Authors: Jerome Reyer
Fortune’s obsession is the story of a young man who stumbles into a web of intrigue, danger and romance after innocently taking some snapshots on a sunny day in New York City’s Central Park. The novel follows him on a breathtaking journey to save America’s space program.
Jerome Reyer, Biography
Jerome Reyer is the author of one other novel, THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE, published by Xlibris Inc. He is an ex businessman who has retired to write novels after selling his business. He has been a soldier, a corporation president, the president of a large national trade organization and the Chairman of the Board of the largest member owned country club in America. He currently resides in Florida.
Peter Fortune had a lust for life. At age thirty eight, he had not yet married, although he had come close on several occasions. He was just too busy enjoying life. It wasn't that he was a partier or a drinker or even an habitual womanizer. He was a twentieth century renaissance man. He had, at various times of his life, taken up flying, scuba diving, sky diving, skiing and automobile racing. He had one passion, however, that superseded all others.
Photography had become his great joy. Peter lived in a spacious, two bedroom, two bath apartment on the west side of Manhattan. One of the bathrooms had been converted to a high tech darkroom with state of the art equipment. The second bedroom was devoted also to his great passion. One of the walls was paneled entirely in cork for viewing his shots, and the rest of the room was a mini- studio. Peter was a reasonably good architect and a partner in a firm specializing in converting lofts to apartment buildings. He made an excellent living and could easily indulge himself in all of his very expensive hobbies. There was no woman in his present life that he cared to be with at the moment. At those times of his life, he tended to plunge himself into his work and his hobbies.
On a Saturday afternoon in October, Peter packed a thirty five millimeter camera with a 70 to 200 Millimeter zoom lens and a motor drive and set out for Central Park. He loved to take people’s pictures without their knowledge in good old fashioned black white. There were endless marvelous photo opportunities in the park and just thinking of them exhilarated and enthused him.
There were food vendors and their customers, balloon vendors, street musicians, dogs galore, children galore and hundreds of thousands of interesting people. Peter had won contests with many of his Central Park shots and even sold some to publications. His work was so good that most knowledgeable people thought that he could easily switch professions.
He stationed himself on a high rock at a distance where the telephoto lens would give him good shots without him being noticed by the person he was photographing.
By the time he was finished shooting, he had expended five thirty six exposure rolls. He photographed countless pretty women,
many street musicians, vendors and passers by. The time went by quickly and with each shot he felt like an artist creating a work of art. He composed his pictures twice; once with the lens and once with the enlarger, oftentimes cropping a shot so that what seemed like a minor portion of the picture at the time he was taking it, turned into the central subject of the photo.
When there were eighteen shots left, he had exhausted his supply of subjects and was ready to leave. He looked around for something to shoot off his remaining eighteen shots and settled for a large bench on which were seated a bevy of interesting people. From left to right, there were: An elegant looking man with swarthy skin and a jet black goatee and mustache under a bald pate who sat rigidly, staring into space, a briefcase at his feet. A handsome man of about thirty also rigidly staring into space
also with a briefcase placed
at his feet. A heavy black woman reading a bible. A couple
dressed like sixties hippies, she with a long dress and flower child hat and he with long hair, Fu Manchu mustache and tank top.
A very old lady leaning on a cane talking to a young woman holding a small child on her lap and lastly a young man with thick glasses reading a book. Peter thought the group had endless photographic possibilities both as a group and individuals and shot a series of eighteen shots over a period of time, waiting for different movements from each person.
When the shooting was finished, he tossed the camera case over his shoulder, bought an ice cream cone and walked happily toward his apartment on the West Side. While others were going out on the town on Saturday night, Peter Fortune would work in his dark room till the late hours.
Upon arriving at his apartment, he put the rolls into developing tanks instantly. He wanted them to be dry so that he could spend the evening working on the enlarger. This evening would be a great joy to him. A photographer searching for a perfect picture is like a surfer looking for the perfect wave.
Ibrahim Fahd was officially an illegal alien. He had, however, any number of documents that would prove his right to be in America. He had passports from three Arab countries which were acceptable to the United States. In addition, he possessed documents showing him to be an American citizen of Syrian ancestry. He lived in a spacious apartment on the twenty ninth floor of a luxury building overlooking the east river. Fahd was a respected and well liked tenant who was polite and friendly to all of his neighbors and much loved by the local tradesmen in the neighborhood. His cover was that he was an importer of fine silks. He maintained an office in a building on
under the name of Trans Orient Silks,
Inc. Within the office was a secretary who answered calls and maintained a computer and fax machine.
He sat down and looked into the briefcase. His afternoon trip to Central Park had indeed been profitable. The documents in the briefcase were worth at least one hundred times more than he paid for them. His sources in Libya and Iraq would literally kill for what was inside the briefcase. He poured himself a brandy and lit a Havana cigar which was smuggled in by a source in Cuba. He ran his fingers down the fine, dark blue pin striped suit and felt his silk shirt and tie. Roughly estimated, including his shoes, he was dressed in three thousand dollars worth of custom made clothes. He
really enjoyed the good life he had made for himself and while he was in no one's employ in particular, he had dealt at various times with Libya, Iraq, the PLO and other middle east terrorist organizations.
His security was excellent and his contacts
had to go through three levels of highly coded associates to get in touch with him at all. He truly felt that he could exist for years in his current situation without ever being compromised. On Monday morning he would take the contents of the briefcase to his office and start negotiations with several clients. He never did business from his apartment and never made phone calls of a business nature or received mail there. As far as everyone from the doorman to the mailman knew, he was a well respected, much loved, Arab-American businessman.
He glanced at his watch. It was nearly seven o clock and the delectable Dara would soon arrive. She was one of the prize possessions his wealth had afforded him. She towered over him by four inches and was slim and blonde with perfect breasts. She was twenty- nine years old and he literally owned her. He kept her in a luxury apartment thirty blocks north, also overlooking the east river. She drove a Porsche 928 and had an unbelievable cache of furs and jewelry. In return for all of the luxuries he had given her, she was expected to be totally his and at his beck and call at all times. At such times that he chose not to be in her company, she was to be unquestioning until such time that he summoned her and when that happened she was to be instantly available. He had, in his many years in both the United States and England, developed very western tastes. The thought of going back to his native Egypt, where he had abandoned a wife and five children was
abhorrent to him. He had, through his own cleverness and his fine
connections, literally disappeared off the face of the earth.
Dara Morgan, nee Doris Murkowski, sat naked at her dressing table, brushing and re-brushing her long, glistening blonde tresses again and again. She admired herself in the mirror.
Her tall, lithe body was perfect, not a blemish on it. Her skin glistened and was tanned to just the right shade. Her aquiline nose, high cheekbones and large blue eyes, made for a visage of great beauty. Dara was truly beautiful and had learned as early as junior high school that beautiful girls, if they played their cards right, could have anything they wanted.....anything!
She considered herself neither immoral nor evil. She was intelligent and had a college degree to prove it. When she moved from her family's home in western Pennsylvania after graduation, she fully intended to rise legitimately in the business world but almost instantly found that she could use her feminine wiles to climb more quickly up the ladder of affluence. After several highly profitable affairs with well heeled men, she was introduced to Ibrahim Fahd at a cocktail party. He was instantly stricken with her and after a few dates, offered her the life which she now led. While not especially physically attracted to him, the performances she gave and the compensation received for same was the ultimate turn-on for her. She indulged Fahd all of his sexual fantasies, which involved all forms of sex, vaginal, anal and oral.
She was his complete love slave and continued to satisfy him
completely. It never occurred to her that she was a high priced hooker and she led an extremely erudite existence. She read books, attended the theater and concerts and did oil painting and sculpture in her apartment studio to protect herself against boredom in between summonses from Fahd.
She walked naked to the telephone, her movements like a long, graceful animal and dialed Fahd.
" Hello darling, are you waiting for me? I can't wait to see you, I need the feel of your strong body against mine."
Fahd answered, " Oh my sweet, get over here quickly, you know you drive me insane when you talk like that."
She smiled a knowing smile to herself in the mirror.
" Oh my love, I'm going to drain you dry tonight".
If she felt ridiculous, spouting such dialogue, she knew that the returns were worth it. She blew a kiss into the phone and hung up, still smiling and shook her head.
She slipped on a black jersey dress. Underneath, she wore black panties, a garter belt and black net stockings. She wore no bra. She liberally doused herself with perfume before dressing, making especially sure to saturate her blonde pubic hair.
She slipped out the door and took the elevator to the street level. The doormen always gave her extra special attention as they were heavily tipped my Mr. Fahd, who made sure that everyone knew that she belonged to him. She opted for a cab tonight, which was
immediately summoned by the doorman, who ran into the middle of the
street to summon it for her. She knew that she would return early the next morning, as Fahd preferred her not sleep over and the Porsche was just as well left in the building's garage.
Lt. Commander (ret.) Farley Collins sat back in the first class seat, heading for Orlando. The briefcase he clutched tightly to his lap contained two hundred thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills. He had spent several hours in his hotel room counting it.
The fact that he was betraying his country bothered him not at all.
He had a rather undistinguished military career in naval aviation, until he was chosen for the astronaut program. He had spent five years at Cape Canaveral and had constantly been passed over for a flight in spite of his intricate training. Finally, he was told that he had not passed psychological requirements. This of course had destroyed his naval career and he had retired at age forty one with twenty years and four month's service. He had departed with information that was highly classified, which he had smuggled out piece by piece. He had been put in touch with Fahd by a man he met in a hotel cocktail lounge one night, to whom he vented his spleen while very drunk. When he had met several emissaries and finally passed muster, the deal was made and the exchange of briefcases arranged. He was told that if the information was not genuine, that he would be in no uncertain terms, hunted down and destroyed.
He had been married briefly and had no children and in approaching
middle age, had no friends. He was basically a loner during his time in the Navy, keeping to himself whenever he could. He was a fine flier and was technically one of the most proficient of his breed. He had a brilliant mind that could cut through mathematical and scientific problems like a sharp blade. His problem was that he possessed a large ego without the personality to go with it.