Updated: Nov 2, 2019
There's an old saying that, "Money is the root of all evil," and while this can be true, it is not always the case. Sure money can buy bombs, create greed, death, destruction, and bring about misery; but it can also buy research, education, items of survival, cures, things that innovate, and bring about happiness.
Brad Shogun was a rich man, had built his empire on inspiration and an unwavering dedication to discovering the truth, no matter how strange, no matter how weird. And though he was often the source of ridicule for some of his wild ideals, he had built himself a shield of confidence, and he wore it well.
He hadn't always been a confident man. Once upon a time he was insecure. He had grown up poor always wanting more. He had fought off that worse enemy called jealousy though, fought it off till it was gone. He had discovered that having more, wasn't what mattered, what mattered was having a passion. Having more was just a consolation prize.
The kitchen in Brad's house was on the second story, and overlooked Huntington Beach, with a view of the waves crashing the sand. During the summer the beach would be crowded with surfers, but it was almost fall now, and there were only a couple of them out there in search for the perfect wave.
Brad was cooking his specialty, french toast, like he did every Tuesday. Tuesday was his only day off, and he always spent it with his wife Julie, who worked as a nurse. This morning they had a house guest. Tim had spent the night after his dealings with the Nazi, skinhead, vampires, from hell. Introductions had already been made. Julie had short blond hair, she was very beautiful, with a perfect smile. She was beautiful on the inside too.
"Well, you look pretty healed up." Said Julie. "I was expecting you to look halfway decapitated, by the way Brad described your little adventure last night."
"Yeah, I can't explain it. I feel great too."
"Tim's a healing machine! He looks like a million bucks." Said Brad as he placed a plate french toast in front of him. "My famous french toast, enjoy! You want anything to drink?"
"You got any coffee?" Asked Tim.
"No, we don't drink coffee, but I've got some OJ, the vitamins will be good for you."
Brad poured three glasses of OJ, and sat with them. He said a prayer, thanking God for all of their blessings and protections, and then they ate.
"I love watching the surfers in the fall." Said Brad, with his eyes glossing up. "Only a few out there living the dream, still chasing that perfect wave, even though it's getting cold and most have packed up for the winter."
Brad was getting sentimental, and though Julie loved that side of him, she loved making him laugh even more. "Well look at the brain on Brad!" She said laughing, referencing the movie, Pulp Fiction. They had gone to see it together that summer, and they both had loved it. "These are some tasty french toasts!" They all started laughing. Brad loved that about her; she was always quick with wit, and always made him laugh at just the right time.
"There's someone I want you to meet today." Brad said to Tim. "A man from the lodge, one of those secret societies, can't say which one, but the one with the crazy handshakes, you know the one. Can't tell you his name either, hope you understand. He wants to meet you though."
Brad's home office had no windows, no telephones, just four walls, a desk, and some chairs. It was secure. The man from the lodge embraced Brad with a special handshake. His hair was perfectly short, combed back, and parted to the side. His blue suit was pressed, with tight creases, and he was looking sharp, with a Full Windsor knot. The shine on his shoes, were like mirrors.
The man from the lodge offered an opening prayer, which was ritual and always done. He prayed for wisdom, truth, and protection.
"Gentleman, I'm afraid I have some bad news." He looked to Tim. "I'm sorry to report this to you, but that woman you met with last night, Sharon, well... she OD's last night. The paramedics tried to revive her but it was too late. They're still waiting for next of kin, but I thought you both should know."
Tim started to tear up, she had wanted him to stay, and maybe if he had she would still be alive. He felt awful, and guilty.
Brad put an arm around him. "I know what you're thinking Tim. Would've, could've, should've. We live in the now Tim, in the present. As long as your intentions are true, you have nothing to be ashamed of."
"It was really just a matter of time." Said the man from the lodge. "But you got her story, and that's very important. I'm not here about that though. I'm here about an encounter you had. An encounter with Richard Labble. He's a very dangerous man, if we can even call him that."
Oh yeah, thought Tim. Richard Labble, the pale one, with the light blue eyes. Mr. Cancer in the flesh.
The man from the lodge then got very serious. "What I say from here on out, does not leave this room."
He told them about the very classified "Operation Paperclip," how it was a secret mission to bring over Nazi scientists, to help beat out the communists during the Cold War. They had helped with the rocket programs in the United States, and what later became known as the "Space Program." The Soviets had captured most of the pale ones, giving them a huge advantage at the time. But Richard Labble was the mastermind, he was the king of the pale ones. He was the one that had orchestrated all the wars so they could all feed, and put an end once and for all to their arch enemies. Labble had escaped the Soviets though, as he was a cunning one. He was eventually captured by the Americans in Argentina, in a very secret operation called, "Snatch and Grab." The Israelis had wanted him, so they could end him in secret. They had warned the Americans that he was too dangerous to keep alive, as he was the oldest, and king of the pale ones. But the Americans had felt they had needed him in order to win the Cold War, as he had knowledge of very advanced technologies. The Americans had kept him as a secret prisoner, to help keep them one step ahead of the Soviets.
"November 22, 1963, he escaped our custody, the feeding that day was too much, gave him too much power, and it was planned that way, to give him the power he needed to escape." Said the man from the lodge. "Since then him and his allies have been creating all the trauma we have seen in America and around the world. Only top brass know of his existence, it's been a secret manhunt the last thirty years, but to no avail. He is very cunning and smart, much smarter than us. We know he's been secretly aligning himself with some very powerful, greedy people in our country. And as for the Russians, make no mistake, the Soviet Union going down was a huge blow for them, but the pale ones are still very much connected there. He's trying to restart his empire here, in the New World. And I'm afraid that what happened to the German people, will happen to us if we don't catch him. And once he has us, there will be no one left to stop him."
Both Tim and Brad were in complete shock to what they were hearing. They were also intrigued by it, it was like finding the missing pieces to a puzzle, a very strange one. Yet the pieces fit so perfectly to show a picture that was not expected. Tim's world was getting crazier by the minute.
"His plan is not our plan." The man from the lodge went on. "I can assure you that. Our plan, the plan of mankind, is one of experience with freedom of agency. We are all here with amnesia, to experience it all. The good and the bad, so we can grow into something else even more beautiful. But that is not the plan of pale ones. Their plan is to turn us against each other, to turn us into them, to never die, create misery and feed on our misery, until we are wiped out. Yes the pale ones are a lot like what we call vampires, but they are also like a cancer."
"Why are you telling us all of this?" Asked Tim.
"The Essence is very important to us, and so is what happens to Carol, with the justice that awaits her, but she is not the big fish, she's just a guppie. We believe that Richard Labble is personally hiding her somewhere, and that she is very much alive. We know that Mr. Labble has the means necessary to hoax her death, with many important people in his back pocket. Catching him is just as important as the Essence itself, maybe even more so, at least right now it is. We want you to go about your investigation, find Carol and bring her to justice. But... we know where ever she is, he won't be too far behind, she is like bait and may be our only chance at catching him." He took a short pause, and then looked over to Tim. "When the time is right we will meet again Mr. Gray. Pleasure meeting you. Oh... and when we at the lodge can help and protect you, we will."
That was it. The man from the lodge offered a closing prayer which was the custom, then did the special handshake and left.
They were now upstairs cleaning up. Brad looked out of his window as he did the dishes. There was now only one surfer left, in search of the dream. He looked over to Tim who was still feeling the weight of Sharon's passing, and the weight of the world.
"You have to let it go Tim. I need you here in the now. We need to focus on the plan. I know that was a lot to take in, but you need to lock it up."
"Yeah, I know." Said Tim. "I'm here... we need to lock her up. We will get justice."
"That's my boy. Now listen up. There's going to be a New Year's eve party at a fancy hotel downtown. It's a private party. Lots of elites will be in attendance, including the so called coroner that did Carol's fake autopsy. I want you there and see what you can dig out of him. I got you an invitation. Dress nice... and it's a plus one so you're going to need to bring a date."
"No worries, I already got you one." Said brad with a wink. "Her name is Krissy, she's been working with me on this case too, so it's probably due time you two met anyways. I got you a room there for the thirtieth thru the first, so you can get the layout, and get a feel for the place. We solid?"
"Like a rock."
"Good, until then try to get yourself into better shape. I need you at your best. Let's get you back to your truck, so you can get home."
There was an excitement and a fear in all of this. Tim felt alive, like he was a part of something bigger than himself. The excitement gave him a rush. Even the fear felt good. He liked knowing it.