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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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The Odd Bunch - 2

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She had a friend.


None of my other co-workers are quieter, simpler, or paler than Tyler. Every afternoon he comes in early, pale as ever, and quietly does whatever work needs to be done until the end of the night. Not a big talker, he just mumbles one or two-word answers in response to questions or talk, and continues on his way.

He's not a much older man than I am; we're only five years apart. Heralding from Marathon, a small town on Lake Superior, he has white hair that's balding and cropped very short, and glasses that make his brilliantly blue eyes huge. Because of his bare white forehead, you can see the muscles contract and work his eyebrows and expression. Sometimes he looks severe.

Despite that, he's calm, cool, collected and nice. I even drove him home once. Recently married, he has a good life to look forward to, and as best I can, I try to have conversations with him. One time I even got his honest answer on what he thought about containers.

On the surface, you have nothing to notice or worry about other than the fact that his expression and glasses sometimes make him look suspiciously like a serial killer, which, believe me, he's not. He's just a former agent, which believe me, he is.

Why else would the man be so quiet?

Tyler was an agent. He was chosen as one of the 'best of the best of the best' during a recruitment program in 2007 for a secret government agency based in Manhattan that monitors and governs alien activity on planet Earth.

He was part of them. They. The Men in Black.

It was a fine fit for him. As Agent T, he dressed like they told him, lived where they told him, and ate where they told him. His fingerprints were erased upon his activation initiation into the agency. Under the guidance of Agent Q, he learned the skills and tools of the job, and partook in the cleansing diagnostic specialist outfit of the M'Tuie affair. He was probably best known for being calm and decisive, never generating or feeling stress, and ensuring Agent K's apartment had continuous hot water (during his probation period he served as assistant to K). At his best, he whispered the correct instructions radioed to him via an outpoint liaison to his senior partner, Agent Y, during his fight with Earth's second bug invasion in 2010. Those correctly whispered instructions ensured his senior partner came out alive.

However, his time in the Agency was numbered. On a number of occasions several other junior agents claimed Agent T threatened or tried to murder them, all based on his severe, pale expression. Others claimed hypnosis from the movements of facial muscle in his forehead as Agent T mulled something over in their presence. Then Agent Zed, the head of MIB, died, and this caused a minor revolution throughout the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority Ventilation station in which MIB's headquarters were secretly located.

Tyler has no idea what I'm talking about when I mention his spirited time at MIB to him. I make no sense. It fits perfectly, of course, as upon his departure from the agency, the senior agents followed standard procedures and neuralized him (in layman's terms, they used the flashy-thingy). Erasing his memory, they sent him back home to Canada to re-create a life for himself starting in the backroom at Wal-Mart.

Not entirely so.

Few know this, and the junior agents (most of them either neuralized due to foul play, or now senior agents) have never been made privy to it. But upon Agent T's exit interview with Agent O, things went a little, well, differently. To settle down the ruckus caused by the junior associates, she gave him a pay-rise to go undercover, consisting of a partial neuralization, and sent him to his current place to monitor a long-time immigrant from the vicinity of Vega. They'd just tracked him down upon his hire at Wal-Mart, and needed someone to ensure he was behaving himself.

A new life isn't the only thing in the mix for Agent T/Tyler the unloader. With his high pay, he eagerly spends as much time on surveillance and calculated watchfulness on Atley as he possibly can, while making extra money from Wal-Mart in the process. Unusual? Perhaps. Amazing? Maybe. Genius?

Most definitely.

Good luck, Agent T. But Tyler, can't you give me an honest opinion of containers?

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