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Leon Portelance, aka Edgar Ramsey

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Faith before Reason - The New America
by Leon Portelance, aka Edgar Ramsey   

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Books by Leon Portelance, aka Edgar Ramsey
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Category: 

Action/Thriller

Publisher:  Ramsey Books ISBN-10:  0976959224
Pages: 

264

Copyright:  2008 ISBN-13:  9780976959229

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Book one in a series of three volumes, chronicles the plight of six unlikely American heroes as they struggle for their very survival against the evil fascists that have taken over the White House and the country.

What if the president declared martial law?
What if the Constitution was suspended?
What if the secret police came knocking on your door?

Welcome to the New America!

It is the year 2010. America is now ruled by the iron fist of the president turned dictator, John M. Forrest, known only by his middle initial. The Constitution has been suspended. Congress is now little more than a rubber-stamp for the Executive Branch, and martial law has been imposed from coast to coast. Fundamentalist Christianity and corporatism rule supreme: faith before reason.

An unlikely group of heroes band together--Eileen Hunter, a lesbian and former soldier; Terry Khan, a Muslim boy; Archie Kane, a middle-aged, liberal school teacher; Jack "JD" Daniels, a computer hacker extraordinaire; his mother, Shirley "Daisy" Daniels, a colorful old hippie; and her friend, Sam Brown, a Native-American and Vietnam vet--to struggle for their very survival against the evil forces of sadistic Commander Hermann Gotthard; his side-kick, Captain Paul Johnson, of the NYC SSB (Special Services Branch) and Colonel James Davenport, Commandant of Camp Southern Fortress, a brutal concentration forced-labor camp in southern Texas. Their only crime is their mere existence. Their only hope is to make it north across the forty-ninth parallel into Canada, which is still a democracy.
Excerpt
“The right of resisting oppression is a natural right.”
–Andrew Jackson

THE BLACK CROWN Victoria pulled off of Highway 17 onto Mount Hermon Road, then took Glen Canyon Road and doubled back under the highway. Special agents Janovich and Connel were from the San Jose FBI field office. They were both pissed at having to perform routine grunt work for the SSB, but orders were orders.

“So where the fuck is Beel Drive?” Connel asked as he was the one driving.

Janovich fiddled with the LED screen. “It should be up on the right about three miles.”

“Yeah, right. We all know how accurate those GPS maps are. They must buy them from MapFinder. Those guys couldn’t find a blowjob in a whorehouse or a cold beer in a pub.”

“Beats sitting around the office running down manifests for interstate commerce.”

Connel just looked at him and grinned. He enjoyed getting on Agent Janovich’s nerves. “Of course if I worked at the White House, I’d probably be getting lots of blowjobs with all those interns running around. God! And they thought Clinton was bad! I hear M has a different broad every night, sometimes two or three at a time.”

Agent Leopold Janovich just shrugged; he had no desire to discuss rumors of the president’s sexual prowess—who knew if the car was bugged or not. It was certainly possible, knowing how paranoid M was.

Janovich was a lanky, red haired Pole with a long, pointed nose and dull gray eyes. His light skin was covered with freckles. He wore patterned suits and loud ties which constantly got him dirty looks from his SAIC, Special Agent John P. Wellington, II.

Agent William Connel was just the opposite, a dark-haired, brown-eyed, third-generation Scots-American, dressed in an immaculate pin-striped suit and conservative blue tie. He could have passed as an investment banker, except for his foul mouth and voracious lust for everything female.

“Right there,” Janovich pointed. Connel turned onto Old Ranch Road. “Now make a quick left onto Beel.”

They slowed on the narrow road until they found the mailbox they were looking for: 305. Then they drove down a dirt road through a magnificent stand of firs before coming to a small cabin. The front yard was full of daisies.

“Alright, let’s find the widow and get this over with,” Conner said as they climbed out of the Town Car. “How’d she get widowed anyway,” he asked as they walked towards the front door.

“Says here it was a big-rig wreck on Highway 152 about five years ago,” Janovich relied. “Patrick Daniels was driving an Albert’s truck down the grade near the San Luis Reservoir and his brakes failed, took out a couple of cars with him, three fatalities. Widow sued the company for big bucks and won.”
“Doesn’t look like she has much dough,” Connel stated, eye-ing the shack and the late-model pickup.

“When was the last time you tried to buy five acres near Scotts Valley?”

Connel just frowned and pounded on the cedar plank door. “Mrs. Daniels. Open up. It’s the FBI!” No answer. Connel pounded some more. Finally the door swung open.

Both men stared in silence as if they were seeing an apparition. They held up their FBI shields like that would protect them from an evil spirit. Fat chance.

Shirley Daniels, aka Daisy, had long gray hair down to the small of her back. There was a wide purple stripe running through the middle of it that made her look like a psychedelic skunk. She was wearing a leopard skin blouse with no bra and her ample breasts had long ago succumbed to the force of gravity. She wore no makeup, but her skin was smooth and unwrinkled, and her bright blue eyes seemed to sparkle in the sunshine. A pair of tight, black leather pants were highlighted by pink, open-toed thongs with yellow plastic flowers: daisies. Her toe nails were painted hot pink.

“Yes.” They were still staring. “Can I help you?”

“Mrs. Daniels?” Janovich finally asked.

“Yes.”

“We need to talk to you about your son, Jack.”

“What happened? Is Jack alright?” The fear was immediate.

“He was arrested . . .”

“Arrested! For what? Jack’s never done anything wrong. He’s a great kid.”

“Hacking into several governmental computer systems,” Janovich stated solemnly, “These are serious charges.”

“But, but there has to be some mistake. Jack used to work for HP and for the past couple of years he’s been freelance and . . .” Daisy looked vulnerable now, like she might start crying or faint.

“There was no mistake Ma’am. They traced the intruder back to one of Jack’s IP addresses.” Janovich shuffled nervously and adjusted his Jerry Garcia tie, “We need to come in and ask you some questions about your son’s activities.”

Daisy opened the door wide and gestured them inside.

The interior of the cabin seemed a lot bigger. There was a stone hearth with a black airtight stove, surrounded by a comfort-able looking leather sofa and loveseat. A U-shaped pantry kitchen was centered on the back with a ladder leading to a loft above. Daisy escorted them to a glass sunroom beside the kitchen.

Janovich stopped to admire a wall of photographs: several of a younger Daisy embracing a big guy with long hair and a beard, obviously the late Patrick Daniels. And a bunch of shots of a child from toddler to puberty: Jack Daniels. He looked a little older now in his mug shots. There were also several other people Janovich recognized: Daisy with Jimi Hendrix, Daisy with Jerry Garcia, then a smiling Ken Kesey standing in front of a brightly painted school bus, and wasn’t that Jerry Brown with both Daisy and Patrick. Yep. He could make out the Brown for President buttons they were wearing. Daisy had certainly gotten around. Beside the photo gallery was a glass display case that seemed to have some kind of artwork in it. Janovich leaned over for a closer look. There were several plaster sculptures that appeared to be phallic symbols. Then he saw the autographs on the side of each one and realized that they weren’t just sculptures.

“I hung out in LA for a while with Cynthia Plaster Caster,” Daisy said with a big smile, obviously proud of her trophies. “It was my job to give the guys head to get them hard so Cynthia could put the mold on.”

Janovich had seen enough, too much in fact, he headed for the safety of a patio chair in the sunroom.

Daisy seemed to have recovered somewhat from the shock of her son’s arrest. “Can I get you some tea?” she offered. “I just made a fresh pot.”

“No, thank you.”

“No, Ma’am.” Janovich was sure that any tea Daisy served might contain hallucinogenic mushrooms or LSD.

Daisy sipped her tea. “Earl Grey, my favorite,” she said as if reading his mind.

They questioned her for about twenty minutes. She seemed to know little of her son’s recent activities, acknowledged that he was extremely bright and had been a whiz on computers since he was a child. Jack was an atheist or at least an agnostic; he only attended church because he had to, and had no known political affiliations.

“I’m not saying my son did anything wrong,” Daisy summa-rized as the interview drew to a close. “But if he did do what you’ve accused him of, it certainly wasn’t for money or personal gain.”

Connel cocked an eyebrow. “Then why would he?” he asked.

“Just because he could.” Daisy shrugged. “JD is curious about everything. Always has been.”

The two agents both got up from their chairs at the same time as if they had received some kind of silent cue. “Thank you for your cooperation, Ma’am,” Janovich told her. “Can I use your washroom? It’s a long drive back to San Jose.”

Daisy pointed to a purple door in the corner.

Janovich stepped into the bathroom and closed the door. He felt like he had been transported into a different dimension. There were plants hanging and growing everywhere, vines on the walls. The bathtub was set into a rockery that contained even more plants. And the walls were covered with the weirdest assortment of pictures, posters and colorful napkins. He read the names of the restaurants; they had come from all over the world. Besides palm trees and ocean vistas, there were lions, tigers, elephants and giraffes. Red ones, green ones, yellow, blue and purple. And everywhere there were hanging crystals, trinkets and other things that sparkled in the sunlight that streamed down from above. It took a minute to find the toilet in the jungle. Janovich pulled down his zipper then looked up and realized that the entire roof was glass, one giant skylight. He felt totally disorientated as he stood there and tried to take a leak. He imagined Daisy naked in the tub looking up at the stars, and then quickly abandoned that thought. It was too weird.

“So what is going to happen to my son?” Daisy asked Connel while Janovich was in the john.

“I’m afraid the charges are very serious,” Agent Connel re-plied. “He will appear before a federal tribunal. If they find him guilty, it carries a minimum sentence of five years hard labor at Camp Southern Fortress in Texas.”

Daisy just stared at him. Everyone knew about Camp Southern Fortress and the infamous Fortress America project.

“That is so unfair,” she finally mumbled as Janovich stepped out of the restroom. “No one gets a fair trial in this damned country anymore.” This time there really were tears in her eyes. She escorted the agents to the door then watched as they climbed back into their car and headed back down the driveway.

“SO WHAT DO you think of Mrs. Daniels?” Conner asked as they pulled back onto the blacktop.

“Total whacho,” Janovich surmised, rolling his eyes. They both burst out laughing. “She seems to be harmless enough though.”

“Yeah. What a waste of time.” Connel pulled out a cigarette and pushed in the lighter on the dash. “You get to write it up.”

“It was an experience though. Did you see the plaster dicks she had in the glass display case?”

“No.” Connel lit his smoke.

“There had to have been eight or ten of them all autographed on the side with a felt pen. And the bathroom! Now that was freaky.”

Connel took a big drag off of his cigarette and blew a couple of smoke rings. “How so?”

“Pretty hard to describe. You needed to be there.”

“Like I said, you’re writing it up.” Connel reached down and clicked on the radio, a country station. Traffic was starting to back up on Hwy. 17. It would take them at least an hour to get back to the office.

DAISY SLAMMED THE door. “Fucking pigs!” she mut-tered as the tears streamed down her cheeks. “God damned fucking pigs!” She walked over to kitchen and picked up her cordless phone. “Fascist bastards aren’t going to take my son!” she swore as she dialed. “I’ll kill them all first!”

A few minutes later, Daisy threw two large empty duffel bags into the back of her rusted, blue Ford pickup, then climbed in and gunned it out of the driveway, spraying gravel as she went. She turned west on Hwy. 17, then north on Hwy. 1 and headed to a mini-storage yard on the north side of Santa Cruz. She rolled down her window and punched a code into the electronic sentinel: 11-17-74, JD’s birthday. The gate slid open on its chain drive and Daisy drove through into the yard—row after row of cinderblock storage units with corrugated tin roofs. Her locker was near the back of the compound: L-33.

Daisy fumbled with the combination lock for a minute. She was upset and impatient—in a hurry. She kept spinning the dial past the right number. Finally the lock pulled open and she rolled up the overhead door. It had been several years since she had had any reason to visit the locker. A pull chain on the ceiling turned on a naked light bulb.
The ten-foot by twenty-foot locker was nearly empty except for three large wood crates along a side wall. Daisy opened the largest one first. What to bring? Decisions, decisions.

After a moment of planning in her head, she choose an AK47 assault rifle, a sawed-off pump-action shotgun and a Sig SP 2022 pistol—all well oiled and in excellent working condition. Now for the ammo. She opened the smallest crate and pulled out four long curved clips for the AK47, two bandito-style belts filled with 12 gauge shotgun shells, and three spare clips for the Sig. She also grabbed several boxes of extra ammunition for each gun. No more Mr. Nice Guy, or in her case Mrs. Nice Gal. The fascist bastards had taken her son and Daisy was now at war. God help anyone who got in her way. Viva la revolution! Now for the fun stuff. Daisy opened the third chest and pulled out a smaller wooden case full of twelve U.S. Army issue hand grenades. You never know when you might need a little bang for your buck. She also added three packs of C4 and some timed fuses. Satisfied that she had more than enough firepower, Daisy strapped on a shoulder holster for the Sig and stuck one of the empty clips in her coat pocket. As an afterthought, she grabbed a pair of night-vision goggles, and then closed up the crates and carefully packed the rest of the weapons and munitions into the two duffel bags. She carried them out to her truck, put them on the rear seat of the crew cab, and then went back to close and lock the door to the storage unit. Feeling more empowered, she headed home to pack for her long road trip to Texas.

Shirley Daniels had been a member of the Weather Under-ground aka the Weathermen for over forty years. Most people thought that the radical youth organization that had been formed in the late sixties was long defunct, but that was not entirely true. While Diana Oughton, Ted Gold, and Terry Robbins had acciden-tally blown themselves up while making bombs in 1970 and several other members had done lengthy prison time, several other key members had re-organized themselves into cells and had gone deep underground, biding their time. Daisy was a member of Section 6, a five-member cell based in northern California.

The mini-storage unit was one of several dispersed across the country. They were rented in the name of AZ Investments, a Nevada Corporation, and were paid for on a yearly basis from a bank account in Costa Rica. Any investigation of AZ Investments would only result in a string of numbered, blind corporations whose only contact would be the address of an attorney’s office. The revolution had learned more than a few valuable lessons from corporate American on how to hide people and assets from the federal government. Each storage unit had a caretaker, and Daisy was the caretaker for the Santa Cruz “People’s Armory #3.”

As Daisy drove home, she contemplated the possibility that someone may be watching her and that she might get stopped. If that was the case, she had every intention of trying to shoot her way out of it. And she didn’t have any intention of getting taken alive to be paraded around by the propaganda machine as some middle-aged urban terrorist. What was a terrorist anyway?—just someone on the wrong side of a war—it was all perspective. And what was a war-crime, but the acts of the losers, or as Janis Joplin once sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Well, her husband was dead, and the sick bastards had her son. Who gave a damn anymore? Let’s party you fascist mother fuckers!



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