Chapter 12: Surprises
Christmas was just around the corner and everyone in the base were preparing to have their vacation. Operation Salvation would be put on hold because everyone deserved a break. One morning Frank was nowhere to be found and Jennifer went to track him down.
On a residential area nearby he saw Frank standing outside a beautiful house. She parked the car near him and got out. “Frank, this is the third time I caught you here. What is it with that house anyway? Do you know who lives there?” she asked. Frank turned around and smiled at her, “No one lives here at the moment” he said. “So you plan on buying that house, it’s beautiful if you ask me” she told him. “No someone already bought it, you know what there is a huge pool at the back” Frank said.
Another car parked nearby and a man stepped out. “Frank! Is that you?” yelled the man. Frank saw the man and quickly walked towards the car. “Jen let’s get out of here” he said. “Why? Do you know that man?” she asked. “Jen open the door now, let’s go” Frank said but Jennifer waited for the man to come nearer.
“Frank! I knew it was you, oh I heard about you and…ah…is it okay?” the man said as he looked at Frank and Jennifer. “Not now Gerald, let’s talk about it next time okay?” Frank said as he signaled him about Jennifer. “Oh I get it, okay so call me then. Sorry about that, anyway nice seeing you again Frank” Gerald said and he went back to his car.
As soon as they got going Jennifer was curious about the man. “Frank is he your friend?” she asked. “Yes, an old friend” he answered. “So what is it that you could not talk about in front of me?” she asked and Frank looked at her. “Nothing important I swear” he said but Jennifer knew something was fishy but she did not pursue the case further. “So Frank what is this surprise you have for us?” she asked and Frank laughed. “Oh you will see later when we get to the football arena” he told her. “Tell me now” she insisted. “Nope, I can’t” he said. “I am not going to talk to you forever if you won’t tell me now” she said. “I really can’t because it’s a surprise” he replied. “Just a hint then” she said. “Sorry, I can’t tell you” Frank answered and she did like she said, she never spoke to him until they arrived at the football arena.
The football arena was highly secured with uniformed men stationed all over the place. Jennifer didn’t know about it and after a few minutes another vehicle arrived. Erick who was now again walking after the incident along with John and Yehleen stepped out of the car. “So why are we being sent here?” Erick asked and Jennifer shrugged her shoulders. “John do you know about this?” Yehleen asked and he shook his head. “There is nothing on the computer, no planned events or activities” he said.
“Frank what is going on? Are we going to watch a football game?” Jennifer asked and Frank just smiled. “Just go inside, this man will escort you to your seats” he said as an agent walked near them. “And where will you be seating?” she asked. “Just go with this man, I will be with you shortly I just have a few things to do” Frank said as he walked away from them.
The four went inside and they were surprised to see a lot of people already seated. “What the hell is this? What are those huge screens for?” John asked. “Please take your seats, the show will start soon” a young lady told them and they still didn’t know what they were there for. “Excuse me young lady, what show are you talking about?” Jennifer asked and the girl smiled. “Sorry we can’t tell you” the girl said as she went towards the other people who were coming in.
“What are we doing here and who are all these people?” Erick asked as they looked around. “I don’t know but there are so many kids, and mothers but I don’t see any much men around” Yehleen said. A few seconds later another young girl hands them some popcorn, another girl handed them drinks and a little boy gave them hot dog sandwiches. “How much are these things?” John asked as he reached inside his pocket. The three children smiled and one said “Everything is free” and they all ran to get some more food to give to everyone.
“I really don’t know what this is all about but if there is free hotdogs and popcorn I definitely like it” Erick said and they all laughed.
Five minutes later they saw Frank enter the field, loud screams and applauses were heard all around. The stadium erupted in so much noise as he entered and even the four could not help themselves clap and cheer even they do not know what was really happening.
Frank stood on the center of field gesturing for everyone to keep quiet. As everyone calmed down he brought out the microphone and started to speak.
“Good morning everybody!!! I know you know who I am, my name if Frank. You are all gathered here today for a special occasion, no it’s not my birthday and no it’s not a Christmas party. Today is Frank Appreciation day!!!” he said and everybody started clapping.
“Wait, you might think my ego is getting bigger, sorry but there is something I have to tell everyone. First if you all look around you will notice there are so many kids, wives, and other people you do not know. But let me tell you everyone here is related in a special way. You are all my family; funny as it may sound but ask yourself who brought you here today?”
“You husband? You dad? You boyfriend? You son? Your relative? Did they tell you the reason why you are here? No of course I told them not to. Where are they? Well you will be seeing them later. For now I know some you already know why those men have exactly the same outfit like me at your homes” Frank said and there were chatters all around the arena.
“Same jacket, same cap, some of them might have told you the secret but some didn’t. For those who know good for you. For those who doesn’t know the secret yet let me tell you. I cannot be all over the city that is why you father, your hubby, you son or your relative is helping me out. They pose as me, that is why crime rate in our city and in the whole nation went down. Are they superheroes like me? Yes they are. You do not need super powers to become a hero, once you do a good deed for someone you are already a hero. Everyone can be a hero but for today I would like to introduce to you the real heroes of Operation Salvation! Come on in boys!!!” Frank shouted and hundreds of men wearing the same clothes as Frank came running towards the field.
The crowd went crazy as they all lined up in ten columns. Everyone was wearing a cap except for Frank but he one clone handed him a cap and he wore it. “Now do you want to see something cool?” Frank asked and everyone shouted yes. “Let’s see if you can find me” he said as he walked towards the center of the lined men, everyone of the field moved closer to each other and they shuffled places.
The men on the field again lined up and from the stands they could not find the real Frank anymore. All the men were standing in attention, they all looked the same. “Now do you know where I am?” they heard Frank say and everyone was busy trying to look for him.
“Where is he?” Jennifer asked as they laughed and enjoyed. “How the hell did he gather them all?” Erick asked as he tried to look for Frank. “I don’t know, he is really sneaky” John commented and they laughed.
“Give up already?” the heard from say. “Okay sit back and enjoy the show!” he said and suddenly music started playing and everyone erupted in cheer and laughter as the men on the field starting dancing. All of them were moving in the same manner as if they were robots. The men swayed, shaked their bodies and danced to everyones delight. The crowd went wild some more as the music changed to an RnB beat, the men on the center field were simply amazing.
When the music ended, another one started, this time a Hip-hop tune played and the men strutted their hip-hop moves in unison. “Oh my God! They are amazing!!!” Yehleen shouted as everyone on the stands were standing and dancing with them. When the song ended the men on the field stopped moving, the loud cheers and claps were deafening and Frank’s voice was heard again.
“Did you like that?” he asked and the crowd answered yes. “Well it’s not over yet. Focus your attention on the giant screen please. Let’s welcome all the Franks from the whole world!!!” he shouted as the giant screen showed another large field filled with Frank clones, noticeably there was a Japanese flag. The screen split in two, then four, six, eight and then ten. All same clones but with different flags of countries who had employed Operation Salvation.
“Franks of the world are you all ready?” Frank asked and in unison all the men on the screen stood at attention. “Okay let’s do this!” he shouted and music started to play and all the Franks of the world started dancing in unison.
At that moment all the Frank clones of the world were moving at the same time and to the same beat. Their execution was perfect, all their movements were spotless. They grooved and moved their bodies all at the same time drawing a louder roar of cheers from the crowd. At that moment everybody was simply amazed. Some were laughing out loud and lots were in tears as they were so moved by this spectacle.
After ten minutes the dancing ended but the cheers and noise never ceased. The international clones waved goodbye altogether and the giant screen blacked out. Frank and the others were huffing and puffing as they all shared a laugh. “Okay let’s see if you can find the Frank of your lives, why don’t you all come on down here and be with your Frank!...oh in orderly manner please…we don’t want any accidents to happen so don’t rush we are not going anywhere” Frank said and lots of people from the bleachers started moving down towards the field.
The first one to get on the field was Jennifer and she ran towards the men. All Franks stood at attention as Jennifer walked slowly looking for him. “Frank if you don’t show yourself right now I will never talk to you again!” she shouted and suddenly several men pointed at the real Frank. They all started to laugh as Jennifer ran towards him. “Sorry Frank we just had to do it” one said. Jennifer hugged Frank as more people came rushing in. One Frank was carrying his daughter, and another was kissing his wife. Erick, Yehleen and John followed soon as the field was starting to get crowded.
“I don’t know how you did but that was amazing” Erick said as he shook Frank’s hand. One Frank carrying his twins approached Frank, “Hey, thank you for this” he said. Frank smiled and more Franks came to him saying the same. Jennifer held Frank’s hand as he felt embarrassed. “I should be thanking you all actually, but the party has just started. There will be more food, games and prizes so I do hope you all enjoy” Frank said.
After thirty minutes the field was transformed into a dining area. Lots of tables were all around. Food was catered to each table and everyone was enjoying.
“Hey Frank don’t tell me Darwin is paying for all of this” John commented. Frank laughed and shook his head. “No, I have another friend who paid for all of this” he said. “Who? The president?” Yehleen asked. “Nope, the first person who I helped, accidentally that is” he said and they laughed. “The old lady?” Jennifer asked and Frank nodded. “She won the lottery, she has no children and she isn’t even married, so I tried to ask her and she willingly said yes” Frank said.
“So why isn’t she here?” Erick asked. “Well she went on a Caribbean vacation; she said she wanted to see the whole world before she dies. Funny old lady she even showed me her last will and testament…I saw my name there” Frank said and they all looked at him. “How much did she win?” John asked. “I don’t know she never told me” he said. “How much will you be getting?” Yehleen asked and Frank laughed. “I forgot to look at the first number because all I saw were lots of zeroes after it” he said and they all laughed.
“So you can buy us expensive Christmas gifts right?” John said as he winked at Frank. “John she isn’t dead yet and I don’t wish her to be. I want her to be happy, being alone for your whole life…I want her to enjoy herself” Frank said and John pouted. “I was just kidding, it’s okay if you don’t have gifts for us” John murmured and Frank laughed.
“Speaking of gifts I do have gifts for all of you” Frank said and everyone was excited. “Did she give you the money to buy them?” Yehleen asked and Frank shook his head. “I used my own money” Frank replied and again John pouted. “Oh your money, so I will be expecting a cheap gift” he said and Yehleen covered his mouth. “Actually they are all expensive” Frank teased and again everyone had his attention. “Let’s not talk about that, I promise to give them to you all tomorrow as we leave for vacation” Frank said.
“Tell me Frank how did you organize something like this?” Jennifer asked and Frank smiled. “Well I can’t tell you, it’s a big secret” he said. “Come on, I mean when did you find time to practice with them, even the ones from the other countries, how did you manage that?” Yehleen asked and Frank laughed. “You wouldn’t believe me anyway if I told you” he said. “Try us” John dared and Frank looked at them seriously. “I flew to them” he said and everyone started laughing.
Later that evening they had a party at the warehouse. All employees had fun drinking and socializing. Two hours later Jennifer was so drunk that they had to bring her to her room. They partied all night for tomorrow they won’t be seeing each other for everyone goes on vacation.
Around the wee hours of the morning Jennifer woke up, her eyes were still heavy but she was thirsty. She walked slowly towards her mini refrigerator but she noticed someone on her terrace. She walked towards the terrace and she saw Frank standing there. “Frank? What are you doing here?” she asked. “Me? You are asleep Jen what are you saying?” he told her. “I am asleep? I am not, I am awake” she said. “No Jen you are dreaming” he said. Jennifer’s head was still hurting due to the alcohol, she knew she was awake but somehow she believed that she was dreaming too.
“If I am asleep then why am I here talking to you?” she asked. “You can talk in your dreams, tell me then why am I here?” he asked. “You rappelled” she said. “There is no rope” Frank replied. “You came through the door” she told him. “You door is locked” he said. Jennifer was starting to get confused so she held his hand and she smiled. “See I can feel you, I am awake” she said. “You are dreaming Jen” Frank whispered and she looked at him. “I am awake” she reiterated.
Frank hugged her tightly and Jennifer smiled, “Look down and tell me if you are awake” Frank told her so she looked down and she saw they were floating on air one feet from the floor. Jennifer was surprised and she held on to him, “Is this real? How are you doing this?” she asked. “I am not doing anything…you are dreaming…you can control this dream” he told her. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Tell me what you want and it will happen” Frank said and Jennifer looked him in the eyes and said “I want you to fly”
In an instant they started rising and the more Jennifer hugged him. They were floating in mid air above the warehouse. Jennifer could not believe it and she was laughing. “We are flying!” she exclaimed. “No, we are only floating, this is flying” Frank said they again went higher and suddenly they soared through the clouds just like in the movies.
“Lower, go lower, I want to see the buildings up close” she said so Frank obliged and they flew just above the tall buildings around the city. After twenty minutes of flying they returned to where they began remaining afloat above the warehouse. Jennifer was so happy as she looked at Frank, she didn’t care if this was just a dream. They float going upwards just gazing at each other’s eyes, seconds later the clouds were within her reach.
“Frank…you said I can do anything in this dream right?” she said and Frank smiled and nodded. Jennifer drew her face closer to his, their lips touched, she closed her eyes and they kissed. Floating along the clouds they hugged, their lips intertwined with each other as they slowly went higher and higher.
They were so high and it was getting hard to breathe, Jennifer was sleeping drowsy already so she leaned her head on her shoulders. “I love you Frank” she whispered as she fell asleep. Just for several seconds more he hugged her tightly and slowly they descended back to her room terrace. Frank tucked her in her head and kissed her once again on the lips. “I love you too Jen” he softly said.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Chapter 12: Surprises