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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Riddick Malcolm and Maxwell Wales discuss Tom Bubb and the published death of Bill Richardson. Electra is in the mix as well.

Chapter 35 (v.1) - DEAD UNCERTAIN

Submitted: December 31, 2016

Reads: 193

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Submitted: December 31, 2016




A Serial

Nicholas Cochran

 Chapter Thirty-Five


“Goddamnit Max, can’t you control your goddamned brood for Christ’ssake?” Maxwell Wales could feel Riddick Malcolm’s heat speech barreling through the ether into his ear.

“Why doesn’t anyone follow the goddamned hierarchy anymore for Christ’s sake?

Maxwell Wales had heard Riddick in a knickers-twist like this hundreds of times over the years. However, perhaps not quite as twisted as this rendition of Malcolm’s fury.

“We have a goddamned chain of command for Christ’s sake, just for these very moments. First, there was your dumbass son Bart, committing attempted murder. Then Tarquin, sweet little Tarquy and his Junebug, attract damn near the entire special services forces of C.A. R. onto our shores where we simply eliminate them; which I’m sure the leader of that country is so pissed off he’ll probably send whatever he has for Black Ops—even his goddamned air force, and bomb us.”

Max, as he always did when he had Riddick on a tear—venting with vigor—took another larger swallow of his Johnnie Walker Blue and sucked on a Gauloises. 

Several minutes passed while Malcolm delivered another curse-laden diatribe about the importance of the levels of responsibility as well as the fact that it was imperative to let everyone know what all the other hands were doing.

Max broke in. “Okay okay okay, Riddick. Jesus, man, calm down. Everything’s under control. The boss has approved everything in play at the moment. So cool it."

Riddick Malcolm was not used to being so grossly interrupted; and certainly not by a person in a lower echelon than he.

There was a short silence while Malcolm gathered his appropriate words.

“Well well, Max; aren’t we the Little Caesar of the meat packing industry. Well, here’s what, chum. This isn’t some penny-ante Bridge game going on here. This is a worldwide enterprise worth billions. And it needs to be respected and treated as such.

"Some of your goons firing off in all directions without orders or—Jesus Christ—without any plan—or even the sense of a goddamned plan; just wham. Let’s erase everyone we don’t like and hope nobody notices . . . like the police, for example.

"You know, Max, I—and the boss—have just about had it up to here with you and your brainless brood going off in all directions without orders from the boss. So; tell me why you have one of your lads tailing Electra and the Angel?”

This was the one question that Max was not expecting.

“Why the hell not?” His voice was suffused with his own brand of anger.

“Because, you tw . . . you,” sighing heavily, “because you’ve done the one thing that the boss has insisted you never do, and that is to give Electra any hint about the family business,” with softer tones, “Jesus, Max; she’s your daughter for Christ’s sake. Don’t you want her spared all this crap; especially all the nasty stuff that’s suddenly started to rain on our product parade?”

Max acquired the silence of a loving father.

“You know, Max, she seems to be knocked off her feet by Man Mountain Dean. But I hear he’s more than an okay guy. The boss has been vetting him for weeks. Other than his peculiar choice of social group, he comes out clean. He even has a scholastic record that would put most of us to shame. He only passed on the several full college scholarships because his mother was suddenly widowed and without any particular training. So, it’s been the Hulk who has provided the bread, literally. 

"He works two jobs; keeps the accounts for a high end real estate firm in the City, and helps run a small grocery chain with the rest of his hours; such as they are . . . oh yeah, he was offered full football and basketball scholarships to ten—count’ em—ten of the top twenty teams in the country. He’s a good kid. If he had a few degrees on his resume, we’d all be pulling for a successful union of Electra and Tom. We’ve heard some chatter that Tom’s thinking of going to college when he gets his mother some stability. Hell, I’d probably send a few hundred thousand his way, if that’s all that’s standing in his—and Electra’s—way to a perfect relationship." Riddick Malcolm stopped, as he realized that he was becoming Tom Bubb—in all the many good ways that would promote the happiness and welfare of his secret love.

Maxwell Wales knew life. He also knew men. He immediately picked up the role transfer of Riddick Malcolm into the shoes of Tom Bubb.

“Well well well, Riddick; or should I say, lovesick Riddick; you have a thing about my daughter, eh?” He said this in a permissive manner, even a jolly one, such that Malcolm, who was technically his superior in the family business, would not take offence or even read any innuendo into Maxwell’s remarks.

A short silence ensued.

Malcolm spoke first. “Not, really Max; it’s just that I want your daughter to be as happy as I would make her if I were her age—an old man’s protection, that’s all. Anyway, let’s talk about this Bubb guy and what we don’t know about him now that you’ve told me all that we do know.”

Max chuckled.” Your sentiments as well as your concern are duly noted Riddick. Yes, duly noted,” pausing,” and so what don’t we know about Bubb? The boss says we must know everything. I hope I’m not stepping out of line here but I have a very strong bell ringing deep in my gut  and the tone of that ring is not a happy one; know what I mean?”

Malcolm was overjoyed that he and Maxwell finally had something they agreed on in this conversation, even apart from his ‘older-gentleman’s-perspective’ admissions.

“Well, godammit, Max, I do too. What the hell can it be? Is it Richardson? Is the bozo playing us all for fools?

"You know, we all thought that he being a nurse in the same ICU as Richardson and starting his nursing career in addition to two other jobs and beginning his rounds or whatever after Richardson was there. Yeah. I, for one, think this is a load of horseshit supplied by some crafty minds on the other side. Not the least of which is that bastard Houdinski or whatever the hell his name is. He’s apparently some grandmaster of cryptograms and all that shit. We vetted him, too. In fact, I think we know more about this dude than his employers. 

"Christ, he’s a three time world champion at both cryptograms and some other sort of bizarre puzzle or game or whatever. But he’s not some lame Dungeons and Dragons troll; no this guy is the Bobby Fischer of riddles. He has to be the driving force behind all this shit. The dame, Barnes; she’s a really smart cookie all right, but in a different sphere. At the law game, she’s aces. Doc Barnes is the crafty one of the three. Once he has the ammunition, he knows exactly how to mould it to its best character—genius in his way. But this guy Houdinski; I’m positive that he’s the guy that figured all this out; or at least to the extent that they have figured it out to date. Anyway, back to Bubb.”

“Let me pick up Bubb for a  minute, Riddick,” breathed Wales, “the boss has had him triple vetted and I agree; there’s shit. And the thing that you and I are leery about are the coincidences of him being there after Richardson—everything that you outlined. But what it all comes down to is; is Richardsonreally dead? With me?”

“All ears.”

“Well we know Richardson was having a massive heart attack when my idiot boy decided to push. Leaving aside that particularly galling act—as a father, well, now, Richardson was definitely dying of a heart attack. The runner and the EMTs saved his life. But only at that spot. We know they took him to the hospital, but Jesus, so what? They took Carrie Fisher to the hospital and she died at sixty. Richardson is easily much older than that. So, he hits the hospital and they put all hands on deck. 

"From that point on, we’re in the dark. But, there is a death certificate, a cremation certificate, an obituary, a memorial service and a reading of a goddamned will. There is even a certificate from the nursing school. Jesus, this is frustrating. What I’m saying Riddick, or rather asking is: what possible verifiable fact do we have that Richardson is still alive? Christ, a ton of judges, thousands of former juries, every law student, would all say—well, I forgot to add—every psychiatrist as well as every psychologist--would say we are insane. If they could, they’d snap our asses right into Langley –Porter and throw away the key to our straitjackets, right?”

Riddick was prepared. “I agree all up and down the line of your facts, your premises, and your reasons. But I have told the boss this—all of it. I’ve supplied the papers, the certificates; Jesus, Max, I have even—you don’t know this—but I have personally visited the Columbarium and seen his goddamned urn. And it has his name on it. And there are ashes in it. I looked. I wasn’t supposed to and I had to do some fancy maneuvering around the range of the CCTV but  . . .” He spluttered while Max tried to think of anything positive to say; especially after Malcolm’s revelation that he had personally inspected the remains of the remains in the urn of the remains. On site.

With a heavy sigh, “Christ, Riddick. I just don’t know. I just don’t. I can’t think of a goddamned thing we haven’t checked. But the boss wants me to keep at it, whatever the hell that means; at what? There’s no “it” there.”

Max Wales was done—wiped; whacked—on the Richardson subject. However he needed to add, “With the death of Richardson, then Bubb is one of those happy coincidences that you and I don’t enjoy very often. And that his enjoyment is my daughter pisses me off even more; not at him; I like everything about him; just what Ellie needs. I have great hopes for them. The idea that he is fifth column is,” sighing again, “is just something I cant handle at this time. Ellie has done it all: schools, post-grad; the Sorbonne; teaching, working; traveling; it’s just great that she has found something—someone, I should say—that she really cares for. It would break her heart simply because we would have to kill him.”

After a short silence, Malcolm breathed very softly, “Yes, I know.”


End of Chapter Thirty-Five

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.


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