El of a Thing
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2010 by Ol'Mac

FRIDAY 8:00 A. M. Federal Building, Chicago, IL

Alan Simons hated surprises. Perhaps this was because of the twenty nine years he had spent working his way up the FBI chain of command, the last nine of which he'd been in charge of his own division. Then again, it could have just been his nature. In his capacity as the FBI Bureau Chief, Chicago Division, he had just been handed a whopper.

The Maldanado Family was jumping ship ... and only one whisper of this ongoing event had been breathed. Alan should know, as he'd had his best analysts go back over the last thirty six hours of all Intel sources. Everything, from wiretaps to street snitch rumors, had been run through the analyses meat grinders, by no less than four double blind teams. Every one of the them had come up empty.

The only hint of what was happening at the street level, was a report submitted by deep cover three. This agent had been placed on the borders of the Maldanado organization in the role of a Wise Guy. His report stated that the entire Family was in the process of pulling up stakes ... and scattering to the four corners of the globe. Then the report degenerated into an out and out Fairytale.

'Magicians? Dragons? What in the name of Heaven was going on? If only we really had an X-File division. It would sure come in handy about now, ' Simon's sour thoughts ran.

Simons finally decided that he would put Agents Collins and Altman on this. They had partnered for five years now ... and consistently came back with the goods where all others failed. Keying his intercom, he set in motion this sea change in their lives.

Dan Collins and Lisa Altman were at that moment, playing The Yuppie Couple. The operation they were involved with demanded direct street level surveillance ... and they were the best in the business at this role. From one shop window to the next they strolled, never breaking character and all the while keeping their quarry in sight. At exactly 8:13 both agents earpieces gave tone. The message to return to 'Mobile Base One' followed ... and caused both to almost break character. But, they were both professionals and the brief sub-vocal "Acknowledged," from Collins, was the only glitch in their performance.

Entering the Con-Ed van parked in an alley. They were greeted with a faxed copy of their new marching orders. They had been reassigned - to canvass and then follow up with surveillance in the area around E. Van Buren and Wabash Avenue - beginning immediately. Briefing packets were already waiting for them at the Fed Building. These new orders had originated from the Grand Poo-Bah himself, Alan Simons, Bureau Chief, Chicago Division.

"What the hell?" muttered Collins.

Altman just glanced at him and shrugged, thinking, 'Maybe I'll get to play an actual Agent this time, instead of an accessory'.

FRIDAY 8:30 A. M. City Hall, Chicago, IL / Senate Chambers, Springfield, IL

'The after party had been glorious, ' Alice thought, 'and who knew Rick could dance like that.'

He'd finally broken down and confessed to the five years of Ballroom lessons his mother had forced on him. 'My very own twinkle toes, how much better can this get?' her thoughts ran on, coupled with a laugh.

Then her mind shifted to the beehive she had walked into at work this morning. 'What in the world is going on here? Whatever it is, it's creating even more turmoil than that "Silvis" fiasco, six months back. But this was so hush-hush that the only information sources, were at the water coolers ... and whispers in the halls.'

The undercurrent of fear circulating through City Hall was becoming a palpable thing in the air, like a metallic taste on the back of the tongue.

State Senate Page Andrew Wiesman had seen quite a few hair raising things in his two years here in Springfield. But, he'd never seen this much sweat on more faces, than in the last two days. The main legislation chamber was dead empty - with only pages standing around and staring at each other - and until this most recent crisis was resolved, it looked to stay that way.

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