Tom had arrived at headquarters to find that Ken had asked to be released from the case. It was ironic, really. Tom had also requested to be released. He’d had his fill of the sordid case. It was too much. Too evil. Too dark.
It had kept him from getting a good night’s sleep since the very beginning, the lack growing as he had dived deeper into the files. Both he and Ken had suffered extremely dark nightmares that had affected their relationships. Even having put a face to the evil had not helped either. It had only made the nightmares worse.
The only solution was to quit the case. It would take Tom years of therapy to get rid of the nightmares. Kendrick wouldn’t be so lucky. He wouldn’t ever be rid of it. It would destroy his marriage, then his life.
Now, both men stood before Eddy. They could tell that he wasn’t at all pleased. “So you both want to leave the case, eh? Too much for ya? Bah. You ain’t men, you’re mice. Fine. But you also have to find work.
“I can’t have women masquerading as men on my team. I shoulda known you both were weak. Get outta my sight.”
Ken opened his mouth to say something, but Tom stopped him. Grabbing his friend’s arm, Tom gently tugged at him to get him to follow. Once out of Eddy’s office, He looked at Ken. “It wouldn’t have done much good, what you had to say. He would have found any excuse to have you arrested for libel or some other charge.”
Ken turned to him. “What now? I mean, this job was my life.”
Tom smiled sadly. “There’s always the CIA. I hear they need some new recruits.”
Ken seemed to perk up. “Yeah. Like they’ll really take us. Eddy has probably smeared our names to every possible employer in the region.”
Tom chuckled. “Eddy doesn’t have that kind of power, Ken. At least, not at the moment. Besides. The director of the CIA can’t stand Eddy.”
Ken shrugged. “The the CIA it is.”
Tom nodded. “Yep. But first, we clean out our desks and our lockers.”
Ken smiled. “Indeed.”
J. Edgar Hoover was fuming. He’d had such high hopes for those two, but they had been revealed as spineless cowards. Damn. It was so hard to find good agents. So many seemed to peter out on cases, such as this, where there was an exceptional amount of evidence to pick through. They weren’t like him, they couldn’t push themselves beyond their limits and still bounce back. they couldn’t seem to be able to separate the work they had been given from their lives.
He hated weaklings. They were no better than women in his eyes. Hell. They were women. Women with balls.
He frowned. Now he had to find two more agents to take over the case his top agents had just vacated. He was sure that the weakening of American men was a commie plot to take the country over. Damn commies.
They had created the homosexual community to drain the country of strong men. Eddy loved strong men. He was drawn to them. He loved them.
He shook himself. He had no need to dwell on his personal problems. He had to assign new agents to the French case. He just hoped he could find a couple of strong agents who could handle it. He needed to find a couple of single agents to handle it. That way, they wouldn’t have family to worry about.
He needed to make a rule that limited the eligibility of prospective agents to single men. Women had already been given a reluctant entrance, though he was not thrilled with the idea. He hated women. They were too much bother.
Tom and Ken arrived at CIA headquarters a mere three hours after getting fired by Eddy. Neither had believed they would ever be here in a million years. But here they were. Director Allen Dulles had agreed to speak with them and it all sounded so promising.
They were ushered quickly to Dulles’ office, where they waited for him to return from a meeting. After about ten minutes, he reappeared. He smiled at them. “I take it Eddy kicked you out for having to quit the case you were on?”
Tom nodded, perplexed. “Yes, but how did you know?”
Dulles’ eyes twinkled. “You’re not the first to show up here after being…expelled. You are the youngest, though. No matter. His loss is our gain.”
Tom blinked. “You mean?…”
Dulles nodded. “Welcome aboard.” He turned away for a moment to take a message from an agent who’d stopped at the door, then turned back. “Besides. I know all about the French case. I don’t blame you for crawling out from under it. It would have dragged you down with it if you had stayed. Eddy knew this.” He handed them each an application that looked more like an exclusivity contract. “Don’t worry. I already have your files. I demanded Eddy release them to me.”
Tom nodded. “So once I fill this out…”
Dulles put his hand up. “Just a formality. You are already agents. You report for training tomorrow.” He smiled. “I can see that it’ll work out great. Now go get some rest. You need it.”
Kendrick was all grins as they left CIA headquarters. Tom, now thoroughly stunned, stared off into the distance blankly. It had moved so quickly. They had transitioned so smoothly.
A little too quickly. Still, a job was a job. At least they had been able to remain a part of the government. Still, it would take a little time for the realization to sink in.
Moments later, Ken dropped Tom off outside his home. Ken looked at his friend. “Pick you up tomorrow?”
Tom nodded. “Sure. Same time, same station. Maybe by then, I might awaken from this dream.”
Ken grinned. “Sure thing, boss.”
Tom watched his friend drive off. Looking down at his watch, he noticed that he was four hours earlier than usual. He was sure that Sandy would ask him hundreds of questions, but he didn’t care. He would answer them all.