Sunday, September 8, 2019

Spy book excerpt: A Very Stable Genius Plot by John Barron


by John Barron*

*($34.95, coming soon from Schlox Books)

Editors' Note:  In addition to its incisive reporting and commentary, the Spy tries to keep up with the best of contemporary fiction.  There's a lot of it around these days, but among the most exciting tales we've heard recently is this excerpt from the forthcoming thriller, A Very Stable Genius Plot, by John Barron.

[As our story opens, The Very Stable Genius President has saved Alabama from a terrible catastrophe by unleashing a Category 6 Twitter Storm.  But the calm doesn't last long as developments in the strife-torn Middle East threaten the very existence of the illusion of The Very Stable Genius]

Chapter Five

The Washington sun gleamed through the windows of the office of the CIA Director, Helga Torment.  She sat at her polished cherry-veneer desk reviewing her morning briefing on her Agency's top-secret GMAIL information management system.  Thanks to the cutting edge technology deployed by the CIA, all the latest intelligence was displayed in summary form on a giant screen on her desk, known to Agency insiders as a “monitor.”

The CIA Director was eager to meet
with her ace agent
Director Torment bit her lip.  She played with the bronzed enema bag on her desk – a souvenir from her days fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.  The news from Alabama was good – they had been spared a terrible hurricane thanks to the wisdom and leadership of the Very Stable Genius.  But the wily Iranians were now threatening to plunge the world into a nightmare of nuclear war.  Step one: sell their oil to someone.  Step two: use the money to buy food and medicine for their people.  Step three: the nightmare of nuclear war.

They had to be stopped, and Director Torment knew just the man for the job.  She pressed the buzzer under her desk.  At once, nine heavily armed SWAT troops invaded her office and sprayed it with automatic weapons fire from their highly customized AR-15 weapons, bought covertly at an arms bazaar in Annandale, Virginia.

“At ease, men,” said the director, silently cursing herself for not remembering that the buzzer on the desk summoned her assistant, while the buzzer under the desk summoned the anti-hostage strike force.

The burly chisel-jawed leader of the squad, Sgt. Fury, said “No problem, ma'am.  We'll send in Martina.”

An instant later, Martina, a tall statuesque redhead with a slight Eastern European accent, walked in the office.  Director Torment had hired her on the personal recommendation of the Very Stable Genius and she did not disappoint.  From the look in Sgt. Fury's eye, she had not disappointed him either.

“Vat you want?” Martina asked crisply, like the consummate professional she was.

“Get me Jack Ryan.”

Chapter Six

Night had fallen by the time that Captain Jack Ryan USN, ace intelligence operative, had been brought to CIA headquarters via the sensitive VIP transport program code-named UBER.  Although Ryan had been on duty since the 1980's, he still looked not a day over 35, or perhaps 40 depending on which has-been was playing him.

Dressed in an immaculate navy-blue Men's Warehouse suit and polished cordovan wingtips, he looked every inch the veteran Washington hand that he was.  On his wrist he wore the advanced timekeeping system issued to every senior intelligence officer, known as CASIO.

“It's good to see you Jack,” said Director Torment, rising from behind her desk to grasp his hand and stroke his manly cheek.

“It's good to see you too, Madame Director,“ he replied like the disciplined Naval officer that he was.

“Please call me Helga,” she said, ushering Jack to a luxurious black Naugahyde sofa against the far wall.  She sat next to him, stroking his dark hair, clipped short. “Perhaps you're wondering why I called you here so suddenly.”

Jack smiled, in an extremely masculine yet oddly compelling way.  “You need my help?”  It was more than a guess.  On his way to the meeting, Jack had absorbed a vast range of background material covering all aspects of US national security as well as the traffic on the Outer Beltway, thanks to his confidential source known only as WTOP.

“An Iranian-flagged vessel is planning to ship fuel to Syria in violation of UN sanctions.  They have to be stopped,” said Director Torment.

A violation of UN security council resolutions?  Jack knew that letting the Iranians defy UN sanctions could lead to the unraveling of the entire system of international law.  The effects on global peace could be incalculable, he calculated.

With the lightening-quick thinking for which he was famous, Jack said: “Here's my plan.  We set up an untraceable cutout in the Cayman Islands and hire an agent to represent it.  The agent would offer the captain a million dollars to steer the vessel to a friendly port.  No one would even know we were involved.”

The Director picked up her direct line to UBER and entered in the top secret coordinates for their emergency trip: the White House.

Chapter Seven

Sanjay, the trained UBER operative specially selected for this mission, showed how he earned his five-star rating and only two hours after leaving Langley, Jack and the Director were dropped off outside the Secret Service post on West Executive Avenue.  The uniformed heavily-armed agent picked up his phone to clear the two senior agents into the West Wing.

The crack White House security team was hard at work, but Jack could only hear the agent's side of the call.  “CIA Director Helga Torment and her escort,” said the guard.  He paused. “The CIA.  The Central Intelligence Agency,” he explained with the attention to detail for which the Secret Service was famous.  After another pause, the guard said, “No I haven't seen the KFC shipment.  Yes I'll send it in as soon as it arrives.”  Turning to the two CIA operatives the agent handed them their temporary ID badges on lavalieres and said, “Go right in.” Jack noticed that both ID's, to protect operational security, were marked MCLOVIN.  The Secret Service never misses a trick, Jack thought.

Inside the Oval Office, the Very Stable Genius sat behind his desk dipping McNuggets into top-secret sauces.  Also in the famed chamber, which was shaped like an oval, was the burly Secretary of State, who stood next to the President opening the sauce packets, and a group of interns.

Jack quickly outlined the plan to the group.  Displaying his extraordinarily high IQ, the Very Stable Genius cut to the heart of the matter: “This guy looks like the asshole who plays me on Saturday Night.  Tell him to fuck off.”

The President decided on Intern Brian's plan
The Secretary of State put down the barbecue sauce packet and turned to the intern who was opening a fresh Diet Coke for the President.  “Brian has an idea,” said the Secretary in his down-home Kansas twang.

The intern, smoothly pouring the soda over the top of the glass and onto the rug, said, “I can send the captain an email offering him the million and telling him we'll hunt down his relatives in the United States if he doesn't play ball.”

All eyes fixed on the Very Stable Genius.  He popped another McNugget into his mouth and said, “I love it.”

“I love it,” said the Secretary of State.

“I love it,” said Director Torment.

Suddenly a hidden door opened.  In walked the Vice President.  No eyes turned toward him.

[If you want to know the thrilling conclusion, you'll just have to buy the book – Ed.]

No comments:

Post a Comment