September 15, 1938
She lay back on his rumpled twin bed, gasping with pleasure as he gently stroked the insides of her exposed thighs. Her heart beat faster as his chin rubbed against her nipples, tingling them with an unsuppressed shock of ecstasy. She patiently waited for him to enter her, relishing in his teasing tongue as it licked the space between her breasts, sliding down her flat stomach. She closed her eyes as she heard the ripping sound of his zipper, the soft whoosh of cloth as his pants fell to the floor. “I love you Wanda,” he breathed into her face, positioning himself on top of her. She waited for the supreme pleasure, for the invasive pain that she had been told it would be like the first time. And she tried her best to believe what he said.
“Now, Monsieur Hitler,” the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, easing back in his chair in the grand stateroom where he had been introduced to the German dictator for the first time, steepling his fingers beneath his chin. “I am to understand that once you receive this sought-after prize of yours, this Sudetenland, that you will stop all this unnecessary quarreling among European nations, is that correct?”
The Fuhrer smiled knowingly, a bright gleam in his eyes. He stroked his moustache tenderly. “Of course, Mein Prime Minister. What I seek, what I demand, is simply the liberation of German-speaking people, our native people, in those lands of Czechoslovakia. Once that is done, I see no reason for more of this ‘quarreling’, as you refer to it.”
“And so you will stop, and have no further territorial designs on the whole of Europe?” the Prime Minister asked warily.
“I give you my word, sir,” Hitler stated, subtlety removing the agreement that would give him control of the Sudetenland from an inner pocket of his topaz uniform.
July 16, 1945
“Mom, I don’t think I want to go back to Sherman next year,” her son said, watching her put the laundry away in their small apartment on the east side of Chicago, one of the most populated and dangerous sections of the Windy City. His legs swayed on the side of her tiny twin bed, where she slept alone.
“Honey,” Wanda answered back, groaning slightly as she bent down to pick the towels up out of the hamper. “Why don’t you want to go back to school? Don’t you like the teachers? They told me you’re doing really well, that you’re one of the smartest kids they’ve ever seen.”
The boy blushed with embarrassment. He restrained a small smile that eventually worked on his lips anyway. “I like the teachers, really, I do. But it’s the other kids, Mom. They don’t like me, they make fun of me. They’re always teasing me and doing bad things to me.”
Wanda sighed. “I’m sorry for that, Teddy, really I am. But soon enough, you’ll see that they’re only making fun of you because they feel bad about themselves. And then you’ll show them that it pays to be smart, because you’ll have a good job, and make good money, and not have to struggle like I did since your father left us.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Teddy said noncommittally.
Wanda kissed her young, handsome boy on his forehead, and looked deep into his eyes. “You’ll see,” she breathed. “Everything will be just fine.”
The physicist turned away from his latest research to address the General as he approached, a look of concealed dread in his eyes. “Evening, General Groves,” the physicist greeted him.
“Evening, Oppenheimer,” the General returned, thinking it prudent to always refer to members of the Project by their last name. “How’s it coming along?”
“Another status report?” Oppenheimer asked, a small smile playing on his lips.
The General nearly mirrored the expression. “Just curious, is all.”
The physicist pointed him to the diagrams, the complex formulas that were written in the margins. He showed him a scale model of the nearly completed project. “As you know, “the gadget”, as we have grown accustomed to calling it around here, is nearing its final stages. The preliminary research we first conducted in 1939 has come a long way since then, and the plutionium-239 we acquired from Hanford should be a quite suitable element to sustain the implosion reaction.” The physicist shrugged his thin shoulders, running a hand through his whitening, thinning hair. “It should make for one hell of a show, at least.”
The General smirked. “Let’s hope nobody ever has to buy tickets to see it,” he said.
“My sentiments exactly,” the physicist stated, turning away from the General to once again go over the atomic formulas so essential to the desired conclusion of the Manhattan Project.
November 22, 1963
The young, handsome man lay down on the therapist’s comfy sofa, letting his body sink into the plush leather upholstery. He breathed a trembling sigh of relief.
“Comfortable?” the therapist’s soothing voice asked.
“Yes,” Ted affirmed, closing his eyes.
“Now, Mr. Kac-, Kaczy-“ the therapist attempted.
“Please feel free to call me Ted,” the man allowed.
The therapist let out a small cough. “Very well, Ted. I understand you have a sense of anxiety, that you feel the world and everybody is working against you, is that correct?”
Ted nodded. “Yes, I just feel like there’s danger, lurking everywhere. That nobody, no matter who they are, can never feel safe, anywhere.”
The therapist clicked his pen and started writing on a paper tablet. “What if I told you that this feeling was quite common to men with your intellectual prowess, Ted? That it is an unfortunate coupling with the exceptionally gifted?”
“I don’t think I’m all that gifted,” Ted affirmed.
“I beg to differ,” the therapist said. He read from a chart that he had left on his desk. “Consistently top of your class in middle school, and then high school. Graduated from Harvard College at the ripe age of sixteen. And now, working toward a PhD in mathematics at the University of Michigan.” There was a brief pause. “I don’t think your credentials are anything to scoff at, Ted.”
“But it still doesn’t help me with my little problem, does it?” Ted asked sharply. He shifted on the leather sofa.
“No, it doesn’t,” the therapist agreed. “But the good news is that I can, as I have others in your position. What you are experiencing is what we in the psychological realm refer to as displacement, an unacknowledged and imaginary perversion to the outside world, thinking that it is something intolerable simply because you yourself have had trouble fitting in, most likely from a very early age.”
“I have never fit in,” Ted said.
“Well, like I said, I will be able to help that. I will succumb your peripheral senses to a sort of...trance, if you prefer. Your inherent defenses will be lowered just enough for me to rework those troublesome feelings with my own suggestions. In most cases, it has been a rousing success.”
Ted listened intently, overlapping his hands on top of his thin chest. “When do we start?” he asked.
“We’ve already begun,” the therapist spoke, his voice lowering somewhat to a hushed whisper. “Just relax, and listen to what I say. There is no office, no sofa, no outside world to contend with. There are just my words, and your understanding of these words. You will be the judge, jury, and executioner of these words...”
Air Force One taxied down on the runway at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, gliding to a halt near the awaiting limousine. President Kennedy stepped down from the plane, studiously shaking hands with the Governor, John Connally. “Nice to see you again, John,” the President affirmed.
“It is an honor, Mr. President,” the Governor stated, striding beside him as they briskly walked to the car.
“Are you sure that you have enough security in place for this motorcade?” Kennedy asked, narrowing his eyes at the other man. “I don’t mean to doubt you, it’s just riding in an open convertible...I’m all for greeting the public, but it just seems a little dangerous to me.”
Connally beamed him a reassuring smile. “Everything is well taken care of, Mr. President. I have an armored escort leading us through Dealey Plaza on our way to the Dallas Trade Mart. Sufficient security at the head and tail ends of the motorcade, as well as appointed plainclothes security interspersed among the crowd. Trust me; you will be well taken care of. FDR did this many, many times, and nothing ever happened to him.”
“It’s a different age, Governor,” Kennedy stated, climbing into the puttering limo.
“Everything will be just fine,” the Governor said, sitting on the back seat next to him, confidant that his words would ring true.
The eyewitness reporter looked squarely into the camera, waiting for the signal from the man operating it. He flashed her the go-ahead sign, and she began to talk, whisking a strand of dark colored hair from her mouth as she leaned it closer to the microphone. “Good evening, I am standing in front of the Montana Federal Courthouse, where a grand jury has just indicted Ted Kaczynski, the infamously dubbed Unabomber, to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The verdict came shortly after 11 am, this Tuesday morning of April 13, 1996.
Mr. Kaczynski has been charged with ten counts of illegally transporting and using his homemade bombs, and has been implicated in the homicide of three related deaths. He first came to the attention of the FBI in May of 1978, when his mail bomb that was intended for Buckley Crist, a professor at Northwestern University, injured campus policeman Terry Marker instead. Over the next seventeen years, Mr. Kaczynski’s incendiary devices would lead to the severe injuries of twenty-three people, along with the three murders he was convicted for.
The Unabomber was finally tracked down and apprehended in a one-room cabin in Lincoln that had no electricity or running water. It has been confirmed that he will be spending his sentence at the Maximum State Facility in Florence, Colorado. Now, we here at Channel Seven have-“
Before she could finish her sentence, the massive doorway of the courthouse slammed open, a steady rush of uniformed police officers and bystanders surrounding a solitary man dressed in an orange jumpsuit. His wrists and ankles were manacled, his appearance shaggy and decrepit-looking. A far cry from the trim features he had once displayed as a university professor. The entourage led him to a heavily guarded and reinforced police van, his own personal conveyance that would transport him to the last place he would ever live. As the Unabomber climbed into the van, the reporter faintly caught the words that he mumbled under his breath before the doors closed, shutting him off from the rest of the world. She would surely have reported them if they had made any sort of sense. What is “I am the judge, I am the jury, I am the executioner” supposed to mean anyway?