Agent Morgan couldn’t believe the report from Nicaragua. The body of Elvis Calderon had been found on the dock. The last transmission he’d seen from Calderon showed their cover had been blown. The police were sifting through the destroyed house, but it could take weeks before identification of bodies could be made. There was a report from the airport of two women who had the features of Winston and Callahan with two older men boarding a private jet. None of this was good. His entire plan was at risk.
He looked across his desk at Lawrence Derman, a squat older man who seemed to recede further into his chair. Morgan tapped his finger on his desk, something he did when things bothered him. His beautifully manicured nails made a loud sound on the polished mahogany.
“This is what you brought me?” Morgan asked. His eyes narrowed at Derman. “You brought me a bunch of incompetent Russians, Chechens and washed up Arab terrorists who couldn’t mount a helicopter attack—armed with rockets I might add—to take out six geriatrics and two women.”
“I’m terribly sorry...” Derman muttered, trying to rise up out of the chair. He failed to do so and slouched back down. “Matvel Sokolov. He said he’d put together a crack team—the very best... I just had no idea they’d fail so badly.”
Morgan shook his head and starred hard at Derman, wondering why he’d ever decided to work with him. He’d discovered him several years back when he was Congressman Derman. He was taking bribes from everyone. It didn’t matter if it was Russians, Chinese or North Koreans. Derman was the man who made the word corruption into a new standard.
Derman amassed a steady stream of bribes. He had money coming in from everywhere. He could get things done, contracts endorsed, a special meeting with a high-ranking government official that would also take a bribe. What those who bribed Derman loved about him is that he spent the money as fast as he got it. There was never a point where he had enough and walked away. He spent his money on high priced hookers and bad hands of poker. He played high stakes and his losses were big. Morgan couldn’t believe the surveillance reports detailing how much Derman blew at the tables.
Morgan studied one of his fingernails. Its cuticle looked ragged. He shook his head and flicked a piece of dust off his desk. “I wonder why I keep you out of jail, Derman.”
Derman looked up. His mouth opened and closed, then his eyes locked on Morgan’s. “We’d go down together—you must know that, a man of your obvious talents.”
Morgan studied the crumpled little man. He wasn’t so beaten down after all. Derman was in his early seventies. His features were soft, his hair a wispy grey, and he wore glasses of some god-awful new age design in brilliant red that made him look as if he was about to step into the cockpit of a space ship.
“Hmm, yes, well... we will see...” Morgan let the words trail off. There was no use offending the little turd. He was useful. He’d brought him the craziest scheme Morgan had ever heard of.
If it came through he would become one of the richest men in America. But he was also dealing with some of the most dangerous organizations from three continents. Any one of them, if crossed, would make sure that whatever the American government did to him would be child’s play. The Americans would throw him in prison. These people were serious. He let himself relax in his chair and smiled at Derman. “Okay, we need to get this back on track. I’ll call Sokolov and make sure he gets the right people in place this time.”
“I’ve already done it,” Derman said. “He sent a team to the Key West lab where McAllen said Sigurdsson was. They should be there by now.”
“I expect a better performance this time,” Morgan said.
“Not to worry,” Derman replied. “Sokolov said this team is ruthless. If they find Sidgurdsson there, he’ll be brought to us. Anyone else will be taken care of.”
Morgan mused a bit. “We need to clean up the mess from Nicaragua. Winston and Callahan are still alive and I think they’re travelling with McAllen and Sebastian Germaine. I have a way of tracking Winston, but I need to jump through some administrative hoops to get the tracking activated. Once I have it, I want a team put on it.”
Derman lifted one hand in response. “I’ll have Sokolov deal with it.”
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