Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Warning: If you are easily shocked with regard to contrary
points of view, conspiracy theories, offensive language, political
correctness, sex, or anything else that may offend your
sensibilities or lack of open-mindedness, or if you're a minor
(but by no means limited to the aforementioned), please do
not read this novel. It's not for you...

Note: This is a work of fiction. The events described here are
imaginary: the settings, events and characters are fictitious,
and/or are the product of the author's imagination or used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or locales
or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.

Copyright (C) 2007 By F. Scott Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Scene 24 of "The Walls Have Ears: A Novel of America"

Editor-in-Chief: Lora Cummings

I fidgeted in my office chair, the leather grained seat
felt hard for some reason. As I stared out the window,
I could almost feel the chill of the wind and the wetness
of the rain on my face. Seattle, Washington was a
perpetual rainforest, enveloped by modern man’s
obsession: a concrete jungle.

I sat upright, rather rigid, placing my naked elbows
firmly atop my glass adorned desktop. The strain of
secrecy, deception, manipulation, investigations, etc.
had taken there toll. I was enclosed in a world of my
own making. A soundproof room at that. And for good
reason. Being the Editor-in-Chief of a newly established
newspaper, The Seattle Herald Tribune, was getting on
my nerves. Why...? I kept thinking. Because Big Brother
was everywhere since 9/11 and the establishment of
Homeland Security. Being the new guy on the block, and
trying to outdo the “big boys” at the Seattle Times and
the Post Intelligencer, was no easy task. I was up against
a rock and a hard place.

As my thoughts rambled about, Ralph Donaldson, knocked
on my door, and says, “Someone’s here to see you, Chief.”


“Wouldn’t say...,” Ralph said, shrugging his shoulders.
“Your guess is as good as mine, kid.”

Not wanting to keep the mystery guest waiting, I said,
“Thanks. Let him in...”

“How’d you know it’s a guy?” he asked, perplexed.

“Lucky guess, I suppose.”

“Right.” With a stiff upper lip, Ralph turns around and
walks back to the lobby.

I couldn’t think for the life of me who’d want to see me
without an appointment. So, with as much alacrity and
paranoia as I could muster, I pulled the shades so the Feds
couldn’t see who I was talking to, or read our lips. Their
listening devices couldn’t penetrate my office, and I have
the office swept for electronic bugs twice a day. Who did I
have to thank for all this security shit? My paranoid husband:
a retired CIA analyst.

“Lora, I’d like you to meet—,” Ralph said, prompting
the mystery guest to fill-in the missing blank with an
outstretched hand, and a pregnant pause.

“Mr...?” I asked with a arched brow.

“Rick Olson’s, my name... A friend of your father’s.”

The remark jolted me, in more ways than one. I hadn’t
seen my dad in years. Ever since the divorce, my mother
had tainted his name, destroying any relationship we might
have been able to salvage and nurture. All I could say
was, “Really?”

He nodded his head, and says, “I’m a private detective
who’s known your father in good times and bad.”

“So. How is Jake...? I surely haven’t seen much of him,”
I said with a sore throat, and a distinct tightness in the belly.

“I know about the divorce.”

“And the estrangement?”

Again, Rick Olson nodded affirmatively, and countered
by saying, “He told me everything in his own way over time.
But I know you still love him dearly, even though you haven’t
been in touch with him in quite awhile.”

This time, I nodded slowly, trying to avoid eye contact.

He glanced at me, trying to make eye contact, and says,
“And to answer your initial question, your father has been

I shot forward in the chair, my elbows resting wobbly on
the desk, as I shouted, “What...?! What the hell are you
trying to say?”

“Just what I said: He’s been kidnapped by yours truly.”

“You’ve kidnapped him?”

“Not exactly. Uncle Sam has, I’m afraid.”

Our eyes locked onto one another like a missile tracking
a bogey.

“Homeland Security?”

“The FBI to be precise,” Rick replied, looking around
the room as though he was taking inventory. Seeing lots
of books and electronic monitoring equipment sitting on
shelves against the walls, drew his attentive eye.

As his eyes roamed back in my direction, I responded,
“I can’t believe this is happening...”

“What did this soundproof room and its security suite
cost you?”

Still baffled, I said, “Plenty. But that doesn’t answer my

Leaning forward in his chair, Rick Olson says, “Nobody
knows for sure. I was contacted by his landlord last week,
and she doesn’t know why either. But there’s one thing
we do know...”

“And what’s that?”

“You’ll never ever have a chance to reconcile your
relationship with your father if you don’t help me free him.”

Feeling a sense of despair and depression grip my emotional
being, I was taken aback. “You must have mistaken me for
someone who gives a shit...!”

Rick rolled his eyes, and says, “Tis the time to make
amends, my dear. He’s your biological father, as I heard
your mom refers to him. And if that is all he means to you,
then I’m wasting my time, and yours.”

“Wait a minute. I know my mom has made snide remarks
over the years, and they’ve certainly influenced my thinking.”

“Jake Jacobs is a decent guy. This I know... He doesn’t
deserve the raw deal your mother has cast around him,
blurring the great qualities he possesses. And you’re a
reporter, and if you have any common sense buried inside
you, you’ll understand that: or at least, you should. It’s
time to grow up and think for yourself. Jake has avoided
contact with you because he can’t stand the derisive
remarks you make about him that are nothing more
than verbatim caustic remarks straight out of your mother’s
lips. True or not true?” he asked, with his hands politely
folded on the edge of my desk.

Stung by the implications, I retorted, “That’s your
interpretation, not mine.”

“Don’t want to answer the question? Fine. It’s been
nice chatting with you. I can let myself outside. Here’s my
business card. If you have a change of heart, give me a call.”

The private detective raised his jet lagged body frame
from the overstuffed chair, and didn’t say another word.

Nor did I... I just flipped his business card around my
fingers nervously, then tossed it into my desk drawer and
stared at the velvet wallpaper, emotionally drained. But
there’s one thing I know in my heart, Rick Olson’s assessment
was spot on.

My mother has contaminated in a sordid way, my
perceptions of my father. If he dies in captivity, I will be
the cause of his death. And to my dad’s favor, he’s always
said that he would never ever say anything derogatory
about my mother. He would rather not see me than be
tempted to do so. He’s always maintained that he’d never
do anything that would hurt my mother’s and my relationship.
Having a clear conscience in that regard was the only thing
that mattered. ‘Do no harm, and no harm shall return to
you.’ That’s what he’s always said to me. And meant every
word of it.

I pushed back the tears, wiped my nose, opened the
shades...and thought, hard.

I was about to make a life or death decision... Oh, my God:
I thought.


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