DEAD IS DEAD
“I was in a neighborhood
tavern with a tumbler
of Irish whiskey and a Mickey Spillane paperback for company when the heart
attack hit. You?”
“In Folsom Prison
doin’ life for murder when a
dirtbag named Larry Sanders shivved me after he caught me cheatin’ at cards.”
“So, where the hell
you’re probably close with that
“Yeah? Ya think so? Hey, I’m Richard Clarke.”
“What say we look
around a bit and see what’s
up,” said Richard.
“I’m game, but
I think we’re dead,” answered
Eddie. “And maybe it’s just the two of
us. If we’re lucky.”
It was close to pitch-black
with just a faint
light every fifteen or twenty seconds as something off in the distance
flared. The flaring coincided with a
rumbling noise that was also in the distance.
There didn’t appear
to be anything else at all
in the near vicinity.
The two walked toward the
light and noise.
In the brief flashes of
light, Richard noticed
they both had on matching t-shirts, jeans, work boots, and leather jackets.
“Odd,” he thought
to himself. “Who dressed us? And
He decided to let it go
“That could be a volcano
up ahead,” he
“What the hell do
you know about volcanos?”
“Only what I saw in
the movies when I was a
kid. You got any better ideas?”
dead, that’s what.”
stuck on that notion, aren’t ya,”
Eddie stopped and stared
at Richard. “You sayin’ I’m some kinda nut-job?”
It’s just that….”
Eddie hit Richard in the
nose with a sharp
right jab causing blood to flow.
said Eddie. “Well, fuck you. I
say we’re dead.”
“You broke by dose,”
Richard said holding his
nose to try and stop the bleeding. “What’s
the matter with you?”
Eddie didn’t say anything
as a look of
puzzlement appeared on his rugged face.
“We’re not dead
— ” he started to say.
“Oh, for chrissakes,
knock it off with the dead
business,” said Richard massaging his nose.
“And if ya hit me again, I’ll hit ya back.”
said Eddie. “Yer bleeding. It
hurt when I socked ya. We ain’t dead.”
Just then a ring-tone went
off in Richard’s
“You gotta phone?”
asked Eddie with a look of
“I guess I do,”
said Richard, taking the phone
from his pocket.
A mechanical voice intoned:
this on speaker mode.
Richard shrugged and did
as he was told.
“Done,” he said. “Who’s this?”
Eddie still had a wary expression
face. He didn’t like this at all.
is a recording that was activated from the future. This is not a cell phone. It’s a preset recording. I won’t
be replying to your comments or
questions. You are 45,000 years in the
past in a territory that is now Southern France. You will be given everything
you need to help
with a very complicated set of circumstances.
Richard and Eddie exchanged
looks and shrugged.
were chosen to be brought back to life because of your unique abilities. Richard
Clarke, you enjoy a good mystery and
like to problem solve. Eddie Johnson,
you don’t care one way or another about mysteries, but enjoy solving a problem
in more direct ways.
two are considered an assault team.
Eddie Johnson will be the leader of the assault team. Richard Clarke
will be his back-up and
advisor in all things related to the assault. You are in a cave in a hillside close
to a nearly inactive volcano.
Richard raised an eyebrow
at Eddie and mouthed
the entrance of the cave there are supplies under a tarp. Some of the supplies
you will take with you,
and some will remain under the tarp if you should need them later on. There
are two automatic pistols, both Glocks,
and holsters for them for each of you.
Also, a sawed-off shotgun and hip holster for Eddie’s use. There
is more ammunition than you will
need. If you run out, it’s probably
because the assault has failed.
may think you will be the only ones with that type of firepower in the time
period of 45,000 years ago. You are
not. As I will explain, there are others
with weapons more advanced than simple spears and bows and arrows.
Richard and Eddie exchanged
looks again. Richard looked worried, but Eddie had a big
grin on his face. He was in charge of an
assault team with more ammunition than he might need. He was in heaven, not
man has become a dominant species in this part of Europe. and the Neanderthals,
a dead-end offshoot of
an earlier common ancestor, have been slowly dying out. That is, until about
a year ago when an
extraterrestrial ship monitoring the Earth crashed in the vicinity you are
in. Of the sixteen crewmembers, eight
females and eight males, ten survived the crash, and three of those were
“You believe this
shit?” asked Eddie.
“I don’t know,”
said Richard. “Sounds pretty far-fetched.”
alien visitors have taken it upon themselves to support the Neanderthals. It
may be because they feel the less intelligent species of humans would be easier
to control if their staying on Earth becomes long term. Your mission is to capture
these ten aliens
and bring them back to this cave where they can be transported into the
the mission is completed, Richard, you will be returned to your time period and
to a hospital where you will have recovered from your heart attack. Eddie, you
will also return to your time
period, but will be given a new identity and be a free man. That is the end
of this message. Good luck.
“Let’s go get
the guns,” said Eddie. “I’m ready to round up some aliens.”
the messenger said they’ll
have weapons as good as ours.”
“Yeah, but they don’t
have me,” said Eddie.
They found the tarp and
weapons. Eddie checked the guns out for
both of them and declared them loaded and ready to use.
“Ready to rock ‘n’
roll,” he said with a big
The two walked the few steps
to the tunnel’s
entrance and Eddie stopped Richard from going out. It was nighttime and except
occasional flare from the volcano, it was very dark.
to see if anybody’s waitin’ for
us. They may figure to ambush us.”
He cautiously stepped out
and checked the
immediate area. Suddenly, a bright
spotlight beamed onto the tunnel’s entrance and Eddie was blinded. He
drew the shotgun and fired it toward the
spotlight as laser fire cut him in half.
Richard ran out from the
cover of the cave
entrance to help Eddie and was also cut down.
Eddie and Richard were dead.
Three Neanderthals stood
with laser weapons in
their hands. There was some garbled
vocalization and hopping around on their part signifying success. They were
led away by a tall, thin being who
gave them pats on the back.
It would have been helpful
for Eddie and
Richard to know that this was the fourth failed mission in the last three
Somebody far in the future
needed to come up
with a Plan B before this past became a part of their reality.