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Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Dreamscapes Ficiton

Between The Lines
The Day the Bombs drop on Vancouver
Bonnie Nish

Everyone was sick of it. Sick about hearing about war and the disasters and the numerous soldiers missing. The news had become an infomercial for the army to explain strategic tactics to the populous (those that still watched and those that still believed), but for the most part people had tuned out and gone on to other things, mainly continuing their normal daily lives. It became clear to me on a day in July while I was at Kits beach that in order to get people’s attention I needed to make them understand there was something serious going on.
As I stared around at the hunky dudes playing beach volleyball wondering why they weren’t working, it struck me that these were the people I really needed to reach. As I examined one pulling his shorts up above his deep tan line while waiting for the next serve I knew this would be a tough job. These were the ones so tuned out that it would take a missile landing on their net before they would notice something odd had occurred.

But I wasn’t interested just yet about reaching people. I picked up my paper and scanned the headlines again. I needed to finish piecing together what I knew I was seeing between the lines. No one I talked to got it yet, but I knew it was there. Little hints of weapons maneuvers into odd places. Troop movement in the middle of the night to friendly sites. Lobby groups calling for sweeping changes. It was scary but predictable, at least to me. Joe thought I was losing it. He held me tight, listening to what he called my "little rants" and then turned over after he felt he had put in enough time to satisfy me and went to sleep. I was left there feeling betrayed and frustrated, much like our sex life had become and I had begun to wonder why I hadn’t left him long ago. I knew it was his biceps. I always had a weakness for men with incredible biceps and Joe’s were the incredible.

Joe was the least of my concerns though. As I glanced through today’s headlines I could see trouble was coming faster than even I had thought it would and I had to act now. I gathered my things, ran past the volleyball players kicking sand at as many as I could and got into my car. I needed to see Sue. I was sure she would help me. She had never given up on the Stop The War effort. She was a die-hard peace activist only born into the wrong century. Her parents were of the disco age and couldn’t quite wrap their minds around her involvement in things like the Stop The War movement and the save our planet fund. It didn’t stop her. She tied her black hair up into pigtails and marched along farther shouting louder than anyone else claiming that she knew deep down inside her parents were proud. I sure was amazed the day I happened behind her at a peace rally downtown. For a 5 ft. nothing person she sure could put her weight into what she felt a passion for and I knew I had to befriend her. I was glad today I had.

As I turned the corner onto 6th I could see her old VW parked in front of her building and I felt a sense of relief. I knocked on the side window to let her know I was there. I never bothered to ring the front bell; that was too conventional for us. Sue popped her head out and said she would be right there to let me in. I pulled my bag of papers closer, knowing the moment of truth was here. If Sue didn’t believe me I knew no one would and I might as well just get myself a room at the local hospital. She came to the door wearing a tee shirt over her swimsuit. I couldn’t tell if she was leaving or had just come home.
"Hi. I am so glad to see you. I just got here and was going to make some lunch. Are you hungry?" She seemed so cheery I hated to burst her bubble right away.
"Sure," I tried to sound relaxed but I knew I was just sounding stupid.

I entered her apartment and sat down at the kitchen table. Her place was small but cozy. Lots of ruby cushions lay all around a coffee table she had made from pieces of driftwood she had dragged home over about three summers when she was still in high school. She said her parents where ready to evict her if she didn’t do something with her collection, so she decided to take shop. Her parents were less pleased with her taking shop than her collection but they eventually got over it as they did most things that she decided in her determined way to do.
As she mixed veggies into a tuna salad she looked me straight in the eye.
"Ok so what’s going on?"
"What do you mean?" I hedged the question.
"Well I can tell there is something bothering you. You haven’t let that package go below your chin. I am not good at guessing, so tell me."
"Ok." I walked over to the coffee table and spread out my papers on it. "These are articles I have been collecting over the last three weeks. Something big is going on and I don’t know if anyone realizes it."
"What are you talking about?" She put down the spoon and came over to where the articles lay. She scanned them quickly and then looked at me as though she had been hit in the gut. "Are these saying what I think they are saying?"
"You see it too? Thank God! I was beginning to think I was going nuts."
"Have you shown these to anyone else?"
"A few people but they don’t get it. I knew you would, you always do."
"Right then," she was so serious now I knew it was the right thing to come here.
" I know we have to act soon. These messages are coming faster." I was getting scared. Now that someone else had confirmed what I thought, I saw it was only a matter of time.
"OK I think you should burn these. I think it is dangerous for you to have them and you should get rid of them."
"But you know I can’t do that. I need to get to the right people to show them what is going on here."
"No I think you should get rid of them. Come on if we picked this up don’t you think the right people would have? Who are we to tell them what is going on? It is only dangerous for you."
This didn’t sound like Sue. I didn’t get why she was so worried about me when there was obviously something far more important to worry about.
"Promise me you won’t keep these." She grabbed me by the arm, I never realized how strong she was before.
" Ok. Ok. I will get rid of them. But what should we do? We need to let people know, so they can get ready."
"No we do nothing."
"What! What do you mean we do nothing? How can we?"
"Simple, we do nothing because if we do something when it comes to this we only put ourselves at risk."I suddenly had to get out of there. I gathered my papers. I could see she was thinking of stopping me but didn’t.
" I have to go. I need to think."
"Listen Anna take my advice just get rid of those."

I almost ran out the door. How could I have been so wrong about Sue? I wish I hadn’t come here. I wish I were back on the beach watching the tan lines move up the muscular legs of volleyball dudes diving in the sand. But I wasn’t and I was overreacting. I stopped myself. Sue was a veteran activist. Maybe I should listen to her. I turned around and walked back to the window but before I knocked I could hear her on the phone.
"I don’t know how she figured it out but she did. I don’t think she works for them I don’t even think she realizes it is code. Yeah I think she just thinks it is the headlines that she is reading. What should I do? Right. Yeah no one else gets it. See you there."

I wasn’t sure what I was hearing but I didn’t like it. I could see Sue through the window as she walked into her bedroom. A few minutes later she came out, and she had changed into shorts and a shirt. She slid on her sandals grabbed her purse and keys and headed toward the door. I ducked in behind a bush well out of sight and watched as she headed toward her VW. I waited until she was at the corner and jumped into my trusted 94 Tercel and followed her at a good distance.

We wound our way over the Burrard Street Bridge and down toward Third beach. She parked and I parked and as she got out of her vehicle I got out of mine.
Sue sat down on a bench and a man in a white suit and hat sat down at a distance but close enough so she would be able to hear him. I walked up behind but kept my distance all the time wondering what I really knew about her. I had never met her parents or her other friends. She always was busy in the marches but I realized I didn’t know how she made her living. I tried to listen to what they were saying.
"Listen it doesn’t matter what she knows, it is going down tonight and there isn’t anything anyone can do. Even if they know, it is too late to stop our plan. What could they do anyway? Nothing. They know that. So we go ahead as planned. You need to get out by 7pm. No later or you won’t get across the border. Do you understand?" The man sounded urgent. Sue nodded.

I moved away feeling slightly sick. So tonight this was all going down. How could I just sit back and let it happen. But what could I do? I was just one person. And then Sue’s words came back to me. Sue the activist or whoever she really was had backfired her own plan by acting out her role so well. She had told me there isn’t ever enough one person can do if there is ever a chance of war and brutality so to never stop trying.
And I wouldn’t.
I drove back to Sue’s place. Her window was still open and I squeezed through smiling at a neighbor I had seen a few times who acted like I did this all the time. I looked around quickly knowing she would be back any minute. I found nothing then tried to call Joe but he was out. I sat down on the couch and hoped a plan would come to me before Sue arrived but I was getting nowhere fast. I heard the key in the door and knew this was it. I looked at the clock. It was 6:30.

"Hi what are you doing here?" She didn’t look or sound surprised.
"Well I thought about it and I think you are right. I should get rid of those papers. What sense is there in putting myself in danger? Over what? Something I can’t prove?"
"No I think you should be worried about it but not jeopardize your own safety."
"But what safety will I have?" I was maneuvering around her.
"Ok I guess you are right on one level but on another you are wrong. Don’t worry."
I had to keep her talking. Take her attention away from the time. I began to talk about other things. Her parents, when I could meet them. Time was passing but not fast enough.
"Listen I have a date tonight. I have to get ready for it. Do you mind?"
"I didn’t want to tell you before but Joe and I had a fight Can I stay here?"
"Oh sure. Why not…But I have to get ready."
"Sure go ahead. I will just look through these and see if I can find any coordinates or names. Something concrete I can give someone official."
"On second thought maybe I will cancel and help you." She picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hi yeah I can’t make it. I am tied up better go on without me I will get there when I can. I am sure. See you." She hung up looking not too happy.
"Everything ok?"
"Sure everything is just fine."

We picked up the papers. I held the knife on my lap closer to her leg as she sat next to me. I could feel her deep sigh as the sound of the first fighter jet entering our airspace whizzed by. I looked at the clock. It was 7:15. The border would have been shut down. She was stuck here with me and knew it.
"How many?"
"How many what?"
"How many bombs are they dropping tonight?"
"Don’t you know? It was all there between the lines," she said, smiling as we could hear the first one being dropped somewhere in the downtown area.
" A government building," she added.
I nodded and we sat listening for the thunder of bombs that would begin to pour down on us at any minute. I hadn’t read between the lines fast enough. I only hoped the volleyball players had gone hom

© Bonnie Nish April 2003

Bonnie Nish


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