A Dubious Race


Adubiousrace (1)

 

Coming 3/17/2015

Chapter One

PRESENT DAY

Colton Banyon entered the Law office of Dewey & Beatem in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois thinking that it was going to be an easy day — it didn’t turn out that way.

He had dressed casually in a pink dress shirt and black pants, along with soft Italian loafers. He didn’t expect to be meeting anyone that would require more formal attire. As he crossed the large marble-floored reception area he waved to Mandy, the very young-looking woman behind the airline checkin-like counter. She was the receptionist, his assistant, and a new member of his unique team. She also had an uncontrollable crush on Colton Banyon.

“Morning Colt,” she called out in a sweet voice as she tracked him with her eyes.

“Good morning Mandy,” he replied in a friendly tone as he glanced at her. Today, she was dressed in a severe blue business suit that hugged her toned body. It was accented with an open collared, white silk blouse. A string of white pearls adorned her neck. The three inch blue high heels brought her up to a full five foot three inches. She had begun to grow her blond hair and it now reached her shoulders. She was very athletic, but she still looked fourteen to him.

Banyon was over sixty years old, old enough to be her grandfather, but understood why Mandy was attracted to him. He was six feet tall with still defined muscles and a good smile. If it wasn’t for his thinning hair, and the crow’s feet around his eyes, he could pass for a much younger man. But Mandy was attracted to him for another reason. It was because he treated her like a person and not a little pretty doll. He gave her responsibility when no one else would. He was her mentor and friend. They had many awkward moments as she tried to repay him using her sexuality. He always refused mostly because his girlfriend and companion Loni would kill him and her too, but secretly, he loved the attention.

He took two more steps across the floor. Then the problems began.

“I have some information for you,” she said as her small arm gestured for him to come to the counter. He turned and walked over to her station.

“What have you got?” He said cheerfully, but his smile dropped from his face when she held up the ten pink message slips. He never got more than two or three messages in a day. This could only mean trouble, he thought.

“The first thing you need to know is that Bart is taking the rest of the week off. He booked a cruise and has already left the country,” Mandy told him.

“He never mentioned anything to me,” Banyon protested. Bart Longwood was Banyon’s partner at the firm. By design, the firm was very secretive and only first names were used inside the office. Since Banyon had joined the firm several years ago, Bart had never taken a vacation. He wondered why he would take one now.

“He left a message on the phone overnight,” Mandy said. “I don’t think anybody knew he was taking some time off.

“That seems strange, don’t you think? Why take a vacation now?” Banyon replied as he scratched his chin.

“There’s more,” Mandy continued as her clear blue eyes searched his face.

“Okay, give it to me.”

“He said you will handle running the company while he is gone. All decisions should be cleared through you.”

“But I’m not qualified to run a firm full of lawyers,” Banyon said with concern. “I know next to nothing about law.” Banyon had joined the firm to be a finder. He was very good at locating lost things. He had recently been made a partner because he produced the most income at the firm. Also the President of the United States had told Bart, his college roommate, that he would lose Banyon and the lucrative government contracts if he didn’t. Bart was a money hungry, greedy, lawyer who understood that half a loaf was better than none.

Banyon had joined the firm at the President’s request. The big man was the only person besides Banyon’s team who knew of his unique talent. The firm had many legitimate clients, but was also a top secret black ops organization which the President used to handle situations that could not be completed through public means. Each person that worked at Dewey & Beatem had special talents, right down to the receptionist.

“Don’t worry, Colt. I am always at your disposal,” she replied. She batted her eyelids at him. “The lawyers are taking care of the cases. You just have to keep things rolling along. Mostly you need to sign checks. What could go wrong?”

Banyon was an experienced businessman. He had spent forty years in the consumer products business. He knew how to sign checks and make decisions. He had retired from all that, and now just wanted to find artifacts. He just didn’t want to deal with all the hassles. “I suppose that all those messages are from people who need decisions, right?” Banyon asked as he pointed to the pink slips.

“There are also two people from the accounting department stationed at your office door,” Mandy informed him. “They need you to sign checks.”

Chapter Two

It took Banyon more than three hours to sign the checks demanded by the accounting people. He then responded to all the messages. He was beginning to have some sympathy for Bart. The job of running the company wasn’t easy. After he was done, he leaned back and put his feet up on the desk in an attempt to plan out the rest of his day. But he heard a beep in his Bluetooth earpiece. Everyone at Dewey & Beatem wore a Bluetooth whenever they were in the office. It made for improved communications.

“Colt, are you free?” Mandy breathed into his ear.

“Don’t tell me that there are more checks to sign,” he half-growled.

“No nothing like that,” she responded sweetly.

“Then what is it that you want?”

“You have a call. Should I take a message?” Mandy was an efficient receptionist. She did her best to protect Banyon’s time.

“Who is it?”

“She says that her name is Professor Lisa Lange,” Mandy replied. “I’ve heard her name before, I think. Do you know her?”

Banyon was shocked and immediately sat bolt upright in his chair. He did know Lisa Lange, but he never expected to hear from her again. He struggled to think what he should do. He certainly didn’t want to talk to her on an office phone. All calls were recorded. He wondered if she might be in trouble. Why else would she call?

“Get her number and tell her that I will call her back in five minutes,” Banyon ordered.

“Will do,” Mandy immediately replied.

Banyon sat in stunned silence. He began to wonder why Lisa would call. He knew she was a full professor of history at UNLV in Las Vegas. She was also the head of a very secret society called the “Vril Society”. Banyon and his team had helped to save her life, and also found the lost book of Vril over a year ago. It had been a dangerous adventure with lots of bad guys. In the end, it was necessary to make everyone involved in the mystery forget what happened — or face bloodshed.

Fortunately one of the many secrets in the book was a hypnotic process developed by Sigmund Freud himself. It made people forget selected information. It was a form of post-hypnotic suggestion. He had developed it in the nineteen-thirties, when he still lived in Austria. Freud never published the process because he was afraid that the Nazis would use it to dominate the world. But had told one person, and they had recorded it in the book. The person was Lisa’s great-grandmother who used it to escape Nazi Germany.

Banyon had visited Lisa after the crisis had ended to make sure that she didn’t remember the conflict. He had offered her his card and a copy of the book of Vril. She accepted both, but showed no recollection of him. What has changed? Is the hypnotic spell weakening? Mandy had said that she recognized the name. She had been one of the people that had been “Freud-a-sized”, it was the term used by his team to make people forget. Was this evidence that the people we Freud-a-sized would soon begin to remember? This could be a huge disaster. Banyon decided that he needed to get advice from Wolf.

Before he could ask Wolf his question, Banyon noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Banyon’s second story office included a small curved patio separated from the inside by large, clear, glass doors. The patio overhung the inside reception area. It was directly above Mandy’s station. Rather than navigate the long corridors of the building, Mandy often used her athletic abilities to leap up on to the patio to access Banyon’s office. He turned his head in time to see a bare-footed Mandy vault over the railing in her hiked-up short skirt, flashing lots of leg. He was not the least bit surprised.

She struggled, but soon pulled open the big glass door. She grinned as she sprinted towards him and skidded to a stop, placing her small bottom on the corner of his desk. She let her bare legs dangle inches from his chair.

“Special delivery,” she announced and showed him the pink slip with Lisa’s number written on it.

“There was no need to rush, but thank you,” Banyon responded and snatched the message from between her fingers.

“How do you know her, Colt?” she quickly asked. “Is she a client? Will this be my first case as a member of the team? Will I have to dress up? Do you want me to act slutty like the Patel sisters?”

“Whoa, slow down Mandy,” Banyon beseeched her. “Yes, I do know her. The question is do you know her?”

“Well that is just it. Somewhere in the back of my brain, I see a tall blond older woman, but I can’t remember where I met her. Is that her?”

Holly crap, Banyon thought. She just described Lisa, except she was actually only in her mid-thirties. Of course, anyone over twenty-five is older to Mandy. “Can you remember anything else about her?”

“Why are you asking me these questions, Colt?” Mandy fidgeted nervously on the edge of Banyon’s desk.

But that didn’t stop him. “Well do you?” He demanded.

“I’m not sure about what I said,” Mandy quickly replied. “Maybe it was just what I pictured her looking like from her voice on the phone. Did I do something wrong? Is she an old girlfriend?”

The answer didn’t surprise Banyon. Mandy noticed and categorized every woman that he had contact with, or even looked at. But on the other hand, Lisa’s voice may have triggered a memory. He needed to find out. “I’m going to call her right now on my cell phone. I want you to listen in, okay. Then I’m going to ask you some more questions,” Banyon said.

“Okay,” she said with hesitation. “Is this some kind of test?”

Banyon ignored her and dialed the number on the message slip, then hit the speaker button. Lisa picked up on the third ring.

“Lisa Lange,” she said in a clear cultured voice.

“Professor Lange, this is Colton Banyon. You called me?” Banyon watched Mandy for any reaction as he spoke.

“Yes, Mr. Banyon, I did. You might not remember me, but you gave me your card and said that if I ever needed your help to call you,” she quickly said into the phone. He sensed urgency in her voice.

“How can I help you professor?”

“First of all, please call me Lisa. You know, it’s funny. Why is it that I feel like we are old friends?”

“And please call me Colt.” Banyon responded with a level of panic beginning to rise in his chest. Lisa had also been Freud-a-sized. Is the spell wearing off?

“I’ll get right to the point…Colt,” she said. “I have done some research on you and I think that you can help me find something that was stolen.”

“I don’t know what you have found out about me, but I usually only look for artifacts that are very valuable,” Banyon replied.

“Oh, this is a valuable artifact alright,” she answered with a throaty laugh. Banyon now sat up in his chair and motioned for Mandy to take notes.

“What can you tell me about the artifact?”

“As you know, I am a professor of history at UNLV. One of my students brought me a picture and told me that the artifact in the picture had been recently stolen from his grandfather. The artifact is a stone tablet with writing on it. I have been attempting to verify the language and what was written on the stone. I’m hoping that we could meet me and go over my findings. I think that you will want to help me.”

“I’m not in Las Vegas at the moment,” Banyon said.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you that I am here in Chicago at Northwestern University. I came here because a friend of mine is an expert on ancient languages. Are your offices near here?” She asked politely.

“Was he able to read the words on the tablet?” Banyon asked.

“Yes and the implications are earth shattering,” she replied. “I’m going to visit with another friend of mine while I’m here to fill in some more blanks.”

“Can you tell me what you have discovered?” Banyon was now curious.

“If we can authenticate the stone, it will change our knowledge of who discovered America,” she said. “But there is much more.”

“Let me put you on hold for a second,” Banyon said.

“Alright.” She said with disappointment.

Banyon turned to the wide-eyed Mandy. “I want you to collect Steve and Heather and be back in my office in five minutes. I have something to tell you,” Banyon told her.

“Yes, sir,” she yelled, she was already going out the door.

Banyon hit the mute button and was once again began talking to Lisa. “Do you have transportation to get you here?”

“I have a car. I can GPS your location,” she responded.

“Good,” he gave her the address of the office. “It should take you about an hour from the university.”

“I’ll see you then,” she replied.

“I do have one question first,” Banyon said.

“What is your question?”

“So who really discovered America?” Banyon asked.

“It was the Phoenicians.”