Friday, June 9, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 16

The Truth Is Known

By Ed Rogers

Jake took Tom into a room off the main hall. It was very Vietnamese in its decor – bamboo was everywhere. Two fans came down from the tall ceiling. Jake said something in Vietnamese into the speaker on the desk and motioned Tom to sit down in one of the chairs placed around a low table. Tom admired the table’s beautiful hand-carving, from what appeared to be one piece of wood – murals of Vietnamese farm life inlaid with jade and ivory.
    The two girls from the night before came in with tea and something that looked like cookies. They placed the tray on the hand-carved table, and then walked out, whispering and giggling again.
    “My daughters find you very funny. They say you wanted to eat the medicine they put on you last night.” Jake was smiling at the joke on Tom.
    Picking up his tea, Jake said, “I never drank tea until I got married. My wife and I would come in here, have tea, and talk about anything and everything. It was our special time of the day together. The CIA killed her, and my son, and they think I will forget about it. I have never forgotten. One day they’ll pay in full for what they did. Until then I take comfort in screwing them every chance I get. That’s why I’ve decided to tell you everything I know. If you’re wondering if I have a dog in the fight, I do. I hope that my telling you somehow ends up hurting the bastards.”
    Tom was drinking his tea and thanking God he hadn’t been inappropriate with those girls. He was also trying to gauge the atmosphere, and he decided that Jake wasn’t looking for any input from him. It would be better to let Jake lay the story out in his own way, and things would go faster if Tom just sat back and listened.
    Jake looked up at the fans turning overhead and smiled. “My wife thought I was crazy with the air-conditioning and fans, but I like a little of the old, and a little of the new. It’s funny how you remember the little things…But you don’t care about all that, do you? You want to hear about the President, don’t you?
    “Okay,” Jake leaned back looking up at the fans as though in deep thought and began, “the President was a lot more ambitious than people gave him credit for. Unknowingly, his predecessor had paved a wide highway for Benton. With the help of some real cold-hearted bastards, he damn near became the sole ruler of the most powerful nation in the world.
    “He was within reach of controlling both the oil and the drug business. He was the head of the board of the Brotherhood, and even the president of Russia was kissing his ass. Hell! In five years he’d have declared himself God, and there would have been no one to doubt that he was.
    “Benton was at the stage when most of these would-be deities start to screw up, and it was no different with him than it was with those who preceded him in the quest for power and greatness. In the beginning, the would-be dictators of the world worry about what other people think, or what damage could befall them by their actions, but as they get away with increasingly more, at some point they stop caring. They start to believe their own lies.”
    Jake paused and drank some tea. “There’s a line that a person should know about and never cross. If you get blinded by your belief in your own power, your next step is usually off a cliff.”
    Jake smiled at his own wit, and continued. “From his first day in office, the President was raising money. By the time re-election came around they were going to be floating in the shit. The idea was to have so much money in their war chest that the Democrats would have to spend all their time just trying to raise enough cash to stay in the game. It was a sweet plan and it was working.
    “Then some guy from out west came up with a new wrinkle in using the Internet in order to raise money. In no time, the Democrats were rolling in dough. Every time the President said something that pissed the Democrats off – bang, more money came into their war chest. Nobody on the President’s team foresaw this happening and now they needed to raise big money, fast! The midterm elections were coming up and they had made many promises of financial support to members of their party. If they supported only those who had been loyal to the President, the others would get crap, and the re-election bankroll would still be almost gone.
    “There is no way of knowing who said it first, or even if they said it as a joke, but someone asked, ‘Why don’t we use some of the money we have in Iraq?
    “The American people have never understood why we let all of Iraq be looted but guarded the oil ministries building all these years. Well, a few stories have got out about the money found all over Iraq, but the reports were never close to how much there really was. Pallets from one end of the basement of the oil ministries building to the other were piled high with good old American money. The previous administration was so embarrassed by the amount of money that they just put it under lock and key and said no more about it.
    “There was so much money they couldn’t spare the men it would take to count it. The soldiers in charge were responsible only for what went out the door. With the proper authorization, a person could walk out with a suitcase full of greenbacks. Well, this was just too tempting for the boys in the White House. All they needed was an Ollie North to go get the money, and the mid-term elections would be in the bag. They found their Ollie North in the person of General Robert Wainwright, Cahill’s old commander in Nam.”
    Tom’s ears twanged. So that was how Wainwright and then Cahill became entangled with the White House. He started to ask for more information, but Jake was on a roll.
    “Wainwright jumped at the opportunity to get close to the White House. He had been passed over for his last star. If he was passed over one more time, he would have to retire. This was his last chance! He had been working for the White House for the past two years, but he was always in the background. Hell, the President didn’t even know his name. He was responsible for leaking what could be called almost true information about anyone who had a military background. He made them pay for disagreeing with the White House. He could take a man’s career and make it look like he cheated and lied his way to success. He could make honorable men look like fools who should never be listened to. To say Wainwright was a whore would be to put prostitution in bad company.” Jake was shaking his head while he said this.
    Tom at last spoke up. “Cahill seemed to think Wainwright was an honorable man. He served with him in Vietnam.”
    “Honorable men don’t always stay honorable. The man Cahill knew during the war and the one working at the White House were not the same man. With authorization from the White House, Wainwright flew to Iraq and came back with two hundred million dollars in two trunks bearing the presidential seal. At one a.m. the following morning, he and four Marines delivered the trunks to the President’s private quarters. The Marines didn’t know what was in the trunks, but Wainwright sure as hell did. He had signed for the money in Iraq, and I think it may have dawned on him right about then that it was his ass hanging out in the wind. I am sure the President thanked him and probably promised a sure shot at getting that other star on his shoulder. Wainwright must have been wondering what good that star would do him in jail. I’m sure he was looking for a way out about the time Cahill showed up.”
    “How did you find out about all this?”
    “There are no real secrets. The Russians tracked Wainwright from the time he left D.C. until his return.
    “Anyway, these old boys at the White House had learned a thing or two from Richard Nixon. During Nixon’s re-election campaign, illegal monies came into the committee to re-elect the President and were stored in the safe in the RNC office. The arrest warrant and the fleeing of the country by Nixon’s personal lawyer, who was responsible for bringing in the illegal money, brought about the first campaign reform law. These new guys were smarter than Nixon’s bunch: no money was going to be found in a safe at the RNC office, or anywhere else, this time. They sent people out across the country. The people were told to stay out of the big cities. They were to concentrate on small-town America. They’d give the big cities to the Democrats.”
    Jake sipped his tea and thought for a minute before continuing. “In each of these little towns they hired a person to set up a fundraising committee. The people from the White House had them open a bank account, and they were given one hundred thousand dollars as seed money. If the President needed ads or workers on the street, all they needed to do was call this small army. If you wanted to run for office, you would need the nod from the White House – they controlled all the committees. It was a great plan. The Democrats had no idea what was going on. They thought they had a good chance of winning some of these races. That was because they were doing polls in the big cities, not small town U.S.A.
    “As in all good plans, this one had a flaw. After the big wins in the mid-term elections, some of these fundraising committees had money left over, and some even made money. Now they wanted to know what they were to do with the extra cash. The White House didn’t want to go near any of that money. They told the committee chairmen to turn the money over to the state Republican Party, and to tell the state people it was money they raised for the party.
    “That would have been that, but for Illinois. The head of the party in Illinois had, when he was a very young man, almost gone to jail over illegal monies coming into the Nixon campaign, and he never got over the fear of going to jail. When two and a half million dollars showed up on his doorstep, he started asking where it came from. Not liking the answers he was getting, he turned the two and a half million dollars and what information he had about the seed money over to the two senators from his state. The senators opened an investigation, but it was going nowhere. Then Cahill visited Wainwright.
    “I believe Wainwright was hoping Cahill could help him with the money. On the other hand, he may simply have needed a friendly shoulder to cry on, and I guess just talking about it to someone else made the general see how hopeless it was. Cahill’s visit was the turning point for Wainwright – the next day he cut a deal with the investigators and told them everything.
    “Cahill didn’t know he had gone to the investigators, he was still out trying to get the goods on the White House and help his friend. If Wainwright had called Cahill, I think his involvement would have ended at that point.”
    Jake rose from his chair. “I’m going to get a beer. You want a coke?”
    “No, thank you, I believe I could use one of your beers about now.”
    Jake came back with two beers. “After the President’s death, no one had anything to gain by acknowledging any information they might have had prior to his murder. At the time most of the people contacted by Cahill had no reason to think Cahill would kill anyone. A dead President, however, will get everybody running like rats trying to find a hole to hide in. That’s why no one has told you the full story until now – it is the forbidden fruit. To eat it meant death. The people who did this don’t want it known that Cahill had help. Stepen sent you to Kaus Quasik, who was the last person in Russia Cahill spoke to. If Quasik had sent you to the same people he told Cahill about, the odds are you’d be dead. I’m sure they’re CIA and the ones trying to kill you.”
    “Anyway, the senators were both Bonesmen, and the last thing they wanted was a scandal in the White House. They cut a deal across party lines and then asked for a meeting with the President. They hoped that after seeing all the evidence they had, the President would be willing to tell the American people a made-up story about illness and resign. They really read the President wrong. He told them to get the hell out of the White House, and he would see them both burning in hell before he resigned.
    “The senators warned the President that he had three months to resign, or they would move for impeachment.”
    Tom broke in once more. “With all they had on Benton, why kill him?”
    Jake drank his beer and smiled. “These senators had nothing to do with the killing. There was a far sinister plot developing. It made illegal money and impeachment seem like child’s play. Stepen Kabak came upon it by accident. Some of the President’s people from the White House met with a known terrorist. Unfortunately for the White House, the man was working for Kaus and the Russians had this guy bugged. Stepen turned the tape over to President Putin. I can’t even guess where it went from there.”
    “Don’t leave me hanging out here! What the hell did the tape say?” Tom asked.
    “Okay, I never heard the tape.” Jake sighed. “But I’ll tell you what Stepen told me. I believe him – you make up your own mind. These crazy bastards were going to allow a B-52 to be hijacked from the Air National Guard and flown into the Capitol Building the day the impeachment was to come to the floor. They were going to kill friend and foe alike.”
    “My God, you can’t be serious,” Tom cried out. “No one in their right mind would do something like that.”
    “It gets better. After the plane took out Congress, the President would suspend the Constitution and declare martial law. There’d be an all-out war against the terrorist who killed our heroic senators and representatives. The President would lead us in this battle no matter how long it took, and when it was over, and we were safe once more, only then could we be assured of fair and proper elections.
    “That is why the President was killed. He crossed over the line, and he was caught doing it. I don’t know who got Cahill involved. Stepen gave him to Kaus Quasik in Russia and Kaus gave him to someone back in the States. I never asked who it was and I don’t want to know. I guess Cahill was just at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and got pulled into the mess. In the beginning, he was only trying to help a friend. You have to wonder how many times history has been changed by a quirk of fate?”
    Tom said, “There’s no way this could have worked! The American people wouldn’t have stood for it. They would have burnt the White House down around his head.”
    “You would hope that would have been their reaction, but you know damn well the news people would be playing the President as our only hope in these dark times. He would be in full control before anyone questioned what he was doing. By then, it would be too late to stop him. Poor Cahill, he never knew he was being set up.”
    “What are you talking about?” Tom interjected. “Cahill knew he was going to kill the President. He even wrote a letter about it to his daughter-in-law before he died.”
    “That is true; he knew he was going to be playing a part in killing the President.” Jake laughed. “But I don’t think he knew about the explosives. I believe he thought his job was to get the President in the open for a shooter to take a shot.”
    “How did you come up with something like that?” Tom asked incredulously.
    “Easy, I watched the video.” Jake got up and started for the door.
    Tom was up and right behind Jake. “Everybody in the world watched that video. They watched it repeatedly each night until they were sick and tired of it. How come you are the only one who thinks there was a shooter?”
    “I didn’t say there was a shooter. I said Cahill thought there was a shooter. Let me get my copy of the video and I’ll show you.”
    They came back into the living room, and Jake walked over to the wall and slid back two huge doors. Tom found himself looking at the dream of every Super Bowl fan, a TV screen that looked big enough for a drive-in. Jake had VHS, DVD, surround sound, and some other things whose use Tom couldn’t even guess at.
    “Sit down over here and I’ll show you what I mean.” Jake led Tom to the couch.
    He ran the tape up to where the President left his car and started to walk toward the hotel, and then froze the frame. “Now look down in the corner to your right. That’s Cahill. Notice that everybody else is looking down the walkway at the President, but Cahill’s head is angled up, looking at the buildings behind the president.”
    “Hell, that doesn’t mean anything,” Tom smirked.
    “If he had only done it once, maybe you would be right, but watch.” Jake re-started the tape.
    Jake froze the frame again and said, “Look, just before he salutes, his head is angled back up at the building again. And watch just before the President gets to him.” Jake ran the tape a bit further and froze it again. “He looks back up there again. Cahill must be wondering why nobody has shot yet.”
    “There can be any number of reasons why Cahill was looking at those buildings,” Tom objected. “I still think he knew he was about to blow up the President and himself.”
    “Well, if you are so damn smart, how did he do it? How did he blow up the President? A shooter on a building is one thing, but to walk up to the President of the United States with a bomb? Do not answer – whatever you say you will be wrong. But that is how I know Cahill thought there was a shooter. Because I know what the explosive was.”
    Tom shook his head in exasperation. “You’re out here in the middle of nowhere and you know how this happened – while all the people working on this case back in the States are just so dumb they can’t figure out what the explosive was, or how Cahill got that close to the President with it. Is that what you’re saying?”
    “That is what I’m saying. It’s because I know something they don’t.” Jake opened the drawer of the table next to Tom. He pulled out a stopwatch and handed it to Tom and said, “I’ll say go, you start the watch. I’ll say stop, you stop the watch. Ready? Go. 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8. Stop. What does the watch say?”
    “Eight seconds. So what? You’re getting a little too far out there for me.”
    “Five years ago, the Company – the CIA – showed up here with some stuff in a spray can. For months, our drug product had been coming up short. The Company had traced the problem to a warlord up north who was hijacking some of our shipments. They got someone to spray his desk with the stuff in the can, which they called ‘DA54.’
    “It was not an explosive like we know explosives. The chemical makeup was all new, so dogs and mechanical sensors wouldn’t know what they were smelling if they came in contact with it. The real kicker to this shit was its trigger. Each batch was made up special to match the DNA of the target. Once you added the DNA from the target to the chemical, you would get one hell of an explosion.”
    “How come no one has ever heard of this DA54 before?” Tom asked.
    “Well,” Jake said, “I didn’t even know they still had it until I timed the explosion with Cahill. One of DA54’s markers is the eight-second delay after contact. The test over here didn’t work out very well, so I thought they shit-canned the whole project. The warlord came in and worked at his sprayed desk all that day, and nothing happened. That night when the cleaning woman came in, she blew the whole damn place up. This didn’t seem to be the first time something like that had happened with the DA54, but that was the last I heard of it until this.” Jake motioned to the tape player. “I guess they worked out the problems.”
    “So you’re saying they sprayed Cahill down with this DA54, without his knowledge, and they had him believing there was just a chance he might come out of this alive?”
    “I think Cahill must have known they’d have to kill him, he just didn’t know about the DA54. Very few people do know about it.” Jake took a drink of beer and smiled at Tom. “Now you’re one of the few.”
    “I have to admit, it all fits,” Tom said. “If they showed Cahill proof of what the President was going to do, Cahill would have felt it his duty to step up and be counted. I think you’re right about his believing there’d be a shooter. I believe if they had told him the truth he wouldn’t have gone along with it. He and the President dead, sure, he could buy that, but all those other people, no way! I wonder if anybody’ll believe this once I write it up?”
    Jake looked a little sad as he said, “How many will believe you isn’t as important as the information being out there. It will make the next one think a little before he does something that stupid again. I’m glad the President was stopped, but it should have been the people who stopped him, not a government agency, or some secret group meeting in the back room of a store. Now everybody thinks the asshole is a hero.
    “If the information about what the President was planning to do had been released, the President and a lot of other people would’ve gone down, and we would have gotten over it. Watergate was not much more than a bump in the road of history, but politics by murder is not my kind of government. The Brotherhood was just covering its ass. Right or wrong had nothing to do with any of this.
    “Now that you know everything, Tom, you might want to think twice about going back to the States. Those people are still in power. There are a lot of nice places to hide in the world where the bad guys can’t find you.” Jake flashed a knowing smile.
    “The States are my home base, Jake. If I can’t be safe there, then, I won’t be safe anywhere. Besides, there’s a wonderful lady waiting for me to file this story, and now that I have something worth writing, no one is going to stop me.”
    “It’s your life. If it’s the States you want, then the States you will get. In the meantime, it’s getting late, Tom, and I have to get my girls ready to fly out tonight. Help yourself to whatever you can find to eat, and watch some TV. I can pick up any station in the world that uses a satellite. I’ll be back here in a few hours. We can talk more then, if you want.” Turning, Jake headed out the back door.
[Editor’s Note: The novel from which this excerpt is taken can be ordered from Amazon, as either a paperback or a Kindle book.]

Copyright © 2017 by Ed Rogers

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