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For Your Toys Only (Episode 04)

Episode Four
The Grunch
Directed by Jonathan Demme

Collier had left his Hudson Super Six in a garage at The Agency. He hadn't needed a car in New York City, and if he did there was a car pool for the purpose. His post war classic would be far too noticeable for any of the jobs he might do anyway. It was a pleasure to be able to get the car out of storage and drive it again. He drove quickly, with his false credentials marking him out as a member of the FBI rather than the agency, which wasn't supposed to exist.

It was called a hospital, but really it was just a store house with an extremely secure basement. From the road it looked like a single level stone building, and it kept up the pretense of what it was supposed to be. There was a wooden sign with the words "Freedom's Memory Mental Hospital" carved and painted in contrasting colors. He walked to the front door and noticed the two armed guards right away. He had left his pocket knife in the car per the instructions he'd been given when he made the appointment. They'd given him a set of FBI credentials on it, which meant he didn't have to pretend to be someone else. Or at least he didn't need to pretend to have a different name.

He skipped the interview with the head doctor, who he'd already not liked the sound of on the phone, and went right down to the sub basement with his two armed guards. There was no conversation between them, beyond the most cursory needs. When he got out of the elevator there were another two large armed guards watching him enter. One of them was large and had short red hair, the other was bald and could have replace a mountain if one went missing.

"I'm Jack Collier." He told them. "I'm here to see Dr. Grunch. Do you have recording equipment here?"

"Yes sir." The one with red hair said.

"Please turn it off." He told them pulling out the sheets of paper that K had said to use in an emergency.

"Sir?" The red haired one said.

"And sign these." Collier said handing over the documents. "These are national secrets documents. You sign those and you agree that I was never here. You also agree that if one word of our conversation ever gets out, including the fact that we had one, I can send guys to kill you and anyone you've ever spoken to."

"What if we don't sign?" The mountain asked.

"Then I leave and just have you two killed on your way out of here." It wasn't exactly true, but he would feel better with those forms signed.

"Yes sir." The mountain said and signed. "Should we turn off the cameras?"

"Do they record?"

"They don't have to sir."

"Leave them on, if something happens I would rather you knew about it."

"I'll show you sir." The red head said unlocking the large door with a complicated key. "There are some things to understand here sir."

He pulled the door open and there was another door behind it. This was a sliding door of bars clearly made to make sure that if anyone did get out of their cells that they could open the shoot without letting the lunatic in. The mountain turned a switch and the door made a buzzing sound followed by a loud clack before it started to roll to his left.

"Stay to the right sir, don't touch the glass, don't hand him anything and I mean anything." Red told him.

"I've got you." Collier told him and started to walk through the door. He heard the door roll and turned to see the gate sliding back into place. "Not coming unless you have to huh?"

"Not unless I have to." Red said. "But I'll keep this door open so we can help you if you need it sir."

He walked down the hall, which wasn't exactly what he'd envisioned. He had thought of an old dank hole, made from the guts of some old Victorian cellar. What he got was a sparkling white hall, lined on his left side by extremely modern looking cells made of concrete, steel, padded material and of course a two separate layers of Plexiglas with breathing holes cut at differing intervals so there was no way an inmate could get to the person talking to them. There was a desk at the end of the hall, put in place for him. It was exactly like the sort of desk they had him use in high school. Seat, desk and chair back all made in a material that was brown but had black streaks in it in a pathetic attempt to look like real wood instead of some kind of composite material. The desk was attached by a pair of bars that stuck out on the right side, giving a right hander a place to put their arm when they write and a left hander another hint that they were even less wanted in the school than a homosexual.

In the last cell stood a man with bright green hair, like someone who had badly botched a bleaching job or something. It was supposed to be some rare genetic condition, but to Collier it looked like the man had stuck his head in a bowl of green Kool-Aid. He stood straight and still in the center of the cell, as if he were waiting. It was possible that he heard Collier approaching, or he might have been such a nut that he was only comfortable if he was as far as possible from the walls.

"Are you the Agent whose coming was foretold to me?" Grunch asked.

"I am." Collier said.

"Who and what are you?" Grunch said, taking a single step forward and looking up.

"Jack Collier." He said. "Spirit of Christmas Past."

"You have an official badge?" Grunch asked.

"Why would someone pretend to be a Spirit of Christmas Past if they weren't?"

"All the same I would like to know that this isn't another mind game."

"Fine." Collier said and took out his fake credentials.

"Closer please." Collier extended his arm. "Closer… clooooser."

Collier pressed the wallet with the badge and identification against the Plexiglas. He knew he shouldn't do it, but Grunch was seven feet from the glass. He was always been surprised by the temperature of Plexiglas, the way he would be expecting cold glass he would find warm plastic instead. Grunch's eyes flicked once and then looked back into Collier's eyes as if looking for something.

"That badge says you're a member of the Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers. You aren't really FBI." Grunch said, with a perverse little grin on his face.

"You're the first person to notice it." Collier said.

"Why would you do that?" He asked.

"Why would you pretend to be Santa Claus and kill twenty-six people?"

"To stop Christmas from coming." Grunch said quickly. "Why did you replace your badge?"

"Why did you want to stop Christmas from coming?"

"You're not very good at this game." Grunch told him. "I told you something, now you tell me."

"You know why I replaced it."

"You're bored and you want to see if anyone notices something you would see in an instant." Grunch said. "So where are you actually from then?"

"The Agency sent me." Collier told him.

"I haven't been outside in four years." Grunch complained. "Not since they stuck me down here, what could they possibly want now?"

"You'd be surprised." Collier said putting the wallet away.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
The desk was attached by a pair of bars that stuck out on the right side, giving a right hander a place to put their arm when they write and a left hander another hint that they were even less wanted in the school than a homosexual.


Though by the time I got to grad school I was so used to right handed desks I preferred them to left handed ones (something to do with the angle at which I write and liking the elbow room). This only was a problem when right handed people got mad about having to use one of the few left handed desks in one of the classrooms.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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