Dark Times

I wonder if it's a natural function of getting older, this
feeling of foreboding. Sometimes, the departed days stack
up like kindling, waiting for the final flame to ignite them
and turn them to ash. At other times, I feel that I can see the final
sands spilling from the hourglass, and I want to find a way
to stop them, but I can't. I can almost feel him coming
now, the Old Jester.

Maybe I'll hear his footsteps when he finally
arrives, and I'll know that my time has come, or it could be
that he'll sneak up on me like the coward that he truly is,
and it will all end in the blink of an eye before I even realize that it's
happening. That would be better, I think. I guess that I'd
rather not know, so that probably makes me a coward too ...

Another video

So. We have to stop Joel Tobias getting his hands on this... where has Proctor hidden it?

Who is Harold Proctor?

Diary 1:

Diary 2:

This man... must be to do with all these goings on. But how?

I headed out to Cape Elizabeth yesterday, and walked the path
that Damien Proctor walked before he killed himself. It wasn't hard
to follow: there's crime scene tape, and footprints, and discarded
coffee containers. Hell, I even found a couple of empty beer cans
and some cigarette butts, so maybe some of his old buddies raised a
toast to him at sunset. I've eaten in his old man's restaurant, and
I knew Damien in a passing way. Terrible that a man should have to
bury his child. Makes me glad that I never had children of my own.
Loneliness is bad, but having a child taken from you, well, that's a
whole lot worse. And I read the newspapers too, so I know that he
isn't the first of our young men and women to take his life in the
aftermath of that war in Iraq. Now, though, it sounds like we have
our own suicide cluster right here in Maine, except they're men from
the same unit: Joel Tobias's unit. That sounds like more than a
cluster to me. That sounds like a conspiracy . . .


As I get older, I wonder if life becomes more complicated, or if it
just seems that way. There are cellphones out there that could
launch rockets, but give me a rotary dial anytime. I guess, at my
age, I just want the world to slow down or, if it insists on racing
along, to accept that I'm going to move at my own pace. But, hell,
this smuggling thing, and that damned Joel Tobias . . . Every time I
think that I might have found his angle - booze, money, people, drugs
- it slips away, and I'm left holding dust and air. Names keep
cropping up, and I'm having trouble just keeping track of the guy's
movements back and forth across the Canadian border. Maybe I should
get some bright kid to set up a system so I can keep track of
everything that's going on. Then again, if I do that I'll have to
keep the bright kid hostage so he can explain it to me when I fail to
understand it, but that will be his own fault for being too smart,
and too fast for my slow world...

Edit: http://www.netvibes.com/whoisgutelieb - it's up and running.

A Strange Day

A strange day; another in a line of strange days. I have a
photograph in front of me of a guy that I've never met, and am now
never likely to meet: an antiques dealer by the name of Jeremiah
Webber. I think I'd heard his name mentioned once, a long time ago.

He was that odd but familiar type, the smart guy who isn't quite as
smart as he thinks he is. I'd been told that, if he ever crossed my
path, I should steer well clear of him. He was, as I believe the
phrase is, 'ethically unsound'. In other words, you'd be a fool to
trust him, but the kind of people he worked with weren't too
scrupulous about matters of honesty, and so they shouldn't have been
surprised when they were double-crossed. Guys like that make me
smile: they're as crooked as a six-dollar bill, but they're always
shocked when they encounter someone who is even more crooked than
they are.

Anyway, in this picture Webber is missing a piece of his head,
although it's not hard to see where it ended up, given the amount of
blood splatter. It might even be a suicide, assuming a man was so
committed to killing himself that he managed to get off two shots,
even if the first one had left him a vegetable. Someone like that
has to be very tired of life. Folks I know - folks who would know,
if you get my drift - seem to think that Webber was helped on his way
into the next world by someone representing the Gutelieb Foundation,
and the Gutelieb Foundation is so insubstantial that it shouldn't
exist. My guess? It's a mailbox, and someone in India who answers
phones in a sweaty office above a clothing wholesaler, sitting at a
scratched desk alongside hundreds of other people just like him, or
her, all of them answering phones for people that exist only as
pennies on a paycheck.

The folks I know, the folks WHO know, they like odd things: statues
of demons, old books, skulls with interesting holes bored in them.
They say that someone named Herod is the physical manifestation of
Gutelieb, but he keeps himself to himself, or he has until recently.
Lately, though, Herod has come out of the shadows, and that's not a
positive development, because Herod belongs in the shadows. He's not
a pretty sight, and he knows it, so he tends to keep away from prying
eyes. The rumor is that Webber crossed the Gutelieb Foundation, and
Herod made him pay, but Webber is just a sideshow, a little
housekeeping to let interested parties know that Herod isn't to be
taken lightly. Herod has bigger fish to fry. He's looking for
something, something important and valuable enough to make him risk
sizzling his skin in sunlight.

And why should all of this concern me? Because Herod's gaze has
turned to the north, and I don't like that. I'm a businessman, and
I want a quiet life. I had enough on my mind trying to figure out
Joel Tobias's angle, and now some freak whose momma named him by
sticking a pin in the Bible is about to bring his stink of decay to
my city.

You want the last little nugget of information that I've gleaned
about Herod? He has an Iraq fetish, and Joel Tobias still has sand
in his boots from dropping bad guys in Baghdad. Should I be
concerned? I'd be a fool if I wasn't, and I'm no fool...

A problem

So I have a problem. Actually, let's call it a theoretical problem.
There's this theoretical guy, and this guy is a businessman, an
independent operator. His operation and my operation, they kind of
overlap: we both help people to move stuff around, and we're paid for
doing so. But this guy, this theoretical guy, he seems to be making
more money than a theoretical guy should, and this bothers me. It
might even be, and I regret having to say this, that this theoretical
guy might be engaged in illegal activities.

Now, like I said before,
I don't have a problem with anybody who feels that he has to stretch
the law a little to make a living, as long as nobody gets hurt, or
nobody I know gets hurt, but it worries me that a theoretical guy
might be doing something not strictly legal in an area that might
impact upon my own theoretical activities, if I was the kind of guy
who broke the law occasionally and moved stuff around on which, say,
US Customs might frown. Obviously, I'm not that kind of guy, even
theoretically, and if I knew about something illegal I'd feel
inclined to put a stop to it, not least because it might bring
unwanted attention down on those of us who are discreet about such
matters, if you catch my drift. Would I tell the cops? I don't
know. I might be inclined to ask around first. I told you I have
friends. They're interesting people, my friends. If I were to
express my curiosity about what this theoretical guy is doing, even
if I were to suggest that he might be engaged in smuggling of some
kind, then my friends, out of concern for the law and our mutual
wellbeing, might offer to have a talk with him. They might even take
the trouble to inspect his truck, just in case he was, in fact,
breaking the law, and then they could advise him on the steps that he
might take in order to ensure that no repercussions, legal or
otherwise, arose out of the situation.

The theoretical situation, of course. After all, we're
just talking here . . .