Malcolm Adams

March 5, 2009

Concrete Evidence

For Malcolm Adams, the flight from Mobile, Alabama back to Washington, D.C. had seemed almost as long as his earlier flight from London Heathrow to the States. By now, he hoped, the replacement diesel generator would be fitted out below deck and his freshly painted yacht would be on its way from Mobile Bay to a dock he maintained not far south of New Orleans near Houma, Louisiana. He found himself anxious about the captain he had hired—competent enough, surely, but he would have preferred to have sailed with “Red Dawn” himself. There was a lesson in the name: red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at dawn, sailors be warned. The Red Dawn had certainly served him well through troubled passages of many different kinds.
“Please be seated, Mr. Adams.”
The man recognized this as an order framed as a polite request. The small, or perhaps compact, woman studied him from across the teacher’s desk. They were meeting in an empty classroom at a private school in Georgetown. She was cool, but not unfriendly; perhaps reserved would be the correct description that came to his mind. She was Midge Costanza, an assistant to President Carter, and he was meeting with her so that certain information could be exchanged privately at the President’s request.
The man understood this. He took the oak chair without arms that occupied the space between the desk and the first row of small student desks. He had observed that the miniature desks were bolted to the floor in the old fashioned way of miniature wooden benches and scarred table tops, each slanting top bored with a hole for an inkwell that in recent years had evolved into a holder for ball point pens and pencils. Adams recalled that inkwells were still used back in the U.K.. A classroom clock on the wall behind Costanza clicked past four thirty. The red dot on its face indicated that the power had been off, recently, and that the system hadn’t been reset. He resisted the impulse to check the chronometer on his wrist.
Sunlight, cooled from a long passage through a brisk September afternoon, fell in orange pools across polished oak floors, across the desk separating him from the woman, and was absorbed into the folds of a United States flag hanging next to the door to the inside hallway. These old school designs were more secure than the modern “campus” models that had students entering and leaving by outside doors that could never be properly monitored. Adams could see the shadow of a security guard motionless on the other side of the frosted glass. His chair scraped across the floor as he pulled it under him nearer the edge of the desk. The woman settled into the padded, rounded office chair and rolled herself closer so that everything below her waist was hidden. She pressed forward with her elbows braced; her small breasts barely touching the wood surface, and let her hands hover over a folder spread out in front of her.
He reflected on the convenience that Miss Costanza was considered by many to be a mere social secretary that was out of the Washington policy loop. And his identity as a British businessman with a vague diplomatic status provided by credentials supplied by the British Embassy was also helpful. Their meeting simply reflected an effort at coordinating an upcoming cultural event that the President planned to attend. Something else came to mind as Malcolm faced this woman. Costanza’s position as the President’s lightening rod for the women’s Equal Rights Amendment and other social issues made her a safe liaison where misdirection was required.
For her part, Midge Costanza brought out her eyeglasses and fiddled with the thin folder in front of her, trying to decide what she thought of Malcolm Adams. On the surface he was an ordinary British business man who owned some minor oil interests in Nigeria as well as a small firm outside of London that manufactured radiation measurement devices for monitoring reactor safety. Contradicting her experience of male British reserve, Malcolm’s gray eyes were bold in their appraisal of her and betrayed a healthy sense of humor. His weathered appearance and sun bleached hair confirmed the information in her file that he was an experienced sailor who spent much of his spare time on the water. He even held a winning trophy as the skipper of a forty footer in the Melbourne to Hobart sailing event.
As far as his professional life, a few published papers in reputable technical journals supported an in-depth understanding of civil and electrical engineering. The President had assured Midge that Adams was far more than he seemed, and given the President’s expertise in nuclear engineering, she was inclined to believe what he had told her.
But Costanza was suspicious by nature and the recent clash and adverse publicity over a request for information about UFO’s within the President’s inner group had left her with practical considerations concerning the President’s public image.
“Mr. Adams,” she shuffled the papers in the file in front of her, dropped them in order to twist a ring on her right hand, readjusted her glasses, and pursed her lips. “I’ve been tasked to ask your opinion concerning certain sensitive information in our possession. Your government has assured us that you will be able to cooperate in these matters, although, of course, we don’t desire to delve into security matters outside of our mutual interest.”
Adams nodded his head. “That’s as I understand it,” he replied. “I didn’t bring documentation with me, but everything I say can be confirmed by my superiors if necessary.”
He added, after a pause, “I should mention that we rely on your discretion. I’m sure that you are aware that until the relevant investigations are concluded, matters pertaining to a series of accidents in our nuclear power plants have to be kept from the public.” The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. “I think you may have had some of the same necessities in the interest of promoting practical public nuclear policy.”
Costanza gazed sourly back at him. “I’m not here to discuss our public policies with you, Mr. Adams.” She used her middle finger to poke her glasses higher on her nose.
“Of course,” the man apologized with a faint smile. “You’ll have your questions?”
Costanza’s eye’s narrowed as she glanced down to consult one of the pages in front of her. “You’re no doubt aware that we’ve started construction on several power reactors in various configurations,” she began. “There’s the Houston Light and Power facility that was begun last year, and the Three Mile Island Facility is in development. Now there’s the new facility near the Sabine River in Texas.”
Adams nodded, “Yes, I’ve been following developments. In fact, my company has submitted bids to provide specialized safety systems in each of these facilities, although,” a slight irritation crept into his voice, “your government has seen fit to make the bidding process considerably harder for companies outside of the States.”
The woman tapped her right index finger briefly against the table surface and fiddled with the frames of her glasses, a habit that might be bad for playing poker, Adams thought, but served here to emphasize her impatience.
“We’re simply being security conscious,” she spoke coolly.
“We could be helpful with that security if you’d consider easing things a little on our side,” he seemed to be questioning her.
“Ah, the negotiating point?”
He thought he detected amusement flicker in her eyes. “A minor consideration, perhaps.”
“Probably not,” she stated, “but duly noted.” She leaned back in the chair and waited.
He knew he’d have to be satisfied with her concession to the point. “So, how may I help you?” he broke into the silence.
Costanza decided to approach matters directly. “Tell me what you know about what the Russians are doing at Chernobyl.” If Adams were surprised, he didn’t show it.
Adams spread the fingers of his hands flat on the table. “You know how the Russians are. They make sophisticated plans but their execution is sometimes crude. They’re so sure of themselves that they are constructing their series of reactors without a containment facility.”
“We know,” Costanza referred to some notes in front of her. “Do you think it’s a cost saving measure?”
“Not really,” he replied. “I think it’s the Russian psyche. Containment would be a policy that recognized potential flaws. Their technical management structure insulates itself within political correctness which is the major danger to safe operation. Containment in our culture is a necessary reassurance and makes it seem like we’re catering to the human factor.”
“But we’re not,” Costanza looked curious, “actually concerned about the public?”
“We have had our problems like dumping radioactive waste into the Irish Sea,” he said, “and you have your Hanford facility, among others. Everyone is a lot less than perfect.”


About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

16 Responses to “Malcolm Adams”

  1. Miniature Golf Course Plans Says:

    Hello webmaster, I found your blog via Google while searching for miniature golf course plans and your post regarding Adams | Charles Frenzel looks very interesting for me

  2. Travis Muralles Says:

    Contrary to some notions, good researched articles still fetch in reviewers like me. You paraded broad understanding of the theme matter and my views are now complete after reading your post. Please sustain up the effective work and i will subscribe to your rss feed to be enlightened of any future postings.

  3. Alessandra Rose Says:

    This blog is great. How did you come up witht he idea?

  4. facebook zynga Says:

    i am more often than not jumping on the web the majority of the week which means I usually tend to read an awful lot, which is not generally a good factor as the majority of the websites I find are made up of pointless waste copied from other web pages a trillion times, on the other hand I have to compliment you because this site is really quite informative and even has got a bit of original content, therefore cheers for helping to stop the fad of exactly replicating other folks’ blogs and forums, in case you ever wanna have fun with playing a few hands of zynga poker together let me know – you have my e-mail 🙂

  5. Gretta Keagle Says:

    I’ve noticed your website a while ago, just never really got a chance to post anything back. I found it to be very useful and would like to see if you are able to get in touch with me and maybe we can have a discussion on a few of these topics. Would appreciate a response back.

  6. stair chair Says:

    @Sam I know what your saying there . In the current economy its difficult to find a career that pays good and is consistent. I have found that if you just work hard and are consistent you can succeed. Look at the author of this page , they are oviously a hard worker and have just been consistent over time and are now enjoying at least what would appear as somewhat of a success. I would encourage everyone to just keep hustling and moving forward.

  7. Kristopher Kubota Says:

    I recently decided to create a simple video about this, I would be pleased if you would maybe take a second to look it and possibly leave a message about what you think, I left the movie link in the “website” field, hopefully you can access it, thank you greatly

  8. charles frenzel Says:

    Sorry, but you must use a different format.

  9. charles frenzel Says:

    Well, hard work is certainly necessary. I’d put it down more to persistence over a long period of time 🙂

  10. charles frenzel Says:

    Love Australia. Where do you hail from?

  11. Sung Schiavone Says:

    Superb web-site, keep me from looking it, I am seriously serious to find out another recommendation of it.

  12. free registry cleaner Says:

    Wonderful journey and experience!

  13. hypercom t7plus Manual Says:

    Perhaps you have considered putting more video clips to your blog to keep the fans more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was fine but since folks are more of a visual learner, I found that to be more helpful. Well you should let me know how it turns out! I like what you guys are doing and up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the great work guys. I’ve added this place to my page links. This is a nice site thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

  14. Jarred Lourentzos Says:

    Fine work, hope to hear more from you.Are you working in a Group that you can make such a good Blog? 🙂

Leave a Reply