Authors: Robert Michael
Tags: #Jason Bourne, #spy, #action, #james bond, #Espionage
Monday Series Book 3
© 2013 Robert Michael
reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other
electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the
publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews
and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This book is a
work of fiction. Any references to historical, real people or real locales are
used fictitiously. Other names, places and incidents are products of the
author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Printed in the United States of America
e held the cigar in his hand delicately, rolling it with
his fingertips, feeling the moist tobacco leaves sticking to the pads of his
fingers. He stared at the man across from him. The man was a weasel: a
well-heeled, Southern blue-blood, third generation politician.
“I am sure you understand that I cannot allow you to demand
this of me,” the blue-blood was saying, not looking him in the eye. The
“gentleman” was toying with the pathetic little salad on the plate before him.
He said nothing back. He merely allowed the gentle clatter
of white-haired ladies in summer dresses and men in colorful blazers to
continue in the background as they cut their measly portions of steak or
lobster into bite-size pieces. The polite buzz of hushed conversation was
interrupted only by the occasional peal of laughter, or the guffaw of some
gentleman as he brought a cloth napkin to his mouth to hide his mirth.
He sighed. He knew Senator Matthew Charles Rodman, the
fourth of his name and Speaker of the House, would eventually crack. They all
did. The Speaker would see it his way.
He arched his eyebrows.
“Let me ask you a question, Mr. Speaker.”
He leaned forward, his eyes roaming the audience. Probably
scared of a reporter.
“Yes. Please do,” he said.
These southern gentlemen were all the same—all politeness. Even
when they were stabbing you in the back.
“Do you think that I jest?”
Rodman frowned, his brows furrowing.
“Why no,” Rodman sputtered. “I just. I think that it is
highly unusual that you would meet me here in South Carolina on the auspices of
discussing a new agreement to build oil rigs off the coast and then accost me
with some conspiracy to overthrow our government,” Rodman said, his voice a
He smiled and stared at his cigar.
“Would you have come otherwise?” he asked.
“Of course not. If not for the credentials of your
corporations, I would not have agreed to meet you at all since you would not even
divulge your name,” Rodman countered.
“Names carry such power, don’t they,” he mused, still
staring at the swirl on the label of the cigar he held.
As he put it in his mouth and nibbled at the end, he drew
Speaker Matthew Rodman’s eyes to his own.
“You already know who I truly am, do you not?”
Rodman looked nervous. He would not repeat the monikers he
had been given: The Mystery Man, or The Man Behind the Curtain.
“Yes, of course. Your reputation precedes you, sir.”
He smirked, his large cheeks turning up to the right.
“Yes. I suppose it does. Why do you think that is, Mr. Speaker?”
He watched as the Speaker of the House searched for the
right answer. His lip twitched and his eyes darted around the room as he
thought out the puzzle. He seemed almost desperate to get the answer correct.
“Power. Money. Reputation,” Rodman answered.
“All these are true, yes. But, there is more. Something you
miss that is the most important part,” he said, leaning forward.
“Yes, what is that?” Rodman asked. The Speaker’s demeanor
demonstrated his boredom with this game. The man known as the Mystery Man was
determined to wake Rodman up.
“I will tell you a story. It will help you to understand. You
see, there once lived a man who loved his wife very much. Although they were
very poor, he swore that he would give her the best the world could offer. He
worked hard every day, but after ten years of worshipping the ground upon which
she walked, the man could not even provide for her. They lost their house, they
had no food, and soon they were begging on the streets. Do you know this
story?” he asked, leaning back in his chair.
“I have heard similar ones, of course, but not this one. Go
on,” Rodman requested. He seemed interested now.
“You are so kind, thank you. Well, one day while this
husband and wife were on the streets begging for scraps of food and money to
sustain themselves, a rich man walked by. Even under her grubby clothes, lack
of nutrition and infrequent washings, the wife was a regal beauty. Everyone
said so and they were sad that her husband could not support her. This rich man
took one glimpse of her and offered her his home, his food, and his bed.” He
paused for effect. “Do you know what the wife said?”
“I suppose she went to live with him, eat his food, and
satisfy his desires. That would be a proper ending, I would think.”
He shook his head.
“No. You miss the point, my friend. Maybe I did not make it
clear. These two, the husband and the wife, they loved each other and love has
a funny way of skewing things, don’t you think?”
The senator raised his head.
“Of course. Yes, indeed. Love can be quite powerful.”
“Well, they had a special kind of love. When the rich man
made his offer, he expected the same thing you did. She would go with him. She
was homeless. She had lice and sores on her arms. Yet, a light shone in her
beautiful eyes and her indomitable spirit buoyed her.” He lifted his chin to
demonstrate his story. “She looked him straight in the eyes and said with
dignity and defiance, ‘I will not come with you because I truly believe in my
husband. Someday he will bring me the moon, we will rule a kingdom, and be kind
to all who will accept our rule. I do not need your food, your home, or your
bed. I have my husband. ’” He settled back in the plush dining chair a smug
smile playing on his face. “Now, do you see?”
The Senator from South Carolina shook his head with a deep
“No. I do not,” he admitted.
“Faith, Mr. Speaker. She had faith. And that is what I have.
It is what compels others to fear me. It is also why they follow me. For a man
with great faith and convictions will always trump the man or woman of little
faith, of muddled allegiances, or of self-delusion.”
“How does that relate to what we are discussing?”
“You must have faith in me. I
prevail in this
endeavor I have outlined. I am positive that I will have your support and that
you will play the role that I have set before you.”
“How can you be so sure?” the senator asked, his voice
betraying his doubt.
The Mystery Man glanced around the room. The people here
held power, sway over the masses. They were executives, owners of large
corporations, real estate moguls, and old money. These people intimidated the
Speaker. Not their money or power, the possibility that someone here might
overhear what would be considered treason.
“No matter what these people gathered here may think,” he
said, indicating the table to their left where a middle-aged executive leaned
over to whisper in the ear of someone that was obviously not his wife, “this
world is currently in unfit hands. It needs to be wrested from their grasp and
given to people who truly know how to rule.”
To his credit, Rodman was incredulous.
“Is it not enough to control the heads of state in almost
every country in the world?”
He smirked, his eyebrows rising in appreciation.
“To put it bluntly: no,” he replied. He leaned forward
again, his voice lowering and his anger simmering just under the surface. “Politicians
have become incompetent, unreliable, rebellious, greedy, and lose touch with
who is really in control. Power corrupts them, wealth pampers them, and fame
galvanizes them to follow what they think is their own path.”
“Then, you are saying you do not control them, is that what
I am hearing,” Rodman said. The Speaker of the House was brave, but stupid. He
foolishly still believed in the institutions of democracy, capitalism, and
“Control is a matter of perspective. Our interest lies in a
complete overhaul of every government. Not just Uncle Sam. We need to restore
balance now. The world has grown too big for its britches, as you like to say
down here in South Carolina. We are no longer satisfied with sitting in the
shadows and playing puppeteers. It is time to reveal the true and rightful
rulers of this world.”
The Speaker scoffed.
“I cannot believe I am sitting here listening to this
He was not offended by this. It would seem like crazy talk
to just about any sane human being. Even more so to someone who had grown up as
gentry, a form of the ruling class. Fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who wore
three piece suits and smoked cigars and discussed national concerns. Mothers,
grandmothers, and aunts who maintained a sense of class, dressing richly,
throwing extravagant social events, and hanging from their men’s arms while
propping them up from behind, a hidden strength and power.
“I am hearing what you are saying, Mr. Speaker. You are
telling me that you do not have faith in me,” he said, biting the end of the
cigar with his front teeth.
A deep frown played at his features.
“I am sorry you feel that way, Mr. Speaker. I will remember
your defiance,” he responded. He got up, his weight making the chair groan in
complaint. He dropped his white cloth napkin to his plate. He had not eaten at
“Wait,” Rodman pleaded.
He raised his eyebrows and turned to the Speaker of the
House with chagrin.
“I, uh. I just need to wrap my mind around this. I need more
“Of course. It is quite a bit to swallow, I will admit. Time
is fleeting, Mr. Rodman. I need a commitment. I will give you twenty-four hours.”
Matthew Charles Rodman the fourth looked confused.
“Aren’t you afraid I will expose your plan?”
He laughed without humor.
“Mr. Speaker, you cannot betray me. Your family will never
“My family? But, they are...”
“In Barbados? Not anymore, no.” He shook his head with mock
sympathy. He noted the look of a mixture of fear and hate crawl its way across
the Speaker’s features. It was amusing to him to watch the effects of so much
privilege, entitlement, and invulnerability be completely smashed against the
rocks of reality and true power.
Someone always worked for someone else. One should never
assume they were at the top of the food chain. He understood this truth as much
as any of his closest associates.
“I cannot be bullied, sir. Do you not know who I am?” His
voice began to rise and people started to notice.
He allowed as many eyes as possible to swim their way before
“I know who you are, Mr. Speaker. I also know that you
pretend at power and have none, even within the pathetic thing you call the
American Government. If I were more uncouth, I would spit upon the institution
that has grown to weed here.”
Fear, anger, and humiliation played at Rodman’s features. He
could tell the Speaker was torn.
“What do you want?” he asked, his voice pained and compliant.
ake sat on the couch drinking a Dr. Pepper and watching CNN.
Hallie and her sister Sarah were on a bench outside watching their daughters
play together in the sandbox. Macy seemed normal. Whatever normal was to a
young child. Jake was still wrapping his mind around being a father. He liked
it so far, but it still stunned him at certain moments.
He felt guilty when she would ask him to read to her before
bedtime. It felt like something he should do every night, yet he had missed
doing it for two years. He also felt guilty when, during the reading, his mind
would wander to lockets, ancient coins, dragons, and corpses.
His nightmares were populated by them. No amount of
tenderness from Hallie, no amount of time spent with the sweet human being that
was his daughter could ever erase his guilt.
He was sick of feeling sorry for himself, though. He had
begun to adjust to his new life.
They had been in Denver now for three days. The laceration
on his calf had healed. He had heard nothing from Lars or Violet. He was fairly
certain Lars had survived. He did not want another death on his hands, but he
was also grateful for the feeling of safety. A nagging sensation reminded him
to not get too comfortable.
Perhaps it would be good to leave soon. Kyle Evers had
called on the burner phone yesterday. “Just checking in,” he had said. Jake
knew better. Their time was running out and Kyle’s patience was thin. He had
given them a ton of rope in the past. Jake understood him better than he did
himself. They were fortunate to still have their jobs.
Which was the other issue: what were they going to do when
Jake discovered why he had been brainwashed and who was behind it? Jake assumed
that Hallie had a better idea than he did.
The girls came crashing through the living room, giggling,
their sand-covered feet and hands leaving tracks as they raced to the guest
bathroom down the hall.
Jake smiled despite himself.
Then he saw Hallie’s face as she came in, her sister’s arm
draped over her shoulder.
He had seen her cry a bunch lately. He was not sure if it
was indicative of her normal moods, or just a “female thing”, but he felt an
urge to set things right to get it to stop. When he saw her cry, he cringed
inside. Not because he could not brook weakness; he just felt compelled to help
her. He supposed this was an example of just one fault in his wiring that he
had in common with every human with half a heart.
He knew it was borderline chauvinistic, terribly demeaning,
and unnecessarily protective. Despite this, Jake fought the urge to either
punch someone to right the wrong or hold her to make it better. Most men called
that feeling “love.”
Hallie could protect herself. She did not need defending. She
did not need to be coddled. She did not need his pity or sympathy. She needed
him to care, to listen, and most of all, she needed to cry. It was that simple.
It had been a major breakthrough when he finally figured that out. He simply
could not control the urge to help.
“Jake. Come console your wife,” Sarah gently scolded him.
“No. It’s alright. I will be alright,” she said.
Sarah widened her eyes and shrugged.
“It was the girls,” she said, wiping her face with her hand.
“What about them? They seemed fine when they came rushing in
here,” Jake noted.
Sarah looked at her with understanding and turned Hallie
towards by her shoulders.
“If you need Macy to stay here, she can. Clarissa loves
having her here. They can share her room. Clarissa has always wanted a sister. With
Peter gone, she gets lonely.”
“We can’t impose on you like that,” Hallie said.
Sarah shook her head.
“No problem at all, Hallie. You need something solved. I
understand,” she looked at Jake then. He shrugged.
“What happened?” he asked again. He was confused.
Sarah looked grim. She glanced at Hallie and back to him as
Hallie began to cry and sniffle again.
“Macy told Clarissa she did not want to go back home because
her Mommy might shoot someone,” Sarah explained.
“She said it like it was no big deal!” Hallie moaned.
Jake understood guilt. He could see it written in her
posture, the pain in her eyes.
He got up and joined them in the foyer.
“She is young, dear. It is no big deal. She watches cop
shows all the time. Mommy’s a cop.”
“That doesn’t make it right!”
“You were protecting her. You did everything right. You are
a fantastic mother, Hallie.”
“Fantastic mothers don’t shoot people in front of their
daughters! No child should ever have to see that,” she cried, burying her head
in Jake’s chest and sobbing.
Sarah stood nearby, her cheeks wet with tears. She held a tissue
in her hands, wringing it.
“She will be safe here,” Sarah declared.
Jake looked past Hallie’s head, stroking her hair.
“None of us will be safe until I put a stop to this,” Jake
said, determination and anger tingeing his voice.
“Make it stop,” Hallie pleaded.
“I will,” Jake promised.
Macy and Clarissa came back through the room, giggling. They
stopped and Jake heard Clarissa whisper to Macy, “Your mom’s crying? What
Jake looked at Macy, her eyes bright and concerned.
“Mom? Are you alright?” She came over and Clarissa moved
toward her mother. Macy hugged Hallie’s leg.
“Yeah, honey, Mommy’s alright,” he managed.
She looked up at Jake, her mouth set in a frown of concern.
“She didn’t shoot someone else, did she?” she asked.
Children can say some of the most hurtful remarks with such
innocence. The truth can be devastating and children, for the most part, deal
in truth. Things are so simple when seen through the eyes of a child and an innocent
question like Macy’s could illicit a smile or a tear. Or both.
Jake sighed with relief as Hallie pulled Macy closer and
smiled down at her.
“No, sport. Mommy has not shot anyone yet. Mommy would only
ever shoot someone to protect you or your daddy.”
Macy blinked hard and looked confused.
“Why would anyone want to hurt Daddy? He’s cool.”
Jake smiled and ruffled Macy’s hair. With his other hand he
stroked Hallie’s back. He was proud of her.
Hallie looked up at him with amusement.
“You’d be surprised. Lots of people want daddy.”
Macy’s eyes widened with disbelief.
“Really?” She looked to him for confirmation. He shrugged.
“Nah. Your Mom just wants me to feel loved too,” he
She shrugged too.
“Well, I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you, too, kiddo.” He could not help smiling.
“Mommy, can we go get ice cream?” Clarissa begged her
mother, tugging at her shorts.
Sarah looked at Hallie with a knowing grin.
“Your Aunt Hallie loves ice cream, do you mind if they come,
Clarissa jumped up and down, her arms extended.
“Yes! I can show Macy the playgrounds! Can I Mommy?”
“Sure,” she said. “You girls go get in the van. Aunt Hallie
and I will be along in a minute.”
Macy extracted herself from them and took Clarissa’s hand
and they rushed outside like a twister.
Hallie gathered herself, wiping the tears and the snot from
“Thanks, hon,” she said to Jake.
Sarah was standing with her hands on her hips.
“Are we set, then? Macy stays with me until you two can get
your lives straight?”
Hallie looked at him. Then, she looked back to her sister
with pleading eyes.
“We don’t want to leave her, but we need to think about her
safety. I cannot keep my promise to myself if she is in harm’s way.”
Jake understood her reluctance to take another life. It was
something that took its toll on your soul.
“I want to do this, sis. I love Macy, too. How could
someone not love her?” Sarah pleaded.
“Yeah. She has that effect on people.”
They hugged for a minute and it was settled. Jake could not
help but feel grateful that a weight was taken from his shoulders. In its place
was a dull pain that foretold that he would miss Macy in her absence. He
preferred that feeling to the fear that he could lose her.
Now if only there was something he could do to protect