Growing up in Hollywood was not as glamorous as it sounds, but the education is unmatched in all the country. In class I was taught geometry, history, and biology, but on the way home I learned how to recognize drug dealers and whores. I could spot a hopeful actor or actress from across a restaurant by the script they kept folded in their back pocket. My friend Dickson and I never finished at the top of our class in school, but outside those walls we felt like Einstein and some other smart guy like Einstein.
My family moved to Hollywood when I was still in diapers because my dad was an actor. He mostly did plays, but wanted to be in the movies. He was always talking in weird voices and pretending he was other people. Sometimes he would let me play along with him. We were knights and spies and astronauts. No matter what adventure we shared it always ended with a tickle fight and lots of laughter. After a while we didn’t pretend anymore. He said it was because I was getting older now and it was time for me to grow up. Luckily I got a new best friend right around the same time.
Being in an interrogation room did not scare Sam. Seeing no cameras concerned him a bit, but he would not go so far as to say that scared him. What scared Sam was the fact that he had arrived there through the back of a maintenance closet, down an elevator that he never knew existed, and into a floor that was not on any set of blueprints he had ever seen. If he had been kept in the dark about all this after 12 years as Chief Engineer, what other secrets did CoreTech hold?
A light snow began drifting down through the headlights as we drove to the house. Nicole reached over from the passenger seat captured my hand to hold in hers. I couldn’t help but smile. Snow always put her in the mood to snuggle.
The smooth baritone of Bing Crosby serenaded us all the way into my parent’s driveway. She probably didn’t notice it, but her hand squeezed mine a little tighter when we arrived. I knew she was nervous, but mentioning it would only get me punched in the arm. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. But not for my own sake.
The roar of laughter from the men surrounding the fire filled the night air. Kuumo shifted uncomfortably in the dirt next to his mother. She smiled a knowing smile, but said nothing. Another burst of laughter soared through the village and found its mark in Kuumo’s heart.
He could feel hot tears of anger and frustration building and willed them to disappear with fierce determination. Warriors do not cry. He forced himself to focus on the dried leaves beside him. Years of practice had given him the ability to weave them into many patterns without much thought. This was just another curse on nights like these.