Act Four

Saturday, October 28, 1989

7:45 PM

"I'm sorry to bother you at this time of night, Doc." Lee was standing at the pay-phone near the 7-11. It was a chilly night—the wind made it feel even colder and he'd forgotten his jacket. Lee wrapped his arms around himself as he spoke into the receiver. "But I really needed to talk to someone."

"It's no problem, Lee," Dr. Walker said. "You know I'm always here for you. What seems to be the trouble?"

"It was just like you said. The paranoia, it got out of control"

"Exactly how did it get out of control?" For a moment Lee thought that the doctor sounded amused, but he dismissed that thought immediately. Dr. Walker was his friend, after all.

"Amanda was talking to someone at our—Agency and I started thinking that she was conspiring against me." Lee told him. "And then when Amanda said that you might be part of the problem and that I should stop seeing you—I think I just lost it."

"Lost it how?" Dr. Walker said. "Did you hurt Amanda?"

"No, I didn't." Lee could still picture Amanda's face in his mind, the way she had looked as he'd lowered his hand. His voice shook slightly as he spoke. "But I nearly did. I have to get away from her, Doc. She—she's not safe around me."

"Lee, just calm down. Now I think I can help you with this problem. Tell me where you are."

"The 7-11 at South Glebe," Lee said. A man in a hooded sweatshirt walked by, giving him a curious glance. Lee ignored him.

"Perfect," Dr. Walker said. "That's not too far from where I live, Lee. Let me give you directions."

"Thanks. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"No problem," Dr. Walker said. "Just remember—success comes a step at a time."

4247 Maplewood Dr.

7:50 PM

"Yes, of course we have Dr. Walker's home address," Billy said. "But I don't think you should go in there, Amanda. Let me send a team."

"Sir, I have to," Amanda said. "Right now I think I'm the only one who can get through to Lee."

"Are you absolutely sure about that? Amanda, we're still trying to figure out exactly what Dr. Walker did to Dr. Smyth. We have a team going over Walker's office right now, but at this point we don't know how much The Agency's been compromised and we still don't know what Lee's been programmed to do. This could be very dangerous."

"I know that, sir," Amanda said. "But I still have to try."

"There's also your child to consider. If anything happened to either of you I don't think that Lee would ever forgive me."

"I am considering my child," Amanda said. "And I don't want my child to grow up without a father. Please—just give me the address. I don't think we have much time."

"We don't even know for sure that Lee is there." Amanda looked at him, her dark eyes pleading. He sighed. "Okay, I'll give you the address, Amanda."

"Thank you, sir."

"But on one condition. We'll send in a backup team about fifteen minutes behind you. That should give you enough time to try and get through to Lee. And if you can't—"

"I can," Amanda said, her mind refusing to consider any other option. She felt the baby moving inside her, urging her to hurry. "I have to."

8:30 PM

Amanda stood at the front door of Dr. Walker's house. By all appearances the house looked deserted. The porch light was out, the shades and blinds drawn. But Lee's car was parked out front, letting Amanda know that appearances could be very deceiving. All she had to do was get inside. She pulled a lock pick from the cuff of her sleeve, using the miniature flashlight on her keychain so that she could see what she was doing. But before she could insert the pick in the lock the door opened.

"Mrs. Stetson, so nice of you to join us," Dr. Walker said. "Have you forgotten how to knock?"

"Well not exactly. I was looking for my husband –I saw his car parked out front but it didn't look like anyone was here."

"So you thought you'd break in to make sure?" Dr. Walker pulled a gun out of his jacket pocket, aiming it at her chest. "I think that you should join our little party, Mrs. Stetson—only it used to be Mrs. King, didn't it? You see, this concerns you as well. Right this way—and don't think of trying anything."

Amanda followed Dr. Walker into the marble-floored foyer and through a pair of wooden doors into what looked like a small library. Lee was sitting on the sofa, staring blankly ahead at the opposite wall.

"Lee?" Amanda said. But if he heard her he gave no sign.

"Don't bother talking to him, Amanda," Dr. Walker said. "At this point Lee will only respond to my voice. Let me introduce you to our other guest—or perhaps you know him already. I broke him out of the sanitarium that he was being held in—he needs to be here to witness this."

Amanda noticed the other man for the first time. He was sitting in the chair opposite Lee, wearing clothes that seemed too big for his shrunken frame. His hair had been slightly grey then, Amanda remembered. Now it was completely white. The man was rocking back and forth as he sat, mumbling incoherently under his breath. Clutched in the man's arms was a small stuffed duck wearing a hat—Lester Duck.

"Dr. Glaser," Amanda whispered. She turned to Dr. Walker. "Just what is all this?"

"This is justice, Mrs. Stetson," Dr. Walker told her. "For what you did to my stepfather, destroying his research, his life's work. This is for destroying him and taking him away from me when I needed him the most."

"I understand how you must feel," Amanda began.

"No!" Dr. Walker said, his eyes slightly moist as he glared at her. "You don't understand—no one could. No one but me."

"What about Dr. Smyth?" Amanda had to keep him talking. Her eyes met Lee's briefly—for one moment she thought there was a spark of recognition there, but then it was gone.

"Dr. Smyth? He was nobody," Dr. Walker said. "I just used him as a way through to Stetson. This doesn't involve agency business at all—this is personal."

"So now that you have us all here," Amanda said. "Just what do you plan to do with us?"

"Stand up, Lee." Lee stood, and Dr. Walker handed him the gun. "Now you fire when I give you the order, okay?"

"Yes, Dr. Walker," Lee said.

"Now what this is going to be is a nice little murder-suicide," Dr. Walker turned to Amanda. "Lee will shoot you, shoot himself, and no one will be any the wiser. Everyone knows how unstable your husband has been lately, Mrs. Stetson. I think they'll reach the logical conclusion."

"Lee won't do it," Amanda said softly, looking into her husband's eyes. Dr. Walker laughed.

"You're as delusional as he is," Dr. Walker said. "Lee will do anything I order him to do. I didn't just use my stepfather's research—I improved it. No trigger mechanisms or code words—it's perfect. Untraceable." He looked over at Glaser. "Daddy would be so proud of me. Don't you think?"

For a moment Amanda saw sadness play across Dr. Walker's features, and then he seemed to shake himself out of it. "Enough talking now. Lee, I want you to take that gun and shoot Amanda—right in the chest."

Lee cocked the pistol and for a moment it was as though time stopped completely. Amanda could feel her heart thudding in her ears and it was hard to breathe.

"I love you, Lee," she whispered.

"Now, Lee!" Dr. Walker almost screamed the instruction. But instead of firing at Amanda, Lee turned the gun and fired on Dr. Walker. The man fell to the floor and lay there, unmoving.

"Guess you didn't improve your research enough." Lee dropped the gun beside Dr. Walker's body. Amanda ran to Lee and he gathered her into his arms, holding her body protectively against his own. Amanda realized that he was shaking.

"Please tell me this is all over, Amanda," Lee said, his voice choked with emotion.

"It's over, Lee," Amanda said. "This time it's really over."

Tag

Tuesday, October 31, 1989

Q-Bureau Office

"Amanda where is my contact book?" Lee asked. The contents of his desk drawers—pens, paper clips, whiteout, notepads, even his loose change—were now strewn all across his desktop. "I usually keep it in my desk and now I can't find it anywhere."

"Don't ask me," Amanda said, not looking up from her computer screen. "You're the one who reorganized everything, Lee. Can't you remember?"

"Now if I could remember, would I be asking you?" He walked towards Amanda and leaned across her desk, staring down at the top of her head. "I know you know where it is, Amanda Stetson, so spill it."

Amanda shook her head, still not looking up. Her shoulders were shaking and Lee realized that she was laughing.

"Amanda come on, this isn't funny! Please tell me where it is. Pretty please?"

"Try the file cabinet," Amanda said, wiping at the corner of her eyes as she finally looked up at him. "It'll be under 'C' for contact book."

"C for contact book?" Lee opened the top file drawer and leafing through the folders. "Oh you've got to be kidding me—you've got to be joking—" his face fell as he picked up his contact book.

"See?"

"I can't believe I did that," Lee said. "Amanda, next time I start organizing everything take me straight to Dr. Pfaff—even if you have to tie me down and drag me there."

"Hopefully there won't be a next time," Billy said as he came through the door, two white Styrofoam boxes in his hand. "We've dismantled Walker's lab and this time we've destroyed all that research—hopefully no one will ever be able to get their hands on it again."

"That's a relief," Amanda said. "What about Dr. Glaser?"

"Back in the sanitarium and none the wiser. Apparently Walker thought that witnessing his revenge might bring his stepfather back."

"Thank God it didn't," Lee said with a slight shudder. "Billy— what's in the boxes?"

"Your sandwiches." Billy handed Lee a box and the other box to Amanda. "Ham and cheese for you, and pimento cheese and pickle for Amanda."

"Pimento cheese and—" Lee's stomach began churning again as he thought of that combination. The odor of the food from his box wasn't helping either. "Amanda how could you possibly eat that?" He managed to say.

"I don't know," Amanda said as she opened her box. "It just sounded really good to me."

"Something wrong?" Billy asked Lee.

"No—yes—if you'll excuse me." His hand over his mouth, Lee ran blindly for the restroom.

The End