Ranched

By Jackstraw

Todd chuckled. It had been a long, difficult slog, and now it was over.

Fox News had treated him reasonably well over the years, and Todd felt a twinge of guilt at the relief he was feeling. “Oh well,” he sighed, as he toasted the television with the glass in his right hand. Good stuff. A dentist friend made it and had given Todd a fifth.

Yes, oh well, indeed. Todd had spent nearly a decade and a half at Fox News, and he had the scars to prove it. His crusade had cost him dearly. Friends and family didn’t understand. Colleagues mocked him. And the woman who had stolen Todd’s breath away over 20 years ago wouldn’t look twice at him, all because of his crusade.

Physical scars, too. This gig had ruined Todd’s health and nearly cost him his life. He felt and looked like hell, but he had to keep up appearances. Anyway, it was all worth it. At least he hoped so.

Glancing at his watch (a modest Rolex Daytona he’d picked up on a whim), Todd wondered if it was time. If so, the next step was obvious. But that didn’t make it any less dangerous.

Well. One thing he defintely needed was another drink. Sauntering into the kichen, Todd considered the salad he would be having for supper. God, how he hated all that garbage he had been forced to eat over the years. Especially that fucking Chick-fil-A. “Give me fresh field greens and a glass of White Bordeaux any day,” he thought, dropping another ice cube into the crystal tumbler.

On balance, at least it had been worth it monetarily. Nobody had dared to dream at the start of all this that it would be successful, let alone lucrative. But Todd had planned carefully and never strayed from the path. The people grew to love him. They even bought his books, and the money just kept pouring in. At least there was that.

But this was no time for cynicism. This was a time for celebration. To that end, Todd reached for the humidor. Peering inside, he selected an indica-dominant hybrid pre-rolled. “I can’t wait for recreational MJ to be legalized,” he thought for the millionth time.

Todd pondered his next move as his mind began to mellow. Certainly they’d all heard the news by now. They all knew what had been sacrificed on this journey, this mission. So much had been risked, and they had nearly lost it all a few years back. But Todd had rallied them, cajoled them, scolded them, loved them, dragged them to this point. And now he, Todd Starnes, was going lead the charge once again. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

So. Todd set his glass down and walked into his office. He reached for the phone. (In all the time he had lived here, nobody had questioned why he had a wired landline on his desk.) Punching in the code, he waited for the tone, then dialed the long number that he’d memorized so long ago. After the standard two rings, a familiar voice demanded, “Yes?”

“Hillary? Todd. You were right. It all worked perfectly. Phase I is complete. Initiate Phase II. I’ll issue further orders when I get to The Cove. Out.”

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