“Um… you want me to what with these files,” Gary said, glancing over at the older man over the half-height divider between their workstations, then glanced back over the directory Frank had given him access to.

“Have a problem?” Frank asked with an obvious smirk on his face. “You’re the new guy, you have to get your feet wet sometime.”

“Well…” he began, not exactly knowing where to start. “Bigfoot, disappearances in the Pacific Northwest and upper Michigan Peninsula. This is pretty weird stuff. Walk-ins. UFO sightings. Alien internment facilities? Seriously, man?”

”That it is,” Frank agreed. “Flores did go over that in your interview, didn’t she?”

“Well, yes,” Gary replied. “I’m just saying that the job is a little weirder than it actually sounded.”

“Weird is kind of our business here,” Frank told him. “And that’s why we hired a guy like you. We’ve all been exposed to this sort of thing. And some of this is pretty well written and backed up. The fact is in order to put together the books on studies that Palantine wants compiled, we need a fresh set of eyes, someone who can objectively look at these stories and reports and separate what looks like fact from fiction. Someone from the regular world. So to speak.”

Gary scrolled through the file titles, adjusted himself in his seat.  It never seemed to stay on the level he set it.

“Do you believe any of this?” he asked, glancing back at Frank. “I mean, visitors from the future? How would we know if they are telling the truth or not about where they came from. It’s the future.”

“Well, it’s a matter of keeping the records till they are disproven,” Frank advised. He wheeled his chair around the divider, holding a cup of coffee in his hand, Raised his eyebrows at Gary then glanced at his monitor, then back. “Believe me, it’s like brainwashing, really. The more you read about it, the more real it becomes in your mind. Hell, at this point I’m ready to believe the grey aliens were hired by angels to strong-arm Bigfoot into being the man on the grassy knoll who made sure Kennedy was finished off.”

Gary really didn’t like the sound of that. He grimaced at his new co-worker. Surely, the man was pulling his leg. Either that or he was on the road to being certifiable.

“So where do ex-employees end up then?” Gary decided to ask.

“Well,” Frank started. “We’ve got one on Wall Street, she’s doing pretty well. A couple at NASA, on one that Pluto mission. Oh, and my old partner is now a director the Sierra Club.”

“Really?” Gary asked.

“You can check them out,” Frank said, then sucked in a breath before taking a sip from his mug. “And a couple at Kendall Manor. But, really, they were both a little loopy to begin with. I mean, Rebecca had a house filled with ‘pet’ rats, the ASPCA said otherwise. But buck up, you can hang around for a few years, fill up your 401-Ks and move on if you want. Palantine gives good references too. And most companies these days just look at performance reviews and check legal, right?”

He narrowed his gaze at the man. Not so crazy after all.

“So,” Gary asked. “You were skeptical to begin with then?”

“Sure,” Frank noted with another grin. “That wasn’t until I qualified for my full benefits though. And they do cover therapy, so that’s OK. Plus, my kids like my bedtime stories, so there’s a plus too. I’m thinking of even putting together some children’s books. How does Bigfoot’s adventure on the grassy knoll sound to you?”

Back to that again?

“A little nuts,” Gary ventured, his mind trying to picture the scenario and failing.

Go to Chapter Eight

Go to Chapter Ten

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