“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.”
– Ali ibn-Abi-Talib (602 AD – 661 AD), A Hundred Sayings

Matt wave to Enrique as he drove off. Meeting with Suzanne has been a breath of fresh air. Something he had been missing, missing from friends he had known for years. Rolling down the window, Matt turned the radio high as he merged onto the freeway. Damn, he thought, he had forgotten to get some food. The coffee area had a Mexican Restaurant he could go to for a cheap bite to eat. Turning off the freeway Matt smiled, it hadn’t been that bad a day.

Parking he looked at the time. It was near 8:30 at night. He had better move to avoid the teeny boppers that swarmed by the coffee shop. Briskly walking up he saw two familiar faces. Smiling he wondered who they were. Jason and Veronica…Damn. Matt lowered his head and wondered what the hell was wrong with this area. First Lisa and now these two.

Walking briskly by them they called to him. Well, the plan of avoiding them didn’t work. Smiling at them he asked to wait just a sec so he could get his food. Walking in he ordered a taco. He wasn’t hungry at all. He went over and poured some root beer in his cup and walked outside, seeing Veronica and Jason shoot the breeze.

“Hey man long time no see…” Jason said smiling. Matt smiled politely back. Veronica gave Matt a knowing stare, almost asking with her eyes if he was all right. Peachy, was what he thought to himself as he said hi to her. Sitting down he unwrapped the taco.

“So how was your day Matt?” Veronica asked. Matt could barely stand the smell of the food.

“Fine, had to train a Biology Major. Basically showed her around the Lab facility. Couldn’t do any testing because of some upgrade and repair work,” Matt nibbled on a chip. “How about you guys?”

“Fine.” Veronica answered quickly.

“Yeah Veronica and I were just chatting and waiting for her sister. Hey do you want to join us for a late movie at my house.” Matt waved his hand in objection.

“No, I have a long day tomorrow, I don’t want to be tired for tomorrow’s testing. Well, I think I will leave you two to your evening.” Matt gout up and went to a table farther away to eat. Veronica followed him.

“Look Matt, I know I am the last person you want to see, but I swear I didn’t know you were going to be here.” Veronica said, Matt felt himself tense. It was like she felt guilty about something, but what.

“Its fine Veronica, I just wanted to eat alone, you know how I like to be alone.”

“No man is an island.” she said sternly. Matt tensed up.

“I just like solitude Veronica, besides it seemed you and Jason were involved in a deep conversation.”

“Not really Matt, you and I can talk if you want.” Veronica said.

“That’s ok, I don’t feel much like talking…” to you he wanted to add. Her eyes looked a bit hurt.

“Well, ok if that’s what you want. I’ll be over there if you change your mind.” Veronica pointed to where Jason was. Veronica went for a hug but Matt stepped back.

“Sorry, I’m just not…comfortable with that,” Matt said. His teeth were clenched as his heart pounded. Veronica nodded and went to where Jason was. Matt tried to eat the taco, but it disgusted him. Throwing it out he went over to say good-bye, he had to appear that he was fine, God knows why.

“Well, I am off guys and gals,” he said smiling. Just then Veronica’s sister Amelia showed up with a friend.

“Matt!” she ran up and hugged him. Matt couldn’t resist and just let his arms hang as she let go.

“You seem so sullen Matt, every time I see you your different.” Amelia continued.

“Well, for you I try to change every time, to keep you on your toes.” Matt smiled. Amelia while every bit as religious as Veronica was far more lively. Amelia smiled at his comment and introduced Matt to her date John. Matt and John shook hands as Matt began to move away.

Matt stood next to Jason and Nicole, when Matt looked at Jason he felt inside him stir. A boiling rage, a desire to attack him…an almost jealous irrational hatred. Matt’s heart skipped a beat as he looked horrified at Jason who looked at him at the same time.

“You ok Matt?” Jason asked. Veronica looked in the direction.

“Fine…fine Jason I…I… just have to run. I’ll see you all later. Nice to meet you John” Seeing Jason and Veronica together…they couldn’t be together, Veronica promised to tell him if they were. Hell Jason would at least tell him. the sight of them not only angered him but brought that weight of depression onto him. Veronica walked up to him her arms extended…Matt relented and hugged her. His body tensed and she relinquished the hug and looked at him and he looked away. Walking quickly to his car…he felt his anger begin to mount.

His hands shook as he looked for his keys. Fishing them out of his pocket he dropped them immediately. Dropping down he raised his head and bounced it off his car. Kicking the car with anger, eh felt his pager loosen and fall to the ground breaking apart.

“Stupid.” Matt said abandoning it while going into his car. Through his car window he saw Jason and Veronica. His stomach turned as he started the car and screeched away. On the freeway home different words went through his head. Chad telling him about Jason maybe being interested in Veronica, Veronica always liking Jason, Veronica rejecting him, Chad saying he had no chance.

His heart was racing, as tears of anger rushed down his face. He had that moment to confront them but couldn’t…something was holding him back and that was killing him. The pain was growing too intense, when it dawned on him…a solution. His hormone treatment, it would cure him of these feelings. Screeching he exited the freeway and merged in the opposite direction.

Flying down the freeway he exited to where the research center was. Stopping by security Enrique was surprised to see him.

“Something wrong Dr. Smith?”

“No Enrique, I just remembered I think I forgot to put away some specimens.”

“Oh ok, if you need any help just holler.” Enrique said smiling as he opened the gate. Matt marched through the halls determined. His fingers shook as he keyed in his security sequence. The door hissed alive opening revealing the experimental chamber. Talking off his jacket Matt went inside the Control Room, He switched on the Gamma Emitters and the macrocomputers. The lights int he lab sprang to life.

Walking to the refrigeration unit Matt keyed int he code and the door opened. Showing his hormone samples. Smiling and steadying his hands he removed to samples and closed the unit. Moving over to the chair he placed both serum beakers in their appropriate slots in the chair. The liquid filled into the two needles…a beep showed that the transfer was complete. Removing the beakers he placed them in the hazardous waste basket and sat in the chair.

“Computer…Dr. Matthew Smith, Code: 146512.”

“Security Access Granted, proceed with commands.”

“Restraints Activate.” The restraints on the chair sprang to life. Wrapping around his biceps and wrists. His chest and stomach. Around his legs and ankles.

“Head restraint activate.” The head restraint went under his neck and around his head. Matt no longer could move.

“Prep Gamma Emitter.” The Gamma Emitters sprang to life. One above his head, two behind him aimed at his kidneys. The place where the adrenal glands were located.

“Injection of Hormones A&B.” Matt felt the seat under him. A panel slide as the two needles found their target. Two stabbing pains as the liquid was inside him. The pain made him think of his friends, of Veronica. Flashes of his daydreams of her made his chest heavy with lead. Seeing Veronica and Jason together made his blood boil…and his teeth gritted when thinking of Chad, his supposed best friend seeing up Robert with Veronica and possibly Jason too…but never him.

Suddenly the Gamma Emitters began to flow with power as they fired their beams of radiation. There was no pain, as the process lasted 15 seconds, and suddenly it was over with. Yet, so was the pain.

“Reset Gamma Emitter.” The Gamma Emitters went to their starting position and became lifeless.

“Loosen head restraint,” Matt felt his jaw slack and felt a slight headache. “Loosen restraints.” Matt felt the restraints slide back and he was free. Free of the restraints, but the emotion was gone. he thought of Veronica and there was simply a twinge of sadness but none of the pain…none of the anger. Wiping his face he smiled at the success. Realizing that the guards might get suspicious, Matt hurriedly gathered his briefcase and put on his jacket. Turning off the macrocomputers and lights he walked briskly out all smiles.

“Everything go ok Dr. Smith?” Enrique asked as Matt drove up.

“Couldn’t be better my friend, it couldn’t be better.” Matt grinned and drove off. Enrique smiled back. Seeing Matt grin like that was rare. Shaking his head Enrique sat down at the security desk resuming watching the game.

Matt drove home ecstatic. The treatment was a resounding success. He didn’t feel any of the negative emotion. He had killed the beast inside him. Almost skipping to his home he opened the door. He threw his briefcase down and laid on his bed. No more crying over a woman, now he could finally get on with his life. Matt rolled over and sighed as he drifted off to pleasant sleep.

“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” – Malcolm X (1925 – 1965), Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

The Monster Within Us All – Chapter 6

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