Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chapter Sixteen

Tysons Corner, Virginia

“Rogers! In here!”
“Yeah, boss?”
Walters barked, “Get me the Portland file.”
“Boss, well, I don’t think sending that …”
“I don’t pay you to think. Get me the goddamn file!”
Walters paced to the window and peered down toward the District.  Red taillights of rush hour traffic curved around the beltway toward Bethesda.  Clouds loomed a few hundred feet above the tower where he stood.  Fat raindrops popped across the vast surface of glass. 
“Got it, boss.”
“That will be all.”  Walters shot his cuff and checked his watch.  He tugged the French cuff over the Rolex again before glancing back at Rogers. 
“Call it a day, Rogers.  I want you back here at seven. No telling when that stupid son of a bitch will head north.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
The door closed behind Rogers as he left.  Rogers knew Walters' penchant for silence after many an ass chewing.  The subordinate wasn’t the brightest bulb, but he possessed certain qualities that were … useful.  Rogers had a cruel streak, and Rogers didn't overthink what he was ordered to do.  Very useful.
Walters eased into his glove-leather chair and opened the file for the umpteenth time.  An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood was sending women through Portland, Maine, as mules -- human carriers -- of monetary instruments.  One would have thought the CIA or FBI would have caught a whiff of this, but no. It was a street cop in Portland who reported it.  All that money and effort since 9/11, and for what? 
That's why it doesn’t matter.  Walters shook his head. These idiots in Congress, at Justice, and in the West Wing come and go, spinning that revolving door into small fortunes.  I've sat here for ten years and watched this town bloat with more spending, more agencies and more blather.  They waste money on foreign aid, on pointless wars with dubious goals, on academic research projects with no redeeming value.  And for what? 
At least that idiot president admitted it – "This sucker could go down!"    
You don't need a Harvard MBA to see that we're screwed as a country.  Hell, the Harvard MBAs are the ones who screwed us!
Walters re-read the police report from Portland.  These mules were carrying hundreds of thousands in cash and postal money orders.  That could be very useful.
He stood and went to his breakfront.  Government regulations forbade the consumption of alcohol on government property.  So what?  He poured a finger of Hennessy Ellipse into his Bottega snifter.  He swirled it carefully. The damn glass was hand blown in Italy; be a hell of a thing to break it.  Then he walked to the window again and stared out at the darkening DC gloom.  Traffic would stay congested until almost nine.  No need to join it; no one to go home to.
He glanced back to his desk and MacGregor’s open file.  Walters had read it so often he had it memorized.  VMI, Marine, then a black hole -- totally redacted.   Mystery Man MacGregor resurfaced in the early nineties as a civilian.  Made quite a name for himself as a financial type on Wall Street before abruptly quitting.  The file didn't say why. Another mystery. Need to know that. Came back to Virginia.  Married a First Family socialite.  Started a financial advisor business working from his family’s farm.  Made a lot of dough.  Then, for some cockamamie reason, he decided to sell the business. 
Raindrops splattered harder and more frequently on the glass and soon blotted out the view.  Walters set the snifter down and withdrew a Cuban from his humidor.  Another thing I'm not supposed to have.  The guillotine cutter dispatched the cigar's end.  With a Colibri torch he fired the illicit tobacco.  Smoke swirled around his head as he raised the snifter again.
MacGregor decided to sell his business.  That's when I found him.  Walters smiled appreciatively at the glowing end of the cigar, enjoyed the aroma of the Hennessy while swirling the amber liquid.  And I am far from done with him.

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