Monday, December 3, 2012

John Thorn - Chapter 2

March 10, 1999

“Peter, I know you took it where is it?” John screamed as he shoved his older larger brother. “Where is what little brother? I am not interested in any of your petty high school crap.” Peter feigned a lack of knowledge, but he knew he would reveal the truth. There were no secrets between the Thorn boys and there never would be.
“Peter, I know you have my Jordan rookie card. If anything happens to it I’ll kill you. I don’t care how much training you get I’ll kill you. And I've watched enough crime dramas to get away with it.” John pored through the things in his elder brother's room like a thief urgently searching for jewelry. Ultimately finding nothing.

“John, come here.”  Peter whispered.
“Why are you whispering?”
“Little brother I had an assignment this weekend. To steal something and hide it. The point of the exercise is learning how to conceal important items and intelligence without it being detected. The best place is in plain sight. People are always blind to the familiar.” Peter turned toward John and revealed the location of his prized card. "Look under Dad’s signed Hank Aaron ball.”

He continued, “John, I am going to pass this course, and when I do I am gonna have to keep a lot of secrets. You gotta remember to always trust me. You’ll always be the only one I really trust. I should be back for graduation but I don’t know after that when I’ll see you. Take care little brother.” After a quick hug, Peter grabbed his bag he and walked out of the room.

For a few minutes thereafter there were the obligatory goodbyes to mom, dad, and the few friends in the house and then he headed off into his car. This was the last time John saw his brother in person. His body was so badly wounded, John opted not to view it one last time. In the intervening years, it was hit or miss an email here a congratulatory phone call there. Work and life had separated them more often than not. Peter didn't even make it to John's wedding. John never faulted him for that, it didn't take after all. 

April 2nd

Ashley paced the Gate. Gate 13, the scene of my first crime she thought. I have lied to multiple federal officers thinking of the TSA agents, an odd seeming cop and I don’t even know if John is telling the truth.

The ongoing wildfires were not helping matters. If her plane wasn't cleared soon, her trip would certainly end before it began. What would become of John then? Is he even worthy of my trust?

Trying to ease her worry Ashley headed to the Home Turf Sports bar. Looking in the mirror at the bar she thought even with this sweat box of a wig, I am looking good.  She ordered a burger and some fries and focused her attention on the TV screen. The Heat lost handily earlier in the day. “Take that LeQuit! You won’t be winning another championship this year!!!” After her rather loud outburst Ashley realized that when on the run perhaps she should keep a low profile. Of course, with four rowdy brothers, she was used to make her sports feelings known even if loudly.

“Your right about that, this year Kobe’s gonna tie Jordan, gettin’ number six!” the tall Asian bartender replied. “Need a refill on that rum and coke?”

“No thanks and I’d like to get that burger to go.”
“No Problem.”

The five minutes that passed seemed like an eternity. When the bartender finally returned with her burger she again saw Silent Man.

How could he know I am here? Then looking down, she realized she still had her purse. He told me not to bring anything. Ok, relax, slowly head toward the bathroom.

Fortunately it wasn't far and Silent Man was facing the opposite direction. He was directing several police looking types in plain clothes. In the bathroom, she pulled her purse out of the one the courier provided. Should I be taking another leap of faith for John? Dumping all my stuff and running for God knows how long? Pausing she thought about the day they met, and the eternity it seemed to take for him to notice her. Her thoughts moved to the time they've spent together, and how much she loved him. Caution to the wind. I'm in I love him. If he's lying, I'll kill him. If not, I'll die for him. Quickly she dumped the old purse in the trash can and casually and headed to the mirror and began primping. As she turned to the right another woman headed out of the stall and toward the door. Gross!  She tossed something into the trash quickly headed out. Moments later a third woman, obviously a cop of some kind entered.

Play it cool Ash they don’t know you, just head for the door.

Lady Cop looked around and turned to the trash can. “Hey you, did you put anything in this can?” Trying hard not to panic, Ashley turned and said, “No. Must have been the gross non-washer that just walked out.”  Lady Cop rifled through the other can until she saw what she was looking for. Packages from shop-lifted goods. Immediately she bolted out of the bathroom and sought after the shoplifter.

That was close, too close. I need to keep it together. I hope John is worthy of my trust.

“Now boarding Flight 2286 to Las Vegas, Zones 1 and 2 you are now able to board.” Suddenly the obnoxious PA system wasn't so obnoxious. Welcome words. At last, only an hour away from answers.

Five minutes after takeoff one of Silent Man's female cronies found the discarded purse and informed him that Ashley was indeed there. He cursed at the news and prepared to report back to his superiors. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

John Thorn - Chapter 1

April 1st

     John Thorn is unusual for an accountant, tall muscular, attractive, and well dressed. His day began as usual a shower and a shave. After retrieving a freshly dry cleaned suit shirt and tie from the closet, he was soon dressed. The now adequately dapper John, grabbed his keys and briefcase and headed for the nearest Starbucks. A long line, once again John thought, why don’t I make my own? As he observed the line there were the usual suspects, Dave Burkes the real estate guy, he helped John buy a rental property a while back. Sarah the school nurse, an ex who should never have been anything more than a friend. A couple of familiar but unknown faces and then there was the Silent Man, he was two mindless coffee junkies behind him. An unusual looking guy, average height, bulbous nose and a cheap brown suit. His eyes seemed completely trained on John. Everyone else seemed focused on the paper or their smartphone, but Silent Man just kept staring his way.

     The Ancoli Firm was small and insignificant, though well placed, wealthy clients more interested in avoiding taxes then how much they paid for creative tax dodges, afforded the firm a comfortable perch at the top of Library Tower in Los Angeles. There were nine people on the elevator when he entered. Silent Man again with his piercing eyes was on. Two got off on five, one on ten, one each on 13, 14 and 15. The last two were chatty Jimmy he happily limped off at 57 and the mysterious Silent Man, he exited on 67. Finally, it stopped on 70, John casually strolled past the receptionist, Tricia. She, the voluptuous brunette was accustomed to attention especially male attention. As was her custom, her attire pushed the limits of the dress code. The skirt black and just long enough to pass if measured by HR. Her blouse, fuchsia and tight and low cut enough to leave nothing to the imagination. When John proved to have no time for a greeting she took notice and wasn’t the least bit happy about this slight.

​     Everyone man in the office had eyes for Tricia, she had rebuffed none of their overtures. But now she was stuck on John she thought their frequent conversations might lead to something. But now two years and still he was the only man in the entire firm who had no expressed interest. He was interested she just knew it and soon enough she’d make him prove it.

​     It was only 8:15 in the morning and the firm was in full swing. Phones were ringing, meetings had begun and swarms of people were moving to and fro. When he finally arrived at his office, it was already occupied. Ken Phillips, his boss was there waiting. The Thurston file, John silently cursed himself for not giving it to him yesterday. Now on this day of days he needed to find a way to silence the high-strung Phillips and get to more important affairs. “Good morning Mr. Phillips, to what do I owe the pleasure?” John tried his best to speak with confidence. He was unsure whether or not his body betrayed his lack of confidence or his need to move on to something else. “John, do you know what day it is? Do you even comprehend the urgency of the times? Do you have any idea what happens when we get tax filings to the wealthiest.. ” Burton stopped mid sentence as he saw John outstretched arm holding Will and Belinda Manlow’s tax package. He immediately began pouring through the pages to ensure everything was there the summary for the client; the IRS forms, accompanying receipts, documents explanations. All was in order. “I know what day it is Mr. Burton, its Tuesday April 1st the busiest day of the year around here. It’s the day we get all of our important clients their tax paperwork.” John had regained his composure. Ashley, he thought, she finished it and didn’t even tell me. He glanced over to her cubicle but could see she hadn’t yet arrived. I’ll have to give her a big thank you later. “Is there anything else sir? I have several other clients to get sent today. Am I correct in assuming you’ll be contacting the richest man in the world yourself?” Phillips’s whole body was intensely examining the documents in front of him. He grunted something inaudible and sauntered out of the office.

​     Alone at last, John knew he had just a few moments, he logged in to his computer and sent an email. Grabbed a thumb drive and swallowed it. He then retrieved a folder hidden beneath his desk placed it in a FedEx envelope addressed it and headed out of his office with it and another package. Grace McBain, the next office over had won the Ancoli lottery and had the good fortune of being on vacation. He placed his FedEx package in her outgoing mail after he made sure no one was looking.

     John started toward the exit when he saw Silent Man standing at the reception desk. He casually turned praying that he hadn’t caught Silent Man’s gaze. He was so intensely focused on Silent man he didn’t see Tricia charging toward him. “So care to give me an explanation for completely ignoring me this morning? I do not like being ignored.” John’s mind was racing. He didn’t have time for Tricia’s obsession with him. Why couldn’t she get it? He thought. I am not interested. I have Ashley and I am happy. Again he cursed himself this is what happens when you hide the fact that you are seeing someone at work. He looked up where was Silent Man? He spotted him just in time to avoid him.

     Silent Man was heading straight for his office! With no time to think he grabbed Tricia and pulled her into Ashley’s cubicle kissing her passionately on the lips. So you do notice me Tricia thought, well maybe this skirt was finally short enough for you to see I am better than every other woman here. John looked up from his feigned passionate embrace. Damn! He thought as his eye caught Ashley stopped, mouth open, and shocked. In an instant she was heart-broken.

     No time to explain, he pulled away from Tricia and ran for the stairs. Silent man couldn’t see him from in his office. But he had seen Silent Man flash a badge to Ken Burton who was also now in his office. He exited the stairs at 65 and headed for the elevator. He had to make it out. Hopefully Silent Man doesn’t know I am on to him. As the door closed he caught sight of Jimmy. Why is Jimmy on 65? Why isn’t he limping? How many people are tracking me? So many questions, but no benefit to answers if I can’t get out of this building he thought. Chatty Jimmy must not see me he thought. He reached into his brief case and pulled out the first bits of paper that were handy. “Deducting unconventional expenses utilizing the McCain-Boehner exception” real exciting stuff he thought as he pulled the document to obscure his face as he inched closer to the elevator. He pushed the button repeatedly anxiously looking upward to see where it was. Whew it’s on 67, not far keep your head buried in this report and board that’s all you have to do.

     After what seemed like ages the door finally opened and John got on..

     The sound of a telegraph ripped through the still and silent air, she grabbed her phone to reveal the text message:

                                     Marry me Ash. Please meet me in Vegas tomorrow. I can’t wait.
                          WTH? First you kiss Tricia and run off and now you propose in a text message?
Things aren’t what they seem.
What are they? They came and took everything out of your office? What have you gotten in to?
Trust me Ash. I’ve never lied to you, great risk contacting you. I need you safe come to Vegas. I’ll 
send you the details.
        Luv u. Answer the door.

     Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Three loud knocks at the door. Ashley hurried to the door and looked through the peephole. A bike courier she thought? I didn’t even know they had those in LA. Guess it’s not just an New York thing. I wonder how many other stupid assumptions I’ve made about this city. As she opened the door the diminutive messenger immediately asked to see some identification.

“Excuse me?”
“I have a package for Ashley Kauffman. I cannot release it without seeing two forms of ID? I know its weird, but I wont get paid unless I see it and can confirm details on the card.“
After grabbing her purse off of the table Ashley said “Well here you go, this package better be important.”

“I am certain it is, you have a good evening miss”

The package was heavier than she expected. What could be in here she pensed. Opening it the contents seemed to trickle out one by one:

  • A wig
  • 2 passports
  • 3 sets of drivers licenses (his and hers)
  • a safety deposit key
  • a disposable cell phone
  • a purse
  • $5000
  • a plane ticket to Las Vegas
  • a letter.
  • An ipod

The letter read:

My Dearest Ashley,

     I am sorry that I couldn’t explain what is going on. It’s not safe. I will provide details if and when you come to Vegas. Some very powerful people are after me because of what I now know. Because of what my brother knew, and he passed on to me. They killed him and as soon as they learn you and I are together you won’t be safe either. They will assume you know what I know and will make it their mission to kill you.

     I wish I could be there with you right now to make you feel safe, but that would make you an immediate target. I don’t have time to write much more, and by the time you read this, you won’t have much time either. Please take the items I sent you. Do not take your purse cell phone or any personal belongings only what you have on now and the contents of the package. Put on the wig, go to the nearest mall buy an outfit. Leave all of your clothes behind. Take a taxi to the airport, do not under any circumstances drive your car. Board the plane with the ID listed on the boarding pass, Sandra Fisher. Once you land ditch the ID and get in the limo waiting for you. The driver will be holding a sign that says Mrs. Antonovich. He will take you to the hotel.

     Within minutes men will arrive at your house. You must go now. Trust no one, be careful my love. I will see you in Vegas.



     In her mind she could hear her mother now. “Don’t mess with no white boys. You’ll get nothin’ but grief.” She had been talking about her large family who could never accept Ashley’s father a white man coming in and taking one of “our women.” As if I need another reason to hate the south. Go, Ash you love him. At least let him explain.

     As she donned the wig, there was a knock at the door. They’re here! What do I do? Answer the door! Lie, be convincing, poker face Ash!

“Hola, te puedo ayudar usted?”
“Miss do you speak English?” Silent man asked.
“Yo hablo poquito Ingles, pero Donya Ashley no en casa. Se dirigiĆ³ a Anchorage. Su padre es en el hospital.” I hope and pray my Spanish sounds authentic. I think I sound like Rosa. I hope I sound like Rosa.
“Anchorage, hmm I doubt it, listen lady I am not from immigration, and I am sure you speak English. Donya Ashley is mixed in with some bad people. Handing her a card, Silent Man began to walk away.

Meanwhile Ash packed up both purses and locked up the house. Walk away slowly, but with purpose. Which way is the mall? John you better be telling the truth.

My New Project

I have decided to write a Novel. I will write a chapter a week and it will be available for free (to read, not copy or distribute). Once completed, I plan on publishing and distributing as an ebook in iTunes. It is currently titled simply John Thorn. Let me know what you think.