Slowly Marc woke up. He looked out the window ‘oh rats’ he thought to himself. It was very cloudy and looked like at any minute it would give way to rain. “Hey Matt, are you awake yet?” He called to the lower bunk. No answer. ‘That’s strange Marc thought to himself. We usually wake up at the about the same time. Maybe it’s still night time.’ He rolled over and looked at his clock. 7:00 am it said. “I better get up” He said to aloud.
He slid off the top bunk and was going to get dressed. ‘I better wait and see what Matt has on. Then I’ll get dressed.’ He thought. He slowly made his way downstairs to the kitchen. It was empty.
“This is really strange.” Marc said as he made his way through the house. “Dad” He called. No answer. "Dan, Matt. Hey come on. Where is everybody.” He made his way into the living room and saw a light streaming from under the door to his dad’s office.
He walked up to the door and knocked. “Come in” came an odd but familiar voice. Marc opened the door. Russ was sitting at his dad’s desk talking on the phone. “Yes he’s up now.” He paused a moment “Yes I will.”
“Where is my dad? And Danny and Matt and Joey?” Marc asked looking around his dad’s office.
“He’s gone. There all gone as a matter of fact.” Russ said to him.
“Where did they go?” Marc wanted to know.
“Away from here, away from you.” Russ informed him.
Marc started crying. “I don’t understand. Why did they leave me?”
“Stop your crying this instant.” Russ snapped. "I suppose you want something to eat. Come on, I’ll fix it for you.”
Sniffing Marc followed him to the kitchen. “I want Lucky Charms.” Marc said.
“You’ll eat what I fix you and not complain.” Russ barked at him. “Now sit down.”
Marc sat alone at the breakfast table. He wished his brothers were there. “Are you finished? You need to go get dressed Jaime will be here in 10 minutes to teach you. You are not going to school anymore. Jaime will teach you here. That was her on the phone, she is on her way, so go get dressed.”
Marc put his bowl in the sink and did as Russ told him to do. He went upstairs pulled on a pair of jeans and slipped a red sweater on.
By mid-morning he was seated at the kitchen table with a pile of books in front of him and Jaime added more.
“Hey, I’m Marc, not Danny.” He complained.
“Not one word out of you!” Jaime snapped, “You just do the work I give you. Another thing, Rudy is coming here to spend sometime away from the City. I don’t want you to bother him at all. Do I make myself clear?”
Why were they treating him this way, he couldn’t figure it out. But decided to play along anyway.
“If that’s what you want.”
“That’s exactly what I want!! I don’t even want you to talk to him unless he talks to you first, which I doubt.”
Marc did all the work Jaime gave him. At 3:00 he got up from the table. “And just where do you think you are going?”
“It after 3:00. School is over for the day.”
“In your dreams mister!! You get back here. I’ll tell you when school is out.”
“Jaime can I go to my room, my tummy hurts.”
“Oh, the little baby has a tummy ache go on to your room. Don’t come out till I tell you to.”
“Ok” and Marc left the kitchen to go to his room: ‘Rudy will talk to me, he’s my friend’ Marc thought to himself. He sat on the edge of his bed. His stomach didn’t hurt. He just wanted to get away from that woman down stairs who claimed to be Jaime. ‘What if someone took my family, and… That doesn’t make any sense ‘
‘MATT, MATT, CAN YOU HEAR ME. MATT PLEASE ANSWER PLEASE.’
He waited and waited but Matt didn’t respond. He heard the front door open. “Dad" he cried and ran for the top of the stairs. He stopped though when he heard Rudy’s voice.
“Where is he?” Rudy grumbled.
“In his room.”
“Good, I hope the little freak stays there.”
“Me too.” Jaime agreed.
Marc tiptoed back to his room. He laid down on his bed a cried. ‘Why did Rudy say that? I thought he was my friend. He’s not my friend. Jaime is not my friend anymore either.’ He got up and went back to the stairs he slipped quietly down and out the front door. ‘Steve will understand I’ll find him.’
He had never used his legs at full power before except for a couple of times when Rudy was testing him. But he used them tonight. He wanted to get to the City. He knew where Steve’s apartment was and that’s where he wanted to go.
He reached the City limits in minutes. He found Steve’s apartment building and went inside. He took the elevator up to the fourth floor.
When the doors opened he was shocked. Rudy, Jaime and Steve stood waiting for him.
“Why did you run away?” Jaime shrieked at him. “You had no right to do that.”
“I wanted to see Steve. I thought he might know where my dad and brothers were.”
“What makes you think he’d tell you even if I did know?” Rudy snorted.
“I get it now,” Marc said. “This is a game, right?’
“Who would want to play a game with you?” Rudy laughed.
Marc started crying. “I want my dad, I want my brothers!!!”
“He doesn’t get it does he?” Jaime said.
“Get what, what don’t I get?”
“If you can’t figure it out, we won’t tell you” Jaime said. “You will have to figure it out on your own.”
Marc was still crying. “And I thought I told you to stop that crying right this instant.”
Steve didn’t say a word. Marc wasn’t sure how to take that. Steve looked sad, but with them around, he was probably afraid to say anything.
Marc bolted for the elevator and pushed the button before they could catch him. His last resort was Michael. He knew where he lived too. Marc darted out of the elevator thankful they weren’t waiting for him again. He ran out of the apartment building into the darkness of the night and ran up the street.
He found Michael’s house and knocked on the door. Michael opened it. “I’ve been expecting you.” Rudy called. “He’s fit to be tied. You keep running away from him.”
“I don’t understand, I thought you were my friends.” Marc started crying again.
“What’s the matter you big baby? And besides, you don’t have any friends. So what do you think of that?”
Marc again took off at a full run ‘If everybody hates me, I’ll just leave. I want to go find Matt,’ Marc thought to himself.
Rudy opened the door. Oscar handed Joey, who had fallen asleep on his lap to Mary. Joey didn’t stir. Oscar was on his feet. “Rudy how is he?”
“The fever broke about 10 minutes ago. He’s coming out of it. If you want to, you can come in.”
Before going in Oscar glanced at Matt. He had fallen asleep too. His head rested on Jaime’s shoulder. “Jaime will you watch him?”
“Of course Oscar.” Jaime answered.
He followed Rudy into the room
Marc heard the voice from very far away. Rudy was nowhere to be seen. Why could he hear him? The voice was very soft at first then grew louder.
“Marc, Marc. Can you hear me? Marc, it’s Rudy can you hear me?
Slowly Marc opened his eyes. “Hi, son. You gave us quite a scare.” Oscar said.
“D, D dad?” Marc said. His voice was very weak. “When did you get here?”
“When did I get here? Son I have never left.”
“Marc?” He turned to Rudy’s voice. “You have been a pretty sick boy. We’ve been worried about you.”
“Rudy? Are you the good Rudy, or the bad Rudy?”
Rudy looked at Oscar, then back to Marc. “Well I like to think of myself as the good Rudy. Listen Marc I want you to rest. You have been very sick and you need the rest.”
He turned to Oscar “Let’s go down to my office. We can talk there.”
Marc closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep.
Oscar followed Rudy into his office. “What was that all about, the good Rudy or the Bad Rudy?” Oscar asked once they were settled.
“I don’t know. I know Marc was pretty sick. His fever was as high as 106.2. Then it broke and went down to 102.3. That’s when he started coming around, and I came to get you. For just a moment, right before the fever broke. I thought I lost him.”
“I can’t believe it, Rudy. What, it’s been two days now? Matt came down to breakfast alone, which is very unusual, most of the time the twins come together. Has it really been two days?”
“Yea it has.”
“I bet it smells good.”
“Join the club. I haven’t left his side for more than a minute at a time. Anyway you were saying?”
“Matt came down alone. He said Marc was still sleeping. So I went up to see if I could get him going. Rudy, he felt like he was on fire.”
“Well he was 104.8 when you brought him in.”
“Anyway that’s when I called you.”
They were interrupted by a knock at the door. “Come in” Rudy said. Jaime and Steve walked in. “How is he?” Steve asked.
“He’s better.” Rudy said. "The fever broke anyway.”
“That’s good.” Jaime added.
“Is everyone still sleeping down there?” Oscar asked.
“They were when we left anyway.” Steve told him.
“Rudy, I want to get back to Marc.” Oscar stated.
“I understand I’ll take you to him.”
Marc was still sleeping when Oscar came back into the room. “Marc, can you hear me?”
Once again, Marc opened his eyes “How are you feeling son?”
“Ok I guess. I’m a little tired. In fact I’m very tired. What’s going on anyway? Everyone is so nice.”
Oscar leaned over to him. “I was hoping you could tell us son. Rudy was standing beside Oscar. “Why did you ask Rudy if he were good or bad? Does that have anything to do with the question you just asked me? Please tell us son.”
“Marc proceeded to tell them the events that had happened to him in what he perceived to be the past couple of days.”
Oscar and Rudy looked at one another in astonishment. Rudy turned to Marc, “It’s ok son. You’re with us now and you’re safe.”
“Oscar can I see you outside? If Matt and the rest of the kids want to come in they can.”
Oscar and Rudy stepped out into to hall. “What do you think of that Rudy?”
“I don’t know. I do know however that sometimes when a person has been as ill as Marc has been in the past couple of days they can dream all sorts of things.”
“But to dream that we were all against him?”
“I know, it is pretty perplexing to say the least. We will just have to see what happens in the next couple of days.”
“Do you think he could have this dream again?”
“More than likely he will.”
“Mr. Goldman?” Mary said. “I can’t hold Matt back any longer. Can he go in and see Marc?”
Rudy nodded his approval “Only for a minute though.”
Matt nodded and walked in. “How you doing little brother?”
“I really wish you wouldn’t call me that. We are twins.”
“I know but I am oldest.”
“Only by three minutes.”
“Still oldest. How are you feeling?”
“Ok I guess. I must have had one wild dream, if it was a dream?”
Rudy poked his head in “I hate to break up the party boys, but Marc can really use the rest, Matt.”
“Ok, I’ll see you tomorrow Marc.” Matt said as he left the room. Oscar and the others were waiting for him.
“We need to go home and get cleaned up. We’ll come back in the morning.” Oscar stated.
Later that night after Rudy had been home to clean up as well he had come back to the hospital to check on Marc. Marc was sleeping when he got there. Rudy went through the motions of examining him.
Again marc opened his eyes He was back home. Again the house was empty except Jaime was there this time instead of Russ. She sat in kitchen. “I see you’re finally awake. Rudy is still sleeping; I don’t want you to wake him up. Did you really think you would get away?”
“I want to find Matt.”
“Matt doesn’t want a weirdo freak bionic brother for a twin. He went to find a new one.”
“Yea, well I found out you are just a dream.”
“That’s what you think, “ Rudy said coming through the door. That was the dream, this is real.”
“No, no, no.” Marc cried.
Marc started crying in his sleep. Rudy took his shoulders and gently shook him awake. “Marc, Marc. Wake up son, wake up.”
Marc slowly opened his eyes Rudy was standing there. “What’s the matter Marc?”
“I don’t know!” Marc cried. “Rudy, I’m scared. I don’t know if this is real or the other is real.”
“I assure you Marc, this is real the other is a dream.”
“That’s exactly what you say on the, the other side. If this is the reality, I don’t want to go back to sleep.”
Rudy watched him closely for the next hour, when it appeared Marc wasn’t about to allow himself to fall asleep Rudy gave him a mild sedative to help him relax.”
The next morning Oscar was there before Rudy. “How is he this morning Rudy? He asked when Rudy arrived.”
“Physically he’s doing great, the fever is completely gone. It’s his emotional state that has me concerned.”
“You want to tell me about it?”
“I stopped by last night just to check on him again. He had another nightmare. I was here to wake him up. He said he never wanted to sleep again. He seems to have a hard time figuring out which world is real. The one he dreams, or this one.”
“Did you tell him this is the real world?”
“He informed me that I tell him the same thing in the dream.”
“Oscar he’s afraid to go to sleep. I was hoping to let you take him home later today, but if he won’t sleep…”
“Maybe that’s what he needs. To get back to normal.”
You could be right. Tomorrow is Saturday; I’ll let you take him home later today. Maybe that way he will be ready to go back to school on Monday.”
“That would be good. I think the sooner we get him back into the swing of the things the quicker he’ll get better.”
“I hope your right.”
That afternoon instead of Danny coming to the OSI Oscar and Marc picked him up. Marc rode along very quiet in the back seat. He did say hi to Danny but hardly spoke much.
“Is he alright dad?” Danny asked.
“He’s just tired son. Rudy and I seem to think that the sooner he gets back to normal the better off he’ll be.”
“I guess your right.”
Matt was happy to see Marc. Marc was still quiet. He was afraid to say too much. The rest of the night passed very quietly. Marc was quiet but Matt made enough noise for the two of them.
“Time for bed guys. Rudy wants to see you in the morning, Marc. He just wants to see how you are doing.”
“Ok” Marc said.
That night Oscar woke up at about 3:00 there was Marc staring at him. Just sitting there, staring at him.
“What’s the matter son?”
“I don’t want you to go away again.”
“Marc, I won’t go anywhere, I promise.”
“You go away every time I go to sleep.”
“Listen, you have to sleep.” Oscar got up and stumbled around in the dark. “Come on. I’ll take you back to your room I’ll stay with you till you go to sleep.
It took over an hour, but Marc finally fell asleep.
Marc was sitting on the edge of his bed. Again everyone was gone. Jaime and Rudy were down stairs Steve had joined them. "Where is he now?" Rudy asked.
"He's in his room pouting." Jaime said.
"Don't you think you're being just a little hard on him?" Steve asked.
"I knew he wouldn't see this our way Rudy, He's too soft."
"Steve, he's a little freak. Can't you get that straight?" Jaime went on. “A little bionic freak."
Marc burst down the stairs, "You're bionic too!!" He cried.
"I most certainly am not!" Jaime shrieked.
Marc started crying.
"Marc. Wake up." Marc woke up. Oscar and Matt were standing beside him "You had another bad dream" Oscar said.
After calming him down Oscar went back to bed. "I'll tell Rudy when we see him, I'm glad he wants to see him in the morning."
Saturday morning was a lighthearted day. Everyone came to breakfast when they felt like it. Marc and Matt were just finishing up when Oscar came into the kitchen “How did you finally sleep last night Marc?”
“Ok I guess.”
“No more bad dreams?”
“Not that I remember.”
”That’s good. Don’t forget, Rudy wants to see you later today.”
“I remember.” Marc muttered.
“Are Dan and Joey up yet?” Oscar turned to Matt.
“Joey’s watching cartoons, and Danny is in his room drawing.” Matt replied.
“Drawing?” Shaking his head, Oscar went on into his office to place a few calls and get a little work done. He had taken Thurs\ and Friday off because of Marc being sick, and knew he would be very behind.”
Before going to his study Oscar passed through the living Joey was sitting in front of the TV. “Morning son,” Oscar said.
Joey turned to him. “Morning Daddy,” he said and then went back to his cartoon.
Out in the kitchen Marc and Matt were just finishing up. “Ready to go watch cartoons?” Matt asked as the stacked their bowls in the sink.
“Yea, I guess so.” Marc sighed.
“You want to tell me about the dreams?”
“No not right now. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Ok,” Matt said, “I wonder if Joey is watching Scooby Doo?”
“I hope so. That is my favorite.”
They walked into the living room and joined Joey watching cartoons. “Morning Joey, what are we watching?” Matt asked.
“Scooby Doo” Joey replied, looking up at his brothers.
Marc and Matt sat on the couch and watched too.
Danny finished what he was doing and came into the living room. “Hi guys. What are you watching?”
“Scooby Doo” Marc, Joey and Matt all said.
“Well I have some more work to do. You guys behave, and don’t bother dad. He has work to do also.”
“We won’t,” they all said.
Oscar sat in his office. He was really making tracks with his work when the phone rang.
He picked up the receiver. “Hello.”
“Oscar, it’s Rudy. I just wondered how Marc was feeling today.”
“He’s real quiet Rudy. Almost too quiet, he has only said about 100 words since we got home. Usually he and Matt jabber a mile a minute in that language the speak.”
“You can bring him in anytime this morning. I know you have work to do. So I thought you could work while I check him out.”
“Ok I’ll get him ready. We should be there in about twenty minutes or so.”
“That would be great. I want to give him a clean bill of health so he is ready for school Monday morning.”
“By the way Rudy, I have a favor to ask you when we get there.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
Oscar left the quietness of his in home office into the living room. Matt and Joey were laughing hysterically. Scooby was being chased by some zombie creature and running all over the TV screen. Marc sat quietly on the couch barely watching the program.
“Marc, that was Rudy. He said for us to come in at anytime so I thought we would leave now, ok?”
“Ok “ Marc said as he hopped off the couch and Matt followed.
“Matt you need to stay here.”
“No way! I want to go too.”
“I wish you could take my place.” Marc sighed.
“Hey!!” Matt said, his face brightening.
“Don’t even think about it.” Oscar scolded. “Marc let’s go, Rudy is expecting us. Matt if you promise to stay out of the way, you can go to.”
“I will, dad. I promise. I’ll get my jacket to.”
“Dan, Mary is in the kitchen if you and Joey need anything. I’ll tell her before we leave where we are going.”
“Ok dad. Joe and I will be just fine, won’t we Joey?”
“Yea, see you later dad.”
When they arrived Rudy was waiting in his office. “Hi Oscar I see you brought Matt too?”
“Well Monday is D day or maybe I should say S day.”
“Yea separation day. They got a new teacher so they are separating the twins I feel it’s for the best. They need to be in different classes Rudy. I agreed to it when they still had Devon Moss for a teacher. I still think it’s good. Most schools do separate twins. They are not to happy about it.”
“They are together a lot.” Rudy observed.
“Too much” Oscar agreed
“Anyway” Rudy changed the subject. “I really should get started with Marc.” He turned to Marc. “How are you feeling today?”
“Ok I guess.” Marc said his voice barely audible.
Has he been like this since you left?” Rudy sounded concerned.
“Yes he has Rudy.” Oscar answered.
“Ill have a talk with him “ Rudy said.
“I’ll take Matt down to my office with me. I have some work to catch up on so I’ll be there.”
“Ok This won’t take to long. Just a quick check. Oh before you go, you said you wanted to ask me a favor.”
“Oh right before I forget. Rudy I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind taking over permanently with Marc. In fact I would really like it if you took care of all my kids.”
“I was hoping you would ask that. Oscar I would love to.”
“It’s just that you have come through for us so much. First Marc and the accident, then Danny and his asthma and you really cinched it for us on Joey. And now especially after Marc got sick.”
“I know if you were to tell me you had a nephew that was autistic, and you introduced me to Joey, I would never guess it was him.”
“Anyway, I really appreciate it.”
“No problem, now please let me do my work. You can pick him up in just a bit. Like I said I just want to give him a quick once over. He’ll be due for his tests soon, but right now I want him to recover from the fever.”
“Just fine, I have work to do too.”
Oscar turned to Matt. “Come on son. We can wait in my office.”
“I want to stay with Marc.”
“Matt, Marc will be just fine. You need to come with me.”
Matt left his brother and followed Oscar down to his office.
“How is everything going Marc?” Rudy asked when they were alone.
“Ok I guess. I wish Matt could stay.”
“How do you feel about Monday? Being in a separate class than Matt?”
“I don’t know. I’ll miss him. This is the first school that let us be together.”
“I know, but you will get to see each other at home.”
“I guess you’re right. It’s just…I mean it’s not fair.”
“Well the school thinks it is. They hired a teacher special for your grade.”
“They didn’t have to bother.”
“Marc if you ever want to talk about anything just call. I’m here for you 24 hours a day, ok. Look I know it’s hard just being bionic, and then you have a twin brother who isn’t. It must be very hard. And now they want to take that away from you too.”
“I know. That’s what I was trying to say. I just couldn’t find the words.”
“Marc you’re only seven. You’re not supposed to find the words just yet.”
“I guess you’re right .I miss Matt now.”
“Well the sooner we get through your tests the sooner you can get back to him.”
“Let’s get started then.”
Down in Oscar’s office Oscar was busy catching up on work Matt sat at Callahan’s desk with a color book.
“Good morning Callahan. My! Have you changed!” Matt looked up, “Hi Jaime, how are you?”
“I’m fine Matt. Is your dad here?”
“He’s in there working.” Matt cocked his thumb in the direction of Oscar’s door.
“Thanks, I think Rudy is just about done with Marc, if you want to go on down he said it was ok.”
Matt jumped off the chair and ran out of the room and headed for Rudy’s office. He nearly knocked Russ down in the process. “Hey where’s the fire Matt?”
”No fire. I have to get Marc.”
Laughing Russ walked on into Oscar’s office. “I have a bit of interesting information. Oh, hi Jaime! I thought you were with Rudy.”
“I’m on my way there now.” She smiled as she left the room.
“What’s this news Russ?”
”The Soviets have appointed a new ambassador. His name is Boris Rustam. He has a son named Sergei. I just found out about it about an hour ago. I went out to the house to tell you. Mary said you were here.”
“Rudy called at the last minute. He wanted to check on Marc. He wants to give him a clean bill of health so he can go back to school Monday. In fact he’s taking over with all my kids. He’s the only doctor I trust, especially with Marc being bionic and all.”
“I understand. That’s who I would want too.”
“Dad, can we go home now?” The twins had slipped into Oscar’s office unnoticed.
“Where did you two come from? Never mind. I’m finished anyway. Let’s go see what Dan and Joey are up to.”
“Can we go to the zoo?” They asked.
“Not today, maybe tomorrow.” Oscar promised. “I need to see Rudy for just a second and then we will go home. Russ will you watch them for five minutes?”
“Sure Oscar no problem.”
Rudy and Jaime were just getting started when Oscar walked in. “I just wondered how Marc did Rudy if you have a minute.”
“He should be all ready for school Monday. There is not even a trace of fever just tell the school he was sick, I don’t want him to do to much running around. Just yet.”
“Thanks Rudy. I’ll see you Monday”
“See you Monday Oscar.”
Rudy and Jaime continued her tests and Oscar and the twins headed for home.
On Monday morning the twins came to breakfast in their pajamas they were usually dressed. “What’s going on guys?” Oscar questioned.
“We don’t feel good.” Matt said.
“Yea, we’re sick.” Marc added.
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you have to go to separate classes today, would it?”
“No” they assured.”We are really sick.”
“Ok, then I guess I’ll have to call Rudy, I think he has just the thing to make you feel all better.”
“A shot?” The twins asked wide-eyed.
“I believe that’s the idea.”
“We feel much better now.” They said as they ran upstairs to get dressed.
“I thought you would.” Oscar smiled behind his newspaper.
The twins were dressed and ready for school in five minutes. The morning routine was improving. There was not so much mayhem around the house.
Oscar went through his Normal routine the dropped Joey Matt and Marc off at Bates Academy and then on the Richmond School with Danny.
“See you at 3:00” He said as Danny got out of the car.
“See you dad.”
At Bates Academy the second grade class was held in the auditorium after the first bell. “Good morning boys, the principal addressed the group. “As you know Mr. Moss is no longer with us. You have had a substitute ever since the incident at the zoo. Know I am please to introduce your new teachers. Mr. James Conroy, and Mr. Kevin Harris. They each have a class list and as they call your name, please go stand beside them.”
Matt ended up with Mr. Conroy, and Marc had Mr. Harris. After the rest of the boys found their spot, James Conroy and Kevin Harris took their respective group down to their classrooms.
Marc and Matt had been in their class had been it the room only a few minutes when the both busts into tears. “I want my brother,” they both cried. It took Conroy and Harris at least 10 minutes to calm them down.
In Mr. Harris’ class they had just gotten started when the principal came in. “James, I have a new student for you. This is Sergei Rustam. His father is the new ambassador from Russia. Sergei will be coming to our school. Find a buddy for him for the day to show him around the school. I’ll check back with you later.”
“Ok guys, let’s all welcome Sergei. “We are all a little new here,” He told Sergei, “I’m new here too. Let see, Marc, why don’t you be Sergei’s buddy for the day? You look like you need a friend too.”
“Ok.” Marc mumbled.
“Sergei this he Marc, he will show you around today, if you need to know where anything is, just ask Marc. Ok?”
“I will, thank you Mr. Conroy.” He took an empty seat next to Marc.
At recess Sergei hung around with Matt and Marc. “Who is he Marc?” Matt asked.
“He is my buddy for the day. He’s a new kid. His name is Sergei.” At lunch the three sat together. Sergei turned to Marc. “You come my house after school?”
“I don’t know, I have to ask my dad. Would you mind Matt?”
“Matt can come too.”
“Let’s go call dad.” Matt said. They got up from the lunch table
“Where are you three going?” The lunchroom monitor Mr. Parks asked.
“I need to go call my dad. Sergei asked us to come to his house after school.” Marc told him. “Is that ok?”
‘Yea, it’s fine. Go ahead.” The walked down the hall to the office. “Miss Prichard, I need to call my dad.”
“Ok Marc.” She handed him the phone. Marc dialed his dad’s number.
“Steve you won’t be on this assignment for too long…”
They were interrupted when Oscar’s private line rang. They looked at each other only a about five people had that number, Steve who was standing beside him, Jaime who was with Rudy, and the kids who were in school. Oscar shrugged. “Must be one of he kids.’
He reached for the phone. “Hello.”
Oscar covered the receiver. “It’s Marc. Marc, are you alright?
“Yea, I’m fine dad. Matt and I want to go to a friend’s house after school. Is that ok?”
“Well I don’t know, who is the friend?
“He’s new, his name is Sergei. I have to be his buddy for the day, and he asked us to come over.”
“I guess it would be alright. I want you home by 5:00 though. Give me the address and I’ll pick you up.”
“I don’t know the address, just a minute. Miss Prichard will give it to you.”
Miss Prichard gave him the address he noticed it was a Washington address but that was all. He folded the paper and put it in his pocket.
“What was that all about Oscar?” Russ asked.
“The twins are going to a friend’s after school.”
That’s nice, What’s the friend’s name?”
“Sergei, I think Marc said.”
“Sergei Rustam?” Russ questioned.
“I don’t know, Marc didn’t give his last name, I guess I should have asked. I’m still a little new at this father thing. My kids call me and want to go to a new kids house I don’t even ask the last name.”
He picked up the phone and called the school. “Yes,” He said when the secretary answered. “This is Oscar Goldman. Marc just called and said he was going to a friend’s house after school. What is Sergei’s last name?”
“I believe it is Rustam. He is Ambassador Rustam’s son.”
“I was afraid you were going to tell me that. I don’t know if I want them to go with him or not.”
“I’m sure it will be fine Mr. Goldman.”
“Maybe you are right.”
After school a man was at the school to pick up Sergei. “These are my friends, Marc and Matt Goldman. Their dad said it was ok if they came to play.”
“Ok. Your dad told me. Hop in boys.
They arrived at the Soviet Embassy in a matter of minutes. The driver let them out at the door. “I will see you later.”
Marc and Matt looked at one another
“I DON’T KNOW IF WE SCHOULD BE HERE OR NOT MATT.”
“DAD SAID IT WAS OK, DIDN’T HE?”
“YEA I GUESS HE DID.”
They got out of the car and followed Sergei into the Embassy. Ambassador Rustam was there to greet them.
“Hello boys, please do come in. I am so happy to see Sergei has made such nice friends on this his first day of school.”
“Thank you sir.” They said together.
They boys sat for a while playing a game. Ambassador Rustam stepped into the dinning room where they were playing. “Marc, may I see you for a moment please?”
Marc got up and followed the Ambassador. They stepped into his office. “You are in Sergei’s class? He told me you were his buddy for the day.”
”I understand your last name is Goldman. Are you related to Oscar Goldman by any chance?”
“He is my uncle. He adopted my brothers and me.”
“Good, very good.” He said, rubbing his hands together. “Do you ever see any of his work? What I mean to say, does he ever bring his work home with him?”
“Sure.” Marc answered innocently. “He has an office at the house.”
“Really?” Rustam was intrigued “How would you like to do me a favor?”
“What kind of a favor?”
“Well I would like to see your…” He thought for a moment, “Do you refer to him as uncle or dad?”
“We call him dad.”
“Very well. I would very much like to see some of your dad’s work. Do you think you could bring some if it to me?”
“I don’t know, is that right?”
“Oh yes, yes it is very alright.”
“You see we have no secrets from on another.”
“I guess I could then.”
“Great. You get these files for me.” He handed Marc a slip of paper. “You give them to Sergei and he will bring them to me.”
“I guess that sounds ok. I have to ask dad first.”
“No, no. We don’t need to tell him about it. Let’s have it be our secret ok. If you don’t say anything, I might even be able to slip you a couple of dollars. You would like some walking around money, wouldn’t you Marc?”
“That would be nice.” Marc agreed. “Ok I guess I can do it. I have to tell Matt though. He is my twin. He knows instinctively when something is going on with me.”
“Ok, just don’t tell your dad.”
“You can join your friends now.” Marc left the office. He felt a little strange. ‘I really should tell dad’ he thought, but then shrugged the thought off. He knew what had happened wasn’t a dream like they tried to convince him. They just decided to be nice to him. He knew that would change though.
He knew Rudy could do many things. Making him believe he had been sick would be easy. All he had to do was get him to go to sleep then stick him in the hospital and wake him up. At least now he knew how everyone felt about him. They would never convince him it had bee a dream.
Oscar was getting ready to leave the office. “I’ll see you Russ. I have to pick up the boys at,” he pulled the paper he had written the address on out of his pocket. “18657 Ohio Street.”
“What was that, Oscar?”
Oscar looked at the address again. “Russ, that’s the Russian Embassy.”
“I thought so, Oscar do you want me to go get them? It might be awkward for someone in your position…”
“I think I can handle it Russ. Just inform the board ahead of time what I am doing.”
“I’ll tell them right away.”
“Thanks Russ.Let them know right away.”
Oscar picked Danny up from Rudy’s office. We have to go get the twins; they are at a friends.” They got into the car and headed across town to Soviet Embassy.
They were waiting outside the gate. The driver who had brought them there was waiting with them. “We thought it would be easier for you this way Mr. Goldman.”
“Thanks” Oscar said. “Hop in boys. We need to get home.” Marc and Matt jumped into the car.
“So did you have a good time?”
Matt didn’t stop talking all the way home. Marc was very quiet. He hardly said a word.
At dinner Oscar tried to get Marc to talk. “You are awful quiet Marc. Is everything ok? I’m worried about you.”
“I’m fine dad. I’m really tired can I go to bed?”
“Sure son. I’ll be up to check you in a minute.”
“You don’t have to bother.” Marc said under his breath.
That night after everyone had gone to sleep, Marc crept downstairs and went into Oscar’s office. He had the paper that Rustam had given him. He searched through the files and found exactly what Rustam had asked him for. He took the files out of the office and took them to his room and slipped them into his backpack.
He laid awake the rest of the night, unable to find restful sleep.
The next morning Sergei caught up to Marc at school. “You have some papers for my father?” Marc took them out of his backpack and handed them to Sergei. “Thank you. my father said he will send money tomorrow and a new list.”
“That’s fine” Marc said.
This went on for several days Oscar started to notice that files were missing from his office he mentioned it to Rudy.
“I think someone is stealing classified information. I just don’t know who it is.”
”Set yourself up in up your office and see if someone is breaking into your house and stealing.”
“That sounds like a good idea Rudy. I’ll do it tonight.”
“I’ll stay with you. Just in case they try to take you.”
“Ok Rudy. Thanks.”
They hid in a corner of the room. After midnight their stake out paid off. They observed as Marc crept into Oscar’s office and removed files from the filing cabinet.
Oscar started to approach Marc, but Rudy caught him. “Oscar, those files are fake. I made sure of that. We need to see what he does with them.”
The next morning instead of going to work, Oscar followed Marc to school. He was shocked to see Marc hand the files to Sergei. And then Sergei handed Marc money.
“I’ll talk to him about it tonight. Oscar went on to work. He had been there only a few moments when Callahan buzzed him.
“Mr. Goldman. Inspector Gregory form the NSB is here.”
“Send him in.”
Gregory stepped into Oscar’s office. “Mr. Goldman. We need to speak to your son. He is being charged with treason.”
“Let me talk to him first.”
We will give you till 7:00 tonight to bring him into us, or we will come for him.”
He left the office leaving Oscar in a daze.
That night Oscar went into Marc’s room “Marc, we have to talk. I know what you are doing. You are selling classified information to the Soviets Marc you need to talk to me or else you will be talking to Inspector Gregory at NSB headquarters.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong.” Marc defended himself.
“Marc, I don’t understand. Do you know what this falls under? Marc this is treason. I don’t understand. Why would you do this? Sell secrets to the Russians?” Oscar demanded.
“What do you care anyway!!?” Marc cried. “You don’t want to live with me. You left me!” He ran out of his room and to the top of the stairs.
“Marc that was a dream we told you that.” Oscar tried to explain as he chased after him.
“It was not. Now you are just pretending to be nice.”
“That’s not true Marc.” Matt came over to him.
Hearing all the commotion Rudy came to the bottom of the stairs “What’s going on?”
“Come on Marc” Matt urged, “Come back to our room.”
“No! You don’t want to be my brother. You said you don’t want a weirdo bionic freak for a twin.”
Matt was shocked. “I never said that. Ever. Honest dad. I swear.”
“I know you didn’t son.”
“Yes he did. Jaime told me you said that, that’s why you left with dad.”
“Marc. Come on son that was a dream.” Oscar tried to reason with him.
“It wasn’t a dream. That’s how you all feel. You want me to think it was a dream. I was never sick. You just want me to think I was. I don’t know why you want to me nice now.
Matt put his hands on Marc’s shoulders. “Come on Marc.”
“No!” Marc cried. He shoved Matt making him fall backward down the stairs. Marc ran down the steps and out the front door.
“Marc, Marc come back” Oscar called. Marc had taken off at a bionic run.
“There’s no trying to catch him Oscar. Call security. They’ll find him.
Matt started to sit up. “Easy Matt” Rudy was saying. “Take it slow, I don’t know if you broke something or not.”
“I think I’m alright, just find Marc.”
Oscar picked up the phone. “Get me security. My son Marc just ran away. You have his description. I want you to find him.”
“We’re on it Mr. Goldman.”
At Steve’s apartment he and Jaime were just getting ready for a quiet dinner for two when the knock came to the door.
“The phone is off the hook 8 to 5. It’s Oscar” Steve grumbled as he walked to the door.
“Don’t answer it.” Jaime warned.
Steve opened the door. And was shocked to see Marc. He could tell by looking at him he had been crying. “Marc, what’s the matter?”
“Steve, I don’t want to be bionic anymore I don’t want to be. You fix it so I’m not. Please.”
“Come on in Marc.” Marc saw Jaime.
“No, no I’ll stay out here.”
“Listen I’ll leave, ok.” Jaime crossed to the door.
Steve whispered to Jaime. ‘Call Oscar and let him know he’s here. Tell him there is a bigger problem than Marc committing treason. Which he never did in the first place.”
Jaime nodded as she left. Steve knew she had gotten he message.
“First of all did you run all the way from your house?
“Come on out to the kitchen I’ll get you something to drink you’ll need it.”
Jaime went to the nearest payphone and called Oscar. “Oscar, it’s Jaime. Marc is at Steve’s. You have a bigger problem on your hands than Marc committing treason, which I refuse to believe.”
“I think I know what you mean. It’s that nightmare he had when he was sick. He thinks we are all against him. But what do you mean a bigger problem?”
“He says he doesn’t want to be bionic anymore. Oscar, he is very upset. Give Steve time to talk to him and then I think you and Rudy better get over there. Steve said he would call.”
“Ok we’ll wait for him then.”
Marc drank a second glass of water. “Feel better?” Steve asked.
“Ok then pal, we have to talk.”
“Marc I know how you feel. I felt the same way. Son, you have to believe that what happened I mean what you think they said to you was a dream. I take it I didn’t say anything, that’s why you trust me?”
”Son, you have to believe it was a nightmare you had when you were sick.”
“No it wasn’t. They want me to think it was a dream.”
“That’s no true. Marc it was a dream. Listen you are having some sever adjustment problems. I think that’s why you did what you did with the Soviets. Am I right?”
“I guess I thought that nobody around here cared. Maybe they would they didnn’t know about me. I mean they don’t know I am bionic.”
“Trust me, they would love to find out.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s hard to explain without making you feel worse about yourself.”
“Never mind. Listen I have to call your dad and tell him you are here. Is that Ok?”
Marc nodded. Steve called Oscar from the living room. “Oscar. It’s Steve. Did Jaime call you and tell you Marc is here?”
“Yes, how is he?”
“We have a long way to go. You and Rudy need to get over here.”
‘We are on our way.”
Steve turned to Marc. “Have you had dinner yet?”
Marc shook his head. “I’ll fix you something then.” Steve took a can of spaghetti out of the cupboard. “Will this be ok?”
Again Marc nodded.
He poured the contents of the can into a pan and started to heat it up. Before it even got started the doorbell rang. “That was fast.” Steve said as he headed for the door.
He opened it. It wasn’t Oscar. It was Inspector Gregory and his henchmen. “Colonel, we know that Marc Goldman is here. We need to take him with us.”
“I won’t let you do that.”
“You have no choice.” They pushed their way into Steve’s apartment. “Marc, you need to come with us.”
“No!!” Marc cried. He ran into Steve’s room and locked the door.
“Marc.” Gregory said. “Don’t make this harder on yourself. Come on out, and we won’t go so hard on you.”
They received no answer.
They were interrupted when Oscar, Danny and Rudy showed up. Danny had come along to offer some legal advice.
“Marc has locked himself in my room. I would have broke the lock and gone on in, if it weren’t for my friendly visitors.” Steve pointed to Gregory.
“Do it now!!” Oscar ordered.
Steve burst through the door. They were shocked by what they saw. Marc had taken a knife and had sliced through the skin covering his arm and legs.
“I don’t want to be this way anymore.” He cried. Please, please I don’t want to be bionic anymore. I want everyone to like me again.”
Rudy ran to him to make sure he had not damaged the bionics in any way. Thank goodness they seemed fine. “Marc, we do like you son. We do.” He tried to reassure.
‘I’ll get him to the lab” Rudy said picking him up. “Steve do you have a blanket I can cover him up with?”
Steve walked to the closet and pulled one out. “Here. No need to return it.”
“You can’t take him anywhere” Gregory tried to stop Rudy.
“You don’t get it do you Gregory. Can’t you see we have a very disturbed little boy here?”
Steve shouted. “Look at what he did to himself. Do you really think he’s emotionally stable?”
Gregory shook his head it had been a frightening sight.
“Besides you can’t take him anyway.” Danny stated. “He can’t be held accountable for anything. He’s only seven. He’s just a kid. And you can’t prevent him from getting medical treatment.”
Not paying any attention to Gregory, Rudy left with Marc and the rest followed.
At Rudy’s lab Oscar and Steve sat outside, waiting for Rudy to come out. Steve talked to Gregory while they waited.
“So you see Inspector Marc thought he had been betrayed by us. He didn’t know what he was doing. That combined with a lack of sleep would put the most stable adult over the edge and lose touch with reality. Marc didn’t mean any harm. It was actually his subconscious reacting. Gregory, he doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t.” Steve continued to explain.
“Ok I’ll give you that. I’ll drop the charges this time, but if anything like this ever happens again.”
“I understand. Thanks.” Oscar said
Everyone turned to the opening door. “Rudy, how is he?’ Oscar asked.
“He is getting some sleep. We will work with him. I never thought we were so concerned about the physical aspects. We never took into consideration the emotional implications bionic surgery would have on the mind of a seven year old boy. I really thought he had adjusted very well. Well he did adjust physically anyway.
“So what do we do for him?” Oscar asked.
“We have a long way to go. But I think that if I work with him he will be ok. It will take some time.
“How long Rudy?’
“It could take months. I want him to come here after school the same as Danny. If I have to I will get the best physiologist I can find.”
“Do anything, anything you think that will help? Rudy whatever it takes. Spare no expense.”
“I won’t. I’ll get the best in the country.”