(Posted June 7, 2018)
Deep Trouble with the Deep State
"Roger here. I've got a problem. Going to need your help.
Jack scrutinized Roger’s text. Generally, the shoe was on
the other foot—Jack seeking out Roger’s help. And when Jack
reached out, Roger always came through.
Henry recognized his friend’s distant glare.
Something big’s up, Henry
thought. I’d say this meeting is finished.
for a minute,” Jack said as he stood. “I’ve got to take care
By the time his thumb had triggered the call, Jack knew that
he would be flying someplace within the hour. … He just
didn’t know to where. Nor did he have any inclination as to
why his services would be required.
“What’s up?” Jack asked as Roger
“What the hell are you doing in South Dakota?” Roger barked.
“I thought you’d be sitting on the pier smoking a Havana and
nursing a JD. Whataya got going in …Deadwood?”
“A job. I’m
running down some leads on a murder. One that took place
in Newberry almost a century ago.”
“Newberry," Roger said. “That's
up by where you live. Right? In the UP. ... Look, Jack, you know I
wouldn’t be rattling your cage if I weren’t in a bind.”
“Of course. How can I help?”
“Can anyone at your end listen in on our conversation?”
“I’m just now approaching my truck. No one’s around. We’re
Jack knew that unless another person were physically within
earshot, his conversation with Roger would remain private.
That was because Roger had earlier installed an app on
Jack’s phone that would scramble both ends of the
conversation with 64-bit encryption.
“Something up with Allison?” Jack asked.
Because Roger was permanently attached to former first lady
Allison Fulbright’s secret service detail, it was only
logical for Jack to deduce that Roger’s dilemma would
most likely involve his charge, especially since in the past
Allison always seemed to challenge both Roger and Jack in
the most unconventional of fashions.
“You know,” Roger replied, “I really can’t answer that
question. She might be involved. I just can’t say for sure.
But, at this point, I can truthfully say that I have no
reason to suspect that she is. … The whole matter, however,
is much broader than Allison and her personal aspirations.”
Both Jack and Roger were well aware of Allison’s obsessive
desire to go back to the White House—this time as president,
rather than first lady.
“How about Bob?” Jack asked. “Is
The Bob Jack was referring
to was Bob Fulbright—the former president, and Allison’s
“No,” Roger said. “About that I’m quite certain. In fact,
Bob is my informant. He laid the whole matter out for me. At
least as much as he was at liberty to talk about.”
“The whole matter,” Jack repeated. “Just
what is this matter that you’re so concerned about? It
sounds a bit ominous.”
recently became aware that there is a credible plot to
assassinate the President of the United States.”
“Bob told you that?” Jack asked.
Jack knew the former president
well. In fact, during the early years of the Fulbright
Presidency he had worked very closely with then President
Fulbright. Back then, whenever circumstances presented the
president with a particularly unpleasant situation, he would
regularly turn to Jack to fix it. So, if Bob Fulbright
concluded that there did actually exist a real threat of a
presidential assassination, Jack would be the first to
consider it credible.
“Shit,” Jack groused. “If both Bob and you think this is
happening, then I’m sure there has to be something to it. …
But, isn’t this a job for the FBI? Or the Secret Service?
Why would you guys think that I could help you out when
you’ve got all these special agents at your disposal? We’re
talking about a presidential assassination.
“That’s just it, Jack,” Roger said speaking slowly. “The
Deep State is the problem.
They’re behind it.”
shocked. He just sat silently in his Tahoe pondering Roger’s
Finally, he spoke.
“You can’t be serious! The FBI and the Secret Service!?
You’re thinking that they are both involved?”
“Bob laid it out pretty clearly to me. He wants to talk to
you as well. He has contacts deep within those agencies, and
he told me that the threat is totally credible. In fact, he’s scared shitless
about it. I’ve never seen him like this. … You know how he
is. Always in control. On top of every situation. … But,
that’s not the case this time.”
“I can see why,” Jack said. “If one of his spooks spelled
this out to him, then someone must think that he’s
sympathetic. Otherwise, he would not have been approached.
So, if it gets back to whoever is heading this thing up,
that Bob is not all in, then he’ll have to be neutralized as
“Exactly how he sees it.”
“Assuming that this is a legitimate threat, do you or Bob
have any idea how … or when it’s to be carried out?”
“Yes to both.”
Jack paused for a moment while he digested his friend’s
words. Recognizing Jack’s consternation, Roger did not
interrupt the silence. Finally, Jack spoke.
“Let me see if I’ve got this right. You know who it is that's cooking up this plot. And you know both where and how
they intend to pull it off. Is that about right?”
“Pretty much,” Roger confirmed. “We know who the main
players are. Maybe not the specific assets who will be in
the field. But we know the ones who are behind it. And we
know where and when it’s going to happen.”
“Then it seems pretty simple to me. … Look, all you’d have
to do is pull the president out of that particular
situation. If you know it to be that dangerous. … Or
dramatically up the protection.”
“That’s the rub. The location chosen for the hit is
Singapore. Next week.”
“Holy shit! The summit?”
“Exactly. … That means we can’t pull POTUS out, we can’t
“And,” Jack interrupted, “there’s absolutely nothing you can
do provide adequate protection over there. Nothing.”
“That’s the dilemma. … The plan is to make it look like it’s
the work of the NOKOs.”
“What are they going to use?” Jack asked, somewhat in jest.
“Are they going to drop a mortar round on him?”
“Better than that. They’re going to use a black-market
“That’s a lot of firepower to take
out one man. Why not something more discrete? Like maybe a
“They want it to look like a NOKO coups
d’etat. With POTUS as collateral.”
hell do you protect against something like that?” Jack
asked. “It’d be impossible. It’s like putting your head
inside a crock’s mouth—you’re going to get it ripped off. …
Best way out would be to use a sacrificial double. It’d be
messy, but POTUS would survive.”
“We suggested that. But POTUS would have none of it. This
summit is too important to him. He sees himself as a cross
between Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi—if you can
“Then POTUS knows about it?”
“Not exactly. Bob explained to him the security nightmare
this meeting presented for the Secret Service. But he’s too
stubborn to walk away from the talks. … Even though that
seems to us like the only sensible thing to do, the
President will have none of it.”
“How is it that these players approached Bob in the first
place? What was that all about?”
“They knew that Bob did not like POTUS, and thought that he
might be willing to step into the vacuum the assassination
“That doesn’t make sense. What about the Vice President.”
“The plan is to impeach him. Apparently they’ve got
some serious dirt and are just waiting until the most
propitious time to drop that bomb. They believe that Bob’s
popularity, his gravitas, that Bob stepping up would provide
them the cover they will need until they can get someone of
their liking installed.”
“Maybe I’ve not read the Constitution lately,” Jack quipped,
“but I don’t think that this is how the founders intended
transitions to take place.”
“Hell, all they want to do is get through this without a
“And Bob is playing along?”
“What do you think? These spooks have the power to screw you
over six ways from Sunday.
If they even suspect that he is not all in, Bob’s a dead
Jack did not immediately respond. Instead he just leaned
back in his seat and closed his eyes.
I’m not likely to survive this
job, he reasoned. If
I succeed, or if I fail, I’m probably going to die. … And
I’m sure Roger and Bob fully appreciate what’s at stake.
The Deep State can’t let any of us live.
any way to thwart it from the inside?” Jack finally asked.
“Can a deal be struck with these actors?”
“I don’t think so. And anyone who might move forward with
that notion … Bob and I are pretty sure they would meet with
an unpleasant end. In fact, that’s already been tried, and
it ended badly. The would-be broker’s tongue was cut off and
mailed to his ex-wife’s apartment. It sent a very clear
“So,” Jack said. “Just how do you
boys expect me to fix this? I’ve grown rather fond of my
tongue … and every other part of my anatomy.”
Handler, a fictional character, is a retired Chicago
homicide detective who now works as a private security
contractor. Operating out of his condo on Sugar Island
(located in the St. Mary’s River between Michigan’s Upper
Peninsula and Canada), Jack frequently finds himself
traveling all over the world at the behest of his sometimes
shady, but always powerful, clientele. Henry, whose real
Native American name is Chuchip Kalyesveh,
is Jack’s best friend and right-hand man.)
* * *
was excerpted from Michael Carrier’s upcoming book, From Deep
State to Deadwood—Jack’s Oft-Derailed Journey Back to
Newberry (due out in April, 2019). It is
the thirteenth book in his Jack Handler saga (Greenwich
Village Ink, Publisher). Michael Carrier (MA, New York
University) worked as a private security contractor for over
a quarter of a century. You can see all of his hardboiled
thriller books at www.greenwichvillageink.com.