Of course I had tremendous expectations for Hubert Masterson. One look into his eyes and it was impossible not to. There was…a spark. Something that said,
“I have something big to offer the world, and I can’t wait to show you.”
I first met Hubert in the war. We were both stationed in a town called Sa’dah, in the Anbar province of Iraq. He was a wily fellow, only 23 but with a demeanor that conveyed infinite wisdom mixed with a healthy dose of lunacy. During our long desert hikes, he would entertain us with stories about all the trouble he and Dick (His brother I assume, though he never stated it outright) used to get into back in the States. There were some good times in the desert. But, there was mostly sand. Mountains and mountains of sand….
There was one night, one magical night under the stars of the desert, in which he brought me close and said something I’ll never forget:
“There’s something I have, something I keep hidden, a treasure, that soon will be revealed to all.”
At first I thought Hubert was drunk. His breath sure smelled like liquor. In fact, he had a bottle of bourbon in his hand that he was emptying into his mouth as he spoke. But as I gazed into his eyes I knew there was something very true, and very real about what he said.
The next morning, I was writing a letter to my beloved Julia in the barracks when I heard a commotion from outside. “He’s lost it, Hubert’s lost it! He’s mad!” They yelled.
I sprinted outside to see what the commotion was all about, but I was too late. They were taking him away, shipping him home, due to ‘mental instability and disorderly conduct.’
It was at this time that I first suspected that there was some sort of conspiracy taking place. Whenever I asked someone about it, they simply said that he’d been exposed. As what? A criminal? A traitor? But I got no answers, just stares of disbelief, as if I was missing some key piece of information.
But I didn’t have to time to investigate, there was a war going on. Eventually I forgot about Hubert, and when the new president came in and sent us home it had been 9 months since that fateful day.
It would be several years until I heard from him again. Julia and I were happily married in New York. I remember it was mid-autumn, when the cool wind blows through the trees in the city like the soft touch of a Care Bear on your face. One morning I checked my mail and found a very mysterious envelope addressed to me. Inside was a letter, which said the following:
Need help. Urgent.
That’s all it said. There was no return address. I wanted to help him, I really did. But there were no instructions, no anything. I had no idea where he was. I felt bad, but it really wasn’t my fault.
I next heard from Hubert the following summer. It was August. Julia had just given birth to our first child, a beautiful baby girl named Eliza. I didn’t pick the name.
My darling and I were taking a stroll through Central Park when an old woman, wearing rags made of old National Geographic magazines and a newspaper sailor’s cap, came up to us and scream-questioned us whether we knew how to fix a broken zipper. I was almost ready to walk on by, but then I noticed that as the woman continued to scream she took out a bottle of bourbon and started to pour it into her mouth. It was at about this time that I realized that this wasn’t a woman at all, but my old friend wearing one of those wigs made of rotten spaghetti!
With great enthusiasm I embraced my lost comrade, and asked him to clarify the meaning of his strange departure from the army, and his curious letter. When he finally realized who I was (it took about 3 hours), his eyes widened and he said:
“I wanted to share it with the world, but they weren’t ready. They aren’t ready still!”
I tried to question him further, but he was falling asleep, and Julia had realized we’d left the baby alone at the house for 3 hours. We left the park, and that was the last I ever saw of him….until today, that is.
Your honor, and ladies and gentleman of the jury, I tell this tale to attest to Hubert’s character. He is a great man, and surely there are many who are conspiring against him. Based on all of my encounters with him, I do not believe Hubert Masterson is the type of man who would commit a crime like indecent exposure in a public playground. I hope, based on my testimony, you will see that this is the case as well. Thank you.