A story about the extraordinary

Written by Jack Himself

I.

Jordan was, by all accounts, a very nondescript individual. Among his own people he was considered a very polite and very average 20-year-old male. However, Jordan was quite certain his destiny was far from the ordinary world that surrounded him daily.

Although he did not look extraordinary and bore a strong similarity to every other 20-year-old male that he encountered, and, granted, most of his interactions with the world could not exactly be called very extraordinary, he strongly believed otherwise. For Jordan P. Niemander was certain that he was a Witchfinder.

What exactly is a Witchfinder, some would have asked, if Jordan cared at all to enlighten them to his secret extraordinariness.  In truth he himself did not truly know, not at a conscious level at least, but he was sure that he would find out. And soon.

You see, dear reader, at one point in the developmental stages of Jordan’s very average life he had become quite delusional. Being very average in appearance and of qualities of character Jordan felt it necessary to find something of note within himself to make him feel like he was a stand-out, like a one-in-a-million rather than the one-of-a million that he truly appeared to be.

And sure, sure - maybe it was all the television that made Jordan become delusional in his belief in his extraordinariness. Maybe it was the thousands of murders that he had viewed that had begun to warp his understanding of reality. Maybe somewhere down the line Jordan had began to believe that he was the sole survivor of all these fictional wars, cold-hearted murders and bloody teleplays that he viewed, expressionlessly as the Sphinx itself.

Maybe that’s where Jordan’s sanity had taken a left turn.

Somewhere down this line mental circuits in Jordan’s mind had permanently crossed. This short-circuiting could have convinced Jordan of his truly immortal nature - of his own genius and unparalleled intelligence. Perhaps it was his divorcee mother who would pat Jordan on his head (with her free hand) and assure him that he was indeed “such a special boy” while taking a deep drag on another Pall Mall.

Perhaps it was the fault of his eternally absent father, who could have been anywhere on Earth because he certainly was not in Jordan or his chain-smoking mother’s lives, whose lack of presence in Jordan’s life created an unrealistic self-image that Jordan had recently begun calling the Witchfinder.

II.

“Hey! Hey, homies!” came the forever humorous tones of Fast Freddie Frederickson’s voice.

Two 20-year-old males stopped and turned from their slow, deliberative walk to campus and looked on at their friend. Classically, and in true Freddie Fredrickson fashion, the skinny young man, who was forever the evil minded trickster, gave the two his patented Dual Eagles, flying each hand high above his head with both middle fingers crookedly extended.

“Fuck you, homies!” Freddie whooped in a joyous shout, a giant grin on his pimply face.

The young men did not seem to find this excruciating funny. They stood dumbfounded in the face of Freddie’s exuberant salutations. As Freddie got closer he continued his tirades.

“Hey, Officer!” Freddie wailed in a mock-falsetto over his shoulder.

“Off-ess-sir! They’s the ones!” Freddie cried out to a crowd of non-existent police and first reposnders using his middle fingers to point them out in mock terror.

“That’s them over there! Them’s the dirty rats who seduced my tender virgin twat!” he shouted, right at the top of his lungs, still approaching the two cringing men.

People around the campus were beginning to stare as they always did when bad ol’ Freddie Frederickson as around.

Young, rail thin women shot nervous glances over the thin wire frames of their glasses at the three men while feeling absolutely certain their own unavoidable gang rape was unavoidably near - and coming in short order.

A few others students, “dinguses”, Freddie called had them, chuckled politely.

“Oh, Jesus, Freddie - you are such a card.” one of the 20-year-olds sighed as Freddie finally caught up with them.

“What is your major malfunction, Freddie?” the other male inquired. “You think that happy horse-shit is gonna get you through school?”

Freddie made no answer, wild-eyed with that god-damned good natured, infectious humor burning inside of him. Instead of answering, he walked ahead of them and towards the looming gloom of the Quad without saying another word.

“Aw, you girls oughta lighten up, these are the best years of your life.” said a random dingus to Freddie’s embarrassed comrades as they marched towards Chem class.

III.

For a reason that Jordan could not accurately define - he needed a gun. His natural defenses of being very average, nondescript and non-threatening was not enough to protect him from witches.

He was sure of it.

Jordan’s delusion had begun to take on an extraordinary life all of it’s own and now he considered himself a minor celebrity of sorts. One that badly needed personal protection.

Although the good Lord, in all his divine wisdom, only knew for what accomplishment or achievement that this new found belief in fame stemmed from - Jordan was completely convinced of it.

After all, I have two web pages. Jordan had thought as he basked in the glow of his lap top. The image on the computer screen clearly reflected Jordan’s unmistakable celebrity right on his very own Facebook page proclaiming to the World Wide Web in a manner that was obviously evident to all - despite his very average looking profile picture.

A Facebook and a Twitter! He thought with glee.

I must have hundreds of fans from all over the world! He thought and a wave of pure euphoria rose inside him.

Pulling his eyes away from the screen took some effort but when he did Jordan looked over to his Applied Chemistry II homework - a single piece of paper with one word written on it. On the nearly blank piece of paper was written the word: WITCHES. All capital letters.

I need a gun more than ever. He thought while examining what he saw as genius answers to simple chemistry problems. He never noticed that there was just one word written there. To Jordan there were marvelous equations gleaned from the ancients and whispered only to him and him alone.

Sweeping up an array of befuddling electronic gadgetry (the curse of his generation) and piling it carelessly into his book bag, including three cellular phones, a brand new ePad and his trusty laptop computer that lit up from four distinct places, Jordan began contemplating what manner of fire arm he needed in order to fully protect himself from dangerous witches.

Then, he started off to class, homework in hand.

IV.

“Base molecules, or the “atomic structure” of Carbon is made up of four parts electrons and two parts neutrons.” came the practiced stentorian tones of the instructor’s perfectly dry voice.

It was like someone had drained all the human emotion out that of that voice and left it’s stogy owner with a dry pile of encyclopedia’s printed in England. Real bargain bin stuff too but it was the manner of stagecraft in those clipped, punctuated sentences that really ground themselves into the classroom. Like dull nails going into concrete.

This only added to the fact that Jordan Niemander hated Applied Chemistry II. He hated it the way a shoe salesmen hates feet or a mechanic hates cars. Every last detail of it was an inhuman torture inflicted on man by a vengeful God.

Who needed this asinine garbage? Jordan asked himself from behind his series of thoughtful facial expressions that he directed, mostly, at his notes.

He felt a little more relieved that he had stopped by the gun store on his way to campus that morning. Getting a little insurance against witches made him feel more secure. After all, he was famous.

The dry lecture punctured the soft reverie of Jordan’s newfound gun lust. His delusions gave way enough for him to hear the Chem professor ask:

“Who can tell me who first discovered Carbon dating?” the perfectly flat voice asked into the silence of the over-crowded college classroom.

Blank stares were traded sincerely among the sophomores while the impossibly sober eye of the professor darted among them like a hungry owl in a rat’s nest.

A single scrawny hand flew up from the perfectly still, frozen sea of heads. It shot up without hesitation and waved.

The owl’s eyes stopped on this unwary morsel of rodent flesh. Dipping it’s short beak into a seating chart it searched for the proper recipe for raw ratburgers.

“You sir, Mr. ... Mister … ?” the professor said, searching for the owner of the scrawny hand.

“Freddie E. Frederickson. At your-service, Cap’N!” the hand’s owner proudly announced.

A murmur of uncomfortable laughter passed over the heads cutting a bit of the tension.

“Yes. Mr. Frederickson.”

The owlish professor pronounced his name “Fred-Erick-Zinn” - dripping with cold disdain.

“Now, please sir, enlighten us as to the individual cited as principly responsible for Carbon dating.” the humorless owl asked, narrowing his withering gaze at poor old Freddie.

“Easy. That would be Willie Libby of the ever-lovin U of Chicago.” Freddie responded, with a bit of his patented happy-go-lucky tone straining at the effort.

Doctor Willard Libby, you mean, Mr. Frederickson?” the humorless Professor further inquired.

The old owl pronounced his name “Fred-Erick-Zinn” again. Jordan was beginning to sweat a little.

“Sure, teach.” Freddie said.

“Do you care to enlighten us as to who took the principle of Libby’s Half-Life of Carbon and further refined and corrected the formula for Carbon dating?” hooted the old owl.

In silence, the classroom full of heads watched the verbal tennis match unfold. Jordan began to sweat a bit more, (was his gun sweating too?). He felt as if he himself were somehow deeply involved in this session.

“Doctor Harry Godwin of course.” Freddie snapped back.

“Year?”

“1962.”

“Place?”

“U of Cambridge, Massachusetts where he served as conference chair for the Half-Life committee.”

“A theory first circulated in what trade journal?”

Uh-oh. Freddie thought. There goes my B average.

“Trade journal?” Freddie innocently asked.

Jordan couldn’t take much more of this. He found his hand drifting over to the hot lump in his jacket pocket.

Freddie, for his part, rubbed the back his neck attempting to mask the pain of his imminent defeat.

The humorless Chem Professor rolled his eyes and arched a bird claw of a hand into his hip in a classic show of utter disappointment for Freddie not having read an article in an obscure, and long defunct magazine from 1963.

“Peri-od-dical. A magazine, sir.” the owl hooted, sensing it’s quarry’s obvious discomfort.

He pronounced sir as “suh”. Jordan noticed, rubbing his palms together.

The old owl’s eyes were tiny slits burning holes into poor old Freddie Frederickson’s forehead.

A bit of human emotion, even if it was pure hatred, threatened to invade the chenistry professor’s cross examination. The whole scene was very John Houseman - full of dry contempt.

Freddie, not being born anywhere near 1963, had no idea what Science Journal Today of the Fall of that 1963 had to say about radiocarbon dating or who the hell John Houseman was. He had, somehow, with the very best of intentions - backed himself into an intellectual corner in front of a classroom full of his peers.

There was only one way out for Freddie. A rule that his own proud poppa, one Mr. Frederick Eugene Frederickson Sr. had often espoused to him when the chips seemed perpetually down: “When in doubt - knock ‘em out.”

The hell with this jerk. Freddie thought.

“Was it .. Penthouse Forum, Doc?” Freddie offered in his most sincere “Oh-Gosh-Mister-Is-That-Your-Dog” voice.

Eruptions of laughter ensued.

Freddie should’ve quit right then. If he’d quit then, maybe nothing else would’ve happened.

At worst, he would have just been admonished by way of a write up scratched out by his over-bearing Chem Professor and later, post-punishment, beloved for brightening another arduous day for his fellow students-torturees.

But that’s not where it ended all.

“No, wait just a New York minute, Doc. Maybe it was in Juggs Weekly ‘65? Beavershots Annual of ‘77?”

Jordan silently shouted for Freddie to shut up. Freddie’s congenial voice was intolerable, gnawing … infuriating.

“Bush Whackers Galore Spring Break edition of 1970? Nudism Today from the summer of love 19 and 69?”

Freddie, the angry cornered mouse, kept speaking in rapid fire sentences. He never noticed the profusely sweating young man and his death grip on his chair only a feet away from him.

The humorless Professor cringed in utter shock as Freddie got up - feeling the tide of emotion swelling in him. He was still talking, citing awful porno mag titles without stop.

“No! I got it, Professor! The theory of Carbon dating was first published in Barely Legal Bimbos #11 and printed in this year of our Lord 19-”

BAAAAPPP-PPMMM.!!” roared a head-on, bone-splintering collision between two giants.

Much to his own shock, Freddie’s face was now a floating red cloud outlined in fluorescent lighting. The entire room sucked in a deep gasp of shock.

Freddie “Fast-Talkin E. Frederick did not get to finish his very funny sentence. In fact, after the gun shot, Freddie didn’t finish much of anything at all. His body fell limply to the steps that he had so recently been giving his sermon from, and was now silent, mostly still.

He landed with both arms at his sides face down.

Before the screaming started, in the pregnant silence, the entire room of 252 students turned around at once.

In a haze of blue gunpowder fumes Jordan stood shaking in his boots with a handgun pointed towards the place where Freddie Frederickson quickly had crumpled.

You shoulda shut up Fred. Jordan thought. You shoulda.

Jordan looked away from Fast Freddie’s body. All the classroom’s eyes were focused, with total fear, right at him. Those eyes went collectively from his trembling gun hand to his face. The terrified eyes were begging for some sort of an explanation as to why Freddie was lying in growing pool of his own bright red blood.

“Why? Why? Why?!” The eyes begged in the silence.

Rail thin women with watery, questioning eyes as big as silver dollars, cupped their hands over their mouths stifling screams that would not come. The Professor wanted to say something but instead put his hands up as if he was taken prisoner by Jordan.

Jordan, who thought he would feel much more extraordinary in this moment had no real explanation to give them. To him, this was just good tv. The part where the bad guy gets what’s coming to him. When the good guy gets to cop a sanctimonious feel from his best gal’s buns and they all live happily ever after. Roll Credits. What’s on next, Ma?

What Jordan definitely did not count on, not in all his fame, genius and intelligence, was this terrible feeling that he had deep in his stomach. He wanted to barf. He wanted to puke until there was nothing left boiling in his digestive system to regurgitate. His insides felt poisoned, heavy with poison.

The eyes still watched his face but they weren’t looking for an explanation anymore. They were looking for an indication of his next move. Who dies next? Their eyes silently asked. Who dies, Jordan?

The eyes looked like a sea of panicking sheep’s eyes before the slaughter. Jordan badly wanted to ralph up his guts. Something was in there.

“I had to ... I had to.” Jordan explained with his smoking gun still pointed to the place where he had executed Fast Freddie.

His voice was a small and weak sound.

The group’s eyes never left his face. He badly need to vomit.

“He - - he - was a witch.” he whispered softly.

Animal panic was all that controlled what happened next. The panic in the students was gone. Their manner like sharks sensing blood in the water. They collectively sensed the blood was from an animal that had so recently been a mortal threat, an enemy, but was now injured beyond the ability to defend itself.

Rising up from their desks and folding chairs and rows of thin plastic seating a wave of feet and hands assailed Jordan, reaching out and striking him in the face and groin.

The tidal wave of students hit him. They hit him and hit him again. A multi-armed Indian deity striking, reaching back and striking again with dozens of it’s arms. Fists sailed into his eyes, blackening them, bursting capillaries and veins with vicious accuracy. Dozens of arms sent him flying over rows of seats unto his back.

The entire classroom of people poured their unchecked rage at Jordan tearing at his clothes, ripping away his gun and finally pinning him to the ground.

At the front of the classroom the Chem professor stood expressionless. His hands were still up.

Jordan’s vision became blurry and dim. He managed to look up in time to see Freddie’s two friends, their chests heaving with anger and scorn, spitting long dangling ropes of spittle in his face.

“You sick freak.” one them said.

“You fucking shot ... Freddie (huff puff) - You god damned dingus.” the other cursed, wiping his mouth.

Jordan wanted to tell them that it was all OK. He wanted to say that Freddie was really a witch and that it would all be OK. It really would - he wanted to say. But his face hurt. His whole face felt like an over-filled balloon that his heartbeat pounded on like a king-shit of a drum.

The two men looked down at him as the world swam in Jordan’s vision. His mouth tasted like rusty water and rancid bile.

“He … he was a, was a w-w-it-itch.” Jordan wheezed through his comically swollen lips.

Then, a heavy book landed on Jordan’s face - and the world was darkness.

IV.

At the state hospital, the doctors said Jordan was doing “really fine”. He was making so much progress with his therapy. The months went by so quickly.

The newspapers had reported the shooting at the college as a “berserk man on a rampage” but Jordan didn’t feel so much like a berserk man. He actually felt very happy.

Ma’s letters said that Freddie had such a nice funeral. Freddie would’ve liked knowing that everyone in his Applied Chemistry II class, minus Jordan of course, had received A’s for the semester on account of him dying and all.

Anyway, Jordan felt very relieved and enthusiastic to tell the doctors and patients at the hospital all about his extraordinary adventure. He told them how he was famous, how he had killed a witch with his very own hands. Everyone at the hospital thought he was quite extraordinary for doing so and Jordan thought this was very appropriate.

Finally, Jordan thought happily, finally.

THE END