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Excerpt from To Seek the Wind of Sorrow

'To Seek the Wind of Sorrow'.Washington, DC: White House:
Dan Quarry

‘No, it’s a sealed file and requires the President's authorisation for removal from the deep list archives.’ Dan Quarry shook his head slowly, his face expressionless watching the play of emotions in the body language of man facing him. Quarry felt older than he was and wondered if serving three radically different Presidents over the years, first as a field operative and now finally as Deputy Head of the CIA had accelerated his cynicism. The man scowling across from the massive desk had a reputation as a brilliant political organiser and many believed his strategy had led to the recent installation of President Abbot Nearing in the meanest, most vicious and tightly contested battle for the Presidency Quarry had ever witnessed. He was also, Quarry knew from agent reports, a ruthless operator who broke men and women’s careers if crossed.

He wondered how in the hell had this jumped up political hack had even heard of the Molnar/DuPlessis file, then he remembered he’d asked the file section to compress the deep archive files to make space for the accumulation of new data. Despite all the security clearances someone had let a hint drop. He sighed, pushing himself up from the chair he’d been sitting on. ‘I’m sorry, Mr Costa but that particular file is ancient history and frankly has no bearing on events today.’

The smile reminded Quarry of a particularly unpleasant aunt he’d been forced to visit as a child: Aunt Renata a spinster, which was no surprise, given the waspish tongue and ascerbic wit that could demolish his father, a gentle man, in minutes. He’d learnt as a child to please the Gorgon, as his father called her, to save his adored father from being constantly reminded, ‘To spare the rod is to spoil the child.’ Not given to snap judgements Quarry startled himself with the strong surge of antipathy he had for the man now facing him.

‘Surely that’s a decision for the President to decide?’ The smile widened, ‘So if you’d be kind enough Director to send it up today?’

Quarry smiled back, ‘Of course, as soon as the President or the Secretary sends an official memo requesting the file I’ll ensure the President receives it.’ He turned the knife, ‘It is, as you are aware, for his or the Secretary’s eyes only and once read will be re sealed and returned to the archives.’

The smile had disappeared and the voice dropped an octave lower. ‘I don’t think you quite understand Director. As Chief of Staff I represent the President and as such expect my requests to be treated as coming from the President.’

Quarry nodded thoughtfully reaching for his coat draped over an adjoining chair. ‘Mr Costa I understand your position but would reiterate when on receipt of an official memo, which will be logged, I’ll arrange for the release of the file.’ He shrugged his arms into the coat; it was raining outside and cold. ‘Please understand my position. Since verbal requests for classified information were requested by your opposite number in the previous administration who then denied all knowledge of the files when the Tanker project became public knowledge we in the trenches have become risk averse even if, as in this case, there is nothing in the Molnar file to cause your administration a problem.’ He hoped this suave prick would assume the Molnar/DuPlessis file was no longer important and faced with a paper trail would drop the issue,

Perhaps he should give Tom a call. Turning back to face the Chief of Staff who had now risen Quarry smiled grimly, ‘It was, I understand, your questions to the previous press secretary that caused the, ‘dark night fiasco’ as the Tanker file was called by the press. Anyway, I’m certain a man of your political ability can appreciate our reluctance to be caught twice.’

‘I’m sorry Dan.’ This time the smile appeared genuine. ‘I didn’t intend to put you in an untenable position. My apologies. I’ll draft a memo for the President’s signature and it should be on your desk in a day or two.’

Dan Quarry was under no illusions the Chief of Staff was at all apologetic and he now had an enemy in the making. ‘Thank you Manfred. I knew you’d understand,’ holding out his hand for the obligatory handshake.

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The East Wind | To Taunt a Wounded Tiger | A Lie to Comfort the Dying | The Gatekeeper of Lies | The Consequence of Memory | To Seek the Wind of Sorrow

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