The next few years passed without much event, at least as far as Trystix, Olivia, and I were concerned. The tower became our little bubble inside the world as we watched Lena grow from a precious infant to beautiful little girl. She looked like her mother, full of life and a happy smile on her small face. Her hair grew long and curly, just like Liv’s, and she had more energy than a hummingbird. During this wonderful time, I began to bond with my niece. I spent the extra parts of my day playing games with the little girl. Lena had become more to me than even my golden lighter; she was proof that there was still some shred of Jared Donovan left inside the monster Trystix created.
This is not to say I stopped working for Trystix, however. As more opposition arose, more buildings burned. Suspicions continuously turned on Trystix, but they could never be proven beyond mere speculation. Like his plan originally dictated, I became more or less a ghost, a notion, even a boogeyman to some. My work became less extravagant as the city of Chicago became more or less Trystix’s personal playground. Except for that Trystix rarely left his office, and his playground was full of starving women and children.
The United States had been struggling as a nation since I was little, but I had never thought much of it until those years. The war debts still hadn’t been paid off. The great brains of the nation couldn’t come up with a way to pay it, save borrowing from other nations. The government, trying to buy its way out of debt, spent more and more on ‘buy-outs’ and ‘bail-outs,’ only to end up even worse off than before. For some reason, the government felt buying out all health-care and financial institutions would somehow result in profit. It blew my mind that Trystix had managed to become a billionaire during this horrific nightmare. But the politicians didn’t have the luck, charisma, or the boogeyman to do their work for them. They had their own small-minded agendas, and that’s what caused the Break.
The Break is the name we gave the day when the government announced it’s failure, therefore announcing their hope was lost. They said they had a few outside sources who needed their money, and they’d pushed their debts too far. The countries we borrowed from were in dire need of their money as well, and we had none to give. They announced that the banks could offer no salvation. They said that the nation was going under. Leave it to a politician to announce the end of the world as we know it.
Trystix came to me one night as I was playing blocks with Lena on the floor. She loved building things and knocking them down, giggling. Ever since she could pick the blocks up, knocking the little buildings over that we made was her favorite activity. I could definitely relate to that.
“Can we talk a bit, Jared?” he asked.
“Privately, maybe?” Trystix didn’t usually avoid talking business in front of his four year old daughter.
“I guess.” As I got up, I messed up Lena’s hair. She looked up with her meanest scowl she could muster, only to start giggling when I smiled at her.
We walked to his office and he shut the door. This was definitely going to be an interesting discussion.
“Jared, are you happy?”
“What the hell? Since when does anyone’s happiness matter to you aside from your own?”
“Come now, Jared. Bear with me. Are you happy?”
“I guess. Stuff burns, and I play with Lena. I have money, a motorcycle, access to anything I want. Not bad I guess.”
“Does that mean you are?”
“Trystix, just spit it out. What are you getting at?”
“I’m upgrading. Would you mind taking care of my house while I’m gone?”
“Upgrading? What do you mean?”
“I can’t talk about it now…Will you watch the tower?”
“It’s not going anywhere, boss. But you know I don’t like secrets. What’s going on?” He only smiled.
“Buckle up, Jared. Life will never be the same after tomorrow.” With that, he rose from his chair. As he walked away, he started chuckling to himself. He was always doing that…Quite annoying really.
The next morning, I heard the elevator door open. Trystix was supposedly long gone on his little adventure, so I found it interesting that I had a visitor. I hard small feet thunder across my hardwood floor. I smiled, knowing who had come for a visit. My bedroom door flew open and Lena jumped onto my bed.
“Uncle J, Uncle J! Wake up!” She then started jumping on the bed, laughing the whole time.
“What is it, little one? Why so much energy this morning?”
“Daddy is the king of the world! It’s so cool!”
“What? What do you mean, Lena?”
“On TV! You should watch!”
Olivia came in my room just then, looking like she hadn’t slept in a week. With Lena, it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think I tornado could wear the kid out.
“What’s she talking about, Liv?”
“Like she said, turn on the TV.” She looked somewhat sad on top of the exhaustion. I did as she said, and, sure enough, Trystix was on every channel. He was holding one of those enormous checks, signed to the United States Treasury. He was in the middle of a speech, stating he was only doing his part to help the nation.
“My purchase of the Eastern United States, and my partner Micah’s of the West, will only last until we have the nation back on its feet. We seek no glory, no power, no envy; we just want the nation to stay together, and the only debt the United States should have is to itself. With this check for five-hundred billion dollars, plus another five-hundred billion in stocks and bonds in Trysticorp, the nation will rise again and become the world’s foremost power. Through my corporation, and the cooperation of Pandora of the West, we will overcome! We will seal this Break!” His speech was followed by a thunderous ovation by the surrounding crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
I was dumbstruck. Trystix had just purchased the eastern half of the United States of America. I had no idea how he pulled this off, nor did I know who Micah was. I didn’t enjoy the idea of him having partners that I didn’t know. I really didn’t like his having secret partners who now would own the other half of the nation. Apparently, he had some deal worked out to ‘help’ the nation, along with Trystix. This sounded awfully dangerous to me. In a matter of twenty-four hours, Trystix had the nation in the palm of his hand. Like Lena said, Trystix was now king of the world.