Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jack Pine tries to kill Lohbado

Jack Pine

Jack Pine got arrested for stealing cognac from the office of Rex Leroy, a top administrator of the OOO. They arrested Jack and dragged him down to the Regulation Room, where Lohbado did an intake assessment. It was a standard form and took about fifteen minutes to fill out. It contained a set of standardized questions to gather background information about the minor offender. The crime itself wasn't such a big deal to anyone, except Rex Leroy. Each bottle of Remy Martin cost eighty dollars. What hurt most was that Jack had an affair with Dora Leroy. In order to punish Jack, Rex accused Jack of violating top levels of security, endangering the entire OOO community and damaging the secrecy of the Secret Desert. Rex insisted that the stealing of the cognac was a decoy to hide his true mission, to steal information about the Cha Region of the Poh Valley and to sell that information to enemy. 

Lohbado was the first man Jack Pine encountered, before being locked in jail. Lohbado sat behind a large desk and filled out the forms, intended to provide justification for sending him to jail. Jack felt Lohbado was responsible for all that followed. He believed Lohbado could have fudged the evidence. He could have painted a pretty picture instead of damning him with dark strokes of the pen.
Lohbado did in fact try to soften his report. However, Jack Pine had done what he shouldn’t have done. He shouldn't have stolen the cognac. Not only did he steal it, he also drank it, in the company of Rex's wife, Dora. Not only did they drink the cognac, they, over a period of three days, had an affair. They rolled around in each others arms for three days and nights. Dora didn't feel the least bit guilty. Her husband hadn't been treating her well. Dora was nineteen. Her husband Rex was fifty-five. In marrying him, she hoped to have a better life. Instead, he made her life miserable, with his constant fits of jealous rage. He had no reason to be upset if Dora had a little fun. At least once a month, Rex went out in the plane with secretaries and practiced marital infidelity. Dora was fed up. She wanted out. But there was no way out of the domed community of the OOO in the Cha Region of the Poh Valley in the State Secret Desert.
Jack understood Dora’s need for a joyful, festive atmosphere, while Rex was away for a week, touring satellite communities on the fringes of the Secret Desert. Rex brought along an entourage of young secretaries, which he billed to the local government. There was no reason for him to be upset if Dora had a little fun. However, Rex had a huge ego. His vanity could not bear the slightest wound. His sensitive ego was quite enflamed when the palace spy, Agnes Grikes, with great pleasure, informed him about Dora’s affair with Rex and about the stolen cognac.
Lohbado did his best to word the report in a way that would minimize Jack's offence. He even made it out that the consumed cognac was a misunderstanding. Jack insisted the cognac was a gift. Lohbado didn't know that Rex had made up his mind to do everything in his power to have Jack Pine thrown in jail. 
One night Jack broke out of prison and vowed to take revenge on Lohbado. He went to the dilapidated shack where Lohbado worked. Lohbado had been sent to the shack in an attempt to discourage him into quitting. In the shack, Lohbado booked appointments for people who never showed up. He spent most of his time napping and reading. One afternoon, as Lohbado slumped over the desk and napped, the back of his neck prickled. He heard the door open and smelled a strange presence. He slowly straightened up as Jack Pine advanced, a pistol in his hand. Lohbado gazed into the barrel of the gun and then at Jack’s clenched jaw.

“First you should explain what this is all about,” said Lohbado.
“You screwed me over,” said Jack Pine, “I’m going to kill you.”
“OK, before you shoot me, let’s at least have a drink,” said Lohbado, opening the desk drawer and removing a bottle of vodka and two glasses.
The gun wavered as Jack gazed at the bottle. It was too good to be true. Alcohol was hard to find in the domed community in the Secret Desert, where OOO administrators recovered from the recent nuclear war. Jack slowly sat down as Lohbado poured vodka into the two glasses. The gun wavered again as Jack threw down a double shot of vodka. 
It was then that Lohbado struck. Without warning, he flung his long arms across the desk, seized Jack by the neck and sent him sprawling backwards out of the chair, on to the floor. Lohbado clung to Jack’s neck. Together they tumbled about on the floor. The gun went off a couple times. Jack struggled to get up. Lohbado swung his fists, fast as a bullwhip. The long swing of his long arms turned his fists into lethal weapons. Jack screamed in horror and anguish as Lohbado tore into his neck with the broken bottle of vodka. The smashing of furniture and glass alerted someone who happened to be walking by the shack. There was great howling, pounding and gasping. The revolver went off again.
Almost as quickly as it started, the commotion died down. The struggle lasted about three minutes. The man outside heard a gurgling sound, like a straw sucking up the last of a milkshake. It dwindled to a whistle as Jack gasped for air and slowly suffocated. The room went dark. Jack Pine would soon be laid in an oblong wooden box. Never again would he savor fine cognac or gaze into the eyes of a beautiful woman.
Ned ran into the office. Jack lay in a pool of blood. Lohbado lay, barely moving, next to him. Lohbado had done his work. He stopped the dangerous escaped convict, who had been harshly punished over an affair of wounded vanity. A broken bottle of vodka and the gaping neck explained how Jack Pine died.
Lohbado tried to open his eyes and speak to Ned. His eye lids closed. Ned called an ambulance. In emergency, they said Lohbado had a one in a thousand chance of surviving. The doctor, after working away for two hours, said there was not much hope for Lohbado. A bullet went through Lohbado’s stomach. Stomach acid and blood leaked into his abdominal cavity. Two ribs were broken and his right arm torn open to the bone.
Rex, grateful that Lohbado had killed his enemy, insisted that everything be done, no expense spared, to bring Lohbado back to the land of the living. The doctor felt there was no hope, but didn’t want to offend Rex. He said Lohbado would need a nurse. Rex went so far as to instruct his wife Dora to be Lohbado’s nurse. She stayed with him every night, to keep an eye on the heart monitor and to administer morphine as necessary.
The doctor underestimated Lohbado’s constitution and vitality. Lohbado, who had spent hours on Rock Hill and two years in the Leech Fields, clung to life with the tenacity of someone who had nothing to lose. Lohbado lay in a painful stupor for three weeks, fed only by intravenous fluids, his forehead wiped and his body turned with the gentle, but firm hands of Dora. 
One day, Lohbado fully regained consciousness. Dora called Rex. Agents from the Department of Standardization gathered around as Lohbado tried to get out of bed. He felt a little ashamed. His muscles had weakened after lying there for so long. He pulled himself up, clutching the metal rail on the side of the bed. He swung his legs around, so his feet touched the floor. After a heroic effort, Lohbado stood up, tottering and swaying back and forth.
“Bravo!” cried the agents, Dora and Rex.
“It will take about a year for him to fully recover,” explained the doctor, “I think he can be taken off IV and introduced to liquids and solids.”
Lohbado took three steps, turned to the gathering and said he felt fine. He wanted to go outside and look at the sky. He declined the use of a wheelchair or cane. Instead, he took Dora’s arm. Rex beamed with pride as his wife escorted the killer of his rival into fresh air.

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