Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Travels of Jack Pynesapp - Book 2 Chapter 10: Marge and Jack

This is 43 in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

Travels of Jack Pynesapp

Book 2: Red and Jimmy 

Chapter 10 Marge and Jack (should this be a separate 'book')

It's been a few months since I've given this story any thought -- you know, winter and all (no biking in the snow). So some review is needed to get me back to the story:

Jimmy and Red are taking Arthur back with them to their dimension (or that's the plan, anyway). Jack and Marge ran off without much explanation (very unlike Jack). They seem to be consorting with the 'enemy' -- according to Arthur. Are they deluded? Have they been brain washed? Is this part of some grander scheme? What does Billy have to do with all this. After all, he was the first to ride the train -- along with JJ (or was it Jack? I'll have to go back and look that up) -- and the one who discovered the ... well, we'll get to that. 

"They'll be fine. " Jack gave Marge's hand a squeeze as they got off the bus. 

"But Arthur is on that train with them and you know how he..."

"They'll be fine." Jack interrupted. "Don't worry. Those kids are more than a match for Arthur." 

"I hope so. I think you underestimate him. "

They were in a suburb of LA. This was a commercial/residential neighborhood. There were palm trees lining the streets and lush greenery of all sizes, shapes, and colors filling in between the cobblestone walkways. This was not a slum.

Marge and Jack turned up one of these walkways towards a low single story bungalow with tan adobe walls and a red tile roof.  They climbed the steps to a veranda and walked across to the front door. A small sign hung over the mailbox with the words "Cal-Trans" etched in bronze.  Jack swiped his ID in the strip next to the keypad and the door latch clicked. They opened the door and walked inside.

They were in a brightly lit - skylights mostly - foyer that was filled with more beautiful greenery and not much else. To the right there was a wooden archway that opened to a large room with a heavy wooden table in the middle and surrounded by heavy wooden chairs. This looked like either a meeting room or a lunch room (or both).

(Why am I spending so much time on this descriptive stuff --  I never pay much attention to scene settings?  Well, it's fun and I haven't come up with more plot, yet. So shut up.)

"Well, it's about time you get here." Bill appeared from between two philodendrons. "Did you get it.?"

"Yes, Red and James are fine and they made the trip safely. Thank you for asking."  Marge said.

"Good." Bill snapped; ignoring the sarcasm. (Actually Bill may be, by nature, immune to sarcasm.) "Give it to me."

"I think we'll just hold on to it for now."; Jack said.

"Whatever. Then you can take care of the bills yourselves." Bill turned on his heal and walked back towards the philodendrons. "Come into my office. I want to show you something."

They followed him through the philodendrons and down a short hallway which had five doors leading off of it: two to the right and left and one at the end of the hallway. These side doors led to what once were bedrooms -- now converted to offices -- and the end door was a bathroom.  All the doors were open and they all entered Bill's office through the first door on the right.

(okay -- ideas are coming here....)

Bill's office was rather stark in contrast to the rest of the house. No plants or pictures of plants. Just bookcases on three of the walls and a large window with no curtains (only blinds which were half open and only giving a hint of the lush garden that thrived outside.)  Bill walked in and sat behind desk that was covered with stacks of paper and open books all in an apparent random jumble.

"Just throw those books on the floor." Bill motioned to the two plain chairs located in front of the bookcase to his right. Jack and Marge did that and sat down.

"Okay, what's so important. " Jack said.

Bill leaned back in his chair and put his fingers together in front of his chin in a triangle. He smiled and began; "I think our studies on the physiological effects of riding these trains may have come up with some interesting results."

"I should hope so." Jack said. "For how much they're costing."

"Yes, well.. " Bill continued. "I'm not sure our employers will feel their money was well spent."

"That's okay with us." Bill said softly to Marge.  And then to Bill "So what've you got?"

"You know we were comparing the train engineers and crew to other members of their families -- like siblings  and parents and such -- to see if there were any changes in their bodies that we could detect. You know, that could possibly be attributable to their jobs on the train. Their prolonged exposure to these gravity waves. "

"Yeah we know all that. We're trying to find some reason to shut these trains down. So what did you find out?"

"Well, I'll spare you the technical details but the results conclusively show that while these folks are on the train their body's aging process stops completely."

"You're kidding."

"No. It's true. It looks like we've inadvertently discovered the fountain of youth -- so to speak."

"No, not exactly."; A man said as he entered  Bill's office.

"Hey George." Bill said, " I didn't know you were in today.You know Marge and Jack."

"No.  I've heard about them but we've never met."

Bill said; "Well, then it's about time. George here is Executive Vice President of our little company here.  I think that's your title, isn't it George?"

"That's right."

"Marge and Jack are consultants for us."

George smiled; "Yes, I know what their function is here. I write the checks, you know." He extended his hand to Marge ."Nice to finally meet you two in person."

Marge smiled. Jack stood and shook his hand as well.

"So, Bill. How sure are you of these results?"

"You've seen my report?"


"The results speak for themselves. Do they not? We monitored 10 individual members or our crews as well as members of their immediate families; siblings, parents, children. We even had two sets of twins in the test group. In every case the crew members showed significant -- in some cases complete -- cessation of their aging processes. This was very dramatic and there is virtually no chance of experimental error."

"Is this all you found?" George asked. "I mean, we were testing for a shit load of parameters, right? You're report doesn't mention any of them."

"That's because they were all pretty much negative; no significant differences. And remember; this report is only preliminary. I wanted to get this in formation on the table as quickly as possible.

"I appreciate that, Bill." George said. "This is very interesting indeed."

"It sounds like you're going to have some trouble getting people to stop riding now." Marge laughed.

"If this gets out, at least." Jack said softly.

"Why wouldn't it get out?" Bill asked. "This is block-buster news. It has to get out. Just think of the ramifications."

George walked to the window and looked out into -- well, nothing actually. He was deep in thought.

"Are you absolutely sure of these results?" Marge asked.

"As sure as I can be."

"How many people know about this?" George asked; still facing the window.

Bill thought for a minute and said. "Well, there's Angie and Marcus -- our lab techs. And there's ..."

"Just numbers, " George interrupted "I don't care about names right now, okay."

"Okay, there's the four of us. Right?" George counted on his fingers. "Our research staff has seen seen the data, of course (they collected it.) That adds twelve. But they've only seen the raw data. Not the results. I ran the analysis and I'm the only one who has actually seen the results. Except for the four of us, of course."

"Good." George turned and faced the room. "Let's keep it that way just for now, okay?"

"But.." Bill said.

"Just for now." George repeated. "Until we have some time to think about this."

Marge looked at Jack and they both looked at Bill.

George added, "This isn't a request, it's an order. " He smiled, "Like you said, Bill, the four of us are the only ones who know about this. So if there is a leak, it won't be hard to figure out where it came from. And like I said, we just need to keep this quiet for now. So I need each of you to give me your word that you won't disclose this." He looked at each person and they each gave their word in turn.

"Good." George continued; "We all realize that agreeing is just a technicality as we have all signed NDA's. He smiled.

Marge,  Jack, and Bill all smiled back at George. But they were smiling for a different reason. George didn't know the half of it and they weren't about to tell him.

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