Chapter 12 Tuesday 1930 hours (7:30 PM)
An hour later Joshua popped in on Brian to see if the lesson took. Brian who was in the studio puttering around, tensed up as Joshua came in.
Joshua clapped his hand on Brian's shoulder to put him at ease.
"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 nodded, and went over to the familiar and comforting TV camera.
"I've got to clean the lenses for your next Broadcast," he said.
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 opened up. He told how he missed 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, with lots of sisters and brothers, like the families on TV.
Joshua nodded in understanding.
"There's a positive side though. 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."
Joshua considered explaining some of the plan, but decided against it. He slammed his palm down on the table and looked straight into Brian's eyes. Joshua calculated that this was the time to say something comforting.
"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.
"Yes," thought Joshua, "The lesson's been learned. He's acting like a whipped school-boy."
As he walked down the hallway, Joshua wondered just why he mentioned Brian's girl friend. Was it to make Brian nervous? Then Joshua got the aberrant thought that he might be jealous of her.
"No. Ridiculous," Joshua muttered to himself, "It's just that the look of concern on Brian's face when I mentioned her name was... It was disgusting."