The Message and the Messenger


Felicity flew into the room flustered, fanning computer printouts. “A thousand gallons! A Carpenter-related organization purchased a thousand gallons of Ortho two months ago. And a month before that, it was $5,000 worth of anodized aluminum tubing. And $10,000 in machine tools.” Even Sharon picked up on that.

“And I was able to infiltrate the group. I found out how they’re communicating in the field, you’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. Signal mirrors. Like the scouts use. I also have to report absolutely no mention of blowing anything up, killing anyone, or committing a violent act of any kind. I’m going to see if I can find out where they’re storing the fertilizer.”

“Good work, young lady. Aluminum Tubing? Wasn’t that what the Iranians were using to build atomic bombs?” Marco stopped trying to bring Sharon in for a 3-point landing when he saw what was going on outside. John Street, Dean Street, Maiden Lane, Park Place. Loaded with pedicabs, a different kind from the old beat-up ones, like they were backwards. And shiny. With TV screens. Marco sent Pat down to see what was going on. He came back with the news that even though there was a 600-bike pedicab limit in the city, these were free-ride bikes and not under city control. All of downtown was at a standstill except for the people in Carpenter’s free transportation system or who were walking or riding their own bikes. Passengers and passers-by were treated to a video lesson on the costs of fossil fuels in health care, economic chaos, global warming, and anything else the team could dream up to scare people. Whether or not the scare tactics worked, the game on the ground had changed, maybe permanently.

Things were happening fast. Sharon received a call from a Junior Diaz, a man claiming to be Carpenter’s attorney. He said over the speaker phone that he was worried about Carpenter, that he was obsessed, that he had a gun. Sharon didn’t exactly spring into action, but she at least autumned into it.

“Okay troops. Purchasing material for two different kinds of bombs. Causing chaos in the streets. Collusion between two known radical political entities. Get the FBI on the line.”




Andrew Paul Grell

Andrew Paul Grell lives in a park in Manhattan with Melody, his wife, and their Malti-poo puppy, Cyrus King of Persia. At 60, he is an “emerging writer,” author of the recently released science fiction novel SCAPEGOATS: The Goat Protocols. Andrew has been anthologized in American Writers Review, Surprised by Joy, Grumpy Old Gods 2, and What Sort of Fuckery is This. He also makes appearances in Writers Newsletter and is proud to be an Ugly Writer.  By day he uses mathematical models to ferret out fraud, and he gets everywhere by bicycle. 


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 23:11