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Meet Pat McCormack

August 12, 2001

Pat McCormack and his sister, Bridget McCormack, were walking the length of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial wall inscribed with the names of over 58,000 dead and missing American soldiers.  Despite the muggy late summer heat in the nation’s capital, Pat was wearing a dark business suit, white shirt and tie.  “Why are you all dressed up on such a hot day?” Bridget asked.  She was in her civvies, as she called them, jeans and a T-shirt.  In class, back at St. Gabriel School, on Chicago’s south side, she wore a dark skirt, white blouse and black veil.  Her students called it her holy hat.  It was optional in her order, but she preferred to wear it, as a sign of her vows.

“I don’t feel comfortable out of a suit in public,” Pat answered.  “I don’t get this whole business casual thing.  Can you imagine James Bond in jeans?”  He was a slight man of medium height with nondescript features and dull brown hair, the kind of man who could fade into a crowd and not be remembered.  Pat McCormack was the perfect spy.

“I thought Bond preferred not to wear any clothes at all.”  Bridget kept her brown hair short and straight, parted on the side.  With sensible shoes, a thick waist and no make-up, she looked very much like the lesbian she was not.

“Speaking of going naked, how’s your love life?” he asked with a smile.

“Every bit as good as yours, I suspect.”

“Someday, Bridget, I’m going to have you meet one of the many women I have slept with.”

“I won’t hold my breath.”  Bridget stopped to study the names.  “We should be more respectful.  Let’s see if we can find Uncle Joe’s name.  He should be along here somewhere.  There he is.”  She stepped forward and touched the letters carved into the stone, Joseph P. McCormack.  “Oh, my goodness.  I’m going to cry.”

Pat stood back, watching a young redhead twenty paces ahead of them.  “Didn’t Dad say he was fragged by his troops?”

“No, he didn’t.  Don’t ruin this for me, Paddy.”  She placed a sheet of paper over Uncle Joe’s name and ran a lead pencil across it to make the impression she wanted to show her third graders that fall on Veterans Day.  Folding the paper carefully so as not to crease the name, she placed it in her small black purse.  “Okay, I’m done.  Let’s go get some ice cream.  You’ve made me wait long enough.  Tell me your big news.”

Pat looked around at the crowd and then motioned her onto the grass.  “Let’s cut across the mall.  I don’t know who’s listening.”

She ambled after him.  “I thought you had retired.  Why the secrecy?”

Pat lowered his voice.  “You never really leave the agency.  I’m carrying around twenty years of secrets, so I need to be careful what I say.”

“Well, don’t tell me anything you shouldn’t.”

“I can trust you.  You’re a nun.  It’s like going to confession.”  With that, Pat lit into a summary of the murder and mayhem he had wrought on behalf of the American taxpayers.

When they reached the National Air and Space Museum, Bridget found the ladies room and prayed for her brother’s soul as she urinated.  In the museum’s Wright Place Food Court, Bridget ordered her chocolate cone with sprinkles.  Pat continued his tale after checking to make sure the nearby tables were empty.  “After I blew up the bus station in Kinshasa, I got promoted.  They decided I was too valuable to be out in the field, so they brought me home and trained me to hack into computers.  I’ve become quite a high tech geek.  And I was also planting listening devices, tapping phones, intercepting mail, breaking into document storage facilities.  You name it, I did it.   I can find out anything I want to know about any human being on earth, alive or dead.  I’m going to make millions.”


Pat snorted.  “I’m going into private consulting.  A group of my buddies from the agency and I are starting our own firm.  Harris Security International.”

“Why not McCormack Security International?”

“I could have added my name, but I don’t want the limelight.  Too many years being a spook, I guess.  I’ll just take the big paychecks.”

“Who’s going to hire you?”

“Politicians, lobbyists, corporations, rich people.  We will be the best because we were the smartest and toughest sons of bitches that ever worked for the agency.  We’re going to charge three times the going rate, and we’ll get it, no questions asked.”

Bridget licked that last bit of sprinkles away.  “But how will they know you’re so tough if everything you did was secret?”

Pat smiled.  “Let’s just say some people very high up in this administration have already spread the word.  They know our work.”

“I thought you hated politicians.”

Pat nodded.  “I do.  They’re all scum.  In the last twenty years, I’ve learned they can all be bought and sold.  With the right amount of money or power or sex.  Kinky motherfuckers, some of them.  But I don’t have to like them to take their money.”

Bridget crunched into her cone.  “I’d like to go to mass tomorrow.  Will you join me?”

Pat rolled his eyes.  “I’ll drop you off and pick you up, but I’m not stepping foot inside a church again unless it’s to do a job.”

In Langley, Virginia at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, a gray haired gentleman and a shapely blonde were holding a short meeting.  The blonde, Angela Patterson, was studying a recent photo of Patrick Allen McCormack on top of a thick folder.  “Not much of a looker, is he?” she commented.

Her boss, Phinneas Graves, smirked.  “Actually, he fancies himself quite a ladies’ man.  Hopefully, you won’t have to find out first hand.  For now, all I want you to do is review his file and get familiar with his background.”

Angela glanced at an old photo of Pat with an exotic-looking Eurasian woman.  “May I ask why?”

“We brought him home ten years ago after a string of embarrassments.  ‘Rogue elephant on a rampage,’ one section chief described him.  He always got the job done, but he often made a mess, whether it was too much collateral damage or disappointed fiancés screaming at hotel staff.  He’d woo them with the promise of American citizenship and then disappear when his assignment was finished.  He’s done a great job since then.  With heavy supervision.  But, you can see from his profile, he’s not the most stable guy.  It could be that he’ll make his transition to civilian life smoothly, and you’ll never meet him.  I just don’t know.  We’ll monitor him remotely, light surveillance from time to time.  If anything serious crops up, I’ll give you a call.”

Angela had flipped to his psychological profile.  “James Bond fantasies?  You’ve got to be kidding.”

Phinneas grimaced.  “I know.  It’s embarrassing.  All the way down to playing baccarat.  He’s quite a high stakes gambler.  You may want to meet him just for the amusement.”

She closed the folder and stood.  “I’ll take a pass.  I have enough crazy men in my life.”

“Really, but I thought you were—”

“I’m talking about my dad and my brothers.  Real whack jobs.  All of them.”

“I know.  I’ve read your file.  That’s why I picked you for this assignment.”