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Head of Security

Cory Masters returned the call from his Mazda MX-5 at 7:57 P.M, just as he was crossing the river on South Congress on his way home. The message had said that Chandler was relaying the message that he, Julia, and Napoleon had received the information on Schumflatt from Napoleon’s contact.

“It’s dynamite, if you can confirm it. Obviously I can’t go into the details over the phone,” Chandler explained when he heard Cory’s voice on the line. “Hey, that engine doesn’t sound like your Ferrari. What happened?”

“Long story,” Cory winced, thinking about his flame blackened Ferrari 458 being towed into the Austin, Texas, agency. Losing a 458 was like creating an international incident with Italy. “I’m currently driving a loaner, a Miata. At least it’s got the retractable hard top.

“Life can be a bitch,” Chandler chuckled sympathetically. “By the way, I heard about  Teal’s wife being caught in a raid on a Sixth Street bar.”

“Yeah, the University is going to have a hard time painting a pretty picture of that one,” Cory grunted, swerving to avoid a fat woman in shorts and halter top who had stepped off the curb in apparent disregard for her life. A Volkswagen in the next lane honked twice.

“I’d love to chat longer,” Chandler said, “but Napoleon is driving the van through Corpus Christi like an armored Humvee and Julia has just declared that she is about to throw up.”

“Do what you have to do,” Cory rang off and maneuvered the Miata into the right lane in preparation to turning west on Large Oak Street. The Volkswagen driver who had honked at him moments before held up a finger as he streaked past him, entering the next intersection long after the light had turned yellow. The light bar on a nearby cop car flashed red and blue. Cory grinned.

Cory’s latest home was a rambling 1890’s house at 850 W. Large Oak Street. He pulled through the stone wall and circled the drive that looped under an old fashioned porte-cochere. As head of IT security at the University and, more recently, special consultant to the Pentagon, Cory was pulling down a high, six-figure income and enjoying every minute of it. Thinking about the upcoming project with Napoleon and Chandler made his pulse race faster. Hands-on security was a lot more exciting than managing computer surveillance work, and tackling the mysterious incursions of the Free Range Party’s computer hackers into the State databases promised to tax his ingenuity. What were they looking for?

However, his pulse raced even faster as he pulled alongside his girl friend’s blue Prius which was parked under the shade of a gnarled live oak. Lark Croft had promised him a home-cooked dinner. Cory didn’t actually care so much about the meal, but Lark’s company was fabulous, and he found himself missing her every time he had to fly to Washington.

He retrieved the chilled wine from the trunk of his car and carried the sack through the front door of his home. Inside, twelve-foot ceilings kept the house cool even if he hadn’t had central air conditioning installed. The foyer and sitting room to his left were practically empty. He promised himself that he would look for some furniture soon; maybe he could get Lark to help him there. He was getting some pretty serious ideas about his companion. A clatter of dishes from the kitchen at the back of the house pulled him down the hallway. Mirrors and several portraits of old Austin families adorned the walls. Beneath his tread, the polished oak flooring creaked under his weight. Much more of Lark’s wonderful baking and he’d have to step up his workout schedule.

Please Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental__L.C. Frenzel

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