There are extraordinary numbers of people that have had dreams about other times, other places.

Some of them are just dreams made up of composites of things they read, something they watched on T.V. that day, a conversation they had. Sometimes they're just dreams about the day; the subconscious unceasingly working on the problem of living. I haven't had one of those kinds of dreams for some time. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had one. You see, I'm one of those that have the Other dreams. Others are much, much more. They are messages, memories of both past and future, awakenings. They are you in another life, when and where doesn't matter. And that's not the crazy part. You see it started when I was 20... I had just joined the military about a year earlier, and I was finally done with all the seemingly endless training. I was on my way to my first real duty station in an old Crown Vic that I had picked up for dirt cheap off the "Lemon Lot." I loved that car. It had plenty of power and just seemed to float down the road and whatever speed I wanted to go. I was just about to hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama with about 500 miles left to go when I glanced up to see blue lights in my rear view. Odd, I thought, as I started moving right, I hadn't seen a single headlight for a while, and this guy comes out of nowhere. Of course I do what anyone would do in those circumstances; I checked my speedometer. 72 miles per hour and steady. Was this guy really going to pull me over for going 2 miles over? I slowed to a stop, rolled my windows down and lit a cigarette. There was the customary waiting period as the trooper called in to the station, told dirty jokes to the dispatcher, did a crossword puzzle or two, cleaned his pistol, whatever the hell it is that cops do while you're waiting for them to amble up to your window. As I sat there, slight breeze caressing my cheek as I took a drag and exhaled, I thought about how I'd gotten to this spot where I was sitting, and those dreams that somehow always left me feeling haunted and strangely homesick... The crunch of booted feet on gravel heading toward my car snapped me back to the present. "I'll have a cheeseburger, a small fry, and a large sweet tea. Actually, just make that a number 3 to go, no lettuce." The look on his face was definitely something to watch as it rolled from brief confusion, followed by dawning

recognition and a moment of indecision (I could tell he was trying to decide whether to laugh or get offended.) It finally settled into a smile and a laugh. "How ya doin, Officer? You have got to be getting bored out here." "Yeah, it's pretty slow. Where ya heading, son?" "Ft. Meade, sir. Maryland." As I said this, he took a closer look at me. There was something familiar about him, but I just could not put my finger on it. "Which branch are ya in, son?" "Air Force, sir." "Hoorah. Good stuff. Thanks for serving! You have any idea why I pulled you over?" he asked, good naturedly. I shook my head with a grin. "Not a friggin one, sir, not unless you're pulling me over for doing two over." He laughed, "I'm a cop, but I'm not an ass. No, we've had a situation come up, and I was told to look out for a white Vic and a driver matching your description. We know what you've been training in over the last year and we need your help." It was at this point that I began to get a bit suspicious. "Sir, I just got out of training and haven't even reported to my first duty station. I know there's got to be alot of folks alot more qualified than me." He nodded, "This is true, and a couple are on the way. Problem is, we need them here ten minutes ago." He paused, seeming to take note of my dubious expression. "Plus, this will earn you some brownie points with your new commander." He paused, letting me consider. "Or I can write you a ticket for doing two over," he grinned. That grin... just something about it was so familiar. Something in me seemed to trust him, though. "Damn, since you make it such a tough choice... Should I just follow you, or what?" "I'm gonna have you follow me to the Burger King right off MacFarland, park there, and hop in the squad car with me." "Alrighty." The officer started heading back to his car and tossed over his shoulder, "Oh, and try and keep up, will ya?" I took another drag on my cigarette and grinned. This could be fun. Maybe I'd finally get to see what this old girl could really do. Of course, this guy would have to tell me how fast we were

going, I thought, the needle buried at 85... He pulled out, lights still going, so I flipped my hazards on and followed suit. Sure enough, before I knew it, the needle was buried and old Liz was floating along like we were just driving in the park. We were moving at a good clip and I just settled back for the ride. We slowed slightly when we started getting into a little bit of traffic, but only slightly. We took the exit and made our way to the king of burgers, where we stopped and got out. I pulled out my pack of smokes and lit one. "Hey, are those Nat Shermans?" he asked. "Yeah, you want one?" "Heck yeah. You hungry? You look like you've been on the road for a while." "Nah, I stopped a while back, but thanks. Let's get this done. I've got a friend expecting me here in town." I locked my doors and strolled over to his squad car. "Do I need anything in particular? Uniform or anything?" "No, civies are fine. We're just headed over by the college, and you'll be on your way." I slid into the seat beside him. "Ever been in the front seat of one these babies?" "Oh yeah. Dad's a cop back home. It's the back seat I've never sat in," I laughed. He chuckled. "Good stuff, else you wouldn't be heading to work for the Spooks." His casual remark caught my attention, and suspicion awoke again. There was still that part of me that trusted this guy. I didn't know if it was just growing up around badges, or what it was, but I just knew I could take whatever he told me to the bank, if I had to. He apparently caught a look on my face and added, "I knew what you're trained in. Makes sense that I'd know where you're about to work too, yeah?" "Wait a minute... You talk like you're from Louisiana." At this, he just winked and put the car in drive. He talked as we eased out of the parking lot and back onto the road. "You know the war crimes trial going on with your... area of expertise?" "Yes sir." "Well, we think we located one of the suspects. Looks young enough in the photos to pass as college-age, so we think he's taking classes here at the U of A. What's got us interested is that he's from the Balkans. You're not going to do anything special, just chat with him, see if you can get any more of an ID on him."

"Alright, sounds simple enough," I nodded. "Do I have any sort of back story?" He shook his head, "No, you'll just have to wing that. I'm sorry to put you in this position, but we just don't have time to wait. If he's who we think he is, he'll notice the extra attention and scoot." "Alright, so what's my in?" I querried, referring to how I was going to strike up a conversation with him in the first place. "It's game night, baby. Crimson Tide won, so the whole damn town's a party. Just wander up. Hell I don't care, just find out what you can." "You know, you've got to admit that this is pretty damn suspicious. I'm fresh out of training and the Alabama State Police wants me to run a covert op for them as I happen to be passing through? And all to see if a war criminal is a Crimson Tide fan?" "I know, it's crazy, but, like I said, you're all we've got right now. The big boys are on their way, but we need a little more to go on." "Wait a minute..." I cursed myself silently. "And we're going to pull up in a squad car? Damn I'm an idiot. Who the hell are you?" "Look, just go meet him." "What the hell are you trying to run here?" He stopped the car and I readied myself. At least I was in the front seat where the door handle worked... He was about six even and heavier than me. I hoped to God Almighty I could do enough damage to get away and get back to my car. "Damnit, alright son." His lip curled into a slight snarl as he seemed to silently berate himself. "We're not trying to ID him. We're IDing you." You know in the movies how a character says something shocking, and then there's a music score swell and then a pregnant pause? Well, there wasn't any music, just a pregnant pause that seemed two weeks overdue. "What?" I was still holding myself ready. Damn, he looked familiar. "You'll just have to meet him. You'll still get your brownie points with your commander. Please. Look, I know this is all kinds of weird, but just meet him. Take you two minutes, I'll take you back to your car, and you're on your merry way." I swore softly to myself. "Whatever, let's get this over with. Are you even a

cop?" "Yes, I'm really who I say I am. There's just a little more to it. If you're who we think you are, you'll know the more. If not, then you're on your way none the worse for wear, and cudos at your new base awaiting you." He put the car back into drive and rolled forward. "We're almost there. You can't miss him, he's the only Serb at the party." "Are you serious? Serbs look just like us. They're not green or anything." "Believe me, you'll know him when you see him." He slowed to a stop in front of one of the dorms. "Here ya go." At my quizzical look, he added, "No need to make you walk a few blocks now that the jig is up." I just arched an eyebrow and nodded. "Here ya go. Head straight back. You'll see what you're looking for in about a hundred yards." "I haven't even reported in, and this cloak and dagger shit's already getting old." He snorted, "It's going to get much older. Go on." I looked at his strangely familiar face again for a moment, then opened the door. I was hit with a cacaphony of noise, screams, shouts, laughter. Oh yeah, it was definitely game night...

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