Read The Second Shooter Online
Authors: Chuck Hustmyre
Jake said, "That doesn't sound like you."
Gordon smiled. "Maybe I'm just too old."
"Too old to write a bestseller about solving the biggest murder mystery in history?" Stacy said.
Gordon laughed. "You think anybody would even believe it?"
"I think enough of them would," Jake said, his tone serious.
Gordon held the notebook out to him. "Maybe it should be your generation that sets the record straight."
Jake shook his head. "It's your story. And I think it needs to be told. Besides, you're the only writer in the family."
Gordon nodded. Then he swallowed hard and cleared his throat. He patted Jake's shoulder and turned to Stacy. "So what do you think of this guy, huh? About to have the FBI Medal of Valor personally awarded by the president of the United States."
Stacy smiled and rubbed Jake's back. "I'm so proud of him."
Gordon gave a nervous cough, then looked at Jake. "Listen, uhh, you mind if I...if I come out to DC for the ceremony?"
"I'm counting on it," Jake said.
Jake grinned back at him. "But are you sure your motorhome will make it?"
Waving off the comment, Gordon said, "That old girl's got another hundred thousand miles in her."
"You should call Mom," Jake said. "She misses you."
"She said that?" Gordon asked, his face showing his surprise and skepticism.
"Call her and find out."
"Maybe I will." Gordon took a half-step toward Jake, then hesitated before giving him an awkward hug. "I'm proud of you, son."
Jake glanced at Stacy. She was smiling. He hugged Gordon back, also a bit awkwardly, but he meant it. "Thanks...Dad."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2013
Bill Blackstone opened the front door of his Washington, D.C., townhouse and hobbled out onto the flagstone stoop. The morning sun shown down from a clear blue sky and reflected off the snow-covered ground. The TV news had reported two inches of snow overnight, and a cold wind attacked the thin bathrobe Blackstone was wearing. At the end of his walkway, wrapped in clear plastic and lying on top of the snow, was that morning's Washington Post.
Blackstone had been paying careful attention to the news since waking up in Parkland Memorial Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. He needed to monitor the constantly shifting political winds to try to get some hint of warning if he was going to be indicted.
So far so good, though. Langley was protecting him. He hoped that protection would continue. Once the storm was over things would settle down. Maybe after he healed up he could go back to work.
Leaning on his cane, he started the trek to the newspaper. His breath frosted the air and the cold stung his wounded lung. His right arm was still in a cast and hung in a sling, but the doctor said the cast would come off right after the first of the year. Today he made it to the end of the walkway in a little less time than it had taken him yesterday, which had taken him a little less than the day before. He was getting better.
All of Blackstone's neighbors had put up Christmas decorations, leaving his the only unadorned townhouse on the block.
He pressed the rubber tip of his cane down hard on the concrete so it wouldn't slip. Then he braced the crook of the handle against his good hip and bent down to pick up the newspaper. As he pushed himself back upright, he noticed a dark sedan parked directly across the street. Hot exhaust met the frozen air and steam billowed from the tailpipe. The back window was down. There was definitely someone sitting in the back seat.
Blackstone saw a tiny flash and heard a
. Both were followed immediately by another tiny flash and another
. He felt his chest burning...in two separate places but close together. He dropped the Post and rubbed a hand across his chest. It came away bloody. He tried to take a breath but it hurt too much. His lungs gurgled. He collapsed. The bright sunlight faded. Leaving only darkness.
The sedan drove away.
Max Garcia pulled the umbrella out of his drink and took a long sip. It was beautiful here, the cobalt blue water lapping against the soft white sand.
His wife hadn't been happy about the sudden move. She had loved their little pastel house in South Beach. The days of surprising, life-changing phone calls in the middle of the night were supposed to be behind them now that he was retired. The only surprise she craved was a winning card at bingo. But here they were in Veracruz, and here they would probably stay. Unless men with guns came looking for them.
She was shopping now, trying to find enough in the local shops to decorate their new house. He was sitting at a tiki bar on the beach, alone at eleven o'clock in the morning, waiting for his prepaid cellphone to ring.
Garcia answered. "Hola?"
The voice on the other end of the line spoke Spanish with a Cuban accent. "It's done."
"Gracias," Garcia said.
"De nada," the voice said. "But what about the others?"
"No, I don't think we need to bother with them."
"Are you sure?" the voice said. "It's no trouble. The woman has moved into the man's apartment, and the other one, the older man, is coming to visit them."
"I'm sure," Garcia said.
"Then we're done?"
Garcia looked at the white sand. It reminded him of snow, but that was as close to snow as he ever wanted to get again in his life, just a memory. "Yes, we're done," he said. "Feliz Navidad."
"Feliz Navidad," the voice said. Then the line clicked as the caller hung up.
Garcia set the phone down and took a sip of his drink.
Inside the interview room, the man Jake thought of as Jones said, "So all that's in the book, everything you just told us?"
Jake lit another Lucky Strike. He took a drag and let the smoke out slow, savoring the taste. "Pretty much."
"Like I told you," Smith said, "that book will never get published."
Jake glanced at his Rolex. It was 10:20 a.m. He'd burned up almost two and a half hours talking to these clowns. "Then I guess you have nothing to worry about."
"It's not us who needs to worry."
"You think I should be worried?"
Jones reached down to an attachÃ© case on the floor at his feet and laid a government form on the table. A photocopy actually. He slid it across to Jake, who saw his own signature at the bottom of the page. "Recognize that?" Jones asked.
Jake nodded. "An SF 312, a classified information nondisclosure agreement."
"Signed by you when you first hired on with the Bureau."
Jake didn't remember signing the form, but he didn't doubt its authenticity. He'd signed about a thousand forms on his first day at the FBI, before shipping out for Quantico. "Are you accusing me of illegally revealing classified information?"
"Depends on what's in that book."
"I just told you everything I know."
"Your wife, Stacy, she was there too, right?"
"You know," Jake said, "if you're trying to play good cop, bad cop, one of you actually has to play the good cop."
"I guess we should bring your wife in," Smith said, "and talk to her too."
Jake took a long drag on his cigarette, then flicked it hard at Smith's chest. It hit his tie and flung burning ashes all over his shirt and suit coat.
"Motherfucker," Smith shouted, jumping to his feet and knocking over his chair. The ashes left black streaks on his white shirt as he brushed them off. He started around the table at Jake.
Jones stood and blocked him. "Take it easy."
Jake hadn't moved.
After several seconds of staring, Smith righted his chair and sat down. Then Jones sat. "We need to get a copy of the book."
Jake looked at his watch again. 10:30.
"Why do you keep looking at your watch?" Smith said. "You got somewhere else to be?"
"Just worried about missing my favorite TV show."
Jake's two interrogators looked at each other. Then Jones said, "So how can we get a copy? Our agency has a certain...vetting process for books that may contain sensitive material."
"My father is a private citizen. I'm pretty sure the First Amendment exempts him from your vetting process."
"But it doesn't exempt you," Smith said. "You're a government employee. And so is your wife."
Jake slid another cigarette from his pack and picked up his Zippo. He smiled when he saw Smith tense. "We haven't written any books."
"You supplied information for one."
"No, we didn't," Jake said. "Stacy and I both filed detailed reports after the attempted assassination of President Omar. As I understand it, those reports are classified. But I doubt that's a problem for you."
"We've read the reports," Jones said. "And they are classified, which makes your dissemination of the information contained in them a federal offense."
"Yes, it would," Jake said. "Fortunatelyâ"
The door banged open and another man entered the room. He was dressed just like Smith and Jones. And he carried an iPad. "They're holding a goddamned press conference."
Smith and Jones said, "Who?" at the same time.
The new man set the iPad on the desk in front of them, then pointed at Jake. "His father and Max Garcia. At the National Press Club. All the cable news channels are carrying it live."
Everyone stared down at the iPad. On the screen was a live news feed of Gordon McCay and Max Garcia standing side by side behind a lectern, the front of which bore the words:
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
Gordon was holding up a hardcover book. The resolution on the iPad was sharp enough so that Jake could read the main title, 'GOVERNMENT ASSASSINS', but he couldn't make out the subtitle. He knew what it was, though.
The caption crawl at the bottom of the screen read, "Explosive new book claims CIA behind JFK assassination and attempted assassination of President Noah Omar."
The man Jake called Smith pounded his fist on the table so hard the iPad nearly jumped off. "Son of a bitch!"
Jake stood outside the anonymous office building in downtown Washington, DC, where he had been held quasi-illegally for the last few hours. He lit a cigarette and called his wife.
Stacy answered on the first ring. "Are you watching it?"
"Just a glimpse," he said. "I had to step outside."
"My last pack, I promise."
"Where have I heard that before?"
Jake took a final drag and flicked the cigarette into a storm drain. "Good call having it at the National Press Club."
"Gordon has been a member for years."
"He's full of surprises."
"You can say that again."
"I'm recording it for you," Stacy said.
"Think I'm coming home early."
"You should have taken the day off."
"The Bureau owes both of us a ton of vacation," Jake said. "Let's go somewhere."
"What kind of blowback do you think we'll get?"
"Nothing we can't handle. We saved the president's life."
"Come on home, baby."
"On my way," Jake said.
The man known as Max Garcia died two months after the publication of the book he co-wrote with Gordon McCay. He had been living with stage four lung cancer for a year.
Government Assassins: The CIA's Culpability in the Assassination of JFK and the Attempted Assassination of Noah Omar
, spent twenty-seven weeks at the top of various bestseller lists, including
The New York Times
As a direct result of the revelations contained in the book and the subsequent findings of Congressional and Justice Department investigations, several high-ranking government officials were indicted, including Richard Finch, President Omar's deputy chief of staff, and Allan Chessman, deputy director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service. Finch was sentenced to life in prison. Chessman shot himself as FBI agents raided his suburban Virginia home.
Max Garcia spent the last weeks of his life giving testimony before a joint committee of Congress and depositions to the Justice Department. CIA officials admitted in classified testimony that Max Garcia was, in fact, the cover name of a long-time CIA officer, now retired, but those same officials testified that they could not find any records relating to his whereabouts on November 22, 1963.
Ray Fluker, whom the conspirators attempted to frame as the "patsy" for the assassination of President Noah Omar, was cleared of any wrongdoing and is currently receiving the treatment he deserves from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Chris Stanley transferred to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Jake and Stacy Miller still work for the FBI. They celebrated the birth of their son, Gordon Lee McCay Miller, six months after
Gordon McCay used some of the proceeds from the book to buy a new motorhome. His whereabouts are unknown.
While much of this novel is speculative in nature, there are a lot of facts contained within its pages.
The romantic relationship between John F. Kennedy, then a young officer in the United States Navy, and Inga Arvad; and the extramarital affair between President John F. Kennedy and Ellen Rometsch actually happened. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that both women were enemy spies.
Project MK-ULTRA, the CIA's experiment with mind control, the purpose of which was to find a way to program an assassin, is also real.
The nearly 200-page U.S. Senate report cited in the novel, dated August 3, 1977, and the 700-page CIA document, dated May 16, 1973, known as the "Family Jewels" report, which exposed many of the CIA's misdeeds, are both widely available online.