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Thoughts from the "King of the Hill"

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An excerpt from The Life and Death of John Doe

Posted by Rex Critchlow on November 21, 2011

The following is an excerpt from my first novel titled “The Life and Death of John Doe”. For further details, see my web site: rexcritchlow.com

 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

 

James woke to a loud knocking on his bedroom door. He ached. His mind was foggy and he had trouble orienting himself until a familiar voice called out, “Dr. Prentice. Sir, it’s Gus.”

A red cotton robe with black trim hung near his bed. Without responding to the insistent pounding by his security officer, he wrapped himself in the garment and stuffed his feet into a pair of slippers.

“Come in Gus. Door’s open.”

Gus entered. “I’m sorry to wake you, sir, but there appears to have been a break-in last night.”

“Here?” James asked, now fully awake.

“It’s Cooper. He was making rounds last night when he came across someone on the property, he was attacked.”

What? Was he hurt?”

“He’s says that he is fine. I asked him to go to the hospital to get checked out, but he refused. He doesn’t appear to have any serious injuries, just a few minor cuts and bruises and a monster headache. He said that he had been in the restroom and was late making rounds. Next thing he knew, Mitchell was pulling him out the bushes behind the pool house. That’s when they called me.”

“Alright. Get on the horn to Arthur. Have him send over a team to investigate, and tell him I need to see him as soon as possible.”

“Already done. He’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”

“Good. Tell Cooper that I insist he go to the hospital to get checked out. If he refuses, turn it over to Arthur and tell him to get it in writing. Until we know what’s going on I want to add an extra guard at the gate and one full-time watching the cameras. Report anything out of the ordinary to Arthur.”

“Yes, sir.”

James took a quick shower and brushed his teeth. By the time he had dressed, Arthur was waiting for him in the library.

“What do we know, Arthur?”

“Not much so far. I have a man reviewing video recordings from all camera angles now, and two more making a physical inspection of every sensor to see why they failed to alert Mr. Cooper to the presence of a person on the property. Your domestic staff and three other officers are examining the house to see if anything is missing or damaged.”

James’ mind was reeling. First a security breach at the office then a break-in at his home; all in the same weekend. This was hardly a coincidence. “Have local authorities been alerted yet?”

“No. Other than trespassing and the attack on Mr. Cooper, we don’t know what happened. It could be that running into a guard foiled their plans and they left before getting into the house.”

“They?”

“I can’t assume just one, but so far there is no evidence of more.”

James nodded, “Don’t call the police until you complete your own investigation. If Coop’s presence foiled a robbery attempt, I don’t want this outside our own staff. That nosey bimbo from the paper will just fill in any blanks with whatever she wants, and I’ll end up spending six months trying to straighten it out again.” James sat down at the desk and started scribbling a note as he spoke.

“Yes, sir.”

“Arthur, would you please call me something other than sir? I realize you are just being polite, but you are, no offense intended, at least fifteen years my senior. Call me James, Jim, Jimmy, J.P. or whatever you like.”

“You’re my boss. I’ll call you sir. It’s just the way I was raised.”

“Work on it,” he said, passing the note to Arthur. “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“Sounds great.”

“Have a seat. I’ll have some brought in.” He dialed the kitchen extension and asked for coffee and two cups to be brought to the library.

Arthur read the note: “Had security breach at office too. Could be bugged. Be discrete,” then nodded his head.

“How are things going on the security upgrades at the office?”

Arthur gave a lengthy but vague report of the upgrade while James jotted a new note on a fresh piece of paper. “Office security upgrade team compromised by unknown adversary. Could be private or gov’t. Re-vet all security personnel, quietly.” He passed the note to Arthur.

Arthur concluded his report, nodded and excused himself to go to the restroom. A few minutes later he returned with a technician. James poured the coffee and made small talk with Arthur while the technician began to move around the room with an electronic tool resembling an antenna.

“Bugs?” James mouthed to Arthur, who nodded.

The men sipped their coffee and chatted about the intrusion until the technician finally completed his sweep. When the tech finished he whispered in Arthur’s ear then left the room.

Arthur looked at James and put a finger to his lips signaling him to be quiet then picked up the pen.

“I’ll check to see how things are going. I’ll get back to you as soon as we know exactly what happened,” said Arthur.

James thanked Arthur and his team for responding so quickly. When Arthur left the room, James read the note he left behind. ‘Two bugs in this room. Watch what you say and where, but don’t act suspicious. Will check the house, office and cars and give full report a.s.a.p.’ James pressed the notes into the paper shredder beside his desk. He sat there a long time contemplating the events of the last fifteen hours. The questions far outnumbered the answers.

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5 Responses to “An excerpt from The Life and Death of John Doe”

  1. Gnarly article mate, keep the good work, just shared this with ma friendz

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