Yes, I’m still writing because even though I have exceeded 50,000 words, the rough draft isn’t finished. Working with some of my writer friends in Shenandoah Valley Wrimos on word sprints, I managed to add 4,630 words for a total of 55, 459 words. I also won one of the sprints, and my prize was a picture of Viggo Mortensen. Sigh.
I worked on two new chapters today, Chapter 18, Heavy Handed Inducement, and Chapter 19, Fuel for Hell. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 18:
“I hear she roughed up a CIA guy in Qala e Jangi,” Dan said.
“Yeah, he fucking deserved it. If she hadn’t kicked his ass I would have. The guy abandoned his partner in the middle of that prison riot and saved his own ass. She could have killed him, but she didn’t. Ask the SpecOps who were there. They’ll tell you the same thing.”
Dan grinned, though it was so detached from his eyes his face looked as if it were halves from two different people. “How many of you are fucking her?”
“I won’t even dignify that with an answer.”
“Then that must mean you are.”
“As far as I know, she’s not fucking anyone, including her husband because she’s here and he’s not. Look, she’s a helluva commander. I don’t know what someone’s been telling you, but our team has scored more kills with fewer casualties than any other team. There are a couple of CIA guys who don’t like that, and I suspect that’s where the sour grapes are coming from. Do I think she should be in combat? I don’t think any woman should be, but reality is different from my perfect world. I have no problems with her.”
“Where is she now?”
“On a mission for the CIA Director,” O’Keefe said.
“What kind of mission?”
“I’m not need to know. Again, talk to Frank about that.”
“No need to get defensive, Mr. O’Keefe. So, here’s what we want you to do. When she resumes leadership of your team, you keep an eye on her and make note of anything suspicious she says or does, any political opinions she might express about the President, the Vice President, or the Administration’s policy. Am I clear?”
“What is this? 1984? The Stasi?”
“I need an answer from you, Mr. O’Keefe. Am I clear?”
“Oh, you’re perfectly clear, and here’s my answer. Fuck off.”
Dan reached down to his side then put a cloth briefcase on the table. “Open it,” he said.
His eyes narrowed at Dan, O’Keefe unzipped the briefcase and removed a box and a small envelope.
“Open the box first,” Dan said.
O’Keefe did and saw a solar-power chargeable satellite mobile phone.
“If Fisher sees you with that, tell her SpecOps gave it to you to field test,” Dan said. “Open the envelope.”
O’Keefe took out a penknife and slit the envelope open. From it he took a stack of four by six photos. When he turned them over and began to look through them, his hands trembled.
“What the fuck is this?” he demanded.
“Your daughter, going to and from school, to and from soccer practice, having dinner with her mother. The mother’s quite a looker, by the way. It would be a shame for something to happen to them. You know, a break-in, rape…”