May 15, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 24 (Kite: Introducing Chaos & Hummus)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 24 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

“I have a new project for you that I know you’ll enjoy. However, you will absolutely have to follow my directions to the letter,” said ‘Diana’, who also went by the code name “EphesianQueen”.

At great risk to each other’s identity, they had agreed to meet in person in order to establish a level of trust between themselves. Kite felt – and Diana agreed – that when you were not connected face to face, even in disguise, it was easy to become disloyal to one another. That said, Kite had also hoped that he might be able to get more than a handshake from his new employer, including some clues as to who she might be. He wasn’t the type to resort to blackmail, but if he had to, he would.

That wasn’t going to happen. She took as many precautions as Kite, obviously aware of the repercussions of going behind the backs of others.

They had agreed to meet in a mall food court.

Malls were perfect locations for these kind of ‘get togethers’, mainly because of the noise, which meant no one could listen in effectively, but also because nothing truly ever happens in food courts. Security is lax, to say the least, but people don’t rob the KFC or Druxy’s. And the folks that run mall security know that: all of the hired thugs who are cop wannabes get paid minimum wage and are too busy protecting the $70,000 daily cash intake at the Pottery Barn or Source. Every time Kite saw one of those guys, they acted as a constant reminder that the days of “just looking” ended after 9/11. You had to shop with a mission now or risk having your every move watched. Security was everywhere, but at the same time, he knew it was nowhere … assuming you knew how it could be avoided.

Despite knowing some tricks, the constant presence of security was a constant reminder that he and everyone else was living in a totalitarian world and that he couldn’t get away soon enough. All he needed was a little more cash.

Kite reminded himself to focus on his new employer. When he saw the number for the project, his jaw dropped. For a few previous engagements, he’d made low six-figures, but never pushed the high sixes or low sevens. If he could get even two or three additional projects out of ‘Diana’, he’d be set to retire for life. Maybe he’d even go legit.

All Kite knew about ‘Diana’ was that she was a reference from a very good friend in the dot-com industry. Rarely did they discuss referrals with each other. But they trusted each other emphatically. It was the only way you could do this kind of work without getting nailed by the NSA or FBI. Or worse.

“I have a new project for you that I know you’ll enjoy. However, you will have to do everything according to my plans. The slightest deviation from instruction and you’ll be terminated and your money will evaporate faster than campaign donations for a gay rights supporter.”

He chuckled a little under his breath at her comment.

“I mean it,” she asserted.

“I understand,” Kite replied earnestly. He didn’t ask what ‘terminated’ might mean in Diana’s language. Sometimes it meant that the strings were cut and he’d be left adrift in the wind, fighting against any tempest he had created by himself. So far, that was all he’d experienced, but he didn’t want to know if she had a different definition in mind.

“Tell me more,” said Kite, trying not to seem too keen. He always had a reasonably relaxed “Jimmy Buffet” air to him, but that changed a little when he pushed his last employer a little too far.

“We’ve been following an organization – a very large organization,” Diana started. “It has us very concerned. They have stepped out of line and we need to alter their direction.”

She paused for a few minutes, largely to gauge Kite’s reaction. When there was none, she continued: “There are many companies, non-profits, lobby groups and other associations that this organization runs or influences, and they have started to interfere with our work. It’s called the OMNI Network, or ONMINet for short. I know you’re familiar with it.”

Kite knew the OMNINet well. From where he stood, he couldn’t imagine a more predominant, yet insidious group of organizations in North America. They had their fingers in just about every pie and were able to alter the course of just about everything – economics, law, religion, education and so on. To paraphrase Bono describing Frank Sinatra, they had more connections than the World Trade Centre.

“We know that they are planning something big, but we don’t know what it is or when it will take place. All we can tell you is that it will likely happen within the few months. Your job will be to discover their plans and report back to me immediately.”

“I can do that,” Kite answered coolly, again not trying to show his excitement at new employment or for his employer. “However, I’m going to need some resources, and that’s going to change my price a little. What do you think?”

“As long as your charges are within reason, I’ll be able to accommodate them.”

“You’re gonna need a full tap on their communications network,” offered Hummus.

Hummus was the technology half of the single unit that was Hummus and Chaos. The latter was the security and demolitions expert. They were the Yin and Yang to Kite’s Tao. Chewie and Han’s comic relief to Luke’s Jedi focus.

Since their early days of working together, all three made a habit of only responding to their pseudonyms. They were also passionate about being nerds. Of course, they would argue that they were amateurs compared to some of the talent that they’d seen emerge recently. They didn’t mind a little competition, but the adolescents that were coming out of Eastern Europe were just simply frightening. They knew they had about five years, tops, before they’d have to bail and retire. Or go legit, which none of them ever would.

Chaos was much larger than Hummus, but both did their best to stay in shape. For people that were passionate about being nerds, they did their best to avoid looking the part.

They were meeting at Hummus’ farm house in the middle of South Western Ontario. Like Kite, he loved the location because of its proximity to the US border and because Canadian internet services were far more reliable and private than US networks. Kite would have suggested Toronto, which is where Chaos lived, but because of the security needed, Hummus’ place was an obvious choice. Toronto had far too many wireless networks and surveillance cameras to talk about a project like this.

“Thank you. This is your first time, right?” said Kite sarcastically. It always came out too quickly, but he couldn’t stop himself when frustrated.

“Sorry man, I was just trying to help you plot this out,” answered Hummus calmly as he took a sip of his beer.

“Don’t apologize – I’m a jerk. I’m tense because this is a monster job. Like ‘Kennedy and the mission to the moon’ big. Just so we know what we’re up against, why don’t you guys give me the full scoop on OMNINet?” asked Kite to his partners.

“OK. How do I say this? They are so huge,” Hummus suggested while cupping his balls while smiling, insinuating that his unit might approximate the depth and breadth of OMNINet. “I can’t even begin to tell you how monstrous and vast this organization is. They make John Holmes look like a height-challenged person with a one inch pecker. I’ve done a little digging, but to be honest, there’s not a lot out there. I checked Wiki and everything,” Hummus said as he winked and continued.

“The OMNINet is a private entity so they don’t have to do any public filings or issue press releases. They operate below the public’s radar. What I was able to put together comes from info that’s been sent out to their press agents about an IPO that might happen in the near future. I also took a few pages from the Univist handbook. I think it’s called ‘Mein Kampf’ or something.”

“It is not, you tool. It’s called ‘My Successs’ and they estimate it’s been read by more than 60 million Americans,” Chaos corrected. “You should know your facts a little better than that before getting into a big gig like this. Why don’t you give Kite a little more context than that, OK?”

“Oooh. Tight. Ass. Coal. Diamond.” Hummus joked. “Relax.”

“That’s right – you put something to me and I return value,” quipped Chaos. They’ve had this argument a thousand times, and it always cracked Kite up more than it should.

“OK guys – take it easy. Hummus, facts. Chaos, relax. So … where and how do we start? I need a plan for my contact before the end of next week.”

“I think it’s important to emphasize where they came from,” said Chaos. “The first public origins of the OMNINet came out of the Univist Church – more a cult than religion – that Grant Garamond, an industrialist and the father of Griffith, the current CEO, took root during the Depression. Once he’d made his millions off the desperation of others looking for bread and water, he started a number of businesses that would make the best of Roosevelt’s New Deal, the first massive expenditure program and deficit experiment of the US with one goal in mind: spend the US out of economic ruin. Within a few years, the War approached, and again, Garamond Senior was there with his hands open. In fact, he got together with a group of other industrialists and organized the North American Religious Coalition, or NARC. I’m sure they had influence from other organizations before that. Some have even suggested that their European partners were involved with very willing militia sales to the National Socialists, a little club that Adolf came to run in the 1930s.”

Hummus continued: “Obviously, using NARC as an acronym lost its impact in the age of drug enforcement, which they were benefiting from immensely with guards, prisons and even the drug trade itself, but they also wanted to tone down the suggestion of any religion, only because there were a lot of people at the time who were suggesting that ‘God was dead’.”

“Opting for subtlety, they created a small, but tightly knit, group of entities that had four objectives in mind: clearly establish the US as the one and only country that was capable or worthy of running the planet; permanently end the separation of church and state; ensure that all their beliefs were spread throughout the world; and maximize the amount of revenue that they collected from their various institutions, be it in the form of dividends, tithe or kickbacks. Ultimately, they weren’t prepared to sleep until every last person on the planet was a God-fearing simpleton that dumped twenty bucks in the collection plate every week or that bought a ‘Tour the Holy Land DVD for a one-time price of $99’ whether they liked it or not.”

He continued, barely stopping to breath, “The Univists are an essential component to the early cash flow of the industry-end of things with the Garamond family. What started with acts of kindness became acts of consumption and are now seen by many as acts of aggression, what with torture chambers, their support of Latin American economic ‘test labs’ and such.”

“You see, everything the Church did plowed the way for so-called peaceful missionary relations with less-developed countries like Chile and Argentina. They helped create a beachhead for changing the political and economic structure of the countries, creating a massive change in public institutions. Changes prescribed by the Univists destabilized most of the countries they were active in, which subsequently resulted in a lot of politicians having to sell off valuable public assets to finance their debt loads. That kind of stuff isn’t mentioned in stuff like this,” he said as he flopped a copy of the INC 12-page insert on the coffee table.

“Companies like the OMNINet grew exponentially as they bought massive third-world companies for a penny on the dollar and pushed vast quantities of wealth to their owners, which were kind loving folks like Garamond and the president, Simon Hadlock.”

“Yeah …” Chaos added, “and to top it off, they financed the drug trade in countries like Colombia and Bolivia in the 80s through their banking relations, ultimately giving boomers mountains of cheap coke. Anybody that complained about guards heavily armed with OMNINet weapons were dumped into jails constructed by the OMNINet.”

Kite paused for a moment to digest what he had heard. “OK. Wow. This is going to be tough because a company this huge will have all kinds of unknown gadgetry and security protocols. And probably just a few criminal connections. That said, do we know if they have any weaknesses?” Kite asked, a little at a loss as to how to get on the inside of something so complex.

“We’ve found two,” offered Chaos.

“Well that’s great!” Kite yelped as he clapped his hands together.

“Number one: they hire a lot of people through Garamond Recruiting, a temp agency in Detroit, with offices in Buffalo, that Senior ran as a way for car companies to avoid hiring regular permanent union employees. They have lax security barriers and they rarely double check references and certifications.”

“Excellent. I’ll drive down to Buffalo tomorrow and register with them,” Kite said excitedly.”

“Well, if you do, make sure you use the right name, because The Man’s their second weakness,” Hummus commented with a knowing grin on his face.

“Oh my god …!” Kite said, smacking himself on the forehead. “That’s right! I completely forgot about The Man,” shouted Kite as his memories came flooding back.

Edward Manchester – nicknamed “The Man” – was a friend of Kite’s during university. The Man had it all: money, good looks, childish – yet hilarious – practical jokes, a capacity for a lot of booze and drugs and on most occasions, dumber than a post. His best trait: he could convince anyone to do almost anything. He knew what he had and he knew how to use it.

They got to know each other when Kite was hanging around Western University in London. Western was ranked by David Letterman as one of the top ten party locations in North America and both seemed to be keen on trying it on for a semester or two.

Kite decided to attend a few classes as Carl Parkfield. It sounded goofy, but it was his porn name. If you’re not familiar with your porn name, its the name of your first animal combined with the first street that you remembered living on. Kite lived on so many half-way houses and other improvised locations that he could never think of one. He did have one family member that he could remember, he picked the street where his uncle lived.

Eddie and Kite had both met before at the odd party and were in a few classes together, so they weren’t complete strangers when Kite met him at the local student bar and suggested that they rent a place. They agreed that life in the frat houses and dorms were not for them. More importantly for Kite was that The Man would not tolerate living in some shithole of a student slum.

The reason Kite was looking for a roommate: he had yet to earn any real income from corporate intel gigs and was a little starved for cash. Endearing himself on a popular, good looking kid with a good cash flow would help him get through a few years of courses without having to commit to too much paperwork like rent, transportation and other activities that could create to great a trail if anyone wanted to know who he really was.

They rented a 3,000 square foot four bedroom penthouse apartment that overlooked the river and felt like a mansion in the sky. Kite had a little bit of money from some smaller jobs that he was doing in university, but also for some local companies, but Eddie was loaded, mainly because his dad – an expensive Bay Street lawyer – was OK with padding his wallet. College days promised to get very interesting!

The apartment was a perfect place to have parties and was almost always used a launch pad for evenings out.

A huge sprawling club room was next door to the apartment and they used it before games, on Saturday afternoons, for boat races and all kinds of other drunk ups. The club room also ensured that the parties never really overflowed into the apartment because they were both neat freaks and didn’t enjoy the idea of their couches or chairs absorbing “a couple of cold ones”. They liked to keep their living space meticulately clean and organized.

Ultimately, things didn’t work out because Eddie was always wrestling with two extremely complex and conflicting issues: his religious faith and his sexuality. Eddie was gay and Kite was not. Kite would never have cared about Eddie’s sexual preferences if he had kept them to himself, but when Eddie finally suggested that they live together permanently, Kite knew that he had to move on.

As they went their own ways, they rarely stayed in touch. Kite did his best to disappear and Eddie graduated with his BA and then MBA and returned to Toronto to climb the OMNINet ladder.

“Where’s The Man now?”

“New York. Of course, he bounces a lot to Washington to talk to and negotiate with senior politicians, but he’s single now, so it doesn’t put a big pinch on any aspect of social life.”

“Is he still …?” Kite asked delicately.

“Yes … and no,” Hummus answered cryptically.

“We’ll have to arrange to see him and the straight story. Or not so straight story. What do you say, boys? Buffalo and then drive down to the Big Apple?”

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 25

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
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