The story below is fiction. It may also contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive or are too young, please exit now.

The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced, except for personal use, or posted to another website without the express permission of the author. Copyright May, 2004 by John Tucker

Dedication: To my readers for whom all my work is dedicated.

If you’d like to comment or say hi, my e-mail address is John Tucker


Chapter Forty-One

Tuesday morning, Ron’s office

“Come in Wes,” Ron said greeting the head of their Las Vegas office of Aztec-Turner securing. “Coffee?”

“Sure, I’ll get it,” Wes replied. “One for you?”

“Thanks!  Just dump in a little cream from the refrigerator, please.”

Wes grabbed the cup from Ron’s desk, and a moment later returned with the two steaming ones.

“What’s the latest on Tyler’s trip to Atlanta?” Wes asked.

“He called in the middle of the friggin’ night last night to tell me it looks like a ‘go’,” Ron answered. “I’m very pleased, and I know he’s excited. I sent the whiz kids and Will Nuggent there this morning to lend a hand in the negotiations and the financial review.”

“That’s great!” Wes said, obviously pleased. “Have you heard from Dan in Houston?”

“Yes.  He called this morning and we chatted for a moment. Jerry is being admitted today and they’re going to start chemo right away. He spent some time talking to Mr. Peterson too. Seems we’ll be providing some charity funds to another patient and some discretionary funding to M.D. Anderson now too. It’s fine with me. Our profits on the charity investments are really growing fast. Matt is spending quite a bit of time now with Mr. Peterson too since Peterson will be retiring fairly soon.”

“It sounds like good things are happening,” Wes commented. “I wish things were going as well in our investigation and security arrangements for the Senator and Christine.”

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“First, we’re starting to get mixed signals; the more we investigate the more confusing it becomes.”

“Give me a ‘for instance’,” Ron requested, leaning forward in rapt attention.

“You remember that our investigations indicated that the Senator had hired some assassins and bomb experts into the Valley?”

“Yes, it’s not something I’m likely to forget,” Ron responded.

“Well, there are some things that just don’t jibe. First of all these guys are expensive. We’ve watched all the Senator’s assets, and there is not much money or property that he can turn into cash, and what he does have has not moved except for some legal and living expenses. It doesn’t add up.”

“How did you get the information?” Ron asked.

“You don’t want to know,” replied Wes.

“Ok, I can live with that.”

“Another thing, we’ve watched these guys like hawks, and they’ve done nothing in any way suspicious. I know that they try to blend in, and be inconspicuous, but they’re being ridiculous. They have spent most of their time in gambling and entertainment. You’d think they were on vacations. Even our ‘bugs’ in their rooms haven’t revealed anything even remotely clandestine. I’m beginning to think that they’re a diversion, and it worries the hell out of me.”

The phone on Ron’s desk rang. Ron picked up the receiver.

“Yes Margaret?”

After a short pause, he answered, “I’m rather busy right now, but if you’ll tell him to hold on for a minute, I’ll chat with him.”

Ron hung up the receiver.

“Sorry,” Ron said to Wes, “Could you excuse me a minute? Ronnie is on the line. I’ll keep it short, because I’d like to discuss this more with you. Get another couple of cups if you don’t mind.”

“Sure Ron. Take your time.

                                    *                      *                      *

An hour earlier, Ron and Matt’s estate

Ronnie pushed away from the breakfast table. He was not used to the selection and quantity of food that Mary always prepared. He would not be starting school until next week so he would be more recovered from the injuries from his beating. He began thinking of what he’d do to occupy himself for the day. There was plenty to do, but it was all recreation and fun. He felt obligated to do some work to pay for his keep. He began thinking of ways he could help when he remembered his concern about the large house sliding down the hill.

“Mary,” he said as she entered the breakfast area and began clearing the dishes and remaining food. “I’m gonna go outside for awhile.”

“Ok Ronnie. Have a good time. It’s starting to warm up, so if you’re going to be out too long make sure you put on some sun-block.”

“I won’t be gone long,” Ronnie replied. “I just want to look around and explore near the house.”

He stood and went to his room to put on his old shoes that were already beat up, and wouldn’t be ruined by climbing around. After changing shoes and putting some sun block on his arms, legs and face, he stepped out on his bedroom balcony and walked around the structure to an outside stairway.

Knowing that there was nothing to look at on the ground level area near the pool he began to circle around the structure, as the ground became “native” and the slopes became steep along the sides of the house. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but decided to look for cracks in the walls or movement of the earth where the walls disappeared into the ground indicating that the house was moving.

Being careful of his footing, he circled the structure, carefully examining the walls and overhanging balconies. He then went back upstairs on the balconies and examined the overhangs of the balconies above. Scratching his head he went back to the ground floor and went over to look at something he’d noticed and stuck his finger in some gray material that had some wires and what looked like an alarm clock attached. Shaking his head he returned inside.

“Find what you were looking for?” Mary asked as he entered the kitchen to get a container of Gatorade.

“This is a funny house,” he replied. “There’s all kind of stuff out there that I don’t understand.”

“I sure don’t know anything about houses,” Mary commented. “I’ll bet that Ron could tell you about it. You could ask him tonight or better yet, call him at the office. His phone number is on the desk in the study. I’m sure he’d like to talk to you since he and Matt left before you got up this morning, and he also built the house, so he should be able to answer your questions.”

“Thanks Mary, I’ll call him right away.”

                                                *                      *                      *

At the same time, Christine Roger’s house

Christine was fuming. The newspaper was strewn on the breakfast table and the TV was on. She had expected to be reading about the destruction of Ron Turner’s house and yet the media was silent. She paced back and forth ranting at her brother who was sitting at the table flicking the remote control of the small TV, checking the latest newscasts.

“I’ll kill that son-of-a bitch,” Christine raged. “If he’s fucked this up, he’s a dead man!”

Just then the phone rang. Christine snatched the nearby kitchen receiver off the wall.

“Yes?” She answered abruptly.

Recognizing the caller she shouted, “What the fuck happened? It was supposed to be over by now.”

She listened to the reply, at first with an expression bordering on hysterics, then after a moment began to calm down.

“Ok,” she said. “We’ll just have to wait a day, but it better work or your ass is grass,” she threatened. She slammed down the receiver.

“What happened?” her cousin Tracy asked.

“Rotten fuckin’ luck, that’s what,” She answered. “He cased the fuckin’ house for a week and spotted a slight gap in their security in the evening and again before dawn when they changed security people. That’s when he was going in and getting out. Night before last, when he was supposed to plant the explosives, the fucking evening guard was on his cell phone when it was time to leave, and he stuck around and was still standing there when his replacement arrived. He had to move the operation a day later than planned.”

“Why didn’t he call yesterday?” Tracy inquired.

“I told the son-of-a-bitch to never call here,” she replied, “but he knew that if the blast didn’t occur, there would be no money at the drop-off, so decided to call and tell me about the change in plan. I’m pissed about that, but I think we were careful enough that no one would suspect anything if they overheard the conversation.”

“Damn!  I guess we have no choice but to wait another day,” a disappointed Tracy said.

“Yeah. But the SOB better come through!” Christine said threateningly.

                                    *                      *                      *

Ron Turner’s office

Ron picked back up the receiver.

“Hi Ronnie,” he said cheerfully. “What are you up to this morning?”

“I just got up about an hour ago, Mrs. Dorothy made me take a shower again when I got up. I don’t know why. I wasn’t dirty, just hungry.”

Ron laughed, saying, “Well, a little water won’t hurt you. Did you eat a good breakfast?” Ron asked, then thought, ‘That’s the stupid question of the day!’

“Sure, Mary made me hotcakes and sausages and scrambled eggs with toast and jelly.”

“Sounds good,” Ron commented. “What are you doing today?”

“After breakfast I decided to do my checking to see if the house was sliding down the hill.”

Ron laughed but only to himself, as to not hurt Ronnie’s feelings..

“That’s why I called.”

“Is it sliding?” Ron asked with sudden seriousness.

“Not that I could tell. It’s just that I don’t know anything about building houses, and I had a question.”

“Ask away,” Ron said smiling with relief.

“What are those things that have the little clocks and wires sticking out and the wires going into the gray silly putty stuff.”

“What? Ask me again slowly,” Ron commanded as he pushed a button to turn on the speakerphone and pointed to the speaker so that Wes would listen.

“There are a bunch of little clock thingies with wires sticking out and then into some gray putty stuff.”

“Where did you find them?” Ron asked with alarm.

“There are some of  ‘em under the balconies and on that big cement wall in the front of the house. Some of ‘em are behind bushes and in corners. They’re kinda hard to see if you’re not lookin’.”

“Get them out!” Wes ordered in a stage whisper.

“Let me talk to Mary, Dorothy or Parker,” Ron commanded gently to cover his alarm.

“Well, what are those things?” Ronnie asked again.

“Get one of them now! I’ll tell you later about those things,” Ron said, his voice rising both in volume and pitch.

“Ok, ok! Sorry I asked,” Ronnie said, his feelings obviously hurt.

“No, son. You’ve done well and I’m glad you called. Something has just come up that I need to talk to one of the adults there quickly. Would you get one of them for me please?”

“Ok,” Ronnie said still somewhat dejectedly as he put down the phone.

Running out of the room he ran into Parker who was walking down the hallway outside the study.

“Mr. Parker,” Ronnie said as he skidded to a stop, “Mr. Ron wants to talk to you bad on the phone.” Ronnie turned around and hurried back into the room, pointing at the desk where the receiver lay on its side. Parker picked it up.”

“This is Parker,” he answered.

“Parker?  Ron. Listen carefully! We believe there are explosives planted around the house. I want you to evacuate everyone from all the buildings. Don’t forget to check for the boys in the garage apartment. Take everyone to the security building and wait. We’ll call you there. Don’t panic, but move quickly!”

“Yes sir, immediately sir,” Parker said as he quickly placed the receiver back in its cradle.

“What’s the matter?” Ronnie asked.

“We’ve got to get everyone out of the buildings. You can help. Go to Tyler’s house and make sure there are no cleaning people inside. Here is a key,” Parker said pulling a key off his key ring. “If there is anyone there, tell them to go at once to the security building.

When you get through there go to the security building yourself, and stay there.”

Parker turned and rushed out of the room toward the kitchen. Ronnie followed until he approached the family room, then he went across the room and exited through the French doors onto the pool deck. Running now, he went around the pool and took the concrete walk that wound its way to the guesthouse, which Tyler and Dan called their own until their house was constructed.

Parker rushed into the kitchen and saw Dorothy and Mary busy at work.

“I just spoke with Ron. He believes there are bombs planted around the house!” he said breaking into their conversation. “We’re to leave at once and go to the security building! Who else is in the house?”

“There are two maids upstairs cleaning and another working at Tyler and Dan’s,” Dorothy replied. “I’m not sure if the boys in the garage apartment are here or not. I think Ronnie is in the study.”

“Ronnie is on his way to Tyler’s and will get the maid out of there. Dorothy, start for the security building. Mary get the maids upstairs headed there. I’ll check the garage apartment. Let’s move!”

Parker headed for the door leading to the garage as Mary quickly wiped her hands on a towel and walked to the stairs leading to the upper floors. Dorothy, who could not move fast because of her heart condition, walked at a fairly slow pace toward the doors leading to the pool deck, the most direct route to the security building several hundred yards away. Within 5 minutes, Parker, Ronnie and the two ladies, followed by three maids, were on the path leading to the security building.

                                    *                      *                      *

Ron’s car

“Metro is sending their bomb squad,” Wes reported to Ron who was driving. He closed his cell phone and watched as the large Mercedes wove in and out of traffic while speeding toward Ron’s estate. “Call Matt, and tell him what’s happening, but ask him to stay at the office. When we know whether or not this is just a scare, we’ll call both him and Tyler and let them both know what we find.”

After getting Matt’s office phone number from Ron, Wes punched buttons and waited for the phone to be answered.

“This is Wes Harper,” he said when the phone is answered. “I need to talk to Matt Davidson immediately.”

“I’m the head of Aztec-Turner Security,” he said impatiently to the receptionist. “I’m calling at the direction of Ron Turner!”

After a long minute’s wait, Matt came on the line.

“Matt, this is Wes Harper. We believe there are some explosives planted at your home.

We’re getting the buildings there evacuated and I’m headed there now with Ron. He asked me to call and inform you about what’s going on, and to ask you to remain at the office until he calls you.”

He paused and listened to Matt’s response, then said. “We’ll call as soon as we can. Thanks for your cooperation.”

As he hung up the phone he could see the perimeter walls of the property, and in another minute watched as Ron pulled up in front of the main gate and punched a code into a wireless transmitter hanging on his visor. The gates swung open, and Ron punched three more buttons for the gates stay at their opened position. He stepped on the gas pedal and the car surged forward. Steering the car off the roadway 50 yards from the house, he put the car into ‘park’, set the brake, and switched off the ignition.

“Let’s take a quick look, then get away and wait for Metro,” he suggested.

“Let’s go,” Wes agreed. Both men jumped out of the car and began a quick jog to the main house. As they arrived, Wes pointed to an object underneath the living room’s exterior balcony.

“There!” he shouted.

Ron looked at the house and quickly saw the object brought to his attention. A small box with lighted red numbers was tucked up into the corner of the living room balcony overhang. It was sitting in a gray pile of what appeared to be putty.

“I’m convinced it is a bomb,” Wes quickly assessed. “Let’s get away.” 

Both men turned and ran from the beautiful building toward Ron’s car. When they got closer to the vehicle they slowed their pace.

“Call the security building and see if everyone is there,” Ron directed.

Wes, receiving that number again from Ron, punched in the quoted numbers and after identifying himself, asked the on-duty guard on the other end, “Are all the house occupants there?”

“Yes sir, they’re all here” the guard replied.

“Good, keep them there. No one is to go near the main house. We believe there are bombs planted there. Metro is sending their bomb squad.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?” the officer asked.

“Yes. After instructing the house occupants not to leave until we call them, go to the main gate. We left it open for Metro, but it is unguarded. Do not let anyone in except for Metro people, unless we authorize it.”

“Yes sir,” the guard replied. “I’m on my way.” He hung up the phone.

“Let’s go back to the gate,” Wes suggested. “Metro should be arriving soon.”

“Take the car,” Ron said tossing the keys to his Mercedes to the security man. “I’ll stay here in sight of the house, just to make sure no one wanders near it.”

“Good idea,” Wes agreed, “Don’t get too near though, some of those explosives can be pretty devastating.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Ron said. “I remember too well the explosion of the plane. In fact, I’ll move back some more when you move the car. Matt was about as far away from the plane as we are from the house and look what happened to him.”

Wes jumped into the driver’s seat of the car and backed it to a wide spot in the entrance road where he could turn it around.

10 minutes later Ron heard the sound of sirens approaching the property, and within another three minutes saw the new bomb squad vehicle traveling up the entrance drive. He waved them up and as they stopped, pointed out the area where the device was that he and Wes had spotted. The driver cautioned Ron to stay back, and then drove the armored vehicle to the front of the house. The driver and three other men exited the vehicle, all dressed in protective clothing. As they began their work, Wes drove up in Ron’s car.

“Hop in,” he suggested. “The guard is in place at the front gate, and the search and removal of the bombs may take several hours. Let’s go over to the security building and see how your staff and Ronnie are holding up. The squad captain has my cell number and he promised to give us periodic updates as to their findings and progress.”

Ron got into the passenger side of the silver vehicle, and Wes again backed up and turned the car around.

                                                *                      *                      *

Tuesday afternoon, the offices of Zekendorf Security, Atlanta, Georgia

Tyler, Gary Franklin, the whiz kids and Will Nuggent entered the imposing lobby of the Zekendorf Building, where they were to meet the father and son, owners of the security company. Stepping to the receptionist’s desk, Gary announced their arrival. She quickly picked up a phone, then announced, “If you’ll follow me, please, Mr. Zekendorf is expecting you.” She stood and began to walk down a wide hallway to the executive suites. Arriving at an ornate oak double doorway, she knocked, then opened one of the doors and stepped through.  The men behind her followed, and as Gary entered, she announced, “The Aztec-Turner appointment, sir.”

“Thank you Helen,” Peter said smiling. “He stood and joined his father at the front of the desk, and they both approached the new arrivals.

“Gary, Tyler, it’s good to see you again,” he said smiling.

“It’s good to see you too,” Gary said offering his hand to the two owners.

“My pleasure too, gentlemen,” Tyler added. “These men are Will Nuggent, Executive Vice President of Turner Holdings, and Jeff Davis and Phil Thompson, financial and operations analysts of Turner Consulting. Guys. I’d like you to meet Mr. Emmett Zekendorf, the founder of Zekendorf Security and his son, Peter, who is the President.” Handshakes and greetings were exchanged.

“Lets go to the conference table,” Peter suggested. The men walked to the nearby table and took seats with Gary and Tyler seated directly across from Peter and his father, Emmett.

“My father told me that you have an interest in purchasing our company,” Peter began.

“Yes, we discussed it briefly last night,” Tyler confirmed.

“It is my understanding that the offer is at $100 million.”

“Yes,” Tyler verified. “Of course, that’s subject to the review of your books and operations. There are many details to be discussed, but based on what limited knowledge we have, that is the base offer. We have brought with us Will, Jeff and Phil to begin that work. I am hoping that within a day or two, with your cooperation, we can again meet to discuss our findings and agree on the details.”

“I’ve made our chief accountant aware of the situation as well as our V.P. of operations. They have quickly put together documents for your review. I’m sure that there will be more that you wish to look at, but they’ve been working since early this morning to get prepared. They are authorized to provide you any information you desire, but are not authorized to negotiate the details of the purchase.

“Assuming that we can work out the details, how do you wish to be paid?” Will asked, “Terms or cash?”

“We haven’t really discussed that yet,” Peter admitted. “My offhand thought is either way, at your discretion. Once we have a preliminary purchase agreement signed, we’d like a million dollars in earnest money put into escrow, non-refundable, of course. At the closing of the sale you may either pay cash for the entire amount, or twenty million total at closing, and twenty million a year for the next four years at 8% interest on the remaining balance.”

Emmett nodded his head, confirming his agreement with his son.

“We’ll let you know our preference soon,” Will promised.

“That’s fine,” Peter said smiling. “Now, I’d like to invite you all to dinner at our place this evening, and Tyler and Gary, golf tomorrow at Augusta. I have an 8 AM tee time.”

“I’m afraid Jeff, Phil and I will be tied up tonight working,” Will responded.

“Gary and I will accept though,” Tyler interjected smiling, “for both.”

Peter showed his pleasure. “Dad will you and Mom join us tonight?”

“We will son,” Emmett said. “I hope the invitation for golf tomorrow includes me too.”

“Certainly Dad,” Peter said. After a short pause he continued, “Well, I guess that covers the initial items on our agenda. If you’d follow me, I’ll introduce you to our staff so that you can begin work. We have an empty office that you can use too,” Peter offered.

“That’s very much appreciated,” Will replied. “It will save time.”

Pushing his chair back, Peter stood and headed for the door into the hallway.

                                    *                      *                      *

That same afternoon, M.D. Anderson hospital, Houston Texas.

Dan and Emma sat outside of Jerry’s room, waiting for the doctor to return from once again examining the boy.

“I wonder what’s taking so long?” Emma wondered out loud.

“I’m sure they’re watching him closely during this initial medication,” Dan hypothesized.  “It would be counterproductive if his body reacted negatively to the medication.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Emma agreed. “I’m just an old lady and impatient.”

“This treatment may take quite a while, weeks, perhaps even months,” Dan offered.

“How I hate this,” Emma declared. “It would have been far better if the Lord had taken me instead. I’m all used up and have had a full and good life. I just don’t understand why young people have to suffer so.”

“I wish I had the answer,” Dan admitted. “We can only place our trust in God to place a healing hand on Jerry.”

The door to the room opened, and the doctor stepped into the corridor.

“Mrs. Thorsruud, Mr. Barnes,” the doctor said, “it appears that the patient is accepting the medication without complications. That is a good sign. It will probably take two or three weeks before we get positive results on the medication. At that stage, if the results are good, we hope to be able to give you a better answer on the length of his stay in the hospital.”

“I will be leaving Houston to return to Las Vegas in a couple of days,” Dan replied. “Mrs. Thorsruud has a nearby apartment, and can be easily reached.   Here are our phone numbers. I will also be in contact with you within a few days regarding the contributions we will be making to this facility, perhaps before I leave town.”

“That’s very generous of your foundation,” the doctor replied. “I look forward to hearing from you.”

“Thank you doctor.”

“I need to be getting on with my rounds,” the doctor said, “It was nice meeting you Mr. Barnes, and I’ll be seeing you regularly, Mrs. Thorsruud. Goodbye for now.”

“Goodbye Doctor,” Dan responded.

Turning to the old woman he continued, “Emma, I have some appointments tomorrow here in Houston. My current plans, if there are no complications, are to leave on Thursday. However, those plans can be changed. If you need anything you can always reach me by phone.”

“I’m sure everything will be fine here,” Emma replied. “I’ll call you every couple of days to let you know how Jerry’s doing. Just take care of business, and I’ll keep a watch on my grandson.”

“I’d appreciate that very much,” Dan replied. And I’m sure that Tyler feels the same. Now let’s go in to see that kid that has wormed his way into our hearts.”

                                    *                      *                      *

Tuesday, 10 PM, RET offices, Las Vegas

Mabel removed her master key for the doors at the RET offices, unlocked the front door and entered the building, carefully relocking the door from the inside. She had not been to this job in over two weeks and had felt guilty at neglecting the cleaning supervision of her biggest customer’s office. There were wheeled trash containers in the hallways so she was certain that her staff was here working. She headed down the corridor leading to the executive offices, seeing that it was one of the areas brightly lit. As she approached Ron’s offices she saw a trash container outside the hallway of Margaret’s office, the room that then led to Ron’s. Opening the door, she saw a man dressed in maintenance uniform with his back to the door looking through some files in a file drawer

“What’s goin’ on here?” she said loudly.

The man whirled around in surprise, and grabbing a heavy dusting brush, rushed the older woman whose eyes were wide in shock at being attacked.  The man brought the back of the brush down across the skull of the woman who had begun backing away, but was too late to escape. Mabel fell to the floor unconscious, blood oozing from her skull. The man dropped the brush, stepped over her prostrate body, and entered the hallway. Looking around to be sure he was not observed, he headed for the entrance and his escape.

                                *            *            *            *            *