Better Dead Than Red

by Jo Z. Pierce

In 1967, Vatanyok's Ambassador to the United States went missing. Now, with new evidence, the Pentagon wants Bill Maxwell on the case. WIP.

The Ambassador Has Gone Missing

Vatanyok Embassy

Washington, D.C.

October 9, 1967

In panic, the ambassador picked up the reciever, placed a finger in the dial of the rotary phone, and began to make a call. Before he could complete the first rotation, an intruder lifted a gun and pulled the trigger.

"Better dead than red," the assassin grumbled, addressing his accomplice. For his victim, the words came a little too late.

The silencer muffled the shot. The phone call was never completed. The ambassador's limp body was shoved into a large plastic bag, and the two intruders dumped it into a rolling garbage cart. With a nod to his partner, the assassin pushed the body out of the office. Concealed and protected from detection by his stolen janitor's uniform, he would push the ambassador down the hall, unnoticed.

Meanwhile, his accomplice quickly cleaned up the blood splatter. The desk was wiped clean. The leather chair was washed down. The receiver was placed back on the phone. From underneath his uniform, he pulled out a curtain panel, and quickly replaced the blood stained one.

In less than three minutes, Vatanyok's Ambassador to the United States had completely disappeared.

The next morning, there was a front page story about Vatanyok in every major newspaper around the world. The news wasn't nearly as important as Che Guevara's death, or the continued speculations of China's recent H-Bomb tests. Still, the Soviet invasion of the last democracy in Central Asia was headline news on October 10, 1967.

There was no official comment from the Vatanyok Embassy in Washington.