“What are we doing sitting here?” The Brit asked.
“I can not see anything else we can do. The cops have the place surrounded and they are isolating the shooter. I suppose when they feel the time is right they will go in.” I said.
“I want to do down there. Surely the Sheriff will allow us to help,” The Brit said.
“If you want to go down there, I will go with you, but they are going to ignore us. We are going to stand there in the cold with no coffee.” I suggested.
“Yeah, we are just citizens to these people,” he agreed. “Besides which the Sheriff just might shoot us. Anybody with a gun is going to be a target.”
“That’s true, however there might be something I could do,” I suggested.
“Oh and what could you do that I couldn’t,” He asked.
“Well he might see some skinny ass teacher type as harmless. You know lower his guard a little,” I suggested.
“Are you thinking a box opener?” The Brit asked.
“And the Derringer, just in case I got the chance to use it,” I said.
“You know they won’t let you go in there,” The Brit said.
“Yes I do know that,” I agreed. “I also know that I don’t know anyone in there personally, except that dippy dance teacher.”
“Well then lets go before they decide to go in without us.” The Brit said.
“We can try, but I have no faith that we can find a way inside,” I said,.
“Yeah, I agree. They will all be trying to do it right and we won’t be considered the right way. Best I can figure from the our spy Marsha they can’t decide what to do. There are about twenty kids in the room and he had a lot of fire power. He pretty much says, he will kill them all if anyone shows up.
“What does he want?” I asked.
“He knows he is not getting out,” The Brit said,
“Ask him how he wants it to end. Promise to make it happen just like he wants and then make arrangements for me to carry something he wants in to him.” I suggested to Marsha.
“You are assuming we are in contract with him. I am in the crowd being briefed, but I don’t know if they are in contract with him.” Marsha said.
“Fuck it, let’s be a TV Station.” I said. “ Marsha where is he in the building?”
She waited a second and came back to me. “He is barricaded in the cafeteria,” she said.
“The Sheriff will have all the entrances and exits covered. Plus a full contingent of men in the halls cutting off the perpetrator.” I said to the Brit.
“Then we aren’t going in are we?” he said.
“It’s like you said before, without their cooperation, we aren’t going anywhere. Shit you have no idea how I hate to do this,” I said.
I used the super secret number to call. “Agent Memory,” the voice came over the phone.
“Memory this is Porter, you know what’s going on in Southern Warren County consolidated school. I have a plan for you that might solve your problem.”
“Are you at the school yet,” she said.
“No, but I’m five miles out and moving that way,” I said.
“Meet me in the parking lot,” she said.
“You’ve got it,” I replied and motioned The Brit toward the school. “You want to stay away from Agent Memory,” I said to Brit. “She will want to pigeon hole you,”
When we arrived in the parking lot by the cafeteria it was filled with police type cars. Of course there were news crews as well. The standoff had been going on a few minutes so lines were being drawn in the flour.
The Sheriff and the asst director of the State Bureau Of Investigation. Were strutting around trying to pose for pictures while at the same time looking for a scape goat. I met memory in the parking lot and offered myself up as a scape goat.
“Sylvia, I am sure you can shut that guy down with no more loss of innocent life, but the guys in charge are more worried about how it looks than in doing the right thing.” Memory said when she walked up to me.
“In that case why did you bother to meet with me?” I asked.
“Do you have any ideas I can take credit for and pass on,” she said smiling.
“Do you have a communications line into the space he occupies?” I asked.
“We do, but he isn’t answering us,” she said.
“They all want to be understood. Tell him you have a TV reporter who wants to talk to him. She will bring in a tape machine and let him tell his story. Explain to the Sheriff he might get something he can use. Don’t bother telling him that if I get the chance he won’t be coming out. I won’t be in there to take him prisoner.” I said.
“The Sheriff and the Bureau Chief won’t go for that.” Memory said.
“Then don’t tell them,” I suggested. I looked at her hard got very quiet and then said. “I can end this now.”
Memory looked back at me and said, “I know.” She walked away and left me standing in the parking lot. The Brit was standing beside me at least. It wasn’t five minute later when we heard the gunfire. I looked at The Brit, then I kicked the tire on the Brit’s SUV.
“Tell me something Sylvia?” he asked. “Is there some kind of universal perversion that requires the people in charge to be complete idiots?”
“I don’t know. but it is possible,” I replied. “God having a good laugh at our expense.”
“God Damn it, you and I need to come up with a better way,” he said to me with a stare. I waited for him to break the stare, but he wasn’t kidding at all.
“Damn it Brit, I’m not sure I’m up for going to jail for doing the right thing,” I said.
“Then we need a figure a way to do the right thing and not get caught,” he said.
“I have no idea how we would do that. I mean you and I are bad ass, but we are not desk warming material.” I said. “I don’t want to do anyone of those pukes at the swamp’s job.”
“I know Sylvia, but you just as much as admitted we need somebody like that,” The Brit said,
“Brit we can’t do that. The job is just too big.” I said.
“No the job isn’t too big. It just needs an organization. One with people who do the hard things for the right reasons,” the Brit replied.
“With a group who has the power of life and death, there has to be a counter to every power,” I said.
“Write something up and le’ts see what was agree on, as well as what we don’t.” The Brit proposed.
“When we write it Brit, lets try to remember what we are good at and what we are not,” I said.
“Of course you and I need to do some good in the world. Sylvia almost every one in the world who does something really, really evil is not a cherry. They worked up to it. Stating out with less evil things before hand.” The Brit said.
“Yes there are precursors, but there are no guarantees,” I said.
“So Sylvia go home and think about where you draw the line.” The Brit proposed.
“Brit if we are going to pull the trigger, we can’t decide who gets it pulled on them. I think it has to be the guy who decides to do it, doesn’t have to be the one to deal with it. The guy who flips the switch on him, can say to himself, I was just doing a job that needed doing.”
“Yeah, but these have to be the worst of the worst, or we risk winding up getting used,” I suggested. “When we get the final solution order, we also get the facts of the case. We can accept or challenge them, I think. You do realize, we are building a shadow government.” I said.
The Brit and I agreed that the new thing wouldn’t have a profit motive. I told him, “If it does, I am out. As long it is stays this small I’ll cover my own expenses even.”
We pretty much stumbled around for a few months before we added the first man, Brit got hold of one man who knew the government justice system computer like his own home. So he organized the information for us The Brit and I talked about it, If we were going to be really involved then we needed someone to decide who was guilty. We were going to need someone to pass judgment. We were surprised how easy it was to recruit a retired judge. Not just any judge but a highly respected one.
He recruited a second one, who was still sitting. He explained what might be necessary. I didn’t fight him on it. We all knew any infighting would be the end of us, so we avoided it. The Brit and I would carry out the sentence, but only after we reviewed it completely.
In spite of what everyone though, we decided to have either Brit or I meet them and see their face. I felt like it would be harder to execute an innocent man, if I had the condemned man look the executioner in the eyes. It should never be easy to condemn someone to die.
I was a little surprised at the length of time it took to get the first one on the schedule. It was almost a year since the Brit and I stood in the parking lot of the Warren County School and listened helpless as the guy inside opened fire on the kids. That day was the last time I admitted, there was nothing I could do. After that there was always ‘we could have done something more, sooner.’
I could pronounce the computer expert who came to us first. I met him in person only once. We agreed to communicate by internet bulletin board He was a little more than a computer operator but that was the title we gave him. He was the one who programed the computer to find the candidate. He send the file forward to the retired judge who had joined us. The judge had finally had enough of letting people walk for all the right reasons, but feeling dirty every time it happened. When he retired he found that he had lost the high ideal of the court system. The retired judge verified the fact and passed judgment. He was the one who wrote the opinion before judge two pass on it. In our little organizational flow it was going to take both judges to pass the same judgment, they weren’t to change each other’s mind, It had to be unanimous.
Then The Brit and I would come up with a plan based on the evidence. We decided that both had to approve it before it was a go. By that time it was a pretty damn good plan. It would also have had a pretty thorough review.