Jeremy the Germ, Planetary Crime Fighter
by Ben A. Vanguarde
Chapter Five - What Really Happened to Jeremy at the Park: Part Three
Jeremy could hardly contain himself. It was the most exciting thing he had ever done. He told the story and freely embellished, causing Trall to smile at his family frequently.
Wanda and Timothy began to stir. Would you like another water, Jeremy? asked Nitkah.
They are waking up. They will say some mean things, Jeremy. It changes nothing. I will examine them with the Medi-Explorer the same way I examined you. Oh, let me bring out the Medi-Explorer and fix your speech. Parlow retrieved a controller from his belt and the pink illuminated explorer floated out of the craft to rest one foot away from Jeremy. “Stay perfectly still, Jeremy. Breathe lightly.” The pink light of the explorer beamed to Jeremy. After three minutes it slowly went down his body and then floated over to Timothy.
As the med-explorer examined Timothy, Parlow said in his mind voice, Say something out loud, Jeremy?
“Something out loud,” repeated Jeremy with a wise cracking smile. When he realized that he heard his voice he yelled, “Yeah! I can talk. I can talk. I’m smart now.”
Jeremy, please be quiet. Your neighbors are sleeping, replied Parlow with a satisfied smile. Finishing the scan on Timothy, Parlow directed the Medi-Explorer to examine Wanda.
“What is that thing, Parlow?”
It’s called a Medi-Explorer, Jeremy. It costs a fortune but it has saved my life. Once I was shot in the back with a shotgun. Nitkah directed the Medi-Explorer to me and stopped the bleeding and put me back together. I would have died without it with us.
“Help! Help us! Let us out!” yelled the awakening Wanda and Timothy, banging on the captivity box walls. Trall worked his controller to close all of the wind vents of the captivity boxes and soon, low muffled sounds were all that was heard from the confining boxes of Timothy and Wanda.
Parlow picked up the pistol and examined it. It was heavy to his tiny hands. Jeremy, I want you to speak to them. I will tell you what to say telepathically, like I am speaking now. They can not understand me telepathically so I am relying on you. Just tell them only what I say. Jeremy looked at Parlow. Trall will open the wind vents soon. Tell them both to be quiet or I will stun them again and they will sleep through their last minutes on earth.
Still using his mind, Jeremy answered, Okay.
Parlow pointed the pistol at Timothy. The air slots opened again. This time Timothy was quiet.
“Let us out,” screamed Wanda. “Get me outta here now!”
Jeremy said, “Be quiet or Trall will stun you to sleep again.” The conversation paused as Timothy and Wanda looked about to size up their situations.
Timothy spoke first, “Is that you, Jeremy?” He looked at Wanda. “Is that Jeremy from school?”
Wanda blurted out, “It’s the freak. Jeremy, the freak, all grown up.” Jeremy frowned with anger.
Timothy tried to compose himself. “Jeremy, what are we doing here?”
“It’s Jeremy the germ,” exclaimed Wanda. “You know, the kid who stopped talking and started babbling in fourth grade? He’s the retard. Get me outta here, germ-head.”
“I’m not a retard, Wanda,” replied Jeremy with his brows furrowed. “You are. And you’re still ugly.”
Timothy turned his head to the other captive. “Wanda, shut up!” She glared back at Timothy still enraged and shaking the captivity box with her fingers through the wind vents.
“Jeremy. Jeremy,” Timothy continued catching Jeremy’s attention. “Look at me. Ignore her. What’s going on here?”
“You were so mean to me. You used to punch me all the time. You and Mitchell McAllister beat me up, and for no reason.” Jeremy’s eyes began to fill up as he relived the pain and humiliation. “Wanda called me names every day.” The tears rolled down his cheeks.
“I did? I don’t remember it, but that was a long time ago. Well, I’m very sorry now. I won’t hurt you. We’re adults now, not kids. Wanda’s sorry, too, aren’t you?” They looked at Wanda. She turned her head away from the camp.
“She’s not sorry,” observed Jeremy as he wiped his tears away.
“Jeremy, I promise, we’re both sorry. We were stupid kids then. We’re adults now. We could be friends now. Best friends. And Wanda could be your girl friend. She’s not ugly any more, Jeremy.”
Wanda whipped her head around, “Girl friend? Are you insane?”
“Girl friend?” Jeremy shriveled up his face.
“Jeremy, ask the gray. What is going on here? Why are we here? In these cages?”
“He wants to know what is going on here,” said Jeremy vocally looking at Parlow.
Parlow now took a step forward to toward Jeremy, after listening watching the exchange patiently, and said telepathically, In your mind, Jeremy.
He wants to know…
Tell them both that we have examined each one and both are in perfect health. Tell Wanda to stand very still while we fix something.
“You are both in perfect health but, Wanda stand still because he needs to fix something to make you better.”
Wanda’s eyes were seething as her fingers clutched the holes in the captivity box. Parlow walked up before her and casually pointed the gun at Wanda. Her eyes widened and she froze. The Medi-Explorer hovered below her abdomen for a minute and then returned inside the craft. Parlow communicated to Jeremy. Then Parlow returned to the grill area.
“Parlow says that you are both going to depart this planet for a new and wonderful life. He says it is legal because he has a permit to remove 150 specimens each year. This is their family business. He wants to know if you would like a buffalo steak and a bottle of water.”
“What?” yelled Wanda. “Look freak, let me outta here. I’m a person; not a specimen. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got graduation in two months and my wedding in three months. I don’t have time to waste with you freaks. Let me outta here, now! You’ll be arrested if you don’t get me out of here, now!” she demanded at the top of her voice.
“Please Jeremy, I’ve got graduation in two months, also, and remedials this summer before I enter law school in the fall. Legal or not, tell them to get someone else. They don’t need us. Come on, Jeremy, you’re one of us.”
Before Jeremy could relay the message back to Parlow, the gray man held up the pistol before Timothy. Ask him what this is that was taken from his house.
Turning to Parlow as would any eager student bursting with the correct answer, Jeremy replied, “Ah, Parlow, I know. It’s a Colt .45 pistol. It’s in all the cowboy movies. The gun that won the Wild West.”
Parlow again gave Jeremy a message.
Jeremy looked confused and unsure when he heard the message but dutifully relayed the message. “Timothy, Parlow likes your Colt .45 and, if you don’t mind, he’d like to keep it.” Timothy gave a weak nod. “And Wanda, Parlow says that you will be passing a six week old fetus in the next four hours.” Jeremy screwed up his face. “Do you know what that even means? Should I ask him?”
Wanda yelled at the top of her lungs, “What? A baby? You killed my baby? It is my right to choose, not yours. Murderers. Freaks. You’re evil. Get me outta here now!” She shrieked and tried to rock the captivity cage back and forth. Trall closed up the captivity box wind vents and she yelled to herself.
“I’ve always wanted a pistol like that. May I look at it?” asked Jeremy. Parlow handed the pistol to Jeremy.
Timothy looked at Parlow and then at Jeremy. “Now! Jeremy, shoot them all! It’s full of bullets. Shoot the bastards! Get us out of here!” screamed Timothy. Wanda straightened up and starred at Jeremy. “You have to do it, Jeremy. We’re all gonna die.”
Jeremy pointed the pistol in the general direction of Parlow but Jeremy hesitated. “I can’t shoot. Momma taught me.” He looked back at Timothy inadvertently pointed the pistol at him. “I can’t hurt anybody. That would be bad.” Jeremy looked back at Parlow but his face held no emotion.
Timothy and Wanda screamed angry, pleading oaths at him. “Kill them. Kill them now.”
Jeremy turned from Parlow to look at Timothy. “That’s not right,” said Jeremy. “I shouldn’t hurt anyone, not even ugly Wanda.”
“Help us, Jeremy. Free us. Shoot them. Shoot them, now. We’re gonna die. They’re gonna kill us.”
Jeremy looked at Parlow but Parlow looked back without emotion, as if studying Jeremy.
“I don’t know.” He looked at Parlow as if he were his father. “Parlow, I don’t know what to do.”
Trall had closed the wind vents on Timothy’s captivity box. Give me the pistol, Jeremy. Jeremy obediently gave Parlow the weapon. You did the right thing, Jeremy. It’s not right to hurt anyone. I am so proud of you. It is time for us to leave. We will be back again next year and we would like to see you again. Jeremy, think of some reward you would like. I like to give my friends rewards for helping me. I am so glad to meet you and have a good friend in you, Jeremy. You have been very brave.
Parlow hugged Jeremy. Jeremy began to weep and hid his eyes behind his forearm. “Did I do the right thing, Parlow?”
Yes you did the right thing. Jeremy hugged Parlow, towering over him but embracing him as a child would do to a parent for reassurance. Jeremy wept without words.
Did I do the right thing? I don’t want to hurt anybody. I want to do what is right. I am confused.
Parlow broke off the embrace and walked over to hand Jeremy a napkin from the serving table. Jeremy, this is all new to you and it seems confusing. Let me give you a second chance. Jeremy, we made a deal; I would heal your body and you would help me find a male and female specimen. I want you to think about this really carefully, Jeremy. I can have the Medi-Explorer make you like you were before, unable to talk and communicate with your family, and I will send Timothy, Wanda, and you home. It would be as if we never came here.
Jeremy, we honor deals made but I am giving you this one chance to change your mind. If you go back now you will grow to be a normal, healthy, smart young man. If I change you back, they will still call you Jeremy the Germ. I hate that name because you are so much more. Look at them, Jeremy, and then tell me your decision.
Jeremy turned to stare at the two captives. Still enraged, Wanda continued to beat on her captivity box. Timothy just stood there looking at Parlow and Jeremy forlorn. He realized something important was transpiring. It was something important and something he could not hear. Worse, he was not a part of the decision. Timothy repeatedly mouthed the word, “Please.”
Jeremy turned to look at Parlow. “Back to before?”
Yes, Jeremy, you would be back as before you were changed. Jeremy, if it helps you in any way, consider your parents. Nitkah and I love our children as your parents love you. Would they be happier with you as before or now that you are normal?
I know that you are concerned about Timothy and Wanda. Jeremy, our lives are a journey to explore. We never know where we are going or what we will do in our lives, from time to time. I promise you, they are about to embark upon an extraordinary journey. It could be that they will return some day when you are all old and thank you for sending them on the adventure of a lifetime. Your life, too, will only get better, from now on.
Parlow reached out his hand to Jeremy. Do you want to stay the same as you are now or go back to what you were?
“I don’t wanna go back.”
You have made a wise decision, Jeremy. Your parents will be proud of you when you go home. Please go over to Nitkah and get me another bottle of water.
Parlow watched Jeremy walk away and then walked over to face Timothy. He reached into his uniform pocket and produced six bullets. Telepathically Parlow said to Timothy, You played your part well, Timothy. I needed to know if I could trust our friend Jeremy. It looks like I can trust him.
Timothy’s eyebrows raised in surprise to the deep voice inside his head. Then he composed himself and yelled from inside the box to Parlow. “Please, I promise I won’t yell any more.” Parlow looked over to Trall, who opened the wind vents to Timothy’s captivity box.
“What did you just say to Jeremy?”
I made a deal with him to correct his brain nerves in exchange for locating a male and female specimen. He experienced regret when he saw you both in captivity boxes. I offered to let you both go but I would have to damage his brain again. Did he decide as you would have, had you been in his position?
Timothy hesitated as he tried to conjure up a persuasive reply but he could not think of anything. “Suppose so.” He looked downward, dejected.
You and your lady friend will ride in the hold until we reach capacity and then we will depart for the planet Wisp. You will be disembarked at the Digor auction.
“What will become of us at Digor auction?”
I do not know but I am sure you will be well treated. They will pay a lot for you; you will be prized.
“Prized?” Timothy shook his head in disgust. “Bring Jeremy back. I want to forgive him.”
Forgive? asked Parlow, unsure of Timothy’s meaning. That is an unnecessary emotion. He glanced at Trall, still attentively watching his father.
Jeremy returned with the bottle of water.
“Jeremy, please come here,” asked Timothy. His eyes spilled with tears. “Please forgive me for being mean to you when we were children. I was a jerk then. I’m a man now and wiser.” Timothy quickly added, “We’re both men now. Jeremy, please tell my folks what happened. Please don’t make them worry about me. Same for Wanda.”
Parlow telepathically spoke to them both in a very serious tone. Jeremy, you will tell no one about this, ever. It only means real trouble for you. You have helped me and I have healed your brain. When we come back next year I will try to give you what you want when you help me again. Parlow nodded toward the lingering Trall. The two captivity boxes rose up off the ground and hovered into the craft. Jeremy and Parlow watched without a word or thought exchanged. Parlow looked back at Jeremy. How would you like a bar of solid gold?
Jeremy thought for a moment and then asked, “Well, I don’t know. How about, can I have a ride in your space ship? Can we ride around the world?” His face beamed with joy at the thought. “How about the moon?”
Yes, Jeremy. That is a wonderful idea. We live in this craft most of the year so it did not occur to me. Think about it and you can change your mind if you want to. Remember Jeremy, it is really important for you to tell no one, ever, about what we did tonight. Parlow extended his little hand to shake. It is time to go home and go to sleep. Can you find your way or do you want the explorer to lead you?
“I know the way,” he shook Parlow’s cold hand.
Remember Jeremy, it is very, very important to keep this a secret. Do I have your promise?
Jeremy felt the same as he felt when he realized Christmas was over. “Yes sir.” Jeremy left and Parlow turned to help his family strike camp.
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