This is a long story about a long story. Many years ago I was advise to call it a novel
It was time for another round and Pat bought this one. Pat seemed like a nice enough guy all right, but there also seemed to be something more to him.He was just one of those types of guys you get bad vibes off for no reason. But like I had said, mostly all good people.
By now me, Reed, Pat and Cody were kind of clumped together at the end of the bar. Pat restarted my story when he asked, “Well John, what happened after that?”
“Let’s see… Oh yeah, about three weeks later Bob found himself in hot water again, but this time it was really serious.
One day he wanted to finish up a certain section of map by . He needed some additional materials from the file room, just to recheck a few things. When he walked over to Wood’s station, Woods was no where in sight. Without thinking, he pushed on the closed file room door and it opened. Then he did a really stupid thing, he walked in.
It was very large brightly lit room and the walls were lined with steel file drawers from floor to ceiling. Down the middle of the room ran five long rows of double faced steel shelving. Each shelve was packed with tubes and map cases.
Bob proceeded down the aisle and passed an open doorway in the middle of the wall. It opened unto a large brightly lit map room, the one they called the “compounding room.” When he got to the end of the aisle he saw Woods with his back turned filing folders from a cart.He was just about to say something when Woods turned around. His face turned white, then instantly switched to a bright red as he shouted, “What the hell are you doing in here, Moran?” Before Bob could answer, Stan’s voice rang out from behind.
“Moran, Woods, get the f… over here now!” They walk back towards the cubicle room where Stan was standing in the doorway. Woods just mumbled under his breath, “We’re in major f….g trouble, man.”
Stan’s stern face confirmed Woods’ comment as he barked out, “Both of you come with me!”
They marched off to Walt’s office in silence. When they arrived Walt rose from his desk with a puzzled look on his face. “What’s the problem, Stan?” “We have a breach here, Walt. I found Mr. Moran here right in the middle of the file room.”
Walt stared coldly at Bob and asked mildly in a lower toned voice. “What were doing in the file room Bob?”
“I guess I kind of walked in accidental like. I’m afraid I wasn’t thinking.”
“Wasn’t thinking, huh? Just find yourself a seat outside and wait.”
As soon as Bob left, Walt continued on with Woods.
“Woods, how the f… does someone get into the file room when the door is locked?”
“Sir, I did close the door behind me. I swear it! I just turned around and he was there. I swear I don’t know how he got in.”
Walt then turned Stan. “Get two security people in here.”
Stan left and Walt continued on with Woods. “How long was he in there?”
“I was only in there for three minutes, so it could have been any longer than that. I swear Mr. Douglas; I closed that door behind me.”
“Are you telling me he has a key?” “I don’t know sir.”
“Well, we’ll find out soon enough”
Just then Stan came back with two crew cut burly guys in suits. He told one of them to stay outside and keep and eye on Bob.
Walt told Woods to go back to the file room and shut it down and turn his keys over to Stan.
“Then go home Woods and I want to see you back here in my office tomorrow at sharp.”
Woods left with his head hung low and didn’t say a word as he passed by Bob.
Then Walt told the security guy to bring Bob in and have his man take paraffin samples off all of the latch plates.
When Bob reentered, Walt had a subtle aggressive look on his face and continued the inquiry. “Have a seat Bob. We seem to have a real serious problem here. Now tell me again how you happened to end up in that room.”
Bob reiterated his story. When he finished Walt glared, “Bob, I’m going to be a nice guy and ask you to go with this gentleman and submit to a search. If you wish to refuse, I have to inform you that you don’t really have any choice in the matter. I can have you arrested and searched if you prefer it that way.”
I’ll submit to the search, Mr. Douglas, but I didn’t do anything.”
Bob left with the security man, just as Stan returned to the office.
Stan immediately grumbled, “Walt you have to fire that son of a bitch, even if he comes back clean.” “He’s just a kid, Stan and a damn good worker.” “You know the rules, Walt, when in doubt, shoot to kill.” “I make the final decisions around here, Stan, and don’t forget that.” “Okay Walt, but if he’s clean and you keep him on, you better make a serious impression on him.” “I will Stan; I’m thinking carrot and stick. We’ll suspend him from the “Rifles” and then save him from the draft board.”
“Sound good to me Walt, but you’re forgetting one thing.” “What’s that?” “Suppose he is a mole?” “Well, let’s suspend him for two weeks and put him under surveillance and see what they say.” “Sounds like a plan to me Walt.”
Five minutes later the security guy returned with Bob. “He’s clean, Mr. Douglas.” “Okay, you can leave us now.”
Walt quickly turned to Bob. “Have a seat. By entering that room, Bob you not only violated the rules, you’ve also broken federal law. Now you’re work around here, up to now, has been exceptional. So this one time, and one time only, I’m going to be lenient with you. But a mistake is a mistake and I’m afraid you’ll have to pay for yours. So I’ve decided to suspend you for two weeks without pay.” “Do you accept that Bob?” “I guess I have to, don’t I sir.” “That’s right, but I also want you to know that if you screw up again after you return, I will send you straight to hell, understood?” “Understood sir!”
There was no doubt in Bob’s mind that he was into some heavy shit alright.
“So what happened?”
Well, Cody, the next day Bob showed up as usual to his Patton Rifles meeting. As soon as he walked into the room, Captain Pope immediately approached him.
“Moran, step outside for a minute. They walked out into the darken hallway and Pope let him have it.
“Moran, you’re suspended from the Rifles until further notice, now hand me your crests.” Bob was startled. “Why sir, what did I do?” ‘Who said you did anything, you’re just out for now.” “But why, don’t I at least get an explanation?” “You want an explanation, Moran? Well let’s just say you let the Colonel down.” “How did I let the Colonel down, sir?” “You know what you did.” “No I don’t Captain.” “Well in that case, let’s just say your too naïve and leave it at that. Oh...and Moran you’re still in Corps, of course, but I don’t want you hanging around my people for now, you got that?” “Yes sir.”
That night Bob was on the phone with Kenny for about an hour. Kenny told him, that Pope said, “anyone who wanted to hang around with him could resign from The Rifles right now.’ “He didn’t go into details, Bob, but he had a way of making his point. I don’t have any idea what you did buddy, but they definitely have the horns out for you, for sure.”
“I think it’s because I screwed up at the job the Colonel got me, Ken.” “What happened?” “Just something stupid, I walked into a room I that wasn’t supposed to and they made a federal case out it. They suspended me from the job for two weeks.” “Well, just ride it out, buddy, I’m sure it will pass.”
That was just the start of Bob’s troubles. Two days later he received a notice from his draft board. The notice told him to report for his pre-induction physical. He immediately took it up with the school and they told him it was probably a mistake and that he should just go down there and explain that he had a student deferment and was in the ROTC and they would straighten it out.
When he went down to Whitehall Street though, they gave him the run around. They made him take the physical and told him if he didn’t straighten it out in two weeks he’d have two years in the army to get it straight. So he spent the next week running papers back and forth between Whitehall Street and the school. At the end they just told him that they’d review his case and let them know their decision.
Yup, Bob was under a lot pressure all right and the only one he could really talk to was me. He didn’t have all of the behind the scenes details at the time, so his story seemed a little paranoid to me.
“John, I’m sure I’m being watched now.” “Being watched by who?” “I’m not positive, but I think it’s the FBI.” “Bob, why would the FBI want to watch a college sophomore? You think they’re preparing a study on boring life styles in New York City or something?” “I’m not joking around, John. After church Sunday, I bought a paper and decided to read it in J Park. A couple of blocks from the newsstand, I notice this guy following me about a half block back. So I walked three blocks out of the way to the park. He stayed with me even when I was walking in the wrong direction. When I got to the park I just found a bench and started to read. After five minutes I looked up and he was sitting five benches away reading his paper. I caught him looking at me a couple of times, but he’d just quickly put his face back into his paper. ” “Did he follow you home?” “No I kept watch but I didn’t see him.”
“Bob I think you’re starting to imagine things. Look, if the FBI was following you, I doubt you’d be able to pick them up. They just got too much practice at it. Besides, why would they have an interest in you?”
Then for a second it crossed my mind that may be they were investigating me. After all, one of the guys had gotten into car sales. The rumor was that Little Joe was driving a lot of new luxury cars to a warehouse next to a pier in New Jersey and taking the bus home. Joe of course, didn’t own any new luxury cars, so that was a federal offense okay…but nah…I didn’t think they’d be looking for me. So I asked Bob again, “Why would they be following you?” Bob took a deep breath and said, “I’m sure it’s this job, John. There’s something else going on there. People keep referring to the boss as Colonel, but he swears he’s just a civilian contractor. Then there are all of these generals popping in all of the time now. Just look at all the trouble I got in just for walking into the wrong room. I got searched by Security People. They even threatened me with jail.” “Did they fire you?” “No I ended up getting suspended for two weeks.”
It did seem a little strange to me, but I thought a little reassurances would relax him. “Hey Bob, companies have private security people all of the time. Maybe your boss is a retired colonel, you know, like with the old confederacy, the title sticks.” “Then how come I got suspended from The Rifles and now the draft board is breathing down my neck?”
“I don’t know about The Rifles Bob, but the draft board does screw up occasionally. Didn’t they draft some guy's dog last month?” “Look John, I ain’t kidding about this.” "Then lose the damn job Bob.” “I can’t, I need the money for school.” “Okay, then join my gang and become a thief.” “That ain’t funny, John.” “ Okay, okay... Look Bob, you’re not doing anything wrong are you?” “Of course not.” “Well, then, even if they’re following you, and I don’t think they are so what’s the big deal?
I don’t think my reassurances helped much, but it was the best I could do at the time. Finally the two weeks passed and Bob went back to work at Argyle. The first order of business was a half hour lecture by Walt and a review of the rules with Stan. It was a little different for a while, every time Bob turned around it seemed like Stan was looking over his shoulder. But after a couple of days, that seemed to have tapered off.
That same first week back the draft board called Bob down again for another interview. He was advised that deferments and even membership in the ROTC did guarantee that he wouldn’t be drafted. They further informed him that deferments were granted strictly at the discretion of the board and there are no rights or guarantees involved. Then they told him that he should prepare for the possibility of being in the service next month.
Naturally panic set in and Bob didn’t know where to turn. So as a last resort he brought the matter to Walt’s attention.
Walt told him, “If this were two weeks ago Bob I’d be telling you, see you in two years buddy. However, you seem to be getting back with the program. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do Bob. As you are probably aware, we do have a little influence with the military around here. So I’ll get this fixed for you. But if you screw up again, or quit, then you’re on your own, understood?” “Yes sir, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this Mr. Douglas.” “Don’t worry about it Bob, just keep up the good work.”
At the end of the day, Walt called Stan into his office. “Stan, you don’t worry about any problems with Mr. Moran anymore. We own him.”