CODE NAME: PAPA
My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight
CODE NAME: PAPA
Please note that the contents herein and on all pages are copyrighted and can not be used without the permission of our publisher or Papa.
(Now you wouldn't want to disappoint
Papa, would you?)
from Chapter 1
from small town to world citizen: my life’s many changes
It would be a lie to say I got to know my best friends in hell. But, it would barely be a stretch to say we bonded just a few blocks north of there.
The place was Vietnam. And I promise I’m not going there for long. I’ll reminisce only briefly to help you understand who the three of us were at the start of our crazy and very special friendship. Over the course of our lifetimes, this alliance would follow us back to the states, into “business” together, and then catapult us into a decades’ long journey that would have us jet-setting across the globe—not always with a jet and usually without most of life’s comforts.
If you already think I’m a bit crazy, you’re probably right. One would have to be that, but also smart and daring, to live the lives we choose. Scratch that. These lives really chose us.
In 1965, at the age of twenty-seven, I joined the Marines after several years as a police officer in a small town in Florida. I knew I was going to be older than many recruits, but I felt a real desire to serve my country. Boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina was way too hot and muggy. But despite the discomfort, that’s where I met two fellow Marine recruits, Jake and Bill, who would become my best friends for life. I don’t know what it was about the three of us: We all came from very different backgrounds and parts of the country. Yet we quickly felt as though we’d known each other forever and seemed like long-lost brothers.
After boot camp and our first leaves, we all ended up in Chicago where we were to be shipped out in to Vietnam, via San Diego. But, for some reason our plans were changed. Bill and Jake were sent on to Honolulu, and I remained for almost a month in San Diego. Twenty-three days later, I finally left for Vietnam where I was quickly reunited with Jake, Bill and the rest of our boot camp team.
My youthful zeal to help my country didn’t prepare me for the death, destruction, and heartache that were all around. All three of us were to become old men in the short time we’d be in Southeast Asia. The stories of those times are endless, but I’ll just share a few…
Code Name Papa's Prologue, Contents and other important info is on our ABOUT THE BOOK page. Here you'll find samples from a few chapters. Enjoy...
from Chapter 37
viva Las Vegas
Shortly after that scare, I received a call from Amy. I could tell by her voice something was definitely wrong. I asked her if it was something in her district. Amy replied, “No, but I just received word that a meeting is being called by a group of international players to try to solve some of the problems you and I’ve been having with some of our adversaries and who are likely behind the attempted attacks on your home and possibly on you.” I told her that I’d already been attacked and I’d eliminated the assassin without incident.
Amy told me the meeting would likely be held in either Las Vegas or Frankfurt. I promptly replied, “I won’t go to Frankfurt because I don’t feel secure there.” I quickly added, “You know, Amy, most of these meetings are nothing but a bunch of crap that don’t amount to anything.” She said, “Agreed. However, I believe these men are the ones who are behind trying to eliminate you and me. We can deal with them now or later… and I suggest now.” I concurred and honestly felt somewhat relieved that we could address this for once and for all. I reminded Amy of Papa’s words: “You can run, but you cannot hide.”
We both agreed to find out as much as possible. I told her that I wouldn’t rule out a meeting with anybody—even people as questionable as this—if the problems could be solved.
But, my real plan was to eliminate them. I knew enough from past experience that talk was cheap and meant nothing. Most likely it was their plan to eliminate me, and those with me at, or more likely after, the meeting.
Amy and I agreed Las Vegas was a good location...
...We had made up a story when we spoke to the hotels, explaining we were planning to bring a huge factory to the Las Vegas area. We knew we’d get one of the hotels to accommodate us because we’d put a half million dollars up as a security deposit to take over an entire floor for two days. We also requested the hotel provide us with a detailed map of all floors, elevators, and stairwells. The first hotel to respond was one of the major hotels on The Strip with a name that falls into the middle of the alphabet (which is all I dare say). They told us they had a perfect place for our meeting and they had a kitchen staff available for us, also. They said that all the elevators and stairwells could be blocked off to ensure our complete privacy. The unsuspecting hotel sent our people a confirmation letter, and they received our funds....
I called Amy who was getting ready to come to Las Vegas. I told her that immediately upon arrival at the hotel we had to have all of the hallway and elevator cameras shut down. It had to be explained to the hotel administrators that it was strictly for the privacy of the bankers and investors who would be attending: They didn’t want to be known or seen. I felt this could have been a stumbling block because we hadn’t mentioned this upfront and hotels don’t want any interference with their security systems. As it turned out, the hotel’s management didn’t have a problem with our request.
from Chapter 7
When someone of Papa’s stature dies, the services are always ‘family only’ to maintain complete privacy. In his case, that was especially true. So, though I longed to help celebrate his amazing life, only two people attended. Since I could not, I spent the hour of his service with my own thoughts and memories of this man who had changed my life personally and likely saved the quality of life for millions more at home and abroad. ‘Unsung hero’ crossed my mind more than once as I spent my final hour with Papa...
...One time he related a very unusual story. Like most of what he said, it had a purpose. He started by asking me if I knew what a will-o’-the-wisp was. I told him it was the strange ghost-like lights that some travelers see at night. “In fact, I believe at one time I came into contact with one in Florida,” I added. He smiled and asked if it’d creeped me out. I answered, “Yes, it sure did!"...
...The organization we work in is best described as the will-o’-the-wisp. We’re a small light in the darkness you reach for, but you can’t touch. That’s who we are. As long as you can keep in mind what you represent is like a will-o’-the-wisp, then you and your crew will likely last a very long time. You’re a small light in the cold darkness of night that can be barely seen and seems unreachable...
...“I love my son very much, but he would make it a lamp and not a small light. That’s the difference between you and Jake.
“You now know the basics of who I am, and I’m very glad that you came along. We need you here.”
I raised a glass to the man who, in the absence of my own dad, felt very much like a father to me. Maybe it was just a strange coincidence I called him Papa?
from Chapter 11
The flight home was uneventful. My car was in the hangar where it had been sitting for too long. It roared to life and I headed south towards home, arriving around four-thirty p.m. I’d forgotten one “minor” detail: to call Julia to tell her I’d be there for Christmas after all. My mistake! She’d left the night before with our son to be with her mother several hundred miles away. So once again, I was by myself for Christmas. I guess I deserved it. How stupid of me to think that a woman with a life and a now-successful career of her own would sit home alone after so many disappointing holidays! I picked up the phone to call Julia, but I decided against it, because she’d no doubt break her neck trying to get back to me and I didn’t want her to make that long trip on the holiday.
My nosy neighbor across the street had seen the lights on and my car in the driveway, so she decided to come over to investigate. She knocked. “What the hell do you want?” I asked as I opened the door in my usual charming way...