EVERYBODY’S OUT OF TOWN
When I arrive at the Augusta FBI Office it didn’t take me long to realize I had stepped into a warzone. Director Marie Bakke was there and was engaged in a shouting match with Carmichael. Bakke was a veteran from the old school. The fact that she was in Maine raised a troubling question. Why would Washington send a top Director to investigate Sex Trafficking?
The others in attendance were Cousin Vernon and his assistant Habiba, and much to my surprise a trio of Royal Canadian Mounties dressed in red uniforms right out of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.
Marie saw me enter and gestured for Carmichael to stop talking. “McAllister, you’re late.”
“Sorry the flight was delayed, moose on the tarmac.”
“Okay, why have they dragged you out of retirement?”
“Obviously, someone hates my guts.”
“Well I’m glad you’re with us.” The RCMP woman said walking quickly over to me. “Can I get you some coffee, how about a bagel or donut, they’re fresh.”
“Why thank you,” I eyed her insignia, “Captain?”
“I knew there was a reason I liked Canadians.”
Director Bakke continued to stress her point, “the CIA has proof Sorokin is in the country,”
Carmichael was livid, “the CIA has stonewalled us for a long time. What do you think McAllister?”
“I just got here, can I at least take my coat off?
“Dammit McAllister you never side with me.”
“I take that personally you know.” I threw my coat on an empty desk. “Well, we’ve always combined U.S. agencies in investigations as far as I know.”
“And how has that worked?” He wanted to know.
Marie barged in. “Any joint operations must answer to the State Department, you know that.”
“Well, that’s a different story.”
“But why? Aren’t we all the same.” Habiba asked.
I could see Carmichael was steaming. For once I couldn’t blame him Bakke was pulling rank. “This is bullshit especially the way we’re treating our partners up north.”
Carmichael siding with the Canadian?
“The Americans wanted our help in Canada,” Leslie added.
“This should be their collar.”
“We have the conformation he’s here.” Bakke said. “That’s all we need from you.”
Leslie just rolled her eyes and gathered her things. “Typical of the U.S., they do not practice what they preach.”
Her deputy didn’t like the way his boss was being treated and he stood between them. He must have been 8 feet tall. Leslie patted the big guys stomach and answered the Director.
“Director Bakke,” Carmichael pleaded, “can’t we make an exception this one time. After all it was the Mounties who broke open the investigation.”
OMG is Carmichael shagging her?
Now Bakke turned to the desk picked up a folder opening it to a page. “From this point on the investigation will be run by our people. Is that understood?”
“Don’t we need to locate Sorokin before we argue about jurisdiction,” I asked. “There’s an issue no one is bringing up here, why would someone in General Sorokin’s league be involved in something like this. If it’s to make a quick buck why would he risk coming to America himself? It just doesn’t add up.”
Now Carmichael stepped back in Marie’s face. “We’ve come full circle back to my original argument. What are you guys hiding from us?”
“Is that the case?” Habiba wanted to know.
“Are you keeping things from us.” Vernon finally spoke.
“What exactly do you mean Tibbs?” Bakke challenged.
“So, there’s more to this.” Habiba said bluntly.
“That’s correct.” Bakke informed him, “Under these circumstances, I can’t reveal any more,”
COME AND GET IT
OLD PORT MAINE
For once Quip wasn’t in a hurry so we planned to spend the evening in the historic Old Port on Casco Bay and dine at our leisure. It felt good not to go solo which I prefer. Quip was one of the few shirts I could get along with.
We stopped at one of the numerous acclaimed local restaurants located right by the heart of the historic Old Port district on Portland’s restored waterfront. Portland was recently called the “best place to eat in the Northeast” by the Times.
“I’m out Agent 66.”
“What does that mean?”
“You are my last official assignment.”
“But you’re still young.”
“I’m doing this as a favor.”
Amanda. Why am I always the last to know? “Where to now.”
“I’m here already. Her name is Spirit Dancer and she is half Cherokee. Hopefully she waited for me. She teaches at Southern Maine Community College. This is my last chance.”
“I suppose that makes us neighbors. Just one thing? What does the initials H.V. stand for?”
“Hollingsworth Vincenzo Cavallieri.” No wonder they call him Quip.
Just then a flustered looking Freya Chayefsky made her way over to us. “Got to pee,” She said and hurried passed.
“Who was that?” Quip asked.
“She’s my contact.”
She returned and plopped down next to us and started swigging my bottle of beer. “Would you like one?”
“Sure.” She took another swig. “I’ve been searching all over for you.” She said in her heavy Russian accent.
“Why didn’t you call?”
“I did, it said your phone was out of range.”
“Oh, it’s at the bottom of the sea.”
She leaned over close to me, “You want to know about Tom.”
Talk about changing the subject. “Well yeah.”
“He’s not what you think. He was very kind to me. You know, the girls knew he would take care of them.”
“So, who would have wanted him dead?”
“The Dragon Lady.” When she saw Quip, she turned her attention to him. “Who’s this?”
“My old Air Force buddy, Quip.”
Quip always shy around girls blushed. “Nice to meet you.”
“Is it ok to talk.”
“Don’t worry. So, what about this Dragon Lady?”
“If anyone, she had Tom killed.”
“Do you know why?”
“Tom was trying to make a deal with Ex KGB guys.”
“What kind of deal?”
“Who knows, but people are dropping like flies.”
She kissed me. “I just want information.”
“Liar. I can tell.” She said rubbing against my hard-on. “I trust you.” She handed me a notebook. “Dragon Lady’s diary.”
I looked through it quickly to the current date and saw AUGUSTA circled just before she snatched it back from me. “I thought you said you trusted me?”
“Sleep with me, maybe I’ll trust you more.”
“I don’t do things like that, I’m a gentleman.”
She got to her feet and started for the door. “Liar,”
I arrived in the early afternoon at the Portland International Jetport. I was there to meet up with my old compadre “Quip” the former Chief of Operations including Logistics and Weapons Systems. He got his nick name when he was a lowly equipment supervisor. He worked his way up through the ranks and along the way his timely interventions saved my ass more than once.
I was more than delighted that he chose to meet me and set me up for the investigation. I guess that means I still rate.
“Agent 66.” He greeted me shaking my hand.
“Quip old boy you still look like you’re in grade school. How do you do it.?”
“Good clean living I guess,”
“Is that a toupee?”
“This? Its mine, I can do better than this.” He pointed to my beard, “And you?”
“Grey Away. And a little plastic surgery.” I admitted.
We took a quick ride to TWO LIGHTS STATE PARK. The light houses there are less dramatic than nearby Cape Elizabeth, but you do get amazing and dramatic views there of the craggy rocky coastline which seems to extend forever.
Quip pulled a big black suitcase out the trunk and we headed for an isolated section of the park that was basically hidden from view. That was when I realized that Quip had been there before.
Quip handed me a black 9mm Beretta M9 pistol.
“What’s this? No Walther PPK?” I asked displeased.
“What?” Oh, very funny,”
“Where’s my M1911?”
“The M1911 was replaced as the standard U.S. agent sidearm.”
“Really, not completely phased out I hope.” I argued.
“Hold tight and count to 10.”
I followed his directions and the handle of the gun sent a powerful electric shock through my hand. “What the heck was that?””
“Now the gun is yours and will only fire if it recognizes your unique hand pattern imprint.”
“Talk about hands on technology, but it’s still no M1911.”
“I figured you would protest. I sure this will make up for it.” He handed me a sight for sore eyes.
“I saved it from the junk heap just for you,”
“This is the original.”
“Yes, you might say the design was years ahead of its time. Why in heaven they gave it to you is still a mystery.”
“No one else wanted to test it.”
“Well now they’d die to have one. The newer models constantly break down.”
“Everything still works?”
“Still has a powerful electromagnet that can even deflect a bullet. However, the electromagnet capability now contains a universal radio directional finder.”
“That’s GPS, you can even bounce it off any satellite that recognizes the footprint.”
I put the wristwatch on and it immediately started beeping and a small metal probe emerge from it. “Hey, does that mean it still recognizes me?”
“Now that is amazing.”
“Well you can’t have her back now.”
Quip was about to explain the different features but there was no need.
“The question is, can it tell the time.”
“You’re going to need one of these.” Quip tried to hand me a cell phone.
“No thanks. I’m no cell phone person. I’m a dinosaur.”
“Take it. I’m sure you’ll like this one. It also Contains a Grappling Hook and explosive charges and inside the back compartment is a flash light that is also a laser beam cutter and yes it can send and receive phone calls.”
“Oh, yeah, I got one for you.” I gave him the oversized yellow fountain pen.
“Where in the world did you get this?”
“Tom Hughes had it along with an exploding laptop.” Quip examined the doohickey and I could tell he was intrigued. “Can you get it to work for me?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
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