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Letters of Marque and Reprisal – Chapter 1

Letters of Marque and Reprisal
Cover Art. © Paul Hair, 2017.
Letters of Marque and Reprisal is an original, light-hearted, espionage story. It resides within a self-contained universe. I am publishing it serially here at Liberate Liberty and simultaneously at Liberty Island Magazine, and I will do so on an irregular schedule. Click on the “Letters of Marque and Reprisal Serial” tag at the bottom to access all chapters that have been published.

*****

Chapter 1:

Bill Navarro stood outside the bus door, just to the side closest to the engine. “Over there,” he kept saying as people flowed off the bus. He didn’t have to say it. He didn’t have to have point at the spot where he wanted them either. It was just a short distance away and once the first person reached it, it became obvious where the rest of them should go. But he kept doing it until everyone had exited. All 50 of them or so. He climbed up the steps and stood next to the bus driver, quickly glancing from front to back to verify it was empty. Then he hopped outside again.

He unbuttoned the middle button of his suit jacket. “You know what to do,” he said to the group of people who milled around with their signs and other items while they talked—or at least vocalized—loudly.

“You ain’t coming with us?” one of them said to Bill.

“Of course not.”

“Figures,” the man sneered as he tapped his sign on the ground. A white woman next to him started shaking her head back and forth, the dreadlocks of her long hair whipping around like a dirty mop.

They had paid all these jackasses and yet they still weren’t happy. It wasn’t just the idiot who had rudely addressed him. Bill could see it in the eyes of a lot of the other ones. But then again, their repulsiveness is what made them right for this job.

The organization had brought in 50 busloads of people today, all ready for enthusiastic demonstration. So they had somewhere between 2,500 and 2,600 people ready to go to work on Houston. Bill and the others charged with this operation had already given them their instructions before they had loaded them on the bus miles outside the city. But there really hadn’t been much in the way of instructions to give. The money had been the most important part.

They had paid everyone in cash at the same time they had supplied them with signs for the event. They hadn’t provided any other instruments to them. But if the hired help wanted to bring along other items the organization was fine with that.

The organization had all the permits it needed. They also had lawyers ready for the aftermath.

Having lawyers ready didn’t mean the organization was taking responsibility for the coming riot. It would definitely denounce it after the fact and deny any involvement should anyone accuse it of such. And the lawyers were mobilized to make sure that denunciation stuck.

The people the organization had bussed in had no idea there was going to be a riot. As far as they knew, it was just going to be an angry, threatening demonstration. And that was the way the organization wanted it. It kept its recruitment of the rioters hidden from everyone but a select few in the organization.

“Get to the staging area,” Bill told the hired help. “Down the street to the end of the block and then make a left. You can’t miss it. The police have everything blocked off and ready to go for the march. Meet back here when it’s over.”

And they were off, their voices becoming louder as soon as they started moving. He watched them go. He smelled them go too.

Bill refastened the middle button of his suit jacket and climbed back on the bus with the driver. “Shut the door,” he said to him. The driver leisurely did as he was told.

There was no uniform for the demonstrators but most of them had dressed in black. They had masks or other coverings ready for their faces. Apparently some of them had planned on their own to do more than just demonstrate.

The signs the organization had provided them said things such as, “Capitalists Are Criminal,” “Down with Corporations,” and “Greed” inside a circle with a slash through it. There were also signs denouncing America as racist, sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic. Still others demanded an “equitable and just society.” There was a lot of red on the signs.

The organization hadn’t provided them with a stated reason for the march. That was intentional. The less specific, the better. The organization didn’t want them to express a defined problem. That way, no matter what the government did in response—what it said it would do to meet their demands—the organization could always use its proxies to put forth the message that no solution had been provided. And then it could create some more outrage.

The demonstration officially started at 1:00 p.m. local time. The rioting started around 1:21 when the first thug threw the first bottle. Soon there was mass violence occurring, with other objects being thrown, windows being smashed, cars and other objects being overturned, and so forth. People who weren’t part of the thugs fled as fast as they could. Riot police were slow to respond. And so the chaos increased, with gunfire and explosions soon following.

Bill glanced out the window. He wondered how long it would take for the first of the people he had brought here to rush back to the bus. He wondered if even all of them would try to come back here. Then he looked back at his tablet. He watched the initial social media coverage of the riots. Official media outlets might not know what was going on for a few more minutes.

He smiled at some of the descriptions of what was happening. And he smiled at some of the reactions to it. Then he set the tablet down next to him on the bus seat. If anyone tried to say that the rioters were part of the demonstration, the PR machine the organization had in place would swiftly crush that narrative and replace it with its own—one that said the riot likely was a false flag operation by enemies of the American people. And then it would put forth a narrative of how the government had failed the people in meeting their needs, and in protecting their rights to protest that failure.

He folded his hands on the lap of his gray suit. He was certain a few people would be murdered this time, and that would help with the further destabilization of the U.S.

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