140 Mile Stretch: Hopping A Train

As they headed down the corridor, small talk quickly turned to the problem at hand.  “I’m your ally in this Tom, but I can only stick my neck out so far. In order to help you, I need the location.” Tom stopped, “I trust you Phyllis, but only so far.   Where is my only bargaining chip, and I won’t give it away until the last possible minute.”

“She looked at him. “I would ask when is the appropriate time, but in this case, where is the appropriate time is a better question. The President had an altogether different question. Is this about the 140 miles, or about the Presidency?” He laughed.

“You know it’s not power that I’m concerned with Phyllis, and it’s not about a140 mile stretch of land. It’s about saving lives, protecting the country, and stopping a mad man.” They continued on to the underground transport as she responded, “I just wanted to be sure. So, tell me, how did the Secretary Of Agriculture figure out the secret of time travel?”

“Everyone always asked how time travel was possible, or why it couldn’t happen. They should have asked another question, where could it happen?  I found out the answer in the middle of an Earthquake when I saw my Grandfather in the middle of nowhere.” He realized what he had said, but it was too late, not a big deal though. She had a sliver of information now, “So were going to the mountains?” Tom pulled a train ticket out of his pocket, “Actually we’re hopping a train!”

The Flop: The Ambassador’s Niece

Everyone thinks that the governments of friendly nations are friendly.  You and I know that is not the case.  As a matter of fact, one of the most animosity fueled relationships I’ve ever had was with a fellow agent from another English speaking country.  We ended up as friends, but it took two months in the jungle of Central America, and almost dying, to make it happen.

I mention this to explain my relationship with the Prime Minister.  She didn’t like me, I didn’t know why.  As far as I could tell, Camille Anais Fortin, and I had never had any unpleasant issues.  Still, from the moment we met, she seemed to loathe my very existence.  That was going to make this mission extremely hard, considering what I was here to do.

As you know, The Eagle was a joint venture between Canada and the United States.  It had only been used once, and that proved to be a disaster.  Still, it was the only weapon that we had in our arsenal that might accomplish the task.  When I was given the news month’s earlier, I wasn’t very happy about it to be honest Sir.  Now, standing in front of her, I despised it.

For the Presidential record twenty years from now, she was a year younger than I am. She was attractive, with dark hair, and green eyes.  Her parents had both been successful private business people who did heavy philanthropic work.  These causes lead her at nineteen to set her sights on a political career.

I admired her honesty, which of course had resulted in political enemies.  In her first time as Prime Minister, she was poised to lead her country into an economic gold rush.  Thanks, in no short supply, to the technical advances they made in health technology.  These were programs that she championed, and had paid off more than even she had expected.

Sadly, as usual, it meant that someone was targeting her to stop it from happening.  They had tried politically, manufacturing phony scandals that hadn’t stuck.  They would have threatened her family, but her parents were gone.  She had no siblings, or close relatives, that they knew of at the time.  As a last result, they had hired at least two assassins to eliminate her.

We felt that the only hope for both of our country’s immediate good, was her survival.  Normally, her country’s intelligence agencies would protect her.  That was of course, until the director of their most secret agency had been compromised.  We had proof that he, and an unknown number of agents, were receiving orders from a political faction in their country.

Thankfully, Harris Patel, the Canadian Ambassador, was the former head of their intelligence network.  He knew that only a small team could protect her.  In his hay day, his brain child had been The Eagle.  It’s failure cost him his job, and it’s reactivation had cost him his life.

This little acronym might end up placing me in a Canadian prison for the rest of my life. It stood for, “Extract, Abduct, and Guard Lead Executive.”   Patel said the golden eagles that nested in the Canadian mountains near their base inspired the name.  I hoped that the second time this plan was put in action would have better results, but I was skeptical.

So here I was in Canada to save his niece’s life. They found this out right before they killed him.  Unfortunately that mission also meant convincing Meyersmith to disobey orders.  Worst of all, it would result in kidnapping Canada’s leader.  If she didn’t like me before, she’d hate me now.

Cambridge’s: An Emporium?

“Imagine it, an emporium? With all kinds of items as far as the eye can see. Cambridge’s will be the most important store in all of England.” Winston Jr. was absolutely beaming with excitement. His Father smiled at him. He let his son enjoy the adventure of his imagination for a few minutes, then sat him down.

“Son, you have a bright and an exciting future ahead. I don’t doubt that you could make this the single most vital merchant location in all of Europe. If you choose to do that, I’ll back you one hundred and twenty percent. Before you do though, I’d like you to look around.”

Winston Jr. did so with an open heart. He knew his Father had something to teach him, and even if it wasn’t what he wanted to learn, he trusted him. “Son, do you see all of the things that we carry here? Is there another store in our community?

How many years have we been in business? I submit that, on a much smaller scale than you imagined, we are an emporium. We have everything from Mr. Clark’s foot pillows to Mrs. Carol’s pinching shears.” His son nodded his head, but still had a look of uncertainty on his face.

“When I opened this store, it was to woo your Mother, not to make money. At this cash register, the Doctor delivered you because we were snowed in, and you got in a hurry.” He didn’t say it but Winston Jr. was always in a hurry, it came with the eagerness of youth.

“That happened on a Tuesday at 12:05. I opened this store on a Monday at 11:30. Your sister Sophia, was born on a Wednesday at 7:00. I could also give you the times of Nicholas, Katrina, and Miles.

This store is not only filled with every item this town could need. It’s filled with memories, with laughter, with life. It has in it’s fibers a love for the past, an excitement for the present, and a hope for the
Winston was on his feet, the excitement of wisdom was pumping through his older joints. “It’s not only our family that has invested here. Your girl’s parents met in the gardening section. The Mayor of our little hamlet was convinced to run in the produce section. This place is gleaming with the history of living, breathing people.

None of them have made us millionaires, but they have made a difference in our lives, and they’ve blessed us to make a difference in others.” “As I say, you could very well make this bigger than Harrods, but before you do, think of this. I always say, ‘Nothing ever happens at 4:00.’ Why do you think I do that?”

With that, Winston left his son standing and headed for the car. They sat silently as they began the short journey from town to home. The younger Winston was struggling with this information. He still didn’t completely understand. “Why could you do one and not do the other?”

“Oh you could, without question, I chose not to for one reason. All of that time, all of that energy to build an empire. I had to make the choice too, that’s where I got the phrase ‘Nothing ever happens at 4:00.’ I looked ahead in time, and saw my face fifty years in the future. I saw two versions of it.”

“What were they?” Winston smiled, he had his attention. “One was wearing a thousand dollar suit. I was so important that the most powerful business men were at my elbows. Everything sparkled, including my complexion. I was happy, I was rich, I even had halfway decent relationships with my family.”

“I almost chose that path, until I looked at the empire I had built. It was a galleria of merchandise, it made only one thing, money to buy more merchandise. It would go on after my death, and after the death of my next two successors. “

“You see, I remember the names of businessmen that everyone else has forgotten. Americans watch the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade every year without knowing something. They watch without realizing that the letters R.H. were in front of Macy before the parade followed it.

He hadn’t needed my help to turn a store into an empire. Neither had those famous men who came before him, and neither would those who came after. If the business empire was going to be built anyway, why waste my energy building it?”

“That’s when I saw the other version of my face. I was economically successful with a good business. Our store supplied the entire town. More importantly, we were friends with our neighbors. We were truly, and not in lip service only, involved in our Church.”

“I may not have had the ear of tycoons, but the most important men in our town asked for my advice. They did so, not only in business, but in conditions of the heart, life adventures, and in mattes of the soul.”

“Instead of a decent relationship with my family, we were completely in love with one another. Every member of our immediate family actually liked the others. We would have arguments, face disagreement, even snap at times. When the day ended though, we would love each other.”

They got out of the car and made their way up the snowy walkway. Winston Jr. asked his Father, “When did you make your decision?” Winston smiled, stopping briefly on the stoop. “When I was 21, underneath the Olsen Clock at 3:59pm on a Monday afternoon.”

The Italian Hatmaker

Guiseppe Cavallaro had a long history, and an adventurous life.  You wouldn’t think it to look at him, sewing leather in his hat shop.  You also wouldn’t expect that his house shop was not in Sicily, but in London.
He had been there for twenty years, he and his wife Laurel.  They had added five children to the Cavallaro family.  Of course, no one knew them by that name. To the world, they were Joseph and Laura Cavalier.
They hid their identity to secure a life together.  Guiseppe had not been famous or infamous.  His life began simply as a simple Italian hat maker in his native Italy.  Until the night he was kidnapped, and placed on a slow boat to France.
He expected his captor, when he finally met him, to have a French accent.  What he didn’t expect was to be staring in the face of the King Of England.
This was how Guiseppe’s rocky journey began, but he hadn’t minded long.  For the next face he saw was the French Princess Laurel, heir to the throne of France.  He didn’t know how, he didn’t know why, but he knew that he loved her.   Even when she said that he was ugly.
He laughed now at his words to his cell mate that night.  “I will marry her.” Ethan laughed, “She doesn’t even like you!  On top of the fact that her Papa is the King Of France no less, she says you’re ugly!  ”  His reply, “Yes, but she said it so beautifully!”
Find out how “The Italian Hatmaker” escapes the King in the next installment of our latest serial.

The Flop: The Prime Minister Doesn’t Like Me

I wondered how long it would take, a day, two, before he found it. Meyersmith was good, possibly the best I had ever faced. Jean Luc was in no danger, Meyersmith loved animals. He would know that the cat was a riddle, he would enjoy solving it.

So I waited, I visited areas of Novia Scotia, enjoyed a little of a Christmas vacation, and planned my next move. He found me in a local book store that sold coffee. We both loved coffee, and I had developed a sweet tooth, one that I regretted every morning in the gym.

When he set down with his crueler and his coffee, his first words were “Really?” I laughed, only he could put so much sarcasm into one word. I know that you have been briefed on him, but the official record is so cold. Avgust Meyyerkuznets, or Augustus Meyersmith has British and Russian citizenship. His Father was a Russian diplomat, his Mother was a member of Parliament.

“You scared my courier, not to mention put him in the hospital.” “He didn’t tell you? He lunged at me, I moved, and he fell. He caused his own injury.” I laughed, “He said something about being glad to be alive.”

Our conversation came back to Jean Luc, whom I heard meowing from behind me. He had returned him, no wonder I started sneezing again. “So you have it?” “Yes, but I must be slipping, it took me longer than it used too.” “It wasn’t designed to be easy, it was planned to be untraceable.” “Edward, you know nothing is untraceable.”

Mr. President, this meeting meant something else. He had the eagle, but he didn’t know what it was yet. It was an interrogation. He wanted to know what it was, how to use it, and what the repercussions were. It was time for a trip, and a meeting with his superior. I wasn’t looking forward to it, after all the Prime Minister doesn’t like me.

The F.L.O.P. – The Eagle

Good morning Mr. President. It had been years since I had been here, especially shortly before Christmas. I had forgotten how cold it gets in northern Nova Scotia. Of course I was also sneezing from my allergies. As you know, our contact never made it at the first appointment. I received a phone call from a local hospital the next afternoon.

He said that he wasn’t sure why Meyersmith hadn’t killed him. I explained that at a certain level, it’s less messy to let people live. Had he killed him, he would have had to discard a body, which brings complications. For some reason, this didn’t really reassure our contact.

Jean Luc made a noise when we left the hotel, it was a garbling sound. I don’t usually work with partners, especially the four legged kind. So the sounds of a Russian blue cat that disliked me didn’t affect me. That’s until the car started overheating. I pulled over and checked it. All of the antifreeze was gone. and a note was wrapped around the coolant lid.”

“Edward, good to have you in town again. We are in a civilized city, it’s a wonderful time of the year. The contact situation was too messy, I got blood on my gloves. I shall see you at Le Tenir tonight at 7:00? We have much to speak about. You still haven’t met my daughter either.” – Meyersmith

I should explain the daughter comment. Meyersmith has an admiration for his competitors. If they are good enough, he thinks they should become family. He and his Wife had eight children. Meyersmith’s two son-in-laws once tried to kidnap him. They didn’t succeed, but they prevented him from eliminating them, and he was impressed. They say his daughters are beautiful, but I’m not anxious to have him for a Father-In-Law.

Jean Luc wasn’t happy about being stuck in his carrier, but he would get over it. In a few hours, I found myself setting at a table in the corner of the restaurant waiting on the host. I expected anything from Meyersmith, but I never expected him to be late. Meyersmith has never been late a day in his life.

Now I was worried. I started going over his invitation in my mind. He never said that he would meet me there. He said he would see me there. That’s when I saw the camera across the room. When I made it back to the room, it was still locked, that didn’t mean anything. When I opened the door, the cat carrier was gone, and my sneezing was not as bad. He had Jean Luc, not the way we had planned, but he had the cat. He also had the eagle, Meyersmith just didn’t know it.

The F.L.O.P. – Your Eyes Only Mr. President

Every writer has at least one flop in their notebooks. That story that didn’t work, or the character you love everybody else hates. So, with the encouragement of my Wife, I decided to purposely choose my flop story with a character who’s code name is known as the F.L.O.P. .

It was this play on words that I loved about this character. PruittWrites had a contest to decide who would be the star of our 140 Mile Stretch serials, and this one lost. As you hopefully know, the action star of it is Cameron Taylor. My choice, Edward Sandstone didn’t win. I hope you enjoy the introduction of one of my Wife’s favorite characters, The F.L.O.P.!

If you are reading this, then you either set behind the resolute desk, or work for the man who does. It is with respect that I begin this way. In the situations that I find myself, I’ve chosen to write the rest of this, as if this was a journal, it simply makes recording this easier.

It was 4:00 am when the alarm went off, I wanted to throw it, but I knew I couldn’t. By 5:00 am I was at the office, in my boss’s office to be exact. It doesn’t sound impressive, until you realize that he’s the President of the United States. He wasn’t scheduled to be there until 7:00 am, but he walked in two minutes later.

As you know, there are no records that I’m anything more than a Secret Service agent. I’m just one of many agents, who never officially leave the residence without accompanying the President. Of course, I had only seen the White House twice this year, once after a visit to … project Porter.

For the record, I’m Edward Sandstone, here is my bio.

Edward Sandstone, is a second generation American on his Mother’s side. He speaks at least 10 languages, and is a diplomat as well as a soldier. His Mother, a famous South Korean author, married a member of Silicon Valley’s technical elite. Raised in an innovative and imaginative home, he uses both of these gifts to operate “special” missions under the direction of only the President himself.
He looks more like a professor than an agent, but that is intentional. Hiding his physique in slightly oversized suits, he attempts to cause his opponent to underestimate him intentionally. His nickname reflects the President’s sense of humor, “The F.L.O.P.”, It stands for “Friend and Liaison Of the President”.

Your Predecessor Mr. President had an interesting sense of humor, so I became the Flop. It’s a name you seem to be fond of as well. Anyway, your predecessor and I met with you, at that time the President Elect, to explain my real position. He also explained the mission that I would find myself on for the next four weeks, which is why I missed your inauguration.

As I recall, you were as interested in the answers to some questions as he was. Which is how I found myself two nights later, on a boat to a certain island in Canada. I wish you both would have let me drive across the border, but I understand why it wasn’t possible, given my cargo.

Jean Luc and I arrived four days after that, neither one of us was happy about the partnership, but we had resolved to a silent, mutual distrust. Our contact was late, probably due to the fractured leg that he had just experienced from Meyersmith. It was going to be a long week, and my allergies weren’t helping, but then neither was my partner.

140 Mile Stretch

140 Mile Stretch

Secretary Harris was nervous as he walked in to the heart of the nation’s intelligence building.  He couldn’t imagine how many covert operations had been carried out here.  “Good morning Mr. Secretary, she will see you now.”  Director Wilson’s secretary pressed a button to open the inner door.

“Good morning Tom, it’s good to see you again.” She wheeled around from behind the desk, Phyllis Wilson was a formidable ally to have.  She was eighty four, but still had the strength of a person much younger.  Her slate gray curly hair flowed over her shoulders, her green eyes seemed to be aware of everything in the room.

She lost the use of her legs in the line of duty, a secret service agent who saved the President.  Then she went into politics, first Governor of California, then Senator.  She was a third generation American.  Her Grandparents immigrated from Harare, Zimbabwe.  Her Grandfather, Dr. Wilson, moved to the states to head up medical research at John Hopkins.

Although friends for years, like most Washington veterans, they sized each other up.  Tom was losing his hair, but not his nerve.  What he had left was white, he was eating to many doughnuts, but he knew that Alice was trying to get him to cut down.  His blue eyes and pleasant smile would make you underestimate him if you weren’t careful.  Some of his opponents had made that mistake, right before losing the election.

“Thank you Phyllis, I don’t mind telling you I’m a little nervous.”  She smiled, “You should be, you’re the first Secretary of Agriculture to ever enter this building.”  He smiled back, “True, there’s only one thing that reassures me my friend, the fact that for once, you need me more than I need you.  Shall we go?”