BRIAN HENLEY and his junior partner
Tim Doherty quietly left the
restaurant as soon as the
confrontation at the bar ended. They
were glad they didn't have to get
involved. The last thing they wanted
was to draw attention. Brian and Tim
were agents for the United States
Treasury Department. More
importantly, they were ESF agents.
The ESF or Exchange Stabilization
Fund was a classified arm of the
Treasury Department. As an
organization, it only reported to
the Secretary of the Treasury and
Brian's last partner had taken a
bullet about a month ago during a
raid on a counterfeiters operation.
He would be out of commission for at
least another six months. Brian was
one of the departments best agents
so he quickly received a new
partner, Tim Doherty.
Tim graduated at the top of his
class and was a real hot shot
− mentally sharp as a tack, and even
sharper with a pistol. Both men had
extensive training in the martial
arts. Brian was considerably rustier
than Tim was, though Brian would
never admit it.
Walking outside and past Paul's Mark
VIII, they made their way to their
government-issued, white Ford sedan.
Brian climbed into the drivers
seat; he was not willing to let the
rookie drive yet. After Tim hopped
in on the passenger side, Brian
moved the car to a more
inconspicuous location in the lot
and turned off the engine.
"This assignment is bullshit", said
Tim. "Why the hell are we following
this guy? Not to mention the
Smiling, Brian responded, "Calm
down, every assignment isn't going
to get your blood pumping. Heck,
most of the work is so dull; its
like watching paint dry."
While what he told the rookie had
the ring of truth to it, Brian still
felt something did not add up. This
type of surveillance duty was highly
unusual for an agent with his
extensive experience. The
Secretary or the President must feel
this assignment is important,
thought Brian. He made a mental note
to have Marge, his office assistant,
run a complete background check on
this Paul Malone. He was going to
try to add things up on his
Brian reviewed the last two days in
his mind. Yesterday at 5:00 A.M.
Saturday, he received a call from
the duty officer. Brian was given an
address and a name, John Trent.
The agent on duty barked, Get over
there ASAP and keep this guy under
surveillance. The guy is sixty years
old and lives alone. He has a red
four-door Cadillac with VA license
plate 3KZPY5. There will be more to
come later. Keep your radio hot.
Brian hung up, called his new
partner, and quickly took care of
the essentials; he made a pot of
coffee. He then swung by to pick up
Tim and headed over to the
residential address. They settled
into position by 6:00 A.M. Brian was
sipping hot coffee from the lid of a
thermos while Tim was still wiping
the sleep out of his eyes. They
chose a spot two houses down and on
the opposite side of the street.
About 9:30 A.M., the target got in a
Cadillac and took off. They followed
him to one of the office buildings
in a business park just outside of
Fairfax City, Virginia.
Brian called in and briefed the duty
officer. Thirty minutes later, the
radio broke the silence.
Undersecretary Whitmore is in route
to your location. He is due there in
thirty minutes. You are off the
clock after he arrives.
The Undersecretary's car pulled in
as scheduled. Frustrated with what
appeared to be a waste of time,
Brian and Tim followed orders and
left. On their way out, Brian caught
a quick glimpse of the two men
getting out of the car. One was
obviously the Undersecretary, Tom
Whitmore. The other man Brian didn't
recognize, though he might have if
he had taken a closer look.
The next morning, Brian received a
similar call. The bottom line − he
and Tim were to follow Paul Malone
and report on his movements. After a
boring day of trailing what appeared
to be an ordinary guy, they had
arrived at the restaurant about an
Hungry, they bent protocol a little
and used the opportunity to get a
bite to eat. Had they ignored their
appetite, they would not have seen
the altercation at the bar.
It was Brian's turn to break the
silence. He turned to Tim and asked,
"Did anything strike you as odd
about the fight at the bar between
this Paul Malone and Ricky Rigel?"
"Who the hell is Ricky Rigel?"
"You didn't recognize him? Oh yeah,
it was probably a bit before your
time, answered Brian. Ricky was an
all-star linebacker for Minnesota in
the early nineties. He acquired a
reputation for being a real ass
after a couple of arrests, mainly
assault. There was even one
high-profile case. It involved sex
with some young woman. She claimed
it was forced. As near as I can
remember, the case didn't make it to
court, although I think she did
receive a big settlement from a
related civil case."
"He sounds like a real gem of a guy.
But what are you getting at?" Tim
"Well what was a little strange to
me was not the fact that Malone put
him down so fast. He has obviously
been well trained. But why did Ricky
just let it lie? It seemed totally
out of character for a big guy
looking for trouble, especially one
with Ricky's reputation."
"You know, when you put it that way,
it does seem odd, doesn't it? Tim
agreed. Maybe Malone used some kind
of mental telepathy on him," he
Brian ignored Tim's quip. "Another
thing, this Paul Malone seems okay.
Did you notice the way he pulled his
punch? It was obvious he could have
done a lot more damage if he wanted.
Anyhow, I have a feeling he is one
of the good guys."
"Yeah, I know what you mean, but
maybe this Malone fellow used some
kind of mental telepathy on us too,"
said Tim, again sarcastically.
Ten minutes later, Paul's grey Mark
VIII left the parking lot. Brian
started up the white Ford sedan and
A jet-black Mercedes with darkly
tinted windows pulled out from
across the street. It discreetly
fell into position behind the other