Thursday, August 22, 2013

Serving Two Masters

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. – Matthew 6:24a

Three men sat in silence in a room devoid of furniture with the exception of a metal table, separating a lone individual on one side from the two pale, thin, dark-suited men on the other.

“So what you’re asking me to do is to take down my blog”, the lone man observed, breaking the silence and wondering why these guys insisted on wearing dark glasses indoors.

“Not at all”, replied the slightly taller of the two.  “We just want you to remove specific blogs that we believe don’t serve the nation’s best interests.”

“I don’t understand”, replied the lone individual.  “I have as much right to express my views as anyone.  And besides – the blogs in question are only fiction.”

“I don’t think you understand at all”, replied the second interrogator.  “When we ask politely, we’re not really asking.  We have made several requests in the past and you continue to ignore us.  So we thought we would get together with you today to provide a little extra encouragement.”

“And if I refuse to comply?”, asked the lone man.

“I think the expression you would use is ‘we will cross that bridge when we get to it’”, replied the taller interrogator, standing and adjusting his jacket. “Let’s just make sure we don’t have to cross that bridge”.


An hour later, the lone man stood by his vehicle as the dark, late model sedan sped off into the evening. They had dropped him off exactly where they had picked him up hours before when they had pulled him over with flashing lights.

It just occurred to him as they drove out of sight that when they had pulled him over, they had identified him by name before asking for his identification.


His drive home was uneventful, seemingly made longer by his constant, furtive glances in the mirror as he looked in vain for …. what …. he wasn’t exactly sure.

As he pulled into his driveway, he was startled by the sound of his own cellphone ringing.

Putting the vehicle in park and glancing at the caller id, it showed no number as the phone continued to ring.  It didn’t show Unknown, Blocked or anything else – it simply showed nothing.

He picked up his phone, cleared his throat and answered with a cautious “Hello?”

The voice on the other end was thin and raspy. “I see you have been spending time with some friends”, the voice said, so softly that the driver had to strain to hear it.

“I’m sick of this”, he replied.  “Who are you? How do you know where I’ve been today?”

“I know many things”, came the thin voice.  “What I know is not important.  What is important is that we finish what we have started.”

“I don’t know”, replied the driver.  “I didn’t think it came with threats to me and my …..”.

The thin voice cut him off.  “I don’t care about your thoughts on this.  We have a deal.  It is too late to back out now.”

The driver hesitated, feeling the pressure of being caught between two sides, each side threatening him if he complied with the other.

“You do remember what happens if you choose to not participate, do you not?”, came the thin voice, the implied threat not at all veiled.

“Yes”, replied the driver.

“Good”, said the thin voice.  “Yajuj will be by in a few days with the material you will need.  He will meet you at the usual place and time.  That is all.”

The phone went dead and the driver wondered what he had gotten himself into.


In a dimly lit room, a very tall, thin man pushed his chair back and turned around to face his companion behind him.

“You see, Yajuj?”, he said to his companion.  “It’s not that difficult to get compliance from the locals.”

“Maybe so”, replied Yajuj, his bald head suddenly wrinkling as he thought about the plans before them.  “But there are so many things in play, Majuj.  How will we know that all of this will come together as planned?”

Majuj smiled as well as his thin lips allowed, his big, dark eyes glittering despite the dim light.  “We’re almost there”, he replied.  “A few more things to share and then everything we need will be in place.  Now, tell me, how is our little Syrian project going?”

Yajuj leaned forward, crossed his long, thin fingers and replied.  “The Americans are ready to act.  The Russians are prepared to stop them.  The UN is making empty noise as usual.  We are ready.”

“Good”, Majuj replied.  “It is time to see how predictable these people really are.  Operation 1206 continues as planned.”

To be continued.


© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is continued from ……

Growing the Rot From Within – August 6, 2013

The Coming Storm – June 8, 2013

The Master of Distraction – May 15, 2013

Living on the Edge – How Close Do You Dare - March 29, 2013

Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One - November 29, 2012)

Divide and Conquer - August 5, 2012

Financial Crisis – March 11, 2008

There is benefit to reading those first (oldest to newest) but it is not required.

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