‘Hard Truth’ by Ahmed Nader Gretly

During the meeting, The Doctor told us that what happened at the lodge was a failed attempt by the government to murder him, and stop him from pushing Blue. I knew he was lying, and I guess he knew that I knew he was lying. He did not speak more regarding that incident, but moved on to talk about the strategy we were supposed to undertake to introduce Blue into the market. What shocked me the most was that he wanted to distribute the Blue, not sell it. Cash was not the goal of the operation; the objective was to make people stop buying government issued junk. The Doctor had fifty small bottles of Blue, and he wanted them distributed by the end of the night. The Painter, Martin, Ape-man, Ella, and The Doctor himself were set to handle the distribution. Butch, Mary, and I were asked to stay at the apartment as back-up, ready to jump in when the situation gets tough. Everyone objected on The Doctor going, given that he had a hole in his shoulder, but sooner they realized that there was no arguing with that man. It was obvious that our usual spots were watched, so the distributors were ordered to call their contacts, and arrange meetings in untraditional locations. Fifty bottles meant fifty recruits, which to The Doctor, seemed to be a fair addition to the gang. The new recruits would help us to reach The Doctor’s lab at the Cesspool Asylum in order for him to cook up more Blue. We needed more people because we assumed that the Asylum was under heavy surveillance. The problem was that the Blue would take a few days to brew in their bodies, and settle in; we did not have much time for that. Then The Doctor said that the Blue would work faster if it was injected in the blood, it would hurt as if the droppers were full of kerosene, but it would work in a matter of hours. Mrs. Malvern opened a cupboard, and provided everyone with droppers and needles, still brand new.

At dusk, the distributors including The Doctor left Butch’s apartment. We lounged in the living-room, Mary and I on a small couch, and Butch sat on a huge Victorian looking chair, which did not suit anything in the apartment. Mary placed her head on my shoulder, and I held her hand, squeezed it for a few seconds, and then let go.

“Why did The Doctor lie to them?” I said.

“Lied about what?” he replied.

“You know damn well what he lied about.”

“Mordecai Rogers?” Butch said “The monster that shot The Doctor?”

On hearing that, Mary shivered and moved her body closer to mine, letting out an almost inaudible squeal. I put my arm around her, and held her tight.

“Yes, Butch,” I said “The Doctor is hiding something, and you better tell me what. I’m sick and tired of all this, I need to know the truth, I need to know what the hell’s going on.”

Butch got up from his chair, and slowly walked to the large window that had a view of 47th street that extended to the highway, then the empty lands outside the city. He turned around with a grim look on his face, gazing towards Mary and I. Butch produced a cigarette from a pack, lit it up with his metal lighter, and then threw the lighter in my direction. I caught the old lighter, and held it in front of my face. It had a metallic yellow tone that was originally silver, with tens of scratches here and there on its surface. On one side of the lighter, the words ‘As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil for I’m the evilest son of a bitch’ engraved on it. I flipped the lighter in my hand, and saw a crest inscribed on the other side, an illustration I was quite familiar with, for it was the same symbol branded on my back. Mary looked at the engravings with questioning eyes, she asked me about the brand on my back numerous times before, but I did not know what it meant. All I knew was that my father had the same brand, but he never explained its meaning to me. I looked up at Butch, who walked back towards his chair, and sat down.

“This is your father’s lighter,” Butch said “He gave it to me on the night you were born, right before he took you and your mother out of Creekwell City.”

“What does this mean?” Mary asked the same question I wanted to ask, but was too shocked to speak “What does this symbol mean, Butch?”

“You see, this is not the first time we set out to take down the government.”  Butch replied “Your parents, The Doctor, Martin, Ella, and I were kind of a gang, and this was our symbol.”

“What?” I stared at him “My parents knew The Doctor?”

“What? You think this was all a big fat coincidence?” Butch said “The Doctor knew who you are, we knew who you are, and we started looking for you when we heard you left your old man and moved to the city.”

I stared at him, not knowing what to say, and not even comprehending the words spraying out of his mouth.

“We were horrified when we found out what happened to your parents,” Butch added “I personally wanted to take you in right away, but The Doctor decided not to do so until the substance he called Blue was ready.”

“I-I don’t believe you.” I whispered.

Butch sprang out of his chair, and paced towards me, his eyes fixed on mine. He stopped right in front of me and turned around, taking off his shirt. Butch had the crest branded on his back, same as mine in every detail.

“We were a family, Cali.” Butch said putting his shirt back on “We looked after each other, we were one. The Righteous Mutineers, that’s what we called ourselves, and that’s what the letters ‘RM’ in the middle of the crest stand for.”

“This is just…” I didn’t what how to think “This is too much to handle, why didn’t you tell me this before, why didn’t anyone tell me? I spent all my life ashamed of my father for being a fucking pusher, a drug dealer! And now you tell me he was some kind of hero who took part in organizing plots to take down our filthy government?”

“It doesn’t matter why we didn’t tell you sooner, what matters is that now you know the truth. Yes, your father was a pusher, but he was pushing another substance other than junk. I told you, this ain’t the first time we try to fuck up the government, and Blue is not the first substance we use to do so.” He paused “Your father didn’t tell you all this because he wanted to protect you─”

“Protect me from what?!” I snapped “From turning up to be a fucking junky? He did a good job at that, don’t you think? Look at me!”

Mary put the palm of her hand on my chest, and gently pushed me back in my seat. She tried to calm me down, and told me to listen to what Butch had to say.

“To protect you from the pigs, Cali.” He said “The government knew about our plots, we were exposed.”

“How did that happen?” I asked.

“A miscalculation, and a rat.” Butch said “The Doctor made a slight mistake when cooking up that substance we used back then, which resulted in people seeing things, which drove them made. This lead to what is known as the mass-suicide at St. Mark’s square, on the day of your birth.”

“And the rat?”

“It wasn’t only your parents, The Doctor, Martin, Ella, and I back then,” he said “There was another person, someone who sold us out, someone by the name of Mordecai Rogers.”

Mary quivered, and my jaw dropped. Butch continued to tell us about how Rogers was employed by the government to hunt the RM’s down, and how they laid low for a few years until the government stopped the search. He also told us how after some time, they started stealing government issued junk, and sold it for less. As I sat there listening to Butch’s tales of the past, the vision of my own being became clearer and I began to understand what was going on. Steve Miller sold us out to the government, but he did not know the location of the lodge, so he got me arrested. After my escape, and the death of Miller, the government assigned the man who was in charge of hunting The Righteous Mutineers back then, the man by the name Mordecai Rogers. Butch said that this was no murder attempt on The Doctor’s life, because if Rogers wanted The Doctor dead, he would’ve been dead already. He said that this was just a warning, that if The Doctor decided to start distributing Blue, he’d end up dead along with the rest of the new gang. Rogers was a man to be feared, a professional who only got more sinister as the years passed. Now, that monster was on our tails, along with the government and Creekwell’s filthiest cops. The new Righteous Mutineers were in a very tight spot, but there was no sign of giving up this time. I felt numb towards this whole ordeal; the Blue in my system cooled my boiling blood into a state of indifference. All I knew was that I wanted to take the government down, one way or another.

“You’re father would’ve been proud of you, Cali.” Butch said as he offered me a smoke.

I sat there smoking with Mary right next to me, old man Butch in front of me. We sat there smoking in silence, waiting for the call, which came right after midnight.


About Ahmed Gretly

Ahmed Nader Gretly. Construction/Site Engineer, fiction writer, poet, psychopath, researcher, a book addict, and a daydreamer from Cairo, Egypt. Currently doing Construction Project Management, MSc, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
This entry was posted in Chronicles Of A Twisted Mind, Prose and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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