Out Of Office



Scene Title Out of Office
Synopsis Avi Epstein takes a personal day.
Date November 11, 2018

There's a physical calendar on the wall outside of Avi Epstein's office in Rochester. He's a man of material dates, and while his electronic calendar matches, some older habits from the agency days are hard to kick. Hand-scrawled days off are noted in each large square, days that have passed are crossed off in red, meetings listed in blue pen noting the attendees and hour in military time. It's the one thing that he does that is outwardly methodical and organized.

November 11th is marked with "A. EPSTEIN — Out of Office."

There's no sounds behind his office door. No sign of his presence beyond the scrawl of his handwriting and work to be done the following day.

Today, Avi isn't available.

385 Miles Away

Arlington National Cemetary

Arlington, VA

4:45 pm

In spite of its hills, the part of Virginia where it meets the Potomic is hauntingly flat. There are no buildings here, anymore, just gray and white heaps of rubble that resemble a trailer park after a tornado sweeps through. The city of Arlington Virginia doesn't exist, save for in name. Across the Potomic, Washington D.C. is much the same. The snapped off shaft of the Washington Monument is a stubby spire jutting over an overgrown park of wilderness. The Pentagon is a heap of crumbling ruin half submerged into a swolen river. In the distance, tall yellow and red cranes make a noble attempt at rebuilding, but that's decades of work. If it's ever finished.

Everything is gone.

Arlington National Cemetary fared poorly during the civil war due to its proximity to the Pentagon. Blast waves from missile strikes laid all of the headstones flat, lengths of white hidden among overgrown grass. There are no mourners here, no one permitted to enter the premises of the Washington Disaster Zone without government authorization. Avi Epstein didn't get authorization, but it wouldn't be the first time he'd been here in Arlington when he shouldn't be.

"So, Sarisa's still an awful cunt."

Sitting in the tall grass, both legs extended and his bad knee subtly bent, Avi stares out across the field of toppled headstones to the ruins of the Pentagon and the few pieces of rusted iron jutting up from its collapsed shell. "She's been in the ground almost a decade and she's trying to nail me for child support," he says with a deep laugh, wringing his hands around the half-empty bottle of whiskey in his lap.

"No," Avi says to the air, as if talking to someone, "you don't have another sister. Not— really." Gray stubble shines on Avi's chin, patched with a little black in some places. It's been a few days since he last shaved. "Work's going good. We're running out of war criminals to arrest, so… I mean that's progress, right? Hana's good. I mean, for Hana." Avi exhales a short, breathy laugh. "I mean— she's strict. She would've been a fucking amazing CIA operative if the Company hadn't fucked her life up. Probably a halfway decent mother too, if she wasn't in for it."

Brows creased, Avi looks down at the bottle. "I uh, tried choking out one of your sister's friends. Boyfriends. Something? I'm not sure if she's dating. Or straight." Avi tilts the bottle forward a little, listening to the slosh inside. "She's still living with your cousin Julie. She seems… happy. When she doesn't know I'm watching." He lifts the bottle up and takes a sip, then closes his eyes and sighs.

"Your mother's doing good, I figure. She hasn't called me in a while, so I figure she's happy. Wherever she is." Avi swallows, painfully, and looks back to the ruins of the Pentagon. "I think you'd like it here. Traffic in DC is better than ever, quiet too. Lots of real-estate investment opportunities…"

Avi's lips quiver, and he brings one hand up to scrub at his mouth. "You, ah… I wish you'd gone into real estate. Flipping burgers." His voice cracks. "Anything other than f— following my shit example."

Taking another swift drink from the bottle, Avi makes a ragged sound and forces himself up to his feet. "It's um— It's getting late. I've gotta go talk to Roy or he'll haunt my ass." Avi finishes the bottle, then grips it in his hand so hard it hurts. "Happy birthday, kid. Sorry you… took after me so much."

As Avi walks away, he gives one last look at the cracked headstone laying in the grass.

In Memory Of

Taylor R. Epstein


Nov 11, 1977

August 12, 2003

Bronze Star

Purple heart

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License