FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
RAPP woke up at five-thirty, looked around his Spartan bedroom and thought of his dog. He supposed most therapists would tell him that was progress, since his deceased wife wasn’t the first thing on his mind. Time really was the great healer. Not that he was healed, but he was at least coping better. Before Anna, he never remembered waking up and feeling alone. He’d never really been that attached to anyone. Now waking up in an empty house, even one that she had never lived in, didn’t feel right. Hence missing Shirley the mutt.
More often than not the border collie mix stayed with the Kennedys where Irene’s son Tommy would take care of her. Rapp paid him at first, but after a while Tommy wouldn’t let him. He’d grown too attached to Shirley and with Rapp’s awkward travel schedule she stayed with Tommy more than she stayed with him. She was a great dog. Smart as hell and very loyal. Rapp wished people were more like
Rapp really wasn’t one to lie around and wallow in his own misery, and he had a lot to do, so he rolled out of bed and hit the floor. The first ten pushups were always slow. He had to get the blood moving through the shoulders first. This morning he had the added thrill of a throbbing skull. The next forty were done at a precise clip. Every time he lowered his chest and hit the bottom, the pain in his left temple peaked and he was reminded of the big Russian who had almost knocked his head off. Rapp smiled, though, because as bad as he felt, the bouncer would be far worse this morning. That was the way of the competitive mind. As long as you came out on top, all pain was manageable.
After the pushups, Rapp flipped over and rattled off a hundred situps and then he was off to the shower. He stood under the hot water barely moving for five minutes, the day’s events cascading through his mind like the water down his back. It was often the clearest five minutes of his day. Oxygenated blood coursing through his brain. Hot water warming his muscles. The sound of the water falling on the tile. No phones, no radios, no TV, no internet, no one around to interrupt his thoughts. It was the perfect way to start any day, and especially this one.
He had stopped by Kennedy’s house on the way home. She wasn’t much of a sleeper, and he knew she’d be waiting to hear about the meeting with their French and British allies. Rapp realized that was probably why he’d woken up with Shirley on his mind. She’d sat next to him while he filled his boss in on the high points and conveyed George Butler’s concerns about his man in Cuba. Kennedy had been in the same spot many times. Countless hours and resources went into recruiting well-placed sources. Once compromised, they were out of the game, never to be used again in a future conflict. Those experiences made her not so willing to share information with agencies that might not treat it with the delicacy it deserved. They agreed to sit on it for a day or two and see if they could come up with a plausible solution. Rapp was already thinking of one, but it was too half-baked to share it with Kennedy. He’d have to let it cook for a while. Then, when he got up to leave, Shirley ran back into Tommy’s room and he remembered standing there for a brief moment feeling jilted. Looking back on it this morning it made him smile. Tommy was a good kid and Shirley was a lucky dog. Now, standing under the hot water, he was trying to punch holes in his own plan. As with anything in his business there were certain risks. The question was, were they worth it? After he’d fleshed it out a bit more he decided to table the idea and get back to it later. He was going to be doing a fair amount of driving today and after he made it through a busy morning he’d have some time later to devote to it. The first item to be checked off, however, was Max Johnson. And if the idiot knew what was good for him, he’d already have filled a notepad with his professional sins.
The rock quarry was situated thirty odd miles west of D.C. Few people knew of its storied history, and for the people who now used it, that was just fine. It was a relic from the Cold War—one of the few places that hadn’t been declassified and leaked to the press, and that was due solely to the fact that it had never been on the books to begin with, and no politician in the last thirty years had been informed of its existence. It also helped that even at the height of the Cold War the place was rarely used. Due to poor planning, the site was at the convergence of two underground streams, which meant that it flooded frequently. Some upgrades had been made in recent years. More sump pumps were installed as well as several dehumidifiers and a backup generator, but even so, the place was like a concrete petri dish. The men who worked there liked to joke that they didn’t have to worry about Congress blowing the whistle on them, it was OSHA who would shut them down for unhealthy working conditions. Fortunately, the men and the women of the clandestine service were used to working in less than ideal situations.
The place was laid out like an old World War II command bunker, with hallways branching out like a network of arteries. Rapp found Coleman napping in one of the bunkrooms and woke him with a firm shake and a cup of coffee. Coleman swung his feet onto the cold floor and took the mug from Rapp. After a few sips he scratched his blond hair and began to fill Rapp in on what had been an interesting night. One of the guys fetched the notepad and handed it to Rapp, while Coleman hit the high points.
Rapp tried to decipher the chicken scratch. “What about bugging Doc’s office?”
Coleman grinned. “I didn’t push him on it. I thought you’d want to save it for the shock value.”
Rapp nodded. He did.
“He noted it, but it’s pretty lame. All he says in there is that he’s done a little consulting for Langley’s inspector general.”
“Is he aware that Adams supposedly left the country?”
“No.” Coleman went on to fill him in on a few more things.
Rapp continued to speed-read his way through the notes. After about ten pages, he looked up at Coleman and said, “He’s been a busy beaver.”
“I’d say so. You gotta hand it to him. He’s pretty good at this surveillance game. My guys tell me his equipment is out of this world. Shit they’ve never seen before.”
Rapp thought about that and filed it away. Maybe the idiot was worth saving. He checked his watch and said, “Anything else before I go in there? I’m on a tight schedule.”
“I went to bed around five, but up until then it was a full-blown pity party. He definitely sees himself as the victim. He’s really upset about being shot. He was in a lot of pain. I think he’d probably crawl out of his own skin for a painkiller right about now.”
“Good. Where are they?”
Coleman walked over to a metal file cabinet, yanked it open with a screech, grabbed the red bottle, and handed it to Rapp. Rapp took the pills and a bottle of water and went down the long hallway to the cells. He punched in the code for the cipher lock on the door and pulled it open. There were two cells on the left and two on the right with heavy steel doors that looked as if they might have been salvaged from a battleship. The place was not permanently wired for audio and sound. The humidity wreaked havoc on the a/v equipment, so Rapp carried his own device. It was only a precaution, in case he missed something and needed to play it back later. More than likely, though, he would trash the recording the second the meeting was over.
Rapp stopped at the first door on the left and pulled back the heavy slide on the peephole. Johnson was sitting back with his bandaged foot on the table. In front of him was another yellow legal pad and a pen. Rapp threw the dead bolt on the door and opened it. Coleman’s guy left without saying a word. Rapp set the bottle of water on the table and shook the container of painkillers back and forth to get Johnson’s attention.
“You ready for another one of these?”
Johnson held out his hand. “Yes.”
Rapp looked at the sweat on his upper lip and said, “In a minute.”
Johnson started to squirm and looked at his foot with deep concern.
“We just have to go over a few things first.”
Johnson moaned and banged his fist on the table. “Come on. Just give me a pill.”
Rapp stared him down and asked, “What do you know about me?”