Aphelion Issue 244, Volume 23
October 2019
 
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The Importance of Being Khan

by Gregory Adams


Warren Pohmer peered out of the kitchen window at his front lawn. The stranger was still out there, alone in the bright Sunday morning sunlight. He was no longer yelling, no longer knocking on the door and demanding to be let in, at least, but he was still out there just the same, waiting to explain about Genghis Khan.

Warren closed the curtain and turned. His wife had disappeared into the living room. "Honey?" he called. "Have you called the police yet?" There was no answer. He looked out the window again. The stranger was still out there on the grass, pacing and smoking a cigarette.

Warren walked into the living room. His wife was sitting on the couch. She was wearing headphones that were plugged into the television. Like the man outside, she was also smoking a cigarette. The madman on the lawn was all her fault.

It was the 900 numbers that landed the madman on the front lawn. For months now, Helen had been calling psychics and talking to them for hours. Warren didn’t know what they could be talking about, because Helen didn’t work, they didn’t have any kids, and he had just been passed over for another promotion. Their lives had fallen into a rut so stagnant that it begged the question: what future was left to them that would require such close attention?

"Listen, honey," Warren said, using the remote to lower the volume of the television. "We've got to do something about this person who keeps knocking on our front door. I think he might mean to harm one of us, or at the very least cause trouble with the neighbors." She seemed to have no opinion in the matter. "I'm going to call the police," Warren concluded.

"DON'T CALL THE POLICE!" came the cry from outside.

"Honey, he knows what you’re going to do," Helen said, sliding the headphones from her ears down to her neck. "He's psychic."

"Oh come on," Warren replied quietly. "If he was psychic, he'd know that I was going to call the police, and that they would take him away."

"They'll take you away, too!" The voice from the lawn called. "They'll arrest you as well!"

"NO THEY WON’T!" Warren yelled towards the front door.

"You don't have to yell, honey," Helen said. "He's psychic."

"No he isn't, honey," Warren insisted, as he crossed the living room and picked up the phone. "That's just something he tells people."

"I AM, IT ISN'T, and PUT DOWN THE PHONE!"

Helen shrugged. Warren set the phone down, and walked to the front door. He opened it a crack, leaving the chain fastened. At once, the gap was filled with a thin, bearded, face. The psychic on their lawn. "Why are you harassing us?" Warren asked.

"Your wife called me." The face explained. The psychic peered around Warren, and waved into the living room. "Hi, Mrs. Pohmer." Warren assumed that Helen waved back.

"Well, that may be the case, but I am certain that she did not invite you to come to our home." Warren said.

"Well, no. But in reading your past lives -- yours and your wives, sir, I learned that, while your wife has lived several times, and through some interesting incarnations, to say the least, it was you, Mr. Pohmer, who had the most remarkable past existence, having been Genghis Khan, once, a long time ago," the psychic explained. "Now, while you could have gone through this entire incarnation without ever being aware of any of this, I was shown in a dream just last night that this fact will have tremendous bearing on your immediate future. Feeling somewhat responsible for making you aware of this, I came over right away to tell you."

"How do you know anything about me, if this is the first time we've spoken?" Warren asked.

The psychic on the step spoke nervously, and shifted his weight from one foot to the next with each word. "Well, Mr. Pohmer, your wife provided me with your astrological sign, date of birth, likes, dislikes, Social Security number..."

"Why did you need my Social Security number?" Warren interrupted.

"I'm not sure. They ask me to ask for it back at the office," The psychic replied, seeming a bit confused himself at the question. "I'm certain that it's not a scam, however. I'd know if it were. I'm psychic."

"Yes, I understand that," Warren said.

"Yes, that's what you say, but that is not what you believe," the psychic insisted.

"Look," Warren said, "Maybe we can arrive at an understanding with this. If you leave, I promise that I won't call the police."

"I don't believe you," the psychic replied firmly.

"Follow me, here," Warren began. "The only reason I would call the police is that you're on my property, and being a nuisance. If you leave, and promise not to come back, I would have no need to call them. Now, I'm a businessman --"

"You're an insurance claims adjuster." The psychic interrupted.

"-- Who still accepts a handshake as a promise," Warren concluded. "If we reach an agreement here, I won't call the police, and they won't do to me whatever it is you're so concerned that they are going to do to me. All right?" Warren smiled, and extended his hand through the gap between door and frame.

The psychic glanced down at the hand for a moment, then back up at Warren's smiling face. "I don't believe you."

Warren sighed. "Look. You're psychic, right?" The man nodded. "Okay. Then you must know that I'm telling you the truth."

"I don't know," the psychic said, a note of uncertainty in his voice. "I sense your sincerity, but I keep seeing cops, just cops all over the place." He closed his eyes, and tilted his face upwards, towards the sky. "I see us in a holding cell."

Warren sighed again, losing patience with the situation. "Maybe it's static from the high tension wires, or from all of the cell phones in this neighborhood..."

"I'm a psychic, not a clock radio." The bearded man said irritably. "Electrical and radio waves don't affect me. You know, that's one of the things that really bothers me about you people. You call us up, and then you call us frauds, or treat us like we’re crazy or something. It's insulting, it really is." He folded his arms across his thin chest.

Warren lost his cool. "I didn't call you!" he exclaimed.

"Don't yell, honey," Helen called from inside of the house.

"Honey, please stay out of this." Warren said over his shoulder. "I'm having a conversation with Mr. ..." He paused, realizing he had overlooked one of the first rules of negotiation. "I'm sorry, I don't think we've been introduced."

"His name's Starblossom," Helen said, still in the living room. Warren glanced disbelievingly in the direction of his wife, and then turned back to the psychic.

"My parents were into the counter-culture," Starblossom explained.

"I understand," Warren said. He extended his hand through the door. "Warren Pohmer." They shook hands. At Warren's touch, Starblossom's complexion went at once from pale to cadaverous. His long fingers closed around Warren's hand with the earnest grip of a steel trap. Starblossom's eyes rolled back in their sockets, and he began to scream, "KHAN! KHAN! KING OF KINGS!"

"HONEY!" Warren shouted, his concern for the sleep of his neighbors now abandoned, "Call the POLICE!!" The psychic collapsed to the front walk, and began foaming at the mouth. He continued to howl, alternating between English and tenth century Mongolian. Warren tried to pull his fingers free of Starblossom's grip, but his hand remained firmly trapped. He braced his foot against the doorframe, and pulled as hard as he was able. He almost succeeded in pulling Starblossom through the gap the fastened security chain allowed in the doorway.

If the man’s head would come off, he would have just fit.

####

They were still attached, when the police arrived.

The police cruiser slid up to the curb, and discharged its occupants. There were two officers. They both wore black leather utility belts, from which hung nightsticks, handcuffs, chemical mace, radios with blunt rubber antennas, six-cell black metal flashlights, and many, many spare clips for their 9 mm semi-automatic handguns. The pair sauntered up the front walk the way suburban police do when they are called upon to handle yet another domestic argument in their quiet, nearly affluent jurisdiction.

By this time, Helen had unhooked the chain, and swung the door open. After performing this small service, she immediately disappeared into the house.

Warren was sitting on the front step, and Starblossom was lying on the grass. It almost looked as if Warren were trying to rescue the younger man from drowning in the well-trimmed lawn, except Warren had a foot on Starblossom's wrist, and was pulling at his trapped hand with all of his might.

"Having a problem, sir?" the heavier officer asked Warren.

Warren looked up at him. The cop wore an insolent half-smile that reminded Warren of someone else. "Yes, Officer. It seems that this gentleman, here, won't release my hand." Warren replied.

The smaller cop knelt and examined Starblossom. "Looks unconscious," he said. "Better call for an ambulance."

The big cop nodded, and drew his radio from his belt.

The little cop slipped a pair of rubber gloves out of his hip pocket, and slid them on. "You must have clocked this guy pretty hard," he said to Warren.

"Clocked?" Warren asked, still trying to free his hand. "You mean hit? No, I didn't strike him, no. We only shook hands."

"First time I seen someone go out from a handshake." The big cop said.

"No, no, you don't understand," Warren said. "This man, he had a seizure of some kind, threw some kind of fit...." Warren looked up at them from his place on his stoop.

Both officers wore the same doubtful grin.

"No, it's true," Warren insisted. "See, he's psychic... Wait." Warren stopped himself. Freedom did not lie down that path. He turned and shouted into the house. "Honey! Honey, could you come out here, please, and explain to the police what happened?" For a moment, there was no response, and Warren had a nightmare vision of his own: Helen back in front of the television, with her headphones on and a cigarette blazing. Then she was there, in the doorway.

And she was dressed to kill.

Helen had been beautiful when she and Warren had first met, and that beauty had been steadily withering in the fatal light of suburban life, but she still had a long way to go before ugly. While Warren had been trying to wrestle his hand out of Starblossom's grip, she had disappeared into the house, ostentatiously to get some cooking oil, to try to lubricate Warren's fingers out of Starblossom's grip. She returned without the cooking oil, but she had done away with the formless sweat pants and T-shirt she had been wearing for what seemed years worth of weekends, trading that outfit for tight bluejeans and a halter top that would have gotten a teenager sent home from high school. She had also applied lipstick and eyeliner and was wearing the diamond earrings that Warren had given her for their second anniversary. She didn't quite look like a whore, but she certainly didn't look like the woman who had been nailed to the recliner all morning, either.

All jaws dropped. The little cop, who was still down on one knee trying to get Warren's hand free, uttered a low whistle.

Helen ignored her husband, and looked directly at the fat cop. "Dennis McLuhan," she purred, "is that you?"

The fat cop's expression softened dramatically. "Helen Grady, would you look at you."

"I thought they might send you," Helen said, her right hand sliding up and down the molding of the doorway. "I see you sometimes, on patrol."

"Well, you should break a law so I can pull you over and say hi," the fat cop replied. An awkward silence settled over the small group, as volumes of dialogue silently passed between Helen and Dennis. As suddenly as he had passed out, Starblossom woke up.

"POLICE!" Starblossom cried, speaking once more in English. "My God, the prophecy has come to pass!"

The tiny cop leapt backward in surprise. Dennis spoke into his radio. "Car 3 to base, recall ambulance, repeat, recall ambulance, over." He turned back to Helen, still smiling. "Now, baby, I'd love to catch up on old times, but seems we got something to straighten out, here."

"You know my wife, Officer?" Warren asked, squinting up at Dennis.

"Be quiet," the cop said. He addressed himself to Starblossom. "Son, did this man assault you?"

Starblossom got to his feet. He wiped the foam from his ragged beard, and tried not to appear taller that the little cop. "Well, no, not in the classic sense..." He paused, and brought his left hand up to his right shoulder. "Ow." He looked down at the sensitive area in surprise. "Why does my arm hurt so much? Hey!" His fingers probed his shoulder and neck, discovering new complaints. "Hey! My neck is really sore, too!"

"And you have no memory of how this happened?" the little cop asked.

Warren spoke up. "Officers, it's like this..."

"I told you to be quiet," Dennis told Warren. "We're taking a statement."

"Well," Starblossom began, "I came down here to talk to Mr. Warren, to tell him not to call the police, and we shook hands, and then..." He trailed off. "Then, you were here, and I hurt." He raised his right arm, and grimaced with pain. "All over," he added.

Dennis looked at Warren. "What do you have to say to that?"

"Wait, wait," Warren said, struggling to change the direction all this was taking "Let's just all step back, and take a rational look at things. Starblossom. Tell them why you came here."

Starblossom looked bewildered behind his ragged beard. "Because your wife called me?"

"Oh, I get it," Dennis said. "A bit of a jealous man, are we, Mr. Warren?"

"Who could blame him?" the little cop said, looking at Helen.

"No, see you're getting it all wrong." Warren complained. "My first name is Warren, my last name is -- "

"Grady," the little cop said.

"No. See, Grady is my wife's maiden name. Officer..." He peered at Dennis' badge. "Officer McLuhan, here, obviously knew Helen, that's my wife, Helen, before she married me. Now our last names are Pohmer. Both of them," he concluded.

"Yes, that's what I have on the radio log. Pohmer," the little cop said, reading from his clipboard. He addressed Starblossom. "Is that who called you, sir? Mrs. Pohmer?"

Starblossom nodded yes.

They all turned once more towards Warren.

"No, you still don't understand." Warren said, sounding more desperate than he wanted to. "Starblossom, tell them about Genghis Khan."

"I can't, Mr. Warren," Starblossom whispered, with a conspiratorial tone. "They're the POLICE!"

"All right, I've heard enough," Officer Dennis McLuhan said. "Book'em, Spence."

"Okay, folks, just like on television." The smaller officer drew a Miranda card from a small leather box on his belt that apparently held nothing but Miranda cards. "You have the right to remain silent..." he began, and he gestured for Warren and Starblossom to walk to the cruiser. Dennis waddled up to the front door, where Helen leaned like an extra in West Side Story. "Sorry Helen, but we're going to have to take your husband in for questioning."

"I understand," Helen said, answering not only with her lips, but with her eyes and body as well.

"I'll have to come back later for a statement from you," Officer McLuhan said.

"That would be fine, Dennis," she replied, still leaning. "Come back anytime."

Officer McLuhan tipped his cap to her, and practically skipped back to the cruiser.

####

Officer Spencer led Warren back to the holding cell. Warren’s first try at a phone call had not gone well: the line was busy. He suspected that Helen was calling their lawyer. At least, he hoped that was the case.

Starblossom was in a corner of the cell in a lotus position, his eyes closed.

Officer Spencer called to him. "Hey, Starfish. Need to call someone?"

"That's what I'm doing now." Starblossom replied, in a distant tone.

The little cop shrugged, locked Warren in with Starblossom, and returned to the front office of the station.

Warren stood in front of Starblossom. "Now, is this what you wanted?"

"This is what I wanted to avoid," Starblossom replied. "I told you not to call the police."

"And the best way you could think of to prevent that was to come to my house, and cause a scene?" Warren said. He was getting near the end of his patience. The ride over in the cruiser had been a positive hell. The two officers had discussed Helen as if Warren had not been in the car at all. Warren felt that he should have objected, but he didn't want to say anything without his lawyer present. Also, he was concerned about being seen by anyone from the office, and had kept is head down throughout the ride.

"If you remember," Starblossom said, "it was you who caused the scene -- wait. I'm getting through."

Warren sighed and sat on the bench.

Starblossom frowned with concentration, his lips moving as if he were whispering. "Nope," he said, after a moment. "Can't hang onto it. Too much interference."

"I thought you weren't a VCR," Warren said.

"It was clock radio, and no, I'm not one," Starblossom explained. "It's not the electrical current, it's the psychic energies. It's you and Officer McLuhan. And all these kids don't help, either." he said, with a gesture towards the other cells.

The 'kids' were a group of Junior High School students, who had been arrested for having a fight of some kind with their peers from the next town. That was why Warren and Starblossom were locked up together: the Brookville Police Station only had two cells, and the teenagers had threatened to tear apart anyone who was put in with them.

"What's happening here is that this cycle has all happened before," Starblossom explained. "See, in past lives, you were Genghis Khan --"

"I know that much." Warren said.

"-- And your wife was your wife. One of more than a dozen wives, actually."

Although there was a cinder block wall separating them, the teenagers in the next cell could hear Warren and Starblossom’s conversation. "Wow, you had a dozen wives?" one of them asked.

"Actually, he had 18 wives," Starblossom called back to them. "Nevertheless, when Mr. Pohmer saw Mrs. Pohmer as she was back in her past life, he had to have her." He returned his attention to Warren. "So, you captured her village, killed all her relatives, and took her for herself. Her and her sister, actually."

"No one would want Helen's sister." Warren said.

"This was a long time ago, I'm sure Helen's sister was a better person when she was a Mongolian. Now, what happened was, you had Yisui..."

"That's Helen?" Warren asked.

"Right. You had her made your wife, and all of her people made your slaves." Starblossom said. "And among these slaves was a man called Aktari, who had loved Yisui, before you came and destroyed their village. So, she was your wife, and Aktari, who was your slave, was her old lover."

"Who’s Aktari now?" Warren asked. "You?"

"No no no, it's Dennis, the fat cop," Starblossom explained. "That's why he hates you, and why Helen is attracted to him, despite his weight disadvantage. It's all remnants from your past."

Despite his doubts, Warren found himself becoming interested. "So what happened, back then, in Mongolia?" he asked.

"Well, one night, soon after your conquest of their village, during dinner, you caught Aktari making eyes at your new wife -- he was on your wait staff, Aktari was -- and so you cut his head off with one swing of your sword --"

"Kick ass!" came the call from the next cell.

"-- and went back to eating your broiled horse leg, which you now flavored by dipping into Aktari's -- that's Dennis's -- blood."

Warren felt queasy. "I kept on eating my horse meat after it had been covered in a man's blood?"

"That's right, "Starblossom said. "You dipped it right into the stump of his neck." Even the cell next door was quiet for that one.

"Wow," was all Warren could think to say. "But how about the little one, Officer Spencer? Why does he hate me?"

"I was getting to that," Starblossom said. "As punishment, you had all of the survivors from Dennis' village boiled alive. In big cauldrons. Slowly."

"And Officer Spencer..." Warren began.

"…was one of them," Starblossom concluded. "So, they all hate you, now. I imagine there are quite a few other people who do, too. You made war on almost all of Asia, at one time or another." He added. "You killed a lot of people."

"Hey, brother, I love you, my man! You're my peep!"

"Anyway, that's what I dreamed about, and what I was trying to prevent -- all three of you -- well, all four counting Officer Spencer, from getting together, and unlocking all those 800-year-old bad vibes. Strange things can happen, when so many karma paths re-converge. "

"Well, you did a crummy job of keeping us apart," Warren said. "Now, I'm in jail, and my wife's home waiting for a fat pig of a, of a..."

"Speak it, brother," called one of the teenagers, "PIG!"

"All right, PIG, to go and, well, pork her I guess, is the word I'm looking for." Warren began to pace the cell. "And I'm powerless to stop him. At least until my lawyer gets here."

"Maybe," said Starblossom, "maybe not. You used to be Genghis Khan, remember. You were the leader of the most feared army in all of Asia. Sure, since then you've been a stable hand, a wino, a penguin, a slave twice, and a corrupt Italian senator who died of gout right before the Second World War, but come on, man!" Starblossom grabbed Warren by the shoulders and shook him. "Look deeply into your past, find a shred of that conqueror’s instinct, that fierce pride that allowed you to command the most brutal warriors that the world has ever known!"

"I'm not sure that I can," Warren said. He felt small, smaller than he had ever felt in his life.

"You'd better, or the life you wanted is lost." Starblossom said, releasing him. "Helen will leave you for certain, to be with Dennis, who she remembers as a young and swarthy warrior, but who is, in this life, a corrupt and bitter man, who abuses his wife, and terrorizes little children."

"Yo," A voice from the next cell asked, now sounding subdued. "How do you know all that?"

"He's psychic." Warren replied. "So Dennis is married, beats his wife, and scares little kids? He does all that?" Starblossom nodded. "But do I really want to be that fierce and brutal?" Warren asked. "Do I really want to be someone who killed that many people, who was so savage?"

"I don't know." Starblossom said. "Do you?"

####

Officer William 'Spence' Spencer sat in the front office of the Brookville Police Station, watching television, and eating a donut. He had the box of donuts in a drawer of the desk, so that should anyone walk in, he could hide them quickly by closing the drawer. It wasn't good to be seen with a donut, if you were a cop. People thought it was funny or something. He was waiting for the kid's parents to come and claim their little felons. He'd gone down the list, and telephoned all of their mothers and fathers (and most of these punks had two or three sets of parents, it seemed), and left messages on all of their answering machines, but so far, not one of them had so much has called back.

Suddenly there was a scream from the holding cells, so urgent, so delirious, that Spencer nearly fell out of his chair. He caught his balance, and pausing only to drop the donut into the drawer, rushed towards the holding area, nightstick in hand.

What he found there gave him Déjà Vu: Warren Pohmer and Starblossom were once again holding hands, but this time, it was Pohmer who was in a trance, and Starblossom who was screaming, and trying to break free. The teenagers in the next cell hooted and screamed like the crowd at a gladiatorial arena.

"Release that man, now!" Spencer ordered, switching his nightstick for his mace, and working the key of the cell door. Even over the shouts and cries of the teenagers, Spencer could hear Starblossom's fingers snapping like popcorn being loudly chewed. He swung the cell door open.

Warren dropped Starblossom, who collapsed to the ground, landing on his elbows to protect his hand. His fingers looked as they had just been freed from the working engine of a revving car. Spencer took in the expression on Warren's face, and took a step away from him, closing and re-locking the cell door as he retreated.

"Problem, officer?" Warren asked. His voice was low and heavy, and fixed with a strange accent Spencer did not recognize. The small policeman continued to back away, his eyes locked on Warren's, his fingers fumbled around his belt, searching for his gun.

Warren approached the bars. "Open this cage, now," he said, the accent already fading from his voice, the American English rising up through the 10th century Mongolian like Kirghiz Plains emerging from the melting snows. "If you do not do as I say, then the punishment I decree for you will make the boiling seem a mercy."

Still retreating, Spencer collided with the corridor wall, and dropped his keys in surprise. His eyes flicked over to the teenagers who were leaning silently against the bars of the other cell. None of them were smiling. "Best let the man out," one of them said. "Seems serious."

Spencer forgot about the gun, and recovered his keys. "I'm just his partner," he said as he opened the lock to Warren's cell. "I'm not involved, really, I'm not."

"Do not presume to speak to me." Warren said.

"Yessir."

"Where is Officer Aktari?"

Spencer had never heard the name before, but he understood well enough whom the tall and powerful man meant. "At your house, sir. Taking a statement. From your wife, sir."

"Take me there, now."

Spencer knew that he couldn't leave the station unmanned. If he did, he could be suspended, or could even be fired. He didn't raise these points with Mr. Pohmer. What he said was, "Yes sir," and led the way to the parking lot.

"There goes one stone cold brother," said the leader of the suburban teenage gang.

"Stone cold," his posse all agreed.

Still lying on the concrete floor of his cell, Starblossom watched the pair leave the station. "My God," he said, understanding for the first time what it meant to be Khan. "What have I done?"

####

Spencer drove with the siren and lights on, as Mr. Pohmer seemed to be in a hurry. Throughout the short trip, Warren Pohmer sat silently in the back seat. Whenever Spencer glanced into his rear view, it seemed that Mr. Pohmer was staring at him.

When they arrived at the house, Spencer drove the cruiser onto the curb and parked. Dennis' cruiser, he could see, was pulled into the driveway. Almost before the car stopped moving, Mr. Pohmer was out the door and moving up the lawn-- and there was Dennis, coming out through the front door, weapons and accessories swaying from his black leather belt. Spencer was relieved that Dennis wasn't pulling his belt on, or, God help him, fastening his pants.

A part of him insisted that he should be doing something to help his partner, but another, louder part of him remembered getting in a great deal of trouble over this once before.

Aktari (Dennis, he meant Dennis) was on his own.

####

Warren made straight for the fat policeman. Dennis came down the slope of the yard to meet him, a scowl on his face. Helen stood in the doorway, still clad in her sexy housewife outfit. Warren addressed her without taking his eyes from Dennis; he addressed her through Dennis, as if the policeman were made of glass. "Helen," Warren said, "this, this -- creature -- is known to you?"

Helen remained where she was, too frightened to step out of the house. She nodded, and although was impossible for Warren to see her with Dennis between them, he nonetheless acknowledged the answer with a small nod of his own.

He addressed Dennis. "You are an officer of the Brookville Police Department, which I support though my property and income taxes. Is that so?"

Dennis glared down at Warren. "Yes, and you'd better remember it --"

"And you admire my bride, Helen?" Warren interrupted.

"I don't know what --" was as far as Dennis got before Warren hit him with his open hand.

Warren slapped Dennis hard enough to topple the big cop to the lawn, his weapons and limbs flailing about in a confused tangle.

Helen and Spencer gasped in surprise: Warren had moved so quickly that he seemed not to have moved at all.

Dennis put his hand over his mouth, and took it away slick with blood. Anger rushed into his face, and he reached for his nightstick.

Warren placed a loafer upon the larger man’s throat and forced him back down. "You have insulted me in my home," Warren began, one foot steady on his own trim lawn, the other firmly planted on Dennis' neck. "You have held me with no clear charge, beneath no legitimate complaint by another citizen, while you made advances towards my wife. If you do not go away from my home, and never return, I will sue you." He levered more of his weight onto Dennis' already compromised airway.

"I will sue you as no man has ever been sued before," Warren said. "I will sue your partner, I will sue the town, I will sue the county, state and federal governments. I will sue your wife, and your wife's family. I will sue you until employment in a boarding kennel, cleaning up the feces of small pets will seem a blessing to you, and even then, you will turn your minimum wage over to me. Do you understand what I am telling you?" Dennis' hands rummaged along the ranks of weaponry that encircled his gut, but seemed unable to free anything useful, and the hands stopped searching. Warren shifted his weight enough to allow Dennis to reply.

"Yes!" Dennis croaked. "Yes! Yes!" Warren removed his foot, and Dennis rolled away, his face blue.

"Now," Warren said. "Get out of here." He tossed a thumb over his shoulder, and turned his back on both officers.

Spencer rushed up the lawn to help his partner to his feet. "Come on, man." Spencer said, pulling Dennis towards the cruiser. "We got off easy this time."

"I remember." Dennis said, wiping the blood from his chin.

####

Warren Pohmer didn’t bother to watch the policemen go: an enemy defeated was an enemy forgotten. Instead, he walked up the lawn and crossed threshold of his own home. His wife was nowhere to be seen. "Honey!" he called out, his powerful new voice echoing throughout the house. "Things are going to change around here, now! I'm myself again." There was no humor in the way he said this, but he laughed just the same.

THE END


© 2006 Gregory Adams

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