Chapter 12 Tuesday 2000 hours (8:00 PM)
Brian was puttering around in the studio trying to sort out his thoughts, when Joshua popped in. Brian tensed up, but Joshua clapped his hand on Brian's shoulder to put him at ease. Brian in fact, was growing increasingly uneasy at Joshua grabbing his shoulder all the time.
"You probably think I was too hard on Evan, don't you?" asked Joshua gently.
Brian looked down at his feet. "Well, maybe," he said, "and on Jeffrey too."
"Jeffrey. The kid that stayed behind when the cub scouts escaped."
"Maybe Jack did go a little too far," said Joshua, "but the boy wasn't damaged. It might have even done him some good. Discipline is important in this world."
Brian felt unable to argue since he sort of agreed with the need for discipline. If only someone were there to impose discipline and order on his own life. Brian nodded, and went over to the familiar and comforting TV camera.
"I've got to clean the lenses for your next Broadcast," said Brian, just to fill the silence.
Joshua walked over to the camera with him.
"I'm sure your dad's walloped you on occasion when you've needed it."
"I never knew my dad," said Brian.
"Ah," said Joshua, "That's too bad. A boy needs a father."
Brian nodded, and started to clean a lens. Joshua sat down, and began to draw Brian into a conversation. Brian hadn't realized before, how easy it could be to talk to Joshua. Brian opened up to him and told him things he hadn't even told his best friend. Brian was keenly aware of not having a father, someone strong who could keep him on the right path and keep the chaos away. He envied his friends who had real families, like those he saw on TV. Brian felt that Joshua understood and Brian's eyes almost teared over from gratitude.
"There's a positive side though," said Joshua. Without a father, you're free to find your own role models. I believe in you, Brian, and I know you will go on to do great things," said Joshua, "and believe me, Operation Zoo may be one of them. Operation Zoo is just the beginning of a vast plan."
Brian waited for him to explain, but the man seemed to withdraw into his own thoughts. Brian waited, and realized that here in Joshua, he had found a foster father. But he wasn't eight years old any more, and he felt a little embarrassed with the idea. It didn't matter though. Joshua was a great man, and could guide him like a father.
Joshua slammed his fist on the table. He looked straight into Brian's eyes, and Brian felt that Joshua could read his mind and knew his every thought."
"Brian. I know how you feel. Think of me..." He paused, "Think of me as your brother."
Joshua got up, patted Brian on the shoulder and went to the door. As he was leaving, he turned back.
"I understand you have a girl and she's here on Operation Zoo. Lori is it?"
Brian opened his mouth to say something, but Joshua didn't wait. He turned, left the room and let the door slam behind him.
"What was that all about?" said Brian under his breath.