Chapter 26 Wednesday, 1700 hours (5:00 PM)
When Brian got back, he found Evan had collected a lot of petition signatures. Between them they had a majority of the membership. They decided to do it immediately after the 6 PM broadcast. They'd present the petition forms to Joshua. Brian checked his watch. They had to leave now as he needed time to arrange the shoot.
On the way over to the broadcast studio, Brian told of his meeting with Lori, and his new-found determination to stop Joshua here and now. Evan, for his part, talked about Jack.
"He's acting very strange," said Evan.
"He's.." Evan looked for the words, "He's nice."
"Did you talk to him?" Brian asked.
"Yes. He apologized about the bats. He said that while he was holding that woman's arm in the cobra den, something inside him snapped. He said he realized he was a real rat, and he was going to start fresh."
They got to the broadcast and a techie told Brian that there would be no more video shoots. Their TV transmitter was being jammed, and the signal couldn't get out. There'd still be a phone negotiating session though. Brian and Evan sat down to listen to it. There were few other Calfers there. Apparently, most everyone knew of the transmitter being down.
Joshua walked in, sat at his desk, and picked up the phone, this time not waiting for the negotiator to initiate the call. He still put it on the speaker so the Calfers could hear..
"Hello George," said Joshua.
"That was a pretty dirty trick, that business with the woman and the cobra," said George.
"Would you rather Id killed her then?"
They negotiated without any real purpose. The matter of CALFs demands were not even brought up, nor for that matter, was the disposition of the hostages. All was calmness and tranquillity as they hung up. Brian didn't know what was going on, but at the moment, he didn't really care.
When Joshua had put down the phone, Brian and Evan approached him.
"Id like to talk to you," began Brian tentatively.
"Go on," said Joshua.
"Well, you see, weve had a petition made up, and," said Evan timidly.
"Brian, Whats this about?" asked Joshua ignoring Evan.
"Id like to read the petition," said Brian. Actually he was planning to read it on the air, but since there was no air to be on, hed read it to Joshua. This was not an easy task since he, like practically everyone else, was scared of Joshua. Brian cleared his throat and began reading,
"Whereas: CALF has successfully taken over The Bronx Zoo in the cause of animal rights, and,
Whereas: CALF has successfully broadcast our philosophy out to the world over TV, and,
Whereas: Brian VanMeer has been removed from the CALF presidency, and,
Whereas: over sixty percent of the Operation Zoo CALF membership have petitioned to have Brian VanMeer restored to the presidency of CALF, and,"
"Is this going to take long?" asked Joshua.
"Uh, No, just a little longer please," answered Brian.
" and Whereas: the aforementioned sixty percent of the CALF membership do not believe in violence and object to the killing of Andrew Steiner and Reggie Foreman, and,
Whereas: the aforementioned sixty percent of the CALF membership believe it is time to end Operation Zoo,
Therefore Be it Resolved: that Brian VanMeer be restored to the presidency of CALF, and,
Brian VanMeer is directed to conduct negotiations with the authorities to immediately surrender the zoo, and,
that for the safety of all, all weapons are to be returned to safe keeping."
Brian looked firmly at Joshua.
"Here are the signatures," he said handing the document and a page of signatures to him.
"I hereby reaffirm my rights as President of CALF and ask you to step aside," he continued.
Brian waited with nervous expectancy on Joshuas next move. Joshua stared at Brian for a moment or two, then took the document from Brians outstretched hand.
"You morons," he said.
Joshua wheeled around to his bodyguards.
"Take these guys next door and beat some sense into them, will you."
The two bodyguards came forward, AK-47s at the ready, and nudged Brian and Evan to an adjacent office. The two bodyguards glared at Brian and Evan. Finally one of the bodyguards, Ben, the larger burly one, said,
"OK. How about you guys stand there while we hit you a few times?"
"and you expect us not to hit back? Fat chance, Ben," said Brian.
"We can take you," said Ben.
"Maybe," said Brian, "but it would be a fight, and what goods a brawl anyway, and what about your oath. Doesnt that mean anything to you. You are really going to be in trouble at the next frat meeting," Brian continued.
"Whats going on here, please?" asked Evan.
"Ben and I are fraternity brothers. In fact Ben was my pledgemaster when I was inducted," Brian explained.
The bodyguards and the two to be beaten continued glowering at each other.
"OK," said Ben, "How about you two bend over the desk and we beat your asses with our belts, like at your initiation, Brian."
"In case youve forgotten, the deans forbidden this kind of hazing now," said Brian.
"It was forbidden last year too, when we did it to you. Anyway, were not at the frat house now, so bend over," ordered Ben.
"Dont be ridiculous," answered Brian.
Suddenly Ben punched Brian in the stomach, a rather soft punch though.
Brian folded a little then stood straight preparing to fight. Ben stepped back with his hands open and raised.
"Have you had enough sense beaten into you little brother?" asked Ben.
"What? Oh. Yeah. Lots of sense," said Brian. He turned to Evan.
"You?" said Brian.
"Yeah. Sure," said Evan, "Tons of sense."
"Look, kidding aside, guys," said Ben, "It might be a good idea if you two laid low for a while."
Brian and Evan thought it a good idea too. They left for the safety of Brians room.
"So much for doing it by the book," said Evan.
"Yeah," agreed Brian, "It looks as if well have to start a genuine revolution."
"Im not sure theres time."
"What else can we do?" asked Brian. "and by any chance, Evan, do you know anything about starting revolutions?"