Saturday, 4th February 2023 - 3:14:48 am

Another off-ramp was coming up. "Turn back," Kincaid ordered.

Whalen got them off and back on going the other way. "I need and answer," he said. "Will you do it?"

"I need some answers first," Kincaid said. "A lot of this doesn't make sense. Why me? Who will I be working for?"

"I don't know why you were chosen for the job but it doesn't take much imagination to figure it out. The work you did in 'Nam didn't go completely unrecognized. Do you know anyone better for the job?"

Kincaid didn't answer.

"I didn't find you. I sent some messages out and one of them found you."

The accident was still in the right lane. The other three lanes were clear.

"You had to know I was in this area. You didn't send messages all over the world."

"I heard rumors. There are always rumors. Some said you had brought a guerrilla army into the United States. Some said that you had invaded Bolivia. Some said that you were deep into the drug trade. Some said that you could be found in this area. "Whalen shrugged. "I could believe what I wanted."

"How much did you believe?"

"How much is true?"

"Some. You found me."

Whalen muttered to himself. Kincaid made out "bastard" and "tightlipped."

They drove in silence for a minute. Finally Whalen said, "So far I've been doing all the talking and making all the offers. Okay, we'll take care of General Trinh. You're going to have to talk to me. What more do you want?"

"I don't work for the CIA."


Kincaid laughed. "Just like that? Can you do that?"

Whalen thought a moment and then laughed too. "Sure. Why the hell not? What else?"

"I work with you."

"Granted," Whalen said. "I was hoping you would say that. What else?"

"I've got some people with me."

"Yes. I rather thought that you did. What do you need for them?"

"Citizenship, passports, charges dropped for some. That kind of stuff."

"Make a list. There should be no problem. What else?"

"I want your word that this whole thing comes straight from the president."


"I need your word on it. Did you talk to him yourself?"



"The whole thing comes straight from him. It was his idea. He wants someone who can 'ah, represent him in 'ah, this difficulty that came up. Unofficially of course. He saw your record and chose you. That's the truth as far as I know. You have my word on it."


"Are you satisfied?"

"I think we have a deal. I'll have to talk to my people, but I think we have a deal."


"I hope it wasn't the President's idea to hold those charges against me over my head. I didn't like that part."

"No. It wasn't."

"Desertion! Bullshit! If it ever came to court I think I could prove that it was the United States that deserted."

"I think you could. It never could have gone to court, though. Too many people are sensitive about all that happened."

"For good reason."

The two men fell silent. Kincaid thought back on the strange series of events that had brought him here.

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