Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 43 & 44

The End Game
& The Rebirth

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 43. The End Game

Right after hanging up on Tom, Ambassador White had tried to call Senator Weigher, only to be told the senator was on his way to the club for dinner. Ambassador White called for his limousine, and as the limo made its way out onto the street, White used the car phone to try the senator again, and this time got him just as he was sitting down to eat.
    “Senator, I have just received a telephone call from a reporter by the name of Tom Warring. He has John Cahill’s journal and he is printing a story about you and me conspiring with Cahill to kill Benton. I thought you took care of this problem?”
    “Calm down, Ambassador. I was told it had been taken care of at the airport. This Warring fellow has more lives than a cat. I will see to the journal – now stop worrying.”
    “I’m on my way to the club right now. I want you to clear me of the President’s death. You know I had nothing to do with the killing.”
    “Neither you nor I held the gun, but don’t pretend we didn’t pull the trigger, Ambassador. I am going to have my dinner, and we will have some drinks once you get here. I will explain to you how we are going to walk away from Warring’s story without any harm befalling us.”
    Weigher hung up the telephone and dialed a number he had hoped he would never have to dial. The driver of the limousine answered his telephone.
    “Do you know who this is?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “The time has come. Do as you were instructed.”
    The ambassador had hung up the telephone and pulled out his lighter to light his nightly cigar, but something was wrong. He couldn’t raise his arm. He tried to call to the driver, but no sound came out. His head fell to his chest, and then, with a violent gasp for a breath of air, his body rose up and fell to the side. He was dead.
    Ten minutes later the driver pulled over and made a telephone call. Then he raced to the hospital.

Tom was awoken by the sound of people pouring into the office. He tried to focus his mind on their conversation but the incoherent chatter was far more disturbing than informative. Everybody was excited and full of energy, while Tom felt like a two-day hangover. The shot of cold, blustery winter air that had come down out of Canada the night before had given way to a warm sunny dawn. Shielding his eyes from the glare of the bright sunlight coming through his window, Tom moved to close the curtains and suddenly he fell back in his chair with a sigh and a moan. Out of the murkiness of the pre-dawn somber came the wretched feeling of loss. My God, Jake was dead! They killed him right on the streets of New York.
    Tom looked at the telephone on his desk and realized he hadn’t received the call from Weigher. Something was wrong. Tom couldn’t have misread Ambassador White that badly. Everything depended on that phone call. Come on you bastard, just one denial. That’s all Tom needed to nail his sorry ass to the wall.
    The newsroom was a beehive of activity, each reporter trying to come up with an angle to pitch about the ambassador. It took a little while to sink into Tom’s smoky brain that the ambassador was dead. Then Tom’s only thought was – Weigher had him killed because he was going to spill his guts.
    Tom picked up his phone to call Rubin Johnson, but was stopped by the shout of one of the reporters about Weigher being found dead in a car crash.
    Walking to the front of the room where the television set was located, Tom stood and watched as the pictures of Ambassador White and Senator Weigher were superimposed over pictures of the burned-out car and the hospital. An endless drum of accolades for the two men were pouring out of the speakers.
    Tom felt sick, and ran to the bathroom. A few minutes later he pulled his head out of the toilet and walked over to the sink. Splashing cold water on his face, he fought to keep from being sick again. He felt his whole world falling down around him. He was so close, and now it was gone. He slammed his fist into the mirror above the sink and slid down the wall to the floor, where he sat holding his hand and crying. After a few minutes, he got up and went home.
    With the deaths of Weigher and White, Tom’s story was dead also – unless Rubin Johnson would confirm what Tom already knew about Weigher. But there was no hope of that happening. The President had declared a week of mourning. A double state funeral was planned for Arlington, and the coffins containing White and Weigher were to be honored in the rotunda of the Capitol for a week before the burial. Tom tried calling Rubin for two days, but Rubin was not returning his calls.

In the White House, Rubin and Thad were having a drink when Max Midland limped into the room.
    “I’m glad you could join us, Mr. Vice-President,” Thad said, already pouring a drink for Max.
    “Rubin, it’s good to see you, and you too, Mr. President.”
    “I was just telling Rubin that all of the criminals in the President’s murder are dead. The nation needs heroes these days; we have a long way to go before the dark days are behind us. We will need cooperation from both sides of the aisle to overcome our problems, and we have some hard times ahead us. I believe this country is better served if we close the book on this whole matter. You, however, lost some good and brave men and gave your own blood in this bureaucratic nightmare, and I need to know how you feel about it.”
    Raising his glass, Max said, “Here’s to some peace and quiet, Mr. President. I’m tired of fighting windmills.”

Chapter 44. The Rebirth

It was a cold day and the snow was blowing across the airport in a fine mist. It looked as though someone had spilled a bowl of sugar over the countryside. The president of Russia, Victor Putin, had his hat pulled down over his ears and the collar on his coat turned up. It was a short walk from his limousine to his plane, but a cold one.
    As he boarded for the flight to Malta, he was still amazed by how everything had come together. He never thought it would really work. Somehow, it had seemed but a distant dream. How many times he wanted to walk away!
    He had felt as though he had sold his soul the day he agreed with the plan to kill the President of America. Now he could see there was never a choice. Benton had to go, and John Cahill provided the means for that to happen. Putin drew comfort from the fact that Cahill had no family to live with the shame. But it hurt to know that a man of honor was used in such a way. The tape of the White House staff plotting with a known terrorist was enough for any man of national pride to demand justice. Putin was sure that if it weren’t for the tape, Cahill would never have gone along with the killing.
    Making that fake tape had been a very easy thing to do. If you own the company that manufactures voice-identification machines, you can make them work any way you want. They had taken Cahill down a path that once he heard the tapes, he knew in his heart that the President was capable of having a plane flown into the Capitol. It was Benton’s greed that killed him, not Cahill. John Cahill was just the bullet Putin and the others put in the gun. Benton forgot the rule of rules: the power is always in the dark behind the throne.
    If allowed to continue, Benton would have exposed everybody. The Board couldn’t allow something like that to happen, but it had taken an outsider to show them the true path, it was his hand that guided them through the rough waters, his vision that led them to place their feet on this new shore.
    Putin’s old friend met him at the door of the plane. “Welcome, Mr. President.”
    “Good Morning. It will be good to get away from this cold for few days. I believe you like warm countries, don’t you Stepen?”
    “Yes, I do, Mr. President.”
    “I am sorry about your friend Jake. Senator Weigher had to be exposed, and we thought that once Warring had that bone he would be happy. Weigher was a danger to us all. But we didn’t give the senator’s people due credit. We didn’t think Weigher had the balls to take out the ambassador and Jake. We were wrong, and I am sorry.”
    “People like Jake and myself know there’s a bullet out there with our name on it. Old age is not something we plan for.”
    “I am sorry anyway. We have few friends.”

The warm winds coming off the Mediterranean were blowing across the Island of Malta. Even for January, it was warmer than usual.
    The villa was built on an outcropping overlooking the blue waters surrounding Malta. The white foam danced across the rocks below after each wave, and the rhythm of their pounding was like a drum beat calling the Brotherhood together.
    Putin stepped up to the podium and called the meeting to order. He nodded his head at Carlos Veneto, who smiled and nodded toward Putin.
    “This past year has brought about changes within the Brotherhood that will alter the course of mankind for the next hundred years. Today is the new beginning for this body. We take off the old suit and put it away forever. Today we pick up the new suit of tomorrow.”
    Putin waited for the applause to die down and then continued, “You have had the new constitution for six months, and all the changes have been voted upon. Now, do I hear a call for the final vote?”
    A short, balding man toward the front stood to be recognized.
    “I, Woffee Roghus of Germany, do so call for the vote.”
    “All in favor say ‘aye.’ Those opposed say ‘nay.’ Hearing no ‘nays,’ the new constitution passes.”
    Putin stepped back to take a drink of water while the clapping reached its zenith. He stepped to the podium once more, raising his arms over his head. “My Brothers, we have more business to come before us this day.”
    Try as he might to quiet the tumult, it had been a long time since the Brotherhood had something to clap about, and today they were not going to be denied that joy. Smiling, Putin backed away from the podium and with arms raised over his head picked up the beat of the others. The long trip out of darkness was over. It had taken the death of quite a few people, but the Brotherhood was being reborn.
    Putin stepped to the mic once more and called for order. After a few attempts, he got everybody seated. “As of today, we will no longer hide in the dark. The time for us to take our place on the world stage has arrived. The world will now know us as the B & B Corporation. Each government will have a seat on the Board. There will no longer be a chairman to rule over the body as President Benton and others have done. Now we will have a CEO. He will be answerable to the whole Board. Membership is no longer limited to college ties. The Board can welcome new countries into the B & B Corporation. I am looking forward to our first vote to welcome China under the new constitution.”
    The membership began clapping once more. Putin stepped back to the mic and called for order. After a few more attempts, he got everybody back in their seats. “My Brothers – and this will be the last time I call you that – we are now the largest corporation in the world.”
    The room erupted in applause once more.
    “Three years ago, in dark times, a man came to us. We had no power then. President Benton had reduced us to servants. But this man showed us a way out of the wilderness. It is his vision, his dream, that has brought us here today.
    “I give you. The new CEO of B & B. Jac Truborn.”
                                    [THE END]
[Editor’s Note: This novel’s serialization concludes today. If you enjoyed it, let your friends know that it can be ordered from Amazon, as either a paperback or a Kindle book.]

Copyright © 2017 by Ed Rogers

No comments:

Post a Comment