Monday, February 11, 2013


In the television show Person of Interesta super-advanced computer indicates that there is a very high probability that a certain person will soon be involved in a crime unless something is done to prevent it. The super-computer in my tale indicates that there is a very high probability that a crime will occur at a certain place unless something is done to prevent it. There are also two other differences: the crime will be ultra-important, and it will not happen until several years have passed. Both of this computer’s first two predictions were correct for all three parameters – importance and place and time. And, fortunately, the agency was able to intervene in time to prevent the super-crime from happening.
Today the computer made its third prediction. The place is a closely-knit, long-established, remote, rural community. I learned of this because the director of this super-secret organization is a personal friend, and because I grew up in this community: my friend wants me to return home and keep my eyes and ears open for anything which may be relevant for this future super-crime. And, it will be a long wait: the computer’s prediction is that the crime will occur at some time between five and twelve years in the future!
I agreed to his request for three reasons. First, I believe in him and in the mission of his group. Secondly, unlike the large cities which were the places of interest for the first two crimes, there is no way an “under-cover”agent could be sent to my home town: the people there would immediately know he was an outsider and they are very suspicious of outsiders. So "it has gotta be me" going home to find out what the super-crime will be. He and I also agreed that I will NOT use any spycraft gadgets or methods.
The third reason is that I was already considering a return because of the worsening health of my parents. Ever since the recent decease of my older brother, I have become their only child, and it appears that they will soon need my help in running the family businesses, a dairy farm and a general store, of which they last month made me co-owner. It will not be difficult for me to return home because I am single and I have been doing my consulting engineering work at home on my computer, which I can take with me and henceforth work from there.
So, I got on the phone, called my father, who gave me a detailed account of his and Mom’s condition and asked me to come home. I agreed to do so and am now preparing to go back tomorrow.
It is now a year later and things have worked out very well. The health of my parents has markedly improved. My return home in itself has meant a great deal for them -- even more so than the workload I have lifted from their shoulders. And I quickly re-connected with my childhood girlfriend and we married a few weeks later. And I myself feel so much better being back home because I missed our community here, especially my parents and other relatives and friends, and I also yearned for my Katie. I really appreciate all of them even more than I did when I was growing up -- absence indeed did make grow my heart grow fonder and more appreciative!
Business in the General Store, which has always been good, has increased since my return because it is the main place people have come to welcome me back, and for me and them to get caught up on what has been happening. The General Store continues to be the hub of the community at the heart of the center of our small town! As such it has been ideal for catching up and keeping up with what is happening here. By now I am almost caught up and I have had ample opportunity to ponder what I have seen and the conversations I have had, but I have not seen or heard or detected anything at all out of the ordinary or anything that may even hint at some potential crime.
Today, a new opportunity to accomplish my mission will open up -- I have accepted an invitation to join the local historical society. This organization is much more scholarly than the typical local historical society: it is a great honor to be invited.
It is hard to believe that it is now five months later! Tempus fugit !! By the way, the correct translation of this famous phrase is NOT "time FLIES" but "time FLEES". The Latin verb here means to flee, and it is from this verb that we derive our English noun, "fugitive", which means someone who has fled. This is a good lead into noting that one of the members of our community has just fled! And a very good riddance this is!! This guy not only lived on the margins of our township but he was a very marginal member of our community because he was such a loathsome person. When I was a boy he was expelled from school for his bullying. Fortunately this was before I began school so I never had to witness it myself. I shall say no more about his disreputable character, which is what led to his flight: (based on a rumor which reached him a few days ago) he feared he would meet the same fate as his horrid father, who, according to legend, was drowned in the swamp behind the house by a group of vigilantes. It was for this reason that he quickly sold his property and fled the township pronto!
From the township constable I learned that this fugitive fled to one of the abandoned mansions in Harlem in NYC. If it is anything like the one in which Aloysius Pendergast lives, it would be ideal for him to hide away and engage in his nefarious clandestine activities.
I met my friend from the city the next day and communicated this info to him. AND, he communicated to me the interesting fact that their super-computer has just CHANGED the Place of Interest to none other than Harlem in NYC!! How about that? Now he can use his usual modus operandi employing his undercover agents with all their sycraft gadgetry.
Forrest Wayne Schultz
February 8, 2013