His first words caught me off guard. I now knew that Sam Ellis’ disappearance had gone beyond just those in the legislature. “Steve,” I said, “What in god’s name is going on? I can get either no answers or circumspect answers. I have even had my family threatened.” There was a long silence. That did not sound very encouraging to me. I called Steve for advice, but it appeared that he was somehow involved or had knowledge of what was going on.

“Chet, you and I have been friends for a long while. Have I ever knowingly steered you wrong?” I could honestly say that he hadn’t. Was I going to get nothing from Steve and then decide whether I should call the police? “What are you saying to me, Steve? Is there some reason why Sam Ellis is off the grid and either he wants it to be that way, or someone took him off?” “It’s not at all like that yet, Chet. Sam Ellis is in deep trouble with a very powerful group of people. He has teed them off and they are not the forgiving kind. I must tell you that even they are looking for him.”

“Steve, this is way beyond my ability to comprehend. Is Sam in hiding? Does his family even know where he is? Shouldn’t the police, state troopers, or FBI be called in” I asked? Steve then told me that Sam’s request before he left was to contact no one about his absence. He did not want anyone looking for him. He knew that if he was found, he would not have very long to live.

With that answer, I understood what was happening. I really could not imagine how this all worked. Having lobbied for 35 years, I was unaware of an interest group going this far. How was this possible in 2015? My place in the story suddenly became extraneous. I did not want to go against Sam’s wishes. If I did, might I be endangering his life?

“Steve, do you know what the issue is or what group is after Sam,” I asked. “I can’t tell you the actual names, but I can say that Sam’s position and influence on this issue has sparked a series of events that Sam could not control.”


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