fbpx

The Twinning Factor – Chapter 13

The Twinning Factor
Joseph McGee Private Investigator: Book Seven
McGee Faces A Conundrum
By Carl Douglass
Neurosurgeon Turned Author Writes With Gripping Realism

Chapter Thirteen

Caitlin O’Brian, half a world away, sat at her computer unable to think of anything else to check. She had used up every hacking trick she knew, had visited dozens of sites she should not have, and now was beginning to become giddy. She had heard nothing from McGee or from Thailand for nearly two days, and she was itching to know what was going on there. Had their agent… she had to look up his name… oh, yeah, Jackson, no Jason… Richter, even gotten to that Southeast Asian city? She knew she was too sleepy to continue on the computer; she was getting sloppy; so, she made a call from London to the Bangkok police station which was supposed to be Jason’s reporting center. They would be keeping track of him.

A bored desk sergeant answered after four rings.

“Krungthephmh̄ānkhr k̄het s̄ib s̄ām” [Bangkok City Precinct Number Thirteen], he said.

Caitlin heard the words, but the man might as well have been speaking Klingon, for all she could understand. She was almost too sleepy to think what to do next.

The sergeant noted the source of the call and switched to English, “Would you prefer that we use English, Sir?”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Caitlin said with a small sigh of relief, “please, let’s speak English. And, I am Caitlin

O’Brian, an operative with the US National Trafficking Task force. My ID number is COB 92278-#.”

He made a quick check, “Password of the day, please, Madam.”

Caitlin made a hasty search around in her foggy brain and finally got it.

Quick Brown Mouse in Bangkok”, she said, hoping that her voice did not sound as slurred to him as it did to her.

“Correct, how may I be of help?”

“I need to know where our operative is right now, please, Sir.”

There was a brief pause while the desk sergeant made a call to the officer on watch at the moment.

“He is currently in the middle of giving a technical medical speech to a large gathering of Orthopaedic Surgeons; I think that means ‘bone doctors.’ He is at the podium in the ShangriLa conference room of the Krungthephmh̄ānkhr k̄het s̄ib s̄ām… sorry, The Siam Kempinski Hotel on Rama 1 Road.”

“Do your people have eyes on him?”

“Yes, Madam, we have two men sitting on the first row bored to death by his long speech with too much technological jargon for them to understand much of what he is saying; but they are secretly videoing him; and we will have the video for you to see in about an hour. Can you give me the info about where to send it?”

“I can.”

And she did.

“Thank you for your very precise help. I can rest a lot easier. Have a nice day, or night, whatever it is there.”

“My pleasure, Madam.”
In the bedroom of the traffickers’ house, Jason decided he was close enough to shoot but too far away to use his trusty chloroform. He steadied his hand and fired two silenced rounds—one into the head of each of the guards, who slumped in their uncomfortable folding chairs and rested their heads face down on the card table bleeding into their stacks of Baht currency. None of the girls stirred. Jason surmised that most of them had probably been drugged.

He backed out of the room and whispered his report to the policeman, and they shifted their attention to the next open room. This time it was the policeman’s turn. He slipped into the darkened room, took a few minutes to adjust his eyes to the dim ambient light, and located two guards sitting on their folding chairs, heads hanging, and snoring fitfully.

He used chloroform and gave each man a hefty dose to be sure. He reported back to Jason. They continued on down the hall checking each closed door. Despite the 115° heat, every adult in every bed was fast asleep, sweating, and snoring in their beds, covered by a sheet. Working together, the two men anesthetized forty people in two hours and began to feel the fatigue. It was time to deal with the sleeping children.

Jason ran back to the children’s makeshift dormitory and checked every face as quickly as he could to see if his dear little Elle was among the kidnapped children. He almost wept when he found that she was not there. He was frustrated and getting angry, something he realized was becoming more frequent and less controllable lately. He was having nightmares that he could not stop. He felt an overpowering urge to do something.

His partner entered the room, and they turned on the lights. To their relief, every girl slowly roused and sat up. None of them screamed. That had been beaten out of them. The two men moved swiftly around the room snipping off the linking chains between the girls. It took them forty minutes per room, and most of the girls were now crying softly, having a small glimpse of hope.

Jason said, “Girls and young ladies, we are the police; and we have come to help you get away from here. We know you have been through a lot, but we have to ask something more from you. Be silent, follow us, and do not wander away, or think you will be better if you run away. We are all going down to the back alley of the house and our police sergeant here will use his cell phone to call for a police bus to pick us up. You will be safe. There will be social workers who will take you to a hospital to be checked. All of you look pretty skinny; so, we will get you good meals after the hospital. Sound good?”

152 heads bounced in a nodded yes which made the men laugh; and, for the first time in months these terrified girls allowed themselves a brief but joyous laugh. Jason waited in the back alley with the newly freed girls long enough to help cutoff their hated brass collars. Then, he and his police friend hurried around to give each girl a little hug as they got on the two large busses provided for them. He wished that he could be there when the parents or some guardian claimed them and started them on the way home. But, both he and the sergeant need to preserve their anonymity.

A kindly police matron walked up to Jason and smiled. She could not have known how sensitive this man was.
“You are a wonderful man. All Thailand thanks you for what you have done. By any chance have you and your family suffered the loss of a loved one to traffickers?”

He must have been right on the edge of breaking down because he felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow. He could not cry; so, the sorrow turned to rage which he held inside.

“Yes, I did,” Jason said. “I am glad to be able to do a little bit. That reminds me, I have some mopping up to do.”

He looked around for his police sergeant friend, but he had left with the busses. Jason gave the social worker a pleasant smile—at least the best he could manage—then headed back to the front door of the house. His rage reached a volcanic level as he entered the house of horrors. He paused for only a moment, then unsheathed his razor-sharp long K-bar knife and mounted the stairs resolutely. He did not pause, have a moment of reflection, or conjure up a Judeo-Christian sense of right or wrong, and he did not for a moment have a thought of repentance.

He hurried from room to room slashing throats as fast as he could run. Only until he had killed them all and washed off his knife, did he feel a powerful relief wash over him. He stood in a bathroom with all the lights on and inspected himself for blood. He had been very careful, and there was none to be seen.

Jason left the house quickly before the cops came back. He walked swiftly several blocks then ran like a rabbit being chased by a coyote all the way back to the rear entrance of the King Power MahaNakhon building. He used Bob’s card key to open the door to the building, to the elevator, and to Bob’s offices. There he hurried into the safe room rear office of Bob’s private suite, stripped off his clothes, showered and scrubbed himself, bagged his ninja clothes, and repacked his bag. He checked himself in the bathroom mirror and saw a well-dressed man-about-town, without a hint of the murderer he knew he had become.

He pulled out one of his burner phones and dialed the number that he and James had agreed upon.

James picked up on the first ring, “JDR, number 2,” he said.

“JDR, number 1,” Jason replied. “How did your speech go?”

“Perfect. I had an especially interested pair of law enforcement officers sitting on the first row and taking pictures.”

“Sounds perfect. Did your audience stay the whole speech?

“They did, and everyone gave a long, standing ovation. I took care to stand by the big sign, with my photo and name on it announcing the keynote speaker; that was me. I am pretty sure I made the news, Bro.”

“Make sure to get two or three copies of the Bangkok papers tomorrow before you leave. Make a point of getting a pilot or flight attendant to have a photo with you in front of a departure desk with the correct flight info.”

“I know I’m not as smart as you, but I had already thought of that.”

“Great minds… “

“See you back on the farm in a week or two. Take care. Let’s talk then.”

Jason got rid of his burner in a dumpster behind a nearby shop, caught a taxi and asked to be taken to an airport near Don Mueang International Airport, and checked in with his phony passport in the name of Craig G. Withim of Birmingham, West Midlands, England. He paid in cash, asked not to be disturbed for two days, and gave the receptionist a nice tip. He even smiled at the CCTV camera. He still felt like he looked pretty dapper in his disguise.

As soon as he got back to his room, he rumpled the sheets, used his phony credit card to buy a couple of ridiculously expensive tiny bottles of cheap booze, and adroitly spilled the contents around on the sheets, on bathroom towels, and on the carpet. He threw the hotel robe on the floor, opened a bag of crackers and dropped chips on the bed and on the soft arm-chair. He turned the TV on to a sports channel and left it on as he left.

He exited through the back door, walked to the street, and caught a cab to take him to the Don Mueang International Airport where he bought a one-way ticket to Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai International Airport in the Golden Triangle. The efficient plane left on time, arrived on time; and Jason was able to secure a separate flight to Chicago O’Hare the same day; but, again, under a separate false name.
At O’Hare, the next day, he rented a car for a week under a third false name. He drove cautiously from Chicago to Sioux Falls, Iowa—avoiding attracting speed cops by keeping to the posted speed limit. In Sioux Falls he finally used his third and final burner phone to let James know that he was there and needed a lift back to Ames. Back home, he switched places with James at their orthopaedic clinic and no one along the entire convoluted way had any suspicion that Jason had ever been other than what he said he was or that he had been anywhere other than what he said—on a very short and restful trip to a hunting camp in Nebraska.

Caitlin O’Brian, half a world away, sat at her computer unable to think of anything else to check. She had used up every hacking trick she knew, had visited dozens of sites she should not have, and now was beginning to become giddy. She had heard nothing from McGee or from Thailand for nearly two days, and she was itching to know what was going on there. Had their agent… she had to look up his name… oh, yeah, Jackson, no Jason… Richter, even gotten to that Southeast Asian city? She knew she was too sleepy to continue on the computer; she was getting sloppy; so, she made a call from London to the Bangkok police station which was supposed to be Jason’s reporting center. They would be keeping track of him.

A bored desk sergeant answered after four rings.

“Krungthephmh̄ānkhr k̄het s̄ib s̄ām” [Bangkok City Precinct Number Thirteen], he said.

Caitlin heard the words, but the man might as well have been speaking Klingon, for all she could understand. She was almost too sleepy to think what to do next.

The sergeant noted the source of the call and switched to English, “Would you prefer that we use English, Sir?”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Caitlin said with a small sigh of relief, “please, let’s speak English. And, I am Caitlin O’Brian, an operative with the US National Trafficking Task force. My ID number is COB 92278-#.”

He made a quick check, “Password of the day, please, Madam.”

Caitlin made a hasty search around in her foggy brain and finally got it.

“Quick Brown Mouse in Bangkok”, she said, hoping that her voice did not sound as slurred to him as it did to her.

“Correct, how may I be of help?”

“I need to know where our operative is right now, please, Sir.”

There was a brief pause while the desk sergeant made a call to the officer on watch at the moment.

“He is currently in the middle of giving a technical medical speech to a large gathering of Orthopaedic Surgeons; I think that means ‘bone doctors.’ He is at the podium in the ShangriLa conference room of the Krungthephmh̄ānkhr k̄het s̄ib s̄ām… sorry, The Siam Kempinski Hotel on Rama 1 Road.”

“Do your people have eyes on him?”

“Yes, Madam, we have two men sitting on the first row bored to death by his long speech with too much technological jargon for them to understand much of what he is saying; but they are secretly videoing him; and we will have the video for you to see in about an hour. Can you give me the info about where to send it?”

“I can.”

And she did.

“Thank you for your very precise help. I can rest a lot easier. Have a nice day, or night, whatever it is there.”

“My pleasure, Madam.”

In the bedroom of the traffickers’ house, Jason decided he was close enough to shoot but too far away to use his trusty chloroform. He steadied his hand and fired two silenced rounds—one into the head of each of the guards, who slumped in their uncomfortable folding chairs and rested their heads face down on the card table bleeding into their stacks of Baht currency. None of the girls stirred. Jason surmised that most of them had probably been drugged.

He backed out of the room and whispered his report to the policeman, and they shifted their attention to the next open room. This time it was the policeman’s turn. He slipped into the darkened room, took a few minutes to adjust his eyes to the dim ambient light, and located two guards sitting on their folding chairs, heads hanging, and snoring fitfully.

He used chloroform and gave each man a hefty dose to be sure. He reported back to Jason. They continued on down the hall checking each closed door. Despite the 115° heat, every adult in every bed was fast asleep, sweating, and snoring in their beds, covered by a sheet. Working together, the two men anesthetized forty people in two hours and began to feel the fatigue. It was time to deal with the sleeping children.

Jason ran back to the children’s makeshift dormitory and checked every face as quickly as he could to see if his dear little Elle was among the kidnapped children. He almost wept when he found that she was not there. He was frustrated and getting angry, something he realized was becoming more frequent and less controllable lately. He was having nightmares that he could not stop. He felt an overpowering urge to do something.

His partner entered the room, and they turned on the lights. To their relief, every girl slowly roused and sat up. None of them screamed. That had been beaten out of them. The two men moved swiftly around the room snipping off the linking chains between the girls. It took them forty minutes per room, and most of the girls were now crying softly, having a small glimpse of hope.

Jason said, “Girls and young ladies, we are the police; and we have come to help you get away from here. We know you have been through a lot, but we have to ask something more from you. Be silent, follow us, and do not wander away, or think you will be better if you run away. We are all going down to the back alley of the house and our police sergeant here will use his cell phone to call for a police bus to pick us up. You will be safe. There will be social workers who will take you to a hospital to be checked. All of you look pretty skinny; so, we will get you good meals after the hospital. Sound good?”

152 heads bounced in a nodded yes which made the men laugh; and, for the first time in months these terrified girls allowed themselves a brief but joyous laugh. Jason waited in the back alley with the newly freed girls long enough to help cutoff their hated brass collars. Then, he and his police friend hurried around to give each girl a little hug as they got on the two large busses provided for them. He wished that he could be there when the parents or some guardian claimed them and started them on the way home. But, both he and the sergeant need to preserve their anonymity.

A kindly police matron walked up to Jason and smiled. She could not have known how sensitive this man was.

“You are a wonderful man. All Thailand thanks you for what you have done. By any chance have you and your family suffered the loss of a loved one to traffickers?”

He must have been right on the edge of breaking down because he felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow. He could not cry; so, the sorrow turned to rage which he held inside.

“Yes, I did,” Jason said. “I am glad to be able to do a little bit. That reminds me, I have some mopping up to do.”

He looked around for his police sergeant friend, but he had left with the busses. Jason gave the social worker a pleasant smile—at least the best he could manage—then headed back to the front door of the house. His rage reached a volcanic level as he entered the house of horrors. He paused for only a moment, then unsheathed his razor-sharp long K-bar knife and mounted the stairs resolutely. He did not pause, have a moment of reflection, or conjure up a Judeo-Christian sense of right or wrong, and he did not for a moment have a thought of repentance.

He hurried from room to room slashing throats as fast as he could run. Only until he had killed them all and washed off his knife, did he feel a powerful relief wash over him. He stood in a bathroom with all the lights on and inspected himself for blood. He had been very careful, and there was none to be seen.

Jason left the house quickly before the cops came back. He walked swiftly several blocks then ran like a rabbit being chased by a coyote all the way back to the rear entrance of the King Power MahaNakhon building. He used Bob’s card key to open the door to the building, to the elevator, and to Bob’s offices. There he hurried into the safe room rear office of Bob’s private suite, stripped off his clothes, showered and scrubbed himself, bagged his ninja clothes, and repacked his bag. He checked himself in the bathroom mirror and saw a well-dressed man-about-town, without a hint of the murderer he knew he had become.

He pulled out one of his burner phones and dialed the number that he and James had agreed upon.

James picked up on the first ring, “JDR, number 2,” he said.

“JDR, number 1,” Jason replied. “How did your speech go?”

“Perfect. I had an especially interested pair of law enforcement officers sitting on the first row and taking pictures.”

“Sounds perfect. Did your audience stay the whole speech?

“They did, and everyone gave a long, standing ovation. I took care to stand by the big sign, with my photo and name on it announcing the keynote speaker; that was me. I am pretty sure I made the news, Bro.”

“Make sure to get two or three copies of the Bangkok papers tomorrow before you leave. Make a point of getting a pilot or flight attendant to have a photo with you in front of a departure desk with the correct flight info.”

“I know I’m not as smart as you, but I had already thought of that.”

“Great minds… “

“See you back on the farm in a week or two. Take care. Let’s talk then.”

Jason got rid of his burner in a dumpster behind a nearby shop, caught a taxi and asked to be taken to an airport near Don Mueang International Airport, and checked in with his phony passport in the name of Craig G. Withim of Birmingham, West Midlands, England. He paid in cash, asked not to be disturbed for two days, and gave the receptionist a nice tip. He even smiled at the CCTV camera. He still felt like he looked pretty dapper in his disguise.

As soon as he got back to his room, he rumpled the sheets, used his phony credit card to buy a couple of ridiculously expensive tiny bottles of cheap booze, and adroitly spilled the contents around on the sheets, on bathroom towels, and on the carpet. He threw the hotel robe on the floor, opened a bag of crackers and dropped chips on the bed and on the soft arm-chair. He turned the TV on to a sports channel and left it on as he left.

He exited through the back door, walked to the street, and caught a cab to take him to the Don Mueang International Airport where he bought a one-way ticket to Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai International Airport in the Golden Triangle. The efficient plane left on time, arrived on time; and Jason was able to secure a separate flight to Chicago O’Hare the same day; but, again, under a separate false name.

At O’Hare, the next day, he rented a car for a week under a third false name. He drove cautiously from Chicago to Sioux Falls, Iowa—avoiding attracting speed cops by keeping to the posted speed limit. In Sioux Falls he finally used his third and final burner phone to let James know that he was there and needed a lift back to Ames. Back home, he switched places with James at their orthopaedic clinic and no one along the entire convoluted way had any suspicion that Jason had ever been other than what he said he was or that he had been anywhere other than what he said—on a very short and restful trip to a hunting camp in Nebraska.

I chose to use a pseudonym for personal reasons. I’m a retired neurosurgeon living in a rural paradise and am at rest from the turbulent life of my profession. I lived in an era when resident trainees worked 120 hours a week–a form of bondage no longer permitted by law. I served as a Navy Seabee general surgeon during the unpleasantness in Viet Nam, and spent the remainder of my ten-year service as a neurosurgeon in a major naval regional medical center. I’ve lived in every section of the country, saw all the inhumanity of man to man, practiced in private settings large and small, the military, academia, and as a medical humanitarian in the Third World.

Login/out