“There’s some funky shit floating around you, Cynthia.”
“Tell me something I don’t fuckin’ know, McNair,” she told her erstwhile researcher and chef. They talked via secured satellite phones. This shit was making her stressed and paranoid, but wasn’t that just another word for being cautious? No slips at the mike like Jesse Jackson for her. Though a snipping was a bit harsh, getting somebody’s nuts in the vise wasn’t a bad idea if that would produce her chief of staff’s whereabouts.
“So what do you know about this shadowy former pal of Countryman’s and is there a way to reach him?” Kang asked. At her request McNair had done some asking around among his “happiness is a warm gun” buddies and the aliens-are-controlling-us-from-the-mothership crowd–two groupings that somewhat overlapped. Certainly not the kind of people she’d call up to the Hill to testify, but at this point she couldn’t ignore any measure to find Kimbrough.
“There may be, but I’m not gonna try,” he answered. “Look, from what I’ve been able to gather, Chet may have stumbled on this loose cannon as he dug into Gilmore’s doings. If he did, and I can’t confirm that he did, this guy sticks out because he’d been institutionalized in the mid-’90s after an incident at an indoor mall in Chicago where he went off.”
“You mean firing a gun, something like that?”
“This Riggs, at least that’s the name he was booked under, strode into the mall after previously, and naturally surreptitiously, setting up explosive devices in everyday items, like a bomb hidden in a toaster, and held a group of customers hostage in a shoe store. To let the cops know he wasn’t bullshitting, he set off a couple of low-level charges he’d planted outside the mall.”
“What were his demands? Money?”
“That the Military Intelligence Division tell the truth about certain clandestine operations in Central America. Operations I’m guessing from his shadowy record he had a hand in.”
An unpleasant taste settled in Kang’s mouth. “What happened?”
“After a four-hour stand-off, Riggs got a call patched through from supposedly somewhere inside the Pentagon. At least that’s what the local news reported as an unconfirmed rumor.”
“And he gave himself up?”
“He did. No shots fired, no one harmed. The bombs were deactivated and Riggs was whisked away to the police station, where he was booked, then at some point taken to a psychiatric facility for observation.” McNair paused, Kang noting he must have put his hand over the phone’s speaker as he talked to someone else–she could hear a muffled conversation. He returned.