Sgt. George Tucson is escorted into a cold, nearly-unadorned room by two stony-faced MP officers. Tucson sits in a metal chair and rests his elbows on a scuffed, metal table. The room smells like bleached steel, like blood scrubbed clean with Clorox. The two MP officers shuffle out the door, slamming it shut behind them. There’s a crackle cutting through the air and Tucson flinches. Tucson can hear a mild buzz humming through the room and then, he can hear a man clearing his throat.
“Hello, Sgt. Tucson. How are you today?” The man sounds old. Possibly, he’s in his fifties. Possibly, he’s in his sixties. Tucson isn’t exactly sure.
“Really? I’ve been sleeping on a metal cot for the past two weeks. I’m pretty sure you’ve been feeding me dog food.” Tucson says, staring at a blank wall. He isn’t sure where he should be looking.
“The U.S. Government isn’t known for its hospitality, Sgt. Tucson.” The man says.
“You should tell someone to rip that plaque off the Statue of Liberty. ‘Give us your tired, your poor, your yearning masses hoping to breathe free…’” Tucson says.
“Yeah, but nowhere did you say, ‘We’ll be nice about it.”’ The man says.
“That’s fair. Want to get this show on the road. Ask me what you’re going to ask me. I got a cold bowl of Alpo waiting for me.” Tucson says.
“Okay. Tell me about E.T.H.” The man asks.
“E.T.H. or Evil Tom Hanks was an Underground Governmental experiment gone wrong. E.T.H was an attempt to turn Tom Hanks in inherent trustworthiness and every-man charm into a weapon.”
“Are there practical applications for Every-man charm?” The man says with a dry sarcasm.
“Fuck you. That Every-man Charm led to the death of every man in my platoon.” Tucson spits out onto the room’s cement floor.
“I’m listening…” The man says.
“The U.S. Government, you guys, illegally obtained Tom Hanks’ DNA when he cut his hair after Angels & Demons wrapped. From his hair, government scientists isolated the ‘Hanks’ gene. From there, they cloned Tom Hanks, removing everything that they perceived as weaknesses.” Tucson says. He runs his fingers through his hair and close his eyes, holding back tears.
“It worked. It worked too well. They were cautious. They held him in a cell. Monitored him day and night. They kept him muzzled and in chains. And they were surprised that he went crazy. I saw the security footage. I saw him tapping his fingers against his cell window, staring out at his guard. I couldn’t quite see the look E.T.H. gave the guard and that’s why I’m here today. The guard broke protocol. He opened up the cell and undid the muzzle on E.T.H. The two of them were shaking hands. E.T.H. had his hand on the guard’s shoulder. The two of them started walking down the hallway. E.T.H. fell back a step and then wrenched the guard’s neck, snapping it. Nobody would shoot him. People were actually stepping over their fallen friends, looking for an autograph. E.T.H. actually took the time to take photos and sign scraps of paper before he smashed their skulls in, or gored their eyes out. E.T.H. is out there, in the world, killing. I’m only here because I hid. I hid with my eyes closed and my hands clasped over my ears.” Tucson puts his head down on the table and tears pearl down onto the surface.