Friday, August 31, 2012

The South American Incident-02

Ken and Marisol, accompanied by her security detail, left the airport in the sort of luxury car one would expect from a prominent dignitary. Marisol, sitting next to Ken in the back, leaned into his firm and upright form. Ken glanced over at her, and then at the two security guards sitting across from them, before looking out the tinted windows.

“Your homeland is as beautiful as you made it out to be.” Ken said, “But you did not call me here to show me all of this, did you Marisol? Whatever trouble you’re in, it must be severe if both your own security detail and the government’s armed forces cannot handle it.”

Marisol nodded to one of the bodyguards, and he produced a box.

“Nothing grisly, I hope.” Ken said.

The bodyguard opened the box, and within it Ken saw a manila envelope all bunched up and a small photo album. He handed the album and the envelope to Ken. Ken opened the envelope and saw a hand-written letter, followed by a photocopy of a mock-up wanted poster for Marisol’s husband. The photo album displayed photographs of her husband’s predecessors, slain in various assassinations, and more depicting the worse fates of the wives and daughters of those brave men- slaves to the cartel men, or sold to others of similar character and means.

“I presume that your husband is undaunted by such threats to himself.” Ken said.

“He knows no fear.” Marisol said, “Not for himself.”

“I can feel the muscles underneath that finery. He does not worry for you either.”

Marisol nodded, confirming Ken’s suspicions.

“My elder daughters are already far, far away from here. They are in Spain, attending the same preparatory school that I did years before.”

“So, this is about your youngest child, isn’t it?”

“Your youngest, Rosa, then. This is about a threat upon her. I assume that you’re not asking me to play bodyguard, because I think that your security detail is sufficient for that role.”

One of the bodyguards cleared his throat.

“Col. Martinez acknowledges that, in his present capacity, he is trapped in a defensive position. While we can hold our present position quite well, we are dependent upon intelligence from sources that are not under our control and therefore we cannot take offensive measures to deal with the threats before they approach us.”

“So, the cartels have the imitative.” Ken said, “You also are not confident that the government is behind you.”

“Correct.” the bodyguard said, “We believe that the Colonel's rivals in the government intend to allow the cartels to assassinate him and destroy the household."

Ken sighed. Not this shit, again.

“The Colonel is not in favor with Washington, is he?”

“The State Department, and the D.E.A., make many statements praising my husband’s efforts.” Marisol said, “But the C.I.A. maintains their long-standing ties to their cartel assets.”

“Typical.” Ken said, “This really is a mess.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

The South American Incident-01

Bogota, Columbia.

Ken waited until the very end to get off the flight he took from Moscow. As he walked into the terminal, he saw the woman who summoned him waiting there, holding a sign that bore his full name. He smiled, walked up to the woman and embraced her in a mighty hug.

"Marisol!" he said, "It's good to see you!"

Marisol, a head shorter than the American, had to stand on her toes to reach him. She kissed him on the cheeks.

"I am glad that I reached you. You are so hard to find."

Ken smiled. "I move around a lot."

Marisol took Ken in one arm and lead him down the terminal towards the baggage claim area. She nodded to one of the nearby uniformed men, and he spoke into a walkie-talkie.

"My security detail will join us shortly." she said.

"Detail? I heard that you married well, but I had no idea-"

"My husband is one of the bravest men in Columbia, a judge known to resist the cartels."

Ken chuckled. "That has to be why you couldn't talk on the phone."

"Indeed, it is. Our old friends said that you hadn't changed since university, so I knew that if I could find you-"

"-I would come to your aide. True."

The two of them soon found themselves flanked by plain-clothed men with the gait and demeanor of bodyguards.

"Let us wait until we get into the car before I explain further why I need your help. For now, just tell me why you were in Russia. For a woman? For a friend?"

Marisol stared into Ken's eyes.

"Or was it something...more personal?"

Ken sighed. "Gregor. I tracked him down to St. Petersburg. I finally got him in Moscow. I got my ring back when you called. It's good that you called when you did because it gave me the cover I needed to escape his family."

Marisol gasped. She noticed a string around Ken's neck, and a ring under his shirt.

"I remember." she said, "Gregor just laughed when the police arrested him for Keiko's murder."

"Diplomatic status means nothing to a Kalashnikov rifle in my hands."

Marisol nodded. This was the Ken she remembered from her university days all right.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Administrivia for End-of-Summer 2012

Greetings, readers.

This week is an off week. The last serial is complete, and yet another has yet to start. I intend to fix that by next Friday, when I intend to start another serial that will go through the Autumn and into Winter. After that will be a few end-of-year posts looking back, and a new serial will begin on the first Friday of 2013.

After considerable experimentation with post lengths, serial lengths, and so on since I launched this 'blog back in June of 2009 I have finally settled on a format that works best for me in terms of both post and serial length.

Corinth's Consolidated Chronicles will now standardize around four serialized short stories of approximately 6000 words apiece, with each post averaging 500 words. This comes out to four stories running 12 posts each. With each post publishing on Friday morning of each week, that means that you will get a new serial update right around lunchtime each Friday to help you ease yourself towards the weekend and rev up that engine to enjoy your weekend. 48 out of every 52 weeks will just like that, and I will use the other four weeks for posts like this.

In addition, I have something new to ask of you, my readers. I want you to tell me, by sending me an email or leaving a comment to this post, what serialized story you would most like to see taken up and revised into either a novel-length form or incorporated into a collection that total up to a novel-length book. I will announce what story or stories are most requested at the end of this year, and thereafter work on getting that done so that you can read it on your Kindle, Nook, or other e-book reader of choice (and, as soon as I can, do Print On Demand).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Star Whacker-12

Assassination is a lot like being a submariner on a military boat: there are long stretches of tedium, punctuated by (mercifully) brief moments of sheer terror. I knew at this time that I’d been very lucky, in that I still had not been noticed by my rival. All that I could tell is that he believed himself to be the only serious operator, and all he had to worry about were the cops and the Feds. For the cops, he’d unleashed the crazy street-level hitters and wanna-bees; they kept the local cops, the county sheriff, and the state patrol very business. For the Feds, he leaked half-truths about security to the ambitious syndicate-type hitters looking to enter the big time; that kept them, by way of Homeland Security, busy. With the majority of law enforcement personnel distracted, this guy felt himself safe to operate.

He did opt for a bomb, and he did opt for bombing the target’s stage. Since he personally oversaw the stage’s setup, and knew the target’s show routine, he knew exactly what to rig to fail by bomb such that death-by-debris would be certain. I knew enough, having known enough stage techs, to know where to look; I found the device rigged on a row of lights directly above where the target stands. As part of my final set of “What do you do?” fluff pieces, I talked to the chief light tech on the tour and got him to take me to where that bomb had to be- and when we got there, I pointed it out as being a bit out of place. (“Is that supposed to be there?”) The guy didn’t figure it to be a bomb, but instead as just a timer attached by putty; he cut the putty—the explosive—down to about half its charge by taking off the edges. (“Yeah, that’s a lot of adhesive. You’ll be fine by just running a finger around the timer and reattaching it.”) I played dumb; since he didn’t take me that seriously, even if he liked me, this was easy.

When the show when on, and the bomb went off, it didn’t drop the light right away. The noise of the show muffled the blast, and the light show below concealed the flash, so no one noticed what the matter was until the light did fall once the target moved away. That panicked the crowd, and then cops appeared on stage announcing an immediate arrest; this also meant that the show ended right then. In the aftermath, I slipped the drug into the target’s water and waiting for the heightened heart rate and respiration to accelerate the drug’s hallucinogenic effects into full form. The target’s unstable emotional state went out of control, and went violent in short order. Fortunately, I had already left the room at this time, so I was not in danger. Instead, the target attacked the children; I called the cops, and the cops had to gun down the target in self defense.

A week later, a courier arrived at my place to deliver a package. It was a briefcase, and within it I found gold bullion. Shortly thereafter I took a Skype call; it was my patron, congratulating me.


“You’re worth it, Mr. Smith. Suicide by cop? Inspired, Mr. Smith. We are impressed, and we will be calling on you again.”

Shit just got real.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Star Whacker-11

Since I had no intention of shooting, stabbing, bombing or otherwise using violence means to kill the target, I had to figure out what method to use. Again I chose to poison my target, but I could not go with inducing a narcotic overdose this time. Again, I had the use of unusual habits as well as advanced age (if you can call being over 50 “advanced age” anywhere but the entertainment business), so I went with using a hallucinogenic substance. I would introduce it into the target’s liquid intake, which would be faster due to the failed attempt that would immediately precede my kill, wait for the target to come under its influence and then induce the target to do something like jump off the balcony.

I had a few useful fans in the local university campuses, so procuring what I needed—access to the labs and materials—was not difficult. I pass around some tickets, some backstage passes, and some empty promises (“Sure, I can get you some face time.”). I get what I need, take a weekend at the family cabin—while my FBI-with-benefits went out of town—and cook up the stuff. (I did not fail chemistry while in school.) Then, once I knew which rooms the target booked, I secreted the stuff in those rooms and waited.

I didn’t need to wait for long. The target’s advance team arrived a few days before, and as I’d expected the target’s deputy security head—recently hired when the target’s tour came to North America—was the ex-IRA guy. He proved to be a bold man, operating openly and audaciously as his own bad self; his advance sheet says “Ex-IRA” on it, and he’s used that to build his security credentials, with a focus on “counter-terrorism”. I have to respect the man for being a bold son of a bitch.

I called my FBI fun-gal after he arrived. She and I had a laugh, and then she agreed to notify her superiors- assuming that they weren’t already on the ball. I needed him to do his thing, however, and that meant giving him enough rope to hang himself. I took advantage of my day job reputation as a celebrity journalist and gossip columnist to get a fluff interview out of him, of that “What’s your job on this tour?” sort. He and I walked and talked, and during this time we stopped for a drink. I got him to relax; he did not pierce my mask. This meant that he left fingerprints and DNA, which I collected when I told him to go ahead while I picked up the tab. Samples secured, I finished my interview with him. As I monitored the traffic that came after I posted the interview, I handed a set of my samples to my galpal; she passed them to the local police agencies under the cover of a FBI advisory warning.

So, what did I do with the other set? Well, I got them ready to ensure that he took the fall for the target’s death.