Trina and Lynn, the young lovers, had moved to Graham in 1981, after he finished his master’s in international law to go with a degree in military law he had from Georgetown. She had picked up two masters, one in journalism and one in government.
He had earned an associate degree while a grunt in Vietnam. It was either extension courses or catch the clap from one of the camp hookers. Enlisted men could only, rarely afford the real, talented, and gorgeous pros who were tested on a weekly, if not daily basis for STDs.
Although, he did available himself of one on occasion. She did as she was asked – teach him how to really please a woman. She eventually charged him only half her going rate – he was a really good student – if she charged him at all! He was a really good student.
Working for Ford, while Veepep, he finished off his undergraduate degree in political science. The law degrees were specialties – military and maritime.
Trina had a degree in journalism having graduated from high school two years early in 1969 before attending Northwestern University on a partial fencing scholarship – a real oddity for Texas girl – graduating in December 1972.
She was the oldest of five children, three girls and two boys, born to a lawyer and his prototypical housewife from a county 60 miles to the northeast of Graham.
Because of a fencing contact’s recommendation, she stunned her college classmates landing an entry-level political reporter’s job with the Washington Post just a year (1974) after working for the Christian Science Monitor, one of the country’s most stable, and most respected newspapers in the country, even if it was stuck, literally, in the middle of a corn field.
Bar hopping with a couple of the older, single secretaries at the Post just three months into her job, Trina overheard a couple of middle-aged, closely cropped men pissing and moaning in their drinks about ‘their idiot bosses’ who had wasted the lives of three Seals on some secret ‘fact finding mission’ for ‘the agency.’
Since she had nursed her first drink and only just had her second placed in front of her, and since her table was quiet because her two girlfriends had been asked to dance – more like vertically groping to a beat with two junior gophers from some Congressman’s office in time with the slow songs – she was able to hear more than one typically could in such an establishment.
From there she dug, and researched, and yes, flashed a little flesh, just hints, to piece together what the two men – men she later learned were classmates at the Naval Academy, one a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps the other a commander in the Navy, and both Navy Seals – said was correct.
A half-baked CIA plan had cost three special operators their lives in some backwater, tribal warfare infested nation in Africa, and left four others wounded. Two of the wounded had to be medically retired thus the spooks’ idiocy cost Special Forces five of its highly trained operators.
‘The agency,’ which even rookie Trina recognized was the Central Intelligence (another of DC’s special oxymorons she also quickly learned) Agency was looking for some dirt on Russia, or Cuba or Communist Chinese involvement in the nation.
‘Fucking fools grasping at straws,’ one of the drunk special operators said one night in the dingy bar far from the typical military hangouts as he wallowed in remorse that he failed to die with his friends as he opened up to the attractive lady from Texas.
Trina spent several sleepless nights trying to understand the man’s attitude that survival was a failure. After discussing it with three others, she finally understood – the loss of his fellow operators was a failure of the family.
The series of stories – and oh her bosses grilled her and grilled her, and quadruple checked her facts – made her a name.
As she pulled on the threads of disgruntled special operators’ remorse, and their wives and college-age daughters – Trina could dress and act 16, or dress and act 32 – the story kept growing.
The Agency had been using, through half-baked truths and mutual back-scratching arrangements with a handful of wanna-be power brokers in the Pentagon, who were jealous of the Special Operators because they didn’t have ‘the right stuff’ to be one themselves, to conduct a series of high-risk, low reward clandestine operations.
Trina had no problem learning, and reporting, that many times, at harrowing risk, the special operators had gained useful information. At times critical information. And those story lines needed to be told so the country did not lose faith in a valuable program that needed better leadership. She never offered that opinion, instead she quoted others – frequently highly respected, retired officers, and politicians to make those points.
She had learned to admire their commitment to country, family and the team. Deeply admired them. Her stories pointed out through the comments of experts where there had been failures artemisbet yeni giriş of leadership, and where there had been successes.
And she had a skill at tying loose ends together stringing complex facts into a clear presentation of times, dates, places and players so the readers would be enthralled and curious. Best of all the readers became enraged at the waste of these fine young men – these ‘heroes of the nation’ as Trina described them in a sidebar author’s impressions piece her editors recommended, she craft – as she fought to tell the story of the immense grief their wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who were bereft with worry without a full explanation of when, where and how their loved ones had died. That information was conveniently buried by The Agency under the cloak of ‘national security.’
By the time her seven-week series of 19 stories, and 47 follow-ups was over, it had gotten her a pass, a junior pass albeit, but a pass nevertheless to work nights and weekends in the White House Press Corps. That would turn into a major pass when the series won a Pulitzer Prize for her, and a wide team of co-writers and editors.
But her name was listed first in the announcement!
Her face-to-face questioning in press conferences was clear and concise. The answers she elicited, regardless of what they were, would later appear relevant in the stories she wrote.
Her brethren first thought the questions were unconnected to anything significant only to be reamed out by their editors for not realizing a press conference statement provided an ‘official coverup of clandestine operations.’
Late one evening while working in the Executive Office Building in the early spring of 1976, as she headed towards the pressroom to pick up the evening briefing paper, she caught the glimpse of a semi-familiar face. It was one from her teenage years. It was ‘that guy!’ “The Quiet One,” as she thought of him when she visited the Ducks in Denton.
Before she was born, her parents were living in veteran’s housing at UT where they become friends with three other ex-military couples. One of them was the Ducks. The husband would become a highly successful pharmacist with three sons who were each a year younger than Trina and her two sisters.
While visiting them one day, Archie, the oldest son was heading out to a senior Boy Scouting meeting and this guy – this hunk – came to the house to pick him up.
He was polite. He smiled. His eyes danced as he checked Trina and her sisters out from of the corner of his eye, never staring overtly, and he would only say that he was giving Archie a ride to a meeting to plan a 14-day hiking trip in the mountains to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
Trina’s family had bummed around the four corners area and knew of the 214-square mile scout camp on the east slope of the Sangre de Christo and Waite Philips’ summer mansion Villa de Phimonte. They had actually toured the Villa.
They also knew that Archie and his brothers while all big, strapping young men, they were geek types who didn’t fit in with the jocks. And they really did not fit in with the outdoorsy types either. But here Archie was about to undertake what she later learned was a ‘rite of passage’ for young men into adulthood.
The surprising thing was The Quiet One was a jock.
Kenny, Archie’s youngest brother, gushed after the two had left about how he was a two-time All-State linebacker and tight end, two time All-State-Tournament point guard and had won five gold medals at the state track meet each of the last two years. He was the jock’s jock who was also an Eagle Scout.
Over the years Trina would bump into him 5, 6 times a year as they visited the Ducks at least once a week on her way to and from fencing lessons at Texas Woman’s University.
Always he was polite. His eyes would dance when he saw her, but he never even asked her out on a Coke date, even though she had practiced some her best flirting moves on him that had previously never failed her. And she had a half dozen boys at home in Decatur following her scent like infatuated puppies. She even once had all five of them show up at the same time – just to see if she could keep things from getting physical while enjoying the entertainment.
Late in his senior year, what should have been her sophomore but was also her senior year, she learned that his mother had been killed in a car wreck involving a multi-millionaire’s underage, intoxicated daughter. It left him an orphan; Mr. Duck told her parents one evening while visiting in her family’s home.
She also learned that one of the scuttlebutt rumors at Denton High School was he and beauty queen Phyllis George had been an item two years earlier. Although some said it was just for company to social events. Others said it was more serious and physical. Supposedly, they had even done the nasty!
Trina found that concept intriguing.
Trina had to admit, the woman seemed like artemisbet giriş the girl next door, but suspected while she might be a lady outside the house, in the bedroom she just might be the same hot stuff, as the boys dreamed about.
Then, six years later she saw him heading behind one of the controlled access doors at the White House. It was a door that members of the press never got to go behind unless highly vetted and highly escorted.
A week later, as she was leaving at 2:30 a.m. at the end of her shift, having gleaned a dozen ‘nothing’ stories, two of which might make the paper, she headed for one of the few bar/diners in the district open that late – or that early depending on your point of reference – which actually served palatable food.
Trina walked in wearing slacks and a matching jacket over a white blouse – she wasn’t going to be on camera working the graveyard, but she couldn’t bring herself to dress slummy. Although some of the career late nighters, male and female, did.
Especially the men who could always get away with dressing like slobs.
But let a woman do that, and she was a tramp, or a lez, or something else bad. Something the men can use to try and denigrate the women and keep their talents from passing by the lazy and the inept, and the alcoholic men.
One reason the bar was open was it had a really good grill. And she couldn’t stomach another cold, tasteless sandwich from the vending machine outside the press room.
Sitting in one of the booths near the back – her observer training always kicked in and she subconsciously people watched – she ordered a rum and coke. She would limit herself to one, maybe two taking a taxi home. But first she was eating a Rueben sandwich, chips and a pickle at the diner.
She had been looking out the window at the few passing vehicles wondering why the occupants were up so late, or so early, when suddenly a man slid onto the bench seat across from her.
“Long time no see Tex,” said The Quiet One as he reached over and picked up her half-eaten pickle and took a bite out of it as his laughing eyes watched to see what her reaction would be.
Lynn had caught her daydreaming and not noticing him come in.
He was also looking for something to eat after a long night. It would be a longer day as he had to give the chief a report in about six hours before even dreaming about sleep.
Fortunately, his boss was a kind man and would ask an honest question expecting an honest answer. Meaning he would be sent home to sleep after giving him his report.
“Oh. My,” Trina said, slightly blushing and trying not to stare. Then she acted a bit pissed off that he would presume eat her food.
“I saw you the other night in the press room as I was heading to, well to get deliver some information,” Lynn said torn between being honest with this Texas vision, a connection to happier, more innocent days against the need for operational security.
“I saw you too, but by the time I was certain it was you, you were gone,” she said softly her mind racing trying to decide how to proceed. “I was hoping to at least say ‘hi’.
“So ‘Hi!’,” she smiled sitting up straighter reaching out to take the pickle out of his hand and bite off half of the remainder handing the rest back to him.
She could tell he was tired. What she didn’t know was he had done some quiet research – under the cover of self-preservation. Her brief history of reporting in DC was directly in his backyard what with him being Passkey’s adviser on special operations.
Frankly, she had unearthed and revealed just enough threads that he could finally unravel The Agency’s connection into Special Forces which had been eluding him. Prior to that, the agency had been plausibly denying the president’s angry inquires. But after her stories, even though they did not name names in The Agency, the dates, and descriptions were enough for Lynn to ferret out the truth and identify the scoundrels.
It was enough that his boss and the new boss of The Agency, a fellow Texan of his mother’s generation, could affect some real changes in that agency. Maybe even quell some of its cowboy tendencies, which had really exploded during the Vietnam debacle. Some would even contend that the debacles which seemed permeate the US’s involvement in Nam were most, if not all, attributable to The Agency!
At the president’s angry demands, Lynn had quietly put an end to it. So quietly that the Post had not caught drift of it – yet.
Although his boss had stated out loud what Lynn had said to himself, ‘When they get wind of it, I hope they get it right that I was pissed,’ the president said the day after Lynn did his master’s bidding and stepped on a some more influential dicks in the five-sided looney bin.
The Boss, as he thought of the man, or Passkey to the Secret Service, was angry at the senseless loss of lives and the waste of valuable resources. Not at the press.
The Boss’ attitude towards artemisbet güvenilirmi the working media – as opposed to the golden throats and the pretty boys – was it kept everyone on their toes and generally, the vast majority on the straight and narrow.
“Hi back. I’ll plead guilty. I’ve followed your career here in DC. Good work. You have good instincts,” he said.
“But as we only were ships-in-the-night acquaintances I didn’t think about meeting with you until after the other night,” Lynn said, realizing he was attracted to her, as a woman, as an intellect, and as, maybe, more. He knew her background. He knew she was an overachiever who had scruples and morals.
“Obviously you work in the White House. And I did try to do a little checking on you, but it’s like your name is the third rail on the subway – verboten!” she said, looking down at her drink glancing up through her eyelashes to watch his inquisitive face.
“No one wants to admit you exist. Or they are afraid of you. Or they really, really, REALLY don’t like you – and probably fear you as well as even burning with hate, they won’t reveal but the barest of scintillating details about you,” she smiled, her eyes showing intelligent curiosity as she waited to see if he would reveal any cards.
And he didn’t, darn him. Mr. Stoneface still!’ she grumbled to herself.
“For now, can I get away with I work for The Boss and not go into details?” he asked softly confirming more than he normally did, especially when dealing with the fourth estate. There was a hint of pleading in his voice making her think she could push for more. She tilted her head to the side and studied his face seeing hesitancy, concern and a bit of angst and hope.
Her instinct was to play the waiting game. Plus, he was handsome, built like a pro football player – no surprise there considering his pedigree.
She knew he graduated fourth in his high school class, in addition to his athletic prowess including three bronze medals at the Mexico Olympics – she earned one of her own there, getting a silver at Munich and she was favored to win gold next year – so he was smart. Super smart according to the few sources who would reveal just a few breadcrumbs of facts about him.
“How about this, if there’s ever anything we talk about that cross into your field of work, you set the ground rules and I’ll follow. Besides I want to find out what I was missing in high school when you wouldn’t respond to my flirts,” she said, sinking a hook, hard to see what the reaction might be.
“You were the only fish I didn’t at least land for a first date,” she said, “and a first kiss,” then blushing slightly.
Lynn’s food arrived causing some confusion on Trina’s face making him smile at her confusion.
“Oh, I told Mildred ‘The usual’ when I saw you sitting here and headed back to see what might develop,” he smiled. “When I’m in town, which is irregularly, I eat here about three mornings a week – either coming in early or leaving late.”
Trina smiled and reached over and picked up his French fry and delicately, almost sensuously put it between her teeth slowly and then just as slowly bit off a piece before holding it out for him to take the second bite, then she bit the third and then he the fourth and final bite, never taking his eyes off of her.
“Can I ask you something – so I won’t touch that third rail – actually two things. One is I want to get caught up after you disappeared after graduation. The Ducks knew a few bits and pieces. And two, so I know what not to step in, are you the president’s man on special forces?” she asked, rattling him, hard, she saw.
With a fork of eggs halfway to his face Lynn stared, and then glared at her as he slowly lowered his fork to his plate.
For a moment Trina thought he was mad, furious with her. She actually was wondering if he was capable of violence – there were hints of that flashing across his face as she realized there were scars on both arms and one hand, and the hint of one under his open collar.
Then his face softened, as did his eyes, although they started dancing.
“Well, I hope I am a fast learner and remember you are smart, really smart. And I knew that from your stories. Knew that from the crowd you had been writing about – and the fact that they respect you. Some of them begrudgingly,” he said, suddenly reaching out with both his hands to take hers and pull them halfway across the table.
“Do you agree in the future not to ask me about what I do? Did? Where I’ve been, other than in town or out?” he asked, a hint of pleading in his voice, waiting for her response.
Surprising herself, and flying in the face of her reporter’s instincts, she nodded her head in agreement. She really did want to know this man – and probably in a Biblical sense even before the other, she smiled to herself.
“Then I’ll agree to never lie to you, and to tell you what I can,” he said picking her left hand up with his right and kissing it briefly on the back while smiling. It was a gentle, whisper of a kiss, a dry kiss, but it was loaded with expression, with emotion, and even, Trina realized, a hint of lust.
“Then the answer to your question is ‘yes,’ and for obvious reasons I cannot tell you more,” he said.