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Allen Clarke Allen Clarke
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She had a friend.

The Thought Squadron came to my door late last night.It took me a while to undo the three padlocks,combination lock, plus the de-activation on the front door alarm. At first, I suspected that it was a subversive branch of the Zig-Zag cops. They worked in partnership with the Thought Control Board.Times had been so tense lately since they arrived on the scene. They operated under an insidious mist of covert secrecy. It seemed that they had eyes and ears on most every wall in our city. Nerves were on edge everywhere. Our lives were no longer our own. A secret inside source had transmitted to us the message to beware of what we drank or ate. Crushed glass in the soup de`jour was now no longer the product of an over-active imagination. Various strains of viral infection had been secretly introduced into the city`s water supply. Only those with the antidote were able to survive.
   However, we posessed the intellect and the necessary chemistry-capable individuals on the block to intercept and destroy their best-laid plans to write us off of the pages of history. Besides that, we took great care in boiling our water and cooked our own food. Every conversation that we had was secretly encoded with the Plains Cree Y- dialect. It had their best code decipherers squealing in frustration for many a moon. To this day, they haven`t had a smidgeon of success in revealing the essence of it`s many layered meaning which sometimes seems to contradict itself by virtue of it`s subtle and esoteric inference.
   ``Open up!``barked the Inspector just outside of my small flat. In an instant, he appeared, dark and looming, in the framework of my quaint, little lair. With a flourish of his rain-drenched trench coat, he burst into my living room. So sudden was his entrance, that he narrowly missed Harry`s tail as the furball hissed off into the shadows.
    At first, the numbers had begun to appear as tiny squiggles trapped in thought balloons. Yeah, much like the sort you see in comic books. Nothing was secret in those crazy days. Even our thoughts had become highly visible. So, in a very real sense one had to be very discreet in his thought life. That is, if one could.Privacy had become a luxury of the past.
    After awhile, it became quite a trick to discern the difference between the voice balloons as opposed to those of thought, especially when the conversation was being observed from a distance. We tried our level best to mimic ignorance, but, alas, it was a losing battle. After all, can one so easily cloak the prescense of genius? Our saving grace was met in the fact that the thought balloons only appeared briefly as a flash above our heads. They came and went as a vapour of smoke,too fleeting to be considered a threat.One moment they were there and then..poof!..they were gone. It was as if some unseen needle had instantly pricked them into non-existence.
    Poor Master Edison, I thought!His thoughts poured out of his cranial cavity like an veritable blueprint of the future. Reams and reams of complex mathematical formulae churned out of his skull like an unending Tickertape! You just had to be there to see it!All the while, Edison was working quietly, though feverishly,on a device to disguise those pesky thought balloons. Some minimal success was met in his invention of an aluminum foil thinking cap. It had been designed specifically to thwart any suspicions of the Zig-Zag cops. It was for this reason, that we were especially careful not to frequent any of the local do-nut shops.
    I know,I know, all of this sounds quite Orwellian in gist,but as the story unfolds,I trust that you will not suspicion me of plagiarism. The foil thinking cap worked, but only on a temporary basis. That is,until one of our colleagues decided to steal the aluminum cap to use it to cook the Thanksgiving bird.

Thomas had a friendly nemesis. He was,(in jest)rivalled by a wild-haired chemist by the name of Albert Einstein.
  `Undt, so tell me, Herr Clarke, have you lately had any communication with either Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein?`hissed the Gestapo-like government official.
  ``Nein, whatsoever,``I lied under bated breath. I prayed silently that Klauss would not notice the tiny bead of perspiration now forming on my left eyebrow.
   ``Make no mistake, Herr Clarke,any possible hint of insubordination will be duly noted. Undt,as you well know,we have vays of persuasion that can be exquisitely excruciating, I can assure you!``
As he got up to leave, his Luger fell out of his trench coat, along with a grimey back issue of Playboy magazine.
    That big German schweinhundt left a distinct impression that he disliked me for some reason that I could never quite define. There were no words to describe the audacious smack to the jaw I felt because of their incessant efforts to thwart my freedom of expression. I was being censcored to death by these blond, blue-eyed Neanderthals. They seemed to know nothing of the finer virtues that we humans seek to convey unhindered and without shame.
    And what about Edison and Einstein? Even now, they might be huddled together over a stein of Heinihken nervously pondering the whereabouts of the Thought Squadron. I hoped that the both of them would remember to leave their aluminum caps on. A sharp rap at my back-door snapped me back to the present reality.
   ``Who are you, friend or foe?``I barked out with the staccato ruffness of an
     English bull-dog.
   ``It is I!``came the timid reply.``E=mc squared!``
    I wasn`t much good at physics, but I immediately recognized his voice. I rushed to the peephole and saw him standing there in the dimly lit hallway. The wild hair was immediately recognizable. But it was the glint of reflected light off of the foil which convinced me to open the door. His dirty grey labcoat flowed behind him as he hurriedly grabbed a flask of vodka that had been left on the coffee table. My goodness, I observed, he`s turning into quite the souse these days. It was due to stress, no doubt!
     ``Where is Thomas?``
     ``They caught him!`` gasped Albert, between sloshes of cheap Russian vodka.
     ``What!!``I exploded in a peal of exasperated thunder.
     ``We were sitting there enjoying ourselves at the Lichensteiner Beer Hall, when Thomas started bragging about his infernal internal combustion engine, complete with fuel injection, as well as the on-board G.P.S.``he said, almost beside himself. He then mumbled something partially coherent about building a bomb and getting even.
     ``Well, go on, man! What happened next?``
     ``I`m afraid, Herr Clarke, that the Thought Gestapo (hic!) got to him! (hic).
     ``How in the world, Albert?``I gasped as I attempted to pick his rather substantial brain for more info.
     ``It appears as though the Fraulein; we were in the company of, was one of Klauss`s
     ``Mein Gott!Ach Du Leiber!``( Cree translation: My God! For shit`s sake,what happened? ) I cried with all the angst I could muster.
     ``Well, at least, you had enough smarts to escape forthwith!`I added.
     ``Oh, quite indubitably, Herr Clarke!``hypothecised Albert.
     ``Quickly!``I cried, with all the urgency of a banshee,``Hitch up the Clydesdales, we have much work to do. We must try to act as inconspicuously as possible,if we ever hope to rescue Thomas!``


    I think it might have been those noisy Clydesdales that gave away our position. My personal choice of travel would have been our 1942 Jag. It was especially difficult trying to dodge all those speedsters on the Autobahn. We were clipping along at 15 kms.per hr. when a police cyclist flagged us down in the slow lane. Albert had the quick wit to show the patrolman`` some leg,`` and that seemed to distract him long enough for us to creep away onto a side-road. I left Einstein standing there with the patrolman discussing some elementary aspect of quantum physics. (SICK!)..I thought, as I clopped off onto the country road to Dusseldorf. Despite his obvious genius, Albert could have used a few lessons in dealing with the German mind-set.
    As it turned out a breathless Einstein caught up to us near the quaint little hamlet of Treblinka. It was quite fortunate for him,that he always carried a spare can of Bear Mace, for over-enamourous German patrolman and the like.

Of a sudden, my Virgin Mobile cell vibrated in my pants pocket! It felt pretty goodt, so I allowed it to caress my weary glutes for just a lingering moment longer before I answered it. I immediately recognized the rich baritone of Edison!
  ``It is I, Thomas Alva, keep it discreet, my friend, oh so very discreet!``
  ``Well, Edison, my good man, you needn``t be so melodramatic!`` I whispered into the German countryside. Unbeknownst to me, Klauss had Thomas at gunpoint with his Luger.
  ``Give me your co-ordinates and we will rendezvous at o:1100.``I suggested.
  ``I am presently at the holding!``
  ``Why Edison, you sly dog! Are you with a madamoiselle? I surmised full well that Thomas might be entertaining his love of certain,...shall we say..French delicacies.
  ``No..just meet me at the Neonderthal Cafe on Stuttengarde Drive. Come alone.``
  ``You don`t have to get personal, but I usually do! Come alone, that is. Over and out!``

Chapter Three

When we arrived icognito at the Neonderthal Cafe, the place was a-buzz with the sound of clattering cutlery and bustling waiters. I arrived in drag, assuming the guise of a Dutch matron. The perfect finishing touch for my costume was a pair of tightly fitting wooden clogs, made in Holland. It was 4:57. I hoped that my 5:00 shadow wouldn,t be too obvious. Einstein, on the other hand was thinly diguised as a Russian astro-physicist.
  It seemed strange to see Edison sitting alone. He had always been the sociable sort, no matter the circumstance. The red flag came up immediately. Besides Thomas, sat there strangely inanimate. Upon closer observance, it became increasingly obvious that he was in a state of catotonian salivarian! Egads! I thought, they`ve injected him with the H-2105SB-12 mood altering virus. Through glazed eyes, he somehow was able to mouth the barely audible words,``Is.. that... you, Olga,... I thought... we parted`..vays forever.... in.. gay Paree`!

``Nay, i say, it is I, the madcap writer that developed your character!``
``What the hell are you saying, we must stay with the synopsis of the story or else ``Harley will think you have gone stark raving BONKERS!``
``Yes..yes...of course. a thousand pardons, mon frere`it appears I momentarily lost my train of thought. It wouldn`t do to suddenly defy the boundaries of writer`s convention!``
``It`s quite all right, Herr Clarke, to be honest, you almost lost me  right at the moment you introduced the idea of the tin-foil thinking cap. I mean....really!!!``
``Thomas..don`t tell me that the Critics got to you too?``The Critics were the last ditch efforts of the Thought Squadron to cut off our new found Freedom.

For a brief moment, I surveyed Edison`s sorry state, and immediately recognized that he was in the last stage of the condition known only to, we three, as``Fuckupitis``. Fortunately, I had the remaining tube of the antidote. The serum was a strange combination of colour which did not mix in the tube. Streaks of blue as well as red and green comprised the mixture. The lab rats whom we had tested it on had made the wierdest expressions as they swallowed it,their faces seemingly shriveling in displeasure and obvious distaste. It was evident, in this case, that the cure was more dreaded than the condition! There was no time to squander!
``I`m sorry,my friend,there is only one way,``I uttered in my very best Dutch accent. Seizing Edison by the throat, I quickly poured the antidote down into his gullet!  Instantly, his face contorted in a supreme display of utter disgust! One minute later, he wryly commented...`` Tastes quite like shit..but it works! Buckley`s has nothing on this bitchin`concoction!``
``Edison, my good man, welcome back to the land of the living``I squealed, careful to convincingly display my feminine side.

Chapter Four

Suddenly, Klauss stood up behind us with Luger in hand! I didn`t have a millisecond to spare. I knew there would be at least six bullets in the chamber and I wasn`t quite ready for that Great Dutch Chalet in de`Sky! So, instinctively, I yelled,`Hey, Klauss, I heard that you always wanted to be a land-owner! That took him for a spin-about, and just as he was bracing himself to fire, I let him have my size 13 wooden clog right where the sun never shines! With eyes wide in pain and disbelief, he finally realized that he was now the sole possessor of a COUPLE OF ACHE-RS!! As we left, he was squealing something in high German, which sounded like,``Does anyone in the house have a spare Tylenol?``  Einstein had a sudden brainstorm to ignite a cannister of smoke-screen, just as Klauss`s cohorts barged onto the scene. Moments, later, we three were outside staring into the star- filled sky! It might have been a romantic moment, but we were all straight, so the fuzzy, warm feelings vanished into the night, just as we did!

We had finally escaped to go where? That was the next big challenge. They had not destroyed our collective will to overcome. Edison, Einstein and myself were like the rag-tag version of the Three Musketeers. We had always been supportive of the cause to which we had given allegiance. Someday, we knew that in all the beer-halls of Germany, we three, would be remembered as The Spoilers. I noticed, in the last little while that the thought balloons were slowly dissipating. We were comforted with the fact that we might no longer have to conceal our thoughts. Oh,joy!! the very thought of not having to wear these stupid silver foil dunce hats was just too much elation for the human heart to contain! Right then and there, I felt like climbing up the nearest Swiss mountain and yodeling out a few choruses of The Star- Spangeled banner!!

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