Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 37 & 38

The Meeting
& More Questions Than Answers

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 37. The Meeting

Rubin wanted to meet at the Hilton, where there was a bar, room service – all the comforts of home – but Tom insisted they address the situation as though they were being watched. Tom told Rubin that the only way he would meet with him was if he went to the tower called Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park. Rubin was to wait for a contact who would use a name Rubin would recognize.
    Rubin thought the whole thing was just a little too cloak and dagger. Nevertheless, having read the papers in that briefcase in Thad’s office, Rubin knew that anything was possible. If a sitting President was willing to kill senators and representatives in order to take control of the government, there were no limits.
    He had been standing in Central Park looking at the Egyptian tower for about thirty minutes, and feeling like a fool. This was more than Rubin was willing to pay to meet with some two-bit reporter. Heading back down the path, Rubin vowed never to be pulled into something like this again.
    From behind him came a man’s voice, “Don’t turn around. The man and woman to your right followed you from your hotel. You know the name Kat? I believe that is what you call your daughter.”
    Rubin nodded yes as he fought the need to turn and see who the man was.
    “When we get to that large oak tree up ahead, you and I are going to start running for our lives. We’ll come out on the other side of the woods and Tom’ll be waiting with a cab. Do you understand?”
    Rubin nodded once more.
    Suddenly they were in the woods and running as fast as they could. Branches and bushes were pulling at their clothes and slapping at their bodies. Rubin wanted to look back and see whether anyone was really chasing them, but his fear of falling overcame his distrust of the blond man leading the way through the woods. They exited and were standing on the blacktop, the blond man looking as though he were lost. Then he turned to Rubin and said. “Come on, that’s him in that cab.”
    Running to the corner, the two winded joggers stepped quickly into the back of the taxi. The cab sped away with the three of them. Rubin looked back in time to see a man and a woman come running out of the woods.
    Two blocks away, Tom told the cabby to pull over. The three of them got out, and Tom paid the driver. The three walked to the far corner, no one yet having spoken. At the end of the block, they saw a bus coming and waited at the stop for its arrival. Boarding the bus, Tom and Rubin walked to the very back while Sandy took a seat four rows in front of them. His job was to stop anyone from disturbing them.
    Tom said to Rubin, “This bus will be on the other side of Central Park in few minutes, and that’s where you get off, so let’s not waste time. There’s something going on with the Brotherhood or you wouldn’t want to meet with me. Am I right?”
    “Yes, I’ve read your story and I’ve seen other information that proves it was true. The President is hoping you might be able to help us on a matter of National Security. Thad believes someone within the government may still be working with the Brotherhood. It seems we have lost a SEAL team.”
    “You’ve lost a SEAL team? How do you lose a SEAL team?”
    “That’s what the President wants to know.”
    Rubin pulled a folder from under his jacket. “Here’s the information on the Team. Anything you can do to help will be appreciated by the White House.”
    “Two things here, Rubin. One, I don’t care what the White House appreciates. Two, I don’t see how this has anything to do with the Brotherhood.”
    “It may not, but there’s someone powerful enough to move American troops around without the President of the United States knowing about it. They’re also able to do this without anyone knowing who they are. How many people can do that?”
    The bus was coming to Rubin’s stop. Tom said, “You may be right. We just may have a common interest here. I will look around, but this is not a one-way street. I will want something in return. Every story I write about the Brotherhood, I can never get anyone to come forward and admit that my stories are true. If I find that the Brotherhood is behind this...whatever it is, I’ll want the White House to authenticate your involvement with the story.”
    “If I can help you, I’ll be more than happy to do so,” Rubin said as he stood and put out his hand with his business card in it. “You can reach me at one of these numbers 24/7.”
    Sandy pulled the cord and the bus stopped at the curb.
    “I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you, Mr. Warring.”
    “You have a nice day, Mr. Johnson.”
    The bus pulled away from the curb leaving Rubin trying to flag a cab. Sandy moved back and sat with Tom. “What do you think about this guy? Is he on to something?”
    “More than he knows. Whoever had that plane bomb your house, you can bet they are quite capable of moving a SEAL team around. Take a look at these names he gave me. I can’t make any sense of them.”
    Sandy quickly shuffled through the papers in the folder, and a light came on in his head. “Tom, can you put me in contact with your guys in the CIA. There’s a section there that does nothing but track telephone calls. They say they’re not spying on Americans, but unless you make a record of all the calls, how do you know who the bad guys are? We now have a name, Mark Lowery. Someone made a call to the commander of that SEAL team, who called Lowery, and someone had to call whoever called that commander, and so on. At the beginning of that chain of phone calls, we will find our man.”
    “Let’s get off here and get a cab back to the Globe. I’ll make that phone call for you. I hope you can talk them into helping you – they’re not very forthcoming most of the time.”
    “Are you kidding me? They’ve been talking to a newspaper reporter. If that ever got out they would be a footnote in the history of the CIA. They’ll be more than happy to help me.”
    In the office, Tom pulled a chair up beside him for Sandy. Then he placed the call. While Sandy and the agents were talking, Tom started opening the mail that over the last couple of days had piled up on his desk. One letter caught his eye – a letter postmarked from Germany. Opening it, Tom tried to block out the cussing and threats Sandy was hurling over the telephone.

Dear Mr. Warring,

    You don’t know me, but Mrs. Cahill was a very close friend of my Aunt and Uncle. I found your name in a book she left behind. I tried to find you, but I didn’t have an address and I had no idea how many Tom Warring’s there are in America until I tried to track you down. Then I saw an American newspaper with a story you had written about John Cahill. Mary had no family that I can find, so I will hold on to the book. It is yours if you want to pick it up.
    I hope you are the right Tom Warring,

Edna Wienhus
    Sandy was off the phone. “Well, I start tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll be going in as a computer analyzer. I’ll be running tests to see if the phone system can be unscrambled. This will give me full access to the system.”
    Sandy was smiling when he said, “When asking nice doesn’t work, blackmail will always open closed doors. In three days – maybe two – we will know who has been pulling the strings.”
    “Is it going to take that long to find who made that call?”
    “At best, if these agencies catch anyone with their little toys, it’s by accident. Too much information has become the curse of the CIA. The people we’re looking for are buried within millions of phone calls that are made each day, and I am just guessing at the dates of our calls.”
    “Well, while you’re doing your thing with the CIA, I have some personal business to take care of. I received a letter from Germany that Mary left some of her things at the house of a German couple. I’ll be out of the country for a couple of days. Here’s the key to the house. Make yourself at home. You already know the security codes.”
    “Is this anything I can help you with?”
    “No, this is something I need to do alone. And besides that, you have work to do. I’ll talk to you about it when I get back. Now, if you don’t mind, Sandy, I need to book a flight and you need to get to Virginia.”

Chapter 38. More Questions Than Answers

The phone was ringing as Rubin walked into his suite at the Hilton. “Hello, Rubin, this is Jac. Had yourself quite a day, didn’t you?”
    “I don’t think I know what you are referring too.”
    “Rubin, you’re the brother of the President of the United States. You can’t just go running all over New York like some damn tourist.”
    “Were those your people following me?”
    “They no longer follow anybody; they are now unemployed.”
    “Jac, where do you come off having me followed?”
    “Thad asked me to look out for you, and that is what I’m doing. Now, who the hell did you meet with that you felt you needed to lose my people in order to have the meeting?”
    “Jac, you’re over the line here. We’re friends, but who I choose to meet with is none of your business.”
    “You came to me for help, remember? If I don’t know what is going on, how do you think I can help?”
    “Jac, I know you are trying to protect me, but I can do just fine on my own. When and if I come up with something useful, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, no more surveillance.”
    “Okay, Rubin, have it your way. Just be aware there’s danger in what you’re doing. If you’re trying to bring down powerful people, they may not like that. Just because you’re Thad’s brother, don’t think they’ll not kill you.”
    Rubin contemplated this during the ten-second silence on the other end of the line.
    Jac continued, “You know that even Presidents get killed. Be careful. Thad would never forgive me if anything happened to you.”
    “Thank you for the warning, but like I said, I can take care of myself.”
    “Well, if that’s how you want it, fine. I’ll see you later.” The phone went dead.
    Rubin walked to the bar and poured a drink, straight up bourbon. He drank it down, poured another glass half full, and walked out onto the patio. The sun was dropping behind the tall buildings, and the city was getting ready for nightfall.
    Rubin moved to the rail and leaned over the top. The thought crossed his mind that it would be a lot harder to throw a person to his death from the ground floor. He took a long drink and tried to understand the phone call.
    The conversation with Jac wasn’t right. It sounded too much like a threat. Why would Jac be threatening him? Did Jac have something to do with that SEAL team? He said he could move a team around, but then, he could just be showing off. Maybe he was the one responsible for the team’s movement, but no, that made no sense. With the money Jac had, he could just hire mercenaries to do whatever he wanted. Why involve the US Navy? Maybe it was not as hard to do as Jac let on.
    Rubin decided he needed to get into the basement of the club and take a look at the toys they had down there. Jac and his friends sold all the security gear to the government and half the world. Maybe they put in some back doors in case they wanted to come in for a visit. If that was true, Jac might be in this up to his ears. How many more companies or groups were involved in America’s security? Did the people in charge of governments, and companies, really know who controlled the whistles, bells, and cameras that made them feel safe?
    Rubin thought about calling Thad, but there was really nothing to report. Maybe if he got into the basement of the club, he could find something that showed how Jac, or whoever, might be able to control the government or tap into the workings of any of its agencies. Then and only then would he feel comfortable pointing a finger at the man who had put his brother in the White House.
[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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