Chapter 10 Tuesday, 1330 hours (1:30 PM)
Joshua arranged for search parties to look for the escaped kids, and then went to Jack to discuss some security issues. Joshua realized that in spite of his earlier antipathy, he was beginning more and more to rely on Jack. True, he didn't have the intelligence and vitality of Brian, but he was absolutely consistent and totally reliable. Joshua was about to explore some little part of the grand plan with Jack when Jack received a phone call from Brian. Even from a couple of feet away, Joshua could hear that Brian was angry.
"What's up?" asked Joshua when Jack hung up the receiver.
"Brian's upset," said Jack. "I've got to go and see him."
"I'll come too," said Joshua.
A few minutes later, they were in Brian's office.
"So now we beat up little kids," said Brian hotly. He was looking directly at Jack.
Joshua appreciated the delicacy. He was as responsible as was Jack for beating that boy. And it was clear that although the chewing out was directed at Jack, it was also meant for him. Joshua didn't understand what all the fuss was about. He thought back to when he was the boy's age. His father had beaten him plenty. The beatings were on bare skin, and not with a puny belt, but with implements specifically designed to inflict pain. Joshua realized he looked back on those times with some fondness. It wasn't exactly that he enjoyed those savage beatings, but it was far better than being ignored. No, he didn't enjoy them back then, but he had to admit some pleasure in feeling that boy squirm under his hands as Jack strapped him. Maybe he could learn something from Jack.
"Im sorry," said Jack. "I just lost my temper when I saw that the scouts werent there and the little brat wouldnt tell me where theyd gone."
Joshua didnt say anything, but inwardly, he was surprised. He had no idea that Jack had it in him to apologize, and Joshua didn't like it. He thought he'd have to find a way, some little lesson, to strengthen Jack's will.
Brian spoke again, tentatively this time.
"Perhaps we should surrender. Weve made our point," he said nervously.
"What?" exploded Jack.
Joshua put a reassuring hand on Jack's arm.
"Dont be silly. We havent BEGUN to make our point," said Joshua.
"Im with Joshua," said Jack, "I'm not a quitter. You can leave if you want, but I'm going to see Operation Zoo through to the end."
Joshua transferred his reassuring hand from Jack's arm over to Brian's.
"Brian, I understand your feelings," said Joshua. " You're frustrated. You shouldnt have to deal with George. You're a gifted film director and should be concentrating on the videography. If we're going to get our message across, we need your brilliant talents. You're being wasted now."
Joshua could see that the complements were getting through to Brian.
Joshua went on. "Look. You do what you're great at, videography, and why dont you let me handle the broadcasts and the negotiations. Im good at that sort of thing."
Joshua waited as Brian thought it over.
"Yeah, OK. You can do the broadcasts," Brian said, "Anyway, I feel more comfortable filming the talent than being it. Sure. OK with me. You do the talking and Ill handle the film work."
Joshua smiled at him, but at the same time thought that it was Brian, not Jack that needed that lesson in firmness, maybe even a painful lesson. Joshua kept smiling as he and Jack left Brian's office.