Page 103 of Overload


He had considered the idea, wistfully and dreamily, for several days. Then, facing the hardness of reality, he reluctantly abandoned it. There was no way. No way a revival of Friends of Freedom could happen and no way, either, that Georgos could survive. The past seven plus weeks had been an unexpected brief reprieve, a postponement of the inevitable; that was all.

Georgos knew he was near the end of the line.

He was being hunted by every law enforcement agency and would continue to be for as long as he lived. His name and face were known; his chemically stained hands had been described; it was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere, recognized him. He was without resources or help, there was nowhere else to go, and-most critical of all -the money he had brought with him to the hideaway was almost gone. Therefore, capture was unavoidable-unless Georgos chose to anticipate it by ending his life defiantly, in his own way.

He intended to do exactly that.

Like the rat he remembered from his boyhood, he would make one last fighting gesture and, if necessary, die as he had lived, doing harm to the system he hated. Georgos had decided: He would blow up a critical part of a GSP & L generating station. There was a way it could be done to cause maximum effect and his plans were taking shape.

They were based on an attack be had intended to make-aided by other freedom fighters-before Davey Birdsong's idea of bombing the NEI convention intervened. Now Georgos was reviving the original plan, though he would have to execute it alone. He had already moved part way toward his objective by a daring risk he had taken on the same day he went into biding. The first thing Georgos realized that day, on reviewing his situation, was the need for transportation. He had to have wheels. He had abandoned the red "Fire Protection Service" truck because he could not have used it without being recognized, but a substitute was essential. To buy a vehicle of any kind was out of the question. For one thing, it was too risky. For another, he had insufficient money because the bulk of the Friends of Freedom cash reserve had been in the Crocker Street house. So the only possibility, Georgos reasoned, was to retrieve his Volkswagen van, which might, or might not, have been discovered by the pigs and be under surveillance.

He had kept the van in a privately owned parking garage not far from Crocker Street. Aware of the risk he was taking, gambling on being ahead of the police, Georgos walked to the parking garage the same morning, using side streets as much as he could. He arrived without incident, paid the garage owner what was owing, then drove the van away. No one questioned him, nor was he stopped on his way back to North Castle. By midmorning the Volkswagen was safely inside the locked garage adjoining the hideaway apartment. Emboldened by his success, Georgos ventured out again later, after dark, to buy groceries and a late edition of the California Examiner. From the newspaper he learned that a reporter named Nancy Molineaux had provided a description of his Volkswagen van and that police were searching for it. The next day's paper carried a further report on the same subject, disclosing that the parking garage had been visited by police only a half hour after Georgos left.

Knowing that a description of his van had been circulated, Georgos refrained from using it. Now he would use it only once-for what might be his final mission.

There were several other reasons why retrieving the VW had been important.

One was a secret compartment under the van's floor. In it, carefully packed in foam rubber to prevent vibration, were a dozen cylindrical bombs, each containing Tovex water-gel explosive and a timing mechanism.

Also in the van was a small, inflatable rubber dinghy, in a tight package, just as Georgos had bought it at a sporting goods store a month or so earlier, and scuba diving gear, most of it purchased at the same time.

All the items were essential to the daring attack he now proposed.

In the days which followed his recovery of the van, Georgos left the apartment occasionally, but only after dark and, when he had to buy food, was careful never to use the same store twice. He also wore light gloves to conceal his hands and, in an attempt to change his appearance slightly, had shaved off his moustache.

The newspaper reports about Friends of Freedom and the hotel bombing were important to him, not only because he liked to read about himself, but because they provided clues as to what the police and FBI were doing, the abandoned "Fire Prevention Service" truck, found in North Castle, was mentioned several times, but there was also speculation that Georgos had somehow managed to slip out of the city and was now in the East. One report claimed he had been seen in Cincinnati. Good! Anything which drewhattention away from where he actually was was welcome and helpful.

On reading the Examiner that first day, he had been surprised to discover how much was known about his own activities by the reporter Nancy Molineaux. Then, as Georgos read on, he realized it was Yvette who had somehow learned of his plans and had betrayed him. Without that betrayal, the Battle of the Christopher Columbus Hotel (as lie now thought of it) would have been a magnificent victory for Friends of Freedom instead of the inglorious rout it had become.

Georgos ought to have hated Yvette for that. Somehow, though, either then or later, be couldn't manage it. Instead, with a weakness of which he was ashamed, he pitied her and the manner of her death (as described by the newspaper) on Lonely Hill.

Incredibly, he missed Yvette more than he would have believed possible. Perhaps, Georgos thought, because his own time was running out, he was becoming maudlin and foolish. If so, he was relieved that none of his fellow revolutionaries would ever know about it. Something else the newspapers had done was dig deeply into Georgos' personal history. An enterprising reporter, who tracked down the record of Georges' birth in New York City, learned he was the illegitimate son of a onctime Greek movie goddess and a wealthy American playboy named Winslow, the grandson of an auto industry pioneer.

Piece by piece, it all came out.

The movie goddess hadn't wanted to admit having a child, fearing it would destroy her youthful image. The playboy hadn't cared about anything except avoiding entanglements and responsibility.

Georgos was therefore kept well out of sight and, during various stages of his childhood, assigned to successive sets of foster-parents, none of whom be liked. The name Archambault came from a branch of his mother's family.

By the age of nine, Georgos had met his father once, his mother a total of three times. After that be saw neither. As a child he wanted, with a fierce determination, to know his parents, but they were equally determined-for differing, selfish reasons-not to know him.

In retrospect, Georges' mother appeared to have possessed more conscience than his father. She, at least, sent substantial sums of money to Georgos through an Athens law firm, money which permitted hirn to attend Yale and obtain a Ph.D., and later finance Friends of Freedom.

The former movie actress, now far removed from a goddess in appearance, professed to be shocked when informed by news reporters of the use to which some of her money had been put. Paradoxically, though, she seemed to enjoy the attention Georgos now brought her, perhaps because she was living in obscurity, in a grubby apartment outside Athens and drinking heavily. She had also been ill, though she would not discuss the nature of her ailment.

When Georgos' activities were described to her in detail, she responded, "That is not a son, it is an evil animal."

However when asked by a woman reporter if she did not believe her own neglect of Georgos had been largely responsible for what he had become, the ex-actress spat in the questioner's face.

In Manhattan, the aging-playboy father of Georgos dodged the press for several days. Then, when discovered by a reporter in a Fifty-ninth Street bar, he at first denied any intervenement with the Greek movie star, including having sired her child. Finally, when documentary proof of his fatherhood was shown to him, he shrugged and delivered the statement: "My advice to the cops is to shoot the bastard on sight-to kill."

Georgos, in due course, read both comments by his parents. Neither surprised him, but they intensified his hatred of almost everything. So now, in the final week of April, Georgos concluded that the time was near for action. On the one hand, he reasoned, he could not hope to remain in hiding, undetected, much longer-only two nights ago, when shopping for food at a small supermarket, he caught sight of another customer, a man, looking at him with what seemed more than casual curiosity; Georgos left the place hastily. On the other hand, the initial impact of all the publicity, and circulation of his photograph, should have moderated by now, at least a little.

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