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The Honey Trap Part 3
Nelson Cartwright’s stance is severe like a steel beam, rigid and unbent even though he is 74. His six foot frame is clad in a cargo pants tucked into paratrooper boots, a white crisp t-shirt is covered by a dark gray fleece. His narrow waist and barrel chest are echoes of his military past. He is the Defence Minister of Canada. The whole of the Canadian Armed Forces is at his command, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Services and all of its assets. Activating one of their deepest agents is the reason he is meeting his boss outside the office, very late at night. Off hours one might say.
Chief Warrant Officer T. Beers Jr. owns the house he waits in, on the outskirts of Ottawa. The man is Cartwright’s nephew. The couple and their two children went for dinner and movies, a night at the Sheraton on Parliament’s expense account. They left four hours ago running late for a 6:30 dinner reservation. The politician stands to the side of the picture window, shaded by the long drapes. The roadway is slick from a brief spring rain. The sodium glow of the streetlights makes it shine like a skin. Cartwright’s bald head gleams in the low light as if just polished. Deep set eyes are impossible to read. A jutted chin proclaims pride of an untainted past. The man he works for demanded an emergency rendezvous at a secure location where there is no possible chance of eavesdropping. The Prime Minister of Canada said he would meet him at 10:45.
Cartwright steps away from the window when an unfamiliar light colored cargo van wheels into the driveway, rocking from haste and inertia. Spray from the wet street swirls about the tires like pinwheels. The skidding of the heavy vehicle when it comes to an abrupt stop can be heard from the open side door of the house, the exit facing the driveway. Cartwright hastens through the living room glancing at his watch. 10:44. It has to be the PM, he is never late. Dropping to the next level with six steps, he moves in long hurried strides along the dim hallway that leads to the garage and egress. The van has stopped right at the short walkway outside the door. The side light has been left off so Cartwright doesn’t recognize the stooped over figure wearing torn jeans and a black hoodie when it opens the screen door. For a moment he is unnerved. Dropping his hands to his side, he steps back, his defenses are instinctive.
The person stands erect and slips off the hood. Robert Mahovlich is good hand taller than Cartwright, slighter. Normally slicked down hair is disheveled from the head covering, the eyes are red veined, the skin frightfully pale. The Prime Minister says,
“I’m sorry Bob. Really I am. I know how much you love him. You’ve done all you can Bob.”
Mahovlich appears utterly defeated, chin sagging, slack lipped. There is no gleam in his eyes, only sorrow. A spark ignites within his deepest psyche instilling him with a need for completion. He raises a fist to his advisor, grits his teeth and says,
“I haven’t done everything. We can destroy the man responsible for this.”
Cartwright takes the PM by the forearm, moving him inside to shut the main door.
“Follow me, we can talk safely here.”
Straightening his shoulders, the PM follows Cartwright into what looks like an open rec room. Toys, a large TV, pool table, stuffed couches, and brightly colored bean bags fill the room. The wall on the right has a simple bar area. Pointing at one of the chrome barstools for Mahovlich, Cartwright walks behind the pine counter to where a bottle of Lagavulin 16 year old scotch rests beside two glasses. When he begins to pour a measure for each he says,
“How did you get here?”
“Hunter is driving”
The hand that is not pouring golden booze is raised. Cartwright says,
“I don’t want to know anymore. Not when it comes to Hunter.”
Sliding the thick bottomed glass holding two inches of perfection towards the PM he says,
“I think I know why we’re here Bob but let’s cut to the chase. What’s going on?”
Mahovlich maintains a bit more grit in his demeanor. The politician is replaced by a father, a parent with a vast array of assets at his disposal. Swishing the liquid a bit, he gulps down a good swallow. The loving bite makes him draw in his breath.
Looking Cartwright directly, he says with obvious distaste,
“What’s the latest on Hoch?”
“We knew where he was up until last Saturday, three days ago. We had our sights on him when he returned from Turkey but lost him…”
The men argue, scheme and barter for over an hour, the bottle half gone. With a thump of his fist on the bar, the PM says with finality,
“I want that bastard behind bars or…or…”
Cartwright knows when to back down. He nods at the PM and says.
Mahovlich reaches for his hood, satisfied that more aggressive action against Hoch will begin. He eyeballs the Defence Minister and says,
“You have absolute authority to do as you see fit to make this happen.”
“And the responsibility if this goes sour.”
The silence is answer enough. Cartwright watches the PM make to leave, the van still running outside. Only one last thing to authorize.
“You want Hunter on this?”
“Vartanian? One armed Vartanian?”
“Definitely. She wants the bastard as bad as I do.”
Hope you enjoyed the short story. I'd be happy to know your thoughts. All comments welcome and thanks for stopping by.
Please visit again on Friday when The Scribbler welcomes Guest Author Michael Smart with an excerpt from his thriller - Deadlight!