By Cindy and Walt
Eddie: Okay, where are we?
May: Not much farther than we were before the road trips.
Mike: I know the waitress told me that after Porter was removed as Sheriff, she sued the shit out of the State Police and won. They had arrested her as an excuse to take over the County Law Enforcement. That Rita chick claimed false imprisonment and defamation of character. The settlement was never announced but was said to be several millions of dollars.
Then before she dropped out of sight she was involved with a private Church Camp. No one could figure out why. After that, she just dropped out of sight for a while. Then she began dropping into the Cafe now and then. The speculation was that she was visiting the Church Camp, since no one knew where she was staying.
Eddie: Mike find out all there is available on that camp, especially directions to get there, since someone is soon going to pay them a visit. We didn’t come up with anything new on Rose, but we got a plan. You guys are better off not knowing what the plan is.
May: I have an idea about that.
May: Yes Sir. If we could find who made the request for her release, we might have a second avenue to pursue in our effort to find her.
Eddie: Excellent thinking Mike, get on that as well. Seems like you are going to be a busy hacker. (He smiled and Mike smiled back.)
Wes: Mike, I would suggest that you be careful on that scooter, we need you in one piece.
Everyone nodded their agreement. That show of support really meant a lot to the kid, who still lived in his mother’s basement.
Mike: The waitress also mentioned that Sylvia had told her, she was living in a small town on the coast.
Eddie: Did you check it out yet.
Mike: Not yet. I haven’t had a chance, but I plan to search all the counties around there for any purchases of real estate by anyone with a similar name. Unlike Rose, she is not known to have used any alias.
Eddie: Add that to your other searches. If we find her on the coast someone needs to go see what the locals say. Maybe the Swamp Dog hasn’t gotten to them yet.
Salina: Mike did a search on Rose’s medical condition. He found where she saw a private doctor for severe weight loss. It wasn’t cancer, but it would have appeared that way to anyone not knowing the diagnosis.
What she really had was an extreme case of malnutrition and an active parasitic event, both consistent with her time in the island prison. She also had signs of abuse and probably torture.
Eddie: Let’s not start empathizing with her, she is a murder suspect.
Wes: It’s hard not to empathize with her. She was protecting her employers. The same ones who did not send anyone for her, and yet she didn’t betray them. Like her or not, you have to admire that kind of loyalty.
Eddie: Are you telling me you can’t be objective? If you are, I can and will replace you.
Wes looked at him, his eyes glaring. Instead of speaking, Wes stood and walked from the room.
Wes: (Standing in the stairwell) Fucking cop. (spit)
Eddie: (to the group) Anything else?
Mike: I got into the security footage of KMX. Those cameras can be disabled and I can replace the footage with a loop of prerecorded data.
Eddie: Good we are making progress people.
Eddie returned to his desk along with everyone else. Lucille called about half an hour later.
Lucille: I have some information for you. It seems you hit a nerve somewhere. The politicians are circling the wagons. There are two Senators asking what authority you have to be asking questions. I explained you were working for the committee. Then they explained that they were on the Committee and they had authorized no such investigation. It got a little contentious.
Eddie: So are we shut down. You know I have plenty of work left on my retirement home.
Lucille: No way Edward, we need you sifting through this crap and hope a strong wind does not come along and create a shit storm. On a happier note, the boys slept with those cars on their bedside table. I couldn’t get them to put the cars away in their toy box.
Eddie: You can bring them back anytime Lucille. Next time give me some warning and I will build them a dump truck.
Lucille: So, where to next Edward?
Eddie: Not on the phone too many ears. How about dinner after work today?
Lucille: Is this just an excuse to take me to dinner in a cheap restaurant?
Eddie: Who said I’m taking you.
Lucille: Hey, I bought last time.
Eddie: Okay, but you are going to have to be a cheap date, unless you can get me a raise.
Lucille: Burger King by the airport at 6 PM?
Eddie: That will work.
Wes: Guess what Boss.
Eddie: You are pregnant?
Wes: No, it’s better than that. Church Camp was the name of a satellite of Swamp Dog. Mike is running down the history, but a friend of mine told me the company used it as a long term safe house for some of its assets.
May: Guess what else, the DOJ used it to hide out high profile witnesses. The Witness Protections guys are going to call me back. They won’t tell who they stashed there, but they will give me an outline of how it all worked.
Eddie: Things are starting to move. That’s a good thing. Get us a new whiteboard. We need to separate the investigations.
Wes: You are wrong. Somehow it is all connected. Church Camp had to be running the domestic operations. Rose’s contact was with Church Camp not Swamp Dog. That is why it was hard to establish. She didn’t work for the Dog. She worked for the Church, a totally different shadow organization on paper.
With that information they all knew to look in a different direction.
Mike: Guess what I found, Church Camp Inc. In a list of businesses doing business with the CIA, Homeland Security, NSA, The US Marshal’s service and even the Federal Police.
Eddie: Well now, there is a shock. It would be kind of hard to trust the results of an investigation run by people doing business with the people they are investigating.
Eddie didn’t say it, but he was sure the Senator who hired him could have saved them two weeks by mentioning that small fact. Eddie had wondered all along how the Senator got the money approved to hire his own team of investigators. Now he knew.
Eddie: Good work Mike. Now find out what kind of things they were doing for the various government offices.
Mike: On it boss.
Mike: From now on nothing leaves this office, right? That goes for all of you, no more updates for people who aren’t at the morning meetings. This shit has now gotten serious. If we implicate Rose Seabold in the murder of the Drug Dealer, Church Camp will be guilty of a conspiracy at least guilty by implication. Then it will be just a matter of who gave the order and why. So starting now it is all top secret.
Wes: To get the details of how it works, you need someone from Church Camp or someone from Management of Swamp Dog to talk.
Eddie: That’s what the Committee wants from us. They want the name of a witness. Most likely the less he knows about current plans the better.
Wes: So their thinking is we want to know just enough to damage the others, but not ourselves.
May: Closed door hearings with just enough leaked to embarrass the opposition party. So do we walk away?
Eddie: You certainly can walk away at any time. As far as I’m concerned it will always be a no harm no foul move.
Salina: If we stay and work are we going to keep quiet about what we find?
Eddie: I’m not going to sanction the killing of any of you. Short of that, how do I keep you from talking? Now get back to work, find out what you can. I bet you there are hundreds of people in this town who knew things they didn’t know they knew. So, find enough of them and we can build a picture. If we build enough pictures they will be a cartoon strip. So start reaching out.
Mike: Boss a word please. (Once they were outside) Who do I reach out to?
Eddie: Try to get into the National Crime Database. Look for someone involved in a violent crime who also has a tie to Swamp Dog or Church Camp. Any of the other security contractors for that matter might be a link as well. What we need is leverage over someone with knowledge about the operation of Swamp Dog or Church Camp. So find me a former employee awaiting trial or already inside so we can play let’s make a deal.
Mike: We really need to get the IRS records for this. If I can find out who they paid money to, then we can track them all down. Some of them might fit your search grid.
Eddie: If we ask them nice they are going to fuck with us. So you tell me Mike.
Mike: I just wanted you to know that if I disappear, who you should be looking at. I don’t want to go in so deep that I get caught. I’ll just get into their archive back about five years. That is probably less protected than the active ones.
Eddie: Do what you can and I’ll take the heat for it, but we really need a break here.
Wes: Church Camp has a strange history from what little I could get this morning. It was a real Church Summer Camp. Then its sponsor church lost most of the congregation, so it was put up for sale for a couple of years before Swamp Dog Enterprises bought it.
I think Sylvia Porter was still a Sheriff when it went up for sale. They went into operation to fill a need their Government contacts had. The various agencies needed more than one safe house with good security. The Church Camp could do that. From the beginning the safe houses financed a place to plan, train, and launch Domestic operations.
They trained employees to be bodyguards, and even taught military style domestic drug raids, using civilian operatives. The commanders came and went until a drug raid that went bad. The Deputy Commander of the Swamp Trainer Cadre was leading it for some reason. He was injured. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it was pretty bad.
He was put in charge of the Camp as soon as he was able to manage it from a wheelchair. He hasn’t been called by the Committee yet because they haven’t made the connection. The CIA hopes they can bury the connection to save the safe house program. That program has been operating on a very limited scale since the home office came under investigation.
Eddie: Wes can you find out if the Swamp Dog is still operating off shore.
Wes: I already know that their security contractors are still in the field. I don’t think their strike teams are still working, but they surely found other employers. Those were the smallest number of men and women.
Eddie: Are any of the domestic operatives still working.
Wes: Best I can tell they have shut it all down. They may be working freelance though.
Eddie: They probably have come in contact with the law since they lack the Swamp Dog clout. Mike is looking for some of them now. If we find them, we have to find a way to flip them.
Wes: Some of them will talk, if we can keep them out of jail and don’t ask them to testify in front of the open hearing.
There were no further breaks on day eleven, just more probing with no results.
Lucille (chewing on a fat french fry): So what do you know that you haven’t told me?”
Eddie: I know I should be home finishing my deck. The thing is not going to build itself.
Lucille: Yet here you are choking on that artery hardening Whopper. I should probably have chosen a vegan restaurant.
Eddie: If you had you would be dining alone. I have to eat sometime that’s why I agreed.
Lucille: Yes you do. So what are you working on?
Eddie: Truth is we are trying to find an informant. You know cops. We need someone to flip to gain information.
Lucille: Are you holding back on me?
Eddie: No matter how good or bad I am, I’m always holding back something.
Lucille: Then at least tell me you are making progress.
Eddie: We are making progress.
Lucille: So give me something I can pass on.
Eddie thought about it and decided that it was time to test how well his side could keep a secret.
Eddie: Not to be shared with the press?
Lucille: Okay, just something for internal use. Just to let the boss know you aren’t playing cards on his dime.
Eddie: We think we have found the domestic operation that is tied to Swamp Dog. It’s called Church Camp. That’s all I can give you now.
Eddie knew if she leaked it hell would come to his team. Every law enforcement command and intelligence agency seemed to have used Church Camp. It might even shake something loose. If there was a leak, he would know it sooner, rather than later. He would also find out who really had the juice.
Lucille: What an innocuous name. So they did what for the Government?
Eddie: I’m not sure what, if anything they did. They were a domestic operation which might have been pursuing bodyguard, drug raids and hostage rescue type operations. They might have been training government and freelance operatives as well at that camp.
It got real quiet while Lucille thought about the information she had been given. Eddie could not read her reaction to the disclosure he had made.
Lucille: So you want to buy me a drink?
Eddie: I would love to, but I really have to get home and get to bed early. I want to be able to finish the deck during the week. Maybe we can do a whole team meeting in a bar. It would likely be good for morale. You know no husbands, wives or girlfriends just team members getting to know each other.
Lucille: Sure, that would be better. I hardly know anything about some of them. (Eddie looked at her as if she was lying.) Nothing on a personal level. I know what’s in the background file, but it leaves out most of the important personal stuff.
Eddie: Yeah the personal stuff is good to know.
Lucille: So tell me something about you. Something I won’t find in the files. (she wasn’t ready to give up on Eddie just yet)
Eddie: I always wanted to go gold mining.
Lucille: You are kidding. Like those shows on TV.
Eddie: No not like that. Just me and a tiny bit of equipment, living off the land and sluice mining the streams I come across.
Lucille: So what’s stopping you.
Eddie: This investigation. When it is done, the house will be done, then I might mount a mining expedition. Now you tell me something I don’t know about you. Something not in any file.
Lucille: Something as silly as gold mining with a gold pan?
Eddie: Silly, embarrassing, or just plain weird.
Lucille: I was an NCAA class one rower champion in college. I still sleep in the jersey I wore to the awards ceremony.
Eddie: Okay, but that doesn’t fit the criteria. There is nothing strange in that.
Lucille: You don’t find a woman in my position sleeping in a twenty year old team jersey strange?
Eddie: That depends on where the holes are. (he smiled)
May went to a thrift shop after work. She searched through their bike rack. She found a bike with almost no wear on the tires. It had just a small amount of surface rust. It was an old ten speed racing style bike. The other racing style bikes were eighteen speed or more and they were more modern ones.
Since the thrift store was in the neighborhood she rolled the bike home after a stop at a convenience store to pump up the tires. She found the building manager before he left for the day. For ten bucks he oiled and adjusted the gears and the brakes.
Since there was no daylight left she parked the bike in her living room. She was determined to wake up early enough to try riding it the next day. Since she had recognized Mike’s magic pills as common aspirin, she checked her medicine cabinet.
Salina had dinner on the way home to her apartment. There were two different families waiting for her when she arrived home. She had already decided that she missed Wes and was willing to take a gamble on him. After she treated the two kids for common colds, she called Wes who rushed over.
Mike spent his evening listening to his mom moan and groan again. He had to admit that in addition to being strange, it was also erotic. Michael masturbated to the sound, then felt guilty about having done so.