“Mom, how much longer will it be? I’m bored,” I said.
“Josh, please stop complaining! It won’t be much longer.”
“Mom, Josh poked me!”
“You kids, I tell you if I have to come back there you’ll be sorry!” my father said sternly, pointing his finger at us from the driver’s seat.
“Honey, look out! There’s a pothole!”
Right as my mother warned my father, almost instantly I heard what sounded like a loud gunshot. Crunch. Scream. Silence. These are the sounds I hear as the car, with my whole family in it, rolls in slow motion off the I-95 Highway. End over end into the deep snowbank dark colored from the asphalt. I climbed out of the car as the sun slunk below the horizon, with no car insight, and wept. I eventually worked up the nerve to look into the car and gasped. My mother’s neck was in a horrifying position, glass shards obscuring her face with pools of blood. My sister’s face charred and frozen with terror. My Father was not visible, I could just see his legs. Little did I know, but this will be the day my whole world will be molded from one of safety, security, and warmth into one of flight, adventure, and danger.
“Josh!” Agent Lavollier, my self-defence instructor and the head of The Initiative called, “You have been summoned by the board. You are due immediately.”
What have I done now? I thought. The board is made up of 12 elite agents that enjoy nothing more than punishing me for miniscule mistakes.
“Hurry!” Agent Lavollier exclaimed.
“Ugh, I’m coming!” I replied in annoyance. “A Rat!” I screamed.
Instantly, there was a round of gunfire, Lavollier, scared out of his mind, came rushing in. “Where did you see it?” He said in a high, squeaky voice.
“Just kidding!” I replied, choking a fit of laughter.
“You need to stop,” he scolded, “You are fully aware of how much I hade rodents. Just look at my leg!”
“Hey, it’s not my fault your sister’s pet gerbil bit you or that you lost a leg.” I desperately pointed out.
“Maybe not but next time you do that you will get driving privileges revoked.
After five minutes of lecturing, I walked down to the administrative office and let myself in, I was greeted by 12 sets of piercing eyes. “You may be seated.” said the chairman in his deep, husky voice. “I hear you have been doing well in your classes.”
“Well then,” he continued, “The board feels that it is time to give you your first assignment.”
Suddenly, a rush of adrenaline filled my body. My first assignment! “Thank you sir.” I said.
“This will be very dangerous and is also very important. Do you know Sir Elon Gratt?” said the chairman.
“Do you mean the CEO of Illumination Weaponry?” I asked.
“Precisely. We have received word that he has been arming a domestic terrorist group called the Elgren and is plotting against the governments of the USA and Canada. He is also behind the death of your family. Your job is to kill him.”
With this revelation, my body started burning with rage. “Let me at him, give me your biggest gun and let me blow him out of the water.” I exclaimed tempestuously.
“That would be most unwise,” said the chairman disappointedly, “You must make it seem like he died of natural causes.”
“How the Hell am I supposed to do that?” I responded irritably.
In response to that, the chairman tossed me a ballpoint pen. “Twist this clockwise then click the top to emit toxic gases into the air. Only use this in extreme emergencies seeing as it will kill everyone in the room including yourself. Double click and it will shoot a neurotoxin onto someone’s skin from 2 feet away. It will kill him within 10 seconds and remove all traces of itself. He is having a party in his penthouse tonight in Montréal, Québec starting at 7:00 sharp. You will be there and you will kill him before he makes his closing speech. Your helicopter will be waiting for you at twelve-hundred hours.”
The next hour was the most hectic hour of my life. In between getting mentally and physically prepared I also had to do my regular chores: killing rats, doing dishes, and dry cleaning my $825,000 Stuart Hughes Diamond Edition suit that I would be wearing to the party.
Finally it was 11:55, time to board the chopper. I made sure I had the pen, straightened up my suit, and sat down at the controls. I had just gotten my pilot’s license so I could fly all by myself.
Three and a half hours later I landed in a field owned by The Initiative in the outskirts of Montréal and drove to town to get something to eat. I found the famous Bouillon Bilk and ordered some oysters. As the waiter walked away, two men in dark suits and sunglasses caught my eye. By the look of it, they had been watching me for a while. They were taking notes on small notebooks and occasionally saying something in their watches.
I, being highly trained for this kind of circumstance, casually walked out of the restaurant to see if they would follow me. To my surprise, they were waiting outside for me with guns, 9mm glocks. “Get on your knees and put your hands behind your head,” said the man I nicknamed Hammerhead for the odd shape of his head. I hurriedly complied as the other man, Goat Beard, punched me hard in the jaw and knocked me out cold.
I woke up in a cramped, cement room blocked off by metal bars with a pair of guards tracking my every move. Suddenly, Hammerhead walked over and opened the door. “My apologies Mr. Carroll we did not realize that you were to be our associates for this case. We saw you land and assumed you were with the Elgren. Your chopper formerly belonged to an agent that was killed by them and has been missing for years. I am CSIS Agent Palat.” he said with a thick French-Canadian Accent.
“Nice to meet you sir, but you really could work on your welcomings.” I replied.
“Very, very sorry about it.”
It was 6:30 and we were still 20 minutes away from the penthouse, I was starting to get frantic. “We had better get going.” I said.
“Most assuredly Mr. Carroll, but first, here is your pen.”
I looked into my pocket as it dawned on me, I didn’t have my pen! They must have taken it before they put me in the cell. I sheepishly took the pen and walked out the door to my Alfa Romeo 4C. I sped out the driveway with intent to get to the party on time. About 2 minutes away from the penthouse, a black Bentley with lights pulled me over and Hammerhead and Goat Beard rushed out. “This is as far as we can go in these.” Goat Beard said, “If we go any farther we risk getting caught by the Elgren. The penthouse doubles as the Elgren HQ.”
However annoying this was, I knew that it was necessary so we got out and walked the remaining distance. We arrived with just over a minute and a half to go before Sir Gratt’s opening speech. We got into position just as he started to speak.
“My esteemed guests.” he began, “We are gathered here today to celebrate the turning of a page to a new era. Us at Illumination Weaponry are excited to let you know that the Canadian and United States’ government will be completely switching over to our brand in one months time!” There was an explosion of applause as the naïve guests embraced the ensuing disaster.”As you know,” he continued,”We have been working towards this goal for the past decade and the governments will be getting rid of their weapons in two weeks while we negotiate the final part of our treaty. Thank you for coming and may you live happily in the years to come.” another bout of applause rose as he said his concluding words just as I realized what this deal meant. The USA and Canada will be defenceless for 2 weeks. Enough time for the Elgren to take over north America!
I was so stunned by this revelation that I didn’t notice the meaty hand of a security guard clasp over my mouth until it was too late. I squirmed and kicked as he dragged me away from the crowd and sat me in an uncomfortable chair. “What are you doing here Mr. Carroll?” asked a Middle Eastern man.
“How did you know my name?” I asked.
“Your badge fell out of your pocket. Again what are you doing here?” He prodded.
“If you don’t already know I will not tell you.” I said.
“Call in Sir Gratt!” he said into his walkie-talkie.
It took two minutes for Sir Gratt to arrive and when he did, he did not look pleased at all. “What are you calling me out of my party for?” he growled.
“We have a guest from the CIA here tonight.” said Mr. Middle East.
“Is that so?” Gratt sneered as his eyes narrowed into slits making him look extraordinarily like a snake, “Let’s see what he wants.”
I fiddled silently with the handcuffs until they slipped off and reached for the pen. I was within shooting distance and I twisted the pen. Gratt saw what I was doing, pulled out a pistol, and shot me in the chest as I double clicked the pen and the neurotoxin coated his skin. Mr. Middle Eastern ripped off his face to reveal it was just a mask, grabbed me and rushed me out of the room. I was rendered unconscious before I got a good look at the face.
I woke up in a hospital room with numerous sets of eyes on me as I slowly sat up. Among the faces in the room were President Neff, Prime Minister Bordeaux, the heads of the CIA, FBI, and CSIS, and my mentor Agent Lavollier. Before I could say a word, the room burst into applause as I turned as red as the blood spilling out of me after I had been shot. President Neff came forward and awarded me the Medal of Honor and Prime Minister Bordeaux awarded me the Victoria Cross of Canada. After many tearful words of gratitude, everyone filed out of the room except for Agent Lavollier. “Josh,” he said,”What you did was one of the bravest acts in American history, our entire country is indebted to you. I think it’s time to reveal something to you.” He grabbed his hair and yanked as his face came off. There in front of me, was my dead father.
“Dad?” I exclaimed awestrucked.
“It’s me son.” he said softly, losing the accent.
“Does this mean everyone else is alive too?” I asked.
”Your Mother, brother, and sister died. It is not my fault, the CIA ordered me to stage my death and sacrifice them for the greater good.” he explained.
“What good came out of it?”
Before I could change my mind, I pulled out the pen, twisted it, and double clicked it as my father screamed in fear. As he drew his last breath, I yelled “You are no longer my father!” and vowed to never work with the agency that killed my family agian.
I am Josh Carroll. Some know me as a murderer, defector, or even as a traitor to my country. But I know myself as a man on the run, no longer dependent on the corrupted agency that once governed my every move. Looking back on that day I realize the true life lesson I learned. Don’t sacrifice your family or you to will be sacrificed.