Geraldi leapt from the screaming motorcycle as it blasted full-throttle over the guardrail and plummeted into the Chesapeake Bay. He was rolling into the pinestraw before headlights stabbed into the bridge and two men broke from the car, guns drawn.
Geraldi could hear the two gunmen for the infamous Freemasons chattering in some foreign tongue, pointing into the waves.
Good, he thought, maybe they think I went over with the bike.
Then the pair, consummate professionals who left nothing to chance, motioned to each other and headed toward the scrub pine where Geraldi had secreted himself.
Knowing what was coming, Geraldi stilled himself, breathing deeply, letting his eyes go out of focus.
As the first man reached the pines, Geraldi snapped a kick at the gun hand, disarming him and possibly breaking his wrist. Then, acting as if he was unaware of the second assailant, Geraldi began walking calmly in the other direction.
He felt, rather than saw, the gun trained on his neck. Before his attacker could breathe the threat he knew was coming, Geraldi swung his elbow back, delivering a crushing blow to the larnyx. His other hand grabbed the Smith & Wesson out of the air in mid-tumble.
Not much time, he thought to himself as he pulled car keys from the second gunman's pocket and headed for the highway.
Geraldi glanced at his watch, thinking, "Everything is under control."
Sir Benjamin Brand sniffed his cognac as he awaited the ingathering of dozens of members of the Illuminati -- a secret cult that had been engineering world history since time immemorial. Everything was in place for this historic meeting -- the first time the faithful had met face to face in more than 200 years. Everything was in place for world domination, starting with unparalleled terrorism.
Sir Benjamin smiled thinly as his pager beeped twice, paused, then beeped again.
Good, he congratulated himself, Geraldi had succeeded in defusing the threat posed by the rival Freemasons who had hoped to upset the balance of power by discovering the site of this meeting.
Of course, Geraldi would have to be eliminated. But everything was under control.
A nondescript black telephone was ringing next to Sue Medcraft as the CIA operative prepared yet another brief for superiors she could only guess at. She'd been a black-level operative long enough to know that whoever it was, they weren't in the employment of the U.S. government. But Sue was fine with that, as long as somebody signed her paycheck.
"we're seeing a lot of activity among the covert organizations," chatted Roger McKoy, her counterpart and a 10-year agent himself.
"Heard anything from Geraldi?" asked Sue, thinking about their deep cover operative within the Illuminati. "He seemed a little apprehensive last time he checked in."
"No, but I wouldn't worry," said McKoy. "We've got it all under control."
Another wasted hour reading the newspaper, thought Kendall Carter as he tossed the New York Times on the floor of the half-full commuter train.
Two guys found dead of "suspicious injuries" in Maryland. Some weird lightning strike in southern England that destroyed a mansion and dozens of people inside -- none carrying identification. A government worker killed in a car crash. A bunch of layoffs at the CIA -- paper said "custodial staff" but Carter had to laugh at that.
It's a world out of control, he thought to himself.
Won't be much longer, thought God, as He surveyed a creation seemingly plummeting toward destruction.
He nodded to himself, whispering, "Everything is under control."
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