Monday, May 27, 2013

From Slow Coming Dark

[Published 2000, so a bit dated.]

The next morning Matt Redmond came into his office and found a note on his desk. “Contact the Director, private cellular number.” Matt dialed the number. “Yes, Phil?” he asked.

“Matt, I’m at Senator Helms’ house.” said Hightower. He sounded haggard. “His private home, not his office. Please come over here right away and tell no one where you are going.”
Twenty minutes later Matt pulled into a graveled driveway on a shady, tree-lined street in one of Raleigh’s inner city neighborhoods, up to an unpretentious but spacious and well kept two story home of nineteenth century vintage. He knocked on the door and was astounded when the door was opened by United States Senator Jesse Helms himself, a slightly built, dignified old man leaning on a cane, a humorous glint in his eye behind thick spectacles. “You must be Matt Redmond,” he said, extending his hand that gripped Matt’s firmly despite his years. “I remember those fedoras, used to wear one myself when I was your age. Glad to meet you, son! I’ve heard a hell of a lot about all them darin’ exploits of yours!”
“It’s an honor to meet you, sir,” said Matt, flustered. “Ah, I got a message from SBI Director Hightower...?”
 “He’s in the parlor,” said Helms, beckoning Matt inside. “Come on in. Matt, we got a  hellacious problem we’re gonna need your help with.” He opened the door to the living room. Matt saw Hightower sitting in an armchair. Then he heard a baby give a short cry. He turned and a stunningly beautiful young woman in a pale beige pants suit rose from the sofa, holding a bundled infant in her arms. Her hair was long and blond, her eyes crystalline blue, and her face was a frozen mask of haunted pain and fear. She looked like she was about to turn and flee out the French doors. The first thing that hit Matt was that this woman was terrified out of her wits. Then he recognized her. “You’re Alice Silverman,” he said.
“You’re Matt Redmond?” she whispered.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said quietly, taking off his hat. “How may I be of service to you?”
“You can save my life,” she said dismally. “They killed Carla and Serafina. I heard their terrible screams as they died, while I was running away with my child in my arms. Now they’re trying to kill me, and kill my baby.”
“Who?” asked Matt urgently. It was as if Hightower and Helms weren’t even in the room. “Who is trying to kill you?”
“Bill Clinton,” she whispered. “He wants me dead. He wants my baby dead!”
“Why?” asked Matt gently. She looked up at him in anguish. “I know Clinton and his works, ma’am. You needn’t fear you won’t be believed. Why is he trying you kill you, and why does he want to kill the baby?”
 Her eyes and her voice were dead with utter misery. “Eleven months ago, Bill Clinton raped me. After he was through, Hillary Clinton raped me.” She held up the wiggling bundle. “This is Bill Clinton’s son. Now he wants us both dead. I have come to you because you are the only lawman in the country who will believe me, and who has shown that he has the courage to stand up to them. If you don’t help, then my child and I will die. Will you help us?”
“Yes,” said Matt.  

VII. Enter the Ingenue

“Matt, before this goes any further, can we have a word in private?” spoke up Senator Helms. “You’ll excuse us, please, Miss Silverman?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back,” said Alice with a wry smile. “I have no place else to go.”
Matt followed the Senator and Hightower into Helms’ carpeted, book-lined study. As soon as the door closed behind them he said, “With all due respect, gentlemen, what the hell is going on here? How did she get here, and why is she here at all? Has she told you anything about who killed DeMarco or what happened on the yacht?”
“She was never on the yacht,” said Hightower. He seemed to have aged ten years. “She’ll tell you in a bit what happened, and it will blow your mind. Matt, this is big. It is beyond anything I have ever come across.”
“As to how she got here, at four o’clock this morning I was awakened by someone pounding on my door,” said Helms. “By the way, Matt, I believe I heard you are a cigar smoker? Try one of these.”
“Uh...rolled Havanas, sir?” asked Matt, his eyebrows arching.
“There a few things about Cuba I like,” chuckled Helms, his eyes twinkling as he and Matt both lit up. “Anyhoo, like I was saying, I get woke up at four this morning and I find this lovely Hollywood movie star and her baby standing on my porch, with a very incredible story to tell. An incredible credible story, if you follow. A story that I believe, Matt.”
“And what will you do with that story, Senator?” asked Matt bleakly. “Impeachment failed. Sir, let me be blunt. I know that you personally did everything you could and I don’t fault you at all, but your colleagues in the Senate had the chance to rid our country of this sick, drug-addicted tyrant and they dropped the ball. We’re stuck with him now.”
“And the United States Senate shall carry that disgrace throughout its future history,” agreed Helms. “As to what I intend to do with her story, that’s easily told. I intend to make one of the final acts of my lengthy life on this earth the thwarting of William Jefferson Clinton, at least in this one small matter. Maybe that’s a petty reaction, but there it is. There is nothing at all that we can do with Alice Silverman politically. The people of this country have rendered their verdict and that verdict is that Bill Clinton gets a pass, whatever he does. With rage and bitterness in my heart, I have come to accept that. God will judge America for this. I will no longer try. But I still believe that truth and right and justice have enough power and strength to do one thing, and that is keep that girl and that baby alive. I can’t undo the past eight years, Matt. I can do nothing to bring back those nuclear secrets from China or restore the presidency of the United States to some kind of dignity, nor can I bring Vince Foster or Admiral Boorda or Jim McDougal or any one of a dozen others back to life. But I can damned well make sure that two more deaths aren’t added to Clinton’s total body count. Those two lives in there are lives that Bill Clinton will not take. I have sworn that to her.”
“How?” demanded Matt. “How will you keep that promise, Senator, when every other attempt over the past eight years to restrain Clinton from any act, no matter how murderous or treasonous, has failed? I think you both know I will do whatever I must, but how can you keep her and that baby alive if the most powerful man in the world wants them dead?”
“I haven’t lived on Capitol Hill for almost thirty years without learning a trick or two,” said Helms grimly. “Matt, let me tell you exactly what I am asking of you. I want you to keep Alice Silverman and her baby safe while I negotiate with that yellow-dog piece of hillbilly white trash in the White House for her life. I’m flying back to Washington tonight, and tomorrow I am going to ask for a private appointment with the president, ask in such terms that he will be sure to see me. I am going to say some things to him that I believe will convince him that it is best for him and for those whom he serves to accommodate me in this little matter of Alice Silverman’s life. I want you to keep them alive while I do this.”
“I will, or die myself in the attempt,” replied Matt quietly.
“From what I hear, you will.” replied Helms. “Son, I wish to God we had ten thousand more like you in this country. Then maybe we’d have a chance.”
“Matt, you of all people know what you are committing yourself to,” said Hightower. “I don’t mean just Clinton’s gunmen. You heard what that woman from the FBI said about the Mob sending that character Visconti in on this, the one you said you wouldn’t want to go up against unless you had to? Sounds like you may have to if you get in this deep. You sure about this, Matt? What about Heather and Tori?”
“They will understand and expect nothing less of me,” replied Matt. “I want to ask one thing of you both. I want to call my partner Cowboy Garza and have him in on this, and I want to call my wife and have her here when we hear Alice Silverman’s story. I cannot do this without both of them.”
“Do you think you have the right to involve your family?” asked Helms.
“Yes, and neither of them would ever forgive me if I did not involve them. Gawd, let Tori miss a chance of meeting Alice Silverman? She’d rend me in twain! OK on clearing Cowboy’s case load for this, Phil?” Hightower nodded.
“Son, you do what you have to do,” said Helms. “Just make sure that just this once, the good guys win one. This old bull still has enough horn left on him to be of some use. I’ll back your play all the way.”
 Matt took out his cell phone and dialed his wife’s work number. She answered. “It’s me. Heather, it’s happening again. You walked through the fire with me once, Watson. Will you do it again? Are you with me?”
“All the way, Holmes,” she said with out hesitation.
“Then beg off work somehow and come to Raleigh, right now,” he said. “I’ll give you the address and tell you how to get here. I want you in on this from the ground up. We beat them once before, Watson. Now we’re going to beat them again.”

They sat in Jesse Helms’ parlor, coffee cups before them, Helms and Hightower and Matt and Cowboy Garza and Heather Redmond. Heather took the baby from Alice Silverman and quietly fed him a bottle, followed by a muddy concoction of Gerber plums, burping him while the actress sat miserably in an armchair, staring at the floor, speaking in a low monotone.
“It was a Democratic fund raiser at the Beverly Hills Hilton,” she said. “Everyone was there, Streisand and Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen and Whoopi Goldberg and Woody Harrelson and Susan Sarandon and...well, you know, the whole crowd. Everybody who is anybody in Hollywood, not just show people but the finance and media people, you get the idea. It was one of those gigs where my agent told me I had to show my face, see and be seen, let everybody know I’m on the side of the PC angels, all that crap. Jesus, I have to do about one of those a week, even when I’m working. They’re a damned nuisance. I have to get a new gown for each one just to show off for the paparazzi. The only thing unusual about this one was that Bill and Hillary were both there. I guess you know they don’t do too many public gigs together since Monica, so that attracted a lot of spin, another reason Jake Shapiro told me I needed to be there, to make sure I got noticed. Nothing happened during the dinner and the speeches, I had a shoot at nine the next morning, and I wanted to go home. I’d already called for my limo driver. Then...oh shit, I don’t know why I was so stupid!” she moaned. “I mean, Jesus Christ, it’s not like the whole world doesn’t know about him! What the hell was I thinking?
“You got the summons to a hotel room?” asked Matt gently. “That’s usually how he works. Who brought the summons? A Secret Service agent?”
“An LAPD cop,” said Alice. “A black guy, a captain of detectives. Look, I know damned well I was an idiot to go, I think I knew it at the time. After Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, no woman has any excuses any more for pretending they don’t know what that so-called invitation means. But my God, he is the President of the United States! The President! How, how can you say no...and I thought if his wife was with him, I mean, surely I’d be safe…? Oh, God, I know I brought it on myself...”
Heather looked up sharply, her face angry, her voice ringing out like steel. “No!” she almost shouted. “No, Alice! That’s bullshit! Let’s get one thing straight right now! No woman ever brings rape on herself! Never!”
“Thank you,” Alice said with a wan smile. “My mind knows that. It’s just my heart that won’t ever quite be convinced.”
“I understand,” said Heather, turning away, her eyes misting.
“Go on, please, ma’am,” prompted Phil Hightower.
“I went up to the room, I spoke to the Secret Service agent on guard outside, he let me in, it was their best suite, of course. Bill and Hillary were both there, and so I relaxed, I figured it was OK if she was there. I mean, like, what’s he going to do with his wife watching? They offered me a drink, which I accepted, and then they offered me a line of coke, which I didn’t. I don’t do drugs. We sat and talked for a while about general stuff, the movie business and politics. I noticed they were both snorting pretty heavy. Hillary keeps her coke in a compact in her purse, and Bill has a little leather case with a mirror and his works in pockets inside. Then all of a sudden they...” She fell silent.
“Yes?” prodded Matt softly.
“You won’t believe me. No one will.” said Alice Silverman, in her voice the despair of all the world’s end.
“Please continue, ma’am,” said Matt.
“She pulled a gun on me,” said Alice. “Hillary Clinton pulled out a pistol and pointed it at my head and told me to take off my clothes.”
“What?” shouted Cowboy, stunned.
Alice Silverman’s body shook like a leaf in a breeze. She was almost convulsive she was trembling so terribly at the memory. “I started to say something, Hillary kicked me to the floor, and Bill ripped a $17,000 Versace gown off me. By then I knew they were serious, I knew they were sky high and they might kill me, and if they did I’d end up lying in park somewhere as a so-called suicide. So I took off my bra and my panties by myself. It was like some kind of nightmare, like I wasn’t really there, like I was outside my body watching. The bra and the panties were intact afterwards, but the Versace gown was a shredded mess. Then when I was naked they fucked me,” she said lightly, in a giddy voice. “Both of them. Hillary held the gun on me while Bill fucked me, and got me pregnant, and then Bill held the gun on me while Hillary and me...oh God, I can’t speak of that. I can’t. Let’s just put it this way, she’s not a normal lesbian and she likes to do some really weird stuff, and we did it all. I don’t know who was having more fun, her or Bill. He was watching and...making comments and suggestions the whole time.” She leaned back in her chair, staring at the ceiling, her eyes half insane, tears coursing down her cheeks. “Hath no man’s dagger here a point for me?” she whispered. “That’s from Much Ado About Nothing, you know.” She looked at the horrified Redmond. “Matt, I don’t suppose I could persuade you to pull that famous .357 Magnum out and put a bullet in my head? Right now I want to be dead so bad I can taste it.”
“And what will happen to William if you die?” asked Heather, openly weeping.
“I know,” Alice replied.
“Why didn’t you abort the child?” asked Matt. “Our wonderful liberal democracy gives you the right to do that.”
“Look, I’m not a very good person,” said Alice. “In Hollywood sex is a tool and a weapon. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I haven’t been on the casting couch. It took a dirty weekend in Tijuana doing a menage à trois with a producer and his wife for me to get Nancy Drew, and I got Clones by blowing Sid Kaplan in the sauna in his office on no less than four occasions. I’m up for a major part, the female lead in Steven Spielberg’s next film, but to land it I have to get a certain woman executive producer in my corner, and before all this other came up I had already arranged to spend a weekend at her place on Catalina where I would have given her voluntarily what Hillary Clinton took by force. That’s one thing, that’s just business, nothing a good long hot bath can’t take care of. But killing a baby, a human life that moves inside you, that’s something else. You’re normal people and I know you think I’m glitterati trash, and I am, but I’m not baby-murdering trash. It wasn’t my baby’s fault that his father is a rapist and a son-of-a-bitch. And once he was born, once I saw his little face and held him in my arms and felt him wiggling and heard him chirping, I knew that something good had come of that terrible night. That’s what has kept me sane and kept the razor blade off my wrists. That’s why I continued to say nothing, even after the fear wore off for a while. God, you wouldn’t believe all the gossip in Hollywood about who his father is supposed to be!” she laughed in genuine merriment through her tears. “Everybody in pants from Bill Gates to Marlon Brando. If only they knew! He's mine, he’s not Bill Clinton’s. I thought he would be mine forever. But now his father is trying to take him away from me...”
Arthur Garza then made a gesture that endeared him to Heather forever. He rose in silence, walked over to the wretched woman sitting in the armchair, took her hand, bent low, and kissed it. Then he returned to his seat, without uttering a word. “Did you tell President Clinton that the child was his?” asked Helms.
“He wouldn’t take my phone calls. When William was born I wrote him a letter and sent it to the White House, and as far as I was concerned that was the end of it. I told him I never wanted him to come near the baby, that he was a disease and his wife was a monster and I wanted nothing to do with either of them ever again.”
“Which did wonders for his ego, I’m sure,” muttered Hightower.
“That letter may well have been your death warrant. Hillary has to have that New York Senate seat. As bad as it must steam her to have to wait for four year while Al Gore keeps her seat warm, she can’t just go leaping into the presidency without any formal experience in office, and she knows it. Did you get any answer from him?” asked Matt.
“Not then. Eventually I got an answer of a sort, yeah. The Coast Guard found his answer floating on the ocean in that yacht,” she said, shuddering. “They were after me,” she whispered in horror, staring at them. “I didn’t believe it, but that little guy Eddie, he told me all about it. He said they were going to kill us all on that boat, just to get my baby and me. Make it look like I got caught up in a drug deal gone bad, maybe blame it on Colombians or the Mob. They killed all those people anyway. I don’t know why.”
“How did you come to meet a gangster mook like Eddie DeMarco, Alice? How did you come to be mixed up with that business on the yacht at all?” asked Matt.
“I never heard anything from Clinton, time went by, and I thought it was all over. A guy named Bob Sipple who was big wheel with DuPont told me he had some heavy investment lined up for my production company, which is something I need. I want to be able to make my own pictures without having to rely on the usual Hollywood sources of financing, not to mention avoiding the casting couch. I was supposed to meet these people on the yacht during a cruise down to the Bahamas. Sipple sent a private jet for me, and as a kind of insurance I took along my secretary Carla Renfrew, and Serafina, who was William’s nanny, and the baby himself. Understand, I wasn’t worried about anything violent, I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t some kind of orgy some corporate big shots were planning with me as the star attraction. I get a lot of that kind of shit, and the presence of a baby with a nanny and a big battle-axe secretary hovering in the background kind of tends to dampen executive ardor, if you get my drift. So we get to Miami and everything looks cool, Bob sends a limo for us to take us down to Key Biscayne, and this guy Eddie is in the back. Say’s he’s the social director for another guy named Joey LaBrassy or something, I didn’t catch the name, who caters for executive retreats and whatnot. On the ride down he was playing with the baby and talking with Serafina, who was young and kind of sweet, and then...oh, I guess he must have had an attack of conscience or something.”
“Eddie Miami had a conscience?” asked Matt skeptically.
“Look, Matt, I know everyone tells me Eddie was a hood, and I guess he was, but he saved my life and my child’s life, and he never asked me for a cent!” returned Alice with some spirit.
“If he really was able to do a decent thing like that, after the life he led, and he came here to North Carolina only to be murdered for that one righteous act, then North Carolina owes him justice,” replied Matt grimly. “Go on, please, ma’am.”
“We get to Key Biscayne and park at the marina, and he sends the driver off to do something, then before we even get out of the limo he jumps in the driver’s seat and starts the engine and we’re roaring back out of town. We didn’t know what the hell was going on, I thought maybe I was being kidnaped, but Eddie gets a few miles out of town and pulls over onto the beach, and then he gets back in the back and he says, ‘Look, ladies, I gotta tell you. I’m a real scumbag, and I always figured there was nothing I wouldn’t do for money, but I can’t do dis thing. I can’t be a part of dis. I mean that’s a baby, for fuck’s sake! Dis whole thing is a setup, Alice. Dey’re going to kill you and dat baby. Bill Clinton has sentenced both of you to death.’ Those were his exact words. Then he told me. And I believed him, because it made sense. He didn’t know why, but he knew that Bill Clinton wanted my baby and me dead. That’s why it made sense to me, why I knew he was telling the truth.”
“What did he tell you, ma’am?” asked Matt urgently.
“When the yacht got out to sea we were to be intercepted by a speedboat, and three people were going to board the yacht and kill us all, with the help of Eddie and this guy Joey LaBrassy. They weren’t supposed to kill LaBrassy, he and Eddie were supposed to go back in the speedboat with an alibi all set up, but Eddie didn’t trust them. Okay, maybe that’s why he helped us, because he sensed they were going to kill him as well, but he was right, you all know what happened. Only they killed LaBrassy too, probably because I wasn’t there and they figured he’d double-crossed them.”
“Did he give you any names on these three assassins?” demanded Cowboy.
“Yeah. He said the leader was a guy named Bob Blanchard.”
Bob Blanchette?” shouted Matt and Phil Hightower at the same time.
“Yes, that was the name,” replied Alice, nodding.
“Who’s Blanchette?” asked Helms. “You both seem to recognize the name.”
“A murdering psychopath,” hissed Phil. “A world-class hired assassin from what we call the Dixie Mafia. That son of a bitch has killed at least four people in North Carolina that we know of, Senator, but we’ve never been able to lay a finger on him! For years I have wanted Bob Blanchette’s ass in that Green Room down at Central Prison so bad I could taste it!”
“The Three Musketeers!” exclaimed Cowboy Garza. “Hell, we’ve heard of them in San Antonio! We know they did a couple of jobs in Texas as well, real smooth hits, not a fragment of evidence we could work into any kind of real case. They cut off the head of some federally-protected witness down in Houston and sent the head to the DA. The Texas Rangers use Bob Blanchette’s picture as a target on the pistol range. Matt, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts they did the DeMarco killing! It’s their style, all right.”
“I won’t take that bet, Cowboy, because I think so too,” said Matt with satisfaction. “Alice, let me guess. The other two were a killer slut named Karen Martin and a big mountain muscleman named Luther Lambert. Am I right?”
“You got it,” replied Alice.
“So what happened after Eddie Miami had his conscience attack?” Matt pressed her.
“I was pretty freaked, and so were Carla and Serafina. Carla wanted to go to the police, but what could any Florida cop do against the President of the United States? Eddie asked us if we would trust him. I said yes, what else could I do? I could hardly think straight. He said he would arrange for us to hide in a safe place while he contacted you, Mr. Redmond. I knew your name, I saw that article about you in People Magazine when I was a teenager and I also saw those stories they did on you on TV. He told me this weird story about you being the best cop in the whole country and the only one who wasn’t afraid of Clinton, how you were supposed to have had this big gunfight with some big FBI honcho and a team of assassins from the CIA and killed them all and gotten away with it. Sounds almost like a screenplay. Is that story true?”
“More or less,” admitted Matt, exchanging a rueful smile with his wife Heather. [See “Fire and Rain” - Author]  “That’s a long story and not germane to the present situation, but I’ll tell you about it when time permits. What happened next?”
“Eddie put us up in a cheap motel that night, and then the next day he took us to meet this gay guy he knew, a man named McKinney. He didn’t want to use any of his regular contacts because he didn’t know who he could trust, he said this McKinney was the best of a bad lot. McKinney wanted money, I wasn’t too impressed with him, but I was scared and I figured I kind of better go with the flow. I gave him ten thousand dollars, and he took us to this beach house in Fort Pierce, a nice place, where he said no one would be able to find us. Eddie said he was going to come up here and tell you what was going on, Mr. Redmond. The next morning we hear that the boat was found with on the ocean with all the people on board dead, and when I heard that I was willing to go along with anything Eddie said, I was so scared. Eddie was scared too. He came up here, and then the morning after that we heard on the news that he had been killed as well.” Alice was shaking in terror. “Look, have any of you got a cigarette?” Heather quietly took a pack of Virginia Slims out of her purse and handed it to her along with a Bic.
“Sure you can spare them?” asked Matt with a chuckle.
“I’m down to five of these butts a day, and look who’s talking with those big Dominican stinkers of yours!” she said.
“And how many does Tori sneak out of your pack per day?” asked Matt.
“Two or three,” she said with a smile. “Our daughter is of legal age now and she could buy her own, but she knows we don’t approve so she still acts like a teenager,” Heather explained to an amused Helms. “She’s a big fan of yours, Alice, and before all of this you’re going to have to meet her or she’ll never forgive us.”
Alice lit the cigarette. “I’m like Mark Twain. I can quit any time I want. I know, because I’ve done it a hundred times,” she said.
“What happened after you heard DeMarco had been murdered, ma’am?” prodded Phil.
“That night, when we were about ready to say to hell with it and catch a plane back to L.A. and try and sort it all out from home, Serafina comes in and says there is a car in the driveway,” said Alice, tears starting to course down her cheeks again. “Somehow, I don’t know how, we all knew that, that....that it was them. Carla and Serafina thrust William into my arms and told me to run. I’m confused, then all of a sudden the front door just crashes in and this...” Her hand was shaking and her whole body trembling again. “This thing comes through, this giant with a forked beard and tattoos of tears running down his face into his beard and he’s carrying two axes, one in each hand. I am going to see that face in my dreams for the rest of my life. He was Death, and I knew it. I just ran, God forgive me, I left my friends there to die, oh, please dear God, forgive me, I left them there to die, and I ran out through a basement door with William, and as I ran away I heard them screaming, oh God those terrible screams...” She broke down and sobbed for a time.
“That would have been Luther Lambert. He’s a two-axe man, if I recall correctly. Do you remember the address of the house, ma’am?” asked Matt softly.

“5930 Indian River Parkway,” whispered Alice in agony.
“I’ll call the police in Fort Pierce,” said Phil, quietly taking out his cell phone.
“How do you think they found you, Alice?” asked Cowboy Garza.
“I guess McKinney sold us out. He was a bit too pleased about that ten grand I gave him. I guess he wanted more and he got it. Anyway, there’s not much more to tell. I got to an ATM and drew my max amount on three or four of my credit cards, so I had some money and I could buy some bottles and formula for William and all, but I was scared to book a flight because they might trace me through the airline. I ended up coming here to Raleigh on a Greyhound bus, a twenty-six hour trip because the bus seemed to stop at every little town in the Okeefenokee and wandered through half South Carolina to get here. I was looking for you, Mr. Redmond, but I didn’t know where to find you. I ended up in the Raleigh bus station at four in the morning with my baby in my arms, and the only North Carolina person I could think of who might know where to find you was Senator Helms, so I looked you up in the phone book at the bus station, Senator, and I took a cab here and pounded on your door until I woke you up.”
“And thus by sheer luck you came to four of the few men in this country who have the balls to stand up to Clinton,” said Cowboy. “You’re a lucky lady.”
“Four, Cowboy?” asked Matt pointedly. “You in on this? If you’d rather not, there will be no hard feelings, buddy. I mean that.”
“I don’t like rapists, and I don’t like men who kill people, and I damned sure don’t like men who try to kill babies,” said Cowboy shortly. “I’m in, Matt.”
“Good man,” said Helms approvingly.
“McKinney will be our first lead...oh, shit, I keep forgetting I’m not a fed any more!” snapped Matt. “I’m a pissant North Carolina gumshoe! No offense, Phil.”
“None taken,” said Phil. He spoke into the phone. “Hello? Who is this? Detective Lozano? Detective, this is Philip Hightower. I am the director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, calling from Raleigh. I have a report from a CI that indicates there may be a double homicide down there on your turf. You need to check out an address at 5930 Indian River Parkway, Fort Pierce.”
“What’s a CI?” asked Alice.
“Confidential informant,” said Heather. “See, Holmes, I have picked up a thing or two hanging around you.”
“Ah, Heather, I thought your husband’s name was Matt?” asked Alice curiously.
“He’s the Southern Sherlock Holmes, according to the tabloid media, and so I ended up as Watson,” explained Heather.
“A real Watson,” said Matt. He turned to Helms. “She figured out why there were no dead bodies in a car we pulled out of Quarry Lake in Chapel Hill before I did, and that time down in Lumberton Heather realized who Mr. Bones was before I did. She’s not here just for decoration, Senator, believe me.” Hightower finished his conversation and clicked his phone shut.
“The Fort Pierce cops are on their way to that house,” he said. “Okay, Matt, what do we do now? First question, do we tell that fine thang from the FBI that we have Alice Silverman and her baby on ice? My gut says no.”
“My gut and yours are in agreement, Phil, but my mental jury is still out on Agent Weinmann. If she’s straight, she could be of immense help. If she’s bent, letting her know about this could be a fatal mistake.”
“Who’s Agent Weinmann?” asked Alice.
“An FBI Special Agent assigned by Washington to find you,” said Matt. “Kind of a real life Agent Scully, very smart and very efficient. She was here yesterday, now she’s down in Florida looking for you. When the Fort Pierce cops find the house and....possibly find your secretary and your nanny, although maybe they were able to get away...”
“Carla and Serafina are dead,” said Alice dismally, hanging her head.
“I hope you’re wrong, but in any case, Special Agent Andrea Weinmann and her team will be on that place like white on rice, and they'll pick up your trail to Raleigh very quickly. If for no other reason, they will guess you’re here because Mr. Hightower reported the beach house to the Fort Pierce police. They'll find this character McKinney, and they will squeeze him dry of every ounce of information. The FBI are sons and daughters of bitches, but they are very good at what they do when they put their minds to it. Alice, this is your life and your baby’s life we’re talking about. I do not recommend that you involve Agent Weinmann at this time, but I may be wrong about that. I honestly don’t know whether she can be trusted or not.”
“If she's with the FBI, then Janet Reno is her boss, and Bill Clinton is Janet Reno’s boss, and Hillary is Bill Clinton’s boss,” said Alice. “I know that much. No. No FBI until Senator Helms talks to the...talks to that man.”
“So what do we do?” asked Phil. “Our SBI budget doesn’t run to safe houses.”
“Keep them here,” said Helms immediately. “Even Clinton and Reno’s thugs will think twice about trying any rough stuff in my home.”
“With all due respect, sir, you're wrong,” said Matt firmly. “If Weinmann is bent, then her orders are to kill Alice and the baby, or else set her up for the Three Musketeers. They'll know we've gotten ahead of them because we knew about the Fort Pierce beach house, and when you see the president about this they will know you're involved. Again, with all due respect, sir, I have doubts about whether you will be able to call off Clinton and his dogs. My guess is that thirty minutes after you leave Clinton’s office this house will be visited, by Weinmann and her crew with a warrant if you’re lucky, and by the Three Musketeers with their axes if you’re not. I think I know you well enough to know that you understand the risk to yourself....”
Helms waved it aside. “I’m an old man, Matt. I’ve pretty much done what I come here to do, and I can’t think of any more honorable way to make my exit than resisting the Clintons’ evil. I don’t think they’d dare, but if I’m wrong, I was still right, if you get my meaning. But the same holds true for you, you know. They know DeMarco was coming to you before he was killed, and now they can figure out that it was to make a deal over Alice and the baby. When this Weinmann woman tracks her back up here to North Carolina, she’ll come to you after she comes to me.”
“We got to stash them,” said Cowboy. “But where?”
“You need to stay in the state, Matt, to make sure you still have jurisdiction and legal authority as a law enforcement officer,” said Phil.
“The Purloined Letter,” said Matt. “Where is the best place to hide something? Right under the noses of the people who are searching.”
“So where do we stash the Purloined Movie Star and little William?” asked Heather, cradling the sleeping baby’s head on her shoulder.    
“The RDU Sheraton,” said Matt. “Practically within sight of where Eddie DeMarco was killed. The manager owes me a rather large favor, since I pretended to believe he was unaware of the fact that one of his accountants was robbing the Sheraton chain blind and he wasn’t looking the other way in exchange for evenings of illicit passion with the woman in question in the Executive Suite. Couldn’t have proved a damned thing anyway. He will look the other way for us as well, while we all register under false names, and he can arrange for one room to be cleaned and changed by Heather and me with no nosy maids coming in. Alice, I hope you like daytime TV and room service meals, because you’re going to be getting a lot of both. Either myself or Cowboy here will be with you, 24 hours per day, strapped and loaded for bear.”
“They come for you, they gonna have to get past me first,” said Garza. “I been a cop for thirty years, ma’am, and ain’t nobody got past me yet.”
“All this sound kosher to you, Alice?” asked Matt.
“How long?” asked Alice directly. “How long must I hide? How long can I hide? You know, it’s not like I’m unknown. I’ve already missed a promo shoot for the Schwarzenegger film I did, Thunder Over Havana, and I’ve missed an appearance on Tinseltown Talk. I’m sure the word is already going through the Hollywood grapevine that I’ve disappeared, and I know Jake Shapiro, my agent, is going absolutely batshit.”
 “He is the one who brought in the FBI,” said Matt. “Alice, you must not have any contact with him at all. He hears from you, he’ll contact Weinmann.”
Alice looked at Helms, “Senator, please, you have to tell me. What if you can’t persuade him to leave us alone? How are you going to call off Clinton and his assassins?”
“I must confess, sir, I am rather interested in how you intend to do that myself,” put in Matt.
Helms sighed. “You know I’m the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Some months ago we acquired proof that Clinton personally approved the sale of some very dangerous technology to the Red Chinese in exchange for five million dollars siphoned through assorted fronts into his personal legal defense fund.”
“And you did nothing with this evidence of treason?” demanded Hightower angrily.
“Actually, Mr. Hightower, we were going to take a second run at impeachment, if you can believe that,” said Helms wearily. “Then the original source for the material was found dead in his apartment. Someone hacked him to death with an ax. Two days later the woman who was our secondary source pulled up to a stoplight in Arlington, Virginia. A car pulled up next to her and someone in that car shot the woman through the head with a .410 shotgun slug. The police are treating it as an attempted carjacking. We got the message.” Helms looked up at them. “Miss Silverman, I believe that Bill Clinton’s goal right now is to ride out the last of his term with no more scandals, which is probably why he's coming after you and your baby. We can no longer threaten him with impeachment over this little matter of betraying the United States to a foreign power. But one word from me to Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge and the Washington Times and a few others, and it could sure as hell wreck Hillary’s Senate chances in New York. I think he’ll see reason. For your sake, I hope so.”
“And what if he refuses?” asked Alice, her face white with fear. “Or what if he promises to leave us alone and then keeps on trying to kill us...?”
“You have one ultimate weapon, Alice,” said Heather. “You can go public. Go to the media and tell your story.”
“And lose everything I have?” said Alice bitterly. “And never work in Hollywood again? And be lucky if I can get a part in summer stock or dinner theater in Fresno? And probably end up working in a laundromat in San Jose to keep myself and William fed and clothed and keep a roof over our heads? And be viciously slimed like all the others, Gennifer Flowers and Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey...oh, damn him! God damn him! God damn them both!” she cried, weeping, beating her hands helplessly on the armchair.
“Alice, I can’t promise you that you won’t end up in that laundromat,” said Matt. “That is beyond my power. I can only promise you that you and your baby will be alive to meet whatever the future brings you.”
“Fair enough,” she said, standing up, her face calm. “Let’s get on with it.”


Blogger brian boru said...

I was always surprised that the Clintons didn't cause you to have an accident over this book. It's not as if the system would do anything about it, as I'm sure that soulless bitch Hillary is aware.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great read Harold, like all your others. Can one purchase this book from you as opposed to Amazon? What order are the other books you've written to be read in? Someone with a Facebook account should comment on the article.

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Funny how you mentioned the "Dixie Mafia," and then some years later there they are, in news, whacking one of their own.

Dave 05282013 / 0652

6:52 AM  
Blogger The Old Man said...


Sure. You can buy all my books directly from me if you like.


6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I damn sure better be able to. I don't want the money going to Amazon. What order are we supposed to read them in? Don't forget about this blog or updates from Canada. Also, when you make updates to Canadian events, please make certain to use the Red Ensign.

4:19 AM  

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