The Unknown: The Red Line.

Frank, have another Corona, and tell me: what were you doing in Normal. You were working for Uncle Sam then, right?

Oh, I can’t really discuss that.

Come on, man, we let you into the Unknown. Fill us in on what you know.

Well, let’s say I was in training for Operation Bookworm. The C.I.A. was paying my expenses there so I could learn to write cutting-edge fiction and become famous in Eastern Europe. Then I would infiltrate literary circles so that the C.I.A. could manipulate popular opinion and plant some of our boys both in office and in the publishing houses. We’re going to start a fully-legitimate publishing house as a cover, and we need skilled editors such as yourselves to run the show down there.

Once the house is successful and prosperous, we’re going to use it to launder money from our other operations. Think of it: if the Unknown suddenly has a couple extra million dollars in their account, none of the bankers will bat an eye because you boys are so darn successful. To them it’ll just look like you gave a reading and got paid in cash. And you will have access to lots of funds with which you can publish many Unknown anthologies, without worrying about losing money on the venture. This will give the whole black operation an air of legitimacy. And you will send many many boxes of the Unknown anthologies back to the U.S. via Southern Air Transport and Air America, two of our airlines. This to ensure no problems in customs. Shall I just say that we may be transporting some extracts from Asian flowers along with the anthologies, through our proprietary supplier in Russia.

Is the K.G.B. in on this?

You don’t have a need to know.

What were you doing in Normal, Frank, for real? Were you spying on Krass-Mueller?

Let’s just say that he had some very important connections in the literary community.



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