I, Rutherford Shireton, fourth of my name and champion of all that is free, beautiful, and pleasant-smelling in the world, have returned to set the record straight after another week of Joanna Oxford’s manipulations of the truth. While Ms. Oxford chose to use her chapter of this ongoing serial to highlight the further adventures of George, Bridget, and the mysterious Retrograde (a man whose choice of codename I, quite frankly, find ridiculous and rather pretentious, or as the French would say, prétentieux comme des boules, frère), I will spend my valuable word count recounting the real story, the truth behind the lies, the milk within the udder, the slaughterhouse behind the sausage.
As you will no doubt recall, Ms. Oxford left you with a final scene in the underground service bunker, with young George saying, “Let’s go to Nova Scotia.”
But she neglected to mention that at precisely that same time, Ms. Oxford herself and a chisel-jawed man of great intellect were speeding down a highway somewhere in the middle-west region.
If you will recall, in Chapter 2, a man and woman met in a farmhouse in a wooded area to discuss the strange multi-dimensional happenings at Boston College. Now, I am willing to reveal to you that the simple-minded woman in question was, in fact, Ms. Oxford and that the man, known for his rhetorical skill, physical strength, indomitable will, and unmatched physical beauty, was in fact, as I’m sure you guessed, Rutherford Shireton IV, myself.
As we sped down the highway, (or more realistically, coasted at five miles over the speed limit to avoid an expensive ticket) Ms. Oxford spoke to me in that snooty, look-at-me-I’m-a-successful-investigative-reporter-and-have-accomplished-more-than-Rutherford-and-have-a-house-and-a-loving-family-and-people-who-care-about-me-and-I’m-not-all-alone-in-the-world-like-that-sad-little-deluded-nobody-whose-real-name-is-Todd voice that I freaking hate so much.
“Shireton,” she said. “Stop muttering to yourself and pick up my cell phone. I am a responsible adult and do not talk on the phone while driving.”
Oh, and she also said: “I resent Rutherford for his God-given beauty and intellect, and also I smell bad, and am totally not better at Rutherford at reporting and stuff.”
To which I responded, “Thank you Ms. Oxford. I always enjoy hearing you admit the truth, which is exactly what you actually said and is in no way a reflection of an unreliable narrator.”
I then answered her phone.
“There’s been an incident on the campus,” our man on the inside (whose name I must withhold for his safety’s sake) said. “You need to get over here now.”
I hung up. If only we could have taken a plane, but alas both Ms. Oxford and myself are on the no-fly list for reasons beyond our control. Ms. Oxford stepped on it, inching our way up to a daring 10 miles over the speed limit, and we took off.
Halfway across the country, on BC’s campus, professor of physics Athena Wilson received a notification on her phone while sitting in her office consulting with a student.
“I just feel like physics is so, like, subjective, you know?” the student said. “Like, what you think is reality, is like, your truth, but not like mine. So like, I think that D is like, a total misrepresentation of how physics, like, you know, like is, in its existence, with regards to, academic, like, achievement.”
Athena ignored this student and checked her phone. The notification was from “Evil Plots: A Convenient Way to Keep Abreast of All Your Plotting Complications.”
It read: “Breach at Greycliff Hall. Students in Service Station. Rogue Director.”
Athena threw on her extremely classy tan jacket and took off sprinting down the hall.
Down by the Service building, Retrograde adjusted his aviator shades as he stood outside. He pulled out his corncob pipe and some matches, and took a few awkward seconds to light it while George and Bridget stood next to him in the cold.
“First, we get out of here as quickly as possible,” Retrograde muttered, his words muffled by the pipe in his mouth. “Then we catch a charter to Nova Scotia, where we meet with my contacts and shut down this plot before things get out of hand.”
A young, spindly-shouldered fellow with a cracked Mason jar in hand walked over and stood in front of Retrograde, looking around and nodding as though someone had said something to him, which of course no one had because this kid was insufferable.
“What are you doing?” Retrograde said. “You’re standing real close to me, and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
“I got an Evil Plots alert from Athena about some rogue director dude and some kids breaking into the Service Station,” Darren MalientePedo Ringtck said. “We’re supposed to meet up here and stop them or something. I don’t know, I guess everyone else is late.”
Retrograde dropped his smoking pipe in the snow and turned to George and Bridget.
“We have to get out of here,” he said. “Follow me. Run.”
“But I’m crazy sore from my workout yesterday,” George said.
“Sometimes, George … ”
But before Retrograde could finish, the sound of boots on pavement, squelching snow, and heavy breathing drew his attention. He turned and saw Athena Wilson leading a pack of black-clad mercenaries out of McGuinn and straight toward them.
“To the million dollar stairs,” Retrograde said.
But before they could take a step another swarm of secret soldiers, this time clad in a preppy Nantucket red, rounded the corner and blocked the only other exit available to them.
“Now what?” Bridget said.
Retrograde looked both ways as the massive crowd of hired mercenaries surrounded the heroic trio. George swallowed so loudly that it was audible to both Bridget and Retrograde.
“Only one way out,” Retrograde said, cracking his knuckles.
Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor