Chapter Three: Og
The obese, balding little man frowned deeply. After spraying both the mouthpiece and the earpiece of his phone with Lysol—even though it was his phone in his private at-home office that no one else ever used—he squirted some alcohol on his hands and rubbed them together to kill any germs he wasn’t aware of. Then he sank back into his throne-like executive chair, staring across the vast expanse of the desk, made for him from the thick trunk of a sequoia tree. With as much money and power as he had, there were ways of getting a sequoia chopped down—ways, actually, of doing whatever the hell he wanted, and screw what anyone else thought. It was unnecessary for the über-rich to follow any preconceived rules. Rules were made for ordinary people—not for him.
Little people. Poor people.
Unimportant people, like Douglas, who was useful enough, in a limited way. But in the great scheme of things he was an unimportant man as disposable as a used Kleenex or an empty milk carton.
Was Douglas feeling pangs of conscience? That was arrogant on his part, and troubling to Og. If he began to think and reason and question, he would become an instant liability.
Og knew how to deal with liabilities. But Douglas, with his specific Vietnam War experience, was an effective field operative—and the best and most consistent of all the Brownstone Group agents. Og would hate to lose him.
He reached across his desk for a different telephone, dialed the number 3, and waited impatiently through two rings. Had he arisen from his desk and walked across the large room to the huge bank of windows on the far side, he could have seen the building he was calling, more than a hundred yards away. But at 367 pounds—he weighed himself carefully every morning after emptying his bowels and bladder so he knew his poundage exactly—even a short trip across the carpet was problematic.
“Good evening, sir.” The voice on the other end was brisk and professional, but Og heard the underlying nervousness in the tone. It made him smile. Nearly everyone he spoke to got nervous.
“Operative Number 719,” Og said without greeting or preamble. “I assume we have a read on his whereabouts.”
He heard the man move around, checking his monitoring equipment. “Yes sir, the tracking is operative. He’s in Indianapolis—as far as we can tell, in his own apartment.”
“I want to know every place he goes—to the grocery store, to the movies, to a basketball game. Everywhere. You’ll keep a detailed log.”
“Very good, sir.”
“And if 719 leaves Indianapolis for any reason, I want to be informed as to where he does go—immediately, day or night.”
“We’ll stay right on top of it, sir.”
“See that you do.”
Og broke the connection. Being brusque was deliberate—he wanted the sergeant in charge of his security detail to understand the importance of his request.
Besides, the sergeant worked for him. He didn’t have to be nice to him; his paycheck was the nice part. Og took a sip from the bottle of spring water atop his desk and sighed. It was late—past midnight, He should retire for the evening.
Even though his imminent trip across the hall to his bedroom would bring with it a certain amount of pleasure—less pleasure than in his younger and more vigorous days, sad to say—he mumbled bitterly as he heaved his bulk from the huge chair and left his office with all the lights burning. Someone would come around and turn them off for him.
But his forehead, as he put his hand on the doorknob to his bedroom, was creased with concern. He didn’t like how his conversation with Douglas played out. He didn’t like it at all.
Douglas would have to be monitored. Carefully.