It was an unholy alliance between a Christian ministry and a hit man. Divine Fury
May 21, 2013
A VG Serial: Divine Fury
AFTER LEAVING THE Soldiers of Christ Ministry offices and withdrawing what he had in the bank, Brent Daggart had made his way up the coast of California to San Francisco. He rented a room at one of the cheaper motels on Lombard Street in the Marina district. He spotted a Kinko’s copy center down the street. On Wednesday evening, he walked in, rented one of their computers for 30 minutes and sent an email to Steven Walberg. When he returned the next morning he found Walberg’s reply. The army vet said he would be at the Harper rally. He’d be the thin guy with no hair underneath his blue Chicago Cubs cap, carrying a small backpack.
He had the rest of the day to wait for the rally. Daggart walked the few blocks north through an area filled with small apartments to the bay. He headed east past the marina along the water’s edge and up the jogging trails running to Fort Mason. When he paused periodically to catch his breath he turned back to look at the Golden Gate Bridge. The red-orange spans of the graceful structure reached over the bay to the brown hills of Marin in the distance.
Daggart had gotten past his anger at Rev. Jimmy Burgess and his disappointment at being banished from the ministry he had helped build. Instead, he was resigned and determined. That Burgess had succumbed to the worldly concerns of success and money rather than grasping the importance of their greater mission hadn’t surprised him. Daggart knew that what others might view as fanaticism he considered as simply doing his duty without fooling himself. True success was not to be measured in viewership or revenues, but whether he could meaningfully stem the tide of moral decay. He would sacrifice anything to do that. Few others would. He had always known this journey was one he might have to make alone.
Daggart wandered the streets until the evening. He retrieved his car from the motel parking lot and drove across the city to the downtown district. He found parking a few blocks north of the rally and walked quickly to Justin Herman Plaza as the first speakers were warming up the crowd. He spotted Walberg wandering in the throngs and followed him at a distance, just keeping him within sight. When Harper finally appeared on the platform and Walberg moved close to the candidate, Daggart’s heart pounded with anticipation.
Then he saw the confrontation with Lee, and followed the reporter at a distance as he pursued Walberg. When Daggart heard the shots, he went back to his car and then cruised the area in the direction where he had last seen the two men heading. Once Daggart saw the police cars arriving, moving fast with lights flashing, he went looking for Walberg.
With Walberg in his car, Daggart left the Telegraph Hill area quickly, avoiding the police cars that were converging on the neighborhood. They retrieved the backpack with the C-4 that Walberg had left behind when he started chasing Lee. Then, they drove to the Sentinel Hotel where Walberg quickly packed his bags. They arrived at Daggart’s motel and ferried Walberg’s gear up to the room. Then, they knelt down with their forearms resting on one of the beds and prayed for the success of their mission.
Late the next morning Brent Daggart came into the hotel room carrying a large plastic bag from Long’s Drug Store. He pulled out a small jar of black face paint that Walberg had requested. Then, he dumped out four rubber masks, the type that go over your entire head, and put them on one of the beds.
Staring up with empty eyes and silly grins were three former presidents and the current Oval Office resident: George W. Bush; Bill Clinton; Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
“They didn’t have a lot of choice,” said Daggart.
Walberg studied them. He didn’t say anything to Daggart. He hated Bush and Clinton. They had held the reins of power the past 12 years while America slid deeper into the toilet. He admired Reagan. But would he want to be connected to what Walberg had planned? That left Nixon. Walberg picked the Nixon mask and held it in front of his face. It was smiling at him and he grinned back.
Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.