow Man because he didn’t especially want for people to know about this fact, that if you jumped too high too fast, there was a chance that you could black out. As Tomorrow Girl approached the flag football game, finally coming in contact with some life, she blacked out, falling right into the middle of the game.
It was fortunate that there were so few injuries; nobody was sure for a while what had happened. She had fallen at over 200 miles per hour, created a crater in the ground about three feet deep, and for a brief second everything was total whiteout. Everybody ran, except for Zoyna. Mainly out of fear she froze and looked straight into the gaping hole that had suddenly opened up. A lot of people ran, and when the debris cleared, all Zoyna saw was a girl. Tomorrow Girl got up with barely enough strength and said, “Don’t worry everybody; I arrived without a scratch,” and collapsed.