Finished goal of running the distance of 2,080 miles from Lafayette, LA to Washington D.C and back!!! 339.1 miles

0.0 miles run this week.
Daily running average for the week is 0.00 miles per day.
Total amount run in the past 800 days is 2,419.1 miles.
Daily running average overall is 3.02 miles per day.

Day262 Wednesday 05/18/11

ran 3.3 miles
Chapter 8

The door opened achingly with a dull creak like an old man slowly extending his jaw to form words with garbled consonants and muted vowels. It was dark inside as a single figure emerged before Jonas. A dull lamp directly behind the figure’s head distorted his shady features.

Jonas had a cynical wit for detecting trouble and at that moment nothing had felt right. The figure in front of him looked vaguely familiar and particularly threatening. Jonas could see it was a large man and there was something in his hand. After a few seconds of silently staring at Jonas the figure stepped forward into the light and spoke.

“You don’t look like much. Come in.”

Jonas immediately recognized the man as both a friend and a stranger though he had never personally met him. In the underground world, which they were both cast into, real names were rarely ever used, close friendships were a burden of too much emotional gravity, and staying in the same place for too long was considered dangerous. The underground was larger than any of its enemies had estimated, yet this rendezvous had much planning and very specific purposes. For now, 216 Fifth Street was Jonas’ temporary destination and the man standing in front of him was a face he had seen not very long before.

Upon entering, Jonas felt coy and small. The space was confined and the windows were boarded up. The interior had an odd presence similar to that of a fortified brown paper bag. The walls were chipped all over with various rotted materials. A derelict, thin curtain hung over an obscured window, which looked like it would tear in half were a tiny mouse to cling to it. The floor was a decrepit stretch of wood-paneled unreliability that creaked with every step. In many spots the outside ground was visible through cracks and holes.

There were two other men sitting at a small table in a corner and neither of them acknowledged Jonas’ presence. He heard a toilet flush in the back of the house and asked, “How many of you are here?”

“You make five. The two over there are harmless, Ben and Thomas. You can call me Mason. I’m sure you know names don’t mean a thing around here.”

There was an awkward pause similar to that of the moment a truth may have suggested falsifying itself.

“And you are Jonas Cassidy, one of the few most admired and hated men on this new continent, Americanadexico.”

A voice came from afar. It was a woman. Her voice was familiar yet distant.

Mason was the crescent shaped man on the side of the road. The object in his hand was a pack of cigarettes. Grinning, he asked Jonas with a mild nudge and a restrained push, “Got a Bic or a match?” Ben and the other two men started laughing as she suddenly walked into the room. A brisk silence fell over everyone.

It was Carmen.

“Hello, Jonas. Outside…we had to do what was necessary to ensure no one was following you or watching us. We could not bring attention to ourselves.

Carmen was now wearing plain, loose clothing. She was a fugitive in white cotton and baggy denim.

“From this point forward you will address me as Erica.”

Jonas and Carmen were the only ones in the dimly lit room who knew one another’s true identities. Jonas could sense no one else knew and that Carmen wanted to keep his and her history hidden.

“It is dangerous to be free in this country and too many people are looking for us. I know you are already aware of our disposition but I don’t want you to misinterpret our first impression with you. We are good at what we do and we believe in what we do.”

Jonas was impressed and in awe of Carmen. Moments ago he had felt sorry for her and he was disappointed in her. Now he had discovered that she was like him. He saw that she was one of the few people that were not afraid.

“These are my friends and now they are your friends. If they introduced themselves already then you probably know them as Ben, Thomas, and Mason. I do not know their real names and they do not know mine. We choose to know as little as possible about each other. However, we all know who you are and unfortunately everyone else does, too. I hope you will trust us, Jonas. And if you don’t, I will personally hand you over to the authorities with no remorse. You’ve come this far, Jonas, and if you don’t challenge yourself to succeed right now then what was it all for? You can either testify your faults to the government or you can falsify the government with your truth.

A curtain suddenly tore in half as a tiny rodent fell to the floor and scampered across the splintery terrain with a rather large and weightless strip of yellow flowered pattern falling further apart with each tiny step.

“Jonas, we know who you are and we know what you are. Our task is to make sure you understand what you are."

Jonas had a look of excited terror on his face. Everything was happening so fast. Minutes before he was content to wander aimlessly in what seemed to him a museum of uninitiated existence. It was so comfortable and easy to sit aside and watch things rapture and to blame others instead of expressing his ideas and making his voice heard. Jonas had always dreamed about the rapture and rising above the silence, but now that he was at his destination, he was afraid.

Carmen, or Erica, could sense the urgency and immediacy of the moment in Jonas’ despairing eyes. She slowed things down to give him a chance to catch up.

“This man that keeps shoving you around and asking for a Bic or a match is Mason. Ten years ago I would have said that he was a patriot, a proud American and an enemy to anyone who threatened the preservation of America and its freedom. If I were to call him a patriot now he would be offended to hear that I was referring to him as an ungrateful and disillusioned man who had the overrated ability to passionately recite words from newspapers, television shows and radio programs like a talking head with a string drawn from the back of its plastic skull that was incapable of acting upon his own thoughts. If I were to call him a proud American now he would be enraged by the notion that I may have thought he approved of the actions of his government. And now that America’s greatest enemy is its own government, Ben is an enemy to his own country.”

Jonas grabbed the pack of cigarettes out of Mason’s hand and lit one. He looked at Erica through a cloud of smoke and said, “So what do we do now?”

“That’s what you’re here to tell us, Jonas.”

Jonas was now alone. Like a lake, hidden, he was surrounded on all sides but he was by himself. The two that went by Ben and Thomas looked at Jonas with critical eyes carefully sizing his silence. Mason lit a cigarette. The sound of the match igniting seemed to vibrate in the ruinous walls and the odorous smell of sulfur emanated through the still of the moment. Jonas and Carmen stared into one another’s eyes. He knew this would be the last time he could think of her as “Carmen”. They both wanted to say so many things they each knew could not be said.

The vacancy of emotion Jonas displayed was a disappointment to all. He had tentatively received the honor and respect of an unlikely leadership for a cause that pervaded and illuminated his very being. For someone who often felt the world and all its creatures to be nothing more than a random pocket of change jingling in the cosmos, he was in awe.

Jonas elected not to display his awe like a stoic poker face concealing a hand. He was still unsure whether his cards were good or bad and if it were not for Carmen’s presence he would have probably left 216 Fifth Street as quickly as he had found it. He did not know these other rogues and he was unaware of how they expected he should have reacted. What Jonas really wanted was to run and that was precisely why he had stayed. Although fear compelled him it was the tragedy of eventually dying with the regret of cowardice and the torment of unanswered questions that truly terrified Jonas and his unknown fate. He was still unsure of any certainties and he did not understand at all what exactly these four individuals had wanted from him.

1,312.3 miles to go.

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