Andrew is walking down the stairs from the roof of the building when he feels a subtle shift of movement behind him. He doesn’t even get a chance to turn before he’s on his face on the stairwell floor, one of his arms twisted behind him and a knee in the centre of his back.
It’s a poor showing. Apparently he has been getting slack.
“I’ve got Minyard,” a male voice says, and then the weight on his spine is gone.
There’s a crackle and a voice over a radio saying a quick affirmative. The name the voice uses -
Andrew rolls over. The man standing over him in a black bulletproof vest with FBI written on the front, gun in hand, doesn’t look like Andrew remembers. His face is badly scarred, blurring what was a tattoo under his eye into illegibility. The hair is shorter, cropped back, but the eyes are the same. So is the voice.
He’s not wrong. Andrew says, “What the fuck is going on?”
“Have you seen this man?” Neil asks, flashing Andrew a picture of a weedy dark-haired man in a Hawaiian shirt. It looks like it was taken off of a surveillance camera - the man is half-turned away and caught mid-step.
Andrew looks at the picture, and then at Neil. “Why?”
“Because I want to question him on his fashion choices,” Neil replies, dry as dust. “Why do you think?”
“I think I’ve never had a reason to help a cop in my life,” Andrew says. His voice comes out dead like it hasn’t in months.
Any humour in Neil’s face falls off. “Well, let’s see if I can make it worth your while. This man has already killed three professional sports people, and we think he’s targeting your team for his fourth kill. So, you should be grateful I found you first.”
Grateful. What a joke.
“So. Have you seen this man?” Neil asks again, offering the photo again.
Kevin is downstairs in the room they’re sharing alone. Andrew needs to get back to him now. So, in the name of expediency -
“Yes,” he answers. “And so have you. He’s working security tonight for the hotel.”
Neil stares at him. After a moment, Andrew offers, faux-helpful, “He’s blonde now, and he’s ditched the shirt. I guess you didn’t recognise him.”
“Fuck,” Neil mutters, and reaches for the radio on the front of his vest. “Luka, Minyard says our suspect is working for the hotel as a guard. Check all the staff in the lobby against the photo, he’s dyed his hair.”
“Is Minyard sure?”
Neil looks at Andrew for a moment again as he says, “He has eidetic memory. He’s sure.”
“Affirmative. We’re searching now,” comes the reply.
Neil drops his hand and says to Andrew, “I’ll escort you back to your room.”
“No,” Andrew replies, pushing himself up from the ground at last. Neil steps back out of reach as he does, untrusting. That’s the smartest thing he’s done tonight.
“Are you that keen to get murdered?” Neil demands. “We haven’t caught the guy yet.”
“You won’t,” Andrew tells him. “I doubt he stuck around after all of you stormed in here in your uniforms. Guess I don’t have anything to worry about tonight after all.”
“I’m more likely to trust a clinical psychiatrist’s assessment of the suspect’s motivations and movements than a professional goalkeeper’s,” Neil replies. “You know I’m just going to follow you, right?”
Andrew ignores this as he rattles down the stairs. True to his word, Neil stays close but not too close, gun still in hand and still wary. He’s precisely the same kind of sharp he always was before, eyes cool and calm as he searches for a threat. Apparently you can make a career out of borderline hyper-vigilance after all. Not that a professional goalkeeper would know that when he saw it, apparently.
“Let me,” Neil says a second before Andrew ignores him and shoves first through the door onto his floor. Andrew hears him mutter, “fuck sake,” under his breath, clearly audible.
Andrew slides his key through the reader, and the light clicks green. Kevin looks up at him from where he’s sitting cross-legged on his bed restringing his racquet. Well, he’s certainly still alive then - if Andrew were a serial killer going after the Chicago Guards, he can’t think of many better players to target than Kevin Day.
Andrew steps through the gap in the door, using his body to block Kevin’s view out and Neil’s inside. “Goodbye.”
That word tastes like finality. He takes a last look at Neil with his silvering scars - that burn must have been nasty - and his fingerless tactical gloves and the gun he carries with the air of long experience. Different and the same. Andrew taste the end and, underneath it, anger, familiar.
“Andrew,” Neil says, and then pauses. It looks like his words are jamming in his throat through uncertainty, like he doesn’t know what to say or maybe doesn’t know how Andrew will react. Andrew hates that he recognises that expression.
You were amazing.
“Fuck off,” he replies, and slams the door in Neil’s face.
Neil Josten is supposed to have a new name. Neil Josten is supposed to be a million miles from Andrew after going into hiding with Witness Protection. Neil Josten certainly isn’t meant to be a fucking agent for the FBI.
Neil Josten also isn’t meant to look at Andrew like he knows him. He should be grateful Andrew didn’t cut that off of his face.
25 facts you need to know about the Federal Reserve
#1 The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no central bank.
#2 The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created. In the century before the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation was about half a percent. In the century since the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation has been about 3.5 percent, and it would be even higher than that if the inflation numbers were not being so grossly manipulated.
#3 Even using the official numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created nearly 100 years ago.
#4 The secret November 1910 gathering at Jekyll Island, Georgia during which the plan for the Federal Reserve was hatched was attended by U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and a whole host of representatives from the upper crust of the Wall Street banking establishment.
#5 In 1913, Congress was promised that if the Federal Reserve Act was passed that it would eliminate the business cycle.
#6 The following comes directly from the Fed’s official mission statement: “To provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.”
#7 It was not an accident that a permanent income tax was also introduced the same year when the Federal Reserve system was established. The whole idea was to transfer wealth from our pockets to the federal government and from the federal government to the bankers.
#8 Within 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy was plunged into the Great Depression.
#9 If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950. The Federal Reserve created the “dotcom bubble”, the Federal Reserve created the “housing bubble” and now it has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.
#10 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis. The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report…
Citigroup - $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley - $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch - $1.949 trillion
Bank of America - $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC - $868 billion
Bear Sterns - $853 billion
Goldman Sachs - $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland - $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase - $391 billion
Deutsche Bank - $354 billion
UBS - $287 billion
Credit Suisse - $262 billion
Lehman Brothers - $183 billion
Bank of Scotland - $181 billion
BNP Paribas - $175 billion
Wells Fargo - $159 billion
Dexia - $159 billion
Wachovia - $142 billion
Dresdner Bank - $135 billion
Societe Generale - $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” - $2.639 trillion
#11 The Federal Reserve also paid those big banks $659.4 million in fees to help “administer” those secret loans.
#12 The Federal Reserve has created approximately 2.75 trillion dollars out of thin air and injected it into the financial system over the past five years. This has allowed the stock market to soar to unprecedented heights, but it has also caused our financial system to become extremely unstable.
#13 We were told that the purpose of quantitative easing is to help “stimulate the economy”, but today the Federal Reserve is actually paying the big banks not to lend out 1.8 trillion dollars in “excess reserves” that they have parked at the Fed.
#14 Quantitative easing overwhelming benefits those that own stocks and other financial investments. In other words, quantitative easing overwhelmingly favors the very wealthy. Even Barack Obama has admitted that 95 percent of the income gains since he has been president have gone to the top one percent of income earners.
#15 The gap between the top one percent and the rest of the country is now the greatest that it has been since the 1920s.
#16 The Federal Reserve has argued vehemently in federal court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
#17 The Federal Reserve openly admits that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations”.
#18 The regional Federal Reserve banks issue shares of stock to the “member banks” that own them.
#19 The Federal Reserve system greatly favors the biggest banks. Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.
#20 The Federal Reserve is supposed to “regulate” the big banks, but it has done nothing to stop a 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble from inflating which could absolutely devastate our entire financial system.
#21 The Federal Reserve was designed to be a perpetual debt machine. The bankers that designed it intended to trap the U.S. government in a perpetual debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape. Since the Federal Reserve was established nearly 100 years ago, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
#22 The U.S. government will spend more than 400 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt this year.
#23 If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that in the past), we will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
#24 According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”. So exactly why is the Federal Reserve doing it?
#25 There are plenty of possible alternative financial systems, but at this point all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank. Are we supposed to believe that this is just some sort of a bizarre coincidence?