Thursday, July 18, 2013

Helium.com Flash Fiction ---Playing The Game

 (Author's note: Another Helium.com flash fiction with the prompt being "skull and bones." Same as last time, they strictly enforce a four-hundred word limit and I wanted to expand my idea. "Joining the Established Order" is the shorter version at the Helium website.) 


 Michael Garcia leaned back into the comfortable leather chair enjoying the culmination of all the years of discipline and grim determination he had spent working towards his goal of making a real mark on the world. The realization that everything had finally fell into place was as if the proverbial impossibly heavy weight had been lifted from his chest.  

Dressed in his only decent suit he watched the procession of important men wearing elaborate robes and masks solemnly file out of the ceremonial chamber of Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society. The lighting in the chamber had been kept low during the ceremony but along the walls Michael saw elaborate portraits of long dead members that had already reached the pinnacles of power and influence in the United States, an eclectic bunch given their outward beliefs but all ultimately dedicated to the advancement of the Skull and Bones Society above all else. This brought an unwanted and needless realization of the fact that the faces behind the hideous masks that had just welcomed him into their group belonged to several United States senators and congressmen, various fortune five-hundred CEO’s, and assorted other members of established high society. 

The burning incense used in the ritual still hung in the air along with the memory of the strange chants those wearing the robes and masks performed. Michael and the two other individuals seated on either side of him, who were also joining, knew the ceremony was overdone theatrics and each person viewed the activities differently.

The man to the left of Michael viewed the ceremony with a practiced boredom. Coming from a family who could trace their lineage to colonial America his membership was always a foregone conclusion. The man to the right of Michael, while coming from a family with a far more humble history, was the son of a billionaire banker and observed the proceedings with a mild disinterest. Not Michael, he reveled in the fact that the grandson of an illegal immigrant was not only about to graduate Yale University but had become a “Bonesman” and would now join the elite of American society.

The three stayed seated after everyone else had vacated the chamber. A strange silence hung in the air as if each believed to speak first would bring a bloody curse down on them all.

“Greetings gentlemen,” a voice boomed from a hidden loudspeaker, “and congratulations on being accepted to the Skull and Bones. Before we conclude there is one matter that needs to be cleared up. Each of you knows this particular ceremony is well outside the usual procedures of our society. During the normal evaluation of candidates someone in the Society’s inner circle noticed each of your potentials and sponsored your appearance here today. What this means is membership in the most powerful secret organization that exists in the country. Without exaggeration those who belong to the inner circle control this country in a way the commoners cannot fathom and we are offering each of you the chance to sit among us. However only one can go on to realize that prospect.”

Michael was quick to notice that his compatriots began to take an interest in the proceedings the second the gaining of national power and influence was mentioned. Given their backgrounds it was almost a foregone conclusion that the inner circle would chose them if he did not act quickly but he was lost as to what action he should take.

“The inner circle does not offer these privileges lightly,” the mysterious voice said after a momentary pause. “While the Society’s collective wealth is massive all power is ultimately an illusion if it is abused. Before we committee our resources to your individual advancement each of you must explain how you will seize power and hold on to it.”   

For a moment nothing happened, but Michael could feel the two men seated beside him collecting their thoughts getting ready to present their cases to the hidden inner circle members. Acting strictly on instinct Michael jumped up and leveled carefully aimed punches to the throats of the other men which left them on the floor gagging for air.

 “Well now,” the voice said as a door across the room opened,” that settles the issue. Mr. Garcia, please come join us.”

***

Three days later Michael Garcia takes a seat at and open air café. After ordering a cup of coffee he leans back and seems to do nothing but relax and watch the people strolling by. A few minutes later a blonde lady wearing jeans and casual sweater takes the seat at the table behind him. Their back are facing each other and neither makes any movement that suggests the know each other.

“So, you’ve been accepted into the inner circle?” The blonde lady asks as she fishes an item out of her purse.

“Yeah,” Michael says staring off into space, “after graduation they plan on having me spend a year working for some corporation then run me for the Congress. Their plans go as far as the presidency in twelve years. They say my origins are a unique advantage and that they were especially pleased I proved myself at the induction ceremony.”

“Excellent,” the woman whispered, “I’ll tell the council. Stay cautious though, out of all our other attempts to penetrate the Society’s inner circle you are our first.” With that the blonde lady’s cell phones rings and immediately she jumps up and runs off begging forgiveness for leaving her friend waiting. Michael smiled as he caught a glimpse of the ring emblazed with the pyramid topped by an all seeing eye the blonde woman was wearing. It was poor spy craft he thought to himself.

Despite the assumptions of both Michael and the blonde lady their encounter was noticed. The waiter that served Michael his coffee approached an apparent coworker sitting inside the café.” It appears the cabal wars might be restarting after so many years of peace.” The waiter said after exchanging a special handshake with the customer.

The coworker took a deep and unsettled breath after hearing the news. “The last time the secret orders came into conflict with each other it resulted in the country almost destroying itself in the Civil War. We must inform the others immediately."



6 comments:

Cloudia said...

So you've become a novelist!


Aloha

Pearl said...

Nicely done! :-)

Pearl

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good job! Very intriguing.

Pixel Peeper said...

Again, I like the longer version better - much more disturbing and ominous!

Akelamalu said...

Oh so intriguing!

Beach Bum said...

Cloudia: Maybe, given the recent awful novel I downloaded on my Kindle. It was only .99 cents but it was terrible.

Pearl and Susan: Just playing around at a Dan Brown type story.

Pixel: I hope no one thinks I believe in that conspiracy stuff.

Akelamalu: Thanks, it was fun to write.