A Dubious Position

Cover - A Dubious Position

A Dubious Position – coming in July 2013

Chapter One

Colton Banyon strolled casually down the sidewalk on Hubbard St., just north of the loop in downtown Chicago, Illinois. He was currently only a few blocks from the famous Michigan Avenue. He had decided to park his car at his son’s house and walked the several blocks to his destination rather than deal with the exorbitant parking rates charged in the loop.

It was a bright late-spring afternoon, the temperature hovering around seventy degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful day. His black Tumi satchel slapped at his side as he walked, reminding him that he had work to do today. As he neared the restaurant, he noticed several people across the street milling around the Marriot hotel. Some had on Cubs hats and jackets and some wore Yankees hats and shirts. He immediately realized they were all going to the game scheduled at Wrigley field today. He knew a bus ran from the Marriot directly to the ballpark and the people were waiting for their ride.

It was rare for the Yankees, his favorite team, and the Cubs to play each other except in the World Series and that hadn’t happen since 1902, but interleague play had changed that. The Yankees were in town for a three game series starting tonight at seven o’clock. He looked at his Movado watch and noted that it was only a little after one o’clock in the afternoon. The people had a long wait before the game started.

He suddenly realized the baseball fans across the street would spend most of their day just going to a baseball game. How great it must be to have that much free time, he thought. He was envious. Although, he was supposed to be retired himself, he was always busy and today he would be starting a new career. He was heading to a luncheon where the details would be explained. This was, however, no ordinary position. It had been arranged by the President of the United States.

As he neared the entrance to Shaw’s Crab House he spotted a black Cadillac Escalade parked illegally on the street, right in front of the restaurant. Two men in black suits and dark sunglasses stood at both ends of the vehicle and scanned the surrounding area with watchful eyes. One noticed Banyon and kept him in a steady gaze as he approached.

“Good afternoon Mr. Banyon,” he spoke with a slight southern accent.

Wondering how the man knew his name, he responded with, “Hello”.

“The Secretary is waiting for you, but first we must scan you,” the man said evenly and motioned for Banyon to move alongside the SUV and out of the line of sight of the fans across the street. He opened the back door of the SUV and produced a hand held scanner. The second man grabbed Banyon’s bag and rummaged through it as the first man passed the device over Banyon.

Satisfied with the results, the first man announced, “Clean”.

“I did shower this morning,” Banyon joked, but it was lost on the serious Secret Service men.

“Follow me; I will take you to the private dining room,” one said.

They entered the busy restaurant and weaved through the crowded serving floor. Wondrous smells of cooked fish permeated the air. They soon came to a closed door. The man opened it and Banyon walked inside.

The room was small, but there was only one person in it, The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Secretary did not get up to greet him, she was a woman. Banyon stepped over to her and extended his hand.

“I’m Colton Banyon,” he said.

The Secretary said nothing and didn’t offer her hand. She was munching on a piece of bread. Instead, she motioned for Banyon to sit next to her at the small table. She continued to chew for a full minute as she sized up her visitor using the corner of her eye.

Finally, she asked, “Want a drink?”

“I’ll have a vodka and tonic with a twist of lime,” Banyon told the waiter who had been all but invisible in the corner of the room.

“Do you have a preference for the vodka?” the waiter quickly asked.

“Stolichnaya,” Banyon replied.

“I’ll have a Jonny Walker Red, neat,” added the Secretary. The waiter left to fill their order.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, madam Secretary,” Banyon started, but was waved off by the DOJ.

“We’ll talk after he brings the drinks,” she announced dismissively and went back to eating more bread.

Banyon already knew a few things about her. The Secretary of the Justice Department was a cabinet level position. The DOJ was a political appointment made by the President. Her name was Marlene Moore and it was rumored that she was very close to the big man. It was also rumored that she was a control freak, an ice queen, and never said anything more than was absolutely necessary. As he studied her, he realized she had once been very attractive, but the weight of her position was taking its toll on her features. Her clothes were fashionable and sexy, but she looked more like a woman that had passed her prime, but refused to believe it. He was sure she recently had plastic surgery.

The waiter returned with their drinks and served them. “We will have our preordered lunch in exactly one half hour,” she informed him. “Until then, leave us alone.” The waiter hurriedly left the room.

Banyon took a sip of his drink and noticed her staring at him. She had dark green eyes and they were full of resentment. “Frankly,” she started, “I don’t like that you have been forced upon me and I want you to know that while working for me you will do exactly what I tell you. Do you understand?”

Banyon had been told that the DOJ would attempt to intimidate him and make an untold number of unreasonable demands on him. In the business world, he had run across many such women. They thought they had to be tougher than any man and used their positions of authority to keep their male underlings off balance. Good communications and terms never resulted in the relationships.

Fortunately, he knew what to do. “Excuse me a minute,” he replied as he pointed into the air and opened his phone.

“No phone calls,” she ordered.

“Don’t worry, I’ll soon pass the phone to you,” he offered calmly.

“Who are you calling?” she suddenly demanded.

“I’m calling my real boss. I only report to you for political reasons and convenience, you know that, don’t you?”

He noticed a sudden change in her. “No need for the call,” she quietly replied. Banyon knew intimidation worked both ways on this type of bureaucrat. He hung up the phone and turned towards her.

“I believe you have some papers for me to sign and some information to pass on to me,” he said smoothly with a smile on his face.

The DOJ studied his face for a minute, then her eyes narrowed, before she replied. “Who are you Mr. Banyon? Why do you have so much clout? What is it exactly that you do?”

“I’m afraid only one person can tell you that,” he replied. “If and when, he tells you, I will fill in the blanks, until then everything is on a need to know basis. I’m sorry but those are the rules for now.”

Suddenly, changing her tone again, she sweetly said, “Call me Marlene.” She offered her hand and shifted her seat to be closer to Banyon.

“You can call me Colt,” he offered, attempting to be conciliatory, as he accepted her hand. It was warm and silky.

“This is all so strange. Why does the President want you to report directly to him?” she asked as an inquiry.

“Because, I can do things for him that no one else can, Marlene. Sometimes these things are too sensitive for the general public. He is afraid of leaks, and so am I.”

“But I’m in charge of the finest law enforcement agency in the world, the FBI. We can keep a secret.”

“I know, sometimes, I’ve used the FBI to help me,” Banyon replied. “I know they can keep a secret, but some of the other people in government can’t. I expect I will continue to use them in the future,” he said as he looked directly into her eyes.

“The President told me you are a ‘finder’. What does that mean? I mean, I checked up on you and found out that you and your team have an excellent record of recovering artifacts and solving mysteries, better than the FBI. How do you find things so easily and quickly?”

“I may tell you sometime, but not today.”

“But you said that you worked with the FBI before. We work together and yet I know so little about you.”

“I have worked with the FBI many times, but there is no record. Agent Gregory Gamble was my main contact.”

“Yes, it was a major tragedy to lose him,” she quickly replied while shaking her head. “It happened during a shootout in Wisconsin, as I recall,” she added.

“Yes it did, I know, I was there,” he replied as he watched the shock fill her face. Agent Greg Gamble had been part of Banyon’s team, he was also a full-time FBI agent, and was a member of a clandestine task force set up by the President to rid the government of an insidious evil force that had infiltrated deep into American politics. Banyon’s team also hunted old-line Nazis and the new American version known as the Effort. The Effort had tentacles deep into several government agencies and tracking them required complete secrecy.

Agent Gamble, and others, had died while protecting Banyon and a defector at a safe house in Wisconsin. Word had leaked out through government employees. The President attended the funeral and recruited Banyon to help him in his fight.

Suddenly, Banyon’s phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and said to the DOJ, “It’s the President.”

Colton Banyon strolled casually down the sidewalk on Hubbard St. just north of the loop in downtown Chicago, IL. He was currently only a few blocks from the famous Michigan Avenue. He parked his car at his son’s house and walked the several blocks to his destination.

It was a bright late-spring afternoon, the temperature hovering at seventy degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful day. His black Tumi satchel slapped at his side as he walked, reminding him that he had work to do today. As he neared the restaurant, he noticed several people across the street milling around the Marriot hotel. Some had on Cubs hats and jackets and some wore Yankees hats and shirts. He immediately realized they were all going to the game scheduled at Wrigley field today. He knew a bus ran from the Marriot directly to the ballpark and the people were waiting for their ride.

It was rare for the Yankees, his favorite team, and the Cubs to play each other except in the World Series and that hadn’t happen since 1902, but interleague play had changed that. The Yankees were in town for a three game series starting tonight at seven o’clock. He looked at his Movado watch and noted that it was only a little after one o’clock in the afternoon. The people had a long wait before the game started.

He suddenly realized the baseball fans across the street would spend most of their day just going to a baseball game. How great it must be to have that much free time, he thought. He was envious. Although, he was supposed to be retired himself, he was always busy and today he would be starting a new career. He was heading to a luncheon where the details would be explained. This was, however, no ordinary position. It had been arranged by the President of the United States.

As he neared the entrance to Shaw’s Crab House he spotted a black Cadillac Escalade parked illegally on the street, right in front of the restaurant. Two men in black suits and sunglasses stood at both ends of the vehicle and scanned the surrounding area with watchful eyes. One noticed Banyon and kept him in a steady gaze as he approached.

“Good afternoon Mr. Banyon,” he spoke with a slight southern accent.

Wondering how the man knew his name, he responded with, “Hello”.

“The Secretary is waiting for you, but first we must scan you,” the man said evenly and motioned for Banyon to move alongside the SUV and out of the line of sight of the fans across the street. He opened the back door of the SUV and produced a hand held scanner. The second man grabbed Banyon’s bag and rummaged through it as the first man passed the device over Banyon.

Satisfied with the results, the first man announced, “Clean”.

“I did shower this morning,” Banyon joked, but it was lost on the serious Secret Service men.

“Follow me; I will take you to the private dining room,” one said.

They entered the busy restaurant and weaved through the crowded serving floor. They soon came to a closed door. The man opened it and Banyon walked inside.

The room was small, but there was only one person in it, The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Secretary did not get up to greet him, she was a woman. Banyon stepped over to her and extended his hand. “I’m Colton Banyon,” he said.

The Secretary said nothing and didn’t offer her hand. She was munching on a piece of bread. Instead, she motioned for Banyon to sit next to her at the small table. She continued to chew for a full minute as she sized up her visitor.

Finally, she asked, “Want a drink?”

“I’ll have a vodka and tonic with a twist of lime,” Banyon told the waiter who had been all but invisible in the corner of the room.

“Do you have a preference for the vodka?” the waiter quickly asked.

“Stolichnaya,” Banyon replied.

“I’ll have a Jonny Walker Red, neat,” added the Secretary. The waiter left to fill their order.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, madam Secretary,” Banyon started, but was waved off by the DOJ.

“We’ll talk after he brings the drinks,” she announced dismissively and went back to eating more bread.

Banyon already knew a few things about her. The Secretary of the Justice Department was a cabinet level position The DOJ was a political appointment made by the President. Her name was Marlene Moore and it was rumored that she was very close to the big man. It was also rumored that she was a control freak, and ice queen, and never said anything more than was absolutely necessary. As he studied her, he realized she had once been very attractive, but the weight of her position was taking its toll on her features. Her clothes were fashionable and sexy, but she looked more like a woman that had passed her prime, but refused to believe it. He was sure she recently had plastic surgery.

The waiter returned with their drinks and served them. “We will have our preordered lunch in exactly one half hour,” she informed him. “Until then, leave us alone.” The waiter left the room.

He took a sip of his drink and noticed her staring at him. She had dark green eyes and they were full of resentment. “Frankly,” she started, “I resent that you have been forced upon me and I want you to know that while working for me you will do exactly what I tell you. Do you understand?”

Banyon had been told that the DOJ would attempt to intimidate him and make an untold number of unreasonable demands on him. In the business world, he had run across many such women. They thought they had to be tougher than any man and used their positions of authority to keep their male underlings off balance. Good communications and terms never resulted in the relationships.

Fortunately, he knew what to do. “Excuse me a minute,” he replied as he pointed into the air and opened his phone.

“No phone calls,” she demanded.

“Don’t worry, I’ll soon pass the phone to you,” he offered.

“Who are you calling?” she suddenly demanded.

“I’m calling my real boss. I only report to you for political reasons and convenience, you know that, don’t you?”

He noticed a sudden change in her. “No need for the call,” she quietly replied. Banyon knew intimidation worked both ways on this type of bureaucrat. He hung up the phone and turned towards her.

“I believe you have some papers for me to sign and some information as well,” he said smoothly with a smile on his face.

“Who are you Mr. Banyon? Why do you have so much clout? What is it exactly that you do?”

“I’m afraid only one person can tell you that,” he replied. “If and when, he tells you, I will fill in the blanks, until then everything is on a need to know basis. I’m sorry but those are the rules for now.”

Suddenly, changing her tune again, she sweetly said, “Call me Marlene.” She shifted her seat to be closer to Banyon, he was sure she flashed him some thigh while doing it.

“You can call me Colt,” he offered, attempting to be conciliatory.

“This is all so strange. Why does the President want you to report directly to him?” she asked as an inquiry.

“Because, I can do things for him that no one else can, Marlene. Sometimes these things are too sensitive for the general public. He is afraid of leaks, and so am I.”

“But I’m in charge of the best law enforcement agency in the world, the FBI. We can keep a secret.”

“Sometimes, I’ve used the FBI as well. I know they can keep a secret, but some of the people in government can’t. I expect I will continue to use them in the future,” he said as he looked directly into her eyes.

“The President told me you are a ‘finder’. What does that mean? I mean, I checked up on you and found out that you and your team have an excellent record of recovering artifacts and solving mysteries, better than the FBI, which, as you know, reports to me. How do you find things so easily and quickly?”

“I may tell you sometime, but not today.”

“But you have worked with the FBI before, right? We work together and yet I know so little about you.”

“I have worked with the FBI many times, but there is no record. Agent Gregory Gamble was my main contact.”

“Yes, it was a major tragedy to lose him,” she quickly replied. “It happened during a shootout in Wisconsin, as I recall,” she added.

“Yes it did, I know, I was there,” he replied as he watched the shock fill her face. Agent Greg Gamble had been part of Banyon’s team, he was also a full-time FBI agent, and was a member of a clandestine task force set up by the President to rid the government of an insidious evil force that had infiltrated deep into American politics. Banyon’s team hunted old-line Nazis and the new American version known as the Effort. Their tentacles were deep into several government agencies and tracking them required complete secrecy. Agent Gamble, and others, had been protecting Banyon and a defector at a safe house when he was killed by Effort people. Word had leaked out through government employees. The President attended the funeral and recruited Banyon to help him in his fight.

Suddenly, Banyon’s phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and said to the DOJ,” It’s the
President.”