Fall of the Risen – Week 11 – Jack
Jack is back! And so is guest blogger John Lasorda. Let him hear you in the comments below.
Marshall was a typical upper management douchebag. Either he would fix something that didn’t need to be fixed, or convince people that there was a problem where there wasn’t one so that he could say he fixed it. He was all about the grandstanding.
Clark was a friend, in short supply and etcetera, but so are settlements, damn it; I still had to live there. If he would have just listened to someone on occasion…
I clinched my jaw, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. I had to give Marshall the impression that I was concerned about the community as a whole rather than just Clark. I had to try and convince him that I wasn’t just taking Clark’s side.
Getting his mind off of punishment was out of the picture. But I was hoping I could convince him to be lenient. Maybe convince him that everybody would appreciate his graciousness, and that Clark would benefit us by continuing his crusade elsewhere. I felt ill envisioning how much pandering I’d have to do to this princess.
Marshall had just come away with a win. He showed people he was in charge and fixed something he considered to be a problem at the same time. It was going to be a hard pitch.
It would be like a business transaction. Walling was on the table for the moment, but if I low-balled him with a temporary ban, a car and supplies, maybe we’d land somewhere along the lines of exile with supplies. I don’t know. I repeated old adages to myself; “never hurts to ask”, “what’s the worst that can happen”, but damned if I didn’t tie and re-tie my boots half a dozen times before I worked up the courage to go to Marshall’s house.
Gravel crunched underneath my boots as I approached his house. Three goons that donned cop uniforms were at the door. One of them looked down his nose at me and muttered something under his breath to the other two, who looked at me before turning back to laugh. I fiddled with a screwdriver bit that was in my pocket. I didn’t realize I had brought it along.
“Gentlemen,” my fake smile faded as quickly as I had forced it, “if I could trouble Mar… Dave for a moment of—”
“Are you on the list?” one of the stooges interrupted.
I shifted my weight to my back leg and stretched my back to appear as casual as possible, while thanking my brain for keeping my internal monologue internal. “No, I’m afraid not. But I’ve got to talk to the boss about—”
“Nobody gets to Dave without having an appointment, and you ain’t—”
“He may enter,” came Marshall’s haughty tone from inside the house. Grudgingly, the guards stepped aside just enough for me to squeeze through by turning sideways and shuffling.
I stepped into Marshall’s office—which I assumed was how he referred to the space due to the legitimacy the term added. This clown was sitting at his desk, pretending to read a book, with a finger raised to signal he needed a moment. Another minute elapsed, and again I thanked my inner-monologue for remaining inside my head. He probably had a huge chubb under that desk of his, showing his power over me like that. Marshall finally looked up from his book, only to lick his finger—while looking at me—turn another page, and look back down again.
“Dave”, I began, “I—”
“Excuse me,” Marshall interjected while motioning to his book with a concerned and confused expression on his face. I stood for another full minute before he finally decided to put the book down, only to lean back in his chair and look at the ceiling. “I suppose,” he began, while I did everything to maintain the placid facade that I’d managed to muster, “that you’re here about your… friend.”
“Yeah”, I said, “I just wanted—”
“To tell me that he was acting in the best interest of the community and should get a second chance?”
“I think you made the only call you could have, boss.” I’ve been dirty before; blood and entrails between my fingers and in my hair and on my eyelids, but I’ve never felt that dirty.
The look of shock on his face was quickly replaced with a smirk, fuelled by ego.
“But, if I may, what benefit does a walling create for the community?” His smile faded even faster than my fake one moments ago. “If we can just get him a car and some supplies, he won’t be a problem for us anymore and he can declare war on the zombies all he likes. Each one he kills out there takes a little bit of pressure off of us.” I spoke quicker and at a higher octave towards the end of the sentence. Marshall closed his eyes and raised his hand, signalling a stop to the conversation.
“I’m going to stop you there, Jack. If—if—we had a car to spare, and if I felt like fuelling said car and if we had extra supplies—”
“Dawn has a spare car and fuel and we have supplies. Supplies that Clark and I risked our lives to go search out each and every week. Doesn’t that mean anything?”
“Of course it does. But, as leader of this community, the people have entrusted me with…” I lost concentration and my mind wandered.. He loved to hear himself talk and he loved the things that he was saying even more. Especially when he got to remind someone he was the leader of—
“Are you hearing me, Jack”? I focused back on his face with a start.
“Yes, I hear what you are saying. The resources can’t be spared. What about Clark? He can still be their problem,” I said, pointing outside the walls.
“And what? Teach people that they can do whatever they want to put us in danger and all they get is a slap on the wrist?”
”Exile is not a slap on the wrist. He’d be leaving the only place he can home and the only people he can call family. Two rare things these days. Closest thing there is to a death sentence.”
Marshall opened his book once again and looked down at the text. “Your opinion has been noted.”
I stood for a moment wondering if there was anyway I could reignite the conversation. Even if there was, there was no convincing a close-minded fool like Marshall of anything. That was fine. I’d just have to go ahead with plan B.