Wednesday, January 29, 2014

42. Counter-attack where the attacker must defend

Shannon Stone was at the foot of the T-Rex in the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution when Senator Alan Wells showed up at 2 pm on the dot.  

"Thank you, Ms. Stone, for taking time out to meet with me," said Wells.

They exchanged a warm handshake.

"It must be important if we can trust only the dinosaurs," she said with a reassuring smile.

"To both you and me, yes.  Unfortunately not in the way we hope.  I'd rather have you hear it from me than to see it in the 6 o'clock news."

Shannon looked at him questioningly, and was puzzled at the way he was looking at her.

"You don't happen to have a sister by any chance, do you?"

"No, I don't.  What's this about?"

"I'm sorry, Shannon, but I'm going to have to withdraw bill HR-1724."

"You what?!"

"I'm being blackmailed, and there is nothing I can do about it."

"Ah, let me guess.  It involves a video, correct?"

"H-how do you know?!"

"And it involves sexual entrapment."

"How do you know about this?  Damn it!  Is it already out there?!"

"Don't worry, it hasn't got out, not that I can see anyway, or have heard.  But, let me guess.  She is blonde, and bears some resemblance to me."


"Let's go to the coffee shop and sit down."

Over coffee, he told her about what happened in the park, and played the video for her on his laptop on the condition that she only listen and not watch.  He handed her a set of headphones, then pressed "Play" without orienting the screen towards her.  

Shannon listened for about three minutes, then asked Alan to pause the video.  She then pulled out her own mini-laptop, booted it up, opened the picture folder labeled "RB", and clicked on one of the thumbnails.  The face of Rebecca Bates filled the screen.  She rotated the laptop towards Alan and asked, "Is this her?"

Alan stared at the picture, wide-eyed.  Then nodded.  "Who's she?  How did you guess?"

"Her name is Rebecca Bates.  I guessed it was her because your video is not the only one of this nature I've heard of with her in it."

"You mean she is blackmailing somebody else?"

"Yes.  Maybe quite a few, but each thinking that he or she is the only victim, and are thus isolated.  At this point, I only know of another one."


"You will have to keep this strictly confidential."

"I promise."


"The President of the United States?!"

"The one currently in office." 

"My God!"
Alan sat back and thought for a moment, then said, "In my case, her agenda is to shut down HR-1724.  She hasn't tried to extort me for money.  So, it appears that her agenda is political.  Has she made any demands on the President?"
"I don't know.  All I know is that she has a very similar video with him, also taken inside a tent, would you believe."

"The President?  In a tent?" mused Alan incredulously.  "Ah, I know now!  It must be during his rhino hunt in Africa!"


"And Rebecca Bates is the woman who shot the rhino for him?  I haven't seen it, but I've heard of that viral video.  But now, I'm getting confused.  That video is not about what happens inside a tent."

"No, it is a different one."

"So, is the President doing anything about it?"

"Not that I know of.  It looks to me that Ms. Bates has him well in hand."

"As she has me," said Alan dejectedly.  "What do you know about her?"

"Well, she is easy, but also hard, to define.  The first word that comes to mind is 'Psychopath'.  She is arguably the best known female trophy hunter of our time, and therefore a proven serial killer, if only of wild animals.  She is also highly intelligent, though not enough to disbelieve the biblical account of Creation, but enough to be extremely scheming and devious.  She is highly energetic, ambitious, ruthless, reckless, heartless and seductive, and a transcendent liar to boot."

"Yeah, tell me about it," said Alan, head hanging.


"I don't suppose contacting the President is an option," Alan said as if to himself.

"It is always an option, Alan, but what good would it do, other than to alleviate the misery that loves company?"

"Yeah, and the First Lady might just add me to her Hall of Shame."

"While she laughs all the way to the bank."  

Alan thought for a beat.  "You know, I think you're right in that, Shannon, about her laughing all the way to the bank, I mean.  I have a feeling that she is not doing it on her own, that she is a hired gun, and that she might be raking it in like leaves in the Fall."

"She does strike me to be a mercenary for hire, loyal only to herself.  If so, considering the stature of her victims, her fee must be exorbitant, and so whoever contracted her must be super-rich, and must have a lot to gain by it.  Or else, if she blackmails directly for money, she could get pretty rich herself.  How many senators are there, and house reps, to begin with, besides the president?"

"And each victim of hers will think that he or she is the only one, and will cave in, the way that I'm doing," said Alan, his head bowed to the lowest.  Suddenly, he straightened up and said, "Give me a few days to think about this."

"Do you know Dr. Mark Lee?"

"I've heard of him."

"He is the one who found out about the video of the President.  He is well versed in The Art of War.  He once quoted from it something that has since stuck in my mind.  It says, 'When attacked, counter-attack where the attacker must defend.'  Think about it."

"I'd like to meet this Dr. Mark Lee."

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