“Tell us a story, Dad!” James pleaded. One by one, the children took a seat in front of the fireplace, all staring up at me in admiration.
“What about? One from a storybook, or one from the ravages of time, boys?” I asked. The answer was unanimous, and uniform every time I asked that question, never once had it changed. “Tell us the one about France!” I drifted off into memory. All of it felt like I was still there, and perhaps, I still am…
“I, Erik Nathaniel Samuels, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
I, Eric Nathaniel Samuels, having been appointed a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.
These oaths I swore before my commanding officer- Vice Admiral Morrison- before being shipped off to this city. I am Erik; an undercover officer of the US army. We’ve reason to believe that the French are plotting against us. For said reason, myself and my sister at arms were sent to infiltrate their base. This is our tale. It was one week after we arrived in France. Our contacts had given us vehicles, weapons, and an address of a place to stay.
“Merci, Monsieur Leone. Have you a place for a young lady to do her makeup? This rouge is tiresome. I wish to change into something more appropriate for the evening as well.” Janie explained, her gloved hand gesturing down at her sundress. Janie was not only Erik’s partner on this mission, but also his life partner.
“But of course,” Alan Leone, a wealthy Frenchmen with unknown ties to America exclaimed. “Just up the hall to your left, and up the stairs. Past that you will find a powder room with some of my daughter’s gowns. Help yourself to them; she traded in her regality to join the workforce years ago. They are cleaned weekly, as to keep the dust from spoiling the fabric, and to keep moths from eating them up.” Watching the woman walk off, Alan said to Erik, “Quite the catch, Mon ami. Quite the catch indeed. Where did you say you met her again?”
“The Caribbean. My commander placed me there to find and destroy a drug lord’s weapon repository, containing several high caliber shotguns, capable of blasting a man’s face clear off, as well as enough automatic weaponry to arm the entire US National Guard. She was sent on the same mission, and what can I say, it was love at first explosion.” As soon as those words left my mouth, I found myself shoving Leone out of the way, a red dot sitting comfortably on his temple. “Stay down.” I muttered, pulling my handgun, an m1911 from a holster inside my jacket. Keeping out of sight, I made my way over to the window from whence the red dot came. Staring outside, I saw a small detachment of the French Infantry. “Janie!” He yelled, paying no mind to the fact that there were enemy eyes and ears all around him. “The Viper is upon us! Run!” Whether she made it out or not, I wasn’t awake to find out, because out of nowhere, I felt a shattering blow to the back of my head, and the shadows enveloped me.
Awaking in a damp cell, a pompous old man and a couple of armed guards standing over me, I came to find that my precious Janie was not there with me. She must have escaped! My sacrifice was not in vain! I thought, before a sharp pain in my side struck me. “Get up, espion. Have you come to pilfer our country of its secrets? I’m afraid I cannot allow that to happen. Tonight, you will all be executed for the murders your precious comrade had committed. Guards, bring them in. The man and the lass.” Two more guards, massive in size, led Janie and Leone in and threw them at Erik. “See, you’ve messed with the wrong country this time, American. And now you will die.” Laughing, the man spun about- he and all four of the guards then left. After the five were out of earshot completely, Alan chirped, “What a hoot! That guard may have been big and tough, but He’s not all that bright. I stole his gun, his keys and his knife.”
Janie then chuckled, replying, “I did too, with the exception of the keys. Did you manage to take anything, darling?”
“’Fraid not, sweetheart. But I’ve my knife- The one I keep in my boot?
I don’t need a gun to get out of this dump. Leone, unless we kill this man, you and your family will be in danger. I trust you are with us?” Asked I in a coy manner.
“Whenever have I not been? His name is Maurice Corbin, a French diplomat with ties all the way to the top of our government.” Stated Leone, his beaded brow furrowed as he glanced about for any windows that may lead to escape. Spying naught, he muttered, “We’re in the hornet’s nest, might as well dirty up our hands a bit. Knowing Corbin, he’ll be in a room nearby to this one.” Unlocking the cell door, Leone led us out into the corridor, where- as he predicted- we saw Corbin and his guards. Staying away from their plane of vision, we made our way out of the prison; running as far as we could, Janie and Leone fired at the generator that lay just outside of the prison, until it exploded, taking the prison up in flames.
We sat and watched those flames, until they died out, as Leone’s duties died out, as me and Janie’s mission died out, nearing its end. Looking up to the smoke, I found myself looking at the kids who had all three fell asleep in front of the fire. As my phone rang, I waltzed over to answer it, and a familiar voice from my past rang out at me. “Commander Samuels, America needs you…”