Contingency Plan - Chapter 2 - I am Surrounded by FOOLS!
Updated: Mar 13
Why must I do everything myself? Don’t answer that! It’s a rhetorical question and I’m about to tell you the answer. But first, I need to confess something that has been bothering me since my command center was destroyed in the explosion. I now very deeply regret not putting enough personal effort into creating my contingency plan. I have always prided myself on the thoroughness of my planning and the scrutiny I give to every detail of my intricate schemes. And I pay the utmost attention to my contingency plans. In some circles, I am as renowned for my iron-clad contingency plans as much as for my brilliant plots.
When I auctioned the forged drilling rights to the Egina deep sea oil fields, for instance, I never strayed more than a dozen feet from the jetpack I disguised as a cappuccino machine.¹ It took nearly as much effort to engineer and build a combined jetpack-cappuccino machine as it took to forge the drilling rights documents and arrange the fraudulent auction – time and effort well spent!
I donned the jetpack the instant I felt the auction barge start to heave and pitch under my feet. When the British submarine surfaced next to the barge a few moments later, I knew my scheme was ruined. Despite my generous bribes, someone at the Nigerian Oil Ministry must have tipped off the authorities. Although months of planning and millions of naira in bribes had been for naught, it was still satisfying to watch the oilmen scramble for cover from the coffee-scented jetpack exhaust. I launched into the sky and rendezvoused with Ehrlich who was circling above in the twin rotor.
I am also proud of the contingency plan I devised when I stole the fifteen-ton Willamette meteorite from the Natural History Museum in New York. The Willamette meteorite contained the world’s greatest concentration of an extremely rare mineral whose radiation-resistant properties were crucial to my most cunning and ambitious plot. If you want to visit the museum to see the meteorite, don’t bother. I stole the enormous space-rock using the hydraulically actuated brontosaurus skeleton I had anonymously donated to the museum six months prior.
As I prepared for the meteorite theft, my chief concern was that the dart gun would not deliver the appropriate dose of detomidine to the guards. If they woke up too soon, while I was moving the meteorite with my hydraulic brontosaurus skeleton, I would have limited options to escape.
With expert use of make-up, I made myself indistinguishable from the Neanderthal mannequins in the Pleistocene exhibit. If the guards woke up prematurely, I would simply freeze like a Neanderthal mannequin and hide in plain sight.
Fortunately, my darts delivered the appropriate dose of detomidine and I was able to take my time operating my hydraulic dinosaur skeleton. I simply walked the monster across the museum lobby to the meteorite display, opened its rib-cage and scooped up the meteorite. It only took another three minutes to walk the hydraulic dinosaur skeleton, with the giant meteorite in its belly, to the loading dock.
I was still in my Neanderthal disguise when I jumped into the cab of the garbage truck Ehrlich and I used to make our getaway with the meteorite. The startled shout Ehrlich gave when I entered the cab was priceless. If he survived the explosion, and you ever meet him, make sure you rib him about his fear of Neanderthals!²
I could go on and on about my contingency plans. My superior planning skills were again demonstrated when the shadowy buyers of my rare (and stolen!) manuscripts turned out to be undercover agents from Euroforce’s elite Unit Zero. I had the foresight to keep a Formula 1 racecar warmed and ready in the stables just in case the sale became problematic.
I was well-prepared when Euroforce Unit Zero agents descended from helicopters and smashed through my drawing-room windows. Naturally, I was enraged that my carefully wrought plans to profit in the black markets for antiquities had come to a violent and chaotic end. But it was nevertheless satisfying to make the drive from Córdoba to the coast in under twenty-five minutes!
Sadly, the contingency planning in my most recent criminal scheme was not up to my usual standards. I didn’t get lazy, mind you. I worked harder and longer on my latest project than on any other in my career. Stealing a deep-water oil drilling platform is no easy feat, let alone stealing two! Managing the army of mercenaries, placating the narco-warlord investors, and translating my threats and demands into the six official languages of the United Nations were all extremely time consuming. And with Ehrlich recovering from his hernia operation, the workload became quite onerous.
It’s not that I didn’t have a contingency plan. The fact that I’m writing my story attests to a minimally functional pathway to safety. But I outsourced the contingency plan. I delegated it to Yuri, the young Russian. The boy showed such promise! I thought that the responsibility of implementing the contingency plan would be a learning experience for him.
Although I was able to make my escape, the contingency plan just didn’t have my usual style and flair. The escape submarine was too small to fit myself, Ehrlich, and the specially engineered container of rhodium borosilica, the most valuable substance on Earth. Sadly, I had to leave Ehrlich behind, pushing him out the hatch with my boot against his face. I’m lucky that his hernia repair was so extensive, and that his recovery was going so poorly. In other circumstances, Ehrlich would be the one telling you the tale right now instead of me.
But my disappointment in the contingency plan that Yuri prepared goes beyond the submarine. The go-fast boat that transported me to Australia had no long-range communication gear. The air-cargo container used to smuggle me to the Bahamas was lacking a full bar. My false identity papers redefined me as a lowly schoolteacher. I experienced the final slap-in-the-face this morning when I arrived at my safehouse.
When I told Yuri that I needed a safehouse, I thought that the fact the word house was involved in my directive would communicate something about the size and quality of the structure I required. When I arrived at the address I decrypted from the memory stick left in the safe deposit box, I learned that Yuri and I must have had more of a communication problem than I realized. You see, my safehouse is a trailer. In a trailer park. I now live in a trailer park a few miles outside of Harlan’s Creek, Virginia.
I return to my non-rhetorical question. Why must I do everything myself? Why must I do everything myself? Everything? Myself? Why? BECAUSE I AM SURROUNDED BY FOOLS!
¹ Yes, of course the jetpack also made cappuccino. It was excellent cappuccino too.
² Actually, you had better not do this. Ehrlich is known more for his sense of violence than for his sense of humor.