Hi, I am Jake Franks.
I’m an ordinary man, there’s nothing special about me. I’ve worked as a construction worker, a scout, a ditch digger, and a short order cook. The one thing I have never been is a Truth Seeker.
Seeking truth sounds like a cool job, being called a Truth Seeker sounds like a cool title. Neither of those things are true.
I should have started at the beginning. Sorry, old age has caught up to me. It was a hot day down south, and I had to stop to pick up some dog feed at the feed mill. The usual old men were sitting on the porch. They sipped lemonade and played checkers. One of them nodded when I walked up.
“Help you, young’un?”
“Yes, sir. I need some dog food.”
“Hundred pounds should do it.”
“Alright.” The old man nodded to a scrawny teenager with a pockmarked face. The boy pulled a cart into the warehouse to get my feed.
“What do I owe you, sir?”
I handed him the money and he went back to playing checkers and sipping lemonade. It wasn’t long before the pockmarked teen had put the food in the back of my truck.
I headed toward my vehicle when I noticed an old woman stood next to my truck. She looked at me when I walked up. Her greyish hair was neatly brushed, her teeth were the whitest I had ever seen, and she was dressed for comfort.
“Hi,” she said gently. “Is this your truck?”
“Um, yes, it is. Do you need something?”
She smiled and her eyes lit up. They were the palest shade of blue I had ever seen. It seemed as if she stared straight through me.
“I have been searching for you, Jake.”
“Okay.” I tried to smile but my mouth refused to cooperate. “Why are you searching for me exactly? I don’t know you.”
“Because you are a Truth Seeker. I am Janet Lynx. You could say I am your consultant or trainer.”
She smiled again. “Dang, she has a beautiful smile for someone that is a lunatic.”
“You think I am crazy, right? That I made all this up?”
“Took the words right out of my mouth.”
“You have a blog and regardless of how hard you have tried to curb your political postings, you still write them, right? You also have maintained your belief that there is only absolute truth, correct?”
“How do you even know that? The blog you could have stumbled over, but how do you know my opinion on absolute truth? Who are you?”
“Sweetie, you’re dense. I already told you who I am. Now, can we please leave?”
And that was how I learned that I was a Truth Seeker. I would avoid the feed mills. You might run into a lunatic if you go there.
Nothing changed really when I learned that I was a Truth Seeker. I kept my blog going, I was still a hardheaded old man. Janet explained to me that America was not my only area of influence. We sat on the porch of my mobile home and ate corn dogs. She explained it as such:
“Truth Seekers are not concerned with just their country of origin. The entirety of the world is their sphere of concern. There are only four in the world at any given time. Some are artists, some are writers, others are political figures.”
“Political figures? I thought you said we used creative means to influence the world.”
“Could you think of anything more creative than creating calculated stories to support your agenda?”
“I guess not.”
“Truth Seekers are hated, Jake. Your inability to accept that there are varieties of truth will not endear you to people. Still, your faith must hold, you must not be moved.”
I freely admit that I lost my taste for corn dogs upon learning I would be hated. Between the insomnia, nightmares, and severe PTSD, I had a hard enough time being social, now I was going to be hated for being myself.
Ah well, the truth is that I gave up on humanity a long time ago. I had lied and convinced myself that friends were necessary, and love was the ultimate achievement a person could attain.
So far, I was a failure on all fronts.
Janet stayed with me for a month to bring me up to snuff. She could’ve stayed in her apartment, and we would have achieved the same thing just by me visiting, but she insisted on moving in.
Her insistent nature was frustrating. At first it was fine. The morning after she moved in, she woke me by jumping up and down on my sofa/bed with the glee and energy of an overcaffeinated three-year-old.
“Wake up, Jakey! Wake up!” She grabbed me by the shoulders, leapt into the air, and landed dead center of my crotch.
I spent an hour leaned over the toilet vomiting and another four in the ER waiting for a doctor to square me away.
“I’m so sorry, Jake. I had no idea you were so weak.”
Between visits to the ER, Janet laid out the plan for ‘Truth Seekers.’
“You help maintain an even keel in the world. Whatever your heart tells you to write, put it on paper. Someone, somewhere, needs to hear what you have to say.”
“Yeah, Janet. You’ve gone over that a million times. According to you, the world sorts itself out. I don’t see how our ‘influence’ keeps things in balance.”
The maniac giggled at my words. Her cheeks rosy from her exuberant nature, she grabbed me by the cheeks and twisted back and forth until tears stung my eyes.
“You’re so silly, Jake. If you don’t do your part, then the baddies will show up and eat the souls of everyone. You don’t want the baddies to show up and feast on your undying soul, do you Jakey?”
I shook my head no. Janet giggled and grabbed my cheeks like a cowboy holding on the reins on the back of a 2,000-pound freight train of fury named Bubba.
“No, I don’t want baddies eating my soul, Janet.”
“Then, do your freaking job lunatic,” she hollered as she smacked an open palm across my forehead.
The month seemed to never end.