Public

“Reynolds used to like to say that we were the world’s worst kept secret and he was right. If you asked the average person on the street knows that there are people like us running around and doing jobs but most of them think we are violent lunatics that do it for kicks. They believe this because that is the type of guy that the security firms like to parade around town whenever they catch one. They bring these foolish agents on to news broadcasts and have them act up for the camera, usually by bribing them, so that the city will renew their contracts.

The fear that the public has of us can be useful if you need it. Since the public believes we are capable of anything you can exaggerate and they will believe you. Annoying guy in the line, show him his birth certificate. Guy thinking his fancy car means you should pay for any damages, take a picture and call up a friend about a personal contract. It’s funny to watch the high and mighty be afraid of those of us with blood on our hands.”

John leaned back in his chair as he finished putting together the latest chapter. He had let it lax after he adopted Little One but she had started up school and he felt the creep of boredom start to set in after a few weeks. Prometheus had been visiting with him almost every day since he had asked to use the weapon but they were starting to run out of things to talk about. Thus, John went back to writing. He was debating whether he should go into detail about things in his life when Prometheus came through the door. “John, have you ever baked anything?” He asked with urgency in his voice.

“Can’t say that I ever have. I own a few bakeries around town and just use them when I need something made.” John said as he started pulling up the sites for the bakeries he owned.

“I want to learn to bake. I’ve been thinking about what to do with my retirement and I realized that there are so many things I’ve never done. Baking is first on my list of things to learn to do.

“I guess that could be fun. I was going to get some cookies for Little One but I guess we could bake them ourselves.” A thought changed his search to a search for recipes and displayed the results on the big screen in the living room. “I like mint cookies so we’ll try to make those. Let’s see” he studied the ingredients list “it looks like we have everything but the mints and those should get here in a few minutes.”

“This is going to be fun” Prometheus said as he rubbed his hands in anticipation. “Oh, that reminds. When does, Little Jane get back?” Prometheus had helped John fill out the paperwork to get Little One into school and had suggested that her official first name be Jane for paperwork. He had since mashed Little One and Jane Doe into one and had started calling her Little Jane. It had been surprising how much he had seemed to want to help. John suspected that he had wanted kids and the whole CEO business had kept him from that. Little One had started considering him one of her “Uncles” ever since.

“Same time as every other time you asked. She hops off the bus in an hour or so. We should be getting a call in about half that.”

The cookies were just coming out of the oven when the phone rang. John through it on to the speaker as he pulled the trays out. Prometheus and him and gone a little overboard and made several trays of cookies and John was the one who had to pull them out so his hands were full. “Hello Mr. Doe. This is the principal at West Valley. It seems your child had an altercation with another student. Could you come in for a sit down so we can discuss this.” Prometheus offered to let me use his car and grabbed a plate of cookies for the ride.

We pulled up to the oddly named West Valley School, it wasn’t on the west side of town and it wasn’t in a valley, and Prometheus opted to stay in the car. He was retired but it caused a bit of a stir if he went places suddenly. Little One was waiting outside the principal’s office with a passive look on her face. I could hear yelling coming from inside the office. “I broke a kid’s arm.” She said automatically “He tried to take a swing at me and I broke it just like you taught me. His dad is furious.” She swallowed “He said that I would pay for what I did.”

John kneeled down to eye level with her and said softly “Don’t worry about it. I’ll deal with this. Uncle Prometheus is out in the car with a plate of cookies. Do me a favor and make sure he doesn’t eat them all alone.” She grinned and took off down the hall.

John put on his best smile and walked into the office. “Mr. Doe, it’s good to see you again” the principal greeted him “This man was just saying how much he wanted to meet you.”

Before John could respond the other man the principal was referring to got up in his face. He was yelling something that John didn’t really care about. But he was so loud and obnoxious so John just clamped his mouth shut. “I’m going to say this once. You told my daughter that she would pay. That is a threat. If I ever here that you threatened my daughter in any way I will kill you.” John looked at the principal “Now if you will excuse me Jane is eating cookies with her Uncle Prometheus and I need to make sure she doesn’t make herself sick.” The shock on the principals face only grew at the name drop.

Prometheus laughed the whole way back after I told him about what I had done. He laughed even harder when I told him how the man was going to go home and find the phrase “I’m watching” on every screen in his house and when he went to check his bank account the account name would have been changed to reflect what he was.

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