Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 41

The Flight Home

By Ed Rogers

Tom read and reread Cahill’s journal on the flight home. He understood now why Mary was having so much trouble deciphering Cahill’s writings. There was nothing in the order of dates, places, or events – just a note here and a note there. Tom saw the names of some of the people he had spoken too, but the journal was useless as evidence. Toward the last couple of pages, two names kept showing up. This would be about the time Cahill was coming back to the States to meet with a man named White. Who White was or what he had to do with anything, Cahill never said.
    Although Tom had read the journal in Finland, he was hoping he had missed something in it that would give him some kind of a lead, but without a first name, Cahill could have been talking about anyone. He had made a notation to call someone by the name of Bo, who would be setting up the meeting with this White person.
    Tom saw that the journal was a waste of his time and Mary’s life. All this time he had thought these guys were trying to kill him over the story. They didn’t give a damn about the story. It was always about the journal. What a waste all the way around!
    Tom turned the journal in his hands, wondering why Cahill had wasted time writing so little information. The few tidbits he had written would have served him just as well kept in his head. Then he noticed that the back cover of the journal was thicker than the front.
    Tom removed a quarter from his pocket and began to pick at the corner of the book with the edge the coin. After a few minutes, he had the heavy card stock loose and peeled back. Inside were four sheets of paper, neatly handwritten.
    Tom’s hands were shaking as he glanced through the small stack. The sheets seemed to contain detailed reports. One was labeled “Professor Hofer,” another one “Kaus Quasik.” The other two were labeled “Oil” and “Drugs.”
    Tom leaned back in the chair and let his body relax. He had pulled out the small table, which was intended to place food on, and had been tensely working and reading the treasure troll he had unearthed.
    He tried to calm his body as he began to read the page labeled “Professor Hofer.”

Professor Hofer

I met with a Professor Hofer today. The meeting was very enlightening. All along I have had the idea that the Brotherhood was framing my friend General Wainwright. However, I now know there are two parties at play. The CIA and the Brotherhood are not working together but against each other. It is looking more like a power play by the CIA than the Brotherhood.
    Over the years the two had worked and pulled off operations together. After the CIA got the Taliban out of Afghanistan and they resumed the production of opium; it looked like they were at peace with each other once again. Then Bush made a move for the control of the oil in Iraq. It had the effect of empowering the Taliban once more and endangering the production of the CIA fields across the border.
    The Professor pointed out that while the Brotherhood had more interest in oil than drugs, they did control large poppy fields in VietNam, so keeping the Taliban in control of Afghanistan was a good business move against the CIA.
    Benton no longer wants to support the war against the Taliban and is putting all of America’s power into protecting the oilfields in Iraq. The CIA is very unhappy with the President and maybe behind framing Wainwright in order to get back at Benton by tying the money to the White House or they could be trying to turn Wainwright. With the added layer of CIA involvement, my friend may be in more trouble than I can help him with.
    The professor has given me a contact in Russia. It is all very clock and dagger, but he told me it will be well worth my time to speak to this man. Also, I have never been to Russia so I’m looking forward to the trip. I fly out in two days.

Kaus Quasik

I called a number I had been given by Hofer. I was placed in the back seat of a black sedan and driven out of Moscow. The trip took a number of hours, and I fell asleep because of the time change. Upon awakening, I found myself in a small Russian town, standing in front of a tavern. I was told to go inside and the car drove off. I didn’t see it again until its return two days later.
    In the tavern, I was led behind the bar to a door, which opened into a small storage room. I found Kaus to be a charming man. He was very open and willing to share his information freely. Day one we discussed the CIA and, while Russia seems to hate the CIA as much as we seem to hate the KGB, over the years the two have worked together on a number of projects, many of which Kaus Quasik was a part of. Although that first day I found nothing that helps me clear Wainwright, Kaus is a great story teller with some great stories. With enough Vodka he could keep a person entertained over a long cold Russian winter. As I was tired from my trip over the ocean, we ate and I went across the street to a hotel where I hit the bed and died.
    The next morning I felt a hundred percent better. I finished my breakfast and was on my second cup of coffee when Kaus came into the tavern. He stopped at the bar and spoke to the lady there and turned and waved me to come in the back room.
    The funny stories were over, because the car was coming to get me at one o’clock. Kaus said that Benton was on the point of starting an all-out war between the CIA and the Brotherhood. It was a war that would pull the KGB and the Russian Brotherhood into the middle of it. He also said there was a much larger problem than the money that Wainwright brought back from Iraq.
    I now have a microchip and the name of a senator I am to deliver it to back in DC. I don’t know what I have got myself involved in. I can only hope it turns out ok.
    The papers titled “Drugs” and “Oil” were just lists of oil fields and poppy fields and who owned them – the CIA or the Brotherhood.
    Tom replaced the papers, guessing now that Cahill wasn’t as crazy as he had thought.

The plane door opened and the passengers filed off, in somewhat of an orderly manner. For some reason or other having Europeans on board a flight seemed to calm people down a wee bit.
    Sandy was waiting for Tom right outside the passenger gate coming out of customs. He was hopping from one foot to the other. He either had something big to tell Tom or he needed to pee, Tom wasn’t sure which. Tom came through the last turnstile and Sandy hurried up next to him and said, “Tom, I found him. I know who the son of a bitch is.”
    “Oh no, not here. We need to get out of here fast. I think someone may have back-tracked me in the computer. If they did, they know I know.”

Tom and Sandy were standing outside waiting for a cab to pull up. It was windy and noisy – the overseas flights were landing at this time of the night and thousands of people were pouring out of the terminal. Tom heard a noise that sounded like someone blowing in his ear. He turned to ask Sandy if he had heard anything.
    “My God!” said Sandy, holding his hands to his chest. “Tom, I’ve been shot!”
    Blood was pouring out between Sandy’s fingers. Tom held him as he dropped to his knees on the pavement.
    “In my coat pocket,” said Sandy. “Take the papers. It’s all there. Just get these bastards for me.”
    People were stopping and formed a circle around the two men. “Hold on, Jake, we’ll get them together.”
    “Not this time, Tom. Leave me. There’s nothing you can do here but die.”
    “I’m not going to walk away from you, Jake. Hold on. Help is on the way.”
    “Tom, I can’t breath....”
    Jake was gone and Tom was running for the nearest cab, all the time anticipating a bullet to drop him at any moment. Tom vaulted into the back seat of a taxi, and the driver started to protest until Tom slid a hundred-dollar bill through the slot.
    “Where to, mister?”
    He could not go home. The only safe place might be the newspaper office. He gave the driver the address and turned to look out the back window at the crowd gathering at the sidewalk where Jake lay. The police were trying to push the people back, without much luck, and now even more police cars were pulling onto the scene. Soon it would turn into one big circus.
    Tears were coming down Tom’s face now. Not Jake, nobody could kill Jake. How did they find him?
    The taxi driver let Tom out at the Globe’s front door and collected another fifty dollars for the fare.
    The dark, gloomy night matched Tom’s feelings to a tee. This was the second time he had dealt with the death of Jake, but there would be no return engagement this time. One minute Jake was beside Tom all happy, jubilant, filled with the excitement of discovery, and the next he lay on the sidewalk like discarded rubbish.
    Tom pulled the bottle out of his desk and removed the top. He held it up and said, “Here’s to you, old buddy; wherever you end up.” Then Tom turned the bottle up.
    Coughing and choking, he slammed the bottle down on the desktop. It had been awhile between drinks. Taking his time now, he reached down and took the glass out of the desk and poured a couple of fingers into it and set it aside.
    Tom pulled Jake’s pages from his pocket. It hurt to think Jake died for these few scraps of paper. He began reading the list of phone calls. At first, he couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was looking at – Jake hadn’t marked any of the numbers. There had to be a pattern here somewhere. Then he saw it, the one number that was the common factor – it was the one that had set everything in motion. This had to be the puppet-master.
    Jake had found him, and Tom was going to cut off his head for Jake.
    Just numbers were written on the pages, no names, so Tom picked up the telephone and dialed the one recurring number. He got its answering machine:

You have reached the office of Senator Robert Weigher. The Senate is in recess. You may reach the senator at his office in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Thank you for calling Senator Robert “Bo” Weigher’s office.
    Tom stared at the phone. Senator Weigher, one of the most powerful men in Washington? Damn, Weigher had the seat right next to God. He had to be the top dog. Jake had followed Lt. Lowery’s telephone records right back to the senator.
    Weigher was certainly in a high enough command position to have houses bombed in Vietnam and SEAL teams moved around and someone provided with DA54 if they wanted to kill the President. But, what was he up to with the SEAL team?
    Anyway, now Tom knew who Bo was. But who was White?
    Tom turned on his computer and pulled up the list of government employees with their addresses and telephone numbers. There was a Clarence White in accounting, a Wayne White who drove the President’s limousine, and then there was Ambassador Thomas White. Now, if the number of any of these fellows matched any on the list, he would have his killers.
    It didn’t take him long before he had his match. Quite a few calls went to the ambassador from the senator’s office. This could be government business, but Tom doubted the senator was asking the UN for advice. Tom picked up the telephone and dialed the number. It was seven o’clock at night but Tom knew ambassadors didn’t keep normal hours.
    “Ambassador White’s office. How may I help you?”
    “My name is Tom Warring. I’m a reporter with the Worldwide Globe. I’m running a story tomorrow about the ambassador and I would like to give him a chance to respond to the article before we go to print.”
    “Hold, please.”
    “Mr. Warring, Ambassador White here. You say you’re writing an article about me. I can’t think of anything I may have done lately that would be noteworthy.”
    “It has to do with the death of the late President. I have the journal of John Cahill, the accused assassin. He said, in his journal, he was going to have a meeting with you before the assassination. Do you have any comment you would like to make about that meeting?” Tom waited, but there was no response. “He also said a man by the name of Bo set up the meeting. I take this to be Senator Robert ‘Bo’ Weigher. The story will say you and the senator conspired with Cahill to kill the President of the United States.”
    Tom could hear the man’s heart stop over the telephone. “If you have anything to say, Ambassador, now would be the time.”
    There was a click on the line and the telephone in Tom’s hand went dead.
    Very interesting, no denial. An innocent man would be screaming his head off after being accused of murder.
    Cahill’s journal had turned out to be the ace in the hole, after all. Tom was the only one who knew there was nothing in the journal that proved these two men had anything to do with the murder. The mention of persons named White and Bo was not evidence enough to convict anyone. But they didn’t know that. They thought Tom had the Holy Grail.
    Now all he had to do was wait for the call from Senator Weigher. White would panic and run right to the senator, and Weigher would have to respond. All Tom needed was that one telephone call. Even if Weigher denied everything, it would open the door wide enough for Tom to print the story. A denial was as good as an admission at Worldwide Globe.
    Finally, payday had arrived. Tom pulled the glass to him and emptied it. “I found them, Mary.” He filled the glass once more and held it high: “Here’s to lost loves and good friends.”
[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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