Saturday, September 26, 2009
It's at least ten times better if you go by the Raven's Nest and check out the other stories.
This Week's Ten Word Challenge: Tibetan sky, symbols, won’t you come home Bill Bailey, shadow figures, brain cortex, practice makes perfect, life, start of school, lavender, chow down
The mini: mental hospital, falling leaves, apple cider, packing crates, clues
This week's Episode: Endgame
Laughlin, Nevada-Police headquarters.
McCool and Jean had come down to the cop shop to say goodbye to the team. The captain thanked McCool for his help, adding that under usual circumstances the town seemed less of a mental hospital and more like an elderly friendly Vegas. Thomas admitted this trip had been a bit more than he bargained for and commented that the falling leaves of the Cottonwoods along the river signaled it was time for the couple to head back to Phoenix. "Besides, I can only take so much of the good life here in Laughlin" he laughed. Both he and Jean thanked everyone for their kindness and the couple promised to come back as soon as Dan and Carla set a date to tie the knot.
"With the most difficult case in memory all but wrapped up, it's time to give my fragile brain cortex a diet of golf, old movies and "Survivor" he added with a grin. With farewells said to all Thomas and Jean drove their new 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid across the bridge and headed clueup the hill to I-40 and the trip home. Both would be happy to exchange the chase for clues and suspects for their normally more laid back existence in Phoenix.
Washington, D.C. the Hoover building.
Sgt Johnson sat quietly in his office and contemplated the results of the interrogation of the killer from Laughlin. The suspect had been surprisingly cooperative. Johnson had watched him chow down after the flight from Phoenix to D.C. and then seated himself opposite the man. His name had been revealed as Fred Dumphreys. He was ex-military special ops and had contracted with the CIA in the 80s. The story he told took him around the globe from lands beneath Tibetan skies to the back yards of financial barons in the Hamptons. He stated plainly that he had always been an assassin of one sort or the other. "You know the old saying, Practice makes perfect; well I guess you could say I didn't practice enough since I got caught" he offered. Johnson explained to the man that the shadow figures in his world didn't normally come to light, but in this case they'd received the results of an interrogation of his client and that had given the good guys the edge. "I had never worked for this client before "Fred volunteered. “The offer was just too good to pass up" he added. "Two million dollars upon completion of the contract and I could retire." "I should have known better than dealing with a flake" he concluded. "Your flake confessed to 23 murders and several billion dollars in real estate fraud" Johnson told the killer. "She's dead and you're going to live the rest of your life in prison unless you have something to tell me that is worth saving your miserable ass" the FBI man shot back. Johnson had no respect for murderers no matter how skilled they were.
"Well how about a lead on the largest drug smuggling ring in the world that just also happens to be the major funding source of the Taliban in Afghanistan?" the killer asked, "Would that be enough for some slack here?" he asked. Indeed it was more than enough. Johnson called a contact in Homeland Security and they transferred the prisoner to their facility. The information led to the exposure of a producer of apple cider that was smuggling opium in liquid form into the U.S. and laundering the money before it went to supply weapons, bribes, and all the other expenses necessary to fight American forces on a world wide scale.
The elicit drug had been designated in the packing crates with special symbols on the IBM bar code and allowed the stateside distributors to pull the proper bottles and reconstitute the opium.
It would take several weeks, but the information would allow the government to stop two thirds of the influx of heroin from the Middle East and keep billions of dollars out of terrorists' hands.
The killer would spend a couple of years in a country club jail and then be released back into the population.
Basra, Iraq a sidewalk cafe in the center of the city.
Somehow Charlotte had made it across the border and into the relative safety of Basra. It had taken two days to have her account in the Cayman's wire money to her location. After that she found a source for papers and ID. When she got back to Europe she'd have her own man make better documents, but these should work for now. At least she was clean and alive. The first thing she'd done after bathing was to buy clothes. Though there were few shops for western women's clothing, she found sufficient attire to travel. Today she wore a lavender head scarf that made her pale skin shimmer. Charlotte sipped her coffee and watched the young Iraqi children pass by her table. Someone had told her that today was the start of school and the kids were happy to be safe enough to walk the streets again.
The following day she would cross the border again but this time into Iran. She'd hired a car and driver for the trip from Ahvaz to Tehran. Once in the capitol city she'd fly to Greece and then on to France. Charlotte let her mind wander to what the world had in store for her and found herself humming "Won't you come home Bill Bailey" under her breath. She had to admit that in spite of her ability to speak enough Farsi to communicate here that she would be damned glad to get out of this region of the world that seemed stuck in the 13th century.
She looked up as a young Iraqi girl that looked to be no more than 12 approached her table. Smiling, the young girl uttered the phrase "Allah Ahkbar" and then pulled a cord at her vest. Charlotte's world exploded. The over pressure from the proximity to the blast shattered every bone in her body and in the millisecond while the shapeless and dead form of the former serial killer remained erect it was eviscerated with steel shot and nails traveling in excess of the speed of sound.
The blast killed several other foreigners who were at the cafe as well. What Charlotte had forgotten was that she was a symbol of the oppressor in a war zone. The oversight had proved to be fatal.
In the end in turned out that the Saudi's hadn't lied at all. Charlotte did actually die while trying to escape, if just a few days later than reported. The prince and princess had thought about warning the McCool's but found out that Charlotte had been spotted in Basra and had actually viewed a video taken of the blast from a government building across the street. The quality of the images was enough to see the startling emerald eyes of the serial killer open wide in the instant she knew she was going to die.