The body of Christopher Harris was found on Monday morning laying on his back across his bed in room 1624 at the Stay-On-Main. No foul play was in evidence as the decedent was determined to have expired from natural causes sometime over a period of several days The body of the deceased was transferred to the Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office and found to have suffered from heart failure due to a longstanding arteriosclerosis occasioned by Diabetes Mellitus and a pattern of long and acute alcohol consumption. An advanced condition of Colorectal cancer was evident and contributory to his death. The room was sealed and a brief investigation made confirming that the deceased had no next of kin or immediate acquaintances. Check stubs from the Veteran’s Administration confirmed the decedents’ identity as Gunnery Sergeant Major Christopher Harris 64 years old was originally of Peoria Illinois having served 12 years of military service in Vietnam and Germany. Mr. Harris had recently traveled to the Los Angeles central area for a period of several weeks before his death. The decedent’s remains were eventually transferred to the Los Angeles National Cemetery for burial.
The athletic track at UCLA had been almost empty this morning as he made his thirtieth circuit of the track maintaining a fast pace and was still barely winded. He continued to sprint down the long curves testing his strength against his endurance marveling at how powerful and vigorous he felt. It was looking to be another hot day by afternoon and he thought that maybe he might join some friends later on down at the Marina Del Rey Health Club for a quick game of handball and a hot tub. His days were now marked by the pursuit of leisure as the requirements of his current profession barely took up any substantial amount of time from each day’s wonderful activities. It was of little consequence that no one had seemed to concern themselves about that cinder of ash dying alone that was left in the mental dustbin. That ‘He‘ was barely recognizable as part of his past and so quickly forgotten as to have never ever have existed in the first place. There was only relief from no more daily pains to salve and no memories of ancient times previous lurking in dark shadows of sleep too horrible to forget. There was just this present level of pride and enjoyment at being fit and happy and being able to conclude each day with the satisfaction of a knowledge of indefinite personal well-being. “What else was there after all?“, he thought.
The price paid for his continued lifestyle was moderate. The price of happiness in this case was to be on call occasionally at a time when most of the rest of the city were soundly asleep to arrive at some lesser traveled doorstep in a mostly ignored part of town and collect certain someone’s who being unwary of any special attention were easily overcome and transport them in good condition to a designated point of embarkation. It was a simple enough task sometimes with the aid of of the special powers of an unearthly superintendent to help speed the process along. Old or young, it was always the same completed with the same level of efficiency that insured that their absence among the officially ‘living’ would never be missed. Their continued usability and the type of consciousness that they might unfortunately retain during their remaining existence as a result of their disappearance from society never needing to be considered or speculated upon. He felt as indifferent to the whole process as if he were simply transporting livestock from the country to a city to be properly administered based upon their biological usability to a greater social service. That brief introduction that he had personally received deep underground at one of the facilities now seemed almost comical as if the inmates were but cartoon exaggerations of elements of human development. A vague impression of that woman from that hotel that had led to his initiation as now being a human ‘hen‘ clucking out her extraterrestrial eggs seemed marvelously ironic in its degree of matching a fantastic level of Hollywood kitsch.
Some might have said that he had given his own humanity as part of this casual arrangement in betraying members of his own species to the vague horrors of an off world intelligence? They might have also speculated on what form of unimaginable terrors that he had been threatened with or what sort of emotional ‘rewiring‘ had been forced upon him to perfectly convince him that total compliance and participation in this Faustian scheme was his only choice. But they would be wrong. He had not been forced at gunpoint or the threat of vivisection into some alternate living body experiment like most of his clients were deposed to. He was simply shown himself after being rebuilt anew as he once had been in the early days of golden youthful manhood and given a promise of the indefinite maintenance of same if he participated in occasional harvesting of his species. The aliens were not interest in some Hollywood B movies scenario of earthly destruction but simply maintaining continued observation of something that they had started uncountable millennia before. He was simply an usher in a darkened movie theater helping to keep things orderly and calm so as not to allow an inadvertent disturbance to interrupt the natural progression of human society. How this had differed from his experiences in the military that had built the foundation of his previous self-destructive viewpoints of that other was day to night to him not to be compared by any reasonable ethic considering the amount of overall harm posed by the former as compared to the latter. But then his mind was now uncluttered by such things.
The long winding drive down Sunset boulevard was pleasant enough especially just north of Brentwood where he had set up a residence. He had considered a nice long drive to consider the magic way the better half of Los Angeles was leisurely spread by the rolling San Bernadino’s before plunging south down along Route 1. He knew that the end of his journey would find the reward of understanding friends that family of those few others like himself who had finally been rewarded for the many hard tasks undertaken in a previous surrender of confused youth. A mental picture of his new wife and her elder son’s and him relaxing by their pool together on his returned warmed the face below his sunglasses into a long easy sunny summer smile.