Page 1 of 1
A Caged Falcon
Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:01 pm
Brooklyn, New York City
Saucony shoes hit the pavement, as Jordan Carver continued his run through the streets of Brooklyn, New York. He was on his favorite path. Something about slow, solid state cardio was a great thing, even if Jordan couldn’t quite put his finger on it. It didn’t really do much for him anymore, but it was a great way to kill time and stay in relative shape. Making a turn, he started up the block towards his brownstone house. His run was almost over and he could see the building in the distance. Jordan’s earbuds were blasting Raekwon’s Only Built for Cuban Linx II, as he moved.
The lyrics to New Wu played as he finished, his run, ending in front of his building. Stopping, he put his hands on the back of his head, stretching as he walked a little bit, keeping his head up so the oxygen would flow into his lungs. Fishing around for his keys, he finally found them and started up the steps to enter the apartment.
Jordan rolled his eyes at the little girl’s statement as he walked into the apartment.
She was sitting on the couch, watching television. Two floors up. But Jasmine had the same response no matter where she was, whenever he came in from going for a run. “Whatever you say, sweetie.” He responded, heading into the kitchen for a glass of water.
The water was running from the refrigerator into the glass when the apartment telephone rang. Reaching out, Jordan picked up the phone and answered it. A few moments later, he was sitting down in one of the chairs in the kitchen, looking at the phone. A few moments after that, he was standing up, staring at the phone in his hand. His grandfather had passed away. The man who had been a guiding light in his life for years had passed away. He let it wash over him for a moment, his eyes closed. The pain of the loss was tempered by the knowledge that in his last few months, his grandfather, who had suffered from Alzhemier’s disease had not truly been his grandfather. Jordan knew who his grandfather was.
A strong man, who had done amazing things. Fighting in wars had taken its toll on him, but Michael Carver had been a bedrock for his family. Jordan still wasn’t sure what exactly his grandfather had done in the various wars he’d fought in, but he knew that the man had done his part for his community and for his family.
The brownstone house had been purchased by Michael Carver many years ago. Ownership had passed through the family since then, now in Jordan’s name. He put the phone back into the cradle and sat back down. He only had a few more moments to himself, as he heard Jasmine bounding down the stairs. She had only known her grandfather after he had been diagnosed, but in his lucid moments, Michael had brought to Jasmine’s life the same energy and fervor that he had brought to Jordan’s own life. Jasmine came into the room, and looked up at the older man.
“You stink.” She reiterated.
“I know.” He said. “Listen, Jas, we need to talk.” He said.
The little girl’s smile slowed. She knew that tone of voice. “What happened?”
“Pop Pops passed.” Jordan said. “He died in his sleep, during a nap.” He said.
“Oh.” She replied, blinking. “I…I saw him last week.” She said. “He was good, he was…” She said, trailing off.
“I know, I know.” Jordan said, holding his arms out. Despite the sweat of the run, the girl ran into his arms. “The house is going to get a bit busy, you know that right?” He asked and she nodded. “I know you don’t like lots of people in the house, but you’re going to have to be strong for me. I’m going to need all the help I can get and I know I can count on you for this, right?” He asked, and she nodded again. He took a breath and paused. This was the big one. “I’m going to have to talk to Jackson.” He said, knowing that she hated the more common name associated with Jackson Carver, his brother.
“Why?” She said, leaning her head back and looking up at him. There were already tears in her eyes and they threatened to spill over. “I don’t want him to come.”
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to. But he deserves to know. His grandfather died too.” He said.
“Fine.” Jasmine replied, boggling his mind yet again at how mature the little seven-year-old could be. “But I’m not going.”
Well, she wasn't that mature all the time. That would have made his life way too easy.
“You don’t have to go.” He said. “Is there anything you want me to tell him?” Jordan asked.
“Tell him I hate him.” Jasmine said, leaving his arms and running out of the kitchen.
Re: A Caged Falcon
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:02 pm
A thick slab of glass separated the two men. Bulletproof, it wasn’t the only thing that kept the two men apart. A sentencing hearing had done that. Jackson Carver sat down in the seat, picking up the telephone so he could speak to his younger brother, on the opposite side of the glass. Freedom was only two inches away but those two inches were harder to cross than any distance he’d ever had to cross before.
“How are you doing?” Jordan asked.
“Still in jail.” Jackson replied.
“That much is obvious.” Jordan said. “Listen I-“
“Did she say anything?” Jackson asked, interrupting.
Jordan looked down at the formica table, at the collection of scratches and chips in the material that had accumulated over the years. “She said she hated you.” He replied, knowing that trying to sugarcoat things wouldn’t make anything better. The medicine was bitter, but hopefully Jackson was learning something from Jasmine’s remarks. She gave them to Jordan to give to Jackson every time he visited his brother. She never came with him. Jasmine always refused.
“How come she never wants to see me?” Jackson said.
Jordan shook his head, lifting his eyes back up to his older brother. “I don’t know.” He admitted. “I’ve never asked her. I don’t know if it’s because she really does hate you or if it’s just her way of not wanting to see her father in prison orange.”
Jackson closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was sharp, refocused. “Why are you here to see me? Today’s Thursday, not a Tuesday.” He said. “You come on the first Tuesday of every month.”
“Grandpa died.” Jordan said. “I got the call today. I figured you’d want to know and I thought it was something I should do in person, something you should find out in person.”
Jackson fell silent, folding his free arm under the arm holding the phone. His grandfather had been an influential man and had tried often times to set him on the right path. It had been Jackson’s own stubbornness that had caused him to end up in the situation he currently found himself in. No one had made the choice for him; he had done that all on his own. Anything else would be wrong. Assigning blame anywhere else was not the way he had been raised. It wasn’t the Carver way. Now their grandfather was dead. How was he supposed to deal with that?
“How’s Jas taking it?” He asked, struggling to find his voice for a moment.
“She’s doing alright. She saw him only last week.
“Was he…?” Jackson asked, trailing off and waving his hand in the air, as if the wordless query would be understood by his younger brother.
“Lucid? Yeah, he was. Thankfully, that’ll be her last memory of him. She’s only ever known him as an Alzheimer’s patient, so her last memory will be one of him having strength despite the disease.” Jordan replied.
Re: A Caged Falcon
Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:49 am
“Uncle Jordan, there’s someone at the door.”
“That’s usually what a doorbell means.” Jordan said, ruffling his niece’s hair as he rose from the sofa where they were sitting. He’d gotten back from visiting his brother in prison and had been trying to figure out what was his next step in preparing his grandfather’s funeral. The whole process was complicated and not something that Jordan was looking forward to. But it was something that had to be done. He wanted the best for his grandfather and wanted him to be laid to rest in the proper way.
He opened the door to the brownstone and looked, confused, at the woman standing in front of him. “Good afternoon.” He said.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Carver.” The brown haired blue-eyed woman said with a clear cut Australian accent. She was dressed in a business suit that looked more expensive than any article of clothing that he owned. He saw some logo on the purse she carried but he didn’t recognize it. “My name is Miranda Vesper. I’m a lawyer.”
“I hate lawyers.” He said.
“Most people do.” Miranda replied. “I work for a very large firm, Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers. Maybe you’ve heard of us?” She asked, inquisitively.
“Yeah, you guys represented that mutant girl pro bono in that self-defense case down in Bed-Stuy.” He said, nodding.
“That’s right, that’s us.” Miranda said with a smile. “It was a case that needed to be won. Self-defense against alleged rape, it’s an important thing to remember in the world we live in today. Would you mind if I came inside? There’s something that I’d like to discuss with you.” She started up the last step as she ended the sentence, assuming that he was going to let her in, but he didn’t, forcing her to come up almost a few inches from him.
“I don’t need a lawyer.” He added, looking down at her.
“Well, your grandfather died.” She said and he cut her off.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Jordan asked. “He didn’t owe anyone any money. I know, I made sure any debts he had were taken care of before he went to the nursing home.” He said. “My grandfather hated owing people money. He was from a different time.” He said. “I know I don’t need you for a will. I looked at his will last year, you’re not the executor of the estate.”
She smiled again, patiently. “Mr. Carver, there’s clearly a lot of things you know about your grandfather. I’m here to tell you things you don’t know. I’m one of the managing partners of a law firm that had a revenue of over two billion dollars last year. I could have sent a senior partner to speak with you. But I wanted to come talk to you myself, and the language involved with what I’d like to talk about with you mandates that a managing partner of my law firm speak with you.” She said.
He raised an eyebrow. That was interesting.
“Now, may I please come in?” She asked.
Re: A Caged Falcon
Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:07 am
“What the hell were you thinking man?”
Jackson shook his head, the pain still shooting through his body. He lay on his bed, trying to close his eyes. But the welt that was just under his left eye was making that difficult.
“I wasn’t thinking.” Jackson replied to his cell mate. “I just wanted to fight someone.”
“Yeah, well, now you could be going into solitary for a month.” The only other man in the small cell said. “That was a dumb decision.”
Jackson chuckled, a deep laugh. “It was a dumb decision that had me end up in here, so why start change now, I guess.”
The concrete surrounding him was a prison, for sure, but the confines of a man’s mind could constrict him even more than simple bricks and mortar. Jackson was in prison, for a crime he was sure he hadn’t committed. His public defender had been unable to prove that he hadn’t done it though. The blood had been on his hands, so to speak. Jordan hadn’t tried to help him, instead only being concerned about Jasmine’s well-being. He couldn’t blame his younger brother for that. Jackson had tried, he’d tried to be a good father, but Jasmine needed someone better than him, someone smarter than him.
Someone who didn’t make the dumb decisions that he did, on impulse. Someone who didn’t get themselves put in a cage like this.
There was a rattling on the cage, and his cellmate looked over to see one of the prison guards standing there, tapping his baton on the bars.
“Aw fuck.” He said, looking back at Jackson.
“Get the fuck up, Carver.” The guard said. “Time to take a walk.”
He groaned slightly as he rose from the bed. “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Jackson walked up to the cell doors and waited for the guard to open the door. The two walked through the halls of the prison bay, until they reached the conference rooms. Jackson paused when the officer told him to go inside.
“I’m not going to solitary?” He asked.
“That depends on you.” The guard said. “I don’t know what’s going on. But there’s someone here to talk to you. Some kind of lawyer, I think.”
“Fuck. I hate lawyers.” Jackson said.
“You and me both.”
Re: A Caged Falcon
Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:18 pm
It wasn’t every day that a fine looking white woman like this Vesper lady walked into his home. Jordan walked with her into the kitchen, where Jasmine was sitting waiting.
“Who’s this?” She asked, suspicious.
“This is Miranda Vesper.” Jordan replied to his niece. “She’s here to…discuss some of the funeral arrangements for Pop Pops.” He said. “I need to speak with her alone, Jas.” He said, and the little girl nodded, sliding off the stool by the kitchen island and walking out of the room. No doubt, she would remain close by; to make sure she could hear everything discussed. His niece was a very curious girl, and he never hid anything from her. Her father had done that, and as a result, Jas wasn’t always the most trusting of people. Jordan couldn’t blame her, and he treated her as an equal in the house, except when he had to be the adult. Luckily, that wasn’t that often.
She’d seen things that a child shouldn’t have had to see, and Jasmine Carver had grown up quite quickly because of it.
“Can I get you something to drink?” He asked, Miranda, who had set her bag on the island.
“No, I’m alright, thank you.” She said, looking around the kitchen. “This is a fairly modern interior for a brownstone walkup.” Miranda said. “You’ve done a lot to the place.”
“My grandfather worked hard to buy this place. When he got out of the wat, it still wasn’t proper for a black man to have a good job. But he saved penny after penny until he had enough of those pennies to make a down payment.” Jordan said, taking a look around for himself. Often times, he walked around the apartment, just marveling at what his grandfather had accomplished. “He was lucky though, one of the guys in his unit during World War II, he was working in one of the banks, and he knew my grandfather was good for the loan and for the trust. Kind of happens when you save a man’s life.” Jordan said.
“I don’t doubt it.” She said.
“So, what do you need to talk to me about?” He asked, folding his arms over his chest, and leaning against the fridge. “Because I’m fairly interested why some fancy managing partner at a famous law firm had to leave Manhattan and come all the way to Brooklyn to talk to me.”
“Actually, I was in the Beijing office when the word came through that I needed to speak with you.” She said, raising an eyebrow and giving him a wry smile.
“Well, excuse me, then.” He said, holding a hand up.
“Your grandfather was a very influential man. He was part of S.H.I.E.L.D., in an advisory capacity. Never saw the field after World War II.” Miranda said. “But your father did.” She said.
Now Jordan’s interest was piqued. He knew next to nothing about his father. His grandfather had rarely spoken of his son, and Jordan had always been interested, but had never been able to get more than a few words out of the man who had raised him and Jackson. “My…father?” He asked.
“Yes, your father.” Miranda said, and reached into the bag to pull out a small metal container. It was shaped like a pentagon. She set it on the table. “This is from your grandfather. He asked that it be given to you or your brother, or both upon his passing. As Jackson is currently incarcerated, I figured it would make the most sense to give it to you.” She said. “I do not know what is inside, so that probably shouldn’t be your first question.”
Re: A Caged Falcon
Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:27 pm
With a shuffle, Jackson made his way into the conference room. Looking at the man sitting down at the table, Jackson could not recognize the Caucasian man and he realized this was definitely not his lawyer or anyone who worked with his lawyer. This man seemed way too slick, way too polished. Jackson hadn’t had any real representation, almost all of it coming from the public defender’s office. This guy looked like he charged a buck or two. There was a woman in the room as well, a Japanese woman. Like the man, she wore a long black trench coat. His attention was taken from them, as Jackson was dropped into the seat across from the man with a bit of roughness in the gesture, and he turned and looked over his shoulder at the guard who shrugged. Not all of the prison guards here were the best to be around and this one, like everyone, had good days and bad days.
Turning back around Jackson placed his hands on the table and waited. He didn’t know why these
people were here and he didn’t know who they were. Better to let them make the first move.
The man gestured to the shackles. “Can we…Can we uncuff him, please? I don’t think my life is in danger and I don’t see why he has to be treated like an animal.”
“Do you know what he did, Mr. Fields?” The guard asked, and Jackson remained silent, staring at the man across from him.
“I do know what he did, thank you.” Mr. Fields replied and gestured once more at the shackles.
The guard shrugged and walked over. Jackson held his hands up, waiting as the handcuffs were
removed. Pocketing the handcuffs, the guard walked out of the conference room, leaving the three of them alone.
“Now, I’ve had a few conversations with people who control a thing or two around these parts, and this conversation is not going to be recorded.” Mr. Fields said, pointing up at the camera that was in one of the corners of the room. Jackson looked and saw that the light was off. “My name is Herman Fields. This is my associate and I’d like for you to think of us as a….well…a life preserver of sorts, something to help you out on the tossing waves of the ocean you find yourself in.”
“That makes no sense.” Jackson replied. “I’m not up for parole. I don’t have any appeals left. What
ocean am I in?” He asked.
Fields smiled, reaching down into a leather bag he’d brought with him, pulling out a file and putting it on the table. Opening it, he started to sort through the pages contained within, but either by random choice or seemingly on purpose, a photo slid out and into view of both men. It was a wallet sized photo of Jasmine. Jackson’s eyes widened as he looked at the beautiful smile of his baby girl and despite not wanting to at all, he dragged his eyes up, to look at Herman Fields. He really wasn’t sure what was going on, but a level of anger was beginning to brew in Jackson. There was no reason why this man should have a picture of his daughter. He waited, to let the man explain himself. After all, Herman had thought it wise to let Jackson’s restraints be taken away. There was a pregnant moment of silence.
“Oh, right. That was supposed to be later.” Herman said, his fingers popping the photo up in order to get a better grip on it. Lifting it off of the metal table he put it back into the file.
“Why do you have a picture of my…” Jackson said but then trailed off. He watched Herman remove a larger photo, one of Jackson and his grandfather.
“This is where I wanted to start.” Herman said. “Now, you know your grandfather passed only a few days ago. My condolences. The passing of a family member…always tough. In a sense you’ve had both blessing and curse descend upon you. We always want to try to reflect on what their passing means, how it will impact us, but we’re too busy with the funeral and all the arrangements. You’re lucky that Jordan took care of all of that, and you’re lucky you’re here and able to just sit and think.” Herman said.
“So what’s the curse?”
Herman shrugged. “Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” He asked. “The guard… I think his name was Felipe, he insinuated you were quite violent. I doubt a judge is going to let you leave to attend the funeral. As you said, you’re out of appeals and you’re not up for parole. It’s going to be a while before you taste free air.” Herman said. “When you sit and reflect and decide what kind of a man this event is going to turn you into, well, there’s not much you can do. You’re stuck here.”
Jackson sat back, reaching up to his face. He scrubbed his hands over his face. He knew what Herman Fields was getting at. It wasn’t something he hadn’t thought off since his grandfather had passed away. But there was no solution, and that made him question why these two were here to begin with. Looking between his fingers, he saw Herman was patiently waiting, the Japanese woman doing so as well, as she leaned against her wall.
“You getting somewhere with all of this?” Jackson asked.
“You want to be a good father; you want to be there for your daughter. I understand that. You want to be able to see her. You think you were unfairly imprisoned. I can understand that too. You can have solutions to all those things.” Herman said.
“I just have to reach out for that life preserver.”
Re: A Caged Warrior
Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:27 pm
Jordan stood there for a moment, unsure of what to say, or what to do. This was a bit of a revelation about his father and his grandfather. Truly, it floored him. He knew a bit about what his grandfather had done. He knew that he had worked at S.H.I.E.L.D., but he had not known in what capacity. But the real revelation was what Miranda had said about his father. This was a man he barely knew, only from other people’s stories and family photos. The loss of their father had impacted his brother and he greatly, both in different ways. His grandfather had always said that he had been too old to keep up with both of the boys and not having a father around who was at least able to keep up with them had hurt their childhood. It had mattered to Jackson, not having a father around.
Jordan, who was younger, didn’t really know what he had missed out on. Jordan, compared to Jackson, didn’t know his father very well, had never known him very well. He had been very little when his father had died, and Jordan and Jackson’s mother had passed away during childbirth. All of it was a mystery sometimes to Jordan. Yet here was something that was tied to that man. Tied to him so much that his grandfather had wanted him to know, but apparently couldn’t have brought himself to tell him while he was alive.
He stared at the box on the table, still a bit frozen. Finally, he took his eyes up towards Miranda, who was looking at him with an expectant look on her face.
“Well?” She asked, her Australian accent starting to grow on him. “Are we good?” She asked.
He marshalled his words. There was much he wanted to ask her because, unfortunately, there was much that he didn’t know. Just who was his father, who had apparently been in the field as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.? That was insane to think of. “What do you know about my father?” He asked.
“Not too much.” Miranda admitted. “I know what was I was told by the documents your grandfather left behind when he entrusted this,” she said, pointing at the metal container, “with my law firm.”
“Do you know why he left it with your law firm?” Jordan asked, but Miranda shook her head. “I’m…I’m honestly not sure what I’m supposed to do with this.” He said. “Do you know anything about what I’m supposed to do with it?” He asked.
“Honestly, I was hoping that you would know.” Miranda replied with a chuckle. “If that’s all…” She said, looking towards the entrance of the apartment. “I should probably get going.” She said. “You know, things to do, places to be.”
“Right.” Jordan said, snapping back into the present. He had started to get lost in his thoughts again. “I’m sorry.” He said, gesturing towards the entrance himself. “I’ll see you out.” He said, and they started walking towards the door. “I appreciate you coming here and giving me this. I may not know what it is yet, but I can tell it was important to my grandfather. Anything that was important to him, well it’s important to me too.” He said.
Miranda shrugged. “I would take credit for it but I was paid to do it.”
As they reached the door and Jordan opened it, he cracked a grin. “Just how much do you make an hour? It’s gotta be some obscenely high number.”
She just smiled and waved as she walked out and left.
Re: A Caged Warrior
Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:43 pm
Jackson placed his hands on the table, in a prayerful position. “What does this life preserver…entail?” He asked.
Herman smiled. “Now that, my friend, I’m glad you’ve asked. I represent a consortium of people highly interested in you and interested in what you could offer to that organization.” He said. He gestured to the woman standing in the corner. “That consortium, which we represent as agents, are the ones who wish to help you. We’re the life preserver.”
“Well, I sure as shit ain’t going to grab you.” Jackson said.
“Quite right.” Herman said, and reached down to the leather bag leaning against his chair. Picking it up, he set it on the table and opened it, pulling out another file. Opening it, he leafed through the few pieces of paper that were there and then looked up with a smile. “Have you heard anything about the Electro-Biochemical System?” He asked and Jackson shook his head. “Pity. It’s an interesting piece of work, to say the least. Developed by a Dr. Noah Burstein back in the day, it’s rather unique in what it does. You remember Captain America and all the attempts to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. Well, this is one of those attempts.”
“You want to try to turn me into Captain America?” Jackson asked, raising an eyebrow. “That’s crazy.” He added as he folded his arms over his chest. “That’s crazy.” He repeated.
“No, no. We don’t want to turn you into Captain America. But we are interested in having you be part of a new experiment with the same equipment.”
Jackson shook his head. “So I agree to be your lab rat, and you’re going to help me get out of prison so I can be with my daughter again?”
Herman snapped his fingers and nodded. “Exactly. As a matter of fact, we’re going to do so much more than simply that. We’re even going to offer you a job.”
“What kind of job?”
“Oh this and that. Nothing you wouldn’t be able to handle, especially if the experiment works out properly.”
“That’s not particularly reassuring. What’s the name of this consortium of people anyway?”
Herman shook his head. “Now, Mr. Carver, there’s no need to be worried.”
“I’m not worried. I want to know who I’m dealing with though. Either you tell me who this consortium is, or I’ll take my chances in the yard.” Jackson said, and looked over at the Japanese woman. “Shit, you can tell me if you want. I don’t care. I want answers.”
Herman was going to speak, but the Japanese woman did it first.
Re: A Caged Warrior
Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:04 am
They both had matching glasses of orange juice. Jordan took a sip from his and looked across the table from his conspirator. It was time to figure out what was going on.
“What do you think it is?” Jasmine asked, looking over the rim of her cup. “It could be anything. Anything.” She repeated, dropping her voice to a whisper.
“Yeah, that’s true.” He said, sipping from his orange juice as he leaned back in his chair, looking at the pentagon shaped metal box.
It was sitting on the table where Miranda had placed the box. He hadn’t moved it since Miranda had placed it there. Truth be told, he still wasn’t sure what to do with it. As Jasmine just pointed out, it could be anything. Now the question was, what to do about it. They were in uncharted waters here, definitely. Never before had an Australian lady ever shone up on his doorstep, told him some interesting things about his grandfather and given him even more information on his father.
It hadn’t been much, but it was more than he’d had yesterday. It was possible the box had more answers to questions that Jordan had never known he’d had. Never known he’d ever think of again. He’d put the past behind him. His father’s presence in his life, or lack of presence was something that had always been with him. But it was something he’d moved past. But now this?
“Do we open it?” He asked.
“I guess we have to.” She said. “If Pop Pops left it for you, he would have wanted you to open it.” Jasmine said. “Even if something gross is inside.”
Jordan rolled his eyes. “Pop Pops wouldn’t have left something gross in there, c’mon kid.”
She shrugged, drinking from her orange juice.
He reached out and touched the pentagon shaped box with one finger. There was no reaction. After tapping it a few more times with no result, Jordan reached out and picked it up. The box wasn’t that large, and Jordan turned it over in his palm. As he did, he saw that something was etched into the bottom of the pentagon. Brushing his thumb over the etching, he saw that it was scored pretty deeply into the metal. The etching was that of a large tree, that had tendrils extending out north and south of the trunk. Branches and roots.
As he turned the pentagon shaped box back over, he saw that the same etching had weirdly appeared on the top of the box. Looking first up at Jasmine and then back down at the box, Jordan placed his thumb on the etching. It glowed and panels on the top slid apart.
“Whoa, that’s cool.” Jasmine said. “What is it?” She asked.
“It’s…a piece of metal.” Jordan replied reaching into the box and pulling out a small flat silver key. The key was a bit dull and lack luster. There was also a feather in the box. But that wasn't all. He saw that there was more in the box as well. A folded piece of paper.
An address was written on the paper.