Tales from the Flipside (6)
Published Dec 20, 2010

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Tales from the Flipside (6: Ground Zero)

Tales from the Flipside (6: Ground Zero) The Simanski House Terrence “Terry” Whistler and his seventeen-year-old daughter, Windy, have spent the majority of the last week talking Jesse Simanski out of doing something stupid. But this is becoming more difficult by the day, as Jesse’s twin brother remains incarcerated in France. [Terry:] “Your problem isn’t getting to France, Jes. I can get you to France, I told you that already. Your problem is what you’re going to do once you get there. If they’re not letting Jon go for his wife and that super cop friend of hers, they’re sure as hell not going to turn him loose for you.” [Jesse:] “I’ll figure it out when I get there, Terry!”
[Terry:] “See, that there hysteria is exactly what concerns me. You need to chill out. Right now you’re about as hyped up as your brother on the senior field trip to the planetarium. I’m not going to help you get over there just so you can end up with your own bunk on Jon’s cellblock.”
The doorbell interrupts them before the debate turns into yet another full-blown argument. Jesse’s mood isn’t improved to discover his brother’s former psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn Elfman, is the visitor. He lets her in, but makes his feelings on the matter obvious.
[Jesse:] “I guess I stuttered when I said ‘we’re done,’ huh, Doc?”
Dr. Elfman ignores the less-than-civil greeting.
[Evelyn:] “Hello, Jesse. The Pennylane Institution is aware that your brother has been arrested in France. I’m here to offer you our help in obtaining his release.”
[Jesse:] “And you can do that how?”
[Evelyn:] “By verifying who he is, and that he was a patient of ours, before his escape eight days ago. PIPS has already been assured of Jonothan’s release from the French authorities, provided we send someone to take custody of him and escort him back to the states.”
[Jesse:] “Take custody of him? What’s that about? I signed him out of PIPS a week ago!”
[Evelyn:] “Yes, Jesse. I know that. But if this will get your brother home, the French authorities don’t need to know that. If you will accept our help, we can be on a plane to France in three hours.”
[Jesse:] “We? We who? Don’t you think I’d be in France already if I could pay for the damn plane ticket?”
[Evelyn:] “PIPS has already paid for your plane ticket, Jesse. You are Jonothan’s power of attorney and I anticipate things will go smoother if you accompany me. Is there someone who can look after your nephew while you’re gone?”
[Terry:] “Go ahead and go, Jes.”
[Windy:] “We’ll watch Jules. No problem.”
Jesse needs no further assurance. He is ready to leave in less time than it takes a taxi to arrive to take them to the airport. He is also in a far better mood. Jubilant, in fact.
[Evelyn:] “What is so amusing to you, Jesse?”
[Jesse:] “Nothing. It’s just… you have hair.”
[Evelyn:] “Yes, Jesse. I have hair.”
The Leone Police Department and Detention Center, France Seven days ago, Jonothan Simanski was arrested for trespassing in the home of his in-laws, but those charges were dismissed within 24 hours of his arrest. He is now being held because they think he is someone he isn’t, thanks to the passport he was carrying. Jono acquired the passport, along with a briefcase with a laptop computer in it, at the airport in America before boarding a plane to France. That same briefcase was where he’d found the baggage claim ticket that got him a suitcase full of predominantly pink and green clothes. As it turned out, the passport was a fake—and a known alias of a wanted but yet-to-be-identified criminal. Ironically, a computer hacker going by the handle “Riddlemethis.” Jono is, in fact, a hacker. He just isn’t this hacker. By now, Jono is pacing nearly nonstop. He bites what’s left of his nails. He is sweating. He is shaking. He is hyperventilating. The French police (and interested international authorities) are taking all these things as signs of guilt. But regardless of Jono’s own extralegal status, none of what they see has anything to do with that. —don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it—
There is, of course, a sink in here. But Jono is afraid if he starts ritual counting at that sink, he won’t stop until somebody straitjackets him. It is too soon since the breakdown that put him in PIPS. So he has to try, without the sink, to think about something else.
As a child, Jono was happy. He had his parents. He had his twin brother. The Simanskis were a tight-knit, family-oriented little family. They were not wealthy, but they had each other. They needed little else. In his early teens, Jono knew what he wanted to be. He would be a world champion chess player, and he would teach. Any academic subject, he was good at them all. He would marry, likely a teacher. He would have children. It was only a matter of time. Then came middle teens, and everything changed. His parents…
—don’t think don’t think don’t think don’t think don’t—
…were dead and he and Jesse were suddenly on their own. They had to work to keep their house, they had to work to stay together or face separation by social services.
Jono did work for awhile. He washed dishes at a diner, as Jesse tended grounds at the cemetery where their parents were buried. But leaving the house was becoming more and more difficult for Jono, and as a means to stop himself from thinking about…
—do not do not do not do not do not—
…other things, the fixation with the sink started. Jono’s boss did not understand that. He only understood that dishes weren’t getting washed as efficiently as required.
Jono was soon fired. A few weeks later, he and Jesse met Terrence Whistler, repoman, for the usual reasons destitute people meet repomen. But they begged, and they won him over. In exchange for the twins’ help in looking after Terry’s then 8-year-old daughter, Terry began helping them out in numerous ways. He offered Jesse a better paying job working for his collections company, off the books. He made the suggestion that Jono’s genius computer skills could easily generate more income than dishwashing, and he wouldn’t have to leave the house to do it (he’d just have to be careful not to get caught at it). Money became less of an issue. Jono continued to attend school regularly. It was still very important to him, regardless of the intensifying fear of walking between the house, the bus, the school. Working for Terry full time, Jesse skipped school almost as often as he attended their final year, but managed to avoid failing with Jono doing the majority of his homework. They both graduated. Jono at the head of the class, Jesse somewhere in the mediocre middle. Afterward, their lives continued as they had for the previous two years, minus having to attend high school. Then Danielle Marquis, the only girl Jono had ever been intimate with, showed up on the doorstep. Pregnant. And everything changed again. Jono and Dani married. They had a son. They had three good years of marriage, followed by three bad years of marriage. The epitome of better and worse… and worse… and worse… …because Jono isn’t normal. Because he is broken. Because every time something goes even slightly wrong (and sometimes when nothing goes wrong at all) he can’t stop thinking about…
—no no no NO NO NO—
…It. He relives it from the point he always does. He is camping with his parents. His brother is not with them. It is the 13th annual Simanski camping trip, and the first that the family is not all together. Jesse is to attend football camp this summer, and could not accompany them. Joe and Julie Simanski are outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years they have imparted that affinity to both their sons, along with an avid interest in astronomy. Like his parents, stargazing has long been Jono’s favorite activity on these family camping trips. But Jono isn’t really enjoying it this year. He is thinking more about the absence of his twin than he is about anything he sees in the sky. So much so that he welcomes the distraction when his cell phone rings, as the caller can only be his brother. [Jono:] “Hey, Jesse.”
[Jesse:] “Hey, Jono. You know you left your computer on? I shut it off for you.”
Jesse is not supposed to be at home. Anticipating more information best not overheard, Jono moves further away from their parents before replying.
[Jono:] “You’re at home? I thought you were staying over at Rick’s.”
[Jesse:] “I was. But Ricky said he’d pick me up for camp in the morning.”
[Jono:] “He better, Jesse. You miss one day of that camp, Coach Ursine will kick you off the team.
[Jesse:] “It’s cool, Jono. I’ll be there. One way or another.”
[Jono:] “Don’t think I don’t know why you wanted to stay at home tonight.”
[Jesse:] “I know you know.”
[Jono:] “Is Lauren there already?”
[Jesse:] “Yeah. You want to talk to her?”
[Jono:] “Me? What would I say to her?”
[Jesse:] *laughs* “You think I know what to say to her?”
[Jono:] “She’s your girlfriend, Jesse. You better have some idea what to say to her.”
[Jesse:] “Well, Jono, I’m hoping she doesn’t want to talk a whole lot.”
[Jono:] “Hang on a sec, Jesse… there’s something…”
[Jesse:] “. . .”
[Julie:] “Jono—RUN!!!” [Jesse:] “Is that Mom screaming at you? Jono?!” The voices of his mother and brother are the last he hears. The blast and the psychological shock will deafen him for days. He doesn’t see the rain of fire and shards of rock that devastate the area after the initial impact. But he feels it to the core of his being, and he will never forget it. “…m-mom?” “…d-dad?” He doesn’t need to hear to know there will be no response. There is no mom or dad anymore. There is only blistering heat and this… this . . . . . . . . . VALLEY, America—a meteor strike at Pinnacle campgrounds late last night claimed the lives of a local couple. Joe (50) and Julie (45) Simanski, both teachers at Valley High School, were killed instantly on impact with what area scientists are calling “the largest meteor strike in over a century.” Also present but surviving the strike was one of the couple’s two sons, Jonothan Simanski (16). The teen was taken to Valley County Hospital and is currently listed in serious but stable condition, due to the miraculous medical efforts of Dr. Janet Elfman. At a press conference mere hours after the Simanski teen’s arrival in the emergency room, Elfman stated, “My prognosis is a full recovery with no permanent scarring.” Paramedics Leighton Sekemoto and Monika Morris, first on the scene of devastation where the youth was found, were not so optimistic. Said Sekemoto of Elfman’s prognosis, “Full recovery? Take a ride up there and have a look around ground zero. Part of what was all over that kid was probably his parents. How does anyone fully recover from that?” Paramedic Morris was equally dubious. “That boy is going to be a basket case for the rest of his life.” . . . The LeBeau Chateaux, France [Dani:] “You said you could get him out, Roch! It’s been a week!” [Roch:] “Danielle, they think he’s some kind of computer-hacking criminal mastermind—”
[Dani:] “I don’t care what they think he is! You told me you could get him out!”
[Roch:] “I’m trying, Danielle. It’s just a bit more complicated than a trumped up trespassing charge—” [Dani:] “Try harder!”
[Roch:] “I will, alright? I will. Calm down. But Danielle—”
[Dani:] “What?!”
[Roch:] “Your husband isn’t actually a computer-hacking criminal mastermind, is he?”
[Dani:] “. . . Of course not!”
Roch caught Dani’s hesitation to answer that question. He is about to call her on it, but just as he starts, Dani’s phone rings. Saved by the bell.
[Dani:] “Jesse? Oh god, Jesse, tell me you’re not in France.”
[Jesse:] “Yeah. I am in France. And before you go off on a crying jag, I’m here with Jono’s shrink. She says she can get Jono out of jail. Give me the address where you’re at, she wants to talk to the super cop before we rock the jailhouse.” Danielle provides the address, and within 30 minutes, Jesse and Evelyn arrive at the LeBeau Chateaux. Introductions are exchanged all around.
[Jesse:] “Eve? You let people call you Eve?”
[Evelyn:] “Only the people who don’t insist on calling me ‘Doc.’
While this little revelation is interesting to Jesse, it isn’t nearly as interesting as meeting Roch LeBeau.
[Jesse:] “This is the guy? The guy your parents had you set up to marry after high school?”
[Dani:] “Yes…”
Dani gives Jesse the please-please-be-nice look. Jesse does what he always does in response to it. He pays no attention to it.
[Jesse:] “You know she’s not going to divorce my brother. That’s not even on the table. You get that, right?”
[Dani:] “Jesse, I assure you, Roch has no designs on me. He has always been as relieved as I was that he and I never married.”
[Jesse:] “That true?”
[Roch:] “Absolutely.”
[Jesse:] “Probably a smart move on your part. She’s some serious high maintenance, let me tell you.”
[Roch:] “Well, that…”
[Roch:] “…and then there’s the fact I find you far more attractive than I do her.”
[Jesse:] *blinks*
[Jesse:] *laughs* An hour later (between the psychiatric contacts of Dr. Evelyn Elfman and the law enforcement contacts of Special Agent Roch LeBeau), it is officially decided that the case of Jonothan Simanski is one of mistaken identity, given his institutional whereabouts as few as 12 hours prior to his arrest. Arrangements are made for his immediate release. At the Leone Police Department, Evelyn and Jesse are met by Dr. Louis Seymour, French associate of the Pennylane Institution of Psychiatric Services.
[Louis:] “He is not in the best shape, I’m afraid. His interrogators did not understand that his behaviors were psych-related; they truly believed they had the criminal they were after. I had to sedate him when I arrived this morning. He looked as though he had not slept in days.”
[Jesse:] “You drugged him? You used Tranquellex on my brother?!” [Louis:] “Tranquellex? Zut alors, no! I am not in the habit of administering chemical lobotomies to my patients—what kind of sadistic doctor do you think I am?” When Jono is brought to them, it takes him some time to focus on his brother. When he does, even sedated, the stabilizing influence is immediate and profound.
[Jono:] “They think I’m some other hack, Jesse. Isn’t that funny?”
[Jesse:] “Yeah. So funny I forgot to laugh. It’s all cleared up now, Jono. Let’s go home.”
[Jono:] “I don’t want to be like this anymore. Can you fix me?” [Eve:] “Yes, Jonothan. I believe I can.” [Jono:] “Okay. You can start by not calling me ‘Jonothan.’ That bugs me.” [Director’s Note: A Flipside special (epilogue) will likely post within a week of this season finale posting. It’s a short cut, but, ah, not short enough to caboose this episode… ;) ]

((Special thanks to…

* TSR’s CycloneSue for a heap of craptastic build and buy objects
* MTS’s Lisen801 for jail cell kit
* All those cc creators providing clothing and hairstyles that I’ve lost track of… If you see it here, and I haven’t mentioned the creator in previous Flipside or Cribt credits, it’s very likely from TSR or MTS. My humble apologies.

> Rockin Readers To-The-End-Credits, Huzzah and Happiest Holidays to you all!!!))

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emilymarie0201Feb 21, 2011

Dani was going to marry a gay guy? Oh boy, didn't see that coming!

YrS92Jan 28, 2011

A bit late here but WOW \:rah\: Great pictures once again, and the meteor pics \:eek\: OMG how did you even manage to get them? You've outdone yourself once again \:rah\: I'm off to read the next one...

FlatterJan 3, 2011

Amazing story, absolutely stunning. Witty dialogues, great pics - WOW  \:rah\: \:rah\:

Jennifer_RDec 29, 2010

Ohhhh super super chapter! Jesse really cracks me up some of his expressions are hilarious. \;\) Glad that the whole mistaken identity with Jono has been fixed up. Poor guy. And loved the flash backs to his childhood. OMG, no wonder he is messed up. So sad that he saw his parents die right in front of his eyes. \:\( These chapter sure do read like a movie, well done Rob! \:rah\:

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