“In the silence there is truth.”
Taped to the front door of my 14X70 mobile home, these words sent a chill down my spine. I read the words again. My memories are stirred by this small phrase, but I failed to put it together.
I opened the door and stepped cautiously inside. Everything appeared to be just as I left it, nothing was out of place. I walked over to the couch and lifted one of the cushions, my weapon was still under it. As I lifted the weapon and slipped the magazine out, there was a knock at the door.
“Yeah? Who is it?”
“Agents Dylan and Fitzgerald. We are with the FBI. May we come in?”
“No, I will come out.”
It was three steps to the front door, so I cracked open the door and peered out. Sure enough, two agents stood out in the yard, their blue jackets sported the yellow letters FBI on the back. I walked down the concrete steps and gave them a smile.
“What can I do for the FBI?”
A tall blonde with frizzy hair extended her hand.
“Mr. Konan? I am Agent Fitzgerald; this is my partner Agent Dylan. We have some questions concerning your service from 2008-2010.”
“That’s a pretty specific block of time, what do you want to know?”
“Where were you during that timeframe?”
“I was on the move constantly. Europe, the Middle East, back home to the States, why?”
Agent Dylan had sipped at his chocolate milkshake and interrupted our conversation with his attempt to get every drop out. He wiped at his moustache and belched.
“You country folk know how to make some serious grub. Do you know this man?”
He handed me a photo; it was of a friend from my time in Europe.
“Yeah. His name is Thom Hurst. We served together in Europe.”
“Have you heard from him?”
“No. I rarely hear from anyone I served with in Europe, why?”
“If you hear from him, we would like you to contact us. Here is our card. Thank you in advance for your help.”
Agents Dylan and Fitzgerald walked to their rental car and left. I stood alone out in my squared off yard and watched them disappear. “What in the world is going on?” I made my way back inside and looked at the phrase.
“In the silence there is truth.”
Well into the evening, I pondered these words. Enlightenment did not come from my ponderance, so I took a Tylenol PM and laid down on the couch. The new Star Wars movie was out, so I purchased it and watched it until sleep took me.
I slept soundly until I felt another presence in my room. Slivers of light beamed through the cracks of my blinds, and I slipped my hand under the cushion for my handgun. It was gone.
“You want this, brother? He asked, while waving the gun around. “I haven’t seen you in years. Surely, you aren’t still angry after all this time.”
Thom Hurst smiled as he handed the weapon back to me. He looked the same as he did when I left the military. He stood over six feet tall, broad in the shoulders and back, he appeared to have the world in the palm of his hand. His presence was as powerful as his build.
“Come on, Konan. Let’s grab some coffee and catch up.”
I nodded my head and yawned. Slowly, I followed him to the kitchen.
“You know, Thom, the FBI was out here yesterday asking me about you. What have you done now?”
“Oh, you know, bent the rules and made some money.”
“Bent the rules how, and why did you leave the team’s phrase on my door?”
Thom and I made coffee and sat at the small island I had built in the trailer. It was 1258. I had slept less than two hours. “Figures,” I muttered as I blew on the hot liquid.
“Why are the FBI after you, Thom?”
“They sent me to a bad place, to do a bad thing. Instead of doing it, I decided to let the guy go.”
I sipped my coffee. It’s always the same thing. Once people outlived their usefulness, they were dispatched into the great unknown. The civilian version isn’t any better. Once people have got what they wanted from you, they kicked you to the curb. Assassination is a more permanent version of ‘kicking them to the curb.’
“Who did the FBI want gone?”
“Dr. Wilma Bradley, the top quantum physicist.”
“Why did they want her dead?”
“She refused to allow our beloved government use her work for military applications. So, they planned to kill her and take it for themselves.”
“So, let me get this straight. You decided to not kill her, and now they want both of you dead, so you came here.”
“I had nowhere else to turn, amigo.”
“You could have, and should have, done the job. The government is not fond of mutineers.”
I finished my coffee, Thom had not touched his. His normal nonchalant attitude was gone. My friend looked tired.
“Where is Bradley?”
“I left her somewhere safe. I’m supposed to go back and get her if you will help us.”
He sighed. I sighed. “Thermopolis Konan, don’t you dare get involved with this crap! You have enough on your plate without fighting another pointless war.”
“Fine, Thom. I’ll do what I can. However, the FBI knows where I live, so, you can’t stay here.”
“I appreciate it, bud. If something should happen to me, I need you to get Bradley to her father, Dr. Theodore Michael Bradley. He has the connections to make this go away.”
“How? What are the odds of you not making it?”
“Pretty dang good, Konan. I’ve got cancer, and it is terminal. I had six months left to live, five months ago. Helping Wilma was my attempt to balance the cosmic scale. Do you think God will forgive us for all the harm we’ve caused?”
“I don’t know, Thom. I wouldn’t. So, helping Wilma is your attempt to make things right between you and God? It might take more than one good deed to balance those scales, bud.”
“Yeah, but it’s a start.”
I nodded. “Staring at the end of your life would drive home the importance of getting right with The Man, I suppose. An impending death would make one reconsider the steps they’d taken in their journey.”
“Tell me where you stashed, Bradley. I’ll go get her, then we can get out of here. I’d rather not be here when the FBI circles back.”
“I left her at the abandoned barn south from here. She will challenge you with the word ‘Sundance’. Your reply is ‘blue.’ I’ll lay low until you get back with Bradley.”
I walked out to my truck and started it. The barn stood in the middle of a hilly field, which made it a great spot to stash her. The high ground kept folks from looking in.