The Idealist by Terry Conrad
Excerpted from The Idealist by Terry Conrad
With America more divided than ever, political corruption is at an all-time high. Washington outsider Trevor Backe believes he has the solution: a new political party free of big money and influence peddling. Changing the status quo, however, comes at a price, leaving Trevor to stand alone against the most powerful — and lethal — forces the system has ever spawned...
I BEGAN this journey with the belief that this nation of ours was in dire need of a change in leadership. Everywhere I looked, all I could see was greed and corruption, especially in the highest political offices in the land. It sickened me to think that this was the best our country had to offer.
With recent events, however, our nation has truly come to a crossroads. Indeed, it is facing the biggest challenge it has ever seen. We as a people must decide whether it is time to take back our government from those who would circumvent our rule of law, or give up all hope that change can ever truly occur. The time to decide is now. The time to stand up and fight for what is right is now. If we don’t, we are lost. We can no longer afford to live unaware of the danger that now surrounds us.
When I began this journey, I knew there would be opposition. Those that hold power will do anything they can to make sure it never changes hands. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that I had altered our nation’s trajectory. But now our enemies are fighting back. As you have seen, they are intent on doing whatever it takes, quite literally anything, to retake control, including manipulating anyone willing to believe this incredible lie they’ve told about me.
I implore you not to be fooled by their smear tactics, for it is their own hypocrisy that resounds throughout our nation’s capital. Indeed, they were the ones leading this country down the road to oblivion for years while profiting from our citizens’ misery. While I thought I had taken their power from them, I have now found that their influence went well beyond what even I had anticipated.
Perhaps I am partially to blame for the predicament I now find myself in. Perhaps if I had not filled you with the hope of a highly moral political party that would end all corruption in Washington, I would not be in this situation. Perhaps my party had set a bar so high that there was only room to fall. In spite of it all, though, I will not apologize, nor do I regret my actions. Quite to the contrary. While some will believe I’m guilty of everything I’ve been accused of, I vow here and now to prove my innocence.
I don’t expect for you to believe me without the entire story, but I promise you that in the end, the truth will be revealed, and everything will be brought into the light. To those who supported me, I say this: though your faith in me may be shaken, though the media may have already judged me to be guilty, I will fight to ensure that the promises I’ve made to you will come true. Those who have perpetrated this act of sedition will be exposed and brought to justice.
To the nation I ask that you do not give up hope. Washington can still be cleaned up if you continue to believe in me. I will tell you the entire story, from beginning to end, and I will tell you the truth, because you deserve it from your elected officials. Before you judge me, before you impeach me, I have only one request: keep an open mind.
THE ride to the abandoned warehouse was more than a little uncomfortable.
The effects of the taser began wearing off, but I was still sore from being thrown into the van and from the cuffs restricting the flow of blood to my hands. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that I was in serious trouble.
The van stopped after what seemed like half an hour. My captors pulled me out and led me blindly into an enclosed room inside the building. I was tied to a chair before the blindfold and gag were finally removed.
“What am I doing here?” I asked.
The leader, the largest of the three men, clenched his teeth in rage.
“Shut up!” he bellowed at me. “I’m the one who asks the questions here.”
I wasn’t in a position to argue with him, so I kept my mouth shut.
Looking around, my eyes became fixated on the far side of the room and a selection of items that were clearly intended to harm someone. Pruning shears, a hammer, a saw, a sledge hammer, various types of knives, and a revolver were the toys on display. The thugs were serious, and I was terrified.
I’ve certainly seen movies and TV shows where people were tortured for information before, but I was having a hard time trying to figure out what information I could possibly have that would be of interest to men like this. What could they possibly want from me? I had no clue and that scared me even more because I had a feeling that whatever they wanted from me, I wasn’t going to be able to provide. This meant items on that table were going to be used on me and there was nothing I could do about it.
The big man who seemed to be in charge came over and moved within an inch of my face. Then he growled. Honest to God, he actually growled at me, and then he barked at the top of his lungs, his spittle splattering against my left eye. His breath was corrosive.
When he was done intimidating me, he backed away, and he and his friends began to laugh.
“You’re in a shitload of trouble, Backe,” he exclaimed, “You’re about to see what I do to fuckers who stand in my way.”
My mind began to race. What the hell could I do? Beg for my life and hope to get out of there unscathed? Offer them money? Try to dazzle them with false bravado? I’m not one who would consider myself a coward – I usually stand up for what I believe in – but torture? I didn’t think I was built for that.
“What do you want from me?” I asked again. “Look, if I know what you’re after, maybe we can work something out.”
It’s hard to sound tough and reasonable at the same time, but I felt like I’d pulled it off. I didn’t really expect my captors to negotiate, but what the hell did I have to lose?
The big man only laughed at me again.
“I’m not here to extract information from you, Backe. I’m here to convey a warning. One that you’d better take seriously.”
I swallowed hard enough that it was audible to everyone in the room. The leader’s voice was dire, his demeanor ominous and thoroughly convincing.
“End your party now. No more running for office, and tell the ones in office now to cooperate with the rest of Congress. If they have a bill they want to pass, your people are to pass it. All the current legislation your party is trying to pass, drop it. If you don’t, the consequences will be severe.”
I froze for a minute, unsure of how to respond. For the first time since I was nabbed, though, I felt a bit of relief. Whoever my captors were, they didn’t plan to kill me. Quite the opposite; they needed me alive. They weren’t planning to kidnap or kill anyone in the party, either – they were sent to convince me to play along with someone else’s agenda. Though American, they were terrorists in every sense of the word. They were attempting to stifle liberty using scare tactics.
To my own surprise, I felt my fear abating. I was starting to get angry. No matter what, I resolved not to let them see my fear. They weren’t going to stop New Day, either. I wasn’t going to let them.
Yeah, I was trapped in their little torture chamber. Pissing them off was a stupid move.
“No,” I said, defiantly.
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Publication date: 1/7/2020
Publisher: Elizabeth River Press
Author: Terry Conrad
Editor: Jay Waitkus
Cover image: NZ Graphics
The Idealist copyright © 2019 Terry Conrad. All rights reserved. Image and excerpts used by permission.