The Turning Point
The “Bonus Insert”
Sep. 12 ’84 (7:00am) While scanning the morning paper I find a special "bonus insert” and toss it aside for later reading should I have the time. This particular Monday morning was unusually slow since almost everyone else in the office was milling around comparing notes on their three day weekend activities and sharing stories of picnics, Bar-b-que’s and golf scores. When I picked up the “Special bonus insert” and began killing the extra time reading I seemed to get lost in the article and stopped to find myself going back and reading sections over again as if I wasn’t sure what I had just read. For some reason I even caught myself looking over my shoulder to see if someone was reading over my shoulder.
Confusion set in as I begin to read. I couldn’t determine if it was me or the way the Author presented the article. I even checked the photo and headline on the front twice to see if it gave any clues as to what I was reading. The morning was like any other and it would take the office personnel about an hour to settle in before they began to bombard me with their issues. This was my time to relax and soak in the local news and fresh coffee. Only this morning there was bonus reading in the local news.
I cannot believe my eyes as I scan the article in front of me. I summons my assistant and begin to read out loud some exerts from the post. Now we both are a gasp with the words. I pause for a moment and we refill our coffee cups. Starring at the paper lying on the desk my mind begins to wander. How could anyone do such a thing? How can anyone be so crass? How can an author promise anonymity knowing such crimes were being committed on such innocent people?
Personnel began gathering at the door as if it was the water fountain down the hall or the cafeteria coffee pot. I actually had to break up the chit chat between them as the crowd builds in an effort to keep the office supervisor from being attracted and see that we were all wasting most of the morning bullshitting. I liked working behind closed doors in my own private office rather than cubicles out on the floor. There was a sense of privacy and security and I and my assistant kept it that way. Charlene had been with me almost two years now and we had such a great working relationship
that there were seldom questions as to which responsibilities were hers and which
person was going in which direction. Our office had an organizational flow to it that could not be matched anywhere else in the company and we had the productivity to prove it. Our walls were decorated with plaques and awards from previous years of setting production records and for going above and beyond the call of duty. We took our jobs seriously and everyone in the office knew it too. When there was something to be done they came to us, when deadlines were pushed up or in jeopardy, they came to us. We controlled the document flow throughout the corporation from the most trivial document’s to the most secure information within the company. Whether on paper and on computer disk’s. We transferred all document’s, recorded update’s, and change’s, and cataloged them for inventory. We controlled who had authority to see what documents and when. Within the company we held Top secret security clearance’s.
Charlene took off for the gymnasium where she works out each day. The company gives her an additional thirty minutes to eat in exchange for her efforts to stay healthy. Rather than head out to the cafeteria with my sack lunch I decide to close and lock the door with the “Special” insert from the morning paper.
The insert appeared to be about ten pages in all, but as of now I had only muddled through about two pages so I decided to start over. The article leads me thru a series of events that build to a climax of criminal activity in full detail. This has been going on for years and this criminal is boasting about the fact that he has gotten rich from his crimes and tries to relay the idea that this is a victimless crime and he remains faceless. His arrogance is portrayed in the authors writings, and she quotes him several times as he goes into complete detail as to whom, where, when, how, and even tries to justify his actions with why! The reporter promised this character full anonymity in exchange for his story. “Story” is the opportune word here as I couldn’t believe it to be true, but, rather thinking it was a fabricated story. This has to be a fictitious story fabricated to sell papers. There are details of serious crimes revealing recent time lines, and he goes on to give information on the approximate locations, and the victims he targets.
Having read this, if in fact it is true! I cannot believe that this reporter hadn’t picked up a phone and called the police immediately. She has this person face to face, but, getting the story is bigger than the crime? I am Appalled! I can’t help but think the reporter is committing a crime herself. Doesn’t she have a moral obligation to the public? Isn’t she concealing a crime? Isn’t there going to be an investigator knocking on her door for the identity of this character? Had it not been for the anger that built inside of me, I probably would have cried at that moment.
The line of questioning by the reporter continues to draw a picture of heinous crimes and the interviewee is seeming to soak up her attention and leads the story into places that should have gotten this criminal caught long ago by any police authority in any city. How could this have gone on for so long without being noticed? Why did it take the investigation of a news reporter to bring the truth to light? This is in a major newspaper distributed to thousands of people in this city. Surely someone will read this and take action! Surely someone knows who this person is, and will make a call to local authorities! Because of the confidentiality between a reporters promise of anonymity, and the ability to gather the news, nothing can be done? Or can it?
Charlene returned from lunch to find the insert lying on her desk. She started to set it aside when I insisted she take the time to read the article. She suggested she take it home and read it but I insisted she take the time to read it now. Things were slow and I could cover her workload. When she finished reading the article, hers eyes swollen with tears, slowly looked up from her desk and the expression on her face was obvious. We spent the rest of the day discussing the reporters responsibility to report the news vs. reporting a crime and the options a reporter has. We debated what each of us would have done, or could have done given the same position as the reporter, and given the fact that I am a man, and she a woman, would have the capacity to do! When all was said and done we came to the conclusion that “Saying things, and doing things, were two entirely different things”.
We locked up shop and went home.
Over the next few days I listened intently to the news on TV and scoured the papers for a follow up story. There was never a hint of any one arrested within any media, and my curiosity was beginning to build as I read the article several times over the next two weeks. I had actually memorized many aspects of the article and began to see a pattern in the way the person being interviewed responds to the reporter‘s questions. Her quotes provided a link to this guy’s character that is common among un or under educated people I have encountered in my life. Having spent most of my life in Private educational institutions, proper grammar was always practiced, but during my years of technical training I encountered a broader variable in the levels of education I had not seen before. Another thing that stood out as I read
the quote’s from this, “Guy behind the door”, was that he seemed to repeat himself several times. Patterns in his speech were quite evident and I began to notice how many people all around me had similar type’s of pattern’s when they spoke that I had never paid much attention to in the past. I was slowly becoming obsessed with this reporters interview and the confidence that her interviewee so flagrantly exposed. His guard was down and his arrogance annoyed me tremendously. I was getting inside his head with each review of the article.
Weeks of intent listening to co-worker’s in the office provided insight to all sorts of voice and word patterns across various backgrounds and races of the workers that seemed to get broader from one side of the company to the other. Educational levels became apparent and in some cases people simply developed slang’s adapted form home regions, gaining or losing them over time. Once, upon returning home, I was told I sounded like a “Damn Yankee”. Time had changed my accent, so that my own family had noticed the change in my voice that I picked up from working with, and spending so much time with, others from around the world. Charlene’s wedding plan’s had come to fruition and the day was finally here. I had been asked to be an usher, and she dressed me in a suit to match her bride’s maid’s dresses. Her family came from across the country as did the groom’s family. With a registry signed I led them to there assigned seats and stood to the side as the wedding went off without a hitch. It felt as if I already knew most of her family considering how long we had worked together and shared stories of home. Over the next several day’s I assisted Charlene and Her new found groom in packing her apartment. She was moving across the country to start her new life.
With a new assistant to train I stayed busy over the next several week’s taking only the time for an occasional date with a young lady whom I had met at Charlene’s wedding. Loraine was the wedding planner, and Charlene’s wedding was just one of her first three to perform. Having just graduated from college and moved back home to be near her parent’s she lived in Charlene’s apartment complex.
Friday’s and Saturday’s would find us at the local theatre and some of the finer restaurant’s in town. I met her parent’s on a Sunday after church and our first meet was as though we had known each other for years. Her dad, Doug was an engineer for a major manufacturing company in town while her mom, Linda, cleaned private office’s part time for extra pocket money.
One weekend Loraine left town for another wedding project, so I went with some of the guy’s from the office to a pool hall for a picture of beer and fun and games. We hadn’t been at the pool hall very long before a fight broke out. While everyone seemed to clear out and give the two room to fight, for some reason I jumped into the middle of it and pulled the two apart. Discussing the matter with the two, I explained that I had observed them earlier, and that I thought they were friends. They agreed the reason for fighting over a pool game was too trivial, shook hands and made up. On the way home, one of the guys asked me why I chose to intervene and I could only explain it as, “It just seemed like the thing to do!” The next day at work I called the local Law enforcement office and told them we needed to sit down and talk about the character in the “Special bonus insert” from the local newspaper from almost two month’s ago. They set up a time and place to meet.
Nov. 05 ‘84 (7:00pm) The meeting was arranged on a secluded road a few miles out of town. When I arrived the three men in their black suits seemed to be so out of place with their ties and spit shined loafers. Even the car they came in didn’t fit out here in the wilderness . Usually there were Pick-up trucks with gun racks and ropes hanging off of them. Here they were all dressed as if headed for a funeral in the middle of the wilderness while I came dressed as if I was ready for a hog hunt.
I climbed into the back of the car as the tall skinny guy starts with introductions and a cigarette. Within minutes they are bombarding me with questions barely giving me time to answer one before another agent would fire away with another question from a completely different direction. Left field, right field, center field, foul. It seemed like a baseball game without any organization and even became quite chaotic at times to say the least. At some point they even started asking each other questions as if I wasn’t even in the car. We arrange more meetings over the next several days always changing the location by a few miles. I didn’t hear from them for awhile and was beginning to think the whole thing was over when out of the blue I get a phone call for another rendezvous. This time the Tall agent brought other agents and the introductions were done all over again, as if I was going to remember any of these guys names, or even wanted to. The secret meetings went on for weeks
but there never seemed to be anything secret about them when you consider the agents always showed up in suits and a bright shinny car in the middle of the wilderness. These guys stuck out like football players on a basketball court.
I must have been asked at least a dozen times already but here we go again. No I don’t hold grudges, No I don’t have anything personal against anyone. No I’m not in this for any type of monetary gain. The questions kept coming and I was getting impatient as they seemed to repeat the same questions every third round of questioning. It was obvious that they were trying to trip me up and tangle me in some kind of lies and or deceit.
Climbing back into my truck I head further in the hills to gather my thoughts and settle my nerves. What have I gotten myself into? Is this going to be a mistake working with these guys? Maybe I should go it alone! Why did I ever call them? I glance into the rearview mirror as their tail lights disappear in the distance. These guys are full of doubt and after weeks of questioning seem to think I have wasted their time and this whole thing is some kind of a ploy to distract them from their usual business. I try to explain that I have better things to do than waste my time each week meeting them on back road’s three nights a week, week after week. I’m ready to take some action. These repetitive meetings are beginning to waste my time. We have gone over this time and time again. I’ve answered all your questions and now maybe it’s time you answered a few of mine. Specifically are you going to do something about it, or do I have to do it myself? Remember I called you offering my help and now you make it look as if I’m the one wasting your time.
June 16th ’86 (8:00am) The cuff on my arm was uncomfortable to say the least and the clips on my fingers weren’t much better. It was supposed to last for about an hour but time seemed to stand still. It seemed as though two hours had passed, but there wasn’t a clock in the room so I couldn‘t be sure. I was beginning to sweat for no reason at all and my nerves seemed to be coming unraveled. I began thinking back to when this whole thing started, How the questioning was repetitive and relentless. The only difference was that there were three men shooting questions from three different directions and this time it was just myself and the one agent in the room. The room smelled of sweat and stale air and I couldn’t wait to get back home. But, wait; was just what I was going to have to do. This had already taken two years of my life in a whole different direction and it was far from over.
I spent two and a half hours on the lie detector before getting my first break. Even then it wasn’t much of a break as agents gathered around me asking hundreds of questions and patting me on my back for my participation and commitment to the cause. The agent in charge came in a escorted me to another room where a long table was set up in the middle of the room with eight uniformed agents and two well suited men with note pads neatly arranged in from of each individual. The questions began again. Same questions, Different people, different place, different time.
Three days have passed and the meetings are over. No-one gas given me any feed back and I’m so in the dark that “lost” doesn’t begin to describe how I feel at this time. As I arrive at the airport I am told not to discuss any thing that has happened over the past three days, much less the past two years, with any of my friends, anyone at home, or back at the office. Not even Charlene, no-one must know. I will be met by agents when I arrive at the airport, whom will escort me directly to a hotel room, at an undisclosed location, where I am to remain in hiding until someone comes for me.
June 20th ‘86 (10:00am) The agency transported me by private jet back to my home town, but, I couldn’t go home. They attached an agent to me whom drove me to a secluded hotel room and instructed me not to open the door for anyone as he would be my only contact for the next few days. His job was to bring my meals and any personal effects I may need. We arranged a tentative schedule for the meals and
he left me alone for the night. Rested up from the jet lag and the mental strain of the last three days, all I could do now was sit and wait it out. Several hours passed that next morning as I starred at the walls and the TV. My mind was wandering all over the place thinking of all the possibilities of my future. What would the repercussions be for my actions? What would the future bring? Where do I go from here. No-one showed for breakfast and hunger was beginning to overwhelm me. I decided that a short jaunt to a popular local fish house just down the road wouldn’t hurt, not to mention I could use the fresh air and exercise.
Within minutes of my return to the room there was a knock on the door. I didn’t think twice as I opened the door, considering I was expecting the agent to come by at any time. The moment I opened the door to discover the person standing there wasn’t the agent at all, it occurred to me that I had just made a big mistake. The individual stood there motionless for what seemed like an eternity, his face shielded by a motorcycle helmet with his hands to his sides. I was about to slam the door when he reached up and removed the helmet revealing his identity.
What happens next?
This is a book in progress and any feed back Encouragement or Criticism is greatly appreciated