Who is Overall Jams? - The Palindrome Conspiracy
Wow, this is something new
The Palindrome Conspiracy
When Andy Johnson awoke after a fitful sleep, he realized he had over-due books at the library. The hour of opening was 10:00 AM and it was only 6:00 o'clock.
The fact that he had been late before and didn't really have the cash to pay any fines at that particular time made him determined to get there at their opening and get on in with the due books, make his way through the new book section and perhaps spend a leisurely hour reading the New York Times, and a few books to check out for reading back at his apartment.
Looking inside his refrigerator all he could find was a jack in the box burger left over from a a few days ago and 2 pieces of pizza, half a bag of Fritos corn chips and half a can of cold bean dip and half a 2-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. That would due. cold breakfast. At least there were 3 full trays of ice. Andy used a foam plate and a paper cup and a began his morning feast.
He turned on the portable black and white television that accompanied his book shelf of various paperbacks and a lap top computer system on a make shift desk. He turned to channel 455 L and watched the world report. The terrorist attack on Italy was the latest thing in the news at that time. The Eiffel Tower was bombed by a car bomb but it's super stressed steel construction made the attempt to destroy it pretty much a waste of the suicide terrorist's efforts.
One good thing, though Andy, the dumb ass is dead. One less terrorist on the streets! Go to hell you ass hole! Andy shouted at the tv. A neighbor replied, "keep it down, dam it! people got to sleep around here!"
That was Johnson Marty, He knew Andy, they even watched must see tv on weekends at times sharing beer and pig skins. But, Andy sometimes got a bit too loud when watching things on tv that affected him emotionally. He was a real emotional type guy.
I woke up Marty. Oops! Better hurry on down to the library before the crowd hits and return these damned books! Okay, now, where is my other shoe? He spent the better part of 10 minutes hunting down the shoe he kicked off his feet the night before. it was on the 3rd shelf just above Left Behind. There you are, you sonofabitch! God, I'm gonna be late now for sure!
He got there with seconds to spare. After all the library was just 2 blocks from his apartment, and he didn't need a car, as a matter of fact, he didn't own a car. Hum, that's interesting!
Not really, the car Andy used to own was stolen and the police were still looking for it. It was a ford pinto 1978 model, color, bright orange with a racing stripe on both sides. The air conditioning and radio both worked, he even got XM, FM, AM, and PM on the little rascal, but if he didn't get it back he was saving for a solar powered bike.
It was a pleasant September morning. There were hardly any patrons inside Lone Star Books and more. What a name for a public library. Anyway, Andy dumped his 10 books down the chute. Tom Foolery, by Mike Cason, Caves in South Texas, by Dorothy Brown, A Century of Technological Evolution by Tom Basset, Jokes to Remember, by Rusty Cantrel, Little Known Facts, by Chambers Hall, Reality Television in the 3rd Millennium, by The Tri Vial Group, and the last 4 in a series by Tom and Jerry about the last days of civilization as we know it.
There were a lot of new books, and the table where Andy normally sets was still unoccupied, waiting for him to become part of the furniture, at least for a few hours, but first, let's look about the library to find perhaps an odd book or two in the random section. Books donated by patrons were stacked on five15 foot-long book shelves in random order, some really old ones and others quite familiar, like Future Shop by Algorithm Toggle bolt. or Stress Kills, Road Rage in the new Millennium.
Hum, this is odd, thought Andy, as he scratched his head and did a double take. No tittle on this blue book. A rather medium sized hard back book with entirely hand-written script. It was in English, and that was basically all it had to be to be interesting enough for him to take it. Andy selected about 16 random books, walked over to his regular table and chair and got out his reading glasses. He ignored the little blue book with no title for a while as he browsed through several interesting books with pictures. He could look at picture books forever. Always something new and interesting around every turn of the page.
But, after a while, he began to keep looking up at that book with nothing on its cover. What is this about? He read the first few pages and it seemed to be about some guy named Overall Jams. Hmm. Odd name Overall Jams! The thing read like a diary, not so much like a story. "My name is Overall Jams the second, I am from the land of the Eastern Mainland called Plenitude Hills, just 50 miles inside the lower Northwestern zone of Western Islamabad. I have lived in poverty all my life. I have come to America to find answers. I had to get passport, papers, money and maps to allow me to plan my next mission as a peace force soldier for the good of Islam. I have left behind a wife and 5 children, and 2 parents who are still struggling to this very day to stay alive in spite of the American forces and the new Alliance forged in Southern Afghanistan.
The things I write in this book are for no one except myself and my leader, Osama Been Late again. If this book is found by anyone by accident, please do not read it or you will be cursed for all time and your life will be cut short. if you mail it to this address I will remove the curse on you and you will be blessed by Allah and the spirits will smile upon you forever! my address is 9090 Hawkwind Crossing, Delta Springs, Fl, 90876 the name is O J 2, thanks and remember, don't defy me by continuing to read this or my curse upon you will grow stronger with every passing day until you will no longer have a choice but to accept your fate.
If you read this or go to police you will be a target of the holy ones and we will hunt you down and find you and kill you without hesitation or remorse!
"some kind of sick joke?" Andy said aloud. "Please be quiet Mr. Johnson."
"Sorry about that ma'am" Andy replied.
What the hell was this book trying to say to him? You'll be cursed if you read this? This book must have gotten here by accident. It wasn't supposed to be on the random shelves of this library. I bet O J is looking for it at this very moment. he looked for a date, but it was not dated, at least not at the first of the book. This wasn't stamped by the library so it isn't a library book. Officially, I can take this home without checking it out! He decided he would sneak the book out and go home and read the damned thing, then he would go to the police.
Andy made it through the out-door pretty easy. On the way to his apartment, he decided he needed some fresh coffee, so he stopped into an overnighter store and purchased a generic can of dripping coffee, medium blend. Some evaporated milk, some fructose sugar, a roll of toilet paper, and a copy of TV Guide 2050. It all got dropped into an aluminum lined paper bag, with the store's logo on the bag: Fast Way is Your Way! (yeah baby!) thought Andy.
Austin Powers was still making sequels at that time, can you believe it? mini mini me-me. heh heh! :)
Little did Andy know, the FBI had already found and read that book. It had been placed back into the same library a month later, after its author had become scarce.
In an effort to find out who wrote it, and who might also return to the library to find it in a last desperate act at futility, they waited and bided their time until someone, anyone, no matter who it might be, took the book. Since Andy was a regular at the book vault, as he called it sometimes, he was seen with the book and the FBI were notified by their inside man, who play acted he was a page, putting returned books back on their shelves.
Was Andy in some new kind of trouble? You bet ya! Only the FBI decided they would go over Andy's profile and await orders to proceed with operation withdrawal, meaning get the man with the book and haul him in for questioning until they were sure he was no longer a suspect.
The unfortunate paradox would be that if Andy had finished reading the book before the FBI arrived at his apartment, sometime in the very near future, then Andy would have a hard time explaining not knowing the contents therefore making it somewhat more difficult for him to say in spite of the fact he knew all that was in the book from having just read it and it being fresh in his mind, to deny having written it plus deny having any knowledge of the author. Yea right! What a fucking bummer for Andy :(
The entire afternoon was spent reading the book, as he couldn't put it down, except long enough to make another pot of fresh coffee. On Channel 455 L, the only cable channel he could get on an otherwise strictly network friendly television set, there were more accounts of terrorism in various countries, especially in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, and even some news of it in Great Britain and Ireland. The Congo, Central and South Africa, Not to mention the Philippines. Wasn't there anything on global warming? thought Andy. Or something funny like Seinfeld's grandson funny about nothing? Even a Gilligan's Island archive from the early 1970's would be okay. Fuck! He just turned down the sound and kept it on World Report.
Back to his book, the one that said it would curse anyone who read it instead of returning it to the owner. After finishing the thing, Andy was familiar enough to know that it was a book with one man's single handed motivation, plans to destroy much of America's infrastructure. Maps with red X's on them all over the USA gave Andy the red flag he needed to turn in this book to the law first thing in the morning. Yea right!
But what was this thing in the back, wedged in between the inside of the back binder? Why, it's a computer CD! Andy removed it carefully and decided to just insert it into the CD rom drive of his PC and check it out sometime tomorrow. He simply forgot about that disk or it slipped his mind as he continued watching the World Report. Andy fixed some mocha cappuccino in a very tall glass and sipped on it while getting sleepier and sleepier until finally he finished it off and got comfortable for his night of restless sleep.
Andy went to sleep figuring that he would just get up the next morning and that would be that. The FBI had other ideas. At around 2:00 AM that morning, after Andy was fast asleep. there was a loud pounding at his front door. Open up, FBI ! a few seconds later the sound aroused the groggy book worm and Andy reached for his glasses and his lamp beside his twin bed. Then, he reached for his pants, and just as he was standing, pants on and his T-shirt half way over his head,
The door came crashing open and in came 3 men, all FBI agents. Don't move Sir, FBI ! Please put your hands on your head! Then a man approached Andy in a dark suit and tie, and introduced himself as David Forest, the lead agent. Hello there Mr. Johnson, My name is Mr. Forest, I head the FBI's anti-terrorist task force for the Southern Florida area. How are you tonight? Andy replied: I guess I'm okay, but I didn't do anything! Please, don't kill me! It's just routine. We were informed you possessed a library book of a special nature. Oh. You mean that book? then the FBI men looked over at his extensive books on the book shelves across from his twin bed. Not exactly sir.
A book written in hand, in a blue covered hard back form. it contains critical information supposedly written about a plot to do terrorist acts on American soil. Do you know which book I'm talking about?
Andy said, I found it in the library, took it home and read it. I was going to take it to the police in the morning, that is, before I became a suspect in this conspiracy. I mean. I didn't write the damned thing Mr. Forest. I swear. My own handwriting would prove this fact.
We have to take you in for routine questioning sir. You read the book and now you are privy to what we refer to as classified material. Yea. but, if you knew that, why did you expose me and half a dozen other innocent patrons to our local library? Anyone could have picked it up and read it. Not just me! Damn. What am I supposed to do now? Oh, I think your story holds water Andy Johnson, We must follow protocol. Strictly routine. Okay, get your shoes on and we have to take you down to FBI headquarters. I see you don't have a car so you'll be riding with us in car number 1.
We'll take only a few moments of your time, then you can return to your normal life, if everything checks out, which I'm pretty sure it will. But that if was a big if in Andy's own mind. Now, he would have to take part in something a bit larger than himself, something that would indeed take his mind off his temporary domestic problems, like last month's rent was due yesterday and he had to wait for 2 more days to get his check to pay it and apologize to his landlord or risk eviction! Life sucks and it tastes pretty darn sour! ya know? Why me?
(especially that last pint of milk that laid in the back of the refrigerator for 2 weeks!) The ride to the FBI headquarters was only thirty minutes as the crow flies or on the turnpike at 75 mph.
It was a simple building, a 12 story red brick structure at the corner of Shangri-La avenue and Paradox street. Andy wasn't cuffed, nor was he being pushed forcibly up the stairs and through the doors to their offices.
But, somehow, Andy did feel a little paranoid. Like that time he called the INS to let them know he found a green card in the grass when he was out mowing and his tedious efforts to get past the automated information system and the internet option, which to Andy was not on option because he no longer had access to the internet, but his computer otherwise was 100% functional. They asked him why he took over 3 days to report the card to the police. His reply was simple, I tried to contact the I.N.S. and got the run around so I figured I'd contact the police on Monday, which is what I did.
They seemed only mildly grateful for his being on the up and up and up front and not a liar, so to speak. But, somehow, instead of telling him thanks for your good citizenship and good Samaritan-ship, it was why did you take 3 days to call us? That was still stuck in the back of Andy's mind.
He had a seat, and after less than an hour, a man came out, told him his story checked out, that he was a regular at the library and their records traced the handwriting to an Islamic individual who had overstayed his welcome, by 3 years. Okay, Mr. Johnson, you can go now.
Thanks for your cooperation, but, please if you run across this book in the future don't pick it up, we are still trying to and hoping that the author of that book will return to pick it up again and then well nab his ass! Okay, Do I have to walk home? We're a little busy at the moment, but here's a bus pass. Andy took the pass, but he ended up walking the entire length back to the apartment as there were many nice-looking walk paths in the inner city and one of them lead him right to his apartment. Funny, the Disk thingy never even crossed his mind!
Once back home, he took a much-needed shower and had a fresh glass of Dr. Pepper, not flat like the one the night before, and he plopped on his bed and set up with some soft pillows and turned on the tv to catch up with the news. It was only around 9:25 that night that it suddenly stuck him. What about that disk Mr. Johnson?
Andy was suddenly aware of the possible mess he just got himself into. Well, knowledge is the key to self-enlightenment or something like that, he said to himself. He sprang up out of bed, went directly for a refill of Dr. Pepper on fresh ice, and then he approached his computer and the disk was still inside the drive.
He booted up his system, and he was running Doors '98, and He searched his computer through the control panel and opened up the contents recognition program using an anti-virus detection program, then after the disk was clear against any known infections, the contents list was pulled up. It was a list of over 10,000 names, addresses, personal information visa information, and much, much, more.
Andy did the only logical thing, that is before turning it over to the FBI, he would simply make 2 or 3 copies of the disk before he formatted his entire hard drive, and this of course, after he completely examined the contents of the CD. He was up all night reading the text, the HTML, playing audio files and looking at maps and finally there was this decoder program that seemed to be in a special file.
Was it a Base 64 encoder/decoder? Or was it a universal language translation program? Anyway, whatever it is, I'll be able to check it out in full detail, but first I have to do a complete data copy on I think 5 disks, and hide them in various areas of this apartment, except for one I will keep on my person and hide elsewhere, in case something happens to the apartment.
Why did he think that might happen? He then used BC wipe to wipe down his entire hard drive, then he reformatted it and loaded Doors 98, used the master CD and loaded all of the basic programs that the manufacturer provided. It would look funny if the computer were completely wiped out, it would look very suspicious. Now then the next morning, Andy called the officer who gave his card to him the afternoon before and Andy left a message on his voice mail box because nobody was in the office at that time. " Officer Pullover, this is Andy Johnson, I have made a discovery, back at the apartment I found that a computer disk had apparently slipped out from one of the pages of the book somewhere, so I immediately called you to let you know. If you want I can come by to drop it off, or you can come here to pick it up, but I will be leaving for the library in about half an hour. So, call me back or leave a message at 787-999-9009, ext. 333. Thanks, and have a nice day!
So, if they don't know I made copies and they don't think I've read it I can't get into trouble right? That was what he thought.
On the way to the library Andy stopped off at the coffee shop. 20 minutes later there was a loud boom. What was that sound? My God! was that some kind of explosion. The manager of the coffee shop and several other of their customers went outside and looked into the direction of the loud boom, and it was in fact, the library. It was completely gone! Fire trucks and ambulances all arrived in just minutes.
Andy followed on foot and in just 5 minutes he was at the outer perimeter of what used to be the public library. Fortunately, the explosion took place just 8 minutes before the first library librarian and staff members arrived, and just 15 minutes before he would have been there, inside, reading his new books and setting comfortably and oblivious of what would happen next. Stand back, everyone, stand back! Everyone walked back a few yards, and there was dark smoke going up as the fire department drenched it from top to bottom.
Fire chief Avery Champagne arrived with the chief of police followed by of course, Andy's friends from the FBI. One of them saw Andy and walked towards him. Well, I see you came out of this unscathed! Oh I found a disk and I left a message at your office. Oh. I know, I just listened to it. Do you need a ride to your apartment to pick up the disk? No. I have it in my bag. I didn't want it to disappear before I was sure I got it to you guys. That is what I call thinking ahead! Well, may I have the disk please, Mr. Johnson? Of course, It's right in my bag. Here! It must have fallen out because I saw it on the floor under my bed and I had no idea it was inside that book! Not a problem. I appreciate you being up front with us. But, I am going to have to ask you some more questions. Allow me to buy you coffee at the local coffee shop. Great. It's another one of my hangouts.
There was Andy Johnson and Officer Moon Chambers, a middle-aged man, with salt and pepper grey hair. He was a little on the hefty side. Yes, and I would like a half a dozen glazed with that coffee ma'am, thank you, and he tipped the waitress a $20.00 bill. Andy wondered why all he got was the 3rd degree, not a cent in restitution, well, at least he wasn't going to jail for being a curious kind of fellow, and that he was.
Going over the last 24 hours, can you give me a clear and almost exact account of where you've been and what you've done over the past 24 yours prior to the library explosion? Andy was cooperative and after several cups of coffee and just a few doughnuts later he was free to go, back home to his apartment, and told to stay away from the library until they did a complete forensic investigation. Why? They believed the explosion might somehow be linked to the individual who lost his memoirs. When Andy went home, so disappointed that his favorite library was up in smoke, he thought only about what was next, his apartment?
Talk about the curse of the Islamic Peace Keeping Forces. Jeezus! Don't read this or you'll be cursed! Andy remembered those lines, very clearly.
The apartment seemed normal from outside. He walked up each flight of stairs slowly, listening for anything unusual. Was this such a good idea? I mean, if the person or persons behind what happened at the library is any hint of things to come what makes his apartment any safer? And still, there was the fact that police haven't ruled it an arson or a terrorist attack, not yet that is. It might have been a gas leak, or faulty electricity. By tomorrow, I bet I get a call and they tell me it was a lousy bum asleep in the locked library and fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hands and that probably set fire to one of the books and from that point then an entire library up in smoke, but what of that explosion? And if so, what of the so called alleged bum?
It did not happen that way.
The Palindrome Conspiracy
Insomnia was one of Andy's afflictions. And in light of all that had just taken place he wasn't able to sleep to say the least, what with the fact that the library fire might have been a curse of Allah bestowed upon him for disobeying the written instructions to simply not read the book. Not only had he read the book, but he made photo copies on a disk with a hand-held scanner. And worse, he backed up the text and copied the CD rom disk on several additional disks. He decided to make a phone call. Someone who might have some kind of advice to give him in this strange period of his life.
He dialed for his friend Palindrome E. Colby, a guy he grew up with in the old neighborhood, who was a professor of history at the University of Dallas at the underground division of the New America Group, quite literally, under-ground, in the 4th basement level below the central downtown library.
Imagine a University that was build several floors just below the main library. Imagine still, the cost of coke being 3 dollars a can, and parking 5.00 dollars a day. OMG! Andy left his message and told Pal what happened in brief, and asked to meet at the corner coffee shop.
At 3:00 AM? yep. The coffee was hot, and Andy sat and waited for his buddy Pal to arrive with some-kind of remedy for him. He really wanted to shift the burden by handing him all of the disks and being rid of the problem altogether, that is if he could convince him of the magnitude of the situation.
at around 3:16 AM, Palindrome E. Colby walked over to the counter, and inquired as to Andy's table and ordered a few pancakes with coffee then had a seat in front of his long-time friend and companion from the early days of the New America Group Towers Complex in Houston, and Andy gave him the lowdown, but, as he was about to present the Professor the disks, 2 men in black entered and sat just one bench seat behind Andy. He was alarmed by their presence and whispered to Pal, "This will have to take place at the library tomorrow morning." Pal replied, "I understand my friend."
Let's just have some coffee and break until tomorrow at say, 12 noon? Okay then, replied Andy. As they sipped on coffee and Palindrome nibbled on his pancakes, Andy got nervous. "Please, excuse me a minute, I have to go to the men's room. I'll be back in just a short." Andy washed his face over and over again to try to wake himself up and his hands trembled uncontrollably.
What the fuck have I got myself into? He stared at his reflection and realized he really needed a haircut and a shave. After a few minutes of pause, he returned to the table only to see his friend Palindrome was not at the table and neither were the two men in black.
“Oh. My. God! They kidnapped my friend. They're gonna kill him.” But, after Andy walked outside, he saw his friend, smoking a cigarette. "You know they won't let you smoke inside, so I figured I'd have a few puffs before going home for the night." You had me scared to death! I thought you had been, "What, abducted? I carry a gun in my pocket, and have 3 extra clips, just in case. Now, that's one of my dirty little secrets between friends." Okay, then were you followed out? Oh. Well, that's funny that you should ask.
Just as I walked outside to light my cigarette, those two dark dressed men left the coffee shop and got into a black limo and drove West at about the speed of a squad car, like from zero to 60 mph. If you know what I mean. Funniest thing. Probably undercover cops. " Oh, guess so. It's been a long night, and long early morning. We'll meet at noon tomorrow, I mean noon, today, on L2 of the central library. If I were You Andy, I would carry me a gun, just in case, because after what happened to your local branch library, there just might be some covert activity about to happen so you had best be prepared. Andy walked the 2 blocks back to the apartment and walked up stairs to his room. He flopped on his bed, fully dressed, faced down and fell fast asleep.
The alarm sounded at 8:00 AM. Andy looked up at the light peering through the window blinds. OMG! Another day! Yeppers, the high today will be in the upper 80's. No rain in the five-day forecast, and this just in, late breaking news. That explosion that brought down the West-branch Library yesterday morning is said to be the result of a cigarette that was still lit, and was tossed into the garbage can in the men's room. It had smoldered for hours until it spread up into the ceiling and spread throughout the entire building resulting in a build-up of gasses and the resulting explosion brought about by a concentration of heat and pressure. No one was hurt in the fire, repeat, there were no injuries as a result of yesterday morning's library fire.
In other news, the DOW JONES is up 149 points today. The NASDAQ up 113. "click" Andy was relieved by the news, that at least it wasn't the act of a crazed and sadistic member of the Islamic Jehadist terrorist network. At least, at this point, it would seem so.
Did the police and the FBI claim the fire was a result of a dumb ass putting out their cigarette in the trash in the men's room or was that a cover up for what might have actually happened? ‘Andy, your imagination is running wild’, he thought.
The next day, at the library, around 12 noon, on L4, Andy found his friend a bit pensive.
Palindrome E. Colby repeated to Andy, "It did not happen that way!" Andy Johnson replied, "What do you mean Mr. Palindrome?" The conversation went beyond mere speculation. Andy listened as his good friend exclaimed that the explosion at the library was deliberate. Who could know that? It was revealed on the disk that Andy gave him.
Palindrome managed to take much of the encoded information and unencrypt it into plain English. the first place Overall Jams, the author of the mysterious book had targets and dates scheduled in the next several years and many of them were for others to complete but several were red flagged for Overall Jams and the South-Central Branch Public Library was number one on his list. The method of destruction was a coke bottle full of gasoline and a common wooden match stick. Placed in a strategic area where it could smolder which was the book drop bin. It was placed down the drop chute behind the library in the alley.
Terrorism as basic as folding a towel or spreading mustard on a hamburger bun! "Andy, I want to take you on a little trip that will not take over an hour. There is something I must show you, something I found out by reading from that disk you gave me for safe keeping. Are you free?" Andy was in fact interested Anything Palindrome E. Colby had to say was worth his time, any time.
They took a ride up the ramp to the ticket scanner and the wooden arm raised as the computerized voice of a woman thanked them for visiting and told them to come back soon. Yea right! How original, kind of like the grocery store receipt that said thanks for shopping Grumpy Mart, come back but keep your returns and damaged goods at your house, we don't want to refund your money, eh heh! Palindrome had a very comfortable Lincoln Town Car, Black, and it was fully loaded, stereo XM radio, DVD, radar, navigational panel, variant temperature controlled air conditioning and so on. They arrived at their destination in less than 15 minutes.
Their destination, Community Hospital of the Central Regional Vortex. In other words, County Hospital. Then Palindrome got out and asked Andy Johnson to follow him and they made their way to the main entrance, down a hall and then another, and then up to the 10th floor. Department of Neuroscience and Cardiology.
Andy followed him into a waiting room. "Take a look at the picture Andy. Take a very good close look and tell me what you see."
Andy was not sure what it meant but it was a very large painting of what appeared to be the sky line of New York City, and above the World Trade Center was a billowing plume of clouds and smoke and it looked like God was standing way up above with his arms out stretched and holding people, tiny little people who were mixed in with all the smoke as if it were an explosion. The image was very disturbing, but was that all there was to it?
Just a picture of God taking the victims of the September eleventh, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers, perhaps symbolizing the fact that God was intervening during such a terrible crisis in America's history? "Now, look at the date on the picture and tell me what you see." Andy looked until he saw the name of the painter and the date of the painting. the date was 09/02/01, September 2, 2001. How can that be? That was 9 days before the attack on the World Trade Center.
Clearly this was a piece of evidence that would point to prior knowledge of the events of September 11th, by the artist of this piece and furthermore, might indicate the existence of sleeper cells who are in fact, at that very moment employed by the County Hospital. This was so stupid! How bold and arrogant are they? To almost say look what we are going to do, or what we have done and got by without getting caught. Andy hated anyone who was Anti American.
Andy was an American from head to toes and was very much patriotic to the cause of democracy and voted at every election. But he sometimes wished he had the power of the supernatural to just put an end to the terrorism that was so much a part of life on Planet Earth as a whole, not just in America, but in every corner of the globe.
They left immediately after Mr. Palindrome took a fast and secret digital photo to show the authorities when the time was right. Andy was so disturbed by it and in El of his discovery of the book with the disk and the library's so-called fire but not really, terrorist target, number one on Overall Jams' hit list, a panic attack made it imperative that he take an Ativan and drink a cold Dr. Pepper, and so they rode back to the library.
Andy didn't say anything and his friend knew it was best to remain silent a few minutes to give the Ativan time to take the edge off Andy's anxiety. but just then, Mr. Palindrome said, "Andy, you've got to get rid of all those copies you made of the disks and the printed hard copy you received from your computer out of that book and that disk.
Your life may already be in mortal danger. You understand me? It’s time to face up to the consequences. You already have the FBI breathing down your back. Do you want to live the rest of your life running from place to place to avoid capture?" Andy responded, "yea, like I could afford to run all over the continent and set up shop anywhere I wanted to. I don't have that kind of money. I can't even afford to buy a second-hand car." You've got a point. If you don't mind I think you better pack your things and move in with me until we see if this blows over. At the apartment, alone and vulnerable, you might encounter very dangerous elements into your life and that could result in your death."
It's not just a matter of having information, but rather information the FBI is looking for. They don't know you have one let alone several copies of a disk that they had no idea was inserted in the cover of that book and if they ever realize you knew but did not tell them, you could be arrested for obstruction of justice but also you could be arrested or indicted for the crime of conspiracy or espionage.
" All I was doing was reading and came up on this book by accident and just got a little bit curious and that's really it. Even though I kept the files on the disk that was hidden in the book, I feel as if I have one over on the terrorists behind it by then not having it. Ya know it?" "Interesting point. one that you can explain to the police once you have been placed under arrest."
Andy was in a pickle. A fine mess he'd made of things. What if there was someone waiting in his apartment waiting to kill him before he had a chance to pack up and get out in time to avoid being killed. You can't really plan for being murdered, otherwise most people would survive homicide and most killers would be dying of frustration of always missing their intended targets. That would be good for Andy, as he hated violent crimes and had many volumes on serial killers and crime and punishment his special collection of books he had gathered over the past several years.
The Palindrome Conspiracy
It wasn't every day you become involved in a conspiracy of terrorism, as a victim, mind you, not one of the perpetrators of it! :(
Was Andy going to continue getting the professor, his friend, Palindrome E. Colby, to help him investigate this thing or would it be more rational for him to just give up the disks and the information he had. Why?
He thought about it a few minutes and came to the conclusion, that he was already in too deep to bail out now. The writer of that conspiracy book and the creator of that dangerously incriminating CD were enough to make it go national, that is, become a news item. The thought of him being on international television was overwhelmingly terrifying to Andy.
God, what have I gotten myself into now? Is there a way out? What lurked beyond the next page? Would he become the next target, as had his favorite hang-out, the local public library? and would he be killed? would his apartment and all who live there be in danger? Would they? Aren't they already and not telling them or the police at this point would make it seem like I had something to hide as if I were a part of the terrorist conspiracy and nothing could be more farther from the truth! Thought Andy.
He reached for the phone, dialed Mr. Palindrome, and only got his message machine. "Hi I'm out of the office right now, so if you would like me to return your call, please leave your name and number and a time you prefer me to call you back, after the sound of the tone." A rather long message, but informative. BEEP!
"This is your friend, cool breeze. I need you to call me. It's important, very important that we talk."
Well, Andy didn't know that Palindrome had just taken a jet out of the country to somewhere in the UK, to see one of his old former forensic science professors from the university, and that the phone at Andy's apartment had been tapped by the F.B.I. As to whether or not they had former knowledge of the disk or as a consequence of Andy's recent discovery, the outcome would be serious enough to make him want to take the next flight out of Earth's orbit!
The following day, Andy got up at the crack of dawn, and put on his yesterday clothes, and took a walk to the bus station where he hopped a bus to the Central Library to see if he could locate the professor. Once at the library, he was told Mr. Colby was out of town on personal business and would return in 2 to 3 days.
This surely did not rest well with Andy. His nerves wouldn't let him just blow things off until his friend's return from places unknown. But, what could he do? If he went to the police and admitted to withholding evidence he might lose his freedom. In other words he might become a permanent resident in a Texas State Penitentiary. But, then, if...Well, it became academic. later that evening, there was a knock at the door of Andy's apartment, at 3 AM. and it was Professor Palindrome E. Colby. "Anthony, we've got to get you out of here! You don't have time to pack, just get on your clothes, and let’s get a move on, hurry the hell up, move!"
It was apparent to Andy that Professor Colby was not out of the country, but wanted to make it look that way to throw the agency off his back. "Your phone has been bugged." Palindrome reached over to the phone, and lifted the receiver and unscrewed the top portion and removed a small cylindrical module, a bugging device for listening in by the agency, aka F.B.I. or police. special forces unit. "My God! I had no idea."
They went down the stairwell, rushed to get into a black Lexus, another of Palindrome's favorites, and like a proverbial bat out of hell, they sped off going toward the .........Airport?
"We're going to the airport Mr. Colby?" "That's right, my friend. " We have to get out of town by sundown Mr. Brown, if we want to stay alive." The professor had 2 tickets to of all places, Easter Island, Peru, located in the South Pacific Ocean. There would be a stopover at San Francisco first for re-boarding and that would be the most critical. He had already had 2 visas made, to get them legally out of the country and into foreign air space.
The trip to Easter Island was to pick up a friend, Professor Wong, from the University of Tokyo, Japan, Professor Sing Lee Wong was a professor of forensic psychology and a practicing Psychoanalyst at a hospital on that island, the Easter Island Community Hospital. Mr. Wong had been doing research on terrorism and serial killers for the past 15 years and would be a great help in their attempt to discover and find this elusive Overall Jams, author of the little blue book on terrorism conspiracy!
The need for an Ativan became Andy's only concern. He never flew in his life and had once swore never to fly anywhere in his entire life, but look who's getting aboard a United Airlines 787 super jet? That's Andy and Palindrome, that's who. :)
(I've never been to Easter Island before, StoneHenge neither, for that matter.) thought Andy, wondering at that moment as they walked through the corridor to the entry of the flight 951 to San Francisco, (Did I leave anything behind in my apartment?) Andy took a second Ativan and drank a 12-ounce bottle of chilled Ozarka spring water. They had a seat. The Jet would be taking off in about 20 minutes.
The Palindrome Conspiracy
Andy took a second look at Professor Palindrome E. Colby as the plane boarded and the stewards aided passengers with their light luggage and basic assurances of a safe flight free of mid-air collisions with tall buildings and Andy looked out the window as he was setting on the left row, widow seat that allowed him to take full advantage of the scenery, that is, until he realized how it made him feel once the engines began to increase and he realized the takeoff approach was just minutes away. The trip to Easter Island was not direct and that worries Anthony.
They arrived at San Francisco's International Airport, were unloaded and they waited a good 2 hours before loading again on a Pacifica EuroSpace 767, flight number 203 to points West and special stops to Easter Island for the annual Easter fest and science convention for July 2003. Andy asked Mr. Colby if he thought he would ever be able to return to the United States, at least once this matter of being a victim of a conspiracy that he knew nothing about. Mr. Palindrome merely replied, "Andy you're in this for the long haul, we're both in way too deep to even think that far ahead right now, but I will look out for you through all of this I assure you that."
Andy drank his vanilla coke and ate a Chips ahoy Super Chocolate Chip cookie and tears came down from his eyes.
Andy remembered how it used to be, not so long ago, when he lived in a quieter and more simple time. His job at the warehouse and rock and roll records, and driving across the river for fresh cold ones in his father's sky-blue slant six. He hung out with his friend M.H. at his parent's house, swimming in their backyard pool and hours of billiards in between going to the local theater.
Playing the keyboard while M. H. did his thing writing poems and long hand pros. Talking about space exploration, and the universe, the bigger picture. Yes, those days were gone. They were fond memories. But, here he was now, living in an age of international terrorism and conspiracy on his way with another old friend, from his favorite down town library, to visit of all places, Easter Island, where the Easter bunny no doubt would prove to be something a bit less nostalgic and care free.
Palindrome was entertaining the idea of space jets in the future, the would carry its passengers from one end of the earth to the other in just a few hours by soaring up beyond the atmosphere and spiraling downward like a shuttle craft to any point of destination. He thought the twin towers should have had detachable elevators on the exterior of the building with parachutes that could have saved perhaps thousands of human lives during such a catastrophe.
Andy was still remembering Bloodrock USA and his childhood friend, and their countless hours listening to his newly acquired record albums, a time before laser discs and BHS tapes. A time when corner drug stores still sold paperbacks and Dr. Peppers and Mars bars.
The Airplane was about to land and professor Palindrome nudged Andy and woke him up from his day dreams. "We're about to land so strap yourself in."
They descended through the clouds and the blue green of the island was revealed. Andy hated landings almost as bad as takeoffs. He could hardly wait to get his 2 feet back on the ground even if it was several thousands of miles from his cozy origins.
The Airport was pretty busy as many were there for the convention.
"Andy. wait here. I have to make a phone call. There'll be a limo to pick us up in about 15 minutes. You can go over to the counter at Jake's and pick us up a map and 2 coffees." The professor went toward the SLS tower. It was as if he knew where he was going. Of course! He's been here before. How stupid of me not to have figured that out!
Andy was so out of the loop.
Going from shut in to being a world traveler was a quantum leap.
Tony once, as a kid, thought Easter Island was where the Easter bunny lived when he wasn't hopping around giving out candy eggs to all the children of the world.
"Sir. I am looking for a Professor Palindrome E. Colby. " Andy looked up at the woman in the dark pants and white blouse and sunglasses, carrying a brief case attached to her wrist by a hand cuff. "I am Andy. The professor had to make an important call. He told me to let you know he would be back in five minutes." So, you're the one who discovered the ..." Andy saw the approach of 2 unfamiliar men in dark suits. They were getting closer.
Should I run? thought Andy.
What if they're not here to see the Professor? What if they are FBI or worse, the ones behind the conspiracy? "If you don't mind I am going for coffee. I'll be back in a second. The professor will be here in just a few minutes."
They seem to have bought it. But Andy didn't buy anything.
Andy felt something just wasn't right.
He went into the Jakes Grill, got behind a partition and peered out the window that looked out onto the square, where the three mysterious people were standing, looking at their watches and talking amongst themselves.
Then from the right end of the base of the SLS tower the professor was walking, but he stopped and suddenly began to back track. One of the men in the square looked in his direction and alerted the other two. They began to walk in the professor's direction.
The professor was not walking towards them, but rather, he was running from them!
Andy turned on his flip phone. Speed dialed Palindrome. "Yes, these are not my men.
They are after us. I've not the time to explain. You must rendezvous with me at the 60th floor of the SLS tower in one hour. Don't approach these people. They are dangerous!"
The phone was dead. There was nothing. Who were these three people? If the professor said they were dangerous then how did they find us here? And if they are dangerous does that mean my life and the professor's in real danger?
Anxiety came over Andy. He was not able to assimilate all this as well as someone more used to the spy life. Andy wasn't a spy. He was just caught up in a whirl wind of escalating events that were seemingly getting out of control.
The square was full of hundreds of people walking in and out of the malls and to and from the parking lots and it would be very easy to get lost in a crowd.
<>Later, on the 60th story of SLS Tower, dizzy from running up several flights of stairs,
Andy waited in the elevator corridor when the elevator door opened up.
It was Professor Palindrome. "Thank God. You're all right!" Palindrome replied, "Andy, we don't have a lot of time. Somehow, members of the Eastern division of the Knights of the Blue Temple had intercepted your latest email to me before we left the USA and they followed us to the Airport and took a private jet to this location to intercept us and use as a bargaining chip to get back the files that you copied that you gave to the FBI before this all got started.
I know they're out there. They don't know what you look like, and that's good news, but the bad news is, they have plenty of photo recognition information on me."
The professor added, "I lecture at the local university and teach ancient history for free at the central library to students from the local community. One such subject was about secret societies that date back as far as the Sumerians.
This new group that calls itself the Knights of the Blue Temple are an off shoot from the Priory of Sion, not to be mistaken for the Knights Templar, but remotely related. They believe that Jesus married Mary Magdelaine and had several children who moved out of the area towards France and from then on his descendants lived and moved further into other cultures under assumed names to avoid ever being discovered."
"How are we going to meet up with Mr. Wong?" The professor said, " Easter Island Community Hospital is not very far from here. I am expecting a car to arrive soon in the basement of this building in sub level 7 and from there we'll head over to the Hospital's security floor where we can safely discuss the files you and I have on this Overall Jams and his plot to destroy America and other countries."
Why they met on 60th floor was a mystery to Andy until professor Palindrome Colby took him into what appeared to be a kind of secret services office, completely full of men in white lab coats, and monitors all over the walls. "Welcome Mr. Colby and Mr. Johnson."
It was the senior supervisor of national security forces for Global Corps.
He explained that going by helicopter to another side of the island would be best rather than risk capture by the rouge agents hired by the Knights of the Blue Temple from now on to be referred to as KBT.
These agents have been after that fellow from the Middle East, Overall Jams for over a year now. This would be their opportunity to do some real damage. We're here to keep that from happening. Please, gentlemen, have a seat and a drink. The lights went dim and a large screen descended in front of the small group of agents and Andy and his friend the professor.
"This is the latest Intel from our foreign correspondents in Europe of the terrorist attacks in that country. There have been six new bombings and minor fires additionally in 8 different countries in the past 2 weeks. We believe the man who left that book behind in America, Jams, is behind most of these recent attacks. There have been several known casualties from these most recent bombings."
Andy and the professor were told that they would be flown to the far side of the Island and from their get on a jet to France where they would meet Mr. Wong for the very first time.
From there they were instructed to seek out a Mr. Weldon Clusseau at a cafe near Paris.
"You have 28 hours to make your destination. Here are your passports and your radio and security devices you will need and oh yes, I almost forgot, Andy, you will need a bullet proof and 2 guns. You will be able to carry these undetected as they will be on a private service jet and you will arrive in a private air field with everything you need intact."
to be continued.................
Image Credit » black pen icon by Anthony Davis, original art.