Johnny Faa – A lot of swearing

As soon as he effectively came too, all hell broke loose down in the compound. They had drugged the Gypsy King with good reason, as absolutely nothing within his path was safe. The guards shot him so many times they lost count, and as soon as he came to, something else would break. Tables, chairs, desks, computers, walls, floors, even the guards themselves were not safe from his wrath. A blown knee, a ruptured back, a bullet to the head… what cause were these for worry from the immortal man? And so Johnny Faa raged and rampaged deep below the surface of Iowa, while several floors above, David Berg was being detained in a much less explosive way.
“Damn it, David,” General Tate said from across his polished desk, “I don’t know if we can keep you out of the gallows for this.”
“Frankly,” David shot back coldly, “I don’t give a damn what happens right now. This whole place could go up for all I care. I hope Johnny burns this fuckin’ place to the ground.”
“Come on, David!”
Tate’s voice actually got a little out of hand. David had never seen that before.
“You’ve got…” he chose his words carefully, spitting them out with frustration, “you’ve got to understand what’s at play here. None of us are really in charge, we’ve got to follow our orders.”
“Oh, I understand that,” David shrugged, “but it’s still bullshit.”
“Don’t you realize that I was getting real and better data from the subject using this method as opposed to the government-sponsored ‘treat him like a dung beetle carrying Ebola’ method? I’ve got four notebooks full over the past few months, I’ve committed gigabytes to audio logs following each one of our meetings, and all with the permission of the subject. Now, how well do you think this is going to work now that you’ve drugged him and locked him back in his damned cage down there? You think he’s going to cooperate now?”
“It’s not my–”
“Go ahead, pull up his room on the security relay. I fucking dare you.”
“DO IT!”
He pulled up the feed for all of three seconds.
And then he cut the feed. David looked rather pleased with himself, leaning back in the chair and trying to take some of the stress off his handcuffs.
“I bet that video feed was a barrel of goddamn monkeys.”
“David, be reasonable,” Tate was pleading now, almost whining, “You knew this was part of the job when you signed up.”
“I was brought here to do two things, ach…” David tried to hold up fingers, but forgot he was cuffed, “and if I could move my hands, I’d be showing you two fingers… guess which two?”
General Tate heaved a sigh and shared an exasperated look at the two armed guards in the room.
“You know you’re not going to get dick out of him, now… and I know we haven’t tried sending anyone else through the rift.”
“If we can use your information,” Tate began “we would be able to pave a way for new travelers in the dimension.”
“And I bet you’d really like to know what he said to me tonight,” David shot back, “but you can’t. You won’t You’ve got everything else, I know, because you bug my house and my office and, I don’t know, probably my bathroom, but everything he explained to me tonight over those few beers, all the way in Marshalltown, well… even you guys didn’t have the foresight to bug the whole tri-state area, did you?”
General Tate did not answer, and David continued with a smirk.
“So I’m not giving you shit. And it’s good stuff, too, believe me. You wanna rough me up, torture me, kill me, go ahead. That’s only a fraction of what you’ve put that guy through down there. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be him? I haven’t even known him for a year and I ache all over when I look at the guy. Do you know how many times he died in World War I alone? Four hundred and twelve. You know why? Because he kept taking on names and identities of nobodys from Medicine Hat and Ely and Owatonna and Eureka, just so they could stay somewhere and stay alive… that’s nobility you guys can’t understand, won’t understand… and that’s why you always fail with him.”
There was a long pause then. Tate had his head bowed, both hands clenched into shaking fists. The two guards fingered their pistols, casting uncomfortable glances between the General and the bedraggled man chained to the chair.
“Why does he listen to you,” Tate said finally, his voice shaking uncontrollably.
“Oh, gee, I don’t know!” David hollered back, his voice banging off the walls, “Maybe because I’m the only one around here who doesn’t treat him like CRAP?! You all look at him like a freak, like a goddamn dragonfly stick-pinned to a piece of tagboard.”
David was crying now, and he didn’t care. His face turned into a soggy mess as he lambasted the General.
“Everybody here seems to think they’re hot shit: secret government personnel, best in their fields, blah blah whatever. And that they’ve got to somehow prove they can be better than the guy who’s lived a few millenia… bullshit! If just one person around here knew what it was like to really hate yourself, to want nothing more than to just have the world do away with you to save you the trouble of buying the gun or the pills… Maybe you’d get where he’s coming from.”
“Get him out of here,” Tate’s voice was a raw and broken whisper, “Lock him up.”
“Good!” David shouted as the guards lifted his entire chair and carried him toward the door, “Just don’t put me anywhere near Johnny, or we’re going to find a way to burn this fucking place to the ground… but not you, General, sir! You fucking cheat, you fucking poser, you goddamned worthless liar! You acted all buddy-buddy until Uncle Sam told you what’s what, didn’t you? No, we’ll keep you alive, and we’ll mess you up real good. God damn it, I actually thought you had something, Tate. God damn you.”
And with that, the door shut, and Tate was left alone to cry. David was taken into a small, dark room and released from the chair, which he promptly tried to use as a club on the guards. Not being in Special Forces, he was quickly disarmed and knocked out. What followed was a time that David guessed was about five days, given how many meals had been served to him. His fifth breakfast MRE was served to him by General Tate himself. To David’s surprise, he was not in his usual rail-straight, spit-and-polish demeanor: his jacket was off, his tie undone, his boots scuffed and his pants horribly wrinkled. He had an impressive growth of stubble around his lantern jaw, and his usually shaven head was beginning to show the signs of regrowth. Tate set the tray down on the floor, and sat down next to it.
“We, uh…” he said with no shortage of sheepishness, “We ought to look into getting you some furniture in here, huh?”
“Shove it, asswax,” David said as he set upon the biscuits and gravy like a dog. After a few mouthfuls, he looked up and took note of Tate’s appearance.
“You look like shit. I hope I’m responsible… jerk-off.”
The General took the insults in stride and cocked his head to one side.
“In a way, yes,” he said through dry and cracked lips, “we, uh… I was given orders to attempt the continued collection of data using current staff and retirees.”
David took a moment to swallow the food, then burst out laughing hysterically for a full five minutes, until his voice had gotten so shriekingly high in repeated raising levels of mirth that it literally broke into a wheezing hiss.
“Oh…oh, damn!” He finally caught his breath and returned to eating, “Best thing I’ve heard all week. Well, only thing I’ve heard all week, except for the sound of my own voice and the sound of my bowel movements. So… Johnny didn’t take, I assume?”
“In essence, yes.”
David laughed again.
” ‘In essence.’ Fuckin’ hell, man…” he giggled around another mouthful of biscuit, “He musta tore this place the fuck up!”
“Not exactly.”
David heard Tate’s old voice, his authoritative, commanding voice come back and he immediately paid attention.
“Well, he did, that much is certain…” Tate shrugged a little, “But I’m afraid that’s not the reason why I’m here today.”
“Enh?” David asked as he drained his canteen of water.
“You see, Mr. Berg…” the General fiddled with his undone tie for a moment, “We have a situation.”

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