[Originally published September 2012.]
“When I woke up in a different room than I remembered falling asleep in, I knew it was going to be one of those days.” That’s a line I normally associate with the morning after I had a few too many. But that wasn’t the case, not this time. I went to bed in my hotel room after a long day’s flight. I didn’t drink on the plane and I didn’t drink before bed. In fact, I barely ate before going to bed, just the other half of the tuna sandwich I bought at the airport before the flight. So what I’m saying is that I was stone cold sober, as a matter of fact, to coin a phrase.
So how did I end up in this room? It’s a nice room, very well appointed. In fact it’s a hell of a lot larger than my hotel room. This looks like a swank suite on the top floor, not my modest single on floor 6. A college prank entered my head. Some asshole drew a penis on my forehead with a black felt-tip marker after I crashed on the sofa. I spent the next morning in the shower, the whole damn morning, trying to scrub the thing off. No one ever fessed up. So I think, OK, if this is some sort of prank, at least it’s in better taste than drawing genitalia on my body. The room was sick: full kitchen, entertainment center, wet bar, and a full master bedroom suit with a master bath that contained a humungous shower plus a whirlpool bath. I felt less like a hotel room and more like a model condo for the stars. But I still didn’t know how I got there, and that kept me from enjoying all the amenities.
Someone knocked on the door. It startled me. I looked at myself and saw that I still wore the same boxers I had on when I went to bed in the hotel. OK, whatever, I thought, and answered the door in my drawers. I wasn’t sure if my clothes came with me, though admittedly I hadn’t looked.
I opened the door and this dreamboat stood there: square-jarred, deep brown eyes that sat wide apart, shaved head. He wore a tailored outfit, that is, it fit well in all the right corners. So OK, now I’m in heaven. First the room, then this guy, that is, if he’s into vanilla as much as I’m into chocolate.
“Dr. Sebastian Gordon?” he said to me.
“Yes?” I said.
“I’m Rick Travers, sir. May I come in?”
“You mind telling me first, Mr. Travers, where the hell am I?”
“I know this must be very disorienting for you, Dr. Gordon. And everything will be explained in the fullness of time, sir. But please, I want to make sure you are comfortable here and that everything went smoothly. May I come in?”
He’s smooth. Just finding out how comfortable he could make me was reason enough to step aside and let him enter. So I stepped aside and let him enter. As suspected, the rearview was a nice as the front. I closed the door.
“Are you comfortable, Dr. Gordon? Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah, like a rock,” I say with an edge.
“And did you find your possessions? Your clothing, your computer, did you locate them satisfactorily?”
As I said, I hadn’t searched the room for my stuff.
“I was too much in shock to see if any of it followed me here to Shangri-La,” I said.
He brushed off my sarcasm with the most gorgeous smile I’d ever seen. No man should have a smile like that. It should be illegal.
“You’ll find your clothes in the closet just inside the master bath and your computer is in the top drawer of the desk over there,” he said.
I walked over to the desk and open the top draw. There sat my AirBook. I took it out and opened it up. The screen came on.
“You’ll need the password to access the network, Dr. Gordon. It is N-I-A-B-D.”
I stared at him a bit, half wondering what would happen if I tapped those random letters into my computer. But then I go ahead and do it anyway. It was the smile. He had me at the smile. And nothing bad happened. I had a network connection. All worked fine. I opened my e-mail and the usual flood of garbage filled the screen. I opened my Maps app, to find out where the hell I was.
“That won’t work, Dr. Gordon. I am sorry, but our location is secret. You can access just about anything you want online, but I regret that some things must be held back from you. I am sorry.”
“Look, what was your name again?” I said.
“Rick Travers, sir.”
I was trying not to look nervous, and doing a shitty job of it.
“Look Mr. Rick Travers. I don’t know where I am, you won’t tell me where I am, and you are holding me here against my will. In my calculus, that all adds up to kidnapping. And where I come from this is a crime.”
“Yes, sir. It is, sir.”
“So you know you have committed a crime here?”
“Yes, sir. We have, by that definition, committed a crime.”
He walked to the wall and pushed a button. The curtains opened. The one thing I didn’t do was look outside. I was too transfixed by what I saw on the inside. As the auburn drapes pulled apart, they revealed a panoramic view of a vast, lush, rich tropical jungle. Palms. Ferns. Deep blue skies. A mountain peak rose in the far distance. Mr. Travers walked to sliding glass door and opened it.
“Come take a look, Dr. Gordon,” he said.
I went out with him, in my boxers. Warm air touched my body. We were up a pretty good ways. Was he planning to push me off and watch me fall, with that smile on his face as I descended towards oblivion? No. He didn’t touch me.
“Over that way, you can see part of the beach,” he said, pointing towards the right.
“Well if guy has to be kidnapped,” I said, “this is certainly a nice place to take him. But I’m still a kidnap victim, Mr. Travers and I don’t like it. Not one bit.”
“I can’t tell you everything, Doctor,” he said in a soft voice. “All I can say is that you will come to absolutely no harm and that the best interests of humanity is why you were brought here.”
“Humanity? Isn’t that a little grand? What are you talking about?”
“Please, sir. I’ve already said too much. Let’s go back inside.”
I hesitate. “No, what about humanity? What do I have to do with humanity?”
“We all make up humanity, Dr. Gordon. Therefore, we all have something to do with it. Places like this are rare because of the actions of humanity. This place is an oasis in a sea of climate change. It exists because of the actions of a few, but even it cannot exist forever.”
His eyes betrayed him every time. He wanted to tell me more, but stopped talking. Instead, he extended his arm, a gentle nudge to get me to go back inside. I entered this time, now wondering if the room was bugged and if that was the reason we stepped outside. Though at that moment, I still felt like he hadn’t told me anything worth concealing.
“If you can make yourself ready, Doctor, I can escort you to the meeting. There, more will be explained. I will wait out here while you change in the master suite.”
“Don’t I at least get breakfast?”
“Breakfast will be served at the meeting, Dr. Gordon.”
“Then how about a cup of coffee?”
He smiled again. “I can do that for you, Dr. Gordon.”
I wanted those lips. Instead, I turned and walked into the master suite. Despite being scared out of my skull, I still had enough wits about me to imagine Mr. Travers lying on the bed, slowing peeling off the layers of fine clothing he wore. Those lustful thoughts kept me going, I suppose…
[Read the rest of the story, all five parts, here.]
© 2013, gar. All rights reserved.