The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin
I stood in a white corridor of self-illuminating panels, breathing perfectly filtered air, pointing a gun at a man from the future. The long white hallway stretched in both directions, seemingly endless. The moment itself stretched endlessly as I put a slight amount of pressure on the trigger.
“You have about three seconds to explain that,” I said through gritted teeth. “Before I erase your memory by putting a bullet through your brain.”
Jameson turned to look at me. He had that same damn expression on his face as always, that stupid pleasant smile.
I took a big step back from both Jameson and Johnson, raising the gun. I pointed it at one and then the other, trying to watch both at the same time.
“Somebody better answer me!”
Jameson pushed his weird goggles up onto his head, and he looked confused underneath. Johnson just stood there with a wry grin, shaking his head. He put his hands in his pockets and looked at the FBI agent.
“You opened this can of worms, buddy.”
Jameson stuck out his lip and stomped his foot again. “You are in grave danger, Diggory Franklin. We don’t have time for this.”
I had barely a second to unlock the safety and check the chamber, before I was pointing the gun at the door. Armed men spilled into my apartment, firing towards us with silenced pistols.
“Get out of here, NOW!” Johnson snarled at me. He waved for me to retreat into my bedroom, and then turned his attention towards the door.
Johnson was outnumbered. He had no weapon. I wondered what he thought he was going to do to stop them.
I sat back in my chair and blew air from my mouth in frustration. Old Man White stared back at me, grinning.
“I know it sounds ludicrous,” I said, “But it’s so deliberate. With uncanny timing, my father rode waves of profits until just before the bubbles burst, and then pulled out. Every time. Not one risky investment, one loss, over the last year. Why do I get the feeling that I’d see the same thing if I looked over last year’s books, or the year before?”
After confirming with Matt that he’d had no trouble dropping off the money to the Squid, I hustled downstairs to catch a taxi and head over to Mr. White’s house. I tried to concentrate on the matter at hand, running my father’s business, but I found myself distracted.
Why did that dream bother me so? It wasn’t even totally comprehensible. But I was still certain it had taken place in the warehouse. And Calla clearly remembered events from last night that I couldn’t recollect. Something was wrong. But what?
“You… had a good time?” I asked, sliding into the seat across from Calla.
“Of course I did! It was amazing. Thank you so much!” She grinned.
“Anytime?” I said, raising an eyebrow.
Calla giggled. I’d never seen her so enthused, she usually seemed a lot cooler than this. She was almost giddy, like a kid at Christmas. Whatever I did, it seemed like it had been awesome. The problem was, I couldn’t remember most of yesterday at all.
I rolled out of bed on Monday morning, shaking cobwebs from my head. I rubbed my face vigorously and then headed for the shower.
As I soaped, I went over my plans for the day: Matt was going to go to the bank with me, then I had to hold the first meeting in our temporary “offices,” before a meeting with Old Man White. I had to be on my game today, as the new head of Franklin Investments. I didn’t look forward to it.
“Oh yeah! Okay!” Agent Jameson said. He raised his gun and started firing randomly. Every time it went off he blinked, as if the noise and flash were unsettling. He moved his hand spasmodically, as if hoping to get lucky without actually aiming. “Run!”
I stood in the doorway of the warehouse that would be the temporary headquarters of Franklin Investments. I had my hands deep in my coat pockets as I watched light rain drizzle down outside. It was just before four o’clock.
A taxi pulled up a few moments later, and the lanky form of Agent Jameson emerged. He smiled pleasantly and waved. I nodded back.
“Hi there, Mr. Franklin!” He said, in his eternally cheerful voice. “So, it’s still raining, huh?”
Agent Johnson reached into his suit jacket, as we watched the door swing open. I tensed, slowly lifting my beer bottle. It wasn't a great weapon, but I'm not a gun-carrying C.I.A. agent.
"Digger?" A familiar voice called out as the door opened.
"Hey, Matt," I said, waving Johnson off. He slid his hand back out of his coat and resumed his relaxed posture.
Matt entered my apartment, smiling as he saw me. "Hey, bud, feeling any better since Friday?"
He cut himself off there, seeing that I wasn't alone in the kitchen.