A Most Unusual Task And A Most Unusual Secret
Laura is one of wisest and finest persons I have ever known. And I came to know her very well because we were in the same class in school and we spent a lot of time together and were close friends until we were 18, when I left to go to college. Laura is the only child of excellent parents, who lavished great love upon her. They were especially thankful for her because they had been biologically unable (in spite of many attempts) to have a child until they were forty years of age. Laura’s great intelligence became obvious to all of us living in this remote rural community because she got an A in every subject and she took high school courses while in elementary school and took ALL of her college courses while in high school AND she graduated from college a week after she graduated from high school!! She also at a very young age did such an excellent job of performing household chores that her parents began giving her jobs to do at their bakery, which she learned so rapidly that by the time she was 13 she could do them all, after which her parents then began training her in the management of the bakery, which, by the time she was eighteen, she could do even better than her parents!!! Soooo, her parents then, being 58 years old, and having almost worked themselves to death, retired, turned the business over to Laura, and took a long long overdue cruise around the world. And, as soon as they left, Laura took their seat on the Chamber of Commerce, took her father’s position as Treasurer of the church, and her mother’s position as the leader of the local Girl Scout troup!!
The college I attended was too far away for commuting, and I did not want to live in a dorm room or frat house, so that I was very thankful that I was able to live on the second floor of my Aunt Helen’s house, which was adjacent to the campus, so that I could walk to all my classes. And it was only a ten minute drive by car to the headquarters of the company where I had my co-op job. And, thirdly, and very importantly I really liked and respected my Aunt Helen, who, since the recent death of my mother, had become a sort of surrogate mother to me, and, if truth be told, she was actually an even better mother, who was especially helpful to me in overcoming some emotional problems I had, and she was an excellent example of a life of joy, which greatly aided me in overcoming my melancholic tendencies.
During my sophomore year in high school I began working at my co-op job in a small plant the company had recently established in the small town a few miles from the farm where I lived with my parents. My father was an excellent industrious dairy farmer who taught me what is now referred to as “the work ethic”, although he never used words like that. He retired from farming when I began tenth grade, but he kept his ownership of the farm, whose fields and pastures he then leased to the farmer owning the farm to the west of our farm. He then confined his activity to tending to the few acres of yard and garden surrounding our house, and to helping my mother with household chores as she began dying.
Then, after I turned 21, my father’s health began to rapidly decline, and I returned home to be with him, and I did almost all my engineering work there via computer, as I had done during most of my time at Aunt Helen’s house. Since I inherited my father’s house and property upon his decease, from then on I lived there almost all the time, and only stayed at my Aunt Helen’s house when I needed to go to the company headquarters or to attend some event at the college.
After I returned home permanently, Laura and I renewed our friendship, which was a great blessing! And we agreed that we would marry as soon as possible after my father’s death. My mother many years ago urged me to marry Laura, and my Aunt Helen seconded the motion! My father was delighted when I asked him for his consent to marry, and he agreed wholeheartedly, exclaiming: “You would be crazy NOT to marry Laura!!”. Laura received the consent of her parents while they were in Venice. After we received these consents we formally announced our engagement to be married, and things were now so delightful as to be beyond the ability of words to express. We were planning to meet the following day at my house in the afternoon to begin planning our wedding and marriage. BUT we had to delay this meeting because something very extraordinary and very important intervened, with which we had to deal first, namely what we decided to call “A Most Unusual Task”.
After I had spent the morning working at the local plant of my employer, I returned home to find Laura already there, way ahead of the time we had agreed upon, anxiously awaiting my return so she could convey to me the news of the unusual task. To call it “unusual” is putting it mildly, as you will see. During the morning a person she knew and trusted (but whose name she would not divulge at his insistence) had come to see her in town to ask her to convince me to undertake an ultra-important and ultra-secret task for the ultra-secret agency where he works to prevent an ultra-wicked conspiratorial gang from assassinating a woman at an ultra- remote cabin in an ultra-remote woods (several miles from where I live) which is also ultra-secret in a different sense since only a few of us living here even know about it!
This ultra-secret person also told Laura that he had just finished installing in and around this ultra-remote cabin an ultra-advanced audio-video monitoring system which is set to broadcast to the ultra-advanced reception equipment which he had then installed into an unused out-of-the way room in my house. And, finally, he had placed there in an ultra-secure way an ultra-large amount of money to pay me for his intrusion and for performing the aforesaid monitoring and relaying it in an ultra-secret way to him and his assistant at his ultra-secret location. As weird as this sounds, hold your hats because it becomes even weirder when I tell you what I know about this cabin and this woods which he apparently did not know.
Immediately after Laura told me this, I told her what I had learned from my father when I was twelve years old: namely that this woods was LETHAL, and he warned me NEVER to enter it, and made me swear that I would never do so!! I also learned that our ancestor was given this same warning by the Indian chief from whom he had bought the land on which our farm is now located: the tribe regarded this woods as tabu – never to be entered!! This warning had been passed down from father to son, and no one in our family has ever violated it. I therefore warned Laura NEVER to enter this woods, which scared her so much she immediately promised that she never would. She then left the room and went to the kitchen to prepare a batch of chili con carne and mashed potatoes and a salad for our lunch.
While she was doing so, I returned my attention to the AV reception equipment, which suddenly indicated that at the periphery of the cabin forming a circle around it were twelve extremely wicked men, and that their leader was in the air hovering directly above the cabin when SUDDENLY they were ZAPPED and immediately fell dead, and then their remains disappeared!!! WHEW !! Well, I guess that Indian chief and my ancestors knew what they were talking about when they said this woods was lethal!!
I immediately followed the instructions to contact the mystery man and to forward the AV of this event to him. It only took six seconds, so rapidly had the bad guys appeared and then been zapped. After I hit the “end of transmission” button, I was immediately contacted by the mystery man’s assistant, a woman who thanked me, and who then reported to me that just a few minutes ago her boss had staggered into their HQ half dead; and a few seconds later he dropped dead!!
I then asked her, “What about the woman who was supposed to be coming here to enter the woods?”. She replied that she did not know where she was because their surveillance of her had failed. Then I asked, “Does the death of the assassins mean that there is no further danger to her?”. She replied that she did not know, and that I should continue my monitoring, which I promised to do, and then I signed off.
After pondering for a while the obvious questions raised by what had just happened, I could see no answers, and so I gave up and went to the dining room where Laura had just finished setting out our lunch onto the table. During our conversation at the table I shared with her what had just happened, and the questions I had. She was astonished at what I told her and she too had the same questions. After a brief session of prayer, I suggested that we go to the barn and saddle our horses and ride along the rough trail which surrounds the lethal woods on its east side to see if we could find the mystery woman or any clues about what was going on.
I LOATHE saddles, all saddles, that is, except for the special comfy saddles I have for my two horses: sitting on them is as comfortable as riding in a luxury car!! It was great fun riding with Laura again – it had been over three years since we had done so. But we did not see the mystery woman or any other sign that she had been here or anything at all that shed any light on the questions we had. After we returned home, Laura said she would wash the dishes and clean the kitchen and prepare some tea and cookies for our marriage planning session, and she suggested that in the meantime I go to the special room and report what we had done. I agreed that this was a good suggestion, and I headed toward the special AV room.
I was gathering my thoughts for a report when I received a call from the lady at HQ. She had two items of news. First of all, the autopsy on her boss’s body indicated that his death was produced by radiations similar to those emitted by the explosion of a hydrogen bomb. Secondly, the mystery woman had been found and was now back under surveillance; and there now is some evidence that the danger to her may be past, but is not yet conclusive on this. She will let me know when more info is available and she asked me to continue the AV monitoring of the cabin. I agreed that I would do so, and I told her that nothing had been found by Laura and me on our horseback ride.
In our marriage planning Laura and I agreed that the state has no right to grant a marriage license or to conduct a marriage, and that it is not necessary for a clergyman to officiate. Therefore Laura arranged with a friend of hers who is a legal whiz to compose an affidavit of marriage which was signed by Laura and me and by our two witnesses – my Aunt Helen for me; and Jim, a cousin of Laura’s for her and to be notarized by the lawyer, who is also a notary public. They all came to the courthouse to accomplish this result. We also decided that we did not want all of the huge expense and hullaballoo of what many now think is needed for a wedding. Sooo, our becoming husband and wife was not a lot of work and did not cost a lot of money and NOW starting tonight we can live as husband and wife, to which I am very much looking forward!! But first we needed to do a few mundane things in re our jobs – Laura at her bakery and me at my engineering work on my computer, after which I went to the secret room where I found a message from the mystery man’s assistant indicating that her supersecret agency had located the supersecret bad guys’ hideout where they found that its only members were the thirteen aforementioned criminals slain by the lethal woods!!
To conclude, I never learned any more of the agency’s secrets, and they apparently did not know of my secret – the secret lethal woods! Their kind of secret is what you would expect of such a group, but MY secret woods is a most unusual kind of secret!!
Forrest W. Schultz
Grantville, GA, USA
April 18, 2015