Origin Story by Daniel Tobin.

typewriterThe following has been taken from a series of verbal testimonials in the regards to the disappearance of David Thomas, 25, reported missing on April 30th, 2016, as well as in regards to a number of other supposedly connected events.

 The interviews were conducted by detective Garrett Webb on May 18th, 2016, exactly 19 days after Thomas was last confirmed to have been seen.

 Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

 Well, I was part of the initial search parties, of course, once they declared the scene safe for civilians. But you have to remember we’re not talking about someone who got lost on some hike in the wilderness or some national park with miles of territory to cover. We’re talking about fucking Silverlake. The fact that David hasn’t turned up in some hipster coffee shop is nearly as miraculous as the fact that he went missing in the first place.

Rachel Haller – 47, Seismologist

The earthquake that occurred on the morning of April 30th at 9:23 am was a result of friction along the Puente Hills Fault, a twenty-five mile line that sits fragmented at the Los Angeles basin from Puente Hills to roughly Griffith Park. The very same fault line, in fact, that was responsible for the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, a 5.9 tremor that killed three people and caused over 200 million dollars in damage. Given the fault’s proximity to Los Angeles’s epicenter, one could argue that a larger quake along this particular fault would be the most detrimental.

Bruce Patterson – 38, Truck Driver

I seen that fella that you been lookin’ for, the one on all them missing posters. I swear it was him, I know ‘cause the way I met him. I was truckin’ southbound, five-ton carryin’ mattresses, my usual route for April through June. And I’m pulled off on the side of 210 and my battery’s shot.  It’s late, 2 a.m. must have been. Now, when a five-ton’s battery is on the fritz that ain’t no small job, not your typical Triple A jumpstart. And so I’m ready to be camped out there for sometime. Next thing I know this young fella in a blue hoodie is walkin’ down the shoulder and strikes up a conversation with me. Don’t know where he came from or how he’s seen me but we start talkin’.

Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

Regardless, that first week was incredibly hectic. It wasn’t until the second week, when the visitors had all left and everyone had gone home, that things started to get weird. Shit started to go missing. Not things you’d expect, either. I came home from class one day to find the hallway closet completely torn apart, the only thing missing being a little brown toolbox. Two days later, a blow dryer was stolen. The next night, all of the silverware. That’s it, nothing else was taken. No money, no clothes, no computer. There was no evidence of a break in whatsoever, in fact the door was relocked afterwards. It had to have been David, the thief clearly knew what he was looking for — where to find it too. And you wanna know the strangest thing, the part that really spins my head around? Each time this happened, I found that the circuit breaker had been blown out. Now that’s a weird way for a thief to announce his presence, don’t you think?

Lily Strauss – 24, Former Romantic Partner

The park by the Silverlake Reservoir. We had gotten coffee and went up for a walk and we sat out on those benches that overlook the water, except there was no water, just concrete, a massive construction zone. I sat David Thomas down and I told him I didn’t love him anymore, that our relationship wasn’t giving me what I needed. And he just took it, barely could look at me. He kept thumbing his necklace, this one that I had made for him. The little revolver pendent from the board game Clue. We had met at a friend’s game night. He would thumb that necklace whenever he got nervous or anxious, like it was some sort of tick. And that morning he was thumbing it, an anchor that I made him—

 (Subject takes long pause.)

because of things that I was saying. When I saw that I almost broke down myself. He tossed it through the fence after, the necklace. Didn’t cry though. He just stared ahead blankly, dead, as if crying wouldn’t suffice for what I put him through.

 (Subject takes long pause.)

Lewis Ortiz – 29, Convicted Felon

I don’t know what you want me to tell you, man, you’re never gonna believe me. What, this is about some kid? I know nothing about that, man. I didn’t kidnap anybody, okay? I got nothing to do with this.

Tell us about the robbery.

 Just watch the tape, bro.

 We did, that’s why we’re here. We just want to hear about it from you.

 Alright, I’m gonna tell you exactly what I told the other guy and what I told the guy before him, okay? It was a small job, one of those quick cash spots off 16th and Alameda. Independent. How no one had hit this place before was a fucking miracle. Leo and Carlos knew one of the guards from way back. He tells us that from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the bank’s undermanned during lunch. So we decide we’re gonna take it.

Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

The days before the quake, David had been a mess. He was on the verge of a breakup, you know? We’ve all been there. He had been crazy about Lily, borderline obsessive. And she had been cheating on him, well emotionally cheating. Almost worse if you ask me. She’d spend all her time with her “best friend” Sean — who was clearly in love with her. They spent all their time together. She had been pulling away from David and yet claimed that nothing was wrong or different. At least physical cheating has some sort of definition to it, some sort of physical manifestation that you can point to. But where is the line in this kind of dynamic? I told him to get out of the relationship right there, to read the writing on the wall. But when you’re in that kind of situation, you could be a fucking astrophysicist and still only see what you want to see.

Lily played oblivious but had to have known. It drove David mad, like some real next level shit. We’d always been friends, not the best of friends but good enough. I couldn’t get a word out of him in those last few days. He’d pace around the apartment all night, stare at his ceiling for hours at a time. He wouldn’t eat. I’d be able to smell him from the next room over. The kid became a ghost. Can you blame him? He was in the midst of a slow moving train wreck, watching the only girl he’d cared about in years break his heart within a matter of days. He became a little more irrelevant with every cold text message she sent. The millennial’s break up is not sudden, nothing about it is quick. The constant communication means you feel every centimeter of the knife. There is nothing that that quake could have done to David Thomas that Lily Strauss hadn’t done already.

Lt. Preston Hayes – 57

Thourium, uranium-233, uranium-235, plutonium-239, all liquidated, barrels and barrels of it, purchased for the creation of a fluoride thorium reactor out in New Mexico. As the supplies were bought in Asia, our best method of transport was via Los Angeles. We needed a place to do an inventory before sending it off to QC. The city granted us temporary use of a drained reservoir that had halted construction due to financing. The chemicals were to remain in the basin for no more than forty-eight hours.

Lewis Ortiz – 29, Convicted Felon

We wanted to keep it small, no bullshit, just me, Carlos, Leo, and Arturo. We decided we’re not going to go for the vault. Too slow. We guessed the tellers were carrying around twenty grand, which we thought would make it worth it.  All we had to do was get behind the counter, which we had access to, and hold the place up. Easy. Five-minute job, tops.

Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

She tries to “coffee” him on a Saturday morning and so David knows exactly what’s coming. She suggests a shop down the street from her house but I told him to take her to that park by the reservoir. Nothing could be more demeaning than getting broken up with by someone you love in a coffee shop. If you’re going to get dumped, do it in a pretty spot. Of course, neither of us knew that the Silverlake Reservoir had been under construction since last December.

Rachel Haller – 47, Seismologist

The quake that struck roughly two weeks ago had a recorded magnitude of 5.7, a full point below the 1994 Northridge quake and .2 points below the Whitter Narrows quake that struck seven years before it. This most recent quake had a duration of roughly five to ten seconds and an epicenter underneath the area of Los Angeles known as Silverlake.

Lily Strauss – 24, Former Romantic Partner

So I leave him on the park bench with that look on his face, that dead and broken look. And I go back to my house and I close the door and finally I start to cry. I did it wrong, I realized, I did it all wrong. I belittled him, I belittled him because it made things easier for me. And I had been doing it for weeks and weeks. I broke up with him over coffee like he was some guy I barely knew. And as I sat there crying with my back pressed to the door, that’s when the quake hit.

Lt. Preston Hayes – 57

That’s right. For one weekend, that of April 29th, 2016, we stashed an array of nuclear compounds in the middle of one of LA’s premiere communities, a neat arrangement of plastered blue barrels. No one batted an eyelash. It just so happens that my department has worst luck than a (expletive). That earthquake obliterates a 133 million dollar project in a matter of seconds, let alone exposes what is supposed to be a discreet operation. The damage is insurmountable. See, a ring of power lines circumvents the reservoir and this quake dislodges one of the poles.

Lewis Ortiz – 29, Convicted Felon

First half of the job is a fucking cakewalk. Arturo lets us in via the side entrance, leaves the counter unlocked. The place is empty except for some old ladies and one of those Korean dudes who sells suits. Leo and Carlos hold up the customers once Arturo and I go behind the bars. We had loaded two full bags when we first heard the sirens. Someone had hit a button.

Bruce Patterson – 38, Truck Driver

Nice kid, real chatty. Seemed happy. Now I’m standing there with the hood of my truck pulled up and this kid asks if he can have a look underneath. I’m saying to myself ‘there ain’t no way this fella knows his way around a truck.’ So I let him peek while I head to the cabin to dial up my boss. And suddenly I hear the engine start.

George Gomez – 42, First Responder

We searched every cubic foot of that reservoir. Trust me, it was a real mess. The quake had dislodged all the concrete into these broken plates, rubble everywhere. Beams and barrels and tractors all demolished. The Silverlake Reservoir had become a total warzone. However, because it’s a relatively contained area, most of the damage was concentrated at the basin. We had a very good idea of the event’s radius and thus, we were able to cover it incredibly efficiently. If there was a body in that basin, even one charred up and unrecognizable, we would have found it.

 Lily Strauss – 24, Former Romantic Partner

And so after I call and I call to make sure he’s alright, pretending I’m doing so because of the earthquake when really I’m calling because of me. But there’s no response. Nothing for hours. And the next thing I know, I’m the last person to have seen David Thomas alive.

Lewis Ortiz – 29, Convicted Felon

The whole thing is fucked. We’re surrounded by cops, we’ve got hostages, this lady won’t stop fucking crying. The boys are yelling at each other about what to do, Leo and I want to give it up but Carlos says he ain’t going back to the pen, typical amateur bullshit. And that’s when we see him, it, whatever the fuck that thing was. Blue hoodie pulled over the face, short but fast. Like real fucking fast. I don’t know how he got in, it was like he just appeared. And we knew right away why he was there. Before Leo and Carlos can get a shot off he’s hit ‘em with some sort of throwing taser that I ain’t ever seen before. One shot straight to the chest and he’s got Leo and Carlos convulsing on the ground. So Arturo and I turn to open fire but he’s already behind the counter. Before I can even see this dude’s face he’s got his hand out with, I kid you fucking not, electricity, like straight lightning and shit, pouring out of his fingers, his fucking fingers! Shit I’d only seen in movies, shoots it across the room and takes out Arturo, flings him against the back wall. And then he hits me, right in the gut. I hit the ground and double over in pain like I ain’t ever felt before. Next thing I know the cops are inside and the thing is gone.

 Lily Strauss – 24, Former Romantic Partner

Do you understand what that feels like? Do you get that no matter what happened to him that morning I’m responsible? Have you ever felt a weight like that? Of not knowing if a person you care about has been killed by you or simply by nature? I haven’t slept in weeks. And you have the nerve to bring me in here like I’m actually a suspect, like this hasn’t ruined me already.

 (Subject begins to cry.)

 Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

I don’t know. I mean, I get why I’m here — the strange occurrences, the incident downtown, but that doesn’t mean I know jack shit. I’m a law student. But I will say this — just imagine for a second that you’re in his shoes, right? That the only girl you’ve ever really loved has chiseled the meaning out of everything you know, she’s led you to feel that you’re crazy. That two weeks ago, you fucked her brains out and made her breakfast and suddenly you are nothing, you are small and powerless.

 Bruce Patterson – 38, Truck Driver

Kid’s fired up an 8100 amp battery. He’s done it with no cables, no tools, no nothing. I’ve driven trucks for twenty-two years, every state, every highway. I ain’t never seen something like that before. When I asked him how he did it, he just shrugs and says “magic touch.”

Lily Strauss – 24, Former Romantic Partner

You asshole! I don’t know what happened to David, I’ve told you everything!

 (Subject now hysterical.)

 Do you know of a reason he would have gone into the reservoir after you left that morning?

 (Subject drops revolver necklace onto table.)

 This was on my doorstep yesterday.

Lt. Preston Hayes – 57

About a dozen transformers end up colliding into 162 barrels of liquefied nuclear compounds. Do you have any idea what that looks like? Voltage. Flames. Radiation. Do you realize the astronomical odds of this event even occurring? Do you realize the fact that there were no casualties, save for your missing person, is almost as astronomical as the event occurring at all? I tell you, April 30th was the day I started believing in God.

Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

You’re a gutted king mackerel, Richard Nixon on the eve of Watergate, a moderately successful executive during the 2008 housing crisis. Totally insignificant. A fall from glory you’ve never known. And then — moments after the love of your life, at least thus far, has delivered her coup de grace on your sorry ass, you, by virtue of sheer dumb luck, stumble upon some opportunity to transcend into something greater than you’ve ever known.

Lewis Ortiz – 29, Convicted Felon

So they’re carrying me out and I look over at the taser that I got hit with. It was a fucking spoon, bro. This thing took out my boys with fucking spoons.

 Adam Olson – 25, Roommate

Would you take it? Would you defy your own irrelevance?

What did you say your name was again?

 

 

 Daniel Tobin

Banner Image:  Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=408610

 

 

4 thoughts on “Origin Story by Daniel Tobin.

  1. Hi Daniel,
    A relevant title to such an inventive story.
    We have never received anything like this before.
    Well written, brilliantly structured and very entertaining.
    Hope you have more for us soon.
    All the very best.
    Hugh

    Like

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