Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Walk in the Park                                                  

 This work has been posted before, but I did so chapter by chapter, and quite frankly it was a bit confusing to readers.  So, here it is, all together in one posting.

I had finally escaped the office for 3 days of hiking in the Okanogan National Forest in my home state of Washington.  Just me, my sleeping bag, and a 50-pound backpack filled with all the comforts of, well, maybe not home, but close enough.  Half way up the side of the ridge I decided to take the path least traveled, picking my way between loose gravel and broken rocks, I was sure going to give my new hiking boots a good workout.

Once up over the ridge, and down into a hollow I saw a huge field of beautiful wildflowers.  I could not resist.  I dropped my pack and grabbed my new 7 mega-pixel camera and tripod.  I framed the shot in the picture viewer, and set camera to “Trap Focus” so it would capture every movement once I was on my mark.  Like a little girl I bounded to the spot I figured to be center frame and I started mugging for the camera.

CLICK… I looked to my right, and there in the tall grass I thought I saw something. 

CLICK… I jumped up to get a better view.
CLICK…  It was an injured hiker.  I started to tremble.  He was bleeding profusely from a large cut on his neck. 

CLICK… As I approached him I could see he was blinking so I knew he was alive.

CLICK…  I took out my phone to call 911 and …CLICK.

Three months later.

“Ranger base, this is Ranger 2 over.”

“Go ahead Ranger 2, over.”

“Mike, I’m circling the Northwest side of Hadley ridge. I’m observing what looks like a discarded backpack in a field, and some matted grass not far off, I’m going to set it down and take a closer look. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger 2, and Jim-bo, report your progress to base every 15 minutes, over.”

“Affirmative Ranger base, Ranger 2, over and out.”

Jim Maguire was an experienced pilot.  The landing was a piece of cake.  He put his chopper down right between the backpack and the matted patch of grass.

What do we have we here … a camera on a tripod… the backpack is intact … Oh OK this must have been where the camera was packed away.  Camera’s dead.  Kind of pointing at that patch of tall grass and the matted patch over there.  Where the heck is our photographer friend at?

I started walking to the patch of matted grass that I had seen from the air.

What the heck was he filming …. Whoa, what’s this? Oh Crap.  I ran back to my chopper as quick as I could.

“Ranger base, Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2, Do you copy.”

“Ranger 2, this is Ranger Base, why so excited Jim-bo?”

“Looks like a lot of blood, but I don’t think it was a deer hunter.  Maybe was, maybe not.  I can’t find signs of a gut pile anywhere.  That abandoned equipment is giving me a bad feeling. I think we better get the State Troopers up here with a test kit to check it out. Over.”

“Roger Jim-bo, I’ll get a hold of State and see what they want to do, but don’t hold your breath, the State Fair in Calhoun has them stretched pretty thin. Over.”

“Ranger 2 standing by. Over”

“Ranger 2 this is Ranger Base, over.”

“Ranger Base, go ahead Mike, over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo State is real interested, they think every runaway kid and escaped nut heads for our pretty little park.  They’re gonna chopper in a team to your coordinates, ETA 2 hours.”

“Crap, Mike call my mom and tell her not to hold dinner.”

“Roger Jim-bo, Ranger Base standing by.”

“Ranger 2 standing by.”

State was interested all right; they had their team on site in an hour and a half.  It took them all of 5 minutes after touching down to prove the dried blood I discovered was not only human, but also that it was from 2 different people.

Well, past experience told me that at this point the State folks would ignore me like a piece of crap so I went back to my chopper and sat comfortably in the pilots seat while they went about their business.  Surprisingly, after about an hour the head of the crime scene team came over and sat in my co-pilots position.

“How much daylight we have left up here Ranger?”

“Dusk in .. oh… half an hour … dark as a witch’s cape in two.”

The lead CSI stepped out of my chopper and yelled to his crew, “OK People, lets wrap it up, pack it up, and move this investigation indoors.”

CRACK.  The unmistakable sound of a rifle shot tore through the crisp mountain air and the lead CSI’s head exploded in a spray red mist.  Instinctively I grabbed my rifle and dove out the door of my chopper as two more shots were fired and the windscreen directly in front of my Pilots position was shattered.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, he put 3 rounds into the State chopper.  CRACK, and a streak of red, a tracer round shattered against the engine compartment of the State chopper.  CRACK-Streak, a second tracer round smashed into the State bird, and that was it. Black smoke and a little bit of flame signaled the end of the State choppers flight log, and the shooter had inadvertently told me what part of the woods he was shooting from.  The shooter had forgotten a cardinal rule; tracers work both ways.

I settled into my position, and got ready to return fire. Then heroics took charge of the situation, or stupidity interfered.  It depends on how you look at it.  A young female CSI ran to the burning State chopper to retrieve some evidence she had already stowed on board, and CRACK, she caught one in the hip. Their Pilot reacted by getting up on his knees and ineffectively returning fire with his .38 caliber service revolver. CRACK, he caught a bullet in his chest, and paid the ultimate price.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, the shooter was putting armor piercing rounds into my chopper’s engine compartment now.  I settled in over my sight and waited for the tracers.  Crack-Clang, the third armor piercing round, now if he were a creature of habit, he would sign his death warrant with tracers.

CRACK-Streak … POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP, I fired half my clip at his position.  The resulting dead silence was only broken by the moans of the wounded CSI who was lying dangerously close to the State chopper, now fully engulfed in flame.

I had to do something.  I jumped to my feet, and dropped to the ground quickly to see if I would draw any fire.  Nothing. Good.  I got into a low crawl position and darted a few yards, and dropped to the ground again.  Still, no more gunfire coming from the tree line.  The shooter was dead, wounded, gone, or playing possum. 

I made for the state bird and pulled the wounded CSI clear of the burning hulk.  Once I was sure she was OK I made my way back to my bird and got on the radio.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday.  Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2. 

“Ranger Base, what is your emergency Ranger 2? Over.”

“Shots fired, 3 officers down. Choppers disabled, no egress available. Need medevac stat. Over.”

“Jim-bo, stay down boy, I’m gonna call the cavalry.  Mayday Mayday, Shots fired, Officers down, all stations respond.”

“Ranger Base, Ranger 1 available, and standing by.”

“Ranger Base, this is County Air Rescue. We are on the pad at Memorial, and available. Over.”

“Ranger 1 this is Ranger Base.  Get in the ATV and make your way along the firebreak to the Northwest side of Hadley ridge.  Wear your night vision equipment and report anything hot.  We got us a shooter out there.  Do not approach, just report.  You got that son?”

“Affirmative Base.  Ranger 1, on my way, ETA 3 hours.  Ranger 1 out.”

 “County Air Rescue, this is Ranger Base.”

“C.A.R. is by, Go ahead Ranger Base.”

“CAR, we have not yet ascertained if the area is safe.  I can’t expect you to go in there, but we got Officers Down.”

 “Ranger Base, I have 2 Sheriffs Department Deputies on board with me and my EMT.  We are in route.  ETA 30 minutes”

“God bless ya CAR. Stand by for Comm. instructions.”

CAR, this is Ranger Base.  Tune to Ranger Frequency 191.7 Repeat, 191.7, and radio check when you get there. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger Base, One Nine-er One, dot Seven.  Ranger Base this is County Air Rescue on One Nine-er One, dot Seven, do you copy?”

“Ranger Base has you 5 by 5 CAR. Over”

“County Air Rescue, this is Ranger 2, that you Shaky?”

“Ranger 2, Damn Jim-bo, what’s goin’ on down there? Over.”

“CAR I’ve got 2 KIA and one Whiskey-IA.  The Whiskey needs immediate evac, she’s lost a lot of blood.  Be careful. We had a shooter in the tree line.  He’s been quiet since I unloaded a half clip of .308 at him. He’s either dead, dieing, or boogying out. Over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo, I have visual on a fire up on the ridge.”

“Affirmative Shaky, that’s the States bird.  Come in from due South of it.  My chopper is disabled and will be 20 yards to the 8 o’clock position of the fire.  The area to the 4 o’clock of the fire is open flat field.  Clear for landing.”

“Roger that Ranger 2.  I’m going to make a pass over the landing zone with my Infra Red before putting her down. Over”

“All Rangers on frequency, this is CAR.  I have one heat signature next to the creek, just inside the tree line on the north end of the field.  I have one possible weapon, and no movement.  I’m coming round to the South to put her down.  How’s our Whiskey –I-A doing Jim-bo? Over.”

“She’s hanging in there CAR. Ranger 2 out.”

Shaky put his bird down right where we needed it.  There was no gunfire from the tree line.  Shaky got to my position next to the wounded CSI with a stretcher and a field dressing kit.  He patched her up and we carried her back to the Rescue Bird while the EMT checked over the two other CSI and confirmed what I already knew.  The two Sheriffs Deputies split left and right and leapfrogged each other as they made their way to the tree line at the north end of the field.

The EMT joined us at the chopper and tended to the wounded CSI.  Shaky jumped into his pilots seat, and I stepped off the Rescue chopper and yelled at Shaky.

“Shaky.  This is my park, I’ll catch the next ride.”

We gave each other a “thumbs up” as Shaky hit the throttle and took our surviving casualty to the hospital.

I stood around for 20 minutes or so in the cool mountain air with only two silent corpses to keep me company.  They lay there in the flickering shadows of the field illuminated by the State choppers slowly dying firelight, and the half moon rising in the twilight.

“Hello the camp!”

“Come on in Deputy.”  One of the Sheriff’s men joined me back at my chopper.

“How do Ranger, I’m Paul.  Ronny is back with the shooter.  Bastard’s breathing, but he ain’t gonna make it till morning.  He’s just about all bled out.  You got him good in the thigh.  Let’s get County Rescue back here quick.”

I ran the few steps to my cockpit and grabbed the radio microphone. 

“CAR this is Ranger 2.  CAR, Ranger 2, over.”

“CAR this is Ranger 2.  Come in CAR this is Ranger 2, over.”

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  I’m on final approach to the hospital.  What’s up Jim-bo? Over.”

“Shaky.  Turn it around as quick as you can, the shooter is still alive. Over”

“Affirmative good buddy.  You might want to know; Doc gave our Whiskey CSI an I.V. and she has a big ol’ smile on her face.  I’m on my way back to you just as soon as they roll her into emergency.  Over.”

There was silence on the radio.

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  You copy?”

“Ranger 2?  Ranger 2 do you copy. Over?”

“Yeah I got ya Shaky.  Cancel that return trip.  Nothing left to do up here but a morgue run.  It can wait till daylight. Over.”

While Shaky was giving me the good news about the CSI with the slug in her hip, Deputy Ronny had joined us at camp, carrying the scoped hunting rifle used by the shooter.

“You sure Ronny?”

“Yes Sir.  He started to rattle in his chest right before he stopped breathing. Sure enough he peed and crapped his pants.  He’s done, put a fork in ‘em.”

“Now Ronny you get back up there and make sure the critters don’t mess up the body.  I’ll be down here with the Ranger and the two victims.”

“Yes Sir.”

Three weeks later I was instructed to report to State police Headquarters wearing my dress uniform for “a Little Something Special.”  When I got there I met a number of Police officials, and a very pretty young CSI on crutches.  Shaky was right, she had quite a nice smile.  This was not going to be a ceremony in the usual sense of the word.  I wasn’t going to get a medal or even a citation.  What I was going to get was a special showing of the digital pictures on that camera I had found in the field back when this all started.

I took a seat next to my attractive young CSI lady friend. Lights out. 

Click, a Turkey Buzzard flying high. 
Click, a duck in a creek. 
Click, wild flowers. 
Click, the back of a young girl in shorts, tank top and a bandana, running. 
Click, same girl sitting near the flowers. 
Click, she is standing up, looking at something. 
Click, she is moving almost completely out of frame. 
Click, she is kneeling, but only her boots are in frame. 
Click, oh no, from the other side of the frame, is it a bear? 
Click, no, it’s a man in camouflage, holding a huge knife. 
Click, I can’t watch the screen.  I turn my head and I watch the young CSI’s eyes instead. 
Click, her eyes flinch just a bit. 
Click, she turns her head just for a second, then returns her professional gaze back to the screen.  Click, her eyes start to get wet. 
ClickClick … a single tear runs from her eye and down her soft young cheek. 
ClickClick, she turns to look at me, both our faces wet with tears. 

I help her to her feet, and we leave the room together.

A Walk in the Park, Chapter 2

This is a continuation of “The Original 6 Page Work Called A Walk in the Park,  Posted on this Blog on  9/24/12   Be sure to read that one first……….

I watched Special Agent Mills as she walked from the edge of my bed to the kitchen wearing nothing but my dress shirt.  She still had a slight limp, and she should be using her crutches, but after last night I might be the one who needs crutches this morning.  You never would have known that she had been shot in the hip less than two months ago.

She started opening cupboard doors looking for the coffee.

“It’s in the middle one, on the right-hand side.”

“Got it.”

It was instant, but I live alone.  I go to the local coffee shop on the corner if I want something special.

I was mesmerized by her figure as she bent over and searched the contents of my refrigerator for something eatable.

“Not much of a foodie are you Jim?”

“I’m only here one week out of any given month Tina.  You should see my spread up on the mountain, beats the pants off of this apartment hands down.”

Tina returned to the bedroom, and sat on her knees at the end of my bed.  “Now if you have no ham and eggs, what are we gonna do all morning?”  She leaned forward, straddled my legs, and started to crawl up the bed.

 I love the mountains.  I’ve always been a mountain man.  With the top half of my dress shirt hanging open, I had a perfect view of Tina’s mountains.  When she was face to face with me she kissed me.

“That place of yours in the park belongs to the Federal Government, Ranger Jim.” 

With that she tossed off the bed sheet and slowly settled herself down on top of me.  Yippie-ki-yay, the cowgirl rides again.

“Call me?”

“Hell yes darlin’. My momma didn’t raise no fool.”

We smiled, we laughed, we kissed, and we said good-bye.  I watched her 2-door sedan pull out of town headed north.  I straddled the gas tank of my motorcycle and kicked it over, then I left a trail of dust heading west to the Ranger station.

On that long lonely ride I had plenty to think about.  I was close to 10 years older than her.  She was smart.  She was pretty, and she was in my head after just one night.  I started an in depth discussion with myself as to when would be the best time to call her.  Tonight? No way, too soon.  Tomorrow? Maybe, that would be cool, yet caring.

As I turned up the road to the National Park Welcome Center my cell phone started to vibrate.  I nervously pulled over and answered it on the first ring.


“Yo Jim-bo this is Mike.”  My disappointment at hearing it was Mike, my Supervisor, and not Tina was immediate and deep.

“What’s up Mike?”

“Jim-bo I got a call.  They want me down in Tahoe to supervise a forest fire fuel reduction effort.  I only expect to be gone for two weeks.  If you haven’t guessed son, you will be acting Supervisor while I’m gone.  I left a rotation schedule for the Fire Watchtower assignments on my desk.  Anybody gives you any crap about an assignment, kick ass and take names.”

“Two weeks Mike?”

“More than likely son.  I am sure you can handle it, any problems radio dispatch should be able to get me.”

“OK Mike.  Just make sure you run the other way when those lumberjacks yell TIMBER!”

“Will do Jim-bo, will do.  Bye.”

“Bye Mike.” Crap.  Two weeks of playing boss.  Two weeks of not daring to take any time off.  Two weeks of not being able to see Tina.

Tina had a long drive back to her place.  Her place?  Not really.  She had been living with John for three years, one happy, one sad, and one miserable as all Hell.  In the past year John had turned into a controlling and manipulative ogre. She didn’t want to move back home, but that would be the only option available in her immediate future. 

One night with Jim had been the catalyst to her courage.  The final straw, the missing piece to the puzzle, now found, the picture of what she had to do was complete.  Even if it was not Jim tomorrow, it was Jim last night, and that was good enough. She was finally certain that there would be life after John, maybe even love. She just hoped that John would not be there when she got back.

It wouldn’t be like she would just show up on her mother’s doorstep.  They had been talking regularly for the past year, ever since Tina’s father had passed away.  Her mother was lonely, and would welcome her back, or so Tina reasoned.

Tina filled the back seat of her car with her clothes, and took those things she had brought into the relationship back out with her.  She took her CDs, and left his, and so on through the apartment, except for the TV remote.  The big-screen TV was Johns, but she took the remote control because she knew that would piss John off the most.

Tina drove up to her mother’s house and parked by the white picket fence.  Her mother was outside picking weeds in the flower garden.  Tears started to drip down Tina’s cheek as she opened the gate and slowly walked up the path to her mother.  Tina’s mom looked at her daughter’s face, and the pile of clothing in the back seat of the car.  She knew.  She opened her arms and embraced her daughter.  They walked quietly inside and had a cup of tea and a good cry.  Tina’s room was waiting for her, just the way she left it 3 years ago.

Mom’s house did not have internet service.  Personal phone calls and internet usage were taboo at work, and Jim spent most of his time in a dead zone.  Tina started stopping by the internet-cafĂ© after work and wrote long love letter E-mails to Jim, and he reciprocated in kind whenever he could.  Tina was thrilled that this handsome hunk had such a romantic spirit. 

There was one problem they were not aware of.  Tina had no idea that John had hacked her e-mail logon and password years before.  John was not impressed with Jim’s romantic ways, or his woman’s desires to be with this other man.

Chapter 3   A Walk in the Park

“Good morning Ranger.”

I looked up from the pile of paperwork on the desk that Mike had left for me to sort through and file away.  I saw four men in suits.  Men who just did not belong anywhere in these parts.

“May I help you gentlemen?”

“I’m agent Dawson, this is Agent Krug, FBI.”

“I’m Agent Wanser, this is Agent Zykerjoksi, from the State Bureau of Investigation… Just call him Agent Z, that’s what we all do.”

Dawson was obviously in charge of this fashion conscious gathering of law enforcement.  My phone rang, Dawson looked at his watch and said, “That would be under Secretary of Interior Templeton.” 

I answered it.

“Hello. … Yes Ma’am. … Yes Ma’am.  They are in my office right now.  Yes Ma’am, certainly Ma’am. … Ya’ll have a good day too.”

“Well now, it seems my name is known in Washington D.C.  I hope in a good way.  So, once again, how may I help you gentlemen?”

“You will be returning with us to the scene of the crime.”

Any further conversation was drowned out by the sound of at least 4 choppers passing overhead.  The last one circled and landed on the pad usually occupied by my chopper.

The 5 of us walked out back towards the landing pad.

“You know if my bird was back from repairs I’d fly us all in there myself?”

“Sit in the back with us.”  Dawson was as dry as a mouth full of cinnamon.  If he ever cracked a smile it would crack his face. Agent Z gave me a look and a raised eyebrow that said without spoken words … Yep, Dawson’s a dick.

We got to Hadley Ridge and set the chopper down along side of the three that had already landed.  FBI Agent Krug asked the questions while the dozens of other business suit clad underlings scrambled about their choppers pulling out and assembling all kinds of gizmos under the direction of Agent Dawson.

Krug had me recount every detail of what happened that day; every shot, every movement.  He could have read all that in the official report, but he was asking again.  It was soon apparent that they were waiting for me to screw up, to say something that didn’t match.  We were in for a long day.  I had told the truth then, and I was telling the truth now.  I wasn’t about to screw up, and the more they leaned on me trying to make me sweat, the cooler and more collected I got.  Krug and Dawson took turns, compared notes, and tried to trip me up again.  I had been through all this before with the local authorities and an internal investigation by the Forest Service.  Bureaucrats, wasting taxpayer money so they can buy their expensive suits.

When the Feds were finished, State Agents Wanser and Z came over.  Wanser spoke, Z just smiled.

“How you holding up Jim?”  Wow, first suit to call me Jim.

“I’m just fine.  I have a pile of paperwork back in HQ that isn’t getting any smaller.”

“You can head back with us.  We just need the FBI to concur.”

“So what’s going on here?”

“That’s Wanser’s call.  Wish I could tell ya, but it’s up to Wanser.” 

In other words I wasn’t about to be told a thing.


I got back to my office just in time to lock up, and head over to my mom’s place to see if she had gotten her medicine in the mail yet.

Mom was real happy to see me.  She had a hot meal on the table, and when I had finished eating she casually mentioned that a picture upstairs had fallen off the wall and needed re-hanging.  When I got to the top of the stairs my phone started to beep telling me that I had entered an area of good reception and had just received several e-mails. 

Three of them were from Tina.  The first two were the kind I liked to get, real nice, sexy, playful e-mails.  They made my mouth water in anticipation of the third e-mail.  It had attachments.  Oh Baby, are you sexting me or what?

The first picture was a little odd.  It was of a sign behind a bar. “Happy Hour 5 till 7.  Free round of shooters with every pitcher of beer.” 

The second picture was of a Bar Keep shaking a shaker full of shooters over his head.  Well now I wondered, is she an Alabama Slammer drinking girl or what? 

The third and final attachment was strangest of all.  In that picture Tina had a dead serious look in her eye, and with both index fingers, she was pointing at two shooters on the bar.

A light bulb went on over my head, figuratively and literally.

“Son, I don’t want you to be poking around up there in the dark.  Be careful.”

“Oh I’m going to be careful Mom, real careful.”

Chapter 4 of, A Walk in the Park

Tina wasn’t under surveillance, by anyone other than her x-boyfriend that is.  Still she was careful to be cryptic in her communications with Jim, just in case she was wrong about being monitored.

She was on Limited Duty until her appointment with the State’s Doctor later in the week.  She felt fine, but she had to wait for the doctor to sign-off on the paperwork. She was eager to get back into the field, but being in the office gave her access to some interesting information.

The two hikers who had the misfortune to be in the field near Hadley Ridge at the wrong time were both identified.  After exhaustive interviews and background checks they were found to be just that, two innocent nature-loving hikers, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The FBI had called the crime lab.  They wanted to take another look at the evidence from the Park shooting incident.  Scratches found on three of the shell cases recovered from the shooters position in the Park incident were thought to have come from contamination of the rifles chamber during the shooting.  A later, more thorough examination by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms concluded that such scratching was inconsistent with the condition of the chamber of the recovered weapon. 

Two days ago an empty .30-06 shell casing, with the same scratches on the case, was recovered by an undercover agent working at a right-wing sniper training facility in the woodlands of Georgia.  The FBI was now working a new theory in the Park shooting incident, a theory centered on two shooters.  One of whom was still alive, and apparently getting some target practice down in Georgia.

Tina was afraid for Jim.  She wanted to get a message to him, but this new information was confidential.  At first she thought her idea of the picture of two shooters was clever, then she thought it was too transparent.  She waffled back and forth between feeling it was too cryptic, and not cryptic enough.  In the end she realized it did not matter.  She had hit send, and the deed was done.  Tina rationalized that it was not the means, but the simple fact that she had tried to get warning to her new boyfriend, that made her feel better.

Her feeling better didn’t last more than a day.  Interpol finally identified the body of the Park incident sniper as one Joseph Stalac, a.k.a. Jed Smith.  A Bosnian Serb who had been recruited by international gunrunners after his talents were no longer needed at home.  He was thought to be in Canada.  His appearance in the USA was drawing some major resources from Homeland Security.  Resources that were up on Hadley Ridge checking every blade of grass, and every stone for a clue as to what was going on.  From the amount of trash, and buried human excrement they found, the FBI believed that Stalac had indeed been in the area for months, hiding, waiting for his trail to get cold.  They were still working the issue of who was this other shooter, and why was he meeting Stalac?

John was totally pissed when he logged into Tina’s e-mail account and read her e-mails to Jim.  He saw the pictures.  He recognized the bar, it was Flatheads, and it was a Friday.  He recognized Mike the bartender, and Mike only worked the bar at Flatheads on Friday.

As John looked at the pictures he thought he knew what they meant.  Tina wanted this new guy to join her at the bar.  She had a shooter waiting for him.  John was itching for a confrontation so he figured he’d hang out at Flatheads on Friday nights and wait for them to show up.  Weeks went bye and they never did show, but even if they had John would have been too drunk to do anything but fall down and hurt himself in a confrontation.

The FBI’s undercover agent working at the sniper school in Georgia spent a week secretly taking pictures of all the “Students.”  He sent the pictures to the Bureau’s Facial Recognition Lab who compared them to the security video from the Parks Visitor Center.  They got a match, and an arrest was made. 

The case was officially closed, and no one with any information was talking.  Not a word.  Not even to all the local authorities back in Washington State who had been involved in the case from the start.  The details of the case were strictly on a “Need to know” basis, and the Fed’s didn’t think the Locals had a need.

As for Jim and Tina, they wondered what the answers were to this mystery, but after a few months those cares became secondary as they worried about the more important things in life.  Things like; where are we going to live, who’s church are we going to get married in, and where are we going on the honeymoon?

Chapter 5

Meanwhile as Ranger Jim and Tina were falling in love and planning their futures, the real action was taking place somewhere in a secret subterranean facility in the George Washington National Forest, Virginia……..

“State your name?”

“Stochnia Kobitjin.”

“Place of birth?”

“Junik, Kosovo.”


“… Security Consultant.”

“Security Consultant my ass Stochnia.  You want to try that question again?”

“You call yourself Special Agent, you are Gangster, you try again.”

“Oh Stochnia, you were doing so well.  Were you consulting with Jed Smith up in the Okanogan National Forest?”

“Jeb-ed Smit’ You so funny Special Agent.  Everybody in dis country wants be clown.”

Special Agent Karlson decided to get up close and personnel with Stochnia Kobitjin. He leaned over Kobitjin and made a fist.

 EH! Eh, not in face. If you mean to say Joseph Stalac, den I know who you mean. Yes, we there together in forest for few days to talk.”

“What did you talk about? And don’t be a wise-ass.” 

“He has large quantity Semtex explosive coming to drop-off points in USA.  He wanted me to set up training for people.  American people. Your own people looking to do some Jihad on your ass. But of course I refuse to do this terrible thing.”

The intercom crackled ~~ Special Agent Karlson.  Come out here. ~~

Karlson walked back to the observation area overlooking the interrogation room.

His boss was standing there alongside of a handful of dark 3-piece suits. Men-in-Black who, true to form, were wearing sunglasses in the poorly lit room.  “Agent Karlson, these folks are going to be taking over for us.  Kobitjin will be getting some … special attention.”

Karlson looked into the sunglasses of one of the 3-piece suits. “Cut his face.  He doesn’t want his face messed up.  Cut his face.  He’ll talk.  You’ll get your list of bad-guys.”

The 3-piece suit barely moved his lips; “Thanks for the tip.”

The suits marched single file out of the observation area and into the interrogation room as Karlson’s boss led him out in the opposite direction. 

Before he left, Karlson turned his head just enough to see Kobitjin greeting the 3 –piece suits like it was old home week.  All of Karlson’s instincts told him that the Suits were going to get their list of would-be domestic terrorists, and Kobitjin was going to get a free ride home. 

2 months later.  Special Agents Quarterly Security Briefing. 

The Director of the Threat Analysis and Capabilities Section was talking about foreign agitators in the Middle-East.  In particular, those identified as having been killed in the latest round of Israeli retaliatory air strikes in Lebanon.  Number 3 on the list: Stochnia Kobitjin.

The End

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