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.

Day291 Thursday 06/16/11

ran 2.2 miles
Chapter 12

Jonas pulled his backpack off his shoulders. The room panged with uneasiness as Mason, panicking, slowly reached for a knife he’d had in his back pocket. Ben and Thomas flexed like a couple of cowboys in what they thought might have been a Mexican standoff.

Erica rushed over to Jonas and grabbed the remaining strap of his backpack. She threw it to Mason and told everyone to be calm.

“Mason, keep your blade folded. Ben, tell your friend to sit down. “

Thomas remained standing with an insubordinate look of conviction in his eyes. Erica saw doubt in Thomas and attempted to control the situation. “Sit down, Thomas. I can tell you everything that is in that bag.”

Thomas opened his mouth to talk. Nothing came out, but he perverted a sense of calm that was growing incessant second by second. Mason’s hand pressed down like an anvil on his shoulder before he could get a word out.

“Empty the bag, Mason.” Erica looked to Jonas to see if the bag contained the specific contents he was supposed to bring. Jonas nodded as Mason emptied the bag randomly, piece by piece.

The first object Mason pulled out was a plain white book with no title or name on it. It was curled up, torn and fringed.

“Every object Mason pulls out of this bag belongs to someone in this room. They are personal items that will either allow each of us to trust one another more or make each of us trust one another less.

”The second object Mason pulled out was a crumpled piece of newsprint paper folded over six or seven times. He had set it down with a tiny thud. The third object was a stack of beat loose-leaf paper folded in a pink sandwich bag. Mason had known exactly what it was as soon as he had placed it on the table. Everyone else had known what it was, too. Erica had turned it over to get a better look.

“What else, Mason?”

Mason had two objects left. There was what felt to be a pocketknife and what seemed to be a rock. A simple stone was placed on the table. There was nothing apparently special about it. An aged red pocketknife with a Boy Scout insignia was placed next to it.

“Is that all, Mason?” Erica sat down, crossed her legs, and patiently made eye contact with everyone in the room. She connected her eyes with Jonas last. And then, like a nun who had found virtue in breaking her vows, she placed a revolver on the small end table to her left. Everyone else in the room flinched and conspicuously prepared for what might have happened next,

“One of us is going to be exposed in a few moments.” Erica looked at and touched her gun to reinforce the urgency of what was about to unfold.

“Jonas, you are the only one that we can all trust. Grab your pink sandwich bag and pick up that gun. Stand in that open corner by the door and help us figure this out. Thomas, Ben and Mason, among us four someone is a liar and a traitor.”

The three men exchanged glances with one another as though they were all confident they were not the one.

Erica spoke. “Mason, that one is yours. The folded newsprint paper is yours.”

Mason unraveled the paper and pulled out his Purple Heart from years long gone. He had thrown it over the fence at the White House during the 2008 election. She knew what it had meant for him to throw it over that fence and she knew what it would mean for him to see it again, right there in front of him at that time.

“But how…” He was befuddled as Erica asked him to stand by Jonas. “I’ll explain later, Mason.”

Erica picked up her belonging. It was the curled up, torn and fringed book with no name or title. As she walked toward Jonas to stand by him and Mason she whispered something in his ear.

“I understand why you left, Jonas.”

Jonas’ heart thumped and then fell into his stomach. His brain echoed memories of how many times he had opened that book to a random page for guidance to continue his journey. That book was a guiding light for him, and Carmen Elise Sanders had written it. She was the author of his vision and the editor of his endeavors.

There were two objects left. A rusted single-bladed pocketknife and an old rock lacking description were the only two things separating Thomas and Ben.

“Ben and Thomas, one of you is with us and one of you is not. I don’t know who is who but this will settle it.”

Erica took a deep breath and said, “Ben, is the pocketknife or the rock yours?”

“The rock,” Ben said. He had no hesitation.

“Thomas, is the pocketknife or the rock yours?”

“This is not fair, Erica. I have been with you for over a year and all of a sudden you are calling me out? Ben has been with us for only a couple months. He is the suspicious one. He could have easily said the knife or the rock was his.”

“What are you so nervous about, Thomas? One of these two objects is yours and you should be able to identify it.”

Erica’s tone of voice was concise and calm. “Which one belongs to you, Thomas?”

Thomas’ voice became more controlled and his words began to fall more succinctly. “I don’t know what to tell you, Erica. Neither of those two objects have any significance in my life. But I am no traitor to our cause, either.”

Thomas sounded believable and yet it was curious that he did not have an object to claim when everyone else did. All eyes were on Ben.

“Ben, what is the relevance of that rock?” Erica leveled her stare into Ben’s eyes with ruthless conviction.

There was a stark silence. Jonas stepped forward and intervened. “I placed that rock and that pocketknife in my backpack less than an hour ago. I found them on the road on my way here and neither of them have any significance to one of you or the other.” Jonas said every word with his eyes aimed at Ben.

His glare was piercing and it had become apparent that Jonas knew something that only one other person in the room had also known.

“Mutiny,” Jonas said, “Is what our leaders had dealt America and its people. If anyone in this room thinks that politically uniting the continent of North America was a reasonable or humanitarian thing to do, raise your hand.”

No one moved.

“If anyone in this room believes the North American Government has any genuine interest in its people or their thoughts, raise your hand. Raise your hand if you enjoy being controlled and if you find comfort in not thinking for yourself. If you are satisfied with nothing, no self-motivation, no will to succeed, no voice to be heard, no concept of what it means to be alive and to be free, step forward.”

No one moved.

“Thomas, step forward.”

“It’s not me, Jonas! Erica?”

Erica reached into her pocket and pulled out a small paper box. The box was slightly larger than a matchbox and it fit in her palm. “This is your possession, Thomas…”

Ben suddenly lunged for the gun. He knocked Jonas over in his wake of desperation. There he stood with his back in a corner with the gun unsteadily pointed from one side of the room to the other and back again.

“You are the source of mutiny!” Ben pointed the gun at Jonas with an insane glare of hatred in his eyes. Mason took a step forward.

“Get back! Up against the wall. All of you!”

Erica took a couple steps toward Ben. He pointed the gun at her. He was trembling with fear. Erica was as calm as a cloudless day.

“Ben, may I just say something?”

“No! Shut up! You are wrong. People are not accountable. They are lazy and aimless. They desire guidance and they need a government to direct them.”

“Ben, “ Erica said calmly, “Let me speak.”

“Shut your mouth and get back. Get back! You people cannot even trust each other. Not one of you even knows the name of anyone else in this room.”

There was a quiet pause and Ben exposed a villain’s grin directed at Jonas.

“Except for you. Jonas Martin Cassidy. You are the reason I am here. You are the reason I have had to pretend to care so much about you people and your causes. I have been waiting for you and this moment for a long time. I credit you this, Jonas, that you have a real talent for writing political propaganda but it is a shame you wrote for the wrong side.”

Erica walked up to Ben with no hesitation. With no second thought she stood in front of him, tilted her head slightly and stared at him.

“Get back, Erica! It is Jonas that I want.” The gun was aimed right between her eyes an inch away from her forehead.

Erica slowly raised her hands up to Ben’s arms and advanced, moving her fingers down toward the gun.

“I swear to God I will pull the trigger, Erica. Put your hands down.”

Erica’s thumb found the trigger and she pushed it away from her. The gun made a hollow click.

“You have no God, Ben. You have no country either.”

Ben stepped back and pulled the trigger himself. Nothing. He pulled the trigger two more times with the gun pointed at Anna and then at Jonas. Hollow click. Hollow click.

Erica grabbed the gun out of Ben’s hand as he stared at it blankly. She gripped the barrel of the gun in her hand and wielded the weapon like a hammer to the left temple of Ben’s head. Mason picked him up off the ground and held him up with one hand. His other hand was a white-knuckled fist and he unquestionably wanted to end Ben’s life. Ben hung limp and lifeless in Mason’s grip.

“No, Mason. I know what you want to do. If you do it you are no better than him and I’d hate to lose the respect and trust I have in you. Put him down.”

Erica walked to Thomas and handed him the gun and his possession.

“Thomas, I am sorry you had to be treated as a pawn.

When we first met I had asked you if I could hold on to your gun. You had trusted me enough to part with it and now I trust you enough to give it back. Here is your gun and here are the six bullets that were loaded in it when you gave it to me. I only hope that you have learned in the last year you have been with us that we have not needed to use that gun one single time until now. And even now it was not fired off.”

1,219.3 miles to go.

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