Dr. James Jenson's Cobra Project was made to solve the world's energy crisis but constant sabotage causes city-wide destruction.
When Dr. James Jensen, the prominent Chief Engineer of the Outer Space Research Institute(OSRI), discovers a way to solve the world's energy crisis he finds himself the target of a notorious plot focused on ending his career and his life. The more he tries to help the world it seems even more people end up dead. Who can help him? Who is after him? Why? The Cobra Project was made to make the world better . . . but it only makes things worse. With no help, no support, and all of Metro City against him, who can save his life? There may be One and only One.
Chapter 9 - Why
In the depths of the concrete jungle known as downtown Metro City a meeting is being held.
“Where’s my money!”
“Senator, the transaction will proceed once the funds are allocated and verified.”
The voice coming through the telephone conference device in the middle of the table surrounded by congressmen wasn’t well received by apparent head of the meeting.
“I don’t want to hear that bull! We’ve got things to get done and there’s two million missing from our accounts! Get it done or else!”
“Or else what Senator? You hardly seem to be in a position to be making demands and striking fear based deals.”
“Who do you think you are Jackson? You may be in Paris but don’t think I don’t have connections . . . You’ll feel my hands around your neck from here in the US! Get my money!”
With a slam of his hand on the conference phone Senator Kerry Graham ends the midnight meeting by hanging up on who used to be a vital part of his plans in the name of Randall Jackson, an international trade smuggler who has put his personal interests above that of Graham’s. Graham’s normally pasty cream face that reflects his fifty-four years on earth and the three packs of cigarettes per day is now a pinkish hue that is directly in tune with the rage developing as a result of the corrupt politicians failed plans.
“Senator Graham, what do we do now? He’s expecting the two million tomorrow morning. We’re dead if we don’t deliver.”
The group of twelve Metro City political figures looks to Graham with faces filled with mixed emotions. Each of them having some part in the plan for bigger houses, quick money under the table, and new sports cars are now looking to the flawed facilitator with thoughts of mutiny.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got it.”
Congressman Thomas, a well known philanthropist in the city and unexpected member of the night’s illegitimate meeting, stands to say “You’ll have it by yourself. You screwed up Graham. If you can’t control your men consider me out.”
With what seemed to be a planned signal for each man, the group pulls out their chairs and each one stands buttoning suit jackets and preparing lies for the wives who know nothing of their spouses’ involvement in the underhanded scheme of the night.
“Listen, you can’t leave! All of you have had your hands in this since day one! If I’m goin’ down you’re all goin’ with me!”
“Sir, just in case you forgot,” Senator Young brings a sobering reminder down from his six foot one inch stand over Senator Graham, “We all have immunity in this . . . I hope you didn’t forget the code. Your plan, your fall.”
Congressman White adjusts his bifocals and adds, “You said that the Cobra Project’s destruction and sale of plans would go smoothly and you just needed our financial investment and you would take care of the rest. You didn’t seem to count your foolish choice of incompetent help.”
Clearing his throat as he looks with disappointment and shame, Mayor West throws in his two cents. “You’re a fool Graham. You’ve been duped. Not only have you lost our money but now you don’t have the Cobra Project, the Plans, or any control of the situation. What kind of power do you have over international terrorists? It’s over Graham. I’ll announce your voluntary resignation at tomorrow’s press conference. Allow this to be smooth and this won’t have to get politically ugly. I’ll even get you a gold watch for your retirement.”
With that said the twelve men walk out of the room with one accord leaving Graham to stew in the folly of his foolishness.
“Stupid . . . Stupid . . . I don’t believe this . . . This . . . This . . . This can’t be happening.”
Frantically, Graham paces the floor looking for some solution to the mess on his hands.
“I can’t do this . . . Where will I go? Somebody will find out . . . I . . . I, gotta . . .”
Nervously lighting a cigarette Graham takes two deep breaths of smoke filling the relatively new conference room with puffs of smoke ignoring the no-smoking policy of the building. Using the phone as a newly made ashtray he puts out his cigarette and reaches under the left breast area of his tailor-made, Italian designer suit. Pulling out the device that would normally be used as protection from those who would stand against him, he sits back in one of the brown leather chairs surrounding the conference table. While raising the black and metal weight towards his temple, he takes a few moments to reflect on a life that was filled with the misery of others caused by his greed and unbridled lust. His mind only remembers adulterous affairs with affluent call girls, lies to his two young daughters and refusing to be a supportive husband to the wife he made vows to twelve years ago. Even middle school was full of days when he was a bully stealing the lunch money of the weak for his own personal pride. Maybe it was the father that left him and his mother without a stable home. Maybe it was the rejection of his high school sweetheart who left him for the star cornerback giving him no choice but to go to his senior prom by himself. It had to be his low self esteem, he never won anything but a chili-dog eating contest when he was ten-years old and all he got from that was a coupon for a free chili-dog. With staggered breathing Graham barely notices the tears welling up in his eyes and he decides to make this his last night on earth.
There are voices racing in his mind . . .
‘Go ahead it’s over; no one loves you and no one cares. It was nice knowing you Graham.’
‘Do you remember God? Doesn’t He forgive sins? Can’t you make a change? You don’t have to do this.’
‘Yes you do. God doesn’t forgive sinners like you. Don’t you remember? Right before this meeting you just had your way with those two strippers from the nightclub. You said you got a good deal too; it only cost you two-hundred dollars, remember? And you think you can be holy? Ha! It’s over Graham. Not even God can forgive what you’ve done. Pull the trigger.’
‘Wait! Do you remember those sermons you heard? Better yet, do you remember when your mother took you to that Easter program? Do you remember the play? Do you remember seeing Jesus die on the cross? Didn’t they say that He died for your sins? Do you remember that scripture? What was it? John 3:16? For God so loved the world that He gave his only . . .’
‘Shut up! Pull the trigger! No one loves you. You’re a fat, sick-minded, adulterer! Oh, I know what’ll get ya . . . Could you tell anyone the truth? You know you’ll have to face this if you don’t die now . . . What will your wife think? Heh, heh, what will your daughters think of their daddy? Can’t you see it? Can’t you hear them asking the questions . . . Daddy why is mommy leaving you? What does it mean when my friends say that you cheated on mommy? Ha! You can’t face that! Time to go sir.”
With those sinking thoughts, Graham allows overwhelming feelings of shame, guilt, regret, remorse, depression, and anguish to cloud his mind and filter out the second voice. Feeling like he’s lost control of himself, he feels a cold steel circle grace the right side of his head. With what seemed to be an eternity the finger that barely fit the holding area of the trigger pulls back and within a second a small shot is fired leaving scattered specks of red to accent the walls of the cream coated room. Kerry Graham, the once prominent Senator, now lays in self atonement having brought himself to judgment lacking the understanding that the true Judge never had any intention of slamming His gavel without allowing His Son to plead the case of Graham vs. Lucifer in which the outcome had already been decided in his favor.
The memorial of Kerry Graham brought with it the government officials of surrounding cities and various names that were well known throughout the political stream. The only thing that seemed to outnumber the tears shed by the thousands of people paying respects to their fallen representative were the questions that flow through each mind. Not differing much in nature each question held the same content: “Why?” “What made him do it?” “Is this real?” “What about his family?” No one seemed to have any peace regarding his passing. As the minister spoke words that just went through the people rather than bringing forth the comfort as intended, the hearts of many went cold. No one can figure out why, no one can see anything good behind this, no one is at peace.
Following the motorcade from the memorial site to the Town Hall honorarium held in downtown Metro City I wondered what the city would do next. Senator Graham wasn’t exactly uninvolved in the work of the city, as a matter of fact; I had a few opportunities to work with him. He helped me process a few government grants and clear the way for more research to be done for OSRI. Beyond thinking about him I thought about my life and posed the question . . . ‘If I died today would I be satisfied with my life?’ I sat quietly as the breeze picked up though my driver side window that was rolled down half way. The motorcade came to a brief halt as the police force was guiding cars to various parking spaces. My patience grew just a little thin mainly because I didn’t have plans on sweating in my suit today. Though it’s been said that I look good in a black suit the fact that I feel like I’m being cooked makes me want to stick with my typical slacks and shirt combo with the optional tie. I really didn’t have an answer to my question about my life’s satisfaction. For some reason I felt that it didn’t matter. I felt it didn’t matter because I realized that there is someone who would be better at fielding an answer to the question on the floor. Thinking further I restate my question: ‘If I died today would God be satisfied with my life?’ Now that’s a question worth finding an answer to. Before looking over my life I thought of Senator Graham and the rumors circulating his life and career. He did help me with a few projects but there were rumors that floated around saying that he’s been cheating on his wife, he embezzled money from the tax payers, and was a part of some heinous criminal activity. I would imagine that in God’s eyes it didn’t matter how much good he did for me and others if he was still doing so much bad that was hurting more people than he helped. In my own mind, I know that God forgives and wants us to live for Him yet at the same time I feel like He doesn’t want us to take His kindness for granted. If all that was said about Senator Graham is true, was God satisfied with his life? I can imagine God asking Him now, ‘What was the point of you doing any good? All the bad that you did not only hurt the people involved but also hurt the people you helped.’ I could imagine God asking Him about how he treated his family; asking him why he treated his faithful wife with such dishonor. I can imagine God looking at him asking questions about all of the things he may have done in the dark that no one on earth knew about. I tried to slow my imagination down but I kept seeing more questions being asked and Graham having no defense for his faults.
After parking, I step out of the car and walk towards Town Hall which was a few blocks away. After a few moments of mediation I began to do some more thinking about life and all that comes with it. I’m not judging Senator Graham at all, Lord knows I’ve got my own issues to sort out with God but I’ve lived too long and I’ve gained too much wisdom to not face the truth. I can imagine that everything we do and every choice we make will not only affect us but so many others in ways that we can’t even imagine. I’m sure Graham might have been thinking that he was just making money but the way he made it took the hard-earned money of the tax payers to satisfy his own desires and that’s wrong. I wonder if he ever wanted to do better. I wonder if he ever wanted to get out of what he was in. Maybe he did. Maybe he couldn’t find a way.
The street in front of Town Hall was littered with people. The building was decorated with flower arrangements, a stage, and huge pictures of Graham and his family at various times during his career. As the ceremony continued various officials, family members, and friends came up and shared memories of who they saw as a great man doing great things for the community. The day passed on and the sun began to set. The ceremony concluded and everyone attempted to go home having taken the time to honor the man we all knew to some degree. His 27-year tenure in politics was well displayed. On my way home I continue with my thoughts. ‘Is God satisfied with my life?’ It seemed so simple to pull out the things that I knew God didn’t like in Graham’s life but why is it so hard to pull things like that out of my life? Could it be that since I’m not embezzling money for myself I think I’m better than Graham? I should think not, last I checked sin is sin. If I tell a little lie it’s just as bad as Graham cheating on his wife in God’s eyes; there are just different consequences here on earth. That’s a sobering thought. Sin is sin. With that understanding I started to shake as I sat on my bed. If sin is sin then I have so much that makes me unworthy in God’s sight. Ugh, I just thought of something. If pride is sin then I have a huge mountain of it sitting in my back yard. Over the years I’ve thought a lot of myself. I’ve been very independent and always thought that I didn’t need anybody. I dove into my work because it made me look good. As a matter of fact, it’s that very attitude that helped to break down my marriage years ago.
Tears start streaming down my cheeks as I realize that I’m just as bad as Graham according to God; I may be worse because my sins were invisible. And since they were invisible I didn’t think I had anything to hide. I thought that nothing could be my fault since you couldn’t actually see me breaking the law. I’ve always thought of myself as a good person and everyone around me believes that I am but God may have another view if I would be completely honest with Him and allow Him to be completely honest with me. Could it be my pride that wouldn’t let the Cobra Project go? Could it be my pride, my sin that caused the death of thousands of people? Could it be my pride that decided to go for the glory of a great project while allowing families to go without their loved ones?
“Oh, Jesus . . . Forgive me.”
Within seconds I felt a lifting . . . like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Then I remembered. Jesus died for my sins, I’m forgiven. I remembered something in the Bible about confessing my sins and God forgiving me. All of a sudden I felt free, I felt and sensed peace. I’m at peace. This is such a great feeling. Peace . . . peace . . . I’m at peace. I also felt an urge to keep going . . . To keep going.
“Yes Lord, the Cobra Project will continue. Give me the strength and thank you for forgiving me.”