Between a Pail and a Penny

Dear Planet Earth,

These army boys sure know how to keep a girl waiting. And then totally freak with her mind. A sleepless eighteen hours after our first encounter, General Talpa returned to my cell with another nerdy-looking guy who couldn’t be much older than me.

“Good morning, Mr. Panus.” I haven’t been able to tell morning from night since I got here. He could have already lied to me. “I have good news.”

I watched the younger soldier carefully flip through a stack of papers he brought with him. Talpa took my silence as a sign of acknowledgement.

“I believe you. I believe you actually are just an impulsive kid with bad luck.”

This was a relief, I guess. I still wasn’t sure what I was being accused of, and I was too tired to fire back at his “impulsive” comment.

“Okay,” I said.

“With that said, I have another question for you that might really help us.” He took the stack of papers from the other soldier and dropped it in my lap. “We started to pick up a radio signal two weeks ago. It was a faint message, and spoken in something that took us days to get even a rough idea of what was being broadcast.”

I looked at the top paper in front of me. Ofertt, Marcus. Ortega, Lindsey.

“They were names. Each one buried in a complex code beyond anything geeks like Brandon here could ever understand.” He smiled.

O’Toole, Patrick. O’Toole, Catherine. There were pages and pages of random names.

“My question, Mr. Panus, is if you have any idea what this means.” He put his thick index finger above the next name I read.

Panus, Scott.



  1. Suzie Rita

    There on to you…Or they think you know more. Are you going to play dumb or tell them everything you know…what’s the plan. Oh, and I am still not over the fact you left your friend propped up against a tree!!!

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