Rick Eddy on the Temple of Doom (Part One)
I'm still dealing with the aftermath of Frances and Ivan here, but I should get the science posts in some time today. Right now, I have to go do home improvement shopping.
The following is the first installment of a Rick Eddy contribution. It would have been posted sooner, but he's had his own problems with Ivan up in North Georgia, but he exdpects to finish his report on the Republican Convention shortly.
I'm sitting here in my new winter cabin. I had to move out of the summer place, 'cause the Canuck snowbirds that own it were due back any day, and I didn't want to have to explain some of the remodeling I'd done over the summer. But hey, I left 'em a case of PBR and half a bottle of Beam's Rye as payment for any perceived 'damages'. Anyway, this is a real nice place. Sits fairly high on the south slope of a decent sized North Georgia mountain
. It's got a five acre pond in a shallow draw off back and to the West (might have some decent fish), and nice sized screened in porch out front with a hell-lay-shish view of the valley, and sometimes most important, the road up. From what I overheard at a party a couple of weeks ago, these people ain't even plannin' on comin' back for christmas. Suits me just fine, though it was a little tricky by-passin' the alarm system they got. The big bonus payoff was the fact that they got one of them Honda generators for emergencies out back. So, all I gotta do is get some gas now and then for those nights I want electricity, and just run heat and stove off their propane tank the rest of the time. They won't see no bills all winter, and won't know they're out a' propane 'til I'm long gone.
Anyway, I got this nice laptop in front of me that I found back up in New York City last week (don't worry, I'll talk about it in a minute), but it ought have 'bout enough juice left in the battery for me to put this article together w/o havin' to crank up the generator; seein' as how I ain't had the time yet to put up a sandbag berm 'round it to keep the sound down. The neighbors ain't close, but the sound of one these things'll carry pretty good in the valley after 'bout ten 'clock, so best I just try an make out on battery power.
Hell, I'm lookin' through my notes, and they are a jumbled mess, but tain't no wonder, I been on the road mostly for the last week or more. So, I'll just start from memory, and rummage through the pile of notes and receipts when I need some specific details.
It started a week ago yesterday, when his Ineptness tracked me down to the Bulldog Tavern on Hwy 76. I knew it was trouble when I saw him walk in, but I figured I could get 'em to spring for the tab if'n I let him talk.
So, he comes up and grabs the stool next to me at the bar, and says, "Hey Rick, I hear you got a week between residences."
Well, I don't know how he knows, but yeah the Canucks came in last night, and the Tampa yuppies ain't leavin' 'til the followin' Monday, so I says he heard right.
"Well, I got fun job for you, and it will take almost exactly the whole week, including travel time."
"Hell no," I says. I mean, I ain't worked for the past couple of years, why start now?
"Come on, Rick. You'll like this job - one big party. It's right up your alley, and hell, your old buddy, Zell, will be there."
"Naw, man. I don't like cities. I don't like New York. I sure as hell don't like republicans, and Zell's a republican now. Fuck that."
"What else are you going to do for the week? You got some place to stay? You got any money?"
"Alright, what's it going to pay?" At this point, I know I'm going to do it. Man, there ain't nothing like a convention for livin' high on someone else's dime, but I ain't going to let His Ineptness know 'til I see how much I can get out of him.
"Depends on how much we can sell the piece for..."
"Spec work!!! You fuckin' cheap bastard..."
"I got you a credit card and a bottle of Macallan's 18 year old."
"Oh." I love credit cards. "A card in whose name?"
"Your dog has a credit card?"
"Yeah, I used her name on a couple of magazine subscriptions I didn't want to be associated with-"
"Soldier of Fortune
"Yes, among others. Anyway, I guess they decided, based on her lack of debt and no living expenses, to let her have one with a $2000 dollar limit."
"What about Press credentials?"
"Radically Inept press credentials."
"Bastard. Get us a couple more beers, a couple of shots and get the tab."
"I knew I could count on you."
So, it was early enough still to go check out who was RVin' at the nearby state campgrounds, and I got lucky to find a couple from up-state New York, who were going to be heading back the next morning. Really, 'tweren't so much luck, as the campgrounds were closing for the year anyway, so everyone was packin' up and gettin' out. I convinced 'em, once they got a little loosened up on the Macallan's, to let me ride up with them in return for doin' the drivin'. Hell, I got 'em so drunk they couldn't 'a drove the next mornin' if'n they'd 'a wanted to. When they finally passed out, I had a little time to look through the RV. They had some pretty nice stuff, but I was on a mission, and the only luggage I was takin' was a small, conservative lookin' carry-on-bag.
Sunday afternoon, we parted company around Hoboken, with well wishes all around. I made my way toward Madison Square and started reconning the security set-up. Kind of typical - low paid freelancers at the outer perimeter and getting more professional the further you went in. I chatted up a couple of the guys at the first check point using my usual technique: 1. Be Nice to the Wage Slaves. 2. Commiserate about the sucky job they have, or how cool the job is, or how lucky they are to have one, etc. 3. Ask them lots of questions about themselves; no one pays attention to these guys, so when you do, they'll tell ya just about everythin' to prove how important they are, or just 'cause. 4. Provide them with enough info to make 'em think you belong on their side of the barrier, but don't push it. 5. Find out when shift change will occur - leave. 6. Appear at shift change, call the guys you know by first name, be chatty, and let your friends introduce you to the oncoming shift. 7. Walk in. It's a little time consuming, and it's not 100%, but it usually works to get past the outer perimeter.
So, I wandered over to some Italian place that had a view of the checkpoint, and put a meal and a bottle of red wine on the credit card. As long as you don't buy big ticket items, no one hardly checks for ID on the card. So, I sat there, finished eatin' and drank 'bout half the bottle of wine. When I saw them do shift change, I decided to wait 'til my new found freinds had left, and then go over and make pals with new ones. That way, this time Monday night, I'd know everyone's first name; we'd all be old pals, and I ought'a be able to breeze right through.
Monday evening and it worked. So, once inside, I wandered around a little to get a feel for the next layer of security; from this point on, it'd get a little trickier, and I still had 'a pick up a Radically Inept Press Pass. Ah, it was gettin' dark now, and luck was still on my side. I spotted the parkin' area where the FOX squad was parkin' their personal vehicles or havin' taxis/limos drop 'em off, and transferrin' over to a corporate van for the ride to the Gardens proper. Actually, it was better than that.
I spotted Sean Hannity
sneakin' into one of the 'darker' side streets to take a quick piss in the door recess of a closed camera store, or somethin'. He was alone. Life was sweet. I walked up like I was one of the typical republican sychophants; scramblin' in my bag for a sheet paper and a pen to get his autograph. He had that annoyed look on his face, and he was still holding his dick. I caught him in the throat with the knife edge of my palm to keep him quite. That widen his eyes, until I caught with my fist right behind the jaw below the ear. [I know, your thinkin' that if I was goin' to put him out anyway, the shot to throat weren't really necessary. You're right, a'course, but I never liked the big mouthed yankee bastard, so fuck him.] I shoved him against the chain roll down over the door front. I looked around to make sure no one was watchin', and spotted an older van parked at the curb. Perfect.
I stuck his arm between some of the chain squares to keep him upright, and make him look like some drunk businessman taking a whiz. I checked out the van. It looked like it been used to haul carpets or something, and you could tell the suspension was already pretty much shot. I wasn't worried 'bout no alarm or anything, so I pulled a heavy scewdriver from my bag and used the handle to break the rear passenger side window; reached in and unlocked the door. I looked around, but this was New York City, and no one was payin' no attention to me.
I went back and pulled Hannity's arm out of chain, put it round my shoulder and 'drunk' walked him to the van, like he was an old buddy. Hell, with his dick still hangin' out, anyone who looked probably thought...Anyway, with his dick was still hanging out anyone who looked, looked away real quick. I threw him in the back of the van, climbed in behind, while shoving his ass toward the cab. I grabbed the half empty bottle of wine from my bag, took a swig, and poured some on his shirt. Then I put one of his hands around the neck of the bottle, and the other around his dick, which I thought was a real nice touch. Pulled the cam up and took a few shots of him, pulled the disk out and laid it on his chest. Put a new disk in the cam, and took a few shots for my scrap book. Then I grabbed his press pass (and, yeah, some drinkin' money from his wallet), climbed out of the van, shut the door and walked on. He wouldn't wake up for a few hours, and if anyone found him, I was real sure him and FOX would hush this up. I mean, the tough talkin' yankee mick found in the back of a van, rolled, and with his dick hangin' out wouldn't do FOX's rep no good, and they'd know I had pictures. Now that I had a Radically Inept Press Pass and all I had to do was figure out how to use it to get passed a couple more check points, or better yet, bypass them.
Well, I needed access to the internet. Hell, I also needed to clean up and change. So, I found a little bar next to a Wi-Fi lookin' Starbucks, and grabbed a spot at the bar. Now that I had a little cash on me, I wouldn't be leaving a paper trail...just in case. I chatted up the bar tender a little; she probably made decent tips off her boob job. I told her to give me whatever cheap non-lite beer they had on draft, and gave her one of Hannity's $10s and told her to keep the change. She'd check back on me.
When I finished the first beer, sure enough - she was right there with the next. I gave her another $10 (man, who'd 'a thunk Hannity was a big tipper?), and while she was still there, I pulled a laptop from the bag (those RV people were just so nice), and asked her about how to get Wi-FI. I figured she might or might not know, but I was sure she'd know a regular who did, and that's all I needed. She hollered to some guy named Jack who was obviously still here from happy hour. Man, my luck was ridin' high. I explained how as I wanted to get on the internet, and I had this laptop, but I didn't know how to do it. I also bought him a round. Hannity is a real generous guy. Sometimes you can use your ignorance to your advantage. Most guys are too proud, but it works. Well, Jack explained as how I needed some sort of special card or whatever, and how as he had his work computer with him. Now that's what I was talkin' 'bout - usin' ignorance to your advantage.
So, long story short, I got him to help me pull up some local maps, all touristy-like, and gettin' floor plans for different hotels. I was lookin' for kitchens, service entrances, loading docks, and sometimes even knowing where the swimming pools are can come in handy-like. So, I bought Jack a few rounds and got the lay of the land before Hannity's cash ran out. When he went to the head, I loaded up the Hannity pix and sent a copy to one of the Radically Inept secret directories, and put another copy in file I hid in Jack's Window's registry. It was time to leave, but before leavin' I got Jack's address and contact info. It was always good to have a 'safe house' in the AO (Area of Operations), though I might wind up havin' to give his name and address at some checkpoint which it'd mean I'd lose it as a safe house, but...
So, it was then time to do some shopping. I wasn't worried about getting to the convention on Monday since nothing ever happens on the first night anyway.