Special Agent Joshua “Perco” Perkins walked at a brisk pace towards his superiors’ office. He had no idea why the call was so urgent, but having been in the Secret Service these few years had taught him to never question; simply obey. As he arrived at the Directors office, the secretary rose and rapped sharply at the door, opened it, and waved Josh in.
Apart from the requisite portrait of The President, and a bevy of flags, the room was quite sparse. The Director, sitting behind his massive oak desk, looked older than when Josh had last seen him. His hair thinning and his paunch having increased in girth gave him a bloated look. He appeared for all concerned to be a man who had spent far too many nights pouring over documents, caught up in the bureaucratic nightmare of the present administration, all the while preparing for a new administration that would surely have effects on his department. It was all the talk amongst the younger agents these days. Who would be the next President and what would it mean to the men and women that would be delegated to protect him.
Without so much as a hello, and without raising his eyes from the folder before him, the Director asked Josh to take a seat.
“Special Agent Perkins. Are you aware of a person or persons calling themselves The Patriot?”
Josh looked at the Director now staring him squarely in the eyes awaiting his response. Cool blue eyes; piercing and dangerous.
“No sir, I have not.”
The Director returned his gaze to the open file before him.
“I’m not surprised. Until today, I hadn’t heard of him either. I see that you were an outstanding cadet at Rowley Training Center. What I am about to ask you could very well put that training to the test. We have a delicate situation on our hands here and we feel that you are the man for the job.”
Josh felt his throat squeezing and his stomach muscles tightening. Whatever was going down, it sounded dangerous. Still, this is what he was trained to do; without question.
The Director continued.
“We received a letter that was addressed to The Washington Post and signed The Patriot. This letter states that Senator Alex McCulloch is an enemy to the people of America and to quote, ’should be shot down in the street like the mongrel dog that he is.’ And that, to us Special Agent Perkins, represents a clear and present threat to possibly the next President of The United States Of America. We believe that this is an idle threat from the mind of some disillusioned nutcase. However, we take no threats against the lives of the people we serve mildly. I want this crazy son of a bitch brought in Agent Perkins! I want it done quietly and I want it done fast!
My secretary has a folder for you that contains all the information we have on this so far. The actual letter has gone off to the lab for analysis. You will get the results as soon as they come in. You have a free hand to use any means possible, and that includes personnel, to catch this idiot before he causes any more trouble. And one last thing. I understand that you have a friend, Special Agent Sam Banks, who works with the FBI?”
Josh cleared his throat and swallowed hard at spit that was not forthcoming.
“Yes sir. We were in the Academy together. We were roommates and have remained friends.”
“Good. The FBI is aware of this and we have spoken with Agent Banks’ superiors. Getting this Patriot fellow will be a joint effort and Special Agent Banks is being briefed as we speak. He will be your partner on this mission. But make no mistake Special Agent Perkins. You are to report to this office only! I am prepared to collaborate; but only so far! Are we clear on that?”
Josh looked at that clear blue stare once more and knew the full meaning of the Directors last words.
“Very much so sir, yes.”
“Good. Helen will give you the file on your way out. Good hunting and keep me posted. That’s all Agent Perkins. You are excused.”
Senator Davis Flatt stared at the the three men facing him; a murderous rage contorting his features.
“Have you all lost your god damned minds? Do you know the money, time and effort that I have put into this campaign? I should fire all your sorry asses and be done with it! How the hell can this countrys’ biggest Union decide to go over to that fucking McCulloch’s camp? How did this happen?”
“Senator Flatt, I was,,”
“Shut your god damned mouth or I’ll rip your tongue out! These things tend to have a domino effect. Once one goes over, the others gain confidence. Before you know it, that bastard McCulloch will get them all. That cannot and will not happen! I’ll put forward a motion for arbitration on every bloody contract that is outstanding! And, we will own the judges! It will not go well with them, I swear it!”
“Senator, may I say something?”
Senator Flatt rose and walked over to the window, staring blankly at the world, now passing him by.
“I honestly don’t know why I even try sometimes. Maybe the people of this great country aren’t worth saving. Say what you have to say, than get the hell out of my office!”
The three men looked at each other in disbelief. For the first time in their lives, Davis Flatt sounded utterly rejected and full of remorse and loathing self pity.
“Senator, I would be amiss in not advising you that your strategy of implying sanctions on the unions and business concerns of America is blowing up in our faces. They are not taking kindly to it. In fact, they see it as a sort of strong arm tactic to garnish their support. McCulloch is talking about downsizing the Military budget and putting that money into programs that support Americans buying products made in America. This all translates into bringing the boys home and creating new employment. A pie in the sky approach, I agree, but the people seem to love it. We have got to develop a new strategy, fast!”
Flatt looked out at the Washington sky, and for a moment imagined the blue skies of Texas. A calmness returned to him as he turned to face the three men awaiting his response.
“Get out of my office! Get out now!”
Flatt wandered over to his desk as the three men scampered out. As he sat down, his thoughts drifted off to Texas, and the wide plains where he grew up. He could almost smell the air; scented with desert rose and sagebrush and sand. Dry and warm. He almost smiled. Almost.
Staring at the phone, his thoughts returned to McCulloch. No, he would not be cheated out of his moment in history! Not McCulloch; not his incompetent staff; not the greedy unions and hungry corporate America; no one would cheat him! Not now, never!
As he reached out, the phone rang.
“Bill? I was just about to call you. What? Who? Who the hell is the Patriot? Oh shit! When? The FBI and the Secret Service? Bill, shut it down! Do it now! Shut it all down! We’ll resume when this wild ass is caught. You shut it down now Bill! You hear me? DO IT NOW!”
Davis slammed the phone down and made his way over to the bar, poured a large Wild Turkey and gulped it down in one swift swallow. He grimaced as the whiskey made its way down his throat and wandered back over to the large windows and stared out.
Texas and home were far away. He never felt so alone in his life. He imagined McCulloch in his office, wringing his hands in glee at having won over the biggest union in the country and that thought made Senator Davis Flatt an even more dangerous man. He would bide his time, for now. But McCulloch had to die!