Chpt. 6 "Everybody Moon—Part 2"
Train #14 Northbound 2:18 PM
By two in the afternoon, several things had happened that the Eppeses would always remember, and not just because Novich was filming. First, several of Charlie's students from CalSci started to arrive. Charlie recognized Jessica Paxton, the girl responsible for the flyers, Melissa Reynolds, one of the students who had been at his office the day of the faculty meeting, and--
"Hey Charlie!" a very familiar gangly youth called, waving.
"Oswald. How've you been?" Since the case with the voting machines, Charlie had only seen and spoken with Oswald Kittner every now and again. Thankfully sans FBI.
"Doing good! Man, I can't believe you're actually going through with this!" The young man took in the crowd, the different group areas, and vendors. Yes, there were vendors.
"Well, it's not like I had much of a choice," Charlie said. "So, how long will you be staying?"
Oswald shrugged. "Not sure. I rode down with Melissa and Casey. Mel said something about a few hours. You know we're here to support ya man." He clapped Charlie on the shoulder.
"Thanks." Wouldn't anyone else be joining them? So far, Larry and Amita and the people his dad knew only watched, and Novich flat out refused to join the mooning line.
"After all, someone has to do the filming," Novich said with an air of great self importance.
"I'm sure Larry or Amita or I could take over for a moment," Millie offered.
"No, no. This is my job." Novich was starting to get on everyone's nerves.
"Hey Charlie, are Don's FBI buddies here yet?" Oswald asked suddenly.
"I just figured since you told CalSci, and Dr. Finch said your brother was involved, that he would have told the FBI and he'd have people here for him," Oswald explained with a shrug.
"Well, he did tell the FBI. I don't know if anyone will be here, though. I know he's hoping...least I think he is," Charlie said. "My Dad's business partner and other friends are here though."
A train whistle blowing stopped further conversation. Charlie and Oswald headed over to the Eppeses' area which was crowded with Alan's friends, Larry, Amita, and Millie, and...fifty CalSci students or more? They heard Novich complaining about it being too crowded. Charlie ignored the bio professor and joined his father and brother along the fence again for the 1:27 train.
"Casey! Mel! Oz, come on!" Jessica called. She was further along the fence preparing to moon.
Alan and Don glanced at Charlie, both smiling. "Looks like we've got our first moon-a-longs," Alan said.
"Yeah, it does."
Sure enough, Melissa, Casey, and Oswald were joining Jessica. Of course they could hear Melissa swearing she was only going to moon the one train. Oswald looked their way and gave the Eppeses a thumb's up. All of it had been caught on camera.
"See, Professor? Even the students are joining in," Millie said. Novich just "hmmphed."
The 1:27 train came and slowed down as it went by. The mooners saw the cameras inside and waved. Charlie laughed as a relatively new mooner lifted their small dog so it, too, was mooning the train. The look in the dog's eyes was priceless.
Don looked to see what had his brother laughing. "You've got to be kidding!"
"That's what happens sometimes," Alan said, although neither of his sons caught it.
Another thing that Don and Charlie learned, and Novich was disgusted to have caught it was that sometimes the drivers of the train would moon as well. Novich had been recording from an angle facing the on-coming train and captured the moons through the window.
"Yecch." Novich shuddered.
"Reconsidering?" Millie asked.
After the 1:27, the southbound 1:39 was well on its way. It was during its passing that David Sinclair, Megan Reeves, and Colby Granger arrived. There were also a few more agents wandering about, and Don and Charlie were only able to tell they were agents because they looked very stiff and too serious despite the summer clothing they wore.
"Well, it looks like everyone is here now," Alan said as the FBI agents he knew and practically considered family made their way over.
"Sure does," Don agreed.
When the agents made it, they were surprised, yet also thrilled to see Larry.
"Dr. Fleinhardt, it's good to see you again," Colby said. "Out for good?"
"Glad to see you're out and about, Larry," David said.
"It is a pleasure to see you both. And no, I'm not out for good yet. Amita was kind enough to fill me in on what was happening and I came to support my colleague and his family," Larry explained.
"So that means I'm just lucky then to see you?" Megan asked, pretending to be hurt. Her greeting had been before the guys and it had been short due to the momentary shock.
"I admit the possibility of me seeing you was something I dared not hope for," Larry said. "Not because I didn't want to see you, I just wasn't sure I should, least not yet given how I made myself absent in your return. However, it seems the Fates have declared that our orbits should meet again." Then, completely forgetting where they were, who was with them, and surprising Megan with being so open, Larry gently kissed her on the lips.
"All right, Fleinhardt!" Colby clapped, bringing the physicist and agent back to reality.
"That was disturbing," Novich muttered.
Unfortunately David, Don, Colby, and Charlie heard him. And that's when the agents saw the camera.
And Colby went for the camera.
When the 2:18 rolled by, Novich was no longer filming. Instead he was on the fence mooning with the Eppeses, Megan, Larry (Don had been right!), Colby, David, Oswald, Jessica, Melissa, Casey, and a few more CalSci students who had decided the event looked fun after all.
Amita and Millie still watched. They also made sure Novich stayed at the fence until the train passed; it turned out to be easier than Millie thought. All she had to do was threaten to go to the Head of the Biology Department and say Novich showed very little support for a fellow CalSci professor, even if said professor worked in another department.
As for filming duties? They passed to Agent Ian Edgerton who had received the infamous FBI e-mail and found the group a minute or two after Don's team arrived and Larry kissed Megan. He intended to just say hello, but saw he had to keep Colby from destroying Novich's camera, and the professor in the process. Well, no one else was trying to hold Granger back.
"You destroy the film. Not the camera itself," Edgerton said, after rescuing the camera.
"Agent Edgerton, we can edit the tape, so please don't destroy it," Millie said shortly after introductions were made. "Or the camera."
"I don't know. I sort of like the idea of having it destroyed," Larry said. "The tape, I mean." Don and Charlie voiced their agreement.
"Are you kidding me? After what you said?" Megan said to Larry and she shot a look at the brothers. Larry shrugged.
Ian grinned. "Actually, if I remember the e-mail correctly, this probably has some good footage on it. Am I right?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
Don and Charlie groaned.
"Agent Edgerton, would you like to take over filming for us for a while?" Millie asked. "I'll bet you have a better aim than Professor Novich here. No offense."
"I definitely have better aim," Ian agreed.
Only Millie and Novich were unaware of why everyone was laughing.Train #35 11:24 Southbound
After train 23 at 5:30, things calmed down for the Eppeses. Oswald, Casey, and Melissa left at five after mooning a few trains. Melissa had not, as she declared she would at first, only moon once.
"There's something sort of addictive about it," she commented as the three of them were leaving.
Charlie and Don thought she was crazy. Oswald took a moment before leaving to say he would be in touch with Charlie about school and everything.
"Keep me in mind if something comes up, project wise," he said with a wink towards Don and his team. Then he and the girls were gone.
Don's team left shortly after the "kids." Novich, Ian, and Alan's friends were already gone having left around four-thirty. Novich had taken his camera and tapes, however Amita held on to the ones with footage of the day.
Charlie was glad Amita and Larry stayed longer than everyone else. It had been easier mooning knowing that they were there. Finally around six, Amita suggested she and Larry take off.
"Didn't you say the monastery had some sort of curfew?"
"Did I?" Larry couldn't recall.
Amita and the others chuckled. "Come on Larry. Goodbye Millie. Mr. Eppes. Don, Charlie." She punctuated the last with a kiss that was reciprocated.
"Bye Amita. Larry." Don said.
"Drive safely, Amita," said Millie.
"We'll see you soon, I'm sure. Bye Larry."
"Bye Amita. Larry." Charlie was the last to say his. Then they were gone.
For the last set of trains in to the night, it was just Millie and the Eppeses again.
Now it was almost 11:24. The last train for the evening would soon go by. Most of the crowd from before was gone. Again only a handful of people remained and very few, like the Eppeses, had been there from the beginning. Yet in this group were some of the first mooners who kept their mooning to the night trains only. After all, doing it at night was more authentic since the tradition was started at night.
Don and Charlie were just glad that their mooning marathon was almost over. Yes, it had been fun at times, they would say later. But they were not planning to do it again next year.
Alan, like his sons, had mixed feelings. He had enjoyed himself for the most part and sifted through old memories. He was glad to have had his family and a few of his friends there, but he was pretty sure he wouldn't be mooning again next year either.
"Almost time," Millie said sitting next to him.
"Yep." Alan stared in to the dark. The only light available came from the lanterns and flashlights people brought with them. It was peaceful.
"What was the first mooning like?"
Alan looked at her and then at his sons who had been thrown by the question. As he had. "What makes you think I was there?"
Millie smiled. "Your friend Stan and another guy named Greg who was here said you were. They told me while you three were having a break."
"Dad?" Charlie couldn't believe it.
Neither could Don. Then again, maybe he could.
"Okay. So I was here then. Don't remember why exactly, but what was it like?" Alan thought for a moment. "Like right now, except when I was finished mooning, I knew there was a drink waiting for me."
"And you'd already been drinking," Don guessed.
"Yes. But only a little," Alan was quick to say. The boys and Millie laughed. Then, before anyone could say anything else, they heard the train whistle.
"One last time," Charlie sighed as he got in to position. Don and Alan got up as well.
To their surprise, Millie came to the fence and stood on Alan's other side.
"What? Last train," she said at their looks. "Besides, I haven't done this in years!"
"You, too?" Alan was shocked, but less so than Don and Charlie. Well, this certainly explained it all!
"Well, I can't claim to be part of the first, but the fourth through at least the tenth. So," Millie continued as the train rolled in to view, "everyone ready? One last time…"
3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333AN: So, my first multi-chapter "Numb3rs" story has ended. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you to everyone who has read it and to everyone who has left reviews.