The Cuckoo's Progeny
16: Clipping an Opponent’s Wings

Copyright© 2016 Vincent Berg. All rights reserved.

“I don’t understand,” Theo said, glancing around the coffee shop. “Why don’t we get a hotel room here for the night?”

“Because, I want to put some distance behind us once they learn where we are,” Al replied, removing his phone and turning it back on. Once it reactivated, he carried it in one hand while getting in line. It rang only a couple minutes later.


“Is this Albert Collins?”

“It is. May I ask who this is?”

“This is Mary Ticard. I’m the head of domestic CIA operations. Believe it or not, we do have some justified operations within the U.S. borders.”

“Something tells me that’s not why you called.”

“No. I called to inform you that Wayne Powell, a former associate of ours, has been disassociated with us. We’ve gotten court orders barring him from contacting any CIA operative or approaching any closer than five-hundred feet of your group.”

Al chuckled. “The videos are getting airplay, aren’t they?”

Mary sighed. “They’re trending on all the social media and are slated to appear on the various news programs. We’re being swarmed with calls from around the world, demanding how we can justify such actions.”

“They didn’t believe you when you claimed innocence, did they?”

“No, they didn’t. I informed them Powell was terminated over a decade ago, but it fell on deaf ears. As I said, he’s been cut off so he can’t access any of our personnel now. What’s more, each of the active agents who confronted you is suspended, pending charges being filed. This is a huge embarrassment for us. I’d like to apologize for the entire Agency that this occurred. Frankly, I’m amazed anyone here hired this fruitcake in the first place.”

“Yet, he continues to attract followers throughout your Agency.”

She sighed again, clearly exhausted from defending herself. “Yes. They’re the remnants of Schnoblin’s ghosts, continuing to haunt us decades after his passing. We keep trying to purge them, but his fantasies remain a compelling draw to the overly paranoid.”

“I’m afraid paranoia is part of your job descriptions. It goes with the territory.”

“It’s hardly associated with professionalism,” she countered. “It harkens to those disconnected from reality, focusing more on imaginary demons than on realistic threat assessment.”

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