We took another cab to my apartment – the address was in the paperwork Ms. Moreira had given me. It was in Kings Row, and smelled of soot from the factory down the block and old cabbagey cooking smells. A small studio apartment for me and my worldly goods!
I put the entirety of my worldly goods – spare uniforms, and a thick folder full of papers – in the closet, and looked around. One empty room with a kitchenette on one side, and a little cubby of a bathroom next to it.
Once we got there, Mr. Marcus sighed, and said, “I’m sorry to do this Ward, but I’m going to have to leave. Tonight. Usually I’d stay a few more days and make sure you’re settled in all right, but something has come up, and there’s someone else who needs my help very much.”
I just nodded at him.
He added, “You’re doing very well, and I’m sure you can do this just fine. You are a smart fellow, and do very well with people. This new person they’ve found apparently does not, and is very dangerous, to themselves and others.” He sighs, and says, “I hope it turns out half as well as things are going to be for you.” He looked tired and worried.
I was concerned about his leaving, but didn’t say anything. He said he had to go, and that someone needed him. He had already driven me across the country. I couldn’t ask for anything more, could I?
Mr. Marcus made sure I knew several things. He made sure I knew how to reach him. He made sure I knew I had a bank account, and all the information I needed to access it. He made sure that the hero’s stipend would be deposited there, and that I knew the State Department had put $500 in the account to open it. He said it was to cover my expenses for the first two weeks, until the stipend arrived.
He also made sure I knew what I was doing. Tomorrow, at 9:00am, I was to be at City Hall for hero training. I then needed to do five missions a week for a city contact. He made sure I knew how to get there. I had all that.
We went out again, and stopped and got me a telephone. A Hero Phone, apparently tough enough to take a beating and keep working. It has a clock and a speed dial for contacts and everything a hero needs. It also has a big “emergency recall” button for the hospital. I thought that a bit ominous, but didn’t worry about it.
Mr. Marcus took me to dinner. We went to an Infront Steakhouse and had a lovely meal. They actually cook their “rare” stake rare there, and it was delicious. After dinner, he left me at the door to my apartment building, and said, “Good luck, Ward. I’m sure you’ll do fine. I’ll call you and check in.”
And then he left. I was alone, standing in front of the building I apparently lived in. I felt very, very alone. I clung to the shopping bag that had my new telephone in it, and let myself inside.