Cambridge’s: Yes I Care

Things progressed nicely after that, I was smitten with your Mother, and now she was smitten with me. I was care free in those days, thinking I had all the time in the world. We were falling in love, but now that we were dating, I wasn’t in any hurry. We were both in college, and we were both very busy.

Finally, a few months in to our courtship, my friend asked me two questions. “What are you waiting for?” The second was, “Will she still be there when you’re ready?” That friend was our, then young, Pastor R.L. Stillwell.

I had known him since childhood, and watched with shock, then admiration, and respect as he overcame his past. He was a little older than I was. His name was Roger Lawrence, but in his early teens they said it meant Reckless and Loud.

He was pretty wild. R.L. was already involved in some dangerous things, and had been for some time. This was routine for him, until he was seventeen. His parents were struggling themselves, and they didn’t seem overly concerned. Finally, one Monday at school, his Grandmother showed up. She had driven all night to see him. She came to his class and asked the teacher to allow him to leave.

We expected that he was in trouble again, that she was going to give him a good lecture. I figured we would hear about it the next day. He came to school the next day, but he didn’t want to talk about it. He seemed different. He was quiet, but at the same time, he looked like he was filled with an anger that was trying to get out.

R.L. was that way all week long. I didn’t see him on Saturday, but then on Sunday, his Grandmother walked in our Church. R.L. followed, although he looked uncomfortable. Service progressed normally, until the Pastor began his Message. The title was “Yes I Care”. At it’s conclusion, R.L. walked to the Altar.

I was stunned, but I hadn’t know what had happened with his Grandmother. She had driven all night as I said, but not to argue with him. She took him to the best restaurant in town, and ordered his favorite meal. They had all his favorites, even two desserts.

Then she spoke to him, words first, and then tears followed. “I was praying for you last night, I always do. I know that your parents are battling, I know the problems that you have. I know you feel like you’re an afterthought, that no one cares about you, but I do. If I haven’t shown you as I should, then I’m sorry.” He hugged her, and tried to console her.

On the way home, she asked if he would come to Church with her that Sunday. He didn’t want to, but agreed. When the Pastor gave his title, he asked her if she had said something to him, she hadn’t. He was amazed that a God, that he didn’t even believe in, was telling him that he cared. Even when he felt others didn’t care, so R.L. thought he would give it a try.

Over the next few years, he completely changed, and he was now the Pastor of that Church. When I had gotten serious about Church, he was there to help me. Now, we were close, and R.L. realized that your Mother and I were on a different time table.

He warned me that if I didn’t catch up to her soon, I would face some strong competition. I listened, but drug my feet. That was when Hagar Anthony thought he could pick up the pace where I was lagging behind. He had decided that your future Mother would make him the perfect bride. I had to convince her that he was wrong.

140 Mile Stretch: Arrived In New York

President Alex Whittaker and his Chief Of Staff, Ned ‘Medic’ Richards, were walking in the rose garden. “How did you know it was really him?” The President laughed. “For one thing, he matched the painting. For another, he said Skylark.” Medic shivered. “If you don’t mind, don’t ever answer that question for me again. I’ve tried very hard to forget Skylark.”

Elsewhere Tom was tired. He had spent the last four days on the run, he didn’t know how many were watching, just that they were watching. The three remaining members of the group had now went in separate directions. Phyllis was in place in 1918. Virginia was in Andover, Massachusetts. If you could believe either of them. Tom was in New York City, he was a house guest of an absent old friend.

He knew that they couldn’t take him there, it was too dangerous. That was one reason that he came to his operative’s home. They would just assume he was seeking safety with the other house guest, who was just a bedroom over. Tom missed the electricity, and running water, but it was a small price to pay. The Osgood House was safe, at least as long as President Washington was staying there.

Cameron was out of pocket, and Tom hoped, off the radar. They had followed him for the first few days, until they switched tactics and came for Tom. Minnix was confused, but he wouldn’t be for long. There was a knock at the door. “Sir, a Colonel Taylor to see you.” “Send him in.”

A man entered soon after, but it wasn’t Cameron. “Hello Tom, did you think that I wouldn’t find you?” Tom winced, it was Sykes. “I knew you would find me. I just wasn’t convinced you would be brave enough to walk in here. My fellow house guest is something of a national treasure.”

“You and your operative think hiding among Washington and Lincoln will help you? If anything, that makes you more vulnerable. If you wanted to hide, you should have picked some uneventful time period. Minnix expected more from you.” Tom grinned. “I know that he did. That’s why we’re here.”

“Let me guess. This was all part of some plan you had to stop him?” Tom smiled as smoke filled the room. “No, this was my way of stalling until my plan was under way. You may act well, but you think poorly. If you had stopped to think, you would have realized something.” Sykes was unimpressed. “Is this where I realize I’m in trouble?” Tom whispered as they both disappeared. “No, this is where Minnix realizes, I made it to New York!”

The Italian Hatmaker: The Heir Of Alan

“They are out there somewhere.” “Oui, you just had to help them.” “You just had to chase them.” “It’s Tréal all over again.” Sir Robert laughed. “I saved your life at Tréal.” “I suppose it’s time to return the favor.”

Sir Robert stifled a laugh. “You wouldn’t kill your brother in law.” “No, but the King won’t allow you to live as easily. The next time he finds you, he will kill you.” “He isn’t still mad over Tréal?”

Zachary laughed this time. “He is furious, you stole his woman, and his diamonds.” “She was my fiancé. Plus, those were the King of England’s diamonds.” “That was his opinion, he just happens to feel that he is King of both countries.” “So he’s no longer mad over Izzette?”

At that point, General Armure slapped Sir Robert’s horse and he carried him off into the night. He was safe, for now, but Zachary couldn’t protect any of them. The King was intent on winning, and Sir Robert longed for England.

He returned to a nearby field, out of sight of Zachary’s guards. Tomorrow, they would discover a tied up General, and an escaped prisoner, provided he wasn’t spotted tonight. “You escaped?” Henri asked from near him. “You know he is my brother-in-law Henri, so officially, yes I escaped.” “I wasn’t sure if it were that, or if it was that he was part of ‘La Garde Alan’.”  “If he were, would I tell you?” Henri smiled.

Guiseppe was tired, hungry, and cold. He was tired. “I want answers! What is going on? Why am I involved?” Sir Robert looked at him. “You are what is known in Chess as a Pawn. You are caught in a vacuum between two very powerful leaders. The King Of England and the King Of France.”
“That much I’ve figured out. What is the rest?”

Henri spoke. “Years ago, the area of France, known as Brittany, was independent. Alan The Great was on the throne.  Years later, the last ruler married into the French Royal Family. Another heir of Alan, from a different blood line, has been found. His pedigree has been verified by important people. If he claims the throne of Brittany, there will be war. It will give England an opportunity to attack, in defense of a native son.”

Sir Robert finished the tale. “Some think his ship was lost on the way from his stronghold. Others say he is in hiding. The King Of France wants to force you to pretend you are him, and proclaim loyalty to France.  The King Of England wants you to do the opposite.”

“Why choose me? Do I look like him?” Henri finished.”No, but that doesn’t matter, it’s your voice. You sound like him, and the person that matters can no longer see. They will trust your voice.” “Who is this person?” “That is the only thing that the two kings agree on, no one is to know who the person is. His name isn’t known to me.”

Sir Robert spoke. “I’m not sure we would recognize the name if we were to hear it. Power Brokers aren’t always famous. I know this though, the fate of two countries aren’t resting in his hands, but in yours. What are you going to do?” Guiseppe knew. “Find the Heir Of Alan! Then I am free to return home.”

The Flop: Break In

“You fly very well.”  Was that a compliment?  She must be tired, of course, almost dying can change anyone.  “Thank you ma’am, it’s a passion of mine.”  “Where to now?”  “Honestly, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  I have three other sites, but they may be compromised.  Up here, we’re too easy to track.  I got us here to buy a little time to think.  Any suggestions?”

“Antartica.”  She was starting to act more like herself.  “Not a bad idea, but we wouldn’t have enough fuel.  How about Vancouver?”  I looked at her.  “Next.”  I have to admit, I was no longer polite.  It came out before I realized it.  She laughed.  “So you’re finally going to treat me like a person and not a politician, that’s good.  Look, we’re not safe here or in Canada, I’m not a runner.  I’d rather have the odds stacked against me in my own backyard.”

So we touched down, picked up a vehicle, and crossed back in to Canada.  We were in an American television news van.  My sister runs a tv station.  I figured that would be the easiest way to hide the Prime Minister of the country, by changing her nationality.  She hated the blonde wig and colored contact lenses.  Jean Luc hated being smuggled in a camera case, but liked being free to roam the van once we crossed the border.

Augustus set up straight in his seat.  “Of course.  I know who is behind this.  I know why, and I know what to do.”  I pulled over at a small cafe and we talked.  “It’s about time.  You’ve been quiet for three days.  I knew you were thinking.  Who is it?”

He frowned when he looked at us.  “This entire time, something has seemed off.  It didn’t make sense that this was political, yet you share no enemies with your Uncle.  From every angle, it was an attack of vengeance.  The question was, who hated you that much.”

“No one. I was always very careful not to make personal enemies.  Political enemies do sweeps, if you’re clean, they stop.”  She looked at me and continued.  “Personal enemies don’t stop in finding out you’re innocent, they find out every thread of your life. They don’t search out crimes, they search out ways to hurt you.  Family connections, old boyfriends, …” She stopped talking.

Augustus cleared his throat.  “It has to be someone connected to him.”  She stifled the physical signs of emotion, but her voice was filled with it.  “Maybe, but it can’t be him, he’s dead.  I saw him.”  Augustus nodded.  “I remember, I watched Harris shoot him.”  I never pushed, when something is this sensitive, you let them tell you.

Augustus finally did.  “His name was Leo Rhames, they were in college.  He surprised her when she went home for the summer.  He proposed to her, and then supposedly left to visit his family.  We all had gathered for her Grandmother’s birthday.  It was at Harris’ estate, supposedly secure.  That night there was a break in.  Harris shot in self defense.  The burglar was wearing a mask.  I removed it, the face was Leo Rhames.”

Cambridge’s: Black Eyes Are Better Than Roses

Ashley didn’t see what happened next. She was dazed from the door, plus the somewhat overly hefty lady landing on top of her. When she came too, Winston was sprinkling water in her face. It took her a minute to realize that what she was seeing was accurate. Winston had two black eyes.
“What happened?” “Nothing much, you ok?” She heard a voice from behind her. “Nothing much indeed! Ashley looked to see the woman that landed on her standing over her.
“Your young man is a hero. Two young, arrogant men had decided they were going to rob us. They grabbed me, threw me out the front door. Hit my husband, and were running for the door. Your gentlemen tried to stop them. He wasn’t successful, but he slowed them down until the police came. They picked them up a few meters away.”
“This is Mavis Lane. Her and her husband Neal own this cafe.” It was instinct, Ashley put her hand on his cheek. “Are you ok?” He smiled. “Except for not figuring out how to have a date that doesn’t result in repairs of some kind, I’m ok.” She laughed.
The rest of the night was uneventful. They had a good meal, and he walked her to her car. “I had a good time tonight.” She smiled back. “I did too, although, are you sure it was worth your injuries?”
He smiled back. “Yes I’m sure. I just feel bad that I couldn’t have fixed a proper date for you, candy, flowers, etc. She laughed. “In some cases, black eyes are better than roses.” A kiss later, they said good night.

Check back in June for the next installment of Cambridge’s.

140 Mile Stretch: Strutting Pigeon

Cameron wasn’t phased.  He was positioned defensively, slumped against the seat.  “Drive, now!”  The cab driver was stunned, but obedient.  “Listen Mister, I don’t know what you’re into, but I’m not interested in getting shot.  I’ll drop you off downtown, in the heart of traffic, but I’m not getting involved.” “Exactly what I was hoping.  The more people see, the better.”

A few minutes later, Cameron was getting out of the cab.  Two seconds later, he was entering a bank.  Five minutes after that, he was coming out of another building several years earlier.  His holographic clothes emitter was working well.  It gave him the uniform of a Union Colonel.  His companion was dressed less technical.

“Colonel, what is the news from the front?”  “Mr. President, it’s going well.  I feel I can say, with confidence, that the Union will win.”  President Lincoln laughed as they were now out of ear shot of the guards.  “I’m sure you do, Colonel, considering it’s history for you.  Why did we have to head for the stables? To extract something for this mission that you told me about?”

“No sir, another operative is doing that.  My job was to bury something here.  You see, the stables won’t always remain here.  The ground though, it’s secure.  I’m not a historian, so I don’t know if you’ve heard the term sitting duck, either way, my job’s a little different.  You might say I’m meant as a strutting pigeon.”

President Lincoln smiled.  “In other words, you think you were followed.  You want them to think that this meeting is more important than it is?”  Cameron nodded.  “Yes sir, and how better to keep someone busy than to meet with one of America’s greatest leaders?”

“You flatter me sir, but tell me, how will I know that if this mission is successful?”  Cameron pointed to the special watch he gave the President.  “If we survive this, that pocket knife will disappear in a week’s time.  If it doesn’t, push the button on the side, and prepare for an unusual vacation.”  The two of them shook hands, and the President left Cameron to bury his bundle.

Meanwhile, a very less obvious operative was having a meeting in another time period.  It also included a member of the Executive Branch, although a less famous one. The result of that meeting would determine the survival of the country.  When it was over, a telegram was sent that contained three words.  “Column Safe Moscow.”

The Italian Hatmaker: The Flying Swordsman

“He is known as The Flying Swordsman. He works on special projects for The King Of England. Some say he is part of the Royal Family. Either way, he is after you both.” Giuseppe was tempted to think that this was all some exaggeration to scare them, but he could see the fear in Henri’s eyes.

They made it to Champagne before he caught up with them.  It was outside of a little inn kwown as Silent Peace.  Henri had planned to stay there because he liked the name.  Henri was a warrior, but out of necessity, and not choice.  The Flying Swordsman knew that, so he too liked the irony.

The Swordsman did not attack in the night, it would have ended in a very different way than he wanted.  Instead, he waited until the afternoon.  He was positioned in a field adjacent to the inn when he called to them.

“I am the King’s Special Envoy, I request to speak with Henri and his two companions.  I propose a truce.”  Henri didn’t trust him.  “Why would the Flying Swordsman ask for a truce?  Why not attack?  You are rumored to be the greatest swordsmen in two countries.”

“No one is that good, not even me. The Flying Swordsman has two feet, I may leap high, but I cannot soar.  What I can accomplish is a peaceful resolution Henri.”  Henri looked at his two companions, they agreed.

The three walked out to see Sir Robert Clayworth standing before them.  “Like you Henri, I am a servant.  I come, not to seek bloodshed, but a resolution.”  The two soldiers shook hands.  The Princess’ Warrior and The King’s Flying Swordsman started to find out that their goals were  more in line than at first thought.

It was then that a third faction reared it’s head.  The King Of France had his own envoy who was feared throughout France.  He was ready to silence both groups that “were playing in his backyard.”  That is where General Armure came in.

The four found themselves outnumbered by twenty men.  Henri looked at Sir Clayworth.  “I hope that at least some of those myths were true.”  For the first time that day Sir Robert grinned.  “Just a few.”  His sword went hurdling through the air towards one of the General’s men.

Sir Robert leaped into the air lunging at the man.  “You can either escape me or the sword, my friend.  I’m afraid you can’t do both.”  The soldier dodged the sword while Sir Robert hit him, knocking him off the horse.  He caught it at the last moment, and swiveled the horse around to face the General.

“It’s been a few years Zachary, you’ve been promoted I see.”  “Oui, as has your reputation. Do you think that you four can hold twenty of us off?”  “I count 18, if you hadn’t noticed.  I’m not planning on winning though.”  “Then what is your plan?”  “Why to stall of course, they needed time to escape.”

The General looked around to see the three men galloping away on one of the horses that the General’s men had just lost.  Henri also knew how to leap when it was required.

Find out where our friends are going in next month’s installment of The Italian Hatmaker”

The F.L.O.P. – Animal Rescue

“What’s the story on Jean Luc? Surely he’s more than a courier pigeon?” Jean Luc made a sound that said two things. One was that he was hungry, the second was he didn’t like to be insulted. “Sorry Jean Luc, no offense.” The Prime Minister admired him very much.

“Jean Luc wasn’t your typical animal. He was trained by a very special member of the Intelligence agency. He has taken down three operatives by himself once. Attaching that cat is like attacking a tank.”

“I like animals who can defend themselves. He isn’t jaded though, he still seems to be a normal cat.” She said as he lay on the arm of the couch. “Yes, his operative trained him that way. “I’ve heard about that program. My adviser’s suspect that the former trainer might now occupy a seat in the Oval Office.”

As you know Mr. President, I could not confirm this, but I will say her intelligence is good. Instead I responded, “Does it matter? He’s a pure bred you know, his ancestor was a pet of the Tsar’s.” “Why Jean Luc? Why a French name for a Russian American cat?” “He was named after a soldier that gave his life saving his trainer’s life.”

Just then, Jean Luc meowed. He rolled off the couch, and headed for the kitchen. “Follow him, now!” We barely made it before the explosion happened. The tunnel under the stove lead to the street. We were in the SUV flying through Las Vegas as fast as we could.

“Vegas? You made me think we were still in Canada!” “Ma’am, I never said that, I didn’t lie. I just didn’t stop you from thinking it. We would have been dead no matter where we were if it weren’t for Jean Luc. He must have smelled chemicals they used to set the charges. He has heightened senses.” She looked over at the cat carrier. “Thank you my sweet little Animal Rescue.” Jean Luc purred.

He got compliments, I got complaints. “Why Vegas?” “It was flashy, it was obvious, and I thought it was safe. It also is an easy place to hide an off the charts air port. Next stop, the desert. Ever rode in a spy plane?”

Cambridge’s: A Hospital Conversation

Ashley loved her Mother and Grandmother, so she agreed to spend some time with this “weird young man.” She talked with him over supper at her house. She found that he was less irritating than she first thought. When dessert arrived, they were actually laughing. Ashley wasn’t convinced yet, but agreed to see him the next afternoon, “for them”, she told herself.

Winston was working a half day at the store, so she would meet him there that afternoon. The problem was that her arrival coincided with the arrival of a new shipment of merchandise. When she walked in, Chester informed her that Winston was in the back. “I’ll wait by the front window, thanks.”

She looked at her watch, this was taking forever, it had been ten minutes. “I’ll pop back there and reschedule with him.” When she went back, there was no one in view, the room was a little dark. Once her eyes adjusted, she noticed two barn like doors. The old shop had a unique system of pulleys, to enable one man to unload heavy merchandise.

Winston had connected the chain to the door mechanism. When the heavy object arrived at a certain point, the pulley would open the door. Winston would then lock the chain, push the item off the lift, and scoot it in the store room. Whoever had invented this system, had never taken into account what would happen if the doors opened before the chain was locked. Winston found this out the hard way.

Suddenly, the doors came open, jarring the chain, and knocking the refrigerator off the lift. The refrigerator fell off the dock and was heading right for him. Ashley screamed when she saw what was happening. Winston was able to escape the offending object, but just barely. In the process, he cut his face and hand on the pulley chain.

Ashley took him to the hospital to get bandaged up. She felt horrible. A lot of men would have played for sympathy. Instead, Winston made her feel better about it. He joked with her, “If I hadn’t been late, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s a lesson in punctuality that’s all.”

After the visit, they walked to a near by place to eat. They thought the worst was over, until the woman coming out of the door knocked Ashley down. The next few minutes were a blur.

Find our why, “Black Eyes Are Better Than Roses”, in the next installment of Cambridge’s.

140 Mile Stretch: A Non Kidnapping

“Why?”  Cameron asked.  “Why does he have to take us out before he acts?”  Tom lowered his voice.  “For that you can thank my Grandfather.  He wasn’t a trained scientist, but he was brilliant.  I knew that he had hidden something in time.  I just didn’t know when, where, or what it was.  I still don’t know what, but now I know when, and I have a suspension of where.”

Cameron thought a moment.  “Mr. Secretary, you’ve kept things very close to your vest.  I think it’s the only reason that we’re alive at this point.  You need to continue to keep it close.  We cannot know much more than Minnix knows.  At the same time, you have to have a way of communicating just enough to position us.  My question is this, how do we safely do that.  I’m not sure that you should trust anyone, including myself.”

Tom agreed.  “Don’t worry, I don’t.  Nothing personal, but I only met you recently.  Plus, Minnix has actors employed, they could replace any of you with very short notice.  Fortunately I have my own operative, someone that no one knows about, someone that Minnix won’t figure out until it’s too late.”

“Good, I suspected as much.  I would do the same thing.  Here is what I recommend doing.  Tell everyone that you have an operative, of course without telling them anything else.  Word will get to Minnix, it will confirm his guess, plus it will make him more nervous. Tell me this, what can you share with me?”

Tom handed him an envelope.  “This is what is safe for you to know.  It also contains the coordinates for you to head to 1918.  I have a mission for you, it’s vital, but it’s not connected with the last phase.  Here’s my question, can you make it look live you’ve been kidnapped?” “A Non Kidnapping is easy, for the most part.”

Three hours later each of the team received a note to come to Cameron’s room. Tom wasn’t surprised at what he saw next.  Tom and the others found the door opened and the room trashed.  Tom wondered where Cameron got the blood that was on the bed.  Then he realized that he didn’t want to know.  He gauged the other reactions to the farce, and was only suspicious of Virginia.  This wasn’t a stretch, he had been since they met.

While this was occurring, a young man with a bandaged right arm was getting into a taxi.  “Where to Mister?”  “The White House, and step on it.”  The next sound the cab driver and the passenger heard was the gun shot that came through the side window.