I would be on another special assignment for a federal agency that shall remain nameless. This time I would be working in Central Wisconsin. Another agent and I would work the case together and I was looking forward to being with him. It had been almost a year since we had seen one another, but I was certain he would be happy that we were working together again. I felt we made an extraordinary team.
The people that picked me up when I arrived in town had no details on the nature of our assignment so I sat quietly in the rear of the dark sedan. The feds were like that—everything mysterious, everything confidential. It added to their mystique. Even now, after all these years, I am surprised that I’m writing about it—I have never talked about this case to anyone—until now.
I adjusted the 9 mm Walther PPK in my waistband and eased back in the seat. There was no conversation..
The car snaked along a narrow unlit two lane county highway that paralleled the Wisconsin River to our left. On our heavily wooded right, a light from an occasional residence set far back from the road would occasionally break the almost complete blackness. But when I cocked my head and gazed up, out the window, the Milky Way blazed a path across the sky and created a soft overhead glow, diluted only a bit by a thin crescent moon. It was then I was reminded why I loved the occasional visit here. That, and the fact that I would be working with one of my favorite partners again.
When we reached the strategically located safe-house just north of town I was unceremoniously dropped off by our driver and his assistant. My partner was at the door and I greeted him warmly. Inside were other familiar faces and we nodded in stiff recognition, silent acknowledgement that we would be having no substantive conversation with them. They were strictly support staff for us; providing whatever assistance we might need and freeing us from mundane tasks that would detract from our mission. My partner and I glanced at one another. The others need not know, they must not know, any of the details about what we would be doing the next several days. Such was the nature of this sensitive operation.
It was over two hours, after idle chit-chat an awkward shared meal when we finally found ourselves in a room, alone—able to talk at last. We chattered excitedly about the plans for the coming days—the heavily wooded hills just behind this house, rife with Indian burial mounds—they would provide the landscape where this drama would play out and that was my partner’s expertise. He was raised here and knew the territory well. But just how did these ancient grave-sites come to play such a big part in a criminal enterprise? That was my expertise. Each of us brought unique talents to this assignment and by combining them, we were more than confident about the ultimate success of our mission.
We heard the floor outside our door creak and we stopped talking.
The door to our room, cracked open.
“What?” I said, trying to sound very much annoyed.
“Jimmy! Howie! Quiet down in there. If you two kids don’t shut up and go to sleep, we’ll put you in separate rooms.”
“Sorry dad.” My tone had changed now.
“And Jimmy, you left your toy on the hallway floor and your mom almost broke her neck.”
“That little black plastic gun—it has sharp edges.”
Footsteps walking away from the bedroom door and then silence.
My cousin and I duck our heads under the covers and continue jabbering, but in hushed tones now. I would be here for two weeks—we had a lot of plans to talk about.
Oh, to be eight years old again!