24 – Two Days Later – Hour 9
The following takes place between 3 am and 4 am
3:00 am – The armored car drives down the road at high speed with Jack barely hanging onto the roof. As it slides around a corner, the driver slams on the brakes to avoid hitting a country store. Jack is unable to hold on to the roof any longer. He falls off the roof, rolls through the front doors of the store, and slams against the counter inside. The shopkeeper, who has been on the phone while this happened, tells the person he’s speaking with, “Hold on… It just happened again. I’ll call you back later.” A man with white hair who has been looking at items in the store rushes over to Jack. The shop keeper hangs up the phone and goes around the counter to examine Jack too.
3:02 am – As they do this, another man walks into the store. He is wearing a brown coat and a tan hat. The man looks down at Jack and says, “I didn’t know Sam was setting up a hotel! Don’t you think the Shady Rest will be a little upset by you asking people for money to sleep here?”
The white-haired man tells him, “Mr. Kimball, Sam isn’t asking people for money. This man just came through the door!”
Mr. Kimball replies, “Hi, Mr. Douglas. Sam isn’t asking for money? That’s a good idea. That’ll probably put your competition out of business in no time.”
Mr. Douglas says, “He’s not trying to put anyone out of business. We’re just trying to help this man.”
Jack starts to stir, and says, “Oh, my aching head!”
Mr. Douglas says, “Sam, help me get him up in that rocking chair.”
Mr. Kimball says, “If you’re not trying to put anyone out of business, not charging money for people to stay here is a funny way of doing it.”
3:04 am –Mr. Douglas asks Jack if he’s all right. Jack tells him that he thinks he’s OK, but he could really use a telephone. Jack passes out again.
Mr. Douglas says, “Maybe we better not move him.”
Mr. Kimball tells Sam, “He sure does sleep a lot. Guess that’s probably because check-out time isn’t until 2 pm.”
3:09 am – Jack starts to wake up again. Mr. Douglas and Mr. Kimball help him to a rocking chair. Mr. Douglas asks Jack, “Are you O.K.? What’s your name? How about a drink of water?” Jack refuses the water, tells him his name is ‘Jack’ and says that he’ll be fine. Mr. Douglas goes over to Sam to talk to him.
Mr. Kimball comes over to Jack and says, “I know that sleeping here for free is a pretty good deal, but the Shady rest has some pretty cheap rates, real beds and everything! They’re just up the road!”
Jack says, “What are you talking about…?”
Over at the counter, Mr. Douglas asks Sam if he can use his telephone. “The telephone at our house isn’t working. I went up the telephone pole today to use it, and a bird built a nest in it!”
Sam says, “You’re gonna have to watch that. A bird’s nest like that will ruin it.”
Mr. Douglas says, “I was planning on moving the….”
Sam continues, “Yep, especially right before migration season. They’ll run up long distance bills making those reservations.”
Jack looks dumbfounded, “Birds making reservations?”
Sam says, “Oh sure, you don’t think they’d fly down south without reservations do you?”
3:12 am – Mr. Douglas looks at Jack and shrugs. He turns to Sam and says, “I need to use your telephone. I have to call over to Pixley to rent a post-hole digger.”
Mr. Kimball says, “I have a posthole digger.”
Mr. Douglas seems surprised, but pleased. “Well, can I borrow it?
Mr. Kimball replies, “You can’t.”
Mr. Douglas, “You mean I can’t borrow it? Did someone else borrow it? Where is it?”
Mr. Kimball replies, “I took it to college.”
Mr. Douglas says, “You took your posthole digger to….”
Mr. Kimball tells him, “Well sure! It was my nephew Tommy. I don’t think he’s majoring in posthole digging through. Never could get those postholes right. Always came out triangular…”
3:15 am – Jack says, “I hate to interrupt, but I need to find some Chinese …”
Sam interrupts, “That’d be in Pixley too. They have a great restaurant there.”
Mr. Douglas can’t stand this anymore, “Oh, for heaven’s sake… Can I just use the phone?”
Sam replies, “Oh, no. That was Mabel, on the line. She said that they’re fixing something on the telephone lines for the next couple of hours. She said it had to do with some birds making some reservations down south.”
Mr. Douglas throws up his hands. “Woo, boy! That’s it. Come on Jack, let’s get you out of here. You can come back to my house until you feel better.”
3:20 am – Mr. Douglas drives Jack to a farm, with a large barn and a small wooden house. Mr. Douglas has been talking the whole way home, describing what life is like in the area. As they arrive, Mr. Douglas sees a man talking to a woman in front of his home. He rushes out of the car. “Stop! Lisa, don’t buy whatever he’s selling!”
Lisa speaks with an accent, “Oliver! Mr. Haney has something I think you ought to see!”
Jack gets out of the car and eyes the contraption that Mr. Haney is standing next to. It’s covered with a tarp. Jack asks,“What is it?”
Lisa asks, “Oliver, aren’t you going to introduce your friend?”
Oliver says, “Oh, excuse me. Lisa, this is Jack. He had a bit of a tumble at Sam Drucker’s.”
Lisa asks Jack, “Oh, you’re an acrodat?”
Oliver corrects her. “I think you mean, ‘acrobat’.”
Lisa asks, “That’s what I said: acrodat.”
Jack says, “No, ma’am. I’m a federal agent…”
Oliver says, “Jack will be staying with us until we can get his bearings. I didn’t want to have him wait down at Drucker’s”.
Mr. Haney looks a little nervous at hearing Jack say he’s a federal agent. He asks, “You ain’t with the Internal Revenue Service, are you?”
Jack looks amused by this, “No, sir.”
Mr. Haney looks greatly relieved. He says in a low voice, “You know, if you need bearings, I can get you some of those…”
3:23 am – Oliver asks, “What is this contraption anyway?”
Mr. Haney sees that he’s got Mr. Douglas’ attention and says, “It’s a gen-u-ine posthole digger!”
Oliver looks suspicious. “How did you know I needed a posthole digger?”
Mr. Haney says, “You do?? What a happy coincidence!”
Oliver says, “Well, let’s take a look at it…”
Mr. Haney pulls off the tarp and tells everyone, “Here it is!” The device has curling pipes, glass tubes, and steam coming out of a large tank.
Oliver looks at it. “That’s supposed to be a posthole digger? It looks like a moonshine still!”
Mr. Haney looks affronted. “Why, it’s the finest posthole digger in the country! It was used by George Washington at the Battle of Little Big Horn!”
Jack looks a little more aware of his surroundings now and speaks up, “George Washington was never….”
Mr. Haney continues, “It was used to dig postholes to make a fence that kept out the invading Mongolian Hordes…”
Olive says, “Mongolian Hordes? Oh, come on now….”
Lisa says, “I think we should buy it! If it was a good enough post whatchamacallit for George Washington, it should be good enough for us!”
3:26 am – A lanky young man comes running out of the house. “Mrs. Douglas! Mrs. Douglas!”
Lisa says, “What is it, Eb?”
Eb looks startled when he sees the contraption which Mr. Haney is trying to sell. “Hey! My uncle had one of those in his backyard! He used to try and make moonshine with it!”
Oliver looks very self-satisfied, “Ha! You see? I told….”
Eb continues, “We all thought it was crazy for trying to make moonshine using a posthole digger.”
Oliver does a double take, “There….Wait….what…?”
3:27 am – Lisa asks, “Why did you come out here in such a hurry, Eb?”
Eb looks at her blankly for a moment, and then realizes what he came outside for. “Those acrodats you invited inside the house for breakfast don’t look like they’re feeling too good.”
Oliver asks, “Acrobats!” He turns to Lisa, “You invited acrobats into our house for breakfast?”
Lisa replies, “Well, you see, they came to the house looking for a tire. They all looked so hungry that I decided to serve them some of the hot cakes I was making.”
Oliver says, “Oh, Lisa… You didn’t serve anyone those hot cakes did you? The last ones you served me this morning were like rubber!”
Lisa looks offended, “Well, that’s not what his friends said!” She points at Jack. “They said they were perfect!”
Jack looks surprised, “My friends? You saw my friends??”
Eb says, “Sure! They’re acrodats just like you!”
Oliver corrects, “Acrobats!”
Jack says, “I’m not an acrobat! I don’t have any friends that are acrobats!”
Eb says, “Well, I thought for sure that acrodats like you would stick together.” He looks closely at Jack, “Come to think of it, you don’t look very Chinese. Just what kind of acrodat are you?”
Jack says, “I’m not an acrodat…er, acrobat! ….Wait, did you say, ‘Chinese’?”
Eb says, “Sure! They’re in the kitchen!”
3:29 am – Jack runs into the house, through the living room and into the kitchen. There’s no one there. Everyone else comes running into the kitchen after him.
Eb exclaims, “They’re gone!”
Lisa says, “And they finished my hot cakes!”
Jack goes out the back door of the kitchen, but doesn’t see anyone. He returns, “They’re gone. Which way did they head?”
Eb points, “They said their truck broke down just up the road!”
3:32 am – Jack asks Oliver, “Can we borrow your car? I’ve been chasing after those people, looking for my friends.”
Lisa says, “The acrodats?”
Jack says, “No!” He turns to Oliver, “Can I have the keys to your car. This is very important!” He sways, as if still a little dizzy.
Oliver says, “With that spill you took when you rolled into Drucker’s, I think Eb better drive.” He tosses the keys to Eb.
Lisa says, “Spill? Roll? I though you said you weren’t an acrodat!”
Jack and Oliver say, “ACROBAT!”
Eb and Jack run to the Douglas’ car, and they start driving up the road.
3:38 am – There are cornfields on either side of the car. Eb turns left down a country road and heads for a farm. Jack asks, “Is this the way to the car?”
Eb says, “Oh, no, it’s not. I just have to pick someone up that I promised I’d take into Pixley later. They said their car is further on down the road.”
Jack protests, “We’re going after the men that were at the Douglas house! We have to find my friends! Maybe you should let me drive.”
Eb tells Jack, “This won’t take but a minute.”
3:40 am – The car stops, and Eb puts his fingers in his mouth to whistle. He opens the car door, and out from the barn trots a small pig. The pig gets into the backseat and Eb closes the door. They start back out toward the main road.
Jack looks at the pig, “Uh, Eb…. There’s a pig in the backseat.”
Eb says, “What? Oh, that’s Arnold.”
Jack asks, “We stopped for a pig?”
Eb replies, “I told you, we’re going to Pixley later.”
Eb translates, “Arnold says you look like you’re a good acrodat.”
They turn back out onto the main road. Jack says, “Look, these guys are dangerous. They have my friends in the back of the armored car.”
Arnold grunts and squeals.
Eb says, “Yeah, you’re right Arnold!”
Jack asks, “What did he say?”
Eb says, “He says that for someone that’s in a hurry to save your friends, you’re sure taking your time!”
3:44 am – They drive up within two hundred yards of the car, and Jack tells Eb to pull over. Arnold jumps out and disappears into the cornfield.
Jack pulls out some binoculars from his Jack Pack. He looks at the armored car, but doesn’t see any movement. He notices something strange about the tires, but can’t make out what it is.
3:46 am – He tells Eb, “Wait here, I’m going to need to get closer.”
Jack gets out of the car and goes a row or two into the cornfield before heading towards where the armored car is parked.
3:52 am – After quite while, Jack makes it through the thick stalks of corn and comes out next to the armored car. The hood is up and there’s a pounding noise coming from the back of the armored car. Jack can see that one of the back tires looks like it has Lisa’s hot cakes on the outside of it. He looks into the passenger’s side of the car, but doesn’t see anyone. He moves to the back of the doors, and quickly opens them. Bill, Morris and Chloe nearly fall out of the back. They have gags in their mouths, and their hands tied behind their back. Chloe tries to tell Jack something, but it sounds like “MOM! AIRS A MOM!” Jack gets the idea. They run about 50 yards, and all dive to the ground.
Arnold goes trotting by, and grunts at them as he passes. There are wires in his mouth. They watch him get back into the car with Eb.
3:55 am – They all get up, take another look at the armored car, and walk back to Eb and Arnold. Jack unties them as they head back. Chloe gives Jack a hug, and says, “We thought you were a goner when you fell out of that belfry!”
Jack says, “So did I! Someone in a knit mask with a mesh screen where the mouth was pushed me over the edge while I was off balance. I think it was Darth Vader!”
Chloe smacks him in the back of the head. “Darth Vader? Did you actually say ‘Darth Vader’? Darth Vader is a fictional character!”
Jack says, “But it looked….”
3:58 am – They get back to Eb and Arnold.
Eb says, “I see you found your friends!”
Morris asks, “What’s with the pig?”
Eb says, “He says that he disabled the bomb.”
3:59 am – There’s a bright flash.
They’re standing on a road with cornfields on either side of them. Eb and Arnold are gone. So is the armored car. Everything else looks nearly the same.
Bill asks, “What just happened?”
4:00 am – Time’s up!