Many people wonder what it is exactly that makes the world go round. Some believe it’s money, others believe it’s power, and then there are those poor ignorant souls who believe that it’s love. There are many ways to stack the odds on one or the other in a good old fashioned debate, but all would be lost if there wasn’t one simple aspect of the equation available to either rhetorician.
Some would still argue that power is the true motivator of humanity, but in fact, the means to the end is always far more important than the tool used to reach that end. Give a man a tool; the tool alone will do nothing if he has not knowledge with which to use it.
Information is what makes the world go round, because you could be the biggest, bad ass mother fucker on this side of the Orion arm; but if you don’t know what you’re after, what your goals are, or where your enemy is, you may as well be an invalid sitting in your own shit.
Then again, I have to give credit to the tool as well. It’s a symbiotic relationship I suppose, especially for those who work the word, those like myself. Information is the means. Money, power... love; those are the ends.
A man in my position never sells himself short, and always knows when to cut and run. Now I’m not a Jihadist, but I learned a few good things from some radical Muslims I spent “some time” with in the middle east. Their system of belief is based on the fact that God will decide when you die. That the time is pre-ordained, and that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, your life will end then, at that specific pre-destined moment. Whether you’re in your bed, watching television, or out walking the dog.
Now, knowing that death is out of their hands puts a lot of power into the choices and opportunities these people consider. They’re willing to take greater risks in life in order to live it at it’s fullest.
Some who learn from this lesson, take those opportunities to go sky diving.
Others take that opportunity to strap a well concealed vest of plastique to their chest and blow themselves up in a crowded market, praising God just before flipping the switch.
I don’t quite go that way. I take the lesson in stride, and use these new found opportunities to do things that take a bit of gusto, you know; bravado, cohones.
I use those opportunities to do things like what I happened to be doing at the moment this whole monologue entered my mind. I happened to be elbow deep in the passenger window of a vehicle owned by an absent minded motorist. Mind you, if I were so inclined, a coat hanger could have done the trick as well.
Someone from across the street was eyeing me as I fumbled for the door lock. “You need a hand?”
“No, that’s alright, I just dropped my keys. Thanks though.” The door opened with a satisfying pop. “See.” I exclaimed to the wary gentlemen across the street. “Got it! Just need to grab the keys” Really I meant the wallet that was laying on the center console, “And I’m off! Thanks again.”
“No problem.” The man muttered with little concern as he turned to continue the monotony of his daily life.
You never know what you might get out of someone’s wallet. Regardless of how petty some of my colleagues may believe theft to be, it is still, and always will be, the chief and most direct rout to information. You could get nothing from it, you could get five dollars! Or you could get a credit card number, or even better, a social security number.
Mr. Alexander Jones Prescott was going to be having a very bad month if things went anywhere near the way I intended them to go. Oh, a subway card!
Once I policed any valuable information, subway card included, I stripped the wallet clean and began to dispose of it. That’s when the phone on my hip vibrated. I took it from the holster and flipped it open, after taking a quick glance to the caller I.D. of course. Hey, a guy like me has to be a bit paranoid to survive in a world like this.
“Nick!” came the familiar voice on line.
“Yes Mr. Carlton, what would you like?” I replied, in the best business type voice I could muster.
“You know that favor you owe me?”
My eyebrow peaked, “No, I certainly do not. What favor?” I asked, somewhat annoyed with the obvious confrontational mood of the conversation.
“Never mind, I’ll get straight to the chase. Did you hear about that camp they were setting up in the Nevada desert?” he says.
I rolled my eyes in complete awareness of my arrogance. “Do I have to remind you who you’re talking to?”
“Well, I need some info.”
“Who doesn’t Mr. Carlton. I’d like to know, so I can kill ‘em. They’re bad for business.” Dark humor was always a good getaway.
“Damn it Nick, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Trevor?”
“More times than you already have Mr. Carlton.”
“Look, apparently there’s something going on in Nevada. Something more than just admitting the uninsured sick.”
“They should move to Canada.”
“Very funny. Point is, I need you to go down there and get me all you can get, I’ll pay you the usual rate.”
Mr. Trevor Carlton payed handsomely for my information. The first time he employed me was in 2002. I thought he was a reporter, searching for that big break. But then, after a routine surveillance job, he asked me to do something far more... interesting, and by direct incidence, far more expensive. He wanted me to follow the target. When I told him his man was going to Syria, he said “I know, I’ll pay the usual rate.”
So I got a plane ticket and purchased a Kalashnikov within ten minutes of setting foot in the country.
This man was no reporter.
“I’m in Canada at the moment, when do you want me in Nevada?”
“As soon as humanly possible.” He said, and then hung up.
Things were getting interesting. I wasn’t sure what I was going to find in Nevada, and how I was going to find it. But one thing was for sure, as soon as I set foot in the United States, I’d be procuring a firearm.