Monday, July 3, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 35 & 36

& Tom Takes Sandy Home

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 35. Rome

The plane landed and Carlos Veneto disembarked first class. Tired of flying and tired of airports, Carlos had been in the air for two days. On Monday he was in L.A. and on Tuesday he caught a flight from New York to London. It had been a nice flight until reaching London, where it was raining and cold.
    But he wondered what was new about that?
    In London he caught a flight to Afghanistan, where he spent six hours having a heart-to-heart with a shithead by the name of Zmarak. Then it was back to London to catch the flight to Rome. Now he had to meet with Don Azeglio.
    He wasn’t looking forward to the meeting. It was Don Azeglio who had sent Carlos to talk to Zmarak. Now Carlos had to tell the Don that Zmarak had told him to go fuck himself.
    The Don wasn’t going to be happy. In the olden days, they killed the messenger who bore bad news. Carlos was hoping that wouldn’t be the outcome of this meeting, but with Sergio you never could tell what would set him off, you just tried to guess the way he might jump and make sure you were not standing in his way.
    The limousine took an hour to get to the villa, and during the ride Carlos got a much-needed nap. He felt better as he walked into the welcoming arms of Don Sergio Azeglio.
    “My boy, it is good to have you home once more! Come, we will get you food, wine, a bath, and a bed, with or without company.”
    “Thank you, Don Azeglio, but I think we need to talk about the Afghanistan problem.”
    “It was there yesterday, and it will be there tomorrow. You need some rest right now. Go up to your room, eat a little, drink a little, fuck the little whore if you feel the need or send her on her way, whatever, just rest. Please do this for me. I will need you rested later.”
    “Very well, Don Azeglio, if that is your wish. Wake me when you need me. I will be at your service as always.”
    “You’re a good boy, Carlos. We will talk later.”
    The Don watched Carlos walk up the stairs and thought, how old he looked. It was just yesterday that a scared young punk from America showed up on his doorstep running from some assholes who weren’t happy about him whacking their boss. It had been the Don’s contract. Carlos had pulled off the hit with such precision it didn’t even make the front page of the newspapers. The Don was impressed – so much so that he had taken Carlos into his family. Then the Don pissed everybody off a year ago by making Carlos as untouchable as himself.
    Carlos’s ride was just about over. Thanks to Don Azeglio’s raising him so high, there were people who were looking for any reason to take him down. The Afghanistan problem had provided them the ammunition they had been looking for, and it was going to require a head to roll. That head was not going to be Sergio Azeglio’s.
    Carlos had sent the girl away. He needed to think. Something was wrong. The Don didn’t give a shit about anybody’s health. He had sent Carlos to Afghanistan but wasn’t interested in the report? That just wasn’t right. Carlos put a chair under the doorknob, removed his gun, and placed it under the pillow. Carlos knew that if they were going to kill him, there wasn’t much he could do to stop them. Nevertheless, given the chance, he would take one or two of them with him.
    Downstairs Sergio had been called to the telephone. It was one of those days. This Afghanistan mess had gotten way out of hand. The finger was being pointed at Carlos, not that it was his fault. That Afghan jerk was ripping the Confederazione off for tons of product – hell, it was Carlos who discovered the missing dope! The Don knew that Carlos could take care of the problem. But it pissed people off when the Don made Carlos his ambassador, so now that insult would need to be repaid.
    “This is Sergio Azeglio.”
    “Do you know who this is?”
    “I just got word that your crazy Afghan bastard, Abdul Zmarak, tried to kill the Vice-President of the United States.”
    “I know nothing about this. My man just came from talking to him about the other problem.”
    “I know you don’t know anything about it. That is why I am telling you. Get someone over there and kill that bastard. Do it before the Army can find him – he knows too many names.”
    Sergio started to answer, but the line was already dead. He sat the telephone down and tried to keep his hand from shaking. He hated the fear this man made him feel. Sergio had power, but it was like paper in a windstorm in comparison to what this man had.
    My God, what had that idiot Zmarak been thinking – the Vice-President of the United States! How had he planned to get away with that? Well, Sergio would just turn this over to Carlos. If he pulled it off and saved the day, it might put him in good with the Confederazione. If he didn’t pull it off, what the hell! They were going to kill him anyway.

Knocking brought Carlos out of bed, gun in hand. “Who is it?”
    “It’s me – Dino.”
    “What do you want?”
    “I’ve got a message from the Don for you.”
    “Where is the Don?”
    “He left. Will you open this damn door?”
    Carlos removed the chair and stepped to one side. As the door opened Carlos put his gun in Dino’s ear.
    “Don’t move, I would hate to kill you for no reason.”
    Carlos ran his hands over Dino and found no weapons.
    “Have you gone nuts? This is the Don’s home. Nobody gets whacked here.”
    “There is always the first time. Now, what is this message you have for me?”
    Dino handed Carlos a folded sheet of paper. “Here is your damn message.”
    Dino turned and walked away mad. They had been friends for years, but Carlos knew that was who they sent – the one you would never expect to pull the trigger.
    Carlos broke the wax on the folded paper and began reading about the VP, and the need to take down Zmarak. Carlos had almost killed Zmarak during their meeting, but that hadn’t been his orders. He wished now he had shot the bastard when he had the chance. Now, how was he going to get back into Afghanistan? Then, even if he could get back in, Zmarak wouldn’t come within ten miles of him now.
    He couldn’t do this alone. He was going to need help, but that help was back in New York. Carlos called the airport and booked the next flight back to the States.

Chapter 36. Tom Takes Sandy Home

Tom stopped at the keypad and entered the code. In a few seconds, the large gate he had installed opened and Tom drove down the driveway to his house. The house hadn’t been the same after the visit from the so-called Pete and his warning of pending death if Tom didn’t stay out of the Brotherhood’s business. Tom had had a fence with sensors installed all around his property. Every room had cameras, with a backup camera that ran on batteries in case someone cut the electricity. If any one of the sensors or the cameras had been triggered, a red light would have come on after he had entered his code. Never again would he walk into his house without knowing it was safe. Tom couldn’t get over the anxiety of walking in on someone. Even with all the security apparatus, he still checked each room after coming home.
    “Tom,” began Sandy as they walked up to the front door, “I want to thank you for putting me up like this.”
    “It will be safer here than us meeting in Central Park.”
    “You have a lot of security around here for someone who feels safe.”
    “That’s why I feel safe. No one will get in here without us knowing about it.”
    “I hate to pop your bubble, old man, but who do you think owns the rights to these security toys of yours? They have a lot more to hide than you or me.”
    “Funny, but I never thought about it that way. I guess we’re just going to have to accept that our lives are in the hands of fate.”
    “Well, not just fate, how about a little present from Putin?”
    Sandy pulled his bag off of his shoulder, placed it on the kitchen counter, and pulled out a laptop. He removed a small satellite dish, unfolded it and plugged it into his computer. Sandy quickly typed in a code and then Tom’s street address. Within seconds, a close-up view of the house and its fifty-foot perimeter was on the screen.
    “I can set this to alert us of any movement within this area. No one can mess with it because no one knows it exists. The Russians found it was cheaper to use America’s satellites to spy on us than to send up one of their own. They just hacked a program into the satellite’s computer that allowed them to access it. It’s somewhat like everybody watching the same TV. Only, on this one, I can change channels without anyone’s being the wiser.”
    “Sometimes I wonder whose side you’re on, Sandy.”
    “There are no real sides anymore. Now there is just right and wrong. The sooner people realize that governments and crime are international, maybe they will be able to take control of their lives once more. They don’t understand yet that we are pretty much on our own.”
    “Until then, I guess we will do what we can?” Tom asked.
    Sandy went to his bag and brought back a folded piece of paper. “I’ve got something for you to look at, but I don’t want you thinking it is more than just to indicate someone we need to talk to. This is not a person you want to get into his face.” He handed the paper to Tom. “I don’t guess you have anything to drink around here, do you?”
    “Water or Coke, take your pick,” Tom said as he unfolded the paper.

Carlos Veneto. Somehow Carlos is in the middle of whatever is going on over in the Middle East. He is meeting with warlords and drug families for the past month. It has to be big to get Carlos Veneto out of New York. Putin had a meeting with the President. I can only guess what they talked about. If you can find out what Carlos is up too, maybe he will lead you to the real players in this game. I’ll let you know if I find anything else. –S
    “Stepen must think this guy has something to do with the Brotherhood,” said Tom, “or he wouldn’t have sent you this information.”
    “I was afraid you’d get all excited over nothing.”
    “Nothing? Shit, this is the first lead I’ve had in a year.”
    “Tom, this may not be anything but some gangsters playing at being more important than they really are. Remember how the mob had Kennedy killed. Well, that was just bullshit – and this may be also.”
    “I know there is a lot of smoke out there, Sandy, but somewhere under that smoke there’s a fire.”
    “Tom, I know a stand-up guy, he’s a mobster just like the rest, but he owes me a big favor – I saved his life years ago. I’ve put out the word through him that we want to meet with Carlos. However, I wouldn’t hold out much hope on that happening. All we can do is wait and see if they get back with us…Now, what the hell do you have to eat around here?”

The sun was coming through the big oak tree as Sandy walked around in Tom’s back yard having morning coffee. Tom was inside checking his telephone messages at the Globe.
    A short while later, he walked out with his coffee. “I just got a message from Rubin Johnson, the President’s brother. He wants to talk to me on behalf of the President. What do you make of that?”
    “I would talk to him. He’ll be able to open more doors than you or me.”
    “I just don’t trust anyone that close to the government.”
    “You don’t have to trust him, but you may be able to use him and his brother.”
    “I guess I’ll call him and set up a meeting. I might as well hear what he wants.”

At nine-thirty that same morning, the plane carrying Carlos Veneto landed at Logan Field, just outside DC. Carlos didn’t have much of a plan yet. He needed someone who could get close enough to Zmarak to take him out. His one hope lay with a man he had been ordered to kill years ago, but Carlos decided to let him live. He had seen the man’s worth and decided to keep him for himself. It was a very smart move, one he had benefited from on many occasions.
    Carlos slid into the back of the limousine. Seated across from him was Rick Steinberg. Rick was ex-Israeli Secret Police. If you were a player in the Middle East, he had a file on you somewhere, and if you were big enough, he had a plan as to how to assassinate you. He knew how much he owed Carlos, but it was a debt that had made him money over the years.
    Carlos said, “Tell me, do you have a name?”
    “Mohammad Fahim. He is Zmarak’s brother-in-law.”
    “What makes you think he will do it?”
    “I will have his wife and kids.”
    “I need it done as soon as possible.”
    “This is going to cost some real money. You do realize that, don’t you?”
    “I didn’t ask how much you were charging. Just get it done or the price you pay will be much higher.”
    Neither man spoke again until they reached Carlos’s office. As Carlos got out of the car, he told Rick. “You call me the second you know for sure Zmarak is dead.”
    The door closed before Rick could answer.
[Editor’s Note: The novel from which these excerpts are taken can be ordered from Amazon, as either a paperback or a Kindle book.]

Copyright © 2017 by Ed Rogers

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