PD update

I’ve been busy with a career change, a small child, and another on the way due in January, so I have kind of slacked off a bit in hammering out the conclusion to Prosecutorial Discretion. I’m working on it a bit today, as I have a couple days off now with a somewhat clear schedule. It will get done, and I already have an outline in my head for at least one sequel.

Thank you for the feedback so far, all of it.


Similarities and Differences

Compare and contrast:






3:20 PM

Jason had crossed over the Missouri river some time ago. He knew, by this time, Adam was most likely worrying as Jason was supposed to be at the safehouse by now.  But Jason had to be sure he wasn’t being followed, so he couldn’t be too careful. He was about to arrive at the primary safehouse and deliver Adam’s car to him, and this was a most sensitive point in the mission, something he would not want any surveillance team to see. That is, if there was a surveillance team to be worried about. And, of course, if there was one out there watching him, they would have to have formed up relatively recently, Jason assumed in his paranoid reasoning which was bordering on ridiculous by this point. He figured if there was a team watching them from the very beginning, they wouldn’t have allowed things to get this far, so, therefore, if there was a team watching him, that they must have only recently gotten wise to what was going on.

They wouldn’t just sit back and watch things get this far…..Would they? Jason thought as he again looked in his rear view mirror.

No, if the bad guys are watching me, it must mean they got wind of the kidnapping after it happened. Maybe Sullivan’s wife called the courthouse and things blew up from there.

He looked in his rear view mirror again and noticed that the vehicle that had been in the distance behind him was no longer there.

Don’t take paranoia seriously, come on! 

Jason had made several turns since crossing the river and was now well to the northeast of the safehouse where Adam was. He decided that he was confident enough that he wasn’t being followed and that he should now head directly to the safehouse. Only problem was, he was now lost. He hadn’t been using the car’s GPS; they didn’t want an electronic trail showing that Adam’s car had been in Carrolton. But now, with precious time wasting, Jason figured he had no choice but to plug in the city of Carrolton. He’d tell Adam about it; he’d understand. They could just destroy the GPS unit later.

Unless the feds had a tracking device on Adam’s car, Jason thought.

No, no, no; there you go being paranoid again. Ed checked out Adam’s car with the scanner a few weeks ago; no bugs. Ed even used the scanner with the illegal mod job that could pick up 800mhz cell phone frequencies.  And that’s the part of the spectrum where the feds would hide that kind of thing…….a part of the radio spectrum civilians weren’t even allowed to listen to. What else would they use – shortwave, longwave, microwave? Come on, let’s be smart about this. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. Besides, if the plan goes to shit, me and Adam are ready to die. And so is Ed; well, so he says he is anyway. And if we die, Sullivan plus a few cops will die as well. We’ll make our point either way.

But I’m still scared; I don’t want to get caught. I don’t want to die.

 Shut up, Jason! Quit being such a bitch!

Jason continued his line of thought:

What happened to that cold-hearted killer that cut a guy’s throat on the battlefield, huh?  What happened to that bad-ass Marine that didn’t give a shit about his own safety as long as it meant he could go and get some? Hey, we may even get to use those guns Adam’s got in the trunk of this little car. I’m pretty sure he’s got the AR-10 in there; that’ll put a poser-ass SWAT soldier-wannabe in his place……..on the ground!

 Once the GPS processed the route and was pointing Jason toward Carrolton, Jason felt relaxed and decided to turn on the car’s CD player. I wonder what Adam’s listening to these days, he thought as he pressed “play.”  It was a home made CD, as most are these days, a compilation of various techno and industrial sounding remixes of the “Super Mario Brothers” theme song, mostly the dungeon levels.

“Oh…Kay” Jason said, breaking his silence, figuring the music would cover up his voice in the event there were any hidden microphones in the car. At first he thought Adam’s choice of music a little weird, but he started getting into it a little as he kept checking his rear view mirror and following the GPS’s route back to Carrolton. He turned up the volume a bit and gave the car just a little more gas to make up for the lost time.


Rachel Sullivan stopped pacing back and forth. She had been trying to think back, trying to figure out who Gene must be having an affair with. It wasn’t Erin, and, from piecing things together, she didn’t think it was anyone else from work either.

Maybe a family member of a victim or a defendant, she thought. No, Gene wouldn’t stoop so low, would he?

Would he?

Rachel got in her car and drove to the nearest convenience store. She did something she hadn’t done in over 10 years; she bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. It was a smaller sized “purse pack” of Virginia Slims and a white mini Bic lighter. As soon as she got back in the car she lit one up, not caring if the smell lingered in the vehicle.

Yes, he would, Rachel. Don’t be naive, not anymore. Let’s think this through clearly, now.

When she got home, she went out on the back porch and lit another one. She tried to think about the cases Gene had told her about. She hoped it was just some younger girl busted with a little dope and not someone more mature and respectable. She’d rather Gene was doing it only for sex. If it was only sex, maybe they could hold the marriage together, at least until the kids moved out.

But is Gene really low enough to do that, to fuck some poor female defendant in exchange for………well, yeah, I guess he could do that. But what if it’s a co-worker? What if it’s is someone more mature?

What if he actually loves someone else?!?

Part of her wanted to pick up the phone, call Erin back, and try to get to the bottom of this. And part of her wanted to crumple into a ball, to blame herself for not being a better wife, to blame herself for being so stupid as to not see it coming.

Rachel put out her cigarette on the brick steps of the back porch and went inside the house. She picked up the phone, thought about calling Erin, but decided against it. For the time being, she decided to just sit down at the kitchen table and do a little of the crumpling into a ball thing.

Just for a minute.


Adam finished writing the text of his note, after stopping several times to make revisions. It was sloppy, but he figured Jason could make it out.  He dried his sweaty hands on his shirt, took the pen he was using and scrawled some of its ink onto his left index finger. He pressed his inked fingertip onto the paper, just below the note’s main body of text and then signed his name, printed his name, and wrote the date under the fingerprint.

He collected the video camera, tapes and guided Sullivan upstairs  to wait with him by the front door.

“C’mon, Jason, you crazy bastard, get here so we can get this shit over with,” Adam muttered to himself.

3:45 PM

Finally, after a few more minutes, he saw the car approaching. Jason parked Adam’s car in front of the house, got out, and quickly walked to the front door. Adam opened it before Jason had a chance to reach the doorknob himself.

“Good to see you finally; any trouble?” Adam asked.

“Naw, man, not yet. Thought I was being followed, so I had to take a little detour. Can’t be too sure at this point. You know, a little paranoia here and there can be a good thing. I’ll bet all those folks sitting in jail right now wish they’d been a little more paranoid.” Jason replied.

“All right. Fair enough,” said Adam. Both Adam and Jason had the same look on their faces, wild eyed yet empty, an expression that seemed to say ‘it’s all been said, it’s all been done, except for one more thing.’ Had a normal person seen their faces, their war faces of the exhausted variety, they would have stepped back in avoidance. But Adam and Jason were both in their element; they were warriors focusing on the task at hand.

“Thanks for bringing me my car. Take this note. Get in your car now and get out of here. Read the note in the car, not here. And be careful; be very fucking careful. We’re almost there, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Don’t fuck this up.” Adam said to Jason.

“Roger that.” Jason said.

“Oh, and one more thing. You’ve done a good job, an outstanding job. So far as the blackmail mission goes, I’m promoting you to commander. Get with Ed and take charge. Consult with him, but take charge. You have copies of the texts of the laws and reforms we’re going to push and all that. I trust you can handle it, right?

“Yes, sir.” Jason said.

“I’m saying this because I’m done. I’m done with everything.” Adam said.

Jason simply said, “Alright ; let’s get this thing done then.”

“Go.” Adam said, and Jason ran to his rental car and quickly departed the area.


Ed was driving slowly along route 10, still monitoring the scanner radios and putting up with the occasional hiss of static as his squelch knob was set fairly open so as to pick up weaker transmissions. One of the radios he did have modified illegally to receive the 800 mhz cellular phone signals that American civilians were banned from hearing as government agencies and cell phone companies were the only ones lawfully permitted the privilege.  But, for his purposes now, he had that part blocked off from the search/scan programs. No sense in having the thing stop on every phone call going through the nearest tower. He’d only open that part up if he found the interagency and federal frequencies showing activity. And, right now, they weren’t.


4:00 PM

Adam still had some doubts in the back of his mind; maybe he’d balk, he thought. He had never killed, in battle or otherwise. He’d never even been hunting. He wanted to die, he needed to die, but he knew from his self-guided psychological studies that killing was not easy. He’d read “On Killing;” he knew of the phenomenon in which soldiers in war would fire over the heads of the enemy, their instincts preventing them from killing another human being. Adam knew that there was difficulty in overcoming the natural human aversion to killing one’s own species.

He knew that the closer the proximity to the victim, the harder it was to do it. It was easier to kill from miles away than it was to kill from hundreds of yards away. And it was easier to kill from hundreds of yards away than it was to kill from yards away. And it was easier to kill from yards away than it was to kill from point blank range. Adam knew all of this stuff, and he didn’t want to overestimate his abilities. “On Killing” described the closest range of killing as “sexual range,” referring to full contact hand-to-hand combat. Adam knew that what he had to do was to kill at even closer range than that.

What Adam had to do was to kill at what could be called “self-range.” But, if he could do it in the way he now knew The Plan called for, he could do the most he could with the crummy, disposable life that he had to give to the cause.


Once he was on a straight away portion of road, Jason picked up the note Adam had given him and unfolded it. He took a look and right away knew it was a suicide note:

“To my fellow S.O.L’ers,

You guys will have to continue the mission without me. We will not be able to meet again. Keep this note in a safe place, with the blackmail tapes, as it will be just about as useful. I am telling you that if, by the end of today, I am dead, then I will have succeeded. My death will only help the mission. Know that if I am dead, and I pray that I find the nerve to do it, that I am dead by my own hand.


I will do my best to make it look like prosecuting Attorney Eugene Sullivan shot me. I will make it look like he is the hero, that he shot me and escaped. If I do this right, I will die with an AK-47 pistol in my hand.


But between the two of you, know the truth: Sullivan is no killer, and he is no hero. The deal will be that Sullivan gets to play the hero so long as he cooperates with us. Or, rather, so long as he cooperates with you two and whomever else you decide to bring into the fold…….three is an ideal number for this kind of thing.


And if Sullivan doesn’t play ball, then, of course, release the videos. And also release this note.


Why am I doing this? Yes, I’m doing it for the cause, but I’m also doing it because I don’t deserve to live life anyway. I made some serious mistakes that cost two lives and ruined one more.


Sullivan made a mistake too, by not enforcing the law in the Garges case. Had we not intervened, of course, Sullivan would have been glad to keep looking the other way in cases of police abuse. 


I’m ending my life; Sullivan is getting blackmailed.


Both he and I are getting off easy.



Adam Warren

SSgt, U.S.A., FRN 1247


The “FRN 1247” was Adam’s field reporting number, his identification he’d put on his intel reports.  He couldn’t muster the nerve to actually articulate the names of the lives his mistake had cost or the details of his error of omission. He’d keep that to himself and trash that memory along with the report he’d deleted. If The Plan went to hell or the note was to be released and investigated, he was pretty sure he’d be dead by then anyway. That he was fairly sure of, but he couldn’t be too sure.


Adam escorted Sullivan on his sore feet into the trunk of his car, Adam made sure to bring the lunchbox containing the needles. He had about a half a dose of heroin left and about a full dose of LSD.



April 27th, 2004 2:00 PM Eastern Time


Jennifer McGinnis and her youngest, Tyler, aged two and a half, were watching “Nick Jr.” on TV. The older children were in school, and Dad was, by now, a charred spinal column and a few pieces of pelvis and skull, recently cooled down from the fire and wet from the water that had been used to put it out.

When she heard the doorbell, she muted the TV and sat there listening carefully. She’d heard the doorbell ring once before since her husband had been activated and deployed. That other time it had been a FedEx package, and it had taken her over half an hour before she had been able to make it to the door and see that it had been only a birthday present for one of the kids. As she sat there this time with the TV muted, she had her ears pricked for voices or for the sound of a truck departing, any sound that could provide a clue as to what was on the other side of the door.

The silence was not good, she thought, as she counted in her head, waiting for a second ring of the bell and hoping not to hear it.

One, two, three, four, five,……fifteen.

Jennifer was up from the couch and had Tyler in her arms. Her eyes were on the front door when she heard the second ring of the bell.

She was now pretty sure there were Soldiers on the other side of the door. If they were in camouflage utility uniforms, that would mean they were there to announce

that her husband had been seriously injured. If they were in dress uniforms, that meant they were there to announce that her husband had been killed.

“Noo!! Nahaho!!” she screamed. Tyler began screaming as well. She held him tightly as she slowly walked toward the door. But she really didn’t want to know what was on the other side, so she stopped. As long as she didn’t see them, she could tell herself that the worst had not happened, that the Soldiers on the other side of the door were in utility uniforms and not dress uniforms.

“Go away!! Go away!!’ she yelled. She ran through the small house, trying to find the point in the house furthest from the front door, which was the bathroom. She was sobbing, by now realizing that had this been only an injury notification, then the soldiers at the door would have let her know such by now. No, they had to be there for one reason and one reason only.

Tyler was panicked; he’d never seen Mommy cry so hard. She was gasping for air, crying much harder than he was. She was sitting on the edge of the bathtub, still holding him tightly, pressing his head against her shoulder.

“No Mommy cry! No Mommy cry,” he said to her as she held him.

Jennifer tried to pull it together a little, if only for Tyler’s sake. She got up with him and tried again to walk toward the door. She got to the peephole and looked through to see two Army officers in dress uniforms.

“Naaho! Naaho!” she screamed again, gasping for air and backing up against the wall. She accidentally bumped Tyler’s head against the wall in the process, and he momentarily got quiet as he drew in a breath.  Jennifer slowly collapsed onto the floor, being as careful as she could with her young son in her arms.

Before Tyler could catch his breath and start crying again in pain, Jennifer managed to apologize to him, saying, “Mommy’s sorry. Mommy’s so sorry, sweetie.”

Mommy’s sorry for bumping your head. Mommy’s sorry for letting your dad join the National Guard. Mommy’s so sorry. Mommy can’t tell you how sorry she is.

 Between gasps for air, Jennifer managed, for now to get a couple more words out.


“Your Daddy…”

“Daddy’s not….”


4:10 PM

With Sullivan fetal in the trunk, squeezed against the nylon gun cases holding one of Adam’s high powered rifles, Adam sat in the driver seat and inserted the key into the ignition. He knew the mission was almost over, and the number of decision points remaining was low and dwindling.  As he thought about going ahead and turning the ignition, he stopped and decided to pick up the lunchbox from the passenger seat. He opened it; there was a full dose of LSD and a half dose of heroin remaining. He picked up the needle marked “L.”

This time, he didn’t bother with a tourniquet. He figured he was cheating enough by injecting the drugs and that he didn’t deserve to make it any easier on himself by making the vein easier to find. He took off his suit jacket and put it on the passenger seat, completely obscuring the AK pistol, which was also there, within easy reach now. Adam stabbed the needle around in the area where he knew his forearm’s vein was. As he did so, he remembered the ride back from the ambush site in Samarrah, he remembered when he first put two and two together and realized he’d made a fatal error in judgment that day. He remembered how, on the ride back to base, he’d so hoped that another IED blast would hit his vehicle and put him out of his misery.


Ed parked in his Cherokee in the parking lot of a small  grocery store on route 10 just to the west of a town called Hardin. This was along the route between safehouse 1 and safehouse 2, and The Plan called for Ed to wait there until he saw Adam’s car pass by before using one of his disposable cell phones to make a deceptive communication ploy before getting out of dodge.


Andy Sullivan and the rest of the junior varsity football team had just finished their usual warm up exercises and were gathering up to listen to their head coach speak.

Andy wasn’t really having too much fun, and being on the team was mainly his dad’s idea. He was disciplined though, and making his dad proud was one of his major motivations for applying himself and listening to what the coach had to say.

His other reason for applying himself on the field was on the other side of a fence but still very much within his sight. Her name was Paige, and she and Andy briefly made eye contact before she and the rest of the junior varsity cheer squad got into formation for a drill.

“Eyes over here, on me!” Andy’s coach said. He was speaking to the whole team, but his admonition was directed at Andy in particular, who was, by now, watching Paige get tossed into the air.

“I don’t care what’s going on over there or anywhere else. The most important thing going on right here, right now, are the words coming out of my mouth. Do you boys understand that?!” the coach asked loudly.

“Yes, sir,” replied the team in unison.


As Jason crossed the Missouri river after having read Adam’s note, he began to let what he had read sink in. He began to fully process the fact that his best friend and trusted confidant was going to kill himself, or, at the very least, let himself die on some situation or another. And, from the tone of the note, it appeared that he might be doing it in the very near future.

“Bastard could have left me some of his money or at least given me part of his gun collection first!” Jason said to himself.  Jason remembered that Adam kept some “emergency” guns in the trunk of his car.

The least he could have done was give ‘em to me back at the house…..unless maybe he was planning on using them in some kind of attack against the highway patrol or the local SWAT team.

But, then, if that was what he was going to do, why didn’t he invite me to the party. I ought to rate at least an invite, damnit!

Jason was not 100% numb to the fact that his best friend would soon be dead, but, for now, Jason was mainly trying to decide whether or not to try and link back up with Adam, perhaps just to get the rifles from Adam’s car, perhaps to join him in whatever he was about to do.

But it was just plain curiosity and the desire for excitement and intense experience that prompted Jason to start looking for a place to turn the rental Malibu around.


Adam wasn’t sure he’d found the vein, but after inflicting a few well-deserved needle stabs on his arm, he decided to go ahead and push the plunger down anyway, sending a full dose of LSD into the muscular tissue of his arm near the joint.

He then pulled the needle out and put it back in the lunchbox. He turned the ignition and began driving on his way to the decoy safehouse with Sullivan in the trunk.

He didn’t really notice the acid take effect. He was already in a state of mind in which he fully understood and appreciated who he was and his role in the world. There was only one question that remained in his mind: could he pull the trigger with the barrel pointed at his own head?

As he pondered this question, his driving became purely automatic. He kept his eyes focused on the road ahead of him; he knew what turns to take. He knew to keep it at the speed limit; he knew to keep his eyes peeled for cops. He realized that he must be in a mental zone similar to that of martial arts experts, executing moves automatically, without thinking about it, their minds clear of distraction and chatter. Adam’s sense of self merged almost completely with The Plan and all of it’s grisly details, some of which he was just now becoming aware of.

But his questioning of his abilities to kill at self-range still remained, he knew. As he neared the spot along route 10 where Ed was parked, Adam started doing a little mantra meditation so as to try to talk himself into pulling the trigger and sending a bullet into his own skull once the mission was over and not a minute later. He said to himself, in his head, “Kill, kill, kill..” and kept repeating the word. It helped to clear his mind some more, but the word did activate certain reference points in Adam’s mind as it reverberated like a pinball bouncing back and forth hitting all the points it could.

“Kill, kill, kill…” he started saying aloud softly and monotonously.

I’m not crazy. I’m just doing some mantra meditation with my eyes open.


Ed saw Adam’s car pass by, so he got out of his SUV and went into the store. He had to have some plausible reason for being there at this point. If it came to it, the investigators would not just accept that he was there in the parking lot hanging out. He waited in line at the register; he’d buy a pack of cigarettes. His reason for doing this out here and not closer to home – he was out scouting new territory to bow hunt. There was public land nearby.

But the investigation wouldn’t get that far, Ed figured. No way Sullivan would let the video see the light of day.


Adam then started saying  his mantra a little louder, with a little more force as he pushed his mind to focus completely on the mission, The Plan, and his role within it.

“Kill, kill, kill….” he ordered himself.

I’m probably sounding like Jason and his DI’s in boot camp or something like that, huh? Adam thought.

“Kill! Kill! Kill!” he ordered himself even louder.

Adam, we just might be getting to that place where we want to be now!

“Kill!….Kill!…..Killl!…..KILL!!…..KILL!!……..KILL!” Adam screamed at himself at the top of his lungs, contorting his face and turning it red.

Kill! Kill! Kill! He thought, not thinking of much else.


More coming, I promise.

I’m working on the next installment of the Prosecutorial Discretion story, but I’m working an overtime week this week, all weekend, and my “off days” are now filled with stuff other than writing. So, please bear with me, more is coming.

In the mean time, please digest the lessons imparted. Look around you. Think deeply.

That is all for now.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

From a Georgia Patriot:

I feel the same way as the gentleman in the story, although I don’t agree with the “protesters” message, as long as they obey the law, then the group should not be forced out of anywhere… Wish I would have heard of this man’s intentions beforehand, I would have joined him.


The following is part twelve of a completely fictional story illustrating one possible way in which private citizens might address problems stemming from the abuse of prosecutorial discretion using means that are 100% “outside the system.”  While not advocating such tactics described, I did try to come up with tactics that make maximum use of leverage, that is, those tactics requiring the least amount of personnel, time, and resources to achieve the most significant result.  This story is not about heroes and villains, good guys or bad guys.  The characters are NOT intended to be role models, only to be as believable as possible while still doing things that, to my knowledge, have never been done before. Warning: This is not what you expect.  It describes dirty, underhanded tactics which some  most will find shocking and revolting.


Pt. 12

Tuesday, October 30 – 12:55 PM

Ed and Jason arrived at the decoy safe house in Richmond. Ed backed his SUV into the carport; he didn’t want anyone seeing the Cherokee’s telltale bumper stickers or see him messing around in broad daylight at a foreclosed home. This was especially true because Ed expected the house to become a crime scene by the end of the day, a burned one if everything went right.

As soon as the vehicle stopped moving, Jason opened his front passenger door, which he’d already unlocked, and then hurried to the vehicle’s rear and opened the hatchback. Ed and Jason quickly donned gloves, grabbed the trash bags full of evidence and carried them inside, dumping the handcuffs, rags, blue tarp, and other items on the floor in the living room. They then took the camping stove and set it up with the stock pot on top of it, trying their best to set things up as they had been in the real safehouse. They even went to the effort of putting fresh canola oil in the pot, not knowing if a forensics team would be able to tell the difference but also not wanting to take chances where they didn’t need to. Ed switched the stove on just to check and make sure it still lit properly and then turned the flame back off.

1:30 PM

Adam put the blindfold back over Sullivan’s eyes. The peak moment of Sullivan’s LSD trip had come and gone. His ego had been thrown up in the air, and it was in the process of landing in a place and in a manner that was all part of The Plan. As Eugene had watched the videos, he had not only experienced guilt, shame, and fear, but also experienced powerlessness. He, the Prosecuting Attorney of Lafayette County, had been put in the position of begging someone not to ruin his life. With the video made, the power was all Adam’s, and Sullivan understood this completely. And with his ego in no position to guide his thinking, Adam was also in a position to fill the gap. As planned, Sullivan had looked to Adam for guidance and instruction in his most lost and desperate moment of need.

Meanwhile, Ed and Jason were now approaching their next destination, Adam’s apartment complex in Independance. As Ed saw on his GPS that Adam’s apartment complex was just ahead, he made a turn onto the street before the main gate. They made sure the SUV was as clear of evidence as it could be, putting the disposable gloves they’d used in a fresh ziplock bag and making sure Jason had on his person all copies of the blackmail videos, except of course, for the tape that Adam still had back at the decoy safe house. Ed stopped the Cherokee by the curb, let Jason out, and then continued on his screening mission in the Cherokee. And, so far, as far as the the radio scanners were concerned, no news was good news.

Jason went back into the woods behind the complex and found the low spot in the fence Adam had told him about. He scaled the fence and continued on into the complex, pulling down his ball cap just to make sure no one would remember his face if they were ever asked. Fortunately, it was a blue collar type of neighborhood of younger to middle age renters and not too many retirees, which meant that there weren’t too many people with time on their hands out looking around and gossiping.

Jason came out of the woods and near the back of Adam’s building. Keeping his head down, he walked around the side of the building and into the parking lot. He found Adam’s car, got in, and drove out the front gate of the complex. With his crossing out the gate, there was now a video record of Adam’s car leaving the complex. And, so long as no one had seen Jason’s face too closely, the video evidence would support the claim that Adam was at home until around 1 PM. That is, unless someone had seen Adam get into the rental Malibu in the wee hours of the morning, but that was pretty unlikely. Besides, their insurance policy video would probably prevent the investigation from getting that far anyway, and, even if the investigation did get that far, the insurance policy would still ultimately protect them. Rather than try to get together elaborate cover stories, Adam and the boys worked out a few basic lies they could easily remember and corroborate. They also agreed that after answering no more than 2 questions from police, if it came to that, that they would then simply lawyer up. Lawyering up too early would point the spotlight right on them; lawyering up too late could mean their stories might come apart.

Ed stopped at a full service car wash in Independence on his way back to Lexington and parked his car in line to be cleaned inside and out. He wanted to be as sure as he could that his vehicle was as clean as he could get it, because The Plan now called for him to be a lightning rod for any police attention that might be pointed in the team’s general direction. In all, the wait at the car wash was about 20 minutes from the time he dropped his keys off until the time he paid and got them back. He then continued on his screening mission, going slowly along the route back through Lexington. If the cops were on to them in any meaningful way, they would most likely be out in force along the route that was originally used to transport Sullivan. It didn’t so much matter at this point whether or not the cops had gotten wise to a kidnapping of the prosecutor; what mattered was that they didn’t have a clue as to where the safehouses were. But if the cops did get wind, the boys wanted to know this as soon as possible.

2:00 PM

Sullivan would now be coming down for several more hours, still feeling the effects of the drug and his mind now integrating the lessons he had learned. The relatively light tripping session would not, in itself, be anything too life-changing for him. He would still be the same old Eugene Sullivan at the end of the day, still be the same old go-along-to-get-along Mr. Nice Guy that he was. But his brief foray into egolessness at the not-so-tender mercy of a very determined ex-Army interrogator would leave its imprint on his mind no less. Perhaps some changes and lessons might remain. And, if they didn’t, there was always the dirty little carrot video that could be used to keep him in line.

As Sullivan’s body began the slow process of metabolizing the drug and his brain began the slow process of re-aligning itself, Adam continued to repeat the line, “Think about why you’re here,” at longer and longer intervals, going from 30 seconds to a minute, then to five minutes, then to ten.

“Think about why you’re here.”

As Adam kept repeating the line, it was having it’s desired effect on Sullivan, aiding along the rape-victim-self-blame and Stolkholm syndrome kind of reactions that Adam was hoping to cultivate in his subject. But as kept saying the mantra, Adam couldn’t help but think of what the line meant for him, why he was here doing what he was doing.

Think about why YOU’RE here, Adam thought.

He answered himself, I’m here because there was no other choice. Sullivan wasn’t just going to enforce the law on his own. If I wasn’t here doing what I’m doing, then more cops would just be able to beat the shit out of anyone who pissed them off in the least. I’m here because the rule of law is dead, so I may as well break the law anyway.

But why are you here? Why you, Adam Warren? Why take the risk? Why take the time? Why all the sacrifice?

Adam again answered his own question: Someone’s gotta do it, why not me? Otherwise it just wouldn’t get done.

Oh, so you’re just making a big sacrifice, aren’t you? You’re just a selfless Patriot doing what’s right, huh? You’re taking all that risk – death, real hard jail time, vilification in the press, torture by the police if you’re caught….. but why? Because you have so much to live for? And yet you’re answering the call of duty because you’re just such a noble and self-sacrificing crusader, right? 

Is that what Captain Bowen would say if he could just put the words together? Is that what Sergeant Ryan or PFC McGinnis would say if they were still alive? Is that what Ryan’s widow and children would say?!? Is that what McGinnis’ parents would say?!? That you’re just a selfless patriot doing the right thing, yet you let them die because you were tired, you were hungry, and you didn’t feel like doing your job that night?!?

Adam could feel the lump in his throat, and he could feel the moisture quickly accumulating in his eyes. He had to face the facts: He was only risking his life and freedom on the Sullivan mission because he didn’t see much value left in his life anyway. He had a body and a brain and he was going to use those things for a cause greater than himself. But he knew that even if the mission went down as a 100% success, it would never make up for the deadly mistake he had made back in 2004 in Samarrah. He knew that the guilt in having allowed two lives to be lost and one to be virtually ruined would be something that would haunt him the rest of his life. It would mean that there would always be a limit as to how happy he would allow himself to be, a limit on how much he would be able to enjoy life. And that limit would be extremely low.

He thought about how Captain Bowen’s family must have first reacted to hearing the news of his condition. Was it over the phone? Did the doctors wait to tell them in person?

Adam then imagined what it must have been like for Mrs. Ryan to hear the news that her husband was killed and then have to turn around and tell her children that their dad would not be coming home, ever. He pictured the casualty call chaplain and entourage arriving at a house or apartment, most likely a small row house, Adam figured. They probably came while the kids were at school, leaving Mrs. Ryan a few hours to prepare herself. That’s how they did it, didn’t they? Did the kids come home to have their mother soberly deliver the news to them? Or was she still broken down and hysterical when they arrived home from school? And was the little one even in school yet at the time?

Tears began rolling down Adam’s cheeks as he felt another episode of authentic, well-deserved survivor guilt coming on. He ran up the basement stairs, trying desperately to make it to the top before losing control completely. He didn’t want Sullivan to hear him, as he could tell that this episode would be a big one and a loud one. Closing the basement door behind him helped a little, but as Adam began screaming and sobbing on his way to the kitchen, Sullivan could hear him through the floor. Adam caught himself and was able to transition from outright crying to a hissing whisper. But it wasn’t enough to calm his conscience and subdue his spasms of guilt and self-hatred. So Adam banged his head against the kitchen counter. It felt good. So he did it again. And again. And again.

The pain felt good, and it helped. Adam took a second to think about what he had just done. If it feels good, do it! He decided to bang his head down on the counter one last time. Make it a good one, Make this one really count. He made it a good one, and it counted; he even felt a little dizzy. It was enough for the time being, as it did stop the tears from flowing and help him to calm down. The guilt, the anger at himself, and the dispair were still there, but these feelings were no longer gushing out of control. They were now just flowing at a fast but controllable rate.

Adam felt as if the memory, as well as the reality, of his sin of omission in Samarrah was simply running its course. His hitting his head against the kitchen counter and the relief it provided was just the latest unfolding of what he felt needed to happen, what had been wanting to come out for so long. He’d been able to push it aside for the remainder of his tour in Iraq and then for his year long stint as a contractor. And, once back stateside for good, he’d been able to keep the memories at bay by staying busy and by drinking heavily. Now that The Plan he’d worked so hard on was finally in the process of being realized, there wasn’t much else going on in his life to keep his mind occupied. There was nothing between Adam and the memory of his unforgivable mistake, so he was left to stare directly at its hideous face. This was something Adam had no desire to do. The human cost of his laziness, his weakness, and his stupidity were so steep that Adam saw no way out of the hole he was in. He’d thought about killing himself before, but those times had just been fleeting thoughts; now he truly felt like taking his own life would just be the right thing to do. But, for right now, he would have to continue on the current mission; that was, after all, why he was here doing what he was doing.

“Think about why you’re here” Adam shouted through the floor to Sullivan.

Adam breathed a sigh of relief. His most recent surge of survivor guilt had went better than he had expected; he was still able to continue with the mission. Plus, he was pretty confident that this would be his last episode, as he had decided, once and for all, that he could muster the nerve to end his own life. Perhaps I’ll save some of the heroin for later, just to make it easier to pull the trigger, just in case I lose my nerve. I’ve still got a little left in the lunchbox. That’s how Kurt Cobain did it, didn’t he? I think I could pull it off. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can do it.

Adam was now pretty confident that there would be no more dealing with the guilt. No more memories, no more drinking, no more temptation to jump head first into hard drugs, and no more living of the joyless lifestyle that he knew he deserved. As good as it might feel to just give up and indulge in crack-cocaine or heroin, which did feel really, really good to do, Adam knew that to destroy himself using those drugs would still bring too much pleasure in the process. No, he thought, better to just take myself out quickly and be done with it.

And he would not only end his life; he’d end it on a high note. His last significant act on Earth would be a daring and ingenius attack against an evil system of double standards, back room deals, and outright falsehoods that caused untold amounts of injustice and misery. Although such an undertaking would not atone for his deadly mistake, it was the most he could hope to do, given what he had to work with, he thought.

For the first time in recent memory, Adam smiled a genuine smile despite his tears. He wasn’t into religion much and hadn’t been to church since he was a kid, but he was now pretty confident that his last deed on earth would be a good one and that his raggedy old eternal soul would be earning a spot in Purgatory, perhaps even with a chance at parole.

He then opened the basement door and walked a few steps down. He looked to see Eugene Sullivan still sitting obediently in his chair. Adam again shouted, “Think about why you’re here, Gene!” He added the ‘Gene’ at the end in an attempt to shut down the self-reflection the line had been causing him to engage in. No more time for self-reflection; he had to continue the mission, and the crying and head banging were not conducive to mission accomplishment. Adam, now fully functional again, remembered he’d left the AK pistol down in the basement.

Shit! The AK pistol’s still down there and Sullivan’s untied!

Adam raced down the stairs to find Sullivan had gotten up from his chair and was pacing around. The two made eye contact, and Sullivan stopped. Adam could see that Sullivan had been walking past where the AK pistol was laying. He’d obviously seen it. And it was also obvious, to both Adam and Sullivan, that he must have been thinking about picking it up while Adam was upstairs banging his head on the counter. And, as they stood there looking at each other, it was now pretty plain to see that Sullivan had just had his chance to escape but that he’d balked at doing so. Adam knew it. Sullivan knew it. And with Sullivan’s brain still amped on the acid, Sullivan also knew that Adam knew that he knew that they both knew everything they needed to know about Sullivan’s bravery and killing instincts. And, for that matter, they both also knew that Sullivan was not of the character to put up any resistance whatsoever to their blackmailing scheme or whatever else they wanted to throw at him. He was theirs, and it was now plain as day that he was theirs.

Sullivan felt a new but now-familiar rush of embarrassment. There was nothing he could say, and Adam didn’t need to say anything either. Adam simply walked a few steps, picked up the AK pistol, flipped the safety off and pulled back the charging handle a little to make sure there was still a round in the chamber. He didn’t even have to bother checking the magazine. He slung the gun back on his body and thought to himself, “OK, what do I do next?”

As he thought about the longer term stuff, he had to act in the immediate term, so he said to Sullivan, “Sit!” and pointed at he chair. Sullivan, his head still down in shame, did as he was told.

Adam continued to think to himself as to what to do next. He had already communicated most of The Plan’s desired end state and blackmail execution details to Ed and Jason, but, Adam knew that, as things presently stood, he would most likely be doing most of the communication with Sullivan once he was released to go back and do his politician duties. But he wasn’t going to kid himself into believing that he absolutely had to stay alive and live to a ripe old age just so he could keep blackmailing Sullivan the whole time. Ed and Jason were both perfectly capable of that. In conducting and rehearsing for The Plan they’d had just about as much on-the-job training in discreet communications as Adam had received in Army intel school.  Ed had the stash of one-time-use “disposable” cell phones anyway. And both of them were trained in the use of the Tor browser and other online anonymizing programs, and they had the passwords and addresses to access the email accounts that would be used. They needed the redundancy and cross-training anyway; they had planned around a worst case scenario under which two of the three were caught or captured.

Adam knew Jason would be arriving at he safehouse soon to swap vehicles and move into the final phase of the mission, which would be the transporting of Sullivan’s release. After his release, The Plan called for the three to go their separate ways in their own vehicles, squaring away their loose ends and shallow cover stories on an individual basis. It also called for them to lay low, very low, for at least a week before even meeting again.

For several reasons, Adam now figured he needed to write a suicide note and do it quickly. Jason and Ed needed to know that he’d be dead by his own hand. This was both for the sake of The Plan’s success, but, Adam thought, his handing of the suicide note to Jason would help him to cement his decision, making it harder to back out if he lost his nerve.

Adam found some paper and a pen without too much difficulty, but he still needed to find a surface he could write on that was hard enough so that an imprint of the writing would not be left on it. The last dying message from an underground insurgent leader to his compatriots would be something of the highest secrecy level. He couldn’t find an ideal surface in the basement, and he didn’t want to leave Sullivan alone again, so he settled for the concrete floor.

He left out names and specifics, addressing it, “To my fellow S.O.L.’ers.” The term S-O-L had been the working title for their small group, whose only real and permanent members were Adam Warren, Ed Hawkins, and Jason Parker. The acronym stood for ‘Sons Of Liberty,’ but, as they also knew, it stood for ‘Shit Out of Luck,’ as well. Obviously, the first meaning was a throwback to the original patriot-criminal organizations that had had a hand in various acts of vandalism and violence at the nation’s founding. The second meaning had been the “go-word” used as part of The Plan in the initial takedown of their target, but it also meant to them that what they were doing was only as a last resort, once the chips were down.  They understood that they were shit out of luck when it came to the state of the rule of law in their county, their state, and, to some extent, their country, and therefore, the last resort option of anti-state violence was the only option left unless they wanted to continue living under the arbitrary rule of man as opposed to the rule of law. And, as Americans, they saw the rule of law as their birthright, and, as Adam and Jason had pointed out, even if they weren’t entitled to the rule of law by birth, they had certainly earned the right to live under it by virtue of their wartime service. After all, what was it that they had fought in the name of? A piece of land and a three-colored flag? A nation that claims to be just and free but allows for all manner of crimes to be perpetrated so long as the perps are well-connected or wear uniforms and badges?

Adam continued on his note:

You guys will have to continue the mission without me. We will not be able to meet again….”

2:30 PM

Jason was taking the round about way from Independence to the primary safehouse in Carrolton, staying as far as he practically could from the route they’d taken that morning with Sullivan. He took the interstate east, past Concordia, and then turned north on a smaller highway going through the town of Marshall. He would soon be crossing the Missouri River on hwy 41, thereby avoiding just about all of the roads the crew had taken thus far. And, in a clean vehicle, his only worry would be getting pulled over and asked why he was driving Adam Warren’s car. But even if that happened it would just be a minor complication. It wasn’t as if the car had been reported stolen, and cops didn’t usually spend too much time nitpicking stories about borrowed cars unless one were acting “suspicious” or if there were other circumstances to make the story seem suspicious. Like most people, cops generally don’t like wasting time.

3:15 PM

Andrew Sullivan, like everyone else in 6th period classes at Lafayette County High School, was ready for the bell to ring. When it did, he was one of the first out the door. As he walked through the halls toward the back of the building, he pulled out his cell phone to take a quick look. He saw that his mom had called, so he called her back.

She answered, “Hello.”

“Hey, mom, it’s me.” Andy said.

“Yeah, hey, I wanted to see if maybe you had talked to your dad, if he was gonna pick you up from practice.”

“Uh, no. He didn’t call me.”

“OK. Well, I had wanted to see if he was going to pick you up from practice or if I needed to this time. I’ll try calling him one more time.”

They hung up, and Andy made his way back into the building, walking somewhat against the flow of foot traffic. He came to his locker, where he opened it and retrieved his football helmet and shoulder padding for practice. As a Junior Varsity football player, he didn’t yet rate a separate locker at the gym for his equipment. But he was doing pretty good on the team so far this season, and he looked forward to making Varsity next year and not having to carry his stuff from one building to another. He also looked forward to turning 16 and getting a car so that he would no longer have to suffer the indignity of getting picked up or dropped off by his parents. And, from his conversations about the topic he’d had with his dad, the car thing was also looking pretty likely next year.

Rachel Sullivan called Eugene’s cell number one more time only to again get no answer. Still no answer or call back after three calls; this isn’t like him, she thoughtShe then decided to go ahead and try his work number, as two missed calls was established justification to do so, let alone three. She dialed Sullivan’s work number and got Erin, his secretary.

“Prosecuting Attorney’s office.” Erin said.

“Yes, is this Erin?” Rachel asked.


“Hey, Erin, this is Rachel, Eugene’s wife.”

“Oh, hello, Rachel; how is Eugene? He sounded pretty bad from that message he left.”

“What? Huh? I’ve been trying to call him on his cell. What are you talking about?” Rachel asked.

“He left a message saying he wasn’t going to be in, that he was sick. He sounded bad; he really did.” Erin said.

There was a long pause as they both simultaneously realized that Eugene Sullivan had told a lie that morning, and a pretty big one at that. Rachel was the first to speak, saying simply, “Well,……O.K.,……I see…….Thank you. Good bye.”

From a friend via email (reposted in its entirety):






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