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1. The Funeral

     It was a time for mourning. He just wasn't up to the task. When someone dies, it doesn't change who they were. So when people started to tell others what a great man the deceased was, it angered Eric. It angered him a lot. His father was a drunk, a mean one. He didn't feel sad that the old man was dead, quite the contrary. His father was abusive, to both him and his siblings. No one wanted to say anything about it, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Everyone kept telling him all day, if you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself. He wasn't in the mood to keep anything to himself, because to do so would be a disservice to both himself and the people his father hurt over the years. Eric didn't feel like crying, he was ready to pop the Champaign and get the party started. Ding dong... this fat bastard is finally dead!

     It was what he was thinking, but not what he said that day.

     Instead Eric sat there and listened to everyone else sing praises for a man who didn't deserve them. He wasn't a good man. He wasn't even a nice one. Yet that didn't stop people from standing up there and saying he was. His mother was the worst of them all. His father beat her every day, sometimes for no reason at all. If supper wasn't ready on time, he'd beat her. If he got an F in English, it was her fault and she was beaten for it. Forget the fact that it just one bad test that he didn't study for, it was her fault for not making him study. For her to stand up there and sing his praises was enough to make want to vomit. Yet the truth was his father was the love of her life. Regardless of what kind of drunken abusive bastard he was, she still loved him and the man who was the father of her children. After all the abuse, she still loved him. She was the victim but she refused to leave his side. Even when it was over, Eric could respect her dedication to the man. He sat there and wondered if there was someone out there that would do that for him. Stand by him even when he's 100% wrong. But that wasn't what Eric wanted. He didn't want to marry a yes man or woman. He wanted to be with someone who loved him enough to point out his faults and told him the truth. Turns out it's even harder to find that out there. Eric was aware of that and was at the point where he was ready to give up the search.

     As he was walking out of the church, all Eric wanted was a bar. He needed to drown his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle of tequila. And while the old man would likely find that rather amusing, Eric really couldn't give a shit what he thought. This was his way of mourning the loss of a man that the world would be better without.

     This is when she approached him.

     "Doctor Saunders?" the young lady said as she approached him.

     "Who wants to know?" Eric asked.

     "Samantha Jones," the young woman said, extending a hand for him to shake.

     "To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Ms. Jones?" Eric asked.

     "I work for the space program." She replied.

     "You mean what's left of it," Eric corrected her. "Why did they send you to my father's funeral?"

     "You haven't been returning our calls." Samantha answered.

     "No, I haven't." Eric confirmed, "And for good reason."

     "We need your help." she informed him, "Your government needs you."

     "Where were they when I needed them?" Eric asked, "It was nice of them to help themselves to my patents like a kid in a candy store. Don't expect me to be happy about that. They had no right to pillage my intellectual property."

     "This is different." Samantha informed him.

     Eric paused for a moment. "How so?"

     "We're almost there." She told him. "We've been doing tests."

     "Tests?" Eric asked, walking closer. "What kind of tests?"

     "I can't tell you," Samantha replied, "It's classified."

     "Of course it is." Eric said as he turned to walk away. "I'm going to a bar to mourn the loss of a man who drank himself to death. Come back to me when I'm in a better mood and more likely to give a shit."

     "Where can we find you?" she called out.

     "If things go as well as expected, later tonight in the county drunk tank." Eric called back as he stepped into the black car that was waiting for him. He looked in rear view mirror and watched as Samantha walked away. She seemed to be bummed out that he wasn't willing to speak with her. It was low of her to show up at a funeral of all places to approach him but he understood it was her only chance. He wasn't returning anyone's calls and this was the first time he was out of the house in over a month. She saw a chance to speak to him and took it... that kind of ambition deserved to be rewarded rather than scolded. Eric also didn't like to drink alone so when his curiosity got the best of him, he decided to do something about it. He drove up to where Samantha was walking and pulled up beside her and rolled down the window.

PJ Lowry

Edited: 14.11.2019

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