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Authors: Phyllis Zimbler Miller

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CIA Fall Guy

BOOK: CIA Fall Guy
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Table of Contents

CIA Fall Guy

 

A Spy Thriller

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Phyllis Zimbler Miller

 

All rights reserved.

AUTHOR BIO

 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a fiction and nonfiction author. Her fiction books and ebooks include the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT, the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE, and the thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS (written with her husband Mitchell R. Miller).

Phyllis is a member of the Military Writers Society of America and worked as a civilian for the 66th Military Intelligence Group in Munich, Germany, when Mitch as a U.S. Army officer was stationed with the 18th Military Intelligence Battalion in Munich.

Her nonfiction books include the 3-book HOW TO SUCCEED series for teens and young adults.

Visit her author website at
www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com
and her author Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermillerauthor

She is also the co-founder of the Los Angeles, California-based online marketing company
www.MillerMosaicLLC.com
, which builds websites for clients and consults with clients on social media marketing strategies.

Follow her on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller

PROLOGUE — BERLIN — 1997

 

The letters shimmered on the plain of the yellowed paper, the moisture in his eyes fogging the squiggles into botches. Letters birthed by an ancient East German typewriter, standard issue.

David Ward coughed. The dust in these old East German Stasi — State Security Police — files penetrated his lungs. He was alone in the basement room eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall had brought down the Stasi.

He had taken precautions not to be recognized.

A black trim wig enclosed his blond longish hair. One of those ridiculous German hats with the little feathers, as if he were about to climb the Zugspitze, held itself up next to the file. A cheap “East German” polyester suit hung loosely on his muscled body. He had even padded his flat midriff with a cushion of cloth — the typical beer belly. He could be mistaken for a
gastarbeiter
— foreign worker — or one of those worker drones of the former German Democratic Republic. His clothes concealed his weapons.

He pushed his disguise glasses farther up the bridge of his nose, then rose to return the file. He had people to see.

DAY 1

 

Berlin 1997 —

 

Hans Wermer hunkered in a disintegrating armchair in the reception room of the CIA's office in Berlin.

The Library.

At least that's what his contact had called it more than 20 years ago — when he had a contact. Then he passed reports of economic progress in the workers' paradise across the Iron Curtain. Before his fall from grace. Did they still call it the Library?

He shifted his beer-fed figure in the chair — one seam had sprung a leak, the padding sprouting whiskers. He was not good at waiting. No, not good at all.

Three days ago he'd been informed by the liaison officer at the CIA reception center in Berlin, a young man speaking in school-learned German, that Hans' case would take some time.
"Ist das klar?”
the young man had asked.

It was not so simple. No, not so simple as the other refugees:

A short interview at the reception center, perhaps a few days, even a month, at a “hotel” the army maintained, then some marks and a “good luck and
auf Wiedersehen
.”

Sometimes there could be more, if the story were interesting enough. He'd talked to old acquaintances so he understood this.

It was not
gemutlich
— cheerful — sitting around the army's transit housing for foreigners waiting to talk to someone who would remember his past importance. At last he had been invited here.

The inner door opened and a young woman approached. “Herr Smith will see you now,” she said in English.

Although his mother had been British, he hadn't spoken English in years. All English-speaking in his Dresden home had stopped when Hitler marched into Poland on September 1, 1939.
“Englisch ist verboten,”
his mother had said. It was for his safety, she'd explained. And although he was five at the time, he had understood what she meant.

After the war and her death he had found hidden in a
schrank
her old English poetry books — poems of Shelley, Keats, Browning, the ones she couldn't bear to burn, the ones she risked their lives to keep. He had struggled to read the poems, sounding out the words the way he'd been taught by his mother. Later he'd studied English at the university. Still he wasn't comfortable in her language, would never be truly comfortable. He was too old now.

He rose and grabbed his hat from the seat, using his other hand to slick back his grey hair cut close to his head. The woman led him through the door and down a narrow hallway. She paused outside a closed door, opened it without knocking, and motioned him inside.

Herr Smith unfolded his tall body from his desk chair to shake hands in the proper German manner. He appeared to be in his mid forties, his pin-striped suit jacket and pants tailored to his thin frame. Hans was aware of the contrast with his own splainky figure, his shiny suit pulled across his stomach. Herr Smith's face could be German, round like his own. Herr Smith's accent, when he opened his mouth to say
“Guten Tag,”
was definitely a foreigner's. Hans answered in his British-accented English, “Good day.”

Herr Smith's face relaxed at the English reply. “Please have a seat,” he said in English.

What did the man want from him? Would he demand a lengthy recitation of the case history? Or had he read the case beforehand?

Herr Smith peered at the papers in front of him. “We've reviewed your file. Washington has reviewed your file.” He paused.

“Yes?”

“I don't believe a word of it.”

Hans Wermer's breath caught in his chest. He had failed.

Herr Smith's eyes pierced his own.

“They do. We've booked you on an early plane to Washington tomorrow morning. The people in Langley want to talk to you.”

Gut. Sehr gut.
Hans' caged breath hissed from his mouth. He would be meeting with important people. Much more important than Herr Smith in Berlin.

Herr Smith stood. “Here are your tickets and a German government-issued passport. That's all you'll need.”

Hans stood too and took the documents. He shook hands and inclined his head, then walked out of the office.

In the hall he smiled. He had passed the first test.

 

Langley, Virginia, 1997 —

 

“We have no choice,” George MacIntosh said, eyeing the authorization lying on his desk top. “He's coming from Berlin tomorrow and she's the only one alive who can possibly identify him.” He fingered his CIA-issue pen.

“Why do we need to identify him? Just tell him no, we're not interested. Send him a check if you want,” Kathleen Walters said.

She directed her words to Charles Trenchant seated on her left, but George knew he was her focus. After almost forty years in this business George understood that Kathleen, the newest member of the team and a black woman, wouldn't risk voicing her objections to him. No, better to speak to another junior member of the team.

“He knows a lot — if he's telling the truth. We've got to be sure,” George said.

“She's a civilian!” Kathleen said.

“He's asking for a great deal of compensation. We have to check out his story as well as we can. Believe you me, if there were anyone else left to identify him, we'd use that person.”

George had been stationed at CIA headquarters for the last several years, since before the rumblings that brought the Wall down. If nothing untoward happened, he would retire from here in another two years after a competent if not spectacular career.

This case had been passed on to him by his colleagues in Germany and he would handle it as he saw best.

Charles fingered his Yale blazer buttons, then crossed his legs. “We have to contact her immediately. Give her time to get down here.”

Kathleen's eyes bored the middle of George's tie before she raised her eyes to his face. “How can she possibly identify someone she saw only briefly over 20 years ago?”

George glanced across the room at the American flag hanging from an upright flag pole in a corner of his office. He'd had this same flag in every office he'd had around the world; it had seemed only appropriate in those cities where his cover had been political officer for the American embassy. In other places, when his cover had been cultural attache to the American consulate, he'd told visitors it was a little piece of the United States to keep him from being homesick. Now it was a reminder of his past, the places he'd been, the places he wouldn't go after his retirement from Langley.

He flourished the signed authorization at Kathleen. “If she can't, we're out of luck.”

**

Kathleen locked her files before leaving for the day. Tomorrow she would wear a two-piece navy blue size 6 suit that added years to her actual late twenties. Her very short haircut ensured a “business” look. At 5’8” several of her shorter male colleagues were on a par with her, satisfying her and discomforting them.

Tomorrow something was going on, something bigger than George had let on. George had spoken of this as a routine matter of identification, just something “to help out the boys in compensation.”

She knew differently.

George didn't realize he had a giveaway. Whenever he dissembled his eyes slid to his flag, as if apologizing to it for lying in the line of duty. After Charles had left the room, George had briefed her on her assignment, including having the woman stay overnight at Kathleen's apartment if they needed her to stay in town. As he spoke George's eyes had found his touchstone. Kathleen's protests about the overnight arrangements had died before she voiced them.

Usually when something was happening she wasn't allowed to know and she certainly wasn't allowed to sit in on a visit from a non-agency person. This time she'd been asked to be Beth Parsons' escort. Ferry her around Langley. Apparently it had been decreed that a woman's presence would help this operation. “Make her feel relaxed,” George had said. “She's not used to our kind of work anymore. She'll have misconceptions, concerns. You can handle them.”

George had finally handed her an opportunity to get close to a real operation. If she only knew what that operation was.

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997 —

 

Beth Parsons glanced in the mirror covering the entire end wall of the narrow room. Her chin-length red hair hadn't fizzed much. On the other hand, her white
gi
— uniform — tied with her green belt looked like it could use a wash, thanks to the sweat of exertion and the humidity of May. She hated the way the bulk of the
gi
was around her waist. She worked out daily on an ab machine and her
gi
didn't showcase her efforts.

The late afternoon sunlight slid across the wood floor, culminating at the bare feet of the shotokan karate
sensei
— instructor — Eitan, an Israeli who at 3rd
dan
black belt level was better than Beth could hope to be in three lifetimes. He also had the cutest smile wrinkles around his eyes — unfortunately he was a good 10 years younger than Beth's 49 years.

The perennial tinge of guilt pinged. Beth shook her head. Noticing a man's smile wrinkles was not betraying Stephen's memory — noticing a man's age in comparison to hers was.

Actually, Beth had more important things to worry about at the moment. The green belts testing for the highest level of that color belt, the level she had already achieved, were almost done. In a few minutes she and two others would be called up to test for the lowest level of brown belt.

From the corner of her eye where she sat on the mat waiting her turn she saw the
dojo
door open. Two men in dark suits with briefcases entered. It wasn't unusual for people interested in starting karate to come by and check out the place. Yet the suits and the briefcases seemed incongruous. Maybe Eitan hadn't paid the rent.

Now at a nod from Eitan she stood and took her place. She tried to block from her consciousness the smirk on the face of Shmuel, a 1st
dan
black belt Israeli who rumor said had once been the leader of an Israeli commando unit and still had ties to Israeli intelligence. To Beth all Shmuel represented was the black belt who most got on her nerves during training. Once, after she had managed to bungle a particularly difficult maneuver, he had said to her, “On the street you'd be dead.”

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