The Mind Reader | By: E M Ferber | | Category: Short Story - Twilight Zone Bookmark and Share

The Mind Reader


                                                              The Mind Reader


Mineola, NY  1979

He wanted to change his name to Hitler Stevens but he felt that was a little over the top. Judge Broxton signed the petition and 21 year old George Berger became Erwin Rommel Wilson. With his chest puffed out and his tapped shoes clicking on the waxed tiled floor the new Mr. Wilson exited the courtroom. Wilson could feel his heart beating at a more rapid rate as the adrenaline started to flow. A feeling of euphoria was taking over his being. Wilson now knew that his master plan had been set in motion.

The Berger family moved to a working class neighborhood in the easternmost part of Massapequa on Long Island in 1964. The father, Joseph Berger, a civilian member of the NYPD, was an auto mechanic at the main department auto repair shop in Maspeth, Queens. The mother, Eva, was a part time shampoo girl at a hair salon in Freeport. The couple wasn’t madly in love with each other but they did worship the bottle and were full time alcoholics. Joseph returned home from the Korean War after earning the Purple Heart. His right leg was mangled by a grenade blast during an infantry skirmish in early 1953. Before he was honorably discharged he was fully retrained to repair all the military vehicles the U.S. Army was using during the war. Eva had no specific skills of any kind. She was able to graduate from Mount Vernon High School in Westchester County with a D average. Joseph and Eva met on a pay day Friday night in a little bar called Munich in Elmhurst, Queens. Eva was amorously attracted to the thick wad of cash Joseph used to pay for their drinks. Joseph was thrilled that Eva didn’t mind his misshapen leg and bad limp. After a three month courtship the unlikely pair eloped and set up shop in a small apartment near the Maspeth repair shop. In June 1958 George was born. He was afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Growing up in Massapequa young George was a social disaster. He was every bully’s favorite Christmas or in George’s particular case Hanukkah present. Intellectually he was the slowest student in all of his elementary school classes. His hygiene was so poor that he had to be separated from his classmates due to their horrid comments and ridicule. Unfortunately for George, his physical appearance was the most disturbing aspect of his persona.

George’s facial features caused people to either shield their eyes or stare in horror.  He had a long face but his eyes seemed too small to fit his face. Some of his peers thought he was retarded. There were noticeably large amounts of black wax in his ears. George’s teeth never were ever brighter than brownish yellow. He grew tall but uncoordinated. His gait seemed more robotic than human. Large amounts of mucous running out of his nose were always a constant source of criticism.

George was an only child with no friends. His social skills were stunted and could not develop, in part, because he had no one to talk to. He had no siblings. His classmates were repulsed by him. Teachers couldn’t communicate with him. George’s mother was in a constant state of inebriation. His father, in addition to being a degenerate alcoholic worked late nights and slept during the day.

Although there was no shortage of persecutors in George’s elementary and middle school years there was a group of 8 boys that were merciless in their actions toward poor George. The clique consisted of  affluent Jewish kids that grew up in and around Massapequa’s luxuriant waterfront neighborhood. Some of the kids were active in school athletics (jocks). Some were intellectuals that competed for school valedictorian and others just exalted in knowing they were rich.  The breaking point for George’s fragile psyche was when a trio of the boys attacked George in the boys’ gym locker room during the third semester of ninth grade. Marc Eisen slammed George into a row of lockers. George bounced off the lockers and fell face first into a metal bench causing blood to spurt out of his nose in all directions. Gerald Rogers ripped the gym shorts off George’s supine body. Josh Freeman grabbed the shorts, tied them around George’s neck and pulled him back to his feet. With all of his strength Freeman then propelled George into an open locker and slammed the door shut. The three boys fled out of the locker room and left a vanquished casualty for dead. Before he went to sleep that night George thought to himself, “I’m going to eliminate those dirty Jews.”

Hollywood, Florida 1967

The first indication that Lauren possessed telepathic abilities occurred on a Brown family vacation in Hollywood, Florida. The family was heading southbound on the service road of I-95 on their way to a fun night at the Hollywood Greyhound Track. The rental Ford station wagon was coming to a stop at the red signal at Pembroke Road when seven year old Lauren broke the silence in the car. She shouted, “Don’t do it!”  Father Sid, mother Janet and older brother Jay all stared at her.

“Don’t do what?, Jay asked with a quizzical look on his face.

 Lauren pointed with her right index finger at the filthy panhandler covered with soot and covered with sores who was standing in the intersection under the red signal. He was carrying a sign that contained the words, I need food. “He told me that he was going to climb up on the overpass and dive into the traffic.”

Sid answered that he didn’t hear anything and Janet said, “Dear. don’t make up things like that.”

The family was settled in their seats at the racetrack perusing the programs and picking out which hounds they wanted to wager on. Sid, wearing a porkpie hat and wearing a pencil behind his ear looked like a seasoned handicapper. The truth was that he had lost about $50 after three races. The kids were picking out cute names such as Cool Hand Duke. Janet was reading a paperback romance novel but trying to act interested in the evening’s activity.

Lauren was watching the dog handlers walk the dogs up to their starting boxes for the fourth race. The handlers, 16-20 year olds, stood tall and faced the crowd. Lauren “heard” the handler of dog#3 converse with the handler of #4. He revealed that dog#3 was an imposter imported from Arkansas and filled up with so many amphetamines that he would win the race by about 50 yards. Lauren poked her finger on her dad’s knee. Paying no attention to his daughter Sid jotted down 10 different exacta combinations that he was thinking of betting. Lauren poked him harder and finally Sid looked up and asked, “Whaaaat?”

“Daddy, that man said that dog#3 is a pasta from arky sauce and filled up with ants.” The man with the leash said that #3 is going to win by 50 yards. Sid took a long look at the tote board and in big bright lights #3, Running Rodney, was a 35 to one underdog. Sid glanced at the handler and looked incredulously at his daughter. He deliberated with his conscience for a minute and abruptly stood up. He sprinted to the betting windows. He discounted all of his exacta combos and bet $100 on Running Rodney to win.

Running Rodney flew out his box like greased lightning. He caught the pacing bunny, suffered a massive heart attack and died on the track. The race was canceled and luckily for Sid all bets were refunded.

The group was heading back to their hotel but was held up by a massive logjam on the northbound service road of I-95. Florida Highway Patrol troopers and Hollywood police officers were controlling traffic which was moving at a snail’s pace. Sidney Brown, an NYPD detective rolled down his window and pulled up to an officer, displaying his NYPD police shield. He inquired, “Officer, what seems to be the problem?”

Officer Rich Allen, who had just concluded a tour of duty in Viet Nam responded by feigning grief and stated that a panhandler dove off the pedestrian restraining railing into oncoming traffic. He was hit by about 200 cars. He’s all over the road.” 

Not too long after the Florida trip the Brown enjoyed a family outing by trekking from their Massapequa home to the South Bronx to see the Yankees play the 1966 World Series Champion Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Mother’s Day. The Browns were heading into the stadium through gate#4 near the employee’s entrance when Lauren yelled excitedly, “Hey Dad, that man looks exactly like you.” Sid took a quick look and winced. It just so happened that Yankee TV broadcaster Joe Garagiola was entering the stadium. Unfortunately for Sid, Joe was completely bald on top and putting a little more weight than he wanted to around the middle. 

Janet sat down next to Jay at the end of their loge row. She was three seats away from Sid possibly perturbed that her Mother’s Day gift was a trip to a baseball game. She was reading another novel, The Valley of the Dolls to pass the time. Some of Sid’s police buddies also came to the game, sans their wives, which perturbed Mrs. Brown further.

Besides this game being on Mother’s Day this game was special for another reason. The Yankees aging superstar, Mickey Mantle, entered the game with 499 home runs. It had been eleven days since Mantle’s last home run and the entire baseball community was hoping for the idolized Mantle to hit the milestone 500th the round tripper of his career. The game moved along into the 7th inning and Mantle was coming up to the plate to hit.

Even though “The Mick” was about 200 feet away from Lauren she heard him say, “I wish these ****ing, sportswriters would get off my back.”

Lauren said to her Dad and overheard by his friends, “Mickey just said I wish these ****ing sportswriters would get off my back. What does ****ing mean?

Mickey then hit #500 into the right field seats. The 18,000 fans who attended the game gave the man who was “the” national hero of the 1950s, a 16 time all-star, 7 time World Series champion, 3 time American League Most Valuable Player a thunderous ovation. As Mickey sat down on the Yankee bench Lauren heard him dejectedly say, “If I would have taken better care of myself I could have played another five years or more.” The Mick retired after the 1968 season.

Lauren’s telepathic events occurred about once every two to three months. Her father, troubled about her general health brought her to the pediatrician after this last such occurrence. The Browns were eating dinner at the Baldwin Coach Diner. The main courses were already finished and the kids were waiting for dessert, brownie lava pie, with great anticipation. Lauren started hearing low pitched voices from about thirty feet away and looked up over her father’s left shoulder. Lauren, now ten years old, reported that there were four volunteer firemen eating in the rear of the diner. She nervously said, “Those firemen are going to call in a false alarm and run out of the diner without paying. Can they get arrested for that?”

Sid, though familiar with criminal conspiracies, answered “Well they can’t be arrested until after they commit the crime and besides I’m off duty.”

Two minutes later one of the firemen turned up his radio volume to the maximum setting. The dispatcher called out… attention all units… there is a two alarm fire at Nunley’s Amusement Park… Sunrise Highway near Brookside Avenue…all units respond to your fire stations forthwith. The volunteers, all in their early twenties, stampeded past the cash register and out the door with the $40 food tab lying on the table.

The trip to the doctor’s office was a wasted effort. Lauren was examined by ancient Dr. Vogel. Vogel was an officer in the men’s club of the synagogue that the Browns attended so she knew him well. He checked Lauren’s eyes, ears, nose and throat. He asked Lauren to lie down on the examining table and he listened to Lauren’s heartbeat with a very chilly stethoscope. Lauren looked straight up at the octogenerian’s nose and blurted out, “Dr. Vogel, you have boogers in your nose hair.”

Dr. Vogel, practicing medicine on Long Island since 1929, spoke to the parents with his thick German accent. “Your daughter is perfectly healthy. You might want to talk to her about her communication skills in respect to her elders.” With some skepticism he added, “If what you say is true about her telepathic abilities then consider it a gift from God and let’s hope she uses her powers to help mankind. Now, let us all say, Shalom”.  What he really meant was good riddance.   

Lauren grew up a popular girl and a talented student. She was a voracious reader. She started by reading Encyclopedia Brown detective stories when she was 8 years old. She enjoyed extracurricular activities such as writing for the high school newspaper and started running cross country and long distance for the Massapequa High School track team. Lauren was a solid B plus student who would probably have earned an A if she didn’t gab so much in class.

During her first semester of tenth grade she was walking down the hallway in the English Department wing and gossiping with her best friend, Marie Piazza. Lauren heard some strange whispering. Marie was talking a mile a minute and Lauren told her to calm down. They were approaching a tall bizarre looking boy who was sitting on the floor with his head resting on his knees. He started to shake his head violently. The girls, still about 30 feet away from the high school senior, George Berger, looked at each other with puzzled looks on their faces. Only Lauren could hear George exclaim, “I’m going to kill that weasel.”  The girls rushed past Berger whose body and clothes were horribly filthy. Berger added, “I hate the night”.

About two years earlier there was a series of serendipitous events that provided Berger with the means to carry out his future plan. George’s father, Joseph, was drinking very heavily during this period of George’s childhood. Joseph drove the 35 miles to work under the influence and stumbled into the repair shop. He was moving with considerable uncertainty toward his work station when he slipped on a grease spot. Joseph broke his fall with his outstretched left hand. His left hand landed inside the well of the base of the lift causing serious tearing of tendons and nerves. He was taken to Astoria General Hospital where his blood alcohol level was substantially above legal limits. His career as a mechanic was over. Joseph agreed to take a job as a cleaner at the NYPD’s 110 Precinct to prevent the loss of his pension.

About two weeks later two veteran police officers were working a 9:30 PM to 6 AM shift within the confines of the 110 PCT. Officers Graham and Mercado observed a 1970 Ford run a red light on 37th Avenue and 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. The driver identified himself as Edgardo Melo who was visiting from Ecuador. He stated that he going to Kennedy Airport to pick up some relatives. Not only did Melo not have any ID of any kind but the officers called the airport and no arrivals were due in from Quito until the next day. Melo was becoming very nervous because the reality of the situation was that Melo was from Colombia and that he was picking up 3 drug mules at Newark Airport in New Jersey. In addition, he could not prove ownership of the vehicle and there were improper license plates on the vehicle. Threatened with arrest Melo made a deal with the cops. Melo revealed that a cash pickup would be made at a Colombian Cartel drug house on 74th Street at 3:30 AM. Mercado, speaking in Spanish to Melo, agreed to free Melo after the cops intercepted the cash.

Mercado, dreaming of buying a plantation in Santo Domingo, and Graham pondering floating around the Florida Keys in his new houseboat, waited a few blocks away from the cash house. The cops’ hearts were pumping furiously when they observed a man carrying a stuffed duffel bag out to the black Lincoln Continental to make the pickup. With their tires squealing the officers pulled up, guns drawn, Mercado ordered the drug dealer to drop the bag. Simultaneously, as Graham was picking up the bag carrying a half a million dollars, six vehicles carrying 24 FBI, Immigration, NYPD and US Treasury Officers surrounded the officers and invaded the cash house. Twelve arrests were made including arrests of Graham and Mercado. Much to the officers’ chagrin Edgardo Melo was actually an internal affairs officer named Rudy Martinez who had concocted the entire story about being a Colombian drug dealer.

Not including the officers’ firearms there were 6 guns confiscated from the cash house.  Detective Robert Flynn, assigned to the Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad transported the weapons to the 110 PCT station detective squad office. Flynn placed the guns on a desktop and began processing them to be placed into evidence. He abruptly stopped vouchering the guns when nature called. Flynn left the office and locked the squad office. What Flynn did not know while in the john, was that Joseph Berger was sleeping in the back of the squad room, in an alcove, where there was a bunk bed used for the local detectives who worked overnight. Berger woke up and walked his portable garbage can on wheels toward the office exit. On impulse, Berger picked up a sleek Glock .40 caliber pistol with its loaded magazine and threw them into his trash can. He limped out of the office and rushed down to his basement locker. Flynn scoured the precinct for the Glock but it never surfaced. He never mentioned the disappearance to anyone and no one else ever noticed. Joseph Berger took the gun home and put it in his bottom dresser drawer.

The very next day at 8 AM, a very tired and drunken Berger started the drive back from work trekking against the rush hour traffic. He was nodding off to sleep and speeding at about 80 MPH when he crashed head on into the cobblestone bridge at the Nassau Road Freeport/Roosevelt exit on the Southern State Parkway. The steering wheel of the 1967 Dodge Dart instantaneously entered his chest cavity killing him instantly. If the steering wheel hadn’t killed him than the whiplash which caused his neck to snap would have.

Sixteen year old George told his mother that he would start to go through his father’s belongings and generally straighten out the house.  He started with his father’s clothes closet. His father’s clothes were too small for George so he packaged them in preparation for donation to the Salvation Army. He was rummaging through the bottom dresser drawer and he felt the cold metal of a gun barrel and picked up the Glock with both hands. He examined the pistol and read the writing on the slide; Made in Austria-He whispered to himself, “The birthplace of Hitler.” 

In fall of 1979 Lauren began her junior year at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. She was majoring in child psychology but taking courses in education with an eye toward teaching. As in high school she was a very good but not excellent student. Her active social life prevented her from a 4.0 GPA. She continued to live at home and saved a substantial amount of money by not paying dormitory fees. One November evening she arrived home from school and found her mother with her head in her hands quietly sobbing in the living room. Her father, with heavy steps that echoed throughout the house, was descending down the steps from the master bedroom lugging a suitcase. “What’s going on?”,Lauren asked nervously.

“We’re separating.” Sid answered.

 “We have an appointment to see a marriage counselor, dear. We’ll get back together soon.” Janet added. There was no appointment with a therapist and there was no reconciliation. The divorce was final 9 months later

The divorce devastated Lauren. Conversation at home with her mother was scarce and she couldn’t concentrate on her school work. Lauren decided to take a break from school before her senior year.

Not too long after the divorce Sid invited Lauren and brother, Jay, out for dinner at Salerno’s in Richmond Hill, Queens. The siblings were not shocked but mildly disappointed when dad brought a date along to dinner. Her name was Eleanor Laforgia, a detective in the Queens Sex Crimes Squad. Jay was working contentedly for Con Edison as a lineman so the conversation wasn’t slanted toward him. Sid and Eleanor tried to entice Lauren into taking the NYPD exam. The sweet talking worked. Lauren felt that she could use her telepathic abilities in the most beneficial way possible, helping people and enjoying an exciting career. Lauren aced the test and was appointed to the NYPD Police Academy in January of 1982.


February, 1984 East Meadow, NY

Erwin Rommel Wilson nee George Berger was eating lunch in the cafeteria of the Nassau County Medical Center. He was employed as a maintenance worker on the janitorial staff. He was thumbing through Newsday, Long Island’s highest circulated newspaper, when an item in the business section caught his eye.  The prestigious Garden City law firm of Gottlieb, Morris and Peck announced that they had just proudly hired Josh Freeman as an associate. Freeman was a graduate of Massapequa High School, Harvard and Harvard Law School. The notice ended by stating that Freeman had passed the NY Bar exam with the highest grade in NY State history.

On a cold and dreary March night Freeman was approaching his brand new Mercedes in the parking lot of GMP. He had been trying to impress the partners by working late. He had his head down, fumbling for his keys when Erwin startled the new attorney. “Good evening, Josh. Congratulaions.”

“George Berger?”

“Are you surprised to see me after all this time? You know I just might need a good attorney sometime.”

“We only handle high end clients, George.”

In one quick and fluid motion Wilson removed the Glock from his rear waistband and pumped two shots into Freeman’s upper chest. Freeman landed on his back with two serious but non-fatal wounds. Wilson, towering directly above Freeman’s head proclaimed, “This one is for revenge. The next one is for history!” He then shot Freeman between the eyes with the powerful .40 caliber and scampered away.

                                *                                 *                          *                               *

By 1985 Lauren had settled in nicely at the 110 Precinct. She was well respected as an active police officer who was out on the street making collars (arrests) and backing up her partners during dangerous situations. Most female police, according to their male counterparts, would do anything they had to do to stay off the street and into inside administrative positions.

Police Officer Brown had grown to 5’8” with an athletic body. She visited Jack LaLanne’s gym on a regular basis and continued her long distance running that she had started in 10th grade. The worst ribbing she took from the guys was due to slightly lengthy nose that she wanted to fix since her bat mitzvah.

Lauren was partnered up with eight year veteran Jorge Liriano about a week after she was assigned to the 110 Precinct. Jorge’s partner, Paul Napolitano, had just been promoted to sergeant and transferred to the 19th Precinct on Manhatten’s eastside. After the 4 PM roll call Lauren went behind the front desk to pick up the radio motor patrol car keys. She was about to pick up the keys when Liriano’s big right paw swiped them right out of her hand. She gave him a look with utter disdain. She stated to Jorge, “I just thought that I would be the operator for the first four hours.”

Jorge retorted, “I’m driving the first 4 hours and I’ll tell you why. I am a buffalo hunter. I love big buffalo butts. Lauren’s jaw dropped and her mouth opened so wide you could have thrown a 16 pound bowling ball into it. The mommies on Roosevelt Avenue have the biggest bubble butts in the city. I want to hunt for every last one of them. Do you have any problem with that?”

“Aren’t you married?”

“Yeah I’m married and my wife likes 6-packs. She likes abs and I dig buffalo butts, the bigger the better.  Do you have a problem with that?”

“NO I DON’T. Just as long as we do our job.”

Jorge answered, “Let’s roll.”

Lauren and Jorge effected their most impressive arrest with the aid of Lauren’s telepathic ability, an asset that Jorge did not (and still doesn’t) know that Lauren possessed. The time was about 6:15 PM on a payday Friday night. Jorge was driving at a snail’s pace on Roosevelt Avenue just west of Junction Boulevard. He was scoping out the ladies and their rotund attributes that he loved so much. Suddenly, Lauren squealed out, “STOPPPPP!”

She was staring at an idling armored van with a driver at the wheel in front of Del Toro Travel. Del Toro specialized in taking the payday cash from thousands of Hispanic immigrants and wiring the money to their families in Central and South America. At times there is in excess of $2 million in cash on the premises. Additionally, the Organized Crime Control Bureau was investigating Del Toro for laundering drug money. The van was facing eastbound and the patrol car west. Lauren continued to stare intently at the driver.

She stated to Jorge that Del Toro was getting robbed by four men carrying automatic weapons. “The man at the wheel of the van is the getaway driver.  When the gang gets back to the van they are going to flee on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway over the Triborough Bridge to their hideout in the Bronx. Wait, the driver just changed his mind. When he goes over the Triborough he is going to exit onto Ward’s Island and kill his 4 cohorts with his tech-9. His wife has already made plane reservations to Miami for tonight at 9:15 for the family and four duffel bags full of cash.”

“How do you know that?”

“Trust me.”

Lauren grabbed her radio and called for immediate back-up. She stated to “Central” that responding units should not use their sirens and also cut off vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the Travel Agency. Luckily for Lauren and Jorge the robbers were taking more time than planned inside Del Toro and that the location was on the border of two precincts which doubled the amount of responding officers. The gangsters finally left Del Toro on the move and piled into the van. Two massive Emergency Service Unit trucks closed off the eastbound and westbound egress of the van and about 60 well armed officers surrounded the van. Not a shot was fired by either side and the 5 crooks were arrested. The next day Lauren’s photo was on the front page of the Post, News, Newsday and the Times giving the press a big thumbs up. She thought to herself, “I’ve got to get a nose job.”

About a year later Erwin Wilson was perusing the hospital bulletin board where he had noticed a used car ad that piqued his interest. Next to the ad was a flyer that he noticed inadvertently. He ripped it off the board so hard that the entire board was almost ripped off the wall. On Thursday, October 17 Dr. Todd Greenstein was going to be honored at the 92nd Street Y in Manhatten for advances made in cardiology as part of a “Salute to Heroes of the NY Jewish Community. Anybody who wanted to join the celebration could purchase tickets at that hospital HR office. The special honoree of the evening would be Nobel Prize winner, holocaust survivor and bestselling author of the novel, Night, Elie Weisel. The other honorees of the evening would include Hall of Fame baseball player, Sandy Koufax, NYPD officer, Lauren Brown and NYFD firefighter Warren Ellman. Wilson was fuming. He was holding the flyer so tightly that he shred it to pieces involuntarily. His only thought was “I am going to kill that Weisel.” 

Wilson went to the human resources office and bought a ticket to the Salute to Heroes event. His date of reckoning would be on October 17, 1988.

Lauren Brown was deluged with congratulatory calls and messages from what seemed like everybody she ever knew due to the Del Toro incident. She received letters from the Governor of NY State and both U.S. Senators from the state. Parade Magazine informed her that she was a finalist for the National Police Officer of the Year award.

One telephone call she received was from a Steven Marino who was in Lauren’s Police Academy company.  He was the company sergeant and she kind of had a crush on him. Although he asked her out a couple of times during the 6 month academy term she resisted both times. When he asked her out to dinner this time she gladly accepted. Lauren felt that at this time she was 28 and it was time to get serious. She also had a strategy with dates. She felt that the opening line that the guy expressed to her was the most important and the one that would give her the best impression of how their relationship would proceed.

They met at PJ Reynolds on 20th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhatten which was just down the block from the academy. Steve ordered a beer from the bartender. Lauren ordered a Cosmopolitan but the bartender refused to charge the newest city celebrity. The pair toasted. The cute couple shifted their positions on their stools and looked at each with starry eyes. Lauren braced herself for the line that she had been dreaming about all of her life. The anticipation caused her forehead to bead up with perspiration and finally Steve spoke. “Hey how much overtime do you have this month? I’ve got about 35 hours in cash and 20 hours in comp time. You know I work in the 44 (Precinct) and its non-stop radio runs all day and night. I’ve got three gun collars this month alone.” Lauren excused herself to go to the bathroom and decided that she would never date a cop again. She told Steve that she had a headache and ran out to her car.

Erwin Wilson knew there would be metal detectors at the 92nd St Y entrance for the Weisel event. He had to prepare so he could be armed with his precious Glock inside the Y auditorium. He knew security would be tight. Wilson placed a call to the Y manager in charge of employment. Wilson stated that he was experienced in all facets of theatre production with special expertise in lighting. An appointment was made for October 16 at 3PM. Wilson had called using the name of Henry Noonan. The manager said that Y security would have his name at the employee’s entrance and that the guard would escort him to the manager’s office for the interview.

Erwin arrived 5 minutes early for the interview. He asked the escorting guard who was wearing sergeant’s chevrons on his shirtsleeves if he could use the bathroom due to interview nervousness. The guard said that it was okay. Wilson’s adrenaline was flowing and his heart was beating more rapidly than he had ever felt it beat before. He was bursting with confidence, however, that his mission would succeed. He quickly scoped out the stalls and decided that the gun taped to the rear of the toilet tank would not work. He stepped up on top of the toilet seat and reached up to the nearest hanging ceiling tile. Wilson pushed up on the tile and noticed that it was a thick tile that would easily hold his gun. He softly tossed the gun on the inside of the tile and replaced it to its original position. Erwin was later interviewed by the manager. The manager stated that he would have to have a background check, drug test and a follow-up interview with a proficiency test given by the chief of operations. An appointment was made for early November for the follow-up.   

Erwin commuted home by Long Island Rail Road train and the hour long ride afforded him time to think about his mission. He would arrive early at the Y and retrieve his gun from the bathroom drop ceiling. The gun would be placed in his overcoat pocket. He would get a second row seat directly in front of the podium. Weisel would start his address to the audience and in one motion he would stand, brandish his firearm and fire three shots into the target’s head. Erwin would jump over the first row of seats and escape by using the fire exit on the right side of the stage. He would then run the six blocks to the 86st Street subway station and catch a downtown train to Grand Central Station. Finally he would catch a Metro North train to Mount Vernon and spend the night in a hotel.

Erwin started to flash back to the horrid day during his senior year that changed his life. The class was reading Night, by Elie Weisel, a novel that was based on Weisel’s memories of the holocaust. Most of Weisel’s family died in concentration camps, Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where Allied forces saved him from certain death. The teacher, Mrs. Greenberg, became teary eyed and she started to ask the students what their impressions of the book were. Marc Eisen blurted out that all of the Nazis should be put to death.  Josh Freeman jumped out of his seat, thrust his hands around Erwin’s/George’s neck and spit right into his face. “How do you like that, Nazi?” Erwin closed his eyes and took a well earned nap for the remainder of the ride.  

The six honorees (not including Weisel) were seated one behind the other in the first seats of their respective rows. Each honoree was allowed to invite 7 guests who flanked them in each row. Lauren was sitting in the sixth row wearing a black backless gown with three inch high heels. She carried a clutch purse. She decided not to carry her off duty .25 caliber pistol.  She did not notice Erwin Rommel Wilson sitting quietly on the far right of the second row. The master of ceremonies, comedian, Alan King called the heroes up to the stage one at a time. The group received a long standing ovation with the line of honorees waving and smiling at the crowd. Lauren turned her head to the left and lost her smile. She focused on the familiar face in the second row and the mind reader attempted to identify the man she hadn’t seen in over a decade. Lauren whispered to herself, ”Who is that guy?”

The emcee, King began the introduction of Weisel who would enter the stage and shake the hands of all the honorees. King was about to say the name, Elie Weisel, when Lauren finally fully comprehended the reason she was endowed with her telepathic powers. Simultaneously, King yelled out “Weisel” and Lauren said under her breath, “Berger.”  She thought back to 12 years ago when Berger stated, “I’m going to kill that weasel. Weasel….Weisel.” 

He’s going to kill Weisel. He has a gun in his coat pocket and he’s going to shoot three times into Weisel’s head. King and an assistant ushered the honorees to the rear of the stage where they would sit during Weisel’s speech. Lauren’s thoughts were racing supersonically trying to formulate a plan that prevent Weisel and all of the innocent bystanders any harm. She was sitting in a plush leather throne- like chair with both hands grasping the armrests. Honoree, Hall of Fame baseball player, Sandy Koufax said to Lauren, “C’mon, get comfortable.” Lauren quietly slipped off her heeled shoes. Weisel started his speech. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished honored guests, Y VIPS, I would like to thank you with all of my heart for inviting me to this special event. I would like to congratulate…At that precise moment Wilson/Berger took a deep breath. Lauren boosted herself out of her chair and ran at full speed. Wilson/Berger stood up, slipped his right hand into his coat pocket, gripped his Glock, brought it up to shoulder length and aimed it over the podium at Weisel’s head. Lauren launched herself over the edge of the stage and soared over the first row toward Wilson/Berger’s shoulders with her arms extended. Wilson/Berger squeezed off two shots before Lauren made head to head contact with the shooter. The first shot hit an overhead stage light and the second struck shot struck Lauren in the right clavicle. The impact of the collision caused the gun to fly into the fourth row where it was picked up by a guest of the hero firefighter. Wilson/Berger was quickly subdued by three burly security guards. Lauren asked,” George, why did you do it?”

“MY NAME IS ROMMEL. I was given a mission to eliminate Jews. I was just following orders.”

Lauren’s mind reading abilities came to end that night. She went back to Hofstra and earned her bachelor’s degree in child psychology. After much soul searching she retired from the police department after 15 years. She received her master’s degree in education from Queens College. After 4 years of teaching special education students to read at PS 212 in Jamaica, Queens Lauren returned to her roots and was hired to teach English literature at Massapequa High School.


November, 2010 Massapequa, NY

The entire class of 27 students stared intently at the clock as it inched toward the 3:00 PM dismissal time. It was two minutes until Thanksgiving weekend. Cary Carslon raised her hand and when Miss Brown called on her Cary asked, “What’s your married name going to be?”

 Lauren answered, “Mrs. Lauren Jeter. I’m marrying Derek Jeter.”

The class roared with laughter and an unidentified female voice from the back yelled out, “You wish.”

Savannah Sampson raised her hand. Miss Brown recognized her. “Miss Brown you forgot to give us homework for the weekend.” The bell rang and 27 teenagers ran loudly out the door.

                                                               The End







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