Freddy appeared to be average with his simple clean house, his old minivan, and his dog named Rough. He certainly acted average, showing up to his mild office job every day.
He did not have a wife or family, and his greatest friend in the world was a rather self-concerned co-worker who happened to also like football. Freddy was mild. In fact, he was even too mild for his own standards. And that was why this itching feeling was beginning to grow inside his very bones, arteries, and intestines, both large and small. He needed a change. He needed something more in life. Something deep within him was becoming far from average.
And then one day, he cracked. Whether the crack was a metaphor for his mind suddenly being freed from its cage, or whether the crack was really referring to rotten eggs, it could not be determined. But Freddy was suddenly struck with the greatest, most frightening idea he had ever possessed.
It was a normal Tuesday, and yet Freddy left work early with shifty eyes, and a suspicious spring to his walk. He positively snuck from the building, and he didn't even sign out.
Later that evening, he left a message on his friend's answering machine that spoke in a deep, garbled voice. "Meet me at eleven-sixty-seven. Forth avenue. Nine pm. Sharp."
And so Bill arrived at nine with a confused expression and a case of beer.
"Come in," whispered Freddy, peering out of the door.
"Why so secretive?" asked Bill. "You know, I even had to listen to your message twice to realize it was you. I mean, normally if you're going to disguise your voice, you can't give someone your house address."
Freddy ignored this and pulled Bill into his house. Then they walked into the living room where the table was covered with maps. A single melting candle sat in the middle of the table.
"That's a fire hazard," commented Bill.
"Do you think I care?" demanded Freddy. "I am far beyond such trivial hazards, Bill."
There was a light in Freddy's eyes that Bill had never seen before. Bill opened a beer and sat down.
"So what's new?" he asked.
Freddy sat down at the kitchen table. "Bill, I've decided I cannot take it anymore."
"What's wrong with your life, Freddy? You've got a nice house, a good running car, and a stable career."
"That's how you might see it..." murmured Freddy. "But I've seen the light, and I now know that this is all rubbish!"
Bill opened his mouth but did not speak. Instead, he took a swig of his beer. His eyes watched Freddy's every move.
"Bill, what I am going to share with you tonight is for only your eyes."
"What other part of me would it be for?" asked Bill hesitantly.
Again, Freddy waved this question off with a hand. "Bill, you must understand the importance of my secrecy. No one else must know."
"Know what?" asked Bill. "You're starting to freak me out."
Freddy let his face relax. "As long as you understand," he whispered.
"Alright, I get it. Now tell me what this is all about."
"Even if the police show up at your door and ask for information, you will not utter a word about me, right?"
"Even if the FBI knock on your door, you will not let them know. Do you understand?"
"Ok, sure thing man," said Bill who was beyond caring for his strange friend. "Just say the word and my lips are sealed. So...what've you got there on the table?"
"Stay seated, Bill. Do not concern yourself with what I have laid out before me. Listen only to the words I am about to put into your mouth."
Bill blinked. That had made no sense whatsoever, but he wasn't about to interrupt.
"Bill, I have decided...to become a fugitive."
There was a long pause. Then Bill said, "A...fugitive? Have you committed a crime?"
"No," Freddy said.
"Then why would you be a..."
"Bill," Freddy said in a very serious tone. "I'm on the run."
"From everyone! The police, the FBI, everyone. I'm going to be the best damn fugitive the world has ever known! They will never find me. I will vanish off of the face of this planet!"
Bill was silent for another long and awkward pause. Then he said, "Isn't that kind of like...playing hide 'n' seek by yourself?"
Freddy blinked several times, and then said, "I don't think you understand, Bill. I am a fugitive. If they are not looking for me yet, they will be. Once they realize that I have begun running, they will chase me. Oh, and what a chase it will be! Across the globe I will go!"
Bill raised an eyebrow, took a sip, and then said, "Okay Freddy."
Freddy widened his eyes. "What, you're not going to try stopping me?"
"Nope. If that's your choice, then go for it."
Freddy paused in a moment of stammering passion. "I knew you would understand!" he finally cried. "Bill, you are my best friend and I hate to leave you, but you must realize that if I am to stay hidden from the world, I must also stay hidden from you."
"So where you going then?"
"Ah ha, you see? That must also remain secret. Not even you, my good friend, will know. But let me tell you: it will be a distant exotic country. The first thing I will do when I get there, will be to change my name."
"Right," agreed Bill. "Just one thing."
"Can I have your house when you're gone?"
Freddy stopped in his tracks and let his jaw move back and forth on its hinges.
"I mean," continued Bill, "Fugitives do not sell their houses before they take off. They have to drop everything."
Freddy took a moment to register this, rolling his head about on his shoulders and stabbing the air with his finger. Then he said, "Rrright you are, Bill!"
Bill nodded. "Right. So you've decided to be a fugitive simply for the lifestyle then hey?"
"I don't have a choice," Freddy said. "It has already started. I've already begun to cover my tracks. I've already disappeared from work an hour early."
"Ooo," Bill said. "Dangerous."
Freddy laughed. "My dear friend, that is only the beginning! I leave tomorrow!"
"Tomorrow eh? I thought fugitives had to drop everything and run? You can't choose when to leave."
Freddy faltered a moment and then said, "You're right. I must burn these maps and be on my way at once!"
"Why not take the maps with you? Fugitives need to know everything about their geography."
Freddy nodded. "Well said," he murmured. "You would make a good detective..." Freddy trailed off and then gave his friend a suspicious stare. "Stay put," he said. "Do not move. Wait until I have left the house and then count to fifty-three. Sorry Bill, but I have to be sure. I cannot trust anyone anymore. Goodbye my dear friend. I am sorry it had to end this way."
And Freddy ran from the room, shoving the grade-three world map into his pocket as he went. Bill raised an eyebrow, waited for him to go, counted to fifty-three, and then turned on the television.