WARNING! All of my writing is intended for adults over the age of 18 ONLY. Stories may contain strong or even extreme sexual content. All people and events depicted are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Actions, situations, and responses are fictional ONLY and should not be attempted in real life.
If you are under the age or 18 or do not understand the difference between fantasy and reality or if you reside in any state, province, nation, or tribal territory that prohibits the reading of acts depicted in these stories, please stop reading immediately and move to somewhere that exists in the twenty-first century.
Archiving and reposting of this story is permitted, but only if acknowledgment of copyright and statement of limitation of use is included with the article. This story is copyright (c) 2014 by The Technician.
Individual readers may archive and/or print single copies of this story for personal, non-commercial use. Production of multiple copies of this story on paper, disk, or other fixed format is expressly forbidden.
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“Sold to number 24!” screamed the auctioneer.
I couldn’t believe I did it. I just paid $2,730 for the contents of a storage locker, sight unseen. I have
an absolute maximum of $800 that I will bid for the rights to an unclaimed locker. I have bought dozens of lockers at auction and never paid more that $800 for any of them– ever. But for some reason I had bid $2,730 for this one.
There were a total of seventeen lockers to be auctioned today. I had hoped to pick up at least three or four of them. With a maximum of $800 on any one locker, making money was a matter of odds. The percentages are that the contents of a locker will be worth somewhere between $1200 and $1600 dollars. I was figuring that they would probably go for under $700, or at most $750. But even if I had to pay my maximum every time, I could still get three lockers for $2400 and have some cash held back for the next auction.
My dream was that one of them would be that fabulous find everyone was sure they were going to make… some day. These were relatively small lockers in an older area of town, so they were more likely to be at the lower end of the value range. But even if one of my three was a pure bust, I would most likely recoup my money on the other two. It wasn’t gambling. It was playing the percentages. And it worked. If you stuck to the system, you made money.
But I didn’t stick to my system. I don’t know why, but something I couldn’t understand kept forcing me to keep bidding higher and higher and higher on the second locker. It was way beyond my system maximum and approaching how much cash I had on me and yet I kept bidding.
As I bid, my mind was filled with images of unknown treasure on the other side of that locked door. I knew I should quit, but something I couldn’t understand was compelling me to keep bidding. I could almost hear a voice in the back of my mind telling me that the contents of this particular locker– whatever it was– were worth everything I had in order to possess them.
The other bidders slowly dropped out as the bid inched upward and upward. I rechecked the wad of bills in my hand. I had $2,730. The bid was $2,725 and the auctioneer was calling out, “Do I hear twenty-seven thirty?”
I took a deep breath and waggled my finger at one of the helpers who pointed at me and loudly yelled, “Yip.”
The auctioneer’s chant immediately changed to “Do I hear twenty-seven thirty-five? Twenty-seven thirty, looking for twenty-seven thirty-five. Twenty-seven thirty, looking for twenty-seven thirty-five.”
Now I was holding my breath. That was all I had. This was a pure cash auction. I couldn’t bid any higher even if I wanted to.
“Twenty-seven thirty-five going once… Twenty-seven thirty-five going twice… Twenty-seven thirty-five sold! … to… hold up your card son, so we can get the number right. Sold to number twenty-four!”
There were still fifteen lockers to auction, but since I had no money left with which to bid, I walked over to the clerk’s table and presented my bid tag. “Number 24,” said the clerk. She smiled at me and said, “Ah yes, the high bid for the day… actually for the whole week.” She giggled and added, “Maybe for the whole year.” Then she held out her hand and said, “$2,730– in cash– and we’ll cut the lock off the door so you can examine what you bought.”
I laid my stack of bills on the table. The clerk counted them, carefully arranging them face down in proper order with all of the bills facing the same direction. Having satisfied herself that the proper amount was there, she turned to one of the helpers and nodded.
The helper picked up a large set of bolt cutters and started walking over to the door of the storage bay that has just been auctioned. He held up a card against the door and read aloud, “A 214.” He then ran his finger beneath the number painted on the front of the door and read aloud once again, “A 214.” There was a loud pop as the bolt cutter snapped the lock.
He picked up the pieces of the lock from the ground, turned to me and mumbled, “It’s all yours. Make sure that everything is cleaned out by 6:00 pm or you get charged storage fees.”
As the man walked back to the clerk’s table, I stood nervously before that now unlocked door. What was behind it? What had I just paid everything I had to get? Were the contents of this locker really worth $2730?
“Only one way to find out,” I said aloud as I reached out and pulled upward on the handle to the garage-style door.
The door creaked and groaned and rattled as it rose. It had evidently been a long time since this unit had been opened. I gazed into the darkened interior of the bay and my heart fell. It was worse than bad. It was worse than terrible. It was worse than a locker full of junk. The locker was empty! There was nothing here!
I had just paid $2730 for NOTHING!
As if in shock, I stepped slowly into the musty storage area and slowly turned around looking at the dusty concrete floor. Nothing! There was nothing!
Then I saw it… a small table sitting in a corner at the very back of the bay. In the dim light it looked more like a flower stand than a table. I think it was what used to be called a telephone stand back when telephones had to sit on something. There was something sitting on it, and it wasn’t a telephone. I wasn’t sure what it was until I had walked all the way to the back. Then I could see that it was a book… an old book… a very old, leather-bound book.
My heart lightened… a little. Maybe it was worth something. Maybe it was a rare book. Maybe it was a really, really, rare book. Maybe– just maybe– this wasn’t a complete disaster.
I picked it up and blew the dust off of the cover. It had obviously been sitting there for a long time. I turned its spine toward the light so that I could read the title. Embossed in gold overlay it read, “Secreta Libro Cantus.”
‘Secret something,’ I thought. ‘Maybe Secret Book something. Isn’t Cantus something to do with singing?’
I started to open the book, but it was locked. There was a wide flap of dry leather extending from the back cover of the book across the side and over to the middle of the front where it slipped into a flat, ornate lock. There was no key.
“Shit,” I said aloud. I was very tempted to just tear the book open to see what was written inside, but I knew that if the book was worth anything at all, it had to remain intact for me to make any money on it. I would have wait until I got home to pick this lock, or maybe find a key in my coffee can full of old suitcase and book keys. I cradled the book in my left hand and picked up the small table with my right and began walking back to my pickup.
I had arrived at this auction expecting to be taking home a truckload of things to sort and sell. Now I could almost hear people’s thoughts as I walked slowly toward the parking lot carrying a single item. I even heard someone say aloud as I passed, “Whoa! Glad I was outbid on that one.”
I finally got around to checking out the book the next morning. It was a very simple lock. A bent paperclip and little patience was all that was needed to unlock it. I had a lot of practice opening similar locks on Bibles and diaries that I had found in previous locker purchases. I carefully folded back the leather clasp and slowly opened the book. I was holding my breath and hoping for an old date… a really, really old date… or a famous name… or SOMETHING that would make this book worth more than the $2,730 I had paid for it.
There was an ornate title page with what appeared to be gold-pressed lettering identical to the title on the spine of the book, “Secreta Libro Cantus.” Beneath that in a very ornate script it said, “He who possess this book has the secret to all of Mortimer’s spells and incantations.” Below that in scrawled handwriting were the words, “Warning– Always use the feather.” And finally near the bottom of the page in a barely legible hand was printed “NEVER WISH FOR HAPPINESS.”
The rest of the book was blank. There were 365 pages – I counted then. I carefully folded over each and every page as I examined it, and each and every damned one of them was totally and absolutely blank.
I picked up the book and shook it. I don’t know if I was hoping something valuable would fall out of it or I just needed to hit or shake something. “What in the hell are you?” I screamed at the book in my hands.
A handwritten note fluttered down and landed face up on the small table. The handwriting looked similar to the printed warning on the title page of the book. It read, “Grandpa and Art Babbit stole this book from Walt in 1941. He thought Mr. Disney would settle the strike just to get it back, but he was wrong. The secret to understanding the book is supposedly contained within The Myth of Mortimer’s Feather, but I could never figure it out.”
“Great!” I exclaimed aloud. “Now all I need is ‘The Myth of Mortimer’s Feather.’”
There was a loud click and a softer rubbing sound from behind me. I looked around as a drawer slid open in the small table. Inside the drawer was a sheaf of paper bound together with a metal clip of some sort. The title page read “Walt Disney Productions.” Under that it said, “The Myth of Mortimer’s Feather.” That was crossed out and in pencil was written in the same hand that warned to always use the feather, “DUMBO The Flying Elephant.”
“Holy Shit!” I muttered aloud. “This is a planning script for a Disney movie. It might be worth something.”
I ran to my desk, brought up my computer and Googled, “Disney Dumbo Art Babbitt”
Evidently there had been a animator’s strike during the production of Dumbo. Art Babbit was one of the organizers of that strike. “Grandpa” must have been one of the animators who never got their jobs back. Disney had dealt with the strike very ruthlessly. To show his disdain for the strikers, he even added a scene to the movie where the clowns get drunk and sing, “Goin’ to ask the big boss for a raise.”
I entered “Disney Mortimer” in the search and found that the name Walt had originally intended for Mickey Mouse was Mortimer. His wife convinced him to name it Mickey because Mickey Rooney was popular at the box office. But Mortimer still showed up as an “alter ego” for Mickey, sort of an evil twin and rival for Minnie’s love, in some of the cartoons.
I continued looking up things on Disney and his cartoons and found several articles which pointed out that many of the Disney cartoons were blatant retelling of ancient myths. Disney had an extensive collection of ancient scrolls and manuscripts, many of which contained various magical or pagan practices. One of those scrolls was evidently The Myth of Mortimer’s Feather, and Disney had very loosely based his cartoon movie DUMBO on that story. He had even originally used The Myth of Mortimer’s Feather as the working title of the movie.
A little more investigation revealed that Disney had also wanted to name the mouse in that movie “Mortimer.” Again he was persuaded to go with a different name and Dumbo’s tiny companion in the movie was “Timothy Mouse.”
I picked up the blank leather book and slowly turned the pages. “This gets weirder and weirder.” I said out loud, and then added with a deep sigh, “If only I knew who wrote that note.”
It felt as if the book jumped in my hands and I had to grab wildly to hold on to it. I ended up grasping it in one hand by the front cover with the rest of the book dangling over the table. Another small piece of paper fluttered to the desk.
That paper had not been in the book just moments ago! I was sure of it. I had turned each page carefully as I counted it. The first slip of paper might have been at the back cover and I missed it, but I know this little card had not been in that book before now. I could feel the hair on the back of my neck rising as I picked up the small piece of stiff paper and looked at it.
It was a business card for a Doctor William Michelson. The address on the card was a local private “rehabilitation center.” I called the number and asked for him, but was told that he was not available.
A very polite young woman informed me that there were several other doctors available who would be able to help me. She would be more than happy to make an appointment for me.
I explained, “This is actually a personal matter. I need to talk to Doctor Michelson about a book I found. I think it once belonged to him.”
“A book?” she replied and then added curtly, “One moment, please.”
After several seconds of silence, a male voice came on the line. “Did you say that you wanted to see Doctor Michelson about a book he once owned?”
I answered, “Yes, an old leather book.”
I started to explain about the auction, but he cut me off with “How soon can you be out here?”
“I can come out now,” I answered.
“Bring bayan escort gaziantep the book. Ask for Doctor Roberts. I’ll be waiting for you.” Whoever it was then hung up.
The rehabilitation center was located up in the hills a little west of where Sepulveda Boulevard blends into the 405. It would have been a lot faster to just take the 405, but something told me to stick to the surface streets. I stayed on Sepulveda all the way through Mission Hills, picking up the book at each of the stoplights and looking once again at the blank pages. I guess I was hoping for further enlightenment as to what in the hell it actually was.
I just missed making the left turn signal onto Rinaldi and was sitting there waiting for a long light when a very well endowed young woman in very tight white shorts and an equally tight blue tube top started across the street. She was walking with a young man carrying a camera and both were pointing over at the cemetery, so I assumed they were tourists and were going to take pictures of some famous graves or whatever.
As she passed in front of the car, I found myself thinking, ‘Nice rack.’ Then I almost said aloud– I know it was almost… I’m sure I only thought it… I swear I didn’t say it aloud– ‘ If you’re going to wear something that tight and show that much, you might as well wear nothing and show it all.’
Suddenly there was a loud shriek and she was grabbing at her top. The seam had split all the way up the side and the top was falling off her now exposed breasts. She and her boyfriend or husband or whatever he was stood in the middle of the street with her screeching and trying to pull the fabric over herself. But with no tension on the stretchy material, it had shrunk to practically nothing.
I was surprised that her enormous breasts were apparently natural. They blended into her body on the sides in a normal fashion rather than looking like two giant knobs that had been glued on in the front. She turned and looked at me as I yelled, “Holy Shit!”
I know I said that out loud because the young man raised his left hand and flashed a finger at me as he hustled his hysterical companion back across the road. For some reason, traffic allowed them to get to the curb without a lot of shouting and honking despite the fact that the light had turned green.
I looked down at the book in my hands and whispered, “Holy Shit.” I’d seen tits before. My first shout had nothing to do with that display, no matter how spectacular it was. I had screamed out when her boobs popped out because I knew that I had caused that display with just a thought… and this book.
I had to wait for another cycle of the lights to make my left turn, but as soon as I turned, I pulled into a parking lot and opened the trunk of my car. I had a small duffle bag in there with gym clothes in it. I pulled out a pair of sweat pants and wrapped the book in them. Then I stuffed it all back into the bag. It barely fit, but something told me I needed to hide the book from whoever this Doctor Roberts was.
I pulled out of the parking lot and went back to Sepulvada. There was an old Fitness Club a little ways south at which I had a “daily pass” membership. That meant I paid almost nothing in yearly dues, but I had to pay extra for those days I actually used their equipment. I hadn’t paid much in the past six months or so, but I could still get in, and more importantly, if I paid for the day, I could put my gym clothes in a locker.
As I passed the women’s workout room, a Pilates Yoga class was in progress. The door shouldn’t have been open, but it was. They were all bent over doing some sort of exercise. I was standing in the doorway admiring the stretching ability of modern Yoga pants when the entire class went down onto their hands and knees facing away from the door and started doing leg extensions. As they pushed back into a tight ball, the fabric was now pulled even tighter over a room full of very nice asses. Cameltoe does not even begin to describe the effect when they raised up slightly, stuck one leg up in the air behind them and pointed their foot directly at me. It was obvious that the stretch material was more than form fitting everywhere on their body. Evidently several of the more booty endowed ladies hadn’t heard about the recall of the yoga pants that turned almost totally sheer when stretched. One black woman apparently also hadn’t heard of underwear.
As interesting as the view was, this wasn’t why I had come to the gym. I shook my head to get my mind back on track and continued down the hallway to the men’s locker area. I chose a long-term locker and put the duffle in it and my lock on the outside. I don’t think they ever checked who was using the long-term lockers, but just in case, I upgraded my membership to monthly. I also put a month’s dues on my credit card with automatic renewal. If I couldn’t get back here for a few days, or even a few months, the book would be safe in my locker… I hoped.
As I walked down the front steps back to my car, for just a minute I had an image of an auctioneer standing in the locker room calling for bids before they opened it.
When I got to the clinic or rehabilitation center or whatever it was, they paged Dr. Roberts and asked him to come to the reception area. He was a mid-50s man who looked exactly like you would expect a nut house doctor to look. He had black, horn-rimmed glasses and a overly trimmed beard that was showing traces of gray. The place was very 1960’s professional with green paint on the walls and all the orderlies in white pants and shirts and the nurses in white blouses and uniform skirts. The good doctor, himself, was wearing black suit pants, a white shirt and a white lab coat. He looked very much like he had just stepped out of a rerun of one of those old black and white TV medical shows. To me, it looked a little forced and fake, but I guess it was all part of the package that you sell the client to get them to pay the exorbitant fees for services there.
His first question was, “Did you bring the book?”
“It’s in safety deposit box,” I answered. “I can’t get to it until tomorrow.” I wondered what Gus down at the gym would think of me calling one of his lockers a safety deposit box.
“It would have been better if you could have brought it with you today,” the doctor replied. “Tell me how you came to have it in your possession.”
“I bought the contents of a storage locker at an auction yesterday,” I answered, figuring it was easier to stick close to the truth unless there was a reason to lie.
“There were some papers with it that indicated that it had once belonged to Dr. Michelson.” OK, that was a lie, but I didn’t want them to know I had opened the book. I looked down like I was reading something in my hand and finished with, “I called the phone number on the card, and here I am.”
I waited a moment to check his reaction and then asked, “May I speak with him?”
“That might not be advisable,” he answered. “He is very delusional and sometimes prone to… to… accidental violence.”
There was something about the way that he had to search for a word to describe what happened that made me wonder. If you have to pause several seconds and the best you can come up with is “accidental violence,” then some really weird shit must be going on. I decided to push it and see if I could speak with Dr Michelson.
“Perhaps if I just met him for a few moments and asked if the book was his?” I suggested. “If it is, then tomorrow I can bring the book out and we can discuss it further.”
The doctor looked up at a tall, blond nurse standing in the doorway and nodded his head. She disappeared around the corner and returned in a few moments to say, “He seems to be pretty calm right now. He must have allowed his meds to work.”
‘Allowed his meds to work?’ Medication either worked or it didn’t. You could refuse to take it. I’ve heard of mental patients hiding pills under their tongue until the orderly walked away and then spitting it into the sink or toilet. But how in the hell can you “not allow” your meds to work?
“Nurse Murphy will accompany you,” Dr. Roberts said gravely. “But if she tells you to leave, you must leave immediately. It is for your own safety. Don’t ask why or delay in any way, just leave.”
He turned to face me directly and said in his most professional demeanor, “If you are willing to accept those criteria, you may visit with Dr. Michelson for no more than five minutes. Is that acceptable?”
“Of course, doctor,” I answered with what I hoped was a sincere smile.
He nodded again at the nurse and she motioned with her hand for me to follow her as she took off at a rapid walk. I didn’t mind following her down the long hallway. She was young and pretty with a very athletic body. She also had a really great ass that bounced and bobbed very nicely in her white dress as she took long strides down the hall. She opened a locked door with a swipe of her ID badge and started down a shorter hall with just four doors.
“Doctor Bill is in room three,” she said over her shoulder as she continued at her brisk pace. I noticed that the other rooms in this section were empty. I was starting to wish that the hallway had been longer. I was really enjoying Nurse Murphy’s ass as we walked along. For just a moment I thought that it would be nice to take “naughty nurse” Murphy to a Halloween party some day.
Another swipe of her card and the door to room three was open. She motioned for me to enter and then stepped through the door behind me. Dr. Michelson was sitting at a small desk singing to himself. “You have a visitor, Dr. Bill,” the nurse said in that cheerful, overly condescending way that people automatically use when speaking with someone they know is mentally ill.
He looked up at me smiling broadly and said, “Welcome my strange young man. What brings you to visit me in my kingdom?”
Well, they had warned me that he was delusional. I glanced over at Nurse Murphy. She was leaning against the door trying to project bored indifference, but I could tell she was very carefully taking in everything that was happening. She had lifted one leg slightly and was resting the sole of her foot against the doorframe behind her. The pose really showed off her shape, but I doubt that was why she was doing it. It also gave her the leverage to launch herself across the room at either of us if things didn’t go the way she wanted.
I paused to enjoy the display her posture gave me. ‘That would look even better in a naughty nurse costume,’ I thought to myself and then turned to ask Doctor Michelson about the book.
There was a sudden screech behind me and when I spun back around the nurse’s uniform had changed. The long white dress was gone and in it place was a very abbreviated skirt that ended just below her asscheeks. She had on transparent white stockings that ended mid-thigh and white very high-heeled shoes. The top barely came below her tits and was held together with a single button between her breasts. An old-fashioned nurse’s hat with an oversized red cross on it was perched on her head.
“Dr. Bill!” she screamed. “What have I told you about doing things like that?!”
In the meantime Dr. Michelson was giggling wildly and clapping his hands together. He looked over at me and bounced up and down in his chair. “The book found you! The book found you!” he said between giggles. He clapped again and held his hands together as he looked at me and said, “The book found you, didn’t it, my strange young man?”
He was now starting to laugh continuously. His eyes were very wide open and wild looking. He leaned in close to me and stopped laughing. Then he said quietly, “Remember, always use the feather.” Then he said a little more loudly, “And don’t wish for happiness or you will end up in here with me.”
After another burst of laughter, he took a deep breath and drew himself up straight like he was struggling to break through something. His eyes cleared for a moment and he said in a clear, quiet voice. “We only have a moment. To understand what is happening, you must read Mark Twain’s ‘Mysterious Stranger’ and watch the movie ‘DUMBO.’”
He laughed again and clapped his hands and said with a joyful shout, “It’s all in there.” He sat there shaking his head up and down as he repeated, “It’s all in there. It’s all in there. Just look for it. It will explain everything.”
He stopped his bouncing and giggling and began quivering like he was forcing himself to once again grab hold of a moment of sanity. Then he continued in almost a whisper. “The feather can be anything. It doesn’t have to be the book. Walt used a little image of Mickey that he always kept with him.”
His eyes started to glaze over again and he started to giggle. “Don’t forget,” he burbled, “a key has two uses.” He giggled again and moved his finger up and down. “Just like a light switch.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but suddenly the room was full of people. These new arrivals weren’t dressed in hospital whites. They were dressed in camo body armor and were wearing what appeared to be protective face masks and breathers. “Time for the king to go back to sleep,” I heard one of them say as he pushed a hypo injector against the doctor’s arm. There was a slight “pffft” and Dr. Michelson dropped as if he had been shot.
Two of the intruders laid Dr. Bill carefully on the bed and turned to face me. One of them nodded his head at me in a way that indicated that I was to follow them. I walked back up the hallway with one of them in front of me and one behind me. His ass was nowhere near as interesting to watch. In any case, I was much more concerned that I was about to get mine kicked– in one way or another.
We were almost all the way back to the front area when the front escort suddenly stopped and spun around to face me. I half-way expected him to attack me, but instead he motioned with his hand at a doorway and nodded his head indicating for me to enter. I did and found myself in a small conference room with Dr. Roberts and Nurse Murphy.
“There are some papers we need you to sign before you leave,” the doctor said firmly. I looked over at nurse Murphy. She had a hospital style robe over her naughty nurse costume, but she still looked very interesting.
“And if I don’t sign them?” I asked.
“You don’t leave,” she answered. Her voice had none of that artificial cheerfulness that I had heard earlier. She now sounded more like a Marine than a nurse.
“What do they call a female seal?” I asked. I wasn’t really sure where that came from or why I said it. But it was out of my mouth before I could stop myself.
She gave me one of those “you are an inch from dead” looks and answered “Ma’am.”
I got the message. “Yes, ma’am,” I said. “What do I need to sign?”
She set a stack of papers in front of me and walked out of the room. The two burly orderlies stood by the doorway. Their masks and filters were in their hands and I could now see their faces, but it didn’t make them look any less threatening.
“These are basic non-disclosure papers,” explained Dr. Roberts. His tone was no different than a loan officer at the bank explaining a car loan. “They say that you acknowledge that you have been made aware of top secret government information and will not disclose it to anyone at anytime– ever.”
“And if I slip up and tell someone?” I asked.
“Then we have the excuse to arrest you,” he answered. His eyes narrowed, “Or at least explain your disappearance.” His voice wasn’t so cheerful as he said that.
“Understood,” I said. “May I ask why all of this hassle over an old German diary?”
“The book is in German?” he said with surprise.
“Yes,” I answered, hoping I sounded very believable.
“Bring it out here tomorrow, and maybe I can tell you.”
I got up from the table and started toward the door. I wasn’t sure if they would let me leave, but it was worth a try. I was sure that I didn’t have a chance in hell of getting through the two “orderlies” unless they were willing to let me go.
To my surprise, the two large men in camo stepped aside. Dr. Roberts, if he was really a doctor, accompanied me to front desk. Nurse Murphy was right behind him, now dressed in a set of green scrubs. As we approached the front door, he said, “Make sure you bring the book back here tomorrow. We know its not in a safety deposit box because you haven’t been in a bank in the last two days.”
I must have looked surprised because he grinned at me and said, “Security cameras. Facial recognition software.”
Nurse Murphy walked up to me and took my hands in hers. She looked directly into my eyes and said, “I know that you really want to bring that book out to us.”
I felt a strange warmness in my hands. It was as if something flowed out of her into me. At the same time, I felt a similar warmth move down from my shoulders. There was a sudden heat at about my wrists and Nurse Murphy quickly let go of my hands. Her eyes were wide in surprise, but she said nothing and made no other indication of anything being strange.
She turned and looked over at Dr. Roberts. Her face was turned slightly from me, but I could see that she made a very small motion with her head. It looked like she was shaking her head no.
He turned back to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He tried to sound fatherly as he said, “We don’t want to hurt you. And we don’t want to cheat you out of anything. We know you paid $2,730 for the book. When you bring it to us tomorrow, you will leave with a check for $10,000. That’s more than three times what you paid for it.”
I smiled back at him and shook his hand. That same warmth flowed down from my shoulder as I said, “Sounds good to me, but I prefer the $50,000 in cash.”
I was waiting for him to correct my amount, but instead he answered, “Cash it is.” Then he added, “But if you aren’t here by noon…” he nodded his head toward the two orderlies and nurse Murphy. “… they come looking for you.”
I really hope I only thought and didn’t say, ‘I wouldn’t mind having Nurse Murphy looking for me.’
My first stop after I left the clinic was the kid’s section of the video department at the local WalMart. Actually I went through the grocery section first and picked up some dark ale and other necessities of life. After I was sure that no one was actually following me, I headed for the video section.
I selected three DVDs just to confuse anyone who might be watching on the security cameras. I had no need for Lion King or Cinderella, but I really needed to see DUMBO again. I vaguely remembered seeing it as a kid. It had something to do with a circus and a flying elephant. I remembered hearing something about it in the news recently because one group or another was objecting to it being re-released because it had old-fashioned racial and ethnic stereotypes in it. I didn’t care about that. I was more interested in something else it evidently had in it– Mortimer’s feather.
When I got home, I dug through my stack of old, useless shit I had from previous auctions and found the German diary. It was exactly like I remembered… old, leather, and filled with a very precise hand telling of who knows what… I can’t read German.
What was in it didn’t matter. It was more or less the same size and color as the book in my gym locker. It even had the fold over flap with a lock on the front. I had a feeling I could take care of any other minor discrepancies later.
I set it on the table and went out on the internet to look up Mark Twain’s ‘Mysterious Stranger.’ I had never even heard of it before. It’s a weird ass story about some angel that comes to this kid in the middle ages and raises all sorts of hell with his life and the life of just about everyone else in the area. The important point for me was that near the end of the story, the kid wanted his father or uncle or whoever the hell it was to be happy and the angel makes him crazy because “No sane man can be happy, for to him life is real, and he sees what a fearful thing it is. Only the mad can be happy, and not many of those. The few that imagine themselves kings or gods are happy, the rest are no happier than the sane”
Dr. Michelson evidently wished for happiness and ended up insane. He even believed himself to be a king. In one of his moments of almost sanity, he must have written the warning about not wishing for happiness. Then he must have hidden the book in a storage locker with a long term contract paid in full. I wondered how long he had been in his kingdom at the government nuthouse before the payments ran out.
Next I watched DUMBO. I sort of remembered a feather in it somewhere from when I saw it as a kid, but didn’t know what it meant. In my memory all I could see was the baby elephant flying with a black feather held tightly in his little trunk. I nearly dropped my beer when the movie finally got to the part where DUMBO loses the feather and the little mouse has to tell him the secret of the feather. “There is no magic feather,” says Timothy Mouse. “It was you all along.”
I replayed that segment about five times before it finally hit me. “Holy SHIT!” I exclaimed aloud, this time actually dropping my beer into my lap. That was me at the hospital! They thought Dr. Bill changed nurse Murphy’s uniform, but it was me. I thought of her in a naughty nurse costume and suddenly that was what she was wearing. And I didn’t have the book with me!
That’s why he knew that I had found the book. No! That’s not what he said. He didn’t say I had found the book. He said that the book had found me. What else did Dr. Michelson tell me in all his crazy babbling?
I tried to pull the conversation back into my mind. “It doesn’t have to be the feather…” There was something else. “A key has two uses…” And then he said something about a light switch.
Did he mean that the book unlocked something in me? It must have. I obviously no longer needed the book to make things happen. But if I didn’t need the feather– I mean the book– to make things happen, why would I need it at all?
“Click!” The lights came on in the room.
I know I didn’t think about that. I didn’t wish for the lights to come on. I wasn’t even thinking about them, but the light switch moved on it own and the lights came on.
“What the hell?” I said aloud.
“Click!” The lights went out.
“Oh!” I said and started laughing. I almost shouted “He was telling me that a key also locks things. I need the book to turn it back off so I don’t accidentally wish for happiness and end up at the funny farm.”
I was practically bouncing up and down in my chair. ‘Don’t go getting too happy,’ I told myself. I just need to keep this under control. And I don’t need the book itself. He told me that Walt used a small image of Mickey that he always kept with him. I seemed to remember one of the online stories saying that Walt had a golden Mickey on his keychain.
I couldn’t see myself with a Mickey Mouse keychain. That would create some really interesting problems for me at the gym, not to mention the fact that it was too easily lost. I wanted something a little more permanent. I imagined little Timothy with the feather in his hand and suddenly there was a stinging on my left arm. A tattoo of the mouse in full uniform holding the feather had appeared on my forearm.
“Too much,” I said aloud. Then I thought, ‘But the right idea.’ The mouse disappeared from my arm. There was another light stinging sensation and a small black feather appeared on my left ring finger between the first two knuckles.
I touched it and said aloud, “Off.”
I suddenly felt empty, as if something had drained out of me.
I touched it again and said, “On.”
The strange warmth that I had been feeling since I first touched the book returned.
“It’s good to be the king,” I yelled aloud as I reached for the ice cold glass of dark ale that had just appeared on the table in front of me.
I was beginning to understand why the government wanted this book. What government wouldn’t want soldiers who could just imagine something blown up or make an incoming missile disappear with just a thought. I had no doubts that Dr. Roberts and his cohorts would do anything necessary to obtain the book. A fake German diary wasn’t going to cut it.
I picked up the old diary. It was close, but no cigar. I tried to remember the original book. The outside said… what the hell did it say? If I could only remember it exactly, I could make this book the same.
The diary shook slightly in my hands. It was suddenly darker, and I think just a little bigger. On the side of the book it now said, “Secreta Libro Cantus.” I opened it and found that the title page also said “Secreta Libro Cantus.” Beneath that were the words, “He who possess The Secret Book of Spells has the secret to all of Mortimer’s spells and incantations.”
I found myself laughing aloud. I knew that wasn’t what it said in the original book. In the real book it said, “He who possess this book has the secret to all of Mortimer’s spells and incantations.” I, or anyone who had seen the true book, would be able to tell immediately that this was a phoney. The two hand written warnings were also absent from the title page. Like the original, the rest of the pages were blank.
I finished three more dark ales and went to bed.
I fell asleep almost immediately, but had weird dreams all night. I don’t know if it was other feathermen speaking to me or what, but by the time I got up in the morning, I knew exactly what I had to do and how to do it. First on the list was to take the fake book to Dr. Roberts.
I got there at 8:30 and he met me in the lobby. I held the book up so he could see the name on the spine. “Maybe that isn’t German,” I said, shrugging my shoulders, “but I still can’t read it.”
I handed him the book and said, “I don’t have a key either, so you’ll have to pick the lock.”
“So you haven’t actually read the book?” he asked.
“I can’t read German,” I answered, continuing to play dumb. “Didn’t think it was worth breaking it trying to get it open.”
I then tried to smile and look as dumb as possible. “I can count, however,” I said. “Do you have my money?”
“Right here,” he replied and handed me a small canvas duffle.
“Do I need to count it?” I asked.
“I assure you all fifty thousand is there,” he replied.
“Thank you,” I bubbled and pumped his hand up and down in an overactive show of thanks.
“You could do one more thing for me,” I said very quietly as the heat flowed down through my arms. “You can erase everything you have on me and change all the names so I’m not connected with this in any way. And then forget that you ever saw me.”
I released his hand and continued smiling at him and saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
I gave him one last “Thank you” as I went out the door. A few minutes later I was headed north on the I-5. I exited east on the Sierra Highway and headed over to the I-15 to Vegas. Four hours later I was checking in at The Mirage.
I paid cash for three nights. They were a little surprised that my only luggage was a small canvas bag, but I told them I planned to buy what I needed as I went along. They looked at me a little suspiciously until I dropped another three grand on the counter and told them to apply it to my account against future purchases. That seemed to smooth everything over, but cash usually has that effect wherever you go.
A bellhop rushed forward to escort me to my room. He seemed confused that there was no luggage to carry, but he wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity for a good tip from some rube who was flashing a lot of cash. I let him show me to my room and gave him twenty for his efforts. I waited a moment and then said, “Is that enough?” I reached back into my pocket and said, “If my dream is right, I’ll be rich tomorrow. If I’m wrong it will all be gone anyway.” Then I handed him another twenty. I wanted him to remember me and to remember that I was some hick doing something crazy.
I slept all afternoon and then watched the news and some game shows on TV. Around 9:00, I went down to the restaurant. I think I’ve had better steak, but I really shouldn’t judge the place by that experience. It could have just as easily have been my nerves affecting how the steak tasted. I dawdled over my meal until 10:30 then left a huge tip to make it up to the waiter and servers. I walked into the casino at exactly 11:00. It was show time.
I carried my little canvas bag up to the teller cage and asked for $35,000 in thousands. A few moment later I walked away with 35 yellow chips with the Mirage name and logo in the middle. I wandered over to the roulette table and stood watching for several minutes. After standing there for several rounds, the croupier looked over at me and said, “You gonna place a bet?”
I tried to look as confused as possible and asked, “The payout if I guess the right number is 35 to 1, right?”
He laughed and said, “Yes, the payout on a straight bet is 35 to 1. Make sure your dollar chip is in the very middle of the square.”
I loved the look on his face as I carefully placed the thousand dollar yellow chip on number 24.
“Seventeen Black,” cried the croupier as he pulled the losing chips– including mine off the table.
I placed another yellow chip on 24.
“Twenty Three Red,” he cried and again pulled my chip into his trough.
There are 37 numbers on the wheel, if you count zero and double zero, but the payout is only 35 to 1. That means that the odds are slightly stacked in the house’s favor. If you play long enough, you will lose everything. That is the reality of roulette. The fact that I had $35,000 and was betting $1000 each time would cause most watchers, like those who monitored the ceiling cameras, to think that I was playing the odds and hoping that 24 would come up at least once before I went bust. They have a name for that system in Las Vegas… it’s called, “Stupid.”
As the croupier carefully whisked my thirty-fourth chip off the table, I casually reached down and touched my left ring finger. Then I placed my final chip on number 24.
The croupier spun the wheel and dropped the ball. I don’t think I breathed at all as it clattered and bounced its way around the wheel. Finally it came to rest.
“Twenty Four Black,” yelled the croupier and pushed a new stack of 35 yellow chips over to me.
I set them on top of the one I had already bet and said, “Let it ride.”
“Are you sure?” the croupier asked, looking up at the bank of camera ports that surrounded the table.
“Yes,” I answered, trying to look very scared and nervous. Actually that wasn’t much of a stretch at this point.
I noticed that he pressed a button of some sort on the side of the table before he gave the wheel a spin. I had no doubts that a light or buzzer alerted the security room to a very high stakes wager.
He spun the wheel and dropped the ball. It seemed to clatter and bounce forever before it finally settled on black 24.
His voice wasn’t quite the same as he announced, “Twenty Four Black.”
Two men in dark suits appeared just behind me on either side. “That’s one point two six million,” the croupier said. “Someone from the cage will have to arrange payment.”
“That’s OK,” I said. “I will probably have to arrange for a wire transfer anyway.”
As I reached down to pick up my stack of chips, the larger of the two men stepped up to me and said, “Would you mind accompanying us to the security office, sir?”
“Why?” I asked.
“It’s normal procedure when there is such an unusual win.” He waived his hand and added, “… just a formality.” The formality included walking through a metal detector and having a hand wand run up and down my legs.
“I knew that my number should come up before I ran out of money,” I said as sincerely as I could. “Then when it did on my last chip, I just couldn’t control myself and told him to let it ride.” I started giggling slightly. “I really don’t know why I did that.” I clapped my hands together trying to imitate Dr. Michelson. “I can’t believe it came up twice.”
“Yeah,” the man behind the desk said, “neither could we.” Then he smiled at me and said, “But it is obvious that you don’t have anything on you that would affect the wheel. And neither you nor anyone near the table comes up in our database.” I was sure I would in the future.
He walked around the desk and held out his hand. “I would like to personally congratulate one very lucky man.” He shook my hand and asked, “How would you like your winnings?”
“I’d like the chips I had on the table back in cash,” I answered. Then I pulled my checkbook out of my pocket and said, “The rest I would like wire-transferred to this account. I will deal with it later.”
“You do realize,” he told me, now sounding very much like a father giving his son advice, “that we are talking about over one million dollars… less taxes.” He chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. “We need your social security number to properly credit Uncle Sam’s share.”
“No problem,” I said. About ten minutes later, I was walking back down the hallway to my room with 350 brand new Benjamins in my little canvas bag.
As I was opening the door, I was thinking, ‘All I need to make this a perfect day is a beautiful blond who wants to have fantastic sex with me.’
That’s when someone shoved me from behind and pushed me into the room and onto the floor.
I landed on my stomach with a loud “umph” and immediately rolled onto my back preparing to defend myself.
Whoever it was had fallen with me and was lying on top of me. Our faces were just inches apart. It was Nurse Murphy.
I tried to bring my hands up in front of my face, but she pushed them aside easily and leaned in and… planted a wet, sloppy kiss right on my lips. “God! I am so happy to see you!” she grunted as she reached around behind my head and pulled my face back against her own.
“Glad to see you, too, Nurse Murphy,” I grunted back. I found myself thinking, ‘I wish I could see more of you,’ and suddenly her clothing was on the floor beside us. A second later my clothing was also strewn around us and she was dragging me toward the bed.
“Call me Sarah,” she panted at me. “And you can drop the ‘Nurse.’ I quit The Center this afternoon. I was never really a nurse anyway.”
If I hadn’t known that everything that she was doing was because of my own mind, it would have been more like rape– not that I was objecting. She was all over me with her mouth, and I mean all over me. I don’t know how I didn’t fire off long before she even got to straddling me and going full cowgirl. OK, I know how, I just hadn’t thought about that aspect of it before.
She bounced up and down on me going higher and higher and I wasn’t that far behind her. She was squeezing me with her cunt muscles as she moved up and down and it almost felt like I was being milked like a cow. Finally she started shuddering and reached up and squeezed her breasts and shouted, “Now!”
Gentleman that I am, I complied with her command and erupted within her. She collapsed panting on my chest. A few moments later she said between deep breaths, “That was for me. You don’t know how long it has been since I have been able to risk letting myself go like that. We can go slower in the future.”
Maybe I really am a gentleman. I felt guilty. Changing her uniform into something much more interesting was one thing, but turning her into my personal sex slave or whatever was another. “I’m sorry,” I started to mumble. “I didn’t mean to do this to you. I’ll make it right. Just give me a little while to figure out what I have to do.”
That’s when she started laughing. She sat back up on my waist with me still just barely inside her. “You didn’t do this to me,” she said with a giggle. “I’m immune. That’s why Doctor Roberts wanted me at The Center. I was the only one they’d ever found who was immune to Doctor Bill’s thoughts.”
She put her finger on my lips, which were open wide in shock, and said, “My clothes, not-so-much, but my body is immune from anything you might come up with in that dirty little mind.”
She swung her leg up and rolled over next to me so we were lying side by side. “And even more importantly,” she continued, “you are immune from me. I knew that as soon as I couldn’t force you to bring the book to The Center.”
I suddenly realized what was going on. “You’ve had the book, too,” I almost shouted.
“Not exactly,” she said with a grin. “But while I was on leave in Japan, an old Shinto priest stopped me on the street one day and gave me a scroll. He said it was the Dragon Scroll and that it held the secret to the Dragon Warrior’s powers.”
She laughed and then continued, “I thought it was just some of that oriental bullshit for tourists, but then weird things started happening around me. Just when I thought I would go nuts, a note– written in English– fell out of the scroll telling me to go see a particular show at some little Kabuki theater down in a really old area of Tokyo. I couldn’t understand a damn thing, but in their dance routine, one of the girls kept pointing a scroll at a lamp and it would suddenly light. A little later she would point it again and the light would go out. After the performance, she came up to me and said in very broken English, ‘It doesn’t have to be the scroll, chosen one. But keep the scroll safe so it can choose the one to follow you.’”
She rolled up onto her side and pointed at her hip. There was a small scroll tattooed there, on the outside just below her waist. “It works just like your feather,” she said. She pressed it and said, “The lamp comes on.” She pressed it again and said, “And the lamp goes off.”
She rolled over so that she was lying almost on top of me. She reached down and ran her hand up my leg, starting at about my knee. My prick began to stir. “The only problem is that certain things can override the switch.” She ran her finger lightly over my penis and it finished springing to attention. “Like an orgasm,” she said with a wicked laugh.
“As you would have soon discovered,” she continued, “a tremendous burst of energy is released in that instant when you mind loses control during an orgasm.” She kissed me lightly on the lips and went on, “It isn’t enough to damage objects around you or make weird things appear in the room– usually, but if you are touching someone at that point…” She laughed. “… and that is sort of the whole point of sex, isn’t it?” She pushed herself up onto both elbows and explained, “If you are touching someone at the point of orgasm, you sort of fry their brain.”
She laughed again and said, “Some of the guys I’ve dated wouldn’t have had anything to worry about. They went off before I could even get warmed up. But until I met someone who was immune, I was limited to wearing out dildos and vibrators.” She gave me a crooked smile and said, “You gave me my first real flesh-to-flesh orgasm in eight years.”
“So if I had feathered some bimbo from the casino into coming up to the room with me..?”
“You would have fucked her senseless.” she replied. “And she would have stayed that way for a long, long time.” She made a strange face and shrugged her shoulders. “Trust me, I speak from experience.”
Her face and her voice got very serious. “That’s how the center found out about me. I got arrested for drugging my date. I was originally as much a prisoner as Dr. Bill, but I still had my mind and I slowly erased myself from everyone’s memory as anything but ‘Nurse Murphy.’ Before I left yesterday, I even made sure that the Nurse Murphy in their files was a 58 year-old employee who took early retirement and moved away.”
“What exactly is the scroll and what did you do with it?” I asked.
“The scroll is now in a Shinto Shrine in a little village south of Tokyo. As far as what it is, have you ever seen Kung Fu Panda?”
“What!?” I exclaimed.
She laughed again and began to explain. “Walt Disney wasn’t the only movie maker to steal ancient myths and make kiddie movies out of them. The Dragon Scroll in Kung Fu Panda was blank, but it opened up the power in Jack Black’s character. Does that sound familiar?”
She smiled at me and raised her eyebrows as if waiting for me to answer, but before I could say anything, she continued, “There’s a joke in there that only someone who knows about the true scroll can get. According to the real legend, the true Dragon Scroll is supposed to come from ‘Master Woog,’ or as it would be said in Pig Latin ‘Astermay Oogway.’”
She laughed again, “Oogway was the name used for the master in the movie.”
She turned serious and asked, “What are you going to do with the real book?”
“There is a new storage facility going up in North Hollywood,” I replied. “They claim that their building is 100% earthquake proof and will last for 200 years. I figure a pre-paid storage rental of 100 years ought to test their claims.
“And I’m going to invest the million is stocks or whatever. I figure I should be able to pick what will be profitable. You and I should be able to live comfortably for a long, long time.”
A bottle of body gel suddenly appeared in my hand. “In the meantime,” I said with what I hoped was my best sly smile, “I think we need to bleed off more trapped sexual energy before one of us explodes and turns this whole hotel into a giant brothel.”
“It’s legal in Nevada,” she said as she rolled over so I could start massaging her back.
“But not in Las Vegas,” I said as I slid my now slippery hand between her beautiful round buttocks.
“Details, details,” she murmured. “Either of us could change that without leaving the room.”
When we finally left the room and checked out four days later, I asked the desk clerk, “Would you settle an argument for me and my wife. ‘Is prostitution legal in Las Vegas?’”
“A lot of tourists think so,” he replied, “but no. Legal in Nevada, but not in Las Vegas itself.”
Sarah looked at me with her eyebrows arched in a questioning manner. “Just checking,” I said. “Just checking.”
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END OF STORY
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