Zone of Silence
The X-Files included numerous cases of Paranormal Activity. Everything from alien abductions to strange activities and occurrences. Two agents involved in many of the strangest case were Dana Scully and Mulder. In 2003 they assigned to a case that was a simple disappearance. But it turned into much more than that. If was classified and kept secret for many years. Just recently that case was released. This is the story.
The sailboat, Invincible, cut through the waters or the Atlantic effortlessly. Stewart Jamison stood at the helm with a hand on the wheel. An expert sailor, the millionaire always looked forward to his solitary voyages like a tonic to the long grueling hours he committed to his business. This was a weekend he really needed.
He worked the sails of Invincible like a seasoned sailor. He was in his element. This was what life was all about. The distant view was beautiful and breathtaking. Something that was new and refreshing every time he ventured away.
Jamison had been cruising for a day and a half and was already at the mid-point of his journey from Miami. The time had come to turn the sailboat and return home. As he ran through the preparations he failed to notice a strange change in the weather. The distant view disappeared, replaced with an eerie brown gray haze like a smoke and it happened so quickly that it went unnoticed by Jamison until he saw the sails flutter and then drop. It wasn't like a fog but more like smog but very different at the same time. The waves ceased. Jamison stopped. He stood near the wheel of the Invincible. Slowly, he turned a complete circle trying to scan a horizon that had vanished. The waters of the Atlantic were like glass. It was dead calm. He looked up for reassurance. There was no sky.
Ever so slightly the brown haze turned gray. The transition was barely notable. The gray turned to a darker gray and then a bluish hue. The wind began whip up but in different direction as it picked up in intensity.
The changes brought a surprised look to Jamison's face. The sails fluttered, started to fill and then would drop and fill in the opposite direction. Jamison knew it was a storm of some kind but it was like nothing he has ever seen. The winds change of direction bothered him enough he started to lower the main sail. The water began to churn
The wind picked up and wisp of white would sometimes outline the breeze and the direction it blew. And the direction continued to change. It was like someone was stirring the wind with a mighty hand like it was a figure eight. The sailboat rocked and the dark waters of the Atlantic began to churn.
The wind howled and a storm started brewing. Jamison put on a slicker and made preparations for a storm the likes he had never seen. Storm conditions picked up in intensity faster than Jamison could ready himself and the Invincible.
In a few minutes it had become a severe storm with rolling seas. The sky was dark as night and filled with lightning and thunder. The roar of the storm was almost deafening. Through all of this there was still no rain. The lack of rain scared Jamison as he mumbled through his fear, "No rain."
Where the storm lacked the rain, the crashing waves made Jamison almost oblivious to that fact. The storm tossed the small sailboat like it was a toy.
Stewart Jamison braced against the thrashing of the storm. In fear Jamison watched the storm. That was when he noticed the wind direction. There was none. It had been blowing in various directions, but now it was blowing in a circular motion like a hurricane except for two vastly different things. He could see he was in the eye of this storm and it was anything but calm. Closer to the center of this unusual storm it was more intense. And the winds blew in a clockwise direction; the reverse of a hurricane.
The thunder and lightning intensified as did the winds. Something very strange was happening. Jamison ran below, grabbed the microphone of his short wave radio, and with a death grip on the microphone be began to relay a mayday.
Now the lightning and thunder was continuous. Still there was no rain. The boat creaked and groaned, as things fell and crashed around Jamison
He braced his legs and held on to a railing with his free hand. It was all he could do to keep from being tossed to the floor. Jamison was desperate as he screamed over the radio, "Mayday! Mayday! This is Stewart Jamison aboard the Invincible."
For the first time Jamison looked at his instruments to get his bearings. What he saw when he looked at the instruments only terrified him more.
The instruments were all jumping, and popping wildly. All except the compass. It spun wildly out of control!
His words reflected his fear, "Instruments not functioning. Cannot control my craft. Mayday"
* * *
The Miami Coast Guard cutter sliced through the calm waters of the Atlantic. It moved swiftly in response to a distress call. It was a bright sunny day and the calm seas were almost a reflection of the cloudless sky. The seas were calm and smooth as glass. There was no breeze.
Captain Parks stood next to the radio operator, Johnson, who had his headphones on and listened to the distress call.
The pilot steered the Coast Guard Cutter toward the distress calls. Others on the bridge watched and listened. Johnson looked confused and upset.
Captain Parks said, "What's the Invincible’s location?"
Johnson shook his head in disbelief. "Latitude thirty-thirty, Longitude thirty-four hundred, Sir."
Johnson's concern and confusion were not lost on the Captain, "What's wrong?"
"Well Sir, he is less than two kilometers from here." Johnson shook his head bewildered. This Mayday really confused him. "He says he's in a storm."
"Impossible. We should have visible contact soon and as you can see there is no storm"
He nodded in agreement, "I know Sir, but listen to his transmission." Johnson flipped the switch on his radio and put it on the intercom for all to listen.
The intercom crackled. Wind, thunder and the all too familiar creaking of a ship is stress could be heard loud and clear over the speakers. The crashing of objects almost drowned out the pleas of help from the person sending the distress call. " Mayday! Help! Someone please!"
Now even Captain Parks looked confused. Suddenly, he smiled and snickered. "It’s a hoax."
But the radio operator was so sure as he shook his head and shrugged. "I don't think so, Sir."
Johnson pointed at the radar screen and tapped the flashing blip near the center. "His craft is on radar."
The Captain scanned the horizon with his eyes. "Impossible." He saw nothing. Again he looked at the radar. The Invincible was still on the radar screen and Jamison's screams for help, mixed the sounds of a storm, still reverberated from the intercom speakers of the Coast Guard cutter.
Johnson looked up at Captain Parks, "We’re almost on top of him."
The flashing blip of Jamison's sailboat indicated it was within viewing distance of the Coast Guard cutter. Everyone in the bridge glanced at the radar and most were already scanning the horizon for the Invincible.
Still Captain Parks wasn't so sure, "It can't be!"
The Coast Guard Cutter continued to slice through the water. To port there was noting but calm seas. To starboard; more of the same. Only the wake of the ship disrupted the water aft of the ship.
There was not a sign of life in any directions for as far as the eye could see. The Captain, Pilot and Radio Operator continued to watch the radar. On the bridge most of the others had turned their eyes to the sea in eager anticipation. But what were they looking for? A ship they should see but wasn't there? A storm they could hear but they couldn't see? What was happening?
Captain Parks spoke, "We should see the Invincible by now."
But Johnson was so sure, "Maybe not Sir."
Afraid to speak, Johnson hesitated.
Now the Captain demanded, "Why?"
Johnson acted like he was afraid to tell the Captain Parks. "I've been out here many years. Seen strange things." He looked at the Captain and pointed at the radar. "Especially at those coordinates."
"What do you mean?"
"Well Sir, that boat, the Invincible, she’s almost dead center in the Bermuda Triangle
All on the bridge were suddenly quiet. They all glanced at the radar and then out to the calm waters of the Atlantic.
Finally the Captain grunted and waved his arms to show his disgust and the Johnson's reference to the Bermuda Triangle. "The Bermuda Triangle is nothing more than legends and fairy tales."
But now even the pilot was pulled into the conversation. He shook his head and eyed the Captain as though he believed in the Bermuda Triangle. "How else would you explain it Captain?"
Captain Parks was about to respond when Johnson spoke up, "Sir, we're less than a kilometer away. The craft should be port-side"
The Captain took his binoculars and scanned the empty waters. "There's nothing!"
Although, he saw nothing, the sounds of a storm and Jamison's screams of terror continued to pour from the speakers in the bridge; "Help! God help me"
Excitedly, Johnson said, "Sir we're almost on top of him!"
Helpless, they all stare at the radar and the blinking light near the center of the radar. The sounds of the storm mixed with Jamison’s PLEAS continued echo through the bridge. Then the crew of the Coast Guard cutter head what they hate most when they are on a rescue mission: "My God!...She’s coming apart!"
It was like they were in a trance as they all listened to Jamison's pleas.
But the Radio Operator looked confused when he said, "Sir we should be on top of the Invincible!"
* * *
The Invincible was being tossed around like a child's toy in a tub. The storm showed Jamison no mercy. Or whatever it was. The storm continued to toss the sailboat about. Terrified, Jamison frantically squeezes the microphone and yelled his desperate pleas.
"The instruments...they’ve gone haywire. Don't understand."
The crashing and thunder continued. And still there was no rain. Jamison panics he is almost in tears that are replaced by sudden desperation.
"Storm so sudden." He continued with more pleas, "Help! Please help me someone"
The horror was his situation showed in his actions. Terror consumed him.
"Oh God! No! No!—"
* * *
Many of the crew had gathered on the bridge of the Coast Guard cutter and listened to Jamison's desperate and hopeless pleas. The sounds of the storm came through the speakers loud and clear.
The rest of the crew continued to search the ocean for some clue to the Invincible.
The blinking light, indicating the Invincible, was now in the center of the radar screen, which would make the Coast Guard almost on top of the sailboat. All the sailors knew this and many glanced out to the ocean.
Suddenly, the light vanished. Abruptly, the sounds coming over the intercom stopped. Stunned, everyone stared at the radar as the Radio Operator whispered what everyone already knew.
"She’s gone!" The Coast Guard Cutter continued to slice through calm seas of the Atlantic. All of those on the bridge stared at the radar.
Captain Parks shook his head. He turned to the Pilot. "Stop all engines."
He took the microphone from Johnson and flipped the switch on the intercom, while the Pilot cut the power to the Coast Guard Cutter
"This is the Captain. All men to port. Look for survivors. Look for—"
The Captain glanced at Johnson, who said, "Look for what Sir?"
The Captain dropped the microphone to his side, bent over the table and shook his head in disbelief. "I don't know."
* * *
The Coast Guard cutter drifted in the calm sea. All hands were on deck searching for any sign that might give an indication as to what might have happened to the Invincible. All eyes are on the ocean.
Captain Parks, the Pilot, the Radio Operator and OTHERS stood on the Bridge. The Captain searched through the binoculars. The Pilot and Radio Operator did a visual search of surrounding waters.
As they continued the search, Captain Parks is snickering and grunting. He is confident about something. The Captain’s confidence is building, "I tell you it's a hoax. Probably set up by some drug cartel so they could slip past."
The Pilot was not so sure, and it showed in his eyes. "Maybe. Maybe not."
The radio operator, Johnson, had already reached his own conclusion. "Radar would have picked up any thing trying to pass us."
The Captain scoffed at his two seamen, "Like it did the Invincible?" The Captain tried to reassure himself. "When we get back have the radar checked. I'm sure this whole thing can be explained."
Suddenly, Johnson's whole demeanor changed. His eyes were as big as silver dollars and his chin dropped open as he raised his hand and pointed out to the sea. He said, "Look!"
Everyone looked in the direction to where the radio operator pointed. The ocean was calm and the water was like glass, except where Johnson pointed.
The sea appeared to boil less than a hundred feet from the Coast Guard cutter. All the sailors ran to the side to watch. The water continued to boil and it looked as though debris of some kind was coming up from beneath the ocean.
Sailors groaned and they all pointed. Many yelled explicatives of surprise and shock as things continued to bubble up.
Captain Parks lifted the binoculars to his eyes. With his finger he rotated the wheel to focus to the items floating in the water. He could see them clearly now.
Bubbling up from the waters of the Bermuda Triangle were a very large lizard, a giant centipede with a purple head and clusters of purple cactus. As suddenly as the water revealed its secrets it stopped. Again the ocean turned calm and smooth as glass with only the strange objects floating on top.Back to other books >
Katy, Home of Champions
In Texas they say football comes before God. No where was that more evident than in Katy, Texas. If Katy didn’t make the state finals the coach just might be looking for a new job. While they might have had “Friday Night Lights” in Permian, they had state championships in Katy, Texas. Their license plate frames said it all, “Katy, Home of Champions.” One year Katy was disqualified from the state championship. It was something Katy never wanted to talk about, but it happened.
Football and God
Bright lights lit up the stadium as the fans roared their approval. A late November chill hung over the stadium. The Katy, Tigers were only minutes away from making the state championship game for the third year in a row. The championship would be played in two weeks. With a two touchdown lead, less than a minute to go and possession of the ball, Katy was assured of victory and a place in the championship in two weeks. This would be a season like no other. A season on one would forget.
Football was always the number one priority in Katy. Every Friday the stadium was packed. Fans were actually turned away or got tickets on the opposing team’s side.
With victory assured the students and fans were rabid. Screams and cheers came from only one side; the Katy Tigers. Screaming with enthusiasm a student held high a sign that flashed the words, “STATE CHAMPIONSHIP NEXT.” Honest, hard working, family people, those were the fans in Katy.
The Tigers were moving down the field. Only seconds remained.
In the upper row of the bleachers were the fans and parents. Among them was a teacher, Billy Holly, who wore jeans and a sweater and appeared mildly athletic. Next to him his wife Carol cheered. She was beautiful and dressed like a model ready to go to a party. She would have made any man a wonderful wife. Only problem was Billy wasn’t that man and he had no clue. A blind man could have seen what was happening to him but he couldn’t.
Next to the Holly’s were the Divins. Jerry and Erin watched their son Cris, who was the running back for Katy. Jerry Divins was dressed in the finest sports coat, his curly brown hair perfect. He looked like an executive. Jerry was Billy’s friend and neighbor. But that was using the word friend loosely. Jerry thought he was a gift to every woman. He was probably a great guy, if you were single. You just couldn't trust him. With his eyes, Jerry devoured every woman he locked his eyes on--except for his wife Erin. If his eyes had been hands then most of the women that walked past him would have been naked before they reached safety
Poor Erin, circles under her eyes, long unkempt hair that needed to at least be brushed if not cleaned. Haggard she appeared exhausted and worn out. She really needed a make over in worst possible way. When she dressed she wanted to be more than she really was. It didn't work. Seemed nothing worked out for Erin. In some ways she just might have been more clueless than the others.
A fan yelled with extreme enthusiasm, “What a game!”
Jerry snickered to the fan, “Yeah, but they should let my son run more.”
Not far from the Divins and Holly’s were Richard and Barbara Spencer. Richard dressed conservatively and was still a nice looking man, although the years were beginning to show. He was the Principal for Katy high school. The pillar of morality and what was right. A man to lead all the students and it seemed as though all the students looked up to him. They all thought they knew him well but they really had no idea, except maybe for his wife Barbara. But she had her own secrets and problems. She was another that had an extremely difficult time holding the years back, although she still had a fine figure. She looked haggard and older than her years. Poor Barbara she shouldn't have done it.
The lower bleachers were packed with students, shaking the stadium with their cheers. Billy’s daughter Stacy screamed louder that all the others. She exuded team spirit. She dressed like an average student. As beautiful as her mother she didn’t need to flaunt her beauty. She was the sunshine of her father’s life, but she had her secrets. Her friend Rita Vasquez sat next to her. Of Latin decent she looked more like a woman than a high school student. She was Stacy’s confident and best friend, and also one of Billy’s brightest history students. Rita knew what Stacy was hiding from her mother Carol. But Carol was busy protecting her own little secrets.
Tanya Spencer, the principal’s daughter was beautiful, but she wore too much makeup and tight jeans that looked like they were painted on and were about four inches below her navel. It was hard to describe her. Words could not do justice. She probably had more secrets than anyone. She continually pulled her pants up. Her top was so tight it looked like her breasts were about to explode. Her high heels look so out of place at the high school football game. Her jacket was so small there was no way it kept her warm. She looked more like a hooker than a high school student.
Jerry's son, Cris, was one of the best running backs that had ever played football for Katy high school. On the field he took the handoff from, Mark, the quarterback, and ran for a small gain up the middle.
“That's Divins up the middle for five,” said the announcer.
On the field, Cris walked back to the huddle. From the Katy bleachers, the fans roared their approval.
Turning to the exuberant fan Jerry said, “See, I told ya.”
Poor Cris, all kids screw up, he just did it more than most.
Two high school girls in tight jeans and skimpy tops walked past Jerry. His eyes followed and they were naked when they finally sat down.
Sitting with the students were a younger couple, Matthew and Jackie Breezely. Matthew also taught classes at Katy High School, and was an avid fan of football. Beautiful beyond description was the only way to describe his wife Jackie. And Matthew was as handsome as his wife was beautiful. He dressed conservatively and was very masculine. They were one unbelievable couple; in a number of ways.
With flirting eyes Jackie watched Jerry. He reciprocated her attention willingly. Jackie was an eye popper! She dressed exquisitely, definitely not conservative and on the verge of flaunting what she had...and SHE had it! Jerry wasn’t the only one watching Jackie and her curves. All the men, including many students watched Jackie. Well except for Billy who was oblivious to all the things going on around him.
From the edge of the bleachers, Sheriff Kaylan concentrated on the game and the quarterback, his son. “Wide out, across the middle. Johnny is open.”
Katy had won state three of the last four years and with Mark, Johnny and Cris, there was no way they wouldn't do it again. In the huddle, Mark glanced to Johnny Mays and smiled. The players, waited for the call.
Cris blurted, “Damn it Mark, gimme the ball!”.
In a way Cris cost Katy the state championship.
Mark shook his head, “No,” and took control.
“No, Cris,” said Mark. “Listen up. Wide out, 25 across the middle.” Again he smiled to Johnny, “Take it home, Johnny.”
Johnny nodded "yes" like it was a sure thing.
It seemed like Mark was the only one who didn't have secrets lurking in the shadows. But what could you hide when your father was the sheriff in town?
As Katy came to the line, the announcer said, “Well fans, this will be the last play. The Katy Tigers have made it to the State Championship game in two weeks!”
The Katy fans let out with a thunderous roar that shook the stadium.
The team jogged to the line of scrimmage and lined up for the last play. Mark took the snap, faked to Cris, pumped, then floated the ball down field. Johnny streaked across the middle, took the ball over his shoulder and scored.
The fans went crazy as the last seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock.
Mark and the team ran to congratulate Johnny. Disgruntled, Cris walked off the field.
Johnny had it together. A good student and everyone liked him and looked beyond the fact he was black. He was a straight “A” student but many wondered why he didn’t have a girl friend. If they had only known. I liked him. But now I understand why he didn't have a girl friend.
The bumper stickers said it all; Katy, Home or Champions. Just your everyday all American families. Normal, happy people or at least that’s what everyone thought.
The fans poured from the bleachers to congratulate the players. Everyone was going crazy.
At the corner of the bleachers, Sheriff Kaylan smiled and mumbled, “Nice pass son.”
Signs hung in the air claiming victory. One fan waved a sign that read; GOING TO STATE!
A black fan turned to Jerry, “Wow did you see that!’
Jerry flashed a friendly smile, “Yeah!” He stood and walked away from the fan, then he anger he mumbled, “Stupid nigger.”
Excited, Billy jumped up and down like everyone else. He tried to hug his wife but she pushed him away. She actually appeared disgusted. She seemed to have on interest in her husband and poor Billy was clueless. He ran down a few rows to congratulate his daughter Stacy. He was so excited he hugged Rita and she too hugged Billy and even kissed him on the cheek. When they pull apart there is sudden surprise and they both look a little embarrassed, but just as quickly they start yelling and cheering their team as they run to the field to congratulate the players.
Richard and Barbara walk slowly down the steps to where Tanya still cheers the team. He stopped while Barbara continued on. He looked at Tanya with disgust in his eyes. She glared back at her father.
“You dress like a slut.”
Flashing a wicked smile, Tanya stepped over and hugged her father. It looked like her breasts are about to fall out of her top. She whispered in his ear, “Go to hell, daddy dear.”
Family and friends. That was Katy. Home of Champions, where football came before God.
Stacy and Rita run up to Tanya.
“Come on Tanya, let's go congratulate the team,” said Stacy.
Tanya moved off with Stacy and Rita, but not before flashing a wicked, gloating smile to her father.
With a sigh of disgust, Richard continued down to the field.
The fans cleared the Bleachers and ran to congratulate the players. On the field the celebration continues in earnest. Sheriff Kaylan had just congratulated his son, Mark, with a hug when Stacy, Rita and Tanya came running up. Stacy hugged Mark, and then Johnny but his hug was more and it appeared she pulled away reluctantly. Then like it was scripted she moved next to Mark but she continued to eye Johnny like he did her.
They were not the only ones eyeing each other. Tanya locked onto Mark the same way Cris eyed Tanya. Both with ulterior motives in their hearts desiring what they knew they couldn’t have. The crowd was electric, excitement everywhere. Richard, Barbara, Matthew and Jackie tried to congratulate the players. Jerry and Erin congratulated their son Cris. Billy and Carol reached Stacy, Mark and Johnny. Carol was all smiles until she glanced at Johnny. She gave him a venomous stare, then looked away.
Johnny looked away and spied Richard Spencer almost next to him, “Principal Spencer, how did you like the game?”
Richard was sincere when he praised the boy, “Johnny that last catch was a beauty.”
Nobody noticed Jerry do an eye motion to Carol like it was a signal. Carol nodded her in understanding.
“Say, ya'll we've made it to the state playoffs so why not celebrate. Everybody come on over to our house,” said Carol. She turned to Jerry, “Jerry are you coming over?”
Billy looked surprised, but he liked the idea.
“You can count me in Carol. We'll be there,” said Jerry.
“Yeah, it's celebration time, our house!” said Billy.
Carol smiled. The Parents chimed in their agreement to the impromptu plans. Stacy shot pleading eyes to, Mark and Johnny but they shook their heads, "No." Stacy formed the word "Please" with her lips. The boys frowned, rolled their heads and nodded reluctantly. They would come to the party.
Tanya noticed the exchange and her eyes revealed she would also go to the impromptu party. She eyed Mark one more longing time.
Jackie moved close to Billy, and like a Praying Mantis, she seemed to tower over him and parade all of her assets before his eyes.
Rita and Carol noticed Jackie's action, but while Rita looked a little embarrassed, Carol grunted as though she couldn’t understand what Jackie saw in her husband Billy.
But Billy failed to notice any of the things going on around him except the players and another possible championship. He seemed more interested in getting past Jackie and congratulating the players.
Jackie looked for a new victim and saw Jerry checking her out. He was already taking her clothes off with his eyes. Jackie was the ultimate conquest. Jackie smiled seductively. Like a fish Jerry was hooked!
Barbara and Carol eyeballed each other like two cats ready to fight. If looks killed they just did it to each other.
Carol said, “Coming to the party Barbara?” Carol said. Her tone was cold.
“I'm too tired. And I need to pick up Lisa from the baby sitter's,” said Barbara. She turned to her husband, “You go ahead and have fun.”
Carol obviously relieved Carol said, “That's too bad, Barbara. We'll miss you.”
Jackie moved toward Jerry and like a pro she rubbed up against him, making him think it was an accident. Jerry loved it and tried to rub back, but he missed and almost fell down. He recovered quickly.
Using only her eyes, Erin flirted with Matthew but nobody noticed, including Matthew. Sadly her eyes were firing blanks. Everyone was leaving for the party and all that remained were Tanya, Mark, Johnny, Stacy, Rita and Cris, clustered together.
Stacy confronted the boy, “After you change come on over.”
Cris faked a very poor yawn, “I'm tired. I'm gonna go home.”
All heads turned disbelieving eyes on Cris.
“Cris, the Party Animal is going home?” chuckled Mark.
Cris looked guilty. He was hiding something. “Hey, dude, I'm tired.”
“Do we know her?’ Mark asked with a laugh.
Even Rita joined in, “Who is the mystery woman?”
“Really, I'm tired.”
Johnny snickered, “Yeah, have fun Cris.”
Rita turned to Stacy, ‘Stacy, can I get a ride home?”
“After I change I'll walk over.”
None of the lights from the house lit up the back yard. Still, Leon worked intently over the barbecue pit. He pulled something out of the barbecue pit. He wore gloves because the thing he tugged on was still smoldering. It resembled a body. He put the charred pieces on a plastic bag, then tugged, grunted and pulled them over to a hole he had dug in the ground. A shovel was still next to the hole. He dragged the bag into the hole and dusted off his hands. He stared at the bag for a long while. The hole was not very deep. He looked rather sad. He had retired a few years before and his yard had become his hobby. He might even have won yard of the month but Erin continued to beat everybody out for yard of the month.
With a sigh, he started shoveling dirt on the thing. He started to sing, “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms crawl all over...”
He looks at the thing he tried to bury. He smiled and he looked relieved. He rubbed a bruise over his eye. It looked like somebody had hit him.
Leon smiled and finished the song, “...your ugly snout.”
More than two dozen teachers, students and neighbors filled the Holly house. Carol was dressed for seduction and that wasn’t lost on some of the men. While she flittered around visited all, trying to be the perfect hostess, most of the others were excited and talking about the chances of Katy repeating as state champions. Billy, Jerry, Richard, Erin, parents of the football players and other teachers discussed the game. Some of the students and players also discussed the game. Huddled together were Mark, Johnny, Tanya and Stacy. They made excited gestures with their hands as they talked about the game.
Not everyone discussed the game. Off to the side Matthew and Jackie argued. Richard watched them closely as they argued. He fidgeted and looked nervous. All of the men's eyes had a ping pong tournament from Carol to Jackie with no rest in between.
Billy, Jerry, Richard and Erin were with some of the teachers talking about the game.
One teacher said, “Permian will never beat Katy.”
“Yeah, with that combo of Mark and Johnny, the Tigers will definitely be state champs again,” said Billy.
Irritated, Jerry poked a finger into the palm of his hand, “Listen Billy, you never win a championship with an aerial circus. You grind it out on the ground. That's why, with my son Cris at running back, Katy will take state again.”
“For sure,” said Billy. He held up his beer, “To the Katy Tigers. To State.”
They all joined in toast to their football team, “To state!”
“Jerry, how is that new business?” said Richard.
Instantly, Jerry was bitter and angry, “My partners were trying to screw me so I got out. Everybody wants something for nothing.”
“Didn't that happen in the last business you started?” Billy asked.
Jerry swigged his beer, nodded "yes" and wiped his mouth. “Sad but true, Billy. Greed. Greedy and selfish son-of-a-bitches. I'm willing to bend over backward to help these guys and they want to stab me in the back. You know what I mean?” He waited for a reaction as a few nodded their heads in agreement. “You just can't trust people anymore.”
“That's too bad,” said Billy.
“You'll get a break one of these days, Jerry,” said Richard.
“So what are you doing now Jerry?” said Billy.
Richard glanced over to Matthew and Jackie. Something was wrong with Richard and it showed in his face. No one noticed Jerry watching Carol.
“Jerry, I can't believe you and Erin won Yard of the Month again,” said Billy.
Jerry perked up and smiled, “The little woman can do miracles in the garden.” Erin frowned at Jerry like she wanted him to shut-up.
“It seems like you change those plants every month. Must be expensive,” said Billy.
“Yeah, Erin, how do you do it?” said Jerry with a wicked smile.
Again Erin frowned. She was hiding something but Jerry enjoyed teasing her.
Carol was the cheerful hostess until she saw her daughter, Stacy talking to Johnny. Her plastic smile disappeared and a disapproving look filled her face. She pulled Stacy to the side where no one can hear. Carol flashed a bit of anger and disgust. “I don't like you bringing colored people to our house.”
Stacy was defensive but it appeared as though she had been through the conversation many times, “Mom, Johnny is Mark's friend.”
Carol glanced around, “I hope you didn't invite that Mexican, Rita. She's trailer trash.”
“Mom, Rita is my friend. And she lives in an apartment.”
“Don't get smart with me. Just because they swim across the Rio Grande, it doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. You'll never get ahead if you continue to hang out with Mexicans and coloreds. Listen to me Stacy, I know what I'm talking about.”
“Mom. Rita was born in Texas.”
“I still don't like her kind.”
Stacy gritted her teeth, clenched her fists and emphasized her words, “Mom, YOU invited everybody!”
Carol grunted at the remark and waved Stacy off, “Whatever! I thought I taught you better than that, Stacy.” She turned and walked toward Billy, Jerry and the others.
Stacy mumbled, “No, but Dad taught me better.”
Carol walked up to Billy but gave an eye signal and nod to Jerry, who caught the signal.
Jerry grabbed a handful of chips, looked around and said, “We need some chips and dips?”
“Yes we do,” said Carol. “Jerry why don't you and I go get some.” Jerry shrugged with an added nod of "reluctant" agreement. “Anybody need anything?”
Billy held up an empty bottle, “More beer.”
“Okay,” said Carol then she turned and walked away with Jerry.
Richard continued to watch Matthew and Jackie argue. As the argument became more heated he became even more uncomfortable. “Sorry, Billy, but it's time I go home. I'm a little worried about Barbara.”
“I understand,” said Billy. “Hopefully we can have you and Barbara longer next time.”
“Look forward to that.” As Richard walked toward the front door he glanced back to Matthew and Jackie. Both looked at him. Something was obviously going on.
In the throes of passionate sex, a youthful body moved on top of Barbara. She was having the time of her life. She moaned and groaned as she climaxed. Her partner rolled off.
With a deep sigh Barbara said, “Oh, Cris, that's definitely worth another A.”
His chest heaved and Cris grinned, “Mrs. Spencer, you're the best.”
“Yeah, I mean Barbara.”
She reached over to the night stand, took what was obviously a rolled joint from the ashtray and lit if up. She gave it to Cris who took a big drag. “Can you sell me another lid?”
Cris bens over the bed, reached in the pocket of his pants and pulled out a small match sixed box and gave it to Barbara.
She reached for her purse, “How much?”
He laughed and waved his hand, “You can have it. I made enough today at school selling that shit I can cruise for the rest of the month.”
They both took another drag on the pot, then Barbara reached down and started playing with Cris.
Just then headlights filled the bedroom window.
Barbara sat straight up in bed, “Oh, shit its Richard.”
She jumped up, stuffed the joint out and grabbed her nightgown. She just might have been faster than Katy’s star running back, but Cris also moved quickly. Both stumble around. With only his underwear on, Cris grabbed his pants, shoes and shirt then flew through the sliding door and ran for the fence, probably the fastest he ever ran the 40 yard sprint.
With a smile Barbara watched Cris run. Her smile disappeared when she heard Richard enter the house. With a frown she turned and waited.
Richard walked into the room and stopped. He looked at the bed, the pot still smoking in the ashtray, and then glared at Barbara. “Some example you are.”
But she was angrier than her husband, “Should we preach morality, Mr. Spencer?”
Barbara sneered and gave him a three finger salute.
From another room came the cries of a baby.
“I need to get Lisa.”
She stormed out, leaving Richard behind.Back to other books >
Force Recon - 1968
The lush green jungle gave no indication of the surrounding war. Quietly, the five men of Force Recon brought to a conclusion another mission, gathering information for the commander at their base in Khe Shan.
They had discovered foxholes on a hill a little more than “five klicks” from Khe Shan. The location afforded the North Vietnamese Army a clear view of Khe Shan and Landing Zone Hawk. The Force Recon unit had not been detected and the information they had gathered would enable them to prepare for any NVA eastern assault on Khe Shan and LZ Hawk.
Another successful “keyhole,” or pure reconnaissance mission for Force Recon against the NVA. June of 1968 had brought another long hot summer that continued without abatement. The only thing unchanged was the rain, insects and rats infesting Khe Shan. The rats had actually become worse. With death all around the rats had flourished.
An NVA siege of Khe Shan appeared imminent and was probably an extension of the TET Offensive throughout South Vietnam. Unknown at the time the TET Offensive was set for victory as much as it was to create problems for President Johnson in this a re-election year. Mostly, the TET Offensive was to stir the anger of the American people against the war in South Vietnam. The victory was not coming for the NVA but the strategy was working as American casualties mounted and American sentiment turned against the war and tragically against the very American men who fought and sacrificed their lives for God and Country.
Those thoughts and evaluations never deterred or entered into the minds of the dedicated men who thought they fought for the freedom of a people in a far away country in South-east Asia.
The five-man unit, of Third Force Recons, Third Platoon, continued through the NVA undetected and back into Khe Shan. Unlike men in the Green Beret or Navy Seals the men of Force Recon were trained in stealth and the gathering of information. They differed from other special forces units in they could travel 30 miles or more behind enemy lines, then return; and all without detection. Force Recon missions were conducted without support and with the knowledge they would receive no support should they be detected, another thing that separated them from other elite groups of fighting men. Their group of five, and other handfuls of men in Force Recon, went on their missions knowing success and survival were entirely in their hands. To live or to die was in the hands of each of the five men. Although they avoided hand-to-hand combat with opposing forces, none were their superiors in this form of warfare. Force Recon was an elite above the elite. For all of their ability they treated a heroic mission as though it was just a job they were expected to complete. No more, no less. For any Force Recon mission detection or injury to one of their own meant failure. Force Recon had been sent to Khe Shan to help the Green Beret.
Corporal Johnny Mosby led the group from the jungle and into the compound. Johnny always scouted ahead and had an innate ability to detect the enemy before they could be detected. He couldn’t explain his ability but he just knew. He gave the credit to his father and what he had learned in their years of hunting together in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Sometimes he could smell them but most times he could hear them or see signs that let him know. As he emerged from the jungle he started to hum a tune, something he always did when he finished or started a mission, but never during a mission for silence was of utmost importance. On some missions they would seldom speak at all, using only sign language to talk and Halloween looking “clickers” to communicate if they had no line of sight. So as Johnny emerged from the jungle he hummed the familiar tune, from the Disney movie “Song of the South,” even singing the words, “Zippedy-do-dah, zippedy-ay, oh what a beautiful day, plenty of sunshine plenty of--.” He continued alternately humming and singing as the others emerged from the jungle. Everyone in the unit called him the Gray Ghost.
A small white and black, spotted mongrel mutt, came running up to Johnny, jumping up and down at his feet.
Johnny reached down and rubbed the dog’s neck, “Hey there Patches how you doing?”
When Johnny finished rubbing the dog, Patches then moved to the next person in line.
Behind Johnny came the leader and his best friend Sergeant Davey Casper a Texan, who also greeted the little dog. Although Casper commanded the Force Recon unit, and the highest ranking of the five men, they affectionately called themselves “Mosby’s Raiders” as a tribute to Johnny’s relative from the Civil War, General John Mosby; the Gray Ghost. And that was the name Casper immediately stuck on Johnny.
Close behind them were Corporal Jim Kirby and Corporal Gene Somers. They also gave Patches his demanded attention. Not far behind them was the “Wild Man” Chance Rainey. Corporal Rainey kept the rear safe. Each of the five had a determination and drive that enabled them to lead the group should any of the others be unable to do so. All had led the group or that of another at one time during their stay in Vietnam.
Davey Casper was the “Old Man” of the group and had almost two years in Vietnam. He had seen it all and all of his missions had been a success. In another week he would be twenty-two. He made a good leader. Born and raised in Dallas, Davey considered himself a Texan first and an American second.
Johnny was the youngest and lowest ranking among the five but next behind Davey with actual time in Vietnam. Johnny was two weeks from being twenty-one. In his home state of Arkansas he was still too young to drink but he was old enough to die for his country. He had already been trained in hunting and stealth from his father while a kid in the hills of Arkansas in the small town of Eureka Springs, north or Fayetteville and near Beaver Lake.
Chance was an unlikely person to be in a Force Recon unit. He had come from Detroit and at first was clumsy and noisy. The Marines and especially Force Recon created in him a hunter next to none. His uncanny abilities even went beyond that of Johnny and Davey who were considered two of the best in Force Recon. Only those two knew Chance’s full capabilities.
Nothing could be taken away from the ability of either Jim or Gene, for they were near equal to the other three. Jim and Gene were also close friends and a very unlikely pair. Jim was a well-educated black from Boston, while Gene had been a longhaired surfer from Malibu Beach in California and had dropped out of high school to surf all the waves of the world. Jim had no equal when it came to using a knife in hand-to-hand combat. On one mission he had been forced to use his knife against two well trained NVA and beaten them both. Even in basic training he had been the only one to beat his commanding officer. Jim was the best with a knife.
Now, all five found themselves fighting for a common cause in the jungles of Southeast Asia. They never complained, and were cheerful more times than not, although the time in Vietnam had taken a toll on their personal life.
The small unit had the appearance of a renegade group of men instead of the well disciplined, tenacious and deadly unit they were. The gear was light and the equipment was minimal; a small unit designed for fast travel and surviving off the land. All wore camouflaged gear but from there they differed. None wore the normal metal helmet and all their weapons were from preference and personal ability. They all carried knives and rifles or automatic weapons of their choice, along with semi-automatic guns.
A bandana covered Johnny’s head and was tied in a knot at the back of his neck. He wore a short sleeve shirt. His rifle was American issue for sniping abilities and he carried the new light Shadow that was the next step M16. Although many Marines had been given the new M16 most wanted to keep their M14 because of reliability. The M16’s tended to jam with each clip and in many situations that meant death. The new Shadow did away with the jamming problems and it also had the ability to become an automatic weapon and shower the enemy with death. Like the others he carried a large sharp knife for close encounters of the worst kind. He and Chance also carried two well balanced throwing knives and most thought the two men could have gone directly into the circus where the woman spun on a wheel. Some in camp believed they could throw twice as far as the man in the circus and more accurate.
Davey, Jim and Gene wore fatigues. While Jim and Gene opted for baseball caps, Davey wore an Australian type hat. Davey preferred and used the M-14.
The other two had automatic weapons for firefights. Chance wore a bandana. He took with him the same rifles as Mosby. Chance wanted to be ready for any and all encounters. He usually carried fewer supplies so he could take both weapons and an ample supply of ammunition. They were masters of all of their armament and rated marksman. All were familiar with Vietcong weapons and it had been more than once they had to discard their own weapons for those of the slain enemy. In this way they could take the weapons and ammunition off the slain enemy and continue to fight. Davey, Johnny and Chance were also explosives experts and especially good with C-4.
Something common among them, as with all Force Recon Units, was that none thought of themselves as more, or less, than any of the others. Force Recon units never left a single person from their unit behind. Even if they were forced out of the area they would return the next day to retrieve the body. For them everyone went home. Another unusual aspect of the unit was that any of the five was more than capable of taking over the unit and leading the remainder of the unit to safety. When the situation demanded they protected each other. And they would do that with their lives.
The five men were going directly to the Commander of the 3rd Marine Division, General Walt, when a Commander of Khe Shan intercepted them. The Commander asked about what they had found in the jungle. Davey gave a quick report.
“The NVA’s doing something big Sir. It looks like a buildup for an attack on Khe Shan.”
The Commander almost laughed. “Bullshit. We’ve seen nothing to indicate a buildup like you suggest.”
“We’ve seen it and counted troops passing within five klicks,” Johnny added.
“There would be more signs in the jungle,” snipped the Commander.
“No sir there wouldn’t be and signs.”
“What do you mean?”
Davey took over from Johnny, “You can make a trail today and the jungle will take it back tomorrow.”
“This is total bull-shit. You don’t know what you saw. Sounds like a fairy tale to me.”
The Commander didn’t see General Walt walk up from behind, but the General heard it all. Walt snapped, “Commander you have your head up our ass. Maybe that’s why we’re having so many problems here at Khe Shan.”
The Commander snapped to attention.
The General motioned the Force Recon unit to follow. “Come with me boys.”
* * *
Three other high-ranking officers were in the briefing bunker along with the Commander of their Force Recon Unit, Colonel Haward Nichols.
The briefing was conducted in front of a large map board of North and South Vietnam. To one side of the map was a sign obviously put there by an officer. It read: “Let us not look back in anger nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” At the top of the map was another sign placed there by Johnny Mosby. Those words described Khe Shan completely: “Khe Shan sucks.”
Johnny glanced at his sign and smiled.
There was a quick debriefing on what they had seen and encountered.
General Walt shook his head. “Well boys,” he said as he looked at the Force Recon unit before him, “With your information we will be able to save American lives.” He sighed and almost muttered to himself but everyone heard, “Damn, but I’ve tried to tell Westmoreland that there was a big offensive build up but he won’t listen. This isn’t the policing job he or the President expected.”
A Major General, starched and finely dressed and obviously not experienced in the local warfare retorted, “Yes, this is bad it could cost Westmoreland and even worse President Johnson in the coming election.”
Walt snapped, “They can be damned. We’ve lost too damn many good Americans because those higher up won’t listen. What there future holds for them doesn’t mean a rat’s ass to me.” He pointed to the five men of Force Recon, “They risk there lives every day and for what?”
Johnny thought to himself, “For freedom.”
Davey thought of, “The World Peace he could win.”
No one said any thing or appeared to have a realistic answer. No one really understood this war. A war they were never intended to win. The military no longer did construction, President Johnson saw to that. Now the likes of Brown and Root received preferential treatment and lucrative contracts. Business and lobbyists did not want to see an end to the war.
The heavy and loud sigh General Walt let out was half disgust and half anger. Stern of face he waved his hand at the Force Recon unit and said, “Dismissed.”
The Force Recon unit was excused and as the five were leaving the briefing room with Colonel Nichols, they heard General Walt bark orders and give commands to the other officers.
* * *
A few hours later found four of the Force Recon unit in their bunker. Jim was asleep in his bunk with the radio playing the rock song Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds. Chance cleaned his rifle while Johnny sat on his bunk playing solitaire and Davey held a paperback novel up to the light so he could read.
A “fuck-you” lizard crawled across the mosquito netting covering Mosby’s cot, and when it got in range, quickly snatched an insect from the netting. A dozen more of the lizards stuck to the wall and netting waiting for an insect of some type to wander into range of the long sticky tongue. The reptile had gotten it’s name from the croaking sound it made that sounded very much like the words “fuck-you.” The men had grown accustomed to the lizards roaming through their hooch. At night the men perspired and their shirts were wet, but it was another thing present in the jungles of Vietnam that they no longer gave any thought.
With a grunt, Johnny flipped the cards over and started to shuffle them again. Casually he cast a glance at Chance then at Davey and the book he was reading. “Hey, Davey, you’ve had your nose stuck in that book since we got back. What’s so good?”
Davey hesitated for a moment, slowly pulled the book away, replaced the marker and closed the book, “Tarzan. Tarzan the Untamed.”
Johnny rolled his eyes, “Tarzan? You mean like Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Hara. Are Boy and Cheeta in there?”
Davey shook his head, “Tarzan isn’t like the old Saturday morning “Jungle Theater.” There is no Cheeta or Boy. Tarzan is smart, strong and a good stalker.”
Laughing Johnny said, “You mean he’s like Force Recon.”
“Yes. He could have been in Force Recon. In this,” he said while waving the novel, “He kicks some Germans butts by sneaking into their camp. They never even knew he was there.”
“Yep that sounds like Force Recon.” He mused, “Tarzan.” He paused and asked, “And Jane?”
“Yeah, Jane’s in the book. She’s from Baltimore and she’s a blond. They shoulda made a movie like the book. The book is better than any movie about Tarzan.”
“Who wrote it?”
“Edgar Rice Burroughs. He wrote more than twenty Tarzan books and this is book seven.”
“How much is it?”
“Sure is a lot for a paperback.”
Davey smiled and tossed the novel to Johnny, “Read it.” He laughed and added, “That’s an order. Besides I just finished it.”
Fingering the novel, Johnny looked at the front cover, flipped it over and read the back cover. Without another word he fell back on his bunk and commenced to read the novel.
* * *
Gently, Davey shook Johnny, “Hey Dodah, rise and shine.” Dodah was something he had called Johnny for months because of the song he would sing when each mission began and ended.
Slowly, Johnny opened his eyes and stretched, “Go away Davey. I can sleep today. I don’t have to get up.”
“Thought you might want to eat. Why are you so tired?”
Johnny frowned then smiled, “Tarzan. I stayed up until I finished the book. Man did he kick some ass. And thank God Jane is still alive. What happened to her?”
This time Davey laughed, “Don’t know. I haven’t gotten book eight yet.”
Now in a sitting position and rubbing his face Johnny said, “Well hurry up and get it so I can find out.”
“Soon as I can.” Davey stood, “Me and the others will see you over at the Mess.”
Johnny nodded, stood and scratched his ribs with both hands.
A mortar exploded then three more in rapid succession. Gunfire came from the east side of Khe Shan. The NVA and Viet Cong were attacking again. The camp came alive. Men ran in all directions.
Johnny grabbed his weapons and charged from his tent and moved rapidly in the direction of the attack. Men ran in all directions. A few screamed orders; a few screamed in pain from the wounds inflicted by the mortar barrage.
Under heavy gunfire helicopters moved in with supplies and a few strafed the attacking forces of the Viet Cong and NVA. The massive attack continued unabated for three hours. One more time an attack was repelled. Just as quickly as it started, the attack ended.
The men snatched a bite to eat when time provided.
Near mid-afternoon Johnny and Davey were sitting together near the eastern perimeter of Khe Shan waiting for another attack. With them was Marine Sergeant Osborne. They were laughing and telling jokes as they ate from their rations containers.
“Boy what I wouldn’t give for a twenty-five cent Jack-in-the-Box malt and a taco,” said Casper
The other two men chuckled. Johnny said, “Now you know how they felt at the Alamo.”
Sergeant Osborne was about to take a bite of his food when Johnny mentioned the Alamo. Suddenly, he looked serious and dropped the sandwich from his mouth without taking a bite. He gritted his teeth, puckered his lips in a circle and rolled them from the left side of his mouth to the right side. “Mark my words,” he said, “One day Khe Shan will be as famous for the Marines as Tripoli, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.”
“This hell hole?” blasted Davey.
The Sergeant nodded, “And I won’t be able to see it.”
“No shit,” said Johnny excitedly. “You gettin’ shipped out?”
The Sergeant laughed, “Kinda. I don’t think I’ve got but a couple of more days. You see I have a bad feeling I’m not going to make it.”
Davey and Johnny had seen it before. They didn’t know what to say this time either.
Johnny shrugged his shoulders, “Don’t worry about it. We all have that feeling some time. I’ve had it before but nothing ever happened to me.”
“Really?” asked the Sergeant, obviously relieved at Johnny’s words.
“Yeah, really. In fact I had a crazy dream but nothing ever happened,” said Mosby.
“What was it about?” asked Osborne.
“I’m coming out of something. I can’t tell if it’s jungle or a building. Suddenly, I feel a gun on me. When I turn around there is some guy with a rifle aimed at heart. He’s not backing down and I know my number is up.”
“A Gook?” Osborne says more than asks.
Rubbing his forehead Mosby says in all sincerity, “That’s something that’s not real clear in the dream.” He looks at the Sergeant and Casper, “You know how you can tell the difference between the Japanese and Chinese but as you move down to where we are their nationality becomes harder to define?” Both men nodded, “In my dream I just can’t tell except I know he is none of those and he’s not Vietnamese. I swear I think he’s a Mexican.”
Even Casper was curious, “So does the guy shoot you?”
“Yeah, what does he do?” the Sergeant chimes in.
Waving both hands Mosby says, “I don’t know. I always wake up.”
“Now that’s a bitching dream,” nods Osborne. To Mosby he asks, “Aren’t you related to that General Mosby? The South’s Gray Ghost?”
With a smile Johnny said, “Kinda. Actually Mosby only had daughters but after the Civil War he adopted the son of a soldier who had died in the war. That soldier had saved Mosby’s life. When the boy turned twenty-one he changed his last name to Mosby. You might say I’m an adopted great-grandson of General Mosby.”
“Now, that is interesting,” said the Sergeant.
A moment later one of the Sergeants men came up and called him away to another location.
The two men ate in silence.
“You never told me about that dream,” said Casper.
Mosby took a bite out of the candy bar, “Never really thought much about it until the Sergeant said how he felt his time was up.”
“Does the dream bother you?”
“Not really. I’m not sure it’s even here in Vietnam but it is in a jungle.”
Davey said, “I also didn’t know you ever had that feeling about not making it out of here alive.”
“I never have.”
“But you told the Sergeant.”
“I know but he was down bad and that’s not good.”
“Hummm.” A moment later Davey asked, “You ever know anybody to make it out of Nam when they felt that way?”
With a heavy sigh Johnny thought for a moment then looked Davey in the eye, “No.”
The silencer pressed firmly against Mickey D’Angelo’s temple. Only a few slivers of moonlight, slicing through the shattered glass window of the warehouse, lit his face. Except for the gun and a gloved hand, the assassin was hidden from view in the dark shadows of the ominous structure. The abandoned warehouse was used only occasionally when gangs ventured in to paint their graffiti. There were no gangs this night.
Mickey had been in one hell of a fight and lost. For him everything was about to end; his problems and his dreams. A born killer and hit man for his brother Tony, he was not an easy man to bring down physically and this only attested to the fighting capabilities of the killer standing before him.
The assassin had a mission; to remove all connections to the secret, and Mickey was the last person with information that could reveal the deadly and dangerous plan gone awry.
Defiant to the end, Mickey’s dark hair and good-looking Italian features would not help him out of his current predicament. As he spit his own blood on the ground he knew he had screwed up. He turned his head to his captor, still angry, and squinting his eyes he said, “My brother is going to kill you.”
The dull thud of the silencer and the bullet going through Mickey’s head, only slightly broke the shroud of silence in the warehouse as Mickey’s body crumbled to the cold, damp, dirty concrete floor. A pool of blood formed beneath his head as the assassin turned and calmly walked away.
Four men moved through the warehouse, slowly and cautiously. Victor Kaufman and Vinnie D’Angelo carried weapons, and were ready for any situation. Guns drawn in a protective manner, while guarding Tony, who followed behind. All moved very carefully with the exeception of Tony, who charged ahead. Victor pushed, Jerry, their reluctant companion, ahead of them.
Tony D’Angelo came to a sudden halt. Less than twenty feet away a body lay sprawled across the concrete floor. They moved closer. Tony was the first to recognize the body as his brother, Mickey. Shocked, Tony put his fingers to his mouth, and bit down hard, trying to remove the vision from his mind in an effort to take away his brother’s death. While Victor and Vinnie protected Tony he moved closer to the body.
Slowly, he knelt in Mickey's blood and turned him over. Tears rolled from Tony's eyes, and he sobbed. “Mickey, Mickey.”
Lowering his gun, Vinnie moved next to Tony. When he saw Mikey’s body, he too knelt next to his dead brother. He cried, put his gun away, and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. Victor put his gun away.
The body spelled doom for Jerry. He shook with terror at what he felt was about to happen and his hands twitched nervously.
Like the killer he was, Victor looked over the scene very intently, trying to piece the events that led to Mickey’s death. He squinted his eyes. Something wasn’t right.
When Tony let out a blood curdling shriek, Jerry jumped and began shaking.
Tony screamed, “We'll find the mob that did this and eliminate them all!”
Turning to Jerry, Tony glared at the man, and if looks could kill Jerry would have been a dead man. Jerry knew it and now started shaking uncontrollably.
“Jerry, you should have fucking gone with Mickey to take out Rafael,” said Tony.
Knowing he was in real trouble, Jerry squirmed, looking for a way out, “But Tony, Mickey said he had someone that would take care of it for fifty G’s.”
Disgust and rage fill his voice, as he continued to stare bullets through Jerry, “That fucking Mexican wasn't worth five Gs to kill.” He gritted his teeth, becoming angrier with every word, almost spitting out the words, he continued to stare at Jerry, “I want you to tell me again exactly what Mickey said when he called you.”
“Sure, Tony, sure. Mickey said Gina and Rafael were dead and he told me where he was.”
Victor squinted his eyes, “Doesn't make sense, Boss. How did Gina get involved?”
Jerry shrugged, and began to show a little relief, “I don't know how Gina was involved, but that was what Mickey said. Rafael had been taken care of and Gina had been killed.
No longer did Tony care. His brother, Mickey, was dead, and someone was going to pay, “I don't give a fuck about that bitch. I want to know who did this to Mickey.”
Victor looked closer at Mickey's body. The warehouse revealed something else to Victor, “This isn't a mob-hit boss.”
Tony stared knives through Jerry, “Jerry, you should have fucking been with Mickey. You are supposed to be willing to give your fucking life for my brother”.
Shrugging both hands in the air like he couldn't do anything Jerry pleaded, “So help me Tony, I couldn't do anything.”
Tony nodded to Victor, “With your fucking life, Jerry!”
Victor moved behind Jerry and pulled out his gun. Vinnie pushed up from the floor and looked menacingly at Jerry as he pulled out his gun.
Jerry backed away from Vinnie and Tony but didn’t see the menacing figure that lurked behind him. Victor extended his weapon, almost touching Jerry's head.
Jerry begged one last time, “No, Tony don't--“
Again, the quiet was shattered as the report from Victor's gun echoed through the warehouse.
Jerry's body crumbled to the warehouse floor, like a rag doll.
Tony stood, and moved toward Jerry’s body, until he towered over the dead man, “Your fucking life, Jerry.”
Showing no emotion, Victor put his gun away. Tony turned back to Mickey and continued to moan and cry over his brother’s body.
Continuing to scan the area and especially Mickey’s body, Victor said, “Boss, this looks like a Fed setup. You know the Company has been involved with Mickey for a long time.”
Tony wiped his eyes and looked around. He turned his eyes to Vinnie and Victor while raising clenched fists, “I swear this is not finished until my brother's killers are dead.”
Swearing an oath, Victor and Vinnie understood Tony, and they nod knowingly.
“No matter how long it takes I'm going to find Mickey's killer. When I do they're dead and all of their fucking family is dead too,” said Tony.
“We'll get 'em Boss,” said Tony.
“The Company will pay for this,” reiterated Tony.
Vinnie was just as determined when he said, “They must pay!”
Revenge consumed every fiber of Tony. The Company would pay and it would be severe and deadly. “I'll make the fucking Company wish they had never heard of the D'Angelo family. No matter how long it takes.”
When Bush took over the Presidency from Reagan the FBI and CIA had already changed drastically. There were so many hidden agendas and covert groups it was difficult to know who was on whose side and even if they were on the same side. Sometimes the FBI was busy making sure a leader of another country stayed in power while the CIA was trying to remove the same leader or even eliminate him “permanently.” The fight for power actually began with the “Bay of Pigs” invasion in 1961. The CIA promised to support the group to overthrow Castro. The invasion failed drastically and ended in many Cuban deaths when the CIA-financed and trained group of Cuban refugees tried unsuccessfully to overthrow Castro. For some reason President Kennedy refused to give air support for the invasion. When the invasion failed Kennedy and CIA Director Allen Dulles butted heads. The animosity remained until Kennedy’s assassination.
While the FBI was based with domestic problems of treason and terror, the CIA dealt with the same problems in foreign countries around the world. Both sides fought for power and even overlapped in the others domain to keep an advantage. In reality they refused to cooperate with each other, while fighting and bickering among themselves. Both were involved in Vietnam, the Iran Contra Affair, involving drugs, money, murder and even assignation. With so many things hidden no one would ever really knew the whole the truth and each time the CIA became more involved. The CIA had become a wild card almost out of control.
Some accused the CIA of being involved with President Kennedy’s assassination over the Cuban missile crisis and revenge for the failed “Bay of Pigs” invasion.
It was as if the CIA was determined to control the world and was always on the edge of being out of control. In foreign countries the CIA really did whatever they felt needed to be done. Many times they did it without authorization. There was Grenada in 1983, where the CIA unofficially convinced Reagan to in the tiny island. But more was involved and CIA kept it all secret. The CIA even planned and the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the removal of Noriega for more power and financial gain. They managed to convince a reluctant President Bush that Noriega should be removed to preserver the freedom of Latin America. This was a precursor to the invasion of Iraq that the CIA had already made preparations. There was a major conflict over power between CIA Director William Webster and FBI Director William Sessions. Both wanted ultimate power.
Plans for the invasion of Iraq began in 1990. CIA Director Webster explained the situation and need to remove Saddam Hussein, to President Bush. The President was reluctant to invade Iraq. Even Cheney and Rumsfeld became involved. The CIA continued to push, even demand an invasion. People disappeared and it was said the CIA was involved. The FBI began to investigate the CIA. Somehow the CIA convinced President Bush not to make any commitments to Hussein. So when Hussein told Bush he would invade Kuwait because the country was stealing Iraq’s oil, Bush made no commitment. Saddam Hussein took that as an okay and invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. So far the CIA plan was working to perfection. Still Bush did not want to invade. As this chain of events transpired a covert group of the CIA, known as “The Company,” under the control of Thomas Mueller, who reported to Webster, put a radical plan into action.
At the last minute the CIA, with the help of Cheney and Rumsfeld, convinced President Bush that Saddam Hussein had chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction he planned on using against his people and other countries. The invasion took place on January 16, 1991.
Mueller and his assassins were in trouble and they needed to stop the mission. Some people were eliminated but he managed to stop the mission. So it was he was with two of his operatives discussing the cancellation of the mission with his second in command Richard Winters and Sam Sneed. A few lives had been lost and there was only one loose end.
Concerned, Mueller asked, “All the loose ends have been eliminated?”
“We have one,” said Winters.
“No,” said Sneed. “That is finished.”
“Then what?” Mueller demanded.
“The agent who took out Mickey, is gone,” said Winters.
“A “Walker?” Mueller asked.
“Yes, sir,” said Sneed.
The Walker was a term used for any CIA agent that walked away from the Company. No one had ever walked away from the company and lived to tell about it. They all knew this one was living on borrowed time.
“Gentlemen, I can’t tell you the problems we face if information of this project is leaked,” said Mueller pausing for effect. “If this mission is discovered we could be tried for treason… maybe even be executed. Do you understand?”
Both men said, “Yes, sir.”
“Other than the walker only the three of us know about the project. Okay, here is what we will do. Sneed I want you to find the “Walker” and anyone involved with them. Eliminate them all!”
“Go, find the “Walker.”
Sneed got up and left the room.”
Mueller turned to Winters. “You know what will happen to us?’
“Good. Winters you are a good man and inline for my job. I’m going to retire soon so I’m counting on you to keep this mission quiet. I want no future repercussions. This is something the FBI will feast on.”
“You can count on me,” said Winters. He could hardly repress a smile. He had always wanted to run the company. Run it his way. Now the Company would be his. He grinned there was only one more secret and only he knew. Just one more obstacle; he must find and eliminate the “Walker.”
Cash and Katy
SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER...
The small cozy neighborhood, lay nestled in the hills of urban San Francisco not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, and was filled with nice and relatively inexpensive houses for the area.
The Whitman residence was a well-kept Victorian with a porch that stretched from the two car garage down the left side of the house past the dining and to the kitchen where a window peeked out to the beautiful rose garden from the kitchen sink. The house didn’t look much different than many of the other houses, except for the beautiful lush landscaping that had been years in the making; a rose garden beyond description. The garden was blessed with a loving woman’s touch. Katy Whitman worked diligently in her flowerbed, taking care of her roses. She worked the flowers with pride not necessity. Years of nurture had the landscaped yard lush and colorful.
Closing in on forty, she was the typical everyday housewife, except she was beautiful, even in shorts, tennis shoes, and a bandana covering her dark brown hair. She wiped perspiration from her head with her forearm, leaving a streak of mud. For her age she was in excellent physical condition and looked more like an athlete than a gardener. Her long hair was tied back in a ponytail. She sang, while she worked with care on her roses. She was a tedious hard worker in her garden.
An SUV pulled in the driveway. Katy turned, smiled, pulled off her gloves, wiped her hands off and walked toward the SUV, as her husband, Cash Whitman, rolled from the driver’s seat. He was dressed in a suit and carried a briefcase. He smiled at Katy. From his size, he looked like he could be a football player or wrestler, maybe even a stand in for Rocky Balboa.
“Hey, Katy, how's the rose club?”
They kissed and showed a great deal of affection toward each other. They were still in love even after the years together.
“The rose club is just fine, Cash. And what brings you home so early?”
“It's Friday and I just thought maybe we could do something this weekend before Jeremy gets home.”
The thought of going away for the weekend excited Katy. She was eager for a change, “Sounds great to me!” She walked back to her things near the garden while Cash waited.
“It doesn't sound like Jeremy wants to come back from his summer camp in Cancun.”
Katy tossed her gloves in the bucket and nodded knowingly. She grinned at Cash, “Sounds like he has a girlfriend.”
Cash raised his eyebrows, and waved his hand in the ari, “Just a passing thing. He'll be over her before school starts.”
She smiled, “I don't know. He's as stubborn as you Cash.”
“Okay, okay. Maybe we should have stayed down there with Jeremy.”
Katy chided Cash. “Cash, we went for a vacation, not to be chaperones. Jeremy is seventeen. Someday we'll need to let him go.”
Reluctantly, he understood, “Let him get his feet wet?”
“I don't want to see him leave anymore than you do,” she said as she walked past Cash with her bucket of gardening tools.
Cash sighed, then popped Katy on the rear as she walked past, “Okay. Let’s work out, then get a bite to eat before we take off to the river.”Back to other books >
City of Death
What could be more perfect than a wedding in paradise? More than a hundred attend the ceremony—only four survive. (Based on a true story told to me by a survivor Monty Lawler who stayed to find his friends, some of whom have never been found)
What could be more perfect than a wedding in paradise, in the beautiful tropical city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the day after Christmas of 2004? For Gia and Ali it is the happiest day of their lives. More than a hundred family members attend the wedding. Only four survive.
In the city of Banda Aceh the Dujuhari and Kumuma families plan a large traditional wedding. The day after Christmas Gia Kumuma and Ali Dujuhari will say their wedding vows. They are truly in love. Gia's five-year-old daughter idolizes Ali. It seems nobody could be happier including Ali's brother Sayed and Gia's sister Chandra.
For Gia and Ali it is the happiest day of their lives. The only ones happier than them are Ali’s brother Sayed and Gia’s sister Chandra.
What could be more perfect than a wedding in paradise, on a beautiful tropical isle? More than a hundred family members are present, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. A future of love and happiness. As the wedding progresses, Sayed and Chandra become closer and begin to develop a relationship.
But on the day of the wedding both families are swept to their deaths along with 160,000 other helpless victims, in a disaster of epic proportions. We jump from members of the family and see the tragedy unfold until only Sayed and Chandra remain alive. They try to find their family but only succeed in finding two.
Only the four survive. We see the horrors they face just to survive. This is a story of unprecedented tragedy, horror, sacrifice and love told through the stories from some of the survivors.
This is a story about survival and love where the human spirit overcomes.
This is a true story about the Christmas Tsunami told to me by Monty Lawler who was on vacation. But this is based on what he saw afterward. Most of the people he met were killed. We have pictures and passport to verify his presence. I have done the best I can in gathering eyewitness accounts and writing the script. Monty found no survivors in the wedding. His friends, Ellen from Sweden, Kenneth and his relatives, from Denmark, are still missing. Monty has been unable to find them or his native friends. I feel some of those in the wedding survived and that is what I center this story
How to Become a Best Seller
Dressed in slippers and pajamas, Tom Payton drug another trash from the open garage to the street next to his mailbox. The middle-income house with a single two-car garage and a driveway to the street was no different than any other average America home. Midway up the driveway and on the side near to his property line stood a basketball backboard, with a post firmly sunk in concrete. The net was worn and needed to be replaced. A basketball was in the yard near the street. The open garage door revealed a packed area with no more room for a car. The two-car garage was the epitome of a storage warehouse. A dusty sports car was to the side and covered with stuff. The sports car had become a gigantic storage shelf with dozens of boxes stacked front and rear. The roof to the car was stacked to a level just beneath the electric garage door mechanism.
A trash truck pulled up and two workers jumped off the back. One of them, Charles Bently, took the filled trash can from Tom, who hurried past his old Ford Fiesta, parked in the driveway, to grab the last trash can. Charles was an athletic Afro-American and looked more like he should be playing for a professional basketball team. He emptied Tom’s cans in the back of the trash truck and waited patiently for Tom to bring him the last one. Tom shuffled like a penguin with the last trashcan and finally reached the street. Tom was almost out of breath. Charles shook his head and smiled as he takes the trashcan.
“Hey, Tom, you got an extra copy of one of your novels?”
Tom looked flustered then smiled real big, “No, but I've finished another one I think you'll really like it.”
Charles grinned, “I've liked all your ideas. I just wanta read one of those you have laying around.”
“I'll get you a copy as soon as I can.” Tom picked up the basketball lying in the grass and tossed it to Charles, who caught it like a professional. “But I only have one copy right now and I'm sending it to an agent this morning.”
He bounced the basketball a few times on the concrete drive, “You've been telling me that for a year.”
“I know, I know, but I promise I'll get you a copy.”
“Uh, huh.” It was a long shot but Charles jumped and flipped the ball toward the goal. The wall swished through the worn net not even touching the rim.
Tom shook his head, “Man that’s four weeks in a row. How do you do that?” He shuffled over and retrieved the ball.
Charles pointed to the car in the garage, “And the car? I still want to buy it.”
“Oh, no I can't do that. I'm going to rebuild it.” Tom lined the ball up, shot, and got nothing but air.
Charles grabbed the ball and walked toward Tom, ““You've been saying that ever since you got divorced six years ago.”
“Not really that long,” said Tom. He was about to argue but he ran some quick numbers through his head and the surprise was evident on his face, “Really? Damn. You're right it has been six years...seems like only...”
Enthusiastic about his work, Tom said, “My new novel's called, The Cajun. It's about a woman who writes something bad and there is a reward for her death.”
Charles shot and sunk the ball again. Tom went after the ball.
“Well anyway, she jumps into the swamps of Louisiana and is rescued by...” With his fingers, Tom made quotations in the air. “...The Cajun. He's like Crocodile Dundee.”
Tom threw the ball up and missed again.
Confused, Charles said, “I thought Crocodile Dundee was in Australia?”
“He is. My guy's not.”
“Why did she just jump into the swamp?”
Tom slapped his forehead like he forgot, “She was in the FBI's protective custody.”
“Doesn't sound like they were protecting her very well if she jumped in a swamp. You need to let me read it.”
Tom nodded to Charles who quickly sunk another shot.
Books filled the shelves of the study in Tom’s house. He stood next to his antique mahogany desk, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, excitedly going through his mail. He tossed all but two on his desk and quickly opened the first.
The first letter read: Good material but not interested at this time.
Tom's shoulders sagged, but with a renewed effort he opened the second letter that read: Sorry, but we are not actively seeking new clients at this time.
His shoulders drooped a little lower and he plopped into the cushioned chair at his desk. He spun halfway around, and stared out the window for a moment, then he pulled out his billfold, flipped it open, took out a picture and unfolded it. He stared at a picture of a beautiful house on the river. He sighed, then dejectedly pulled open the large file drawer on the side of his desk.
Everything was tabbed alphabetically. In the P's was a new looking tab with POSSIBILITIES and nothing in the folder. Behind it was another tab, worn out, with the word REJECTIONS. The folder was packed, thick with papers. He placed the two letters at the back of the file.
That evening, Tom worked patiently on his queries and had them completed and printed. He licked a stamp and put it mechanically on the letter. On his computer monitor he had Windows Explorer open to a folder with the words, "QUERY LETTERS."
Tom stamped the last letter, and stacked it on top of dozens of others.
The following day Tom was up early, outside and placing the query letters in his mailbox. He crossed his fingers, puts his hands together like in prayer, closed the mailbox, and with his mouth forms the word "Please."
With keys in hand, he walked over to his old Ford Fiesta, got in and tried to start the ignition. The only sound he heard was a click. He tried again and again but to no avail. He was only slightly frustrated as this had happened numerous times. He got out, pushed the car down the driveway, and jumped in quickly using the slight downhill slope of the street to do what he needed. It hadn’t gone far before he popped the clutch. The old car shook, popped, groans and acted like it was going to continue running. Smoke belched out the exhaust and it sounded like the car was running on only two of the four cylinders. Tom kept playing with the gas pedal as the revved up and then retreated like it was about to stall. Finally the revs came up and he was able to back off the throttle. He put the car in gear and it rattled away.
Tom pulled two beers out of the refrigerator and stepped to the counter. He gave one beer to his best friend and neighbor, Jack Spence who was sitting at the bar. A football game played on the television.
Jack asked, “Any luck with the books?”
Still enthusiastic, Tom said, “Not yet. It's hard to do this and work too.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. Work keeps interfering with my fishing.”
“But I'm still plugging away. Did you read that novel I gave you?”
“Uh, well kinda.”
“Kinda? Did you finish?”
“What do you mean, not exactly?”
“I'm on page six.”
“Page six. You've had it two weeks.”
“I'm not much of a reader. At night I try but I only read about one page before I fall asleep.”
“Oh, great. A page a day. I can see it now. Buy Tom Payton's three hundred and sixty page action novel. A cure for insomnia.” Tom groaned, “Guaranteed to put you to sleep for a year.”
Jack shrugged his shoulders, “Sorry.”
“My best friend can only read six pages. I'll never make it.”
“Sometimes you have to die to become famous.”
The mail truck pulled away from Tom’s house, and he was already charging toward the mailbox like a little kid ready to open a Christmas present. He removed letters from the mailbox and then shoved more in the mailbox. Quickly he shuffled through the mail, passing the bills. His face lit up and he ran back to the house.
Inside the study, Tom stared at the envelope and sipped his coffee. He started to open it but hesitated, put it down, and tapped on the desk with both hands. Again he tried to open the envelope and again he hesitated.
He went to the bathroom and a few minutes later returned to his study where he again picked up the envelope. He tore it open, unfolded the letter and read the response. His shoulders sagged and he groaned. He stared at the letter for a moment, then he opened the file drawer and slipped the letter in the back of the REJECTION folder. The folder was thicker.
Tom sits at the kitchen table eating a sandwich and watching television.
The phone rang and he picked it up, “Hello.”
Somewhere in downtown Manhattan, in a cheap office, sitting behind a cluttered desk, Mr. Baughman responded, “Mr. Payton?”
Baughman’s office was cluttered with papers. Two old dried donuts were on a plate to the side of his desk. The ashtray was full of cigarettes. A coffee cup sat on some papers and had already stained the documents.
Tom responded, “Yes.”
The agent leaned back in his chair, put his legs on his desk and puffed on his cigarette, “I've read your manuscript and I am very interested in representing you.”
Excitement couldn’t describe how Tom felt as he fumbled with the phone and was about to hyperventilate, Yes, yes, that's great!”
“Let me say I was very interested in The Rug Rats.”
The enthusiasm died like he had been shot. He was upset, “Uh, I didn't write that.”
“Oh, yes, I'm sorry...” Quickly, Baughman pushed papers aside, pulled up a list of names went down the list at a speed that would have brought envy to Superman, until he found the name Payton, and next to it the title of the novel, The Cajun. “...I've had a very busy day. Of course I mean your work The Cajun.”
Relieved, the child like excitement returned, “Yes, The Cajun is mine. You want it?”
“Very much so.”
“What do I need to do?”
“Nothing. I'm very impressed with your excellent work.”
“Thank you. I've been doing it for a long time and--“
“First there are a few legal things to do of course.”
“Of course,” said Tom.
“We need a standard release form, which is required by everyone in the business.”
“Good. And I will need a one-year exclusive.”
“I want to say again that The Cajun is incredible.”
“But there is a little work that we would like done.”
The enthusiasm began to die, “Sure. You name it and I'll do it.”
“I knew you would understand. Anyway, I have a professional staff that does this kind of thing you know?”
Baughman looked over his shoulder. A bleach blonde secretary sat behind a desk filing her fingernails.
“Sure, I understand.”
The agent had set the hook and was about to finish, “Let me tell you; number one, we're on top of the industry and number two we know what people want to read. So we need to polish a few rough edges.”
“That's not a problem.”
“There will be a little fee. I mean we just can't correct the dozens of manuscripts that come in here every day, you know.”
Tom hesitated, then said, “Fee?”
“It's a very small fee for the work needed.” Baughman picked up one of the coffee stained bills on his desk. The bill was stamped "Past-Due Rent" with a total of $1800 at the bottom. “We need nineteen hundred dollars.”
Tom was mad, “What happened to excellent?”
“The idea is excellent, but you are definitely a first timer. We can show you the ropes. Do you have an agent now?”
“We can fulfill your dreams. You do want to be published and have your book in all the stores, right?”
“Yes. But I don't know about the pri--”
“I'm sure you will come with us so I'm sending you all the necessary papers. You need to send them back to us with the nineteen hundred.”
There was a dial TONE. Tom was dejected. He hung up.
Tom sat at his desk where he opened a desk drawer, and flipped to a folder marked Follow Up. He flipped through a few then pulled one out. He picked up the telephone and dialed a number. When the secretary answered he said, “Mr. Sullivan please.”
The desk was very expensive. John Sullivan was reading the Hollywood Reporter when the secretary buzzed him, “Line two, Mr. Sullivan.”
He put the magazine down picked up the phone and pushed the button for line two, “This is Sullivan.”
A little nervous, Tom said, “I was following up a query about a manuscript I sent you called The Cajun.”
"Who is this?”
“Well, Tom, I don't remember it. You said The Cage? What was it?”
“Do you currently have any published work?”
“Sorry, if you have sold a million copies of your work, we might be interested.”
Tom was a little miffed, “If I'd sold a million copies I wouldn't be calling you.”
“Sorry, that’s just the way it is in this business.”
Frustrated, Tom hung up.
Adults and children filled Jack Spence’s backyard. He was busy barbecuing and drinking beer with Tom who stood nearby to get a taste of Jack’s work.
“You just have to send out more queries.”
“More? I've already got enough rejections to wallpaper a room. I'm going no where fast.”
Jack chuckled, “And it looks like you've already arrived.”
“Thanks buddy.” Tom sighed, “I dream of selling one of my books and working out of my house on the river.”
Confused Jack turned to Tom, “You don't have a house on the river.”
“I mean the house I'm gonna buy when I sell one of my novels.”
“Invite me up on weekends to fish.”
“Deal. Now to sell one of them.”
Barbara Spencer walked up with a plate and Jack started filling it. She smiled at Tom, “Did you sell any of your books?”
Jack eyes flashed her a reprimand.
“Only rejections so far.” He gave her a positive smile, “But I'm not giving up.”
“Good for you, Tom.”
Jack mumbled, “They say you have to die or cut your ear off to become famous.”
Tom touched his ear in thought, “Hummm.” He shook his head no and sighed.
“Nobody wants your novels?”
“Not yet. At this rate I'll never get my house on the lake,” said Tom who was thoroughly disheartened.
Again Jack mumbled, “Bummer, no fishing.”
The water trickled down a ravine about a foot wide and only a couple of inches deep. Tom wore rags but Jack and Barbara were dressed elegantly.
Tom was excited. He pointed to what looked like a small outhouse, “Look at my house. Isn't it great? And what do you think about the river?”
Jack and Barbara stared at the trickle of water that was slower than water coming from a hose. Tom was still excited and happy. Barbara and Jack looked at each other, then turned to Tom.
“Tom, you need help,” said Jack and Barbara.
Abruptly, Tom sat up in bed. Bewildered he looked all around the room, and sighed, “Just a dream.”
He leaned over the bed, reached for his billfold on the night stand, and took out the picture of his dream house.
Jack and Tom took turns shooting baskets in Tom’s driveway. They missed every shot, not even coming close. Barbara worked in the garden at the edge of her yard.
Tom grunted, “No one is interested.”
“Man that really sucks. Absolutely nothing?” said Jack.
“Nothing. I have enough rejections to wallpaper my house.”
“Well a room for sure.”
Jack smiled, “Look at the bright side, you still have a few more rooms to go?”
They both laughed. “For what it's worth, I thought your book was good.”
“You read it?”
“And it didn't put you to sleep?”
Excited at his friends revelation, Tom said, “Great, now I can advertise it as a book that didn't put my friend Jack to sleep.”
“Now, that's not fair Tom. I'm just not much of a reader. So what now?”
“Well, I'll need you and Barbara to help. I thought about sending a letter to Jerry Springer. Telling him I'm having an affair with Barbara and we're into kinky sex--
Jack was too shocked to be angry, “You and Barbara?”
Tom rolled his eyes, “No Jack. This is all make believe. When we get on the show we get in a fight and end up in a love pile.”
To Jack this sounded like fun, “Oh, wow cool.”
Tom and Jack turned to Barbara, and Jack said, “What do you think?”
Barbara rolled her eyes and shook her head, no, “When you two get together, you're like little boys.”
Jack and Tom both said, “Well?”
“The answer is no. Find another woman.”
Tom and Jack looked dejected, while Barbara continued to work in the garden.
“What you need is a review,” she said.
Both men turned to Barbara. They look at each other and snickered.
“A what?” said Tom
Barbara stopped and turned back to them, “A review. Send your book to the newspaper. They review books every week. This is Texas Author's Month and it could be a way to get exposure.”
The idea excited Tom.
Again Tom was on the telephone, “Mr. Ledbutter, my name is Tom. I sent you a copy of my novel The Cajun and I was wondering if you received it?”
Joe Ledbutter sat a desk piled high with books on every corner, “I've never heard of you or your book.”
Tom wouldn’t be denied, “I mailed it two weeks ago.”
Irritated and put out, Ledbutter said, “I have over seventy books a week come through here. Tell me what you've done.”
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me what makes you special.”
“I wrote the novel.”
Ledbutter grunted, “All of them have written something. If you haven't done anything special you’re a nobody.
Desperate, Tom said, “But this is Texas Author's Month. I'm from Texas.”
“That means nothing. Unless you are somebody on the New York Times Best Seller List. Are you?”
“Sorry. You've done nothing to be reviewed for.
Angry, Tom blurted, “What do I have to do? Kill somebody?”
Ledbutter broke out laughing, “That would help. We could probably review it then.”
Inside the living room of the Spence house, Tom and Jack watched television, while Barbara sat off to the side reading a Danielle Steel, romance novel.
Jack sipped his beer then said, “Did you hear from the Newspaper?”
“What do you mean, not exactly?”
“I called Joe Ledbutter.”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He says I'm a nobody. I have to be on a best seller list or kill somebody.”
Jack grimaced, “Man that hurts.”
“This is not an easy business,” said Tom.
Barbara peered over the top of her book, “Nobody wants it?”
Barbara and Jack shook their heads.
Tom asked, “Barbara have you read my novel?”
“Sorry Tom. I read romance like Danielle Steel.”
Tom sighed, and appeared flustered. “I sent Stallone a copy but it came back unopened.”
“Send him a script.”
Confused, Tom said, “A script? But I have dozens of copies of my novel. All they can do now is make a good fire.”
With a smile, Jack said, “Hey, we could bind 'em up, soak 'em in fuel oil and sell 'em as fire logs.”
“Oh, great,” said Tom.
Barbara shrugged, “Stallone isn't interested in a book. He wants a script for a movie.”
For a moment Tom thought about what Barbara had said, then his eyes light up. “Yeah, a script. Once it's made into a movie, the books will sell like hotcakes. I'll be just like John Grisham. Barb you are wonderful.”
Tom reached over and kissed Barbara.
Jack frowned, “Does this mean the fire sale if off?”
The book store was packed with people and books. Tom walked in and was confronted with a book stand with the top twenty best sellers. Number one was a Danielle Steel romance novel. He shook his head and walked around the stand. He continued up and down the aisles of books. Half way down one aisle he stopped, ran his down the rows of books until he found the book he wanted and pulled it off the shelf. The title was Movie Script Format, which he flipped through until he felt it was what he wanted.
For the next few days he studied the book front to back. Satisfied with what he learned he began typing every free moment. We worked hard and kept late hours to finish the script.
Finally Tom was finished and pulled the last sheet from his laser printer. He turned the script over revealing the cover sheet, titled: THE CAJUN.
The next day he placed the script in a thick protective envelope, and mailed it to Sylvester Stallone.
A few weeks later. The mailman knocked on his door and delivered a large envelope, and was stunned to see it had come from the office of Sylvester Stallone. Thoughts filled his mind of a movie with him on the set talking with Sly, as he tore at the envelope. When he finally opened it a piece of paper fell to the floor, but he was stunned to find the script he had sent Stallone. He was confused and then he spied the paper that had fallen on the floor. He bent over and grabbed the paper and read; WE DO NOT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED MATERIAL. All material must be requested or submitted through an agent.
Tom’s heart sank.
Running late, Tom scurried to the street with his trash. Charles waited but had retrieved the basketball and lofted the ball towards the rim as Tom approached him. The ball swished through the net. Tom watched and shook his head.
Charles turned toward Tom, “You have a copy of that Cajun?”
Charles threw the ball to Tom, who takes time to aim at the basket, then tosses the ball toward the net and misses completely.
“No, Charles, but I'm gonna get you one.”
“Uh, huh. Look, I'll buy the book. I know people--”
“Don't have any copies here,” said Tom.
Tom flung the ball toward the backboard and missed again.
Charles chuckled, “Playing you reminds me of that movie, White Men Can't Shoot.” He grabbed the ball and sunk another shot.
This time Tom laughed, “No, it was White Men Can't Jump.”
“Yeah, and they can't shoot either.” Both men laughed. Charles pointed to the garage, “And the car? You know I want to buy it.”
“No. One day I'm going to fix it.”
“And one day you're going to give me a copy of The Cajun too.”
From the way Tom and Jack moved in the kitchen they had been drinking for some time. They were a little tipsy.
“Submitting scripts isn't any easier than selling a book,” groaned Tom. “Some want a synopsis; either a paragraph, a page or two pages. One guy says entice him and don't reveal the end while another asks why I didn't give details of the end.”
Jack shook his head, “Do they know what they want?” He wiggled his bottle, then turned it upside down. The bottle was empty so he reached across the bar and grabbed Tom's empty bottle, took it away, tossed both bottles in the trash, and opened the refrigerator, while Tom kept rambling.
“They say they do, but no two people have asked me for the same thing. Some say put CUT TO: in others say never put it in at all. It must be a preference thing. I don't think they know what they want in Hollywood.”
Jack gave Tom a fresh cool beer. They both opened the beers and chug.
“Sounds like they demand a lot.”
“That's not all. They want treatments or a synopsis and loglines. One page, two page. Everybody wants something different.”
“And now a second one returned from Stallone unopened.”
“Aw, don't worry about it, he probably can't read.”
“It's probably better. Can you imagine Stallone popping out of a Louisiana swamp saying,” Tom tried to put on his best imitation of Rocky, “Yo Adrienne.”
They both chuckled, and Jack said, “Or how about Arnold.” Then he tried to sound like Schwarzenegger, “I'll be back.”
They both broke out in uncontrolled laughter and when they caught their breath they chugged more beer.
“Yep,” said Tom. Then he chugged his beer and added, “Not very Cajun.
Barbara walked into the kitchen, “Hi, Tom.”
“How are your scripts doing?”
The two men laughed, and Tom said, “Don't ask. Don't even ask.”
Jack grinned, “Suicide is an option.”
“Jack!” Barbara shook her head and said, “Tom, you just need to get your name out there.”
Disgusted, Tom said, “What, like O.J.?”
“Something like that.”
“Sure. I'll get married so I can murder her.”
“I didn't mean that.”
“Don't worry, I want to be able to enjoy my money. I don't want to go to jail, but what do I do?”
Nursing his beer, Jack wobbled on his legs and mumbled, “You have to die. Suicide.” The other two didn’t hear Jack.
“No more like Darden and Marsha,” Barbara said.
“Yeah but you and I hate attorneys.”
Tom and Barbara were in deep thought for a solution to Tom’s problem.
Firmly, Jack said, “You have to kill yourself.”
“Jack!” said Barbara.
Tom turned to Jack and snickered. Suddenly, a light turned on in Tom's mind. “That's it I'll die. I'll commit suicide.”
Barbara was upset, “Are you crazy?”
Even Jack was surprised at Tom and said, “I was just kidding.”
“No, Jack, you're right. I have to die, so I'll commit suicide. The problem is how do I die where they can't find a body?”
Both Jack and Barbara tried to come up with a solution.
Jack said, “Fire?”
“Drown?” said Barbara.
The wheels turned in Tom’s mind, “That's it.” He turned to Jack, “And you're going to help me drown.”
Barbara and Jack stared at Tom in disbelief.
Jack said, “Uh, oh...I have a bad feeling about this.”Back to other books >