James Reyes sat on a sofa in a small clapboard home on the outskirts of Manhattan, Kansas, and looked at the items in front of him: a surplus altimeter he’d purchased that afternoon, and a sample of C-4 explosive.
Good Old Derrick.
Derrick, like several other members of the military, had brought back ‘souvenirs’ from Vietnam. And if you got enough whiskey in Good Old Derrick, he’d bring out some C-4 and show you how he and his buddies would warm up rations while in-country. He pulled a few more items from his backpack, then rigged the altimeter to detonate the C-4 at twenty-thousand feet.
Reyes leaned back, closed his eyes and went over the day’s events. Everything had gone to plan until the guy who’d placed the ‘Cindy’ call had come unhinged.
“You gotta do something!” the man had screamed into the phone.
“First of all, I don’t ‘gotta’ to do anything. So, calm down and tell me what’s got you climbing the walls.”
There’s a couple of guys from Springfield, Missouri, coming here Friday morning to talk to me about a ‘certain’ ID I issued.”
“So, play dumb,” Reyes had laughed and followed with, “That won’t be much of a stretch.”
“I’m not you. I’ve tried to handle it. Said I was taking off a few days and wouldn’t be available. So, I was ordered to be in the office Friday morning, and ordered to speak to them. I can’t handle this shit anymore. They’ll take one look at me and know I’m a liar. You’ve got to take care of it on your end.”
“Fine, I will. Now, settle down and think about your friend. Make up an excuse so you can get together after work. You know it’ll make you’ll feel better.”
Reyes had laughed out loud when the line went dead. The call hadn’t changed his plans. All it did was speed them up.
He looked over at the man passed out in the old recliner with a crooked leg-rest. He decided to leave a full bottle of whiskey for ‘Good old Derrick’ when he left. It was the least he could do, because, in the near future, Derrick was going to need it.
Next on the agenda was to obtain the items required to decorate the set. Reyes carried his computer bag to Derrick’s desk. He carefully moved Derrick’s ‘stuff’ to the dining table, then set up his computer. After entering the password from Derrick’s modem, he went online. He entered ‘City Utilities, Springfield, Missouri’ in the search bar and hit enter. Reyes clicked the ‘image’ heading and viewed several photos.
Reyes copied the City Utilities logo and pasted it in a new word document. He called up a headshot of himself, and repeated the process. Now for a name. He couldn’t help but smile as he typed Les Carr under the photo.
Reyes reached in his bag and pulled out a lanyard. When he was satisfied with the size, shape, and location of all items in the document, he linked his computer to Derrick’s printer. He held the lanyard close to the screen, eyeballed it one more time, then hit print. Reyes shut down his computer and returned Derrick’s piles to his desk. With the ink dry, he trimmed the image and slid it into the lanyard’s plastic badge holder. Definitely not a professional job, but a cursory look was all the ID was going to get anyway.
Reyes returned to the sofa and reviewed his itinerary for the next day. He still needed a few items to carry off the ruse. He mentally made a list: bright yellow vest, a white hard hat, and what would pass as a utility bag. The surplus store he’d visited the previous day was located in the town of Grandview, Missouri; halfway between Manhattan, Kansas, and Springfield. It would be a nice place to take a break and do a little shopping.
Figuring he’d catch a few hours of sleep, Reyes put his feet up and covered himself with an old afghan from the back of the sofa. He’d just closed his eyes when his cell dinged. His patience had been rewarded. Randee Carr wanted to talk.
Reyes read her messages and thought it would only take a few more ‘suggestions’ and everything she had would be his. It crossed his mind, that maybe he should be thankful for John Hutsell. After all, it was because of Hutsell, things were about to really ‘light up’.
Nah, he’d never been thankful for anything in his life. Why should he start now? He set the alarm on his cell for 5:30 A.M., and promptly went to sleep.