Everybody lies. Some lie a lot; others not so much. I’m closer to the
‘lies not so much’ group. I don’t expect you to believe everything
I tell you, but I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt, when
you figure that what I’m telling you is the kind of stuff that could
get me killed. I don’t know for sure what will be done to me after
this gets out, but I feel, after over four decades of silence, I have an
obligation to tell it. The truth is, I don’t know if it will make any
damn difference. The powers that don’t want this revealed are going to
kill it, and probably me as well.
My name is Jason. I was named for my father and grandfather. They told
me many times as I was growing up that our name comes from a Greek word
that means healer. That was important to them, because they were both
physicians, and it was no secret in our family that they hoped I would
follow in their footsteps, and even join their medical practice.
I was more excited about a different association with our name. I
learned of it when I was 10 years old. I saw a movie about Jason and the
Argonauts of Greek legend. They were great heroes. The story of that
Jason gave birth to a sense of destiny within me; an overwhelming
feeling that I was meant to become some kind of hero. I don’t mean a
great hero like the mythical Jason, but heroic at whatever level my life
circumstances allowed. I don’t know, at this point in my life, whether
anyone would report that I ever attained heroic status. But I’m
confident my journey placed me in the presence of genuine heroes at many
crossroads along the way.
My family name, Delacroix, originated with our European ancestors and
translates in English, “of the cross,” as in the cross of Jesus.
Since he was another sort of hero, our surname contributed to my
childhood vision of heroic destiny. I think most children have fantasies
about becoming heroes. Such daydreams come from having no valid
conception of what a real hero is or how great the personal risks and
costs of becoming one can be.
While the focus here is not intended to be on heroes, they will keep
popping up. The fact is we all encounter heroic people here and there,
throughout our lives. Heroes are people who sacrifice themselves in
small or large ways. Rather than just looking out for ‘number one,’
they give up something, sometimes something as precious as their lives,
for one or more other people. Heroes and self-sacrifice are on my mind
as I tell you how I became involved in the National Security Agency’s
deepest Black Ops Project.
It all started on February 10th, 1969, a depressingly cold, cloudy day.
I kissed Abigail goodbye one last time as a razor sharp scalpel of icy
wind assaulted us, causing our embrace to become even more desperate.
Looking back now, I can’t help but wonder if some supernatural, cosmic
surgeon of fate was cutting away the sweet, innocent phase of our life
Abby’s stoic, World War Two veteran father stood near us at the
Greyhound bus stop. He wasn’t one to talk about his inner feelings,
but I felt his empathy fueled by his own memories of boot camp and
shipping out to war in the Pacific, twenty-six years earlier. He was the
strong silent type, and he loved to put on the image of a tough guy. I
had learned that, hidden, under his ‘rugged’ exterior, he had a very
big heart. Every young warrior who ever left the people they loved in
order to serve their country knows the pain of this scene.
I could still taste our blended tears as I boarded the bus and found my
seat for the multi-billion light year trip to Fort Jackson, SC, on the
far side of the Milky Way. Actually, Ft Jackson was only a three-hour
drive from Myrtle Beach, but it felt like the other side of the galaxy
I had no idea that the forces of destiny were molding my life quietly
and quickly into a complexity and a form I could hardly have anticipated
or comprehended at the time. I was consumed with the sudden, surreal
consciousness that I was going to be separated from my heart for so
“Is that your wife?”
The guy beside me looked about the same age as I was, and had the same
lost look I figured was on my face.
“Yeah,” I said.
“She’s really hot.”
“Hey, watch yourself,” I said, trying to sound offended, but
actually taking pride in the confirmation of Abby’s assets.
“I didn’t mean any offense, Bud. I was giving you a compliment. Not
everybody has a wife that looks like that.”
“OK, I guess.”
“I’m Steve. I’m thinking you’re off to Ft. Jackson too, huh?”
“Afraid so. I’m Jason.”
“So, you look pretty young to be married. If you hadn’t been
twisting that ring ever since you sat down, I’d have never guessed you
“We’ve been married almost nine months.”
“I can’t imagine being married at my age, which I figure is the same
age as you. Nineteen, right?”
“How’d that happen? Did you get her knocked up?”
“Man, you need to get a censor for that brassy mouth. Does she look
like she just had a baby? I told you we haven’t even been married nine
“OK, sorry again. Whew, sensitive type, huh? Why’d you get married
so young? You may as well spit it out. We’ve got at least three hours
on this bus before we get to Ft. Jackson.”
“Well, first, you tell me something about you. For all I know,
you’re a Communist spy just pumping me for personal information.”
“Yeah, right. Because, I really look like I’m filled with highly
classified info from Russia, and you look a lot like James Bond. Is that
a silencer equipped pistol I see, bulging through your jacket?”
“Wow, why did a talented comedian like you let himself get drafted?
You could get rich just doing Standup.”
“OK, I guess I deserve that. Anyway, my story’s not so interesting.
I’ve lived in Maryland all my life. Orioles fan, by the way, since I
know you probably want to ask. I’m also a Redskins fan. We live inside
the Beltway, so D.C.’s not that far from our house.”
“I’m not a sports fan,” I said with the tone I usually use to
discourage any accounts of how exciting it was to be a high school
“Man, that is very sad. No wonder you got married so young. You must
have been bored to death without sports.”
“I’m now very sorry I interrupted you. If you live in Maryland, what
were you doing in Myrtle Beach?”
“My grandparents live in this area, and we always spend a couple of
weeks with them at their beach house each summer. I wasn’t able to see
them last year, due to some things that were happening. So I got to
thinking, for all I know, Uncle Sam is going to put me in the infantry
and ship me off to Nam, and I might never see them again. That’s why
my parents and sister and I came to spend a few days with them at the
beach, in the coldest, damn February South Carolina has ever seen, so we
could enjoy a miniature family reunion before I head off to the Army.”
“Okay, sure. No girlfriends or anything?”
“Had plenty of them in high school, but nobody special. Just girls who
wanted to say they dated the first string quarterback.”
“So you really are a full scale jock, sports fan and lady’s man.
Good for you!” I looked out the window and worked my ‘unimpressed’
face as hard as I could.
“OK, is that enough for you to tell me why a not terribly ugly,
non-jock, non-sports fan like yourself would get himself married at
“Well, since you asked as nicely as that, I guess I can tell you.
It’s pretty simple really. I came to Myrtle Beach for the summer after
graduation. I thought I could earn some money and have fun at the beach
before starting college. A family friend got me a job as a bag boy at
one of the local grocery stores. I met Abigail who also worked at that
store as a checker. We went on a date, we fell in love on that date, and
eleven months later we got married, because we couldn’t stand to not
be together all the time.”
“Man, that must have been some date!”
“Yeah, it was.”
“Listen, Jason, you’re 19 years old and already married. Your story
has to be more interesting than that. We have most of three hours still
left before we get to Ft. Jackson, and that’s if this Greyhound
doesn’t have the normal twenty-five stops to make on the way. Since
you’re not a sports fan, I don’t think you’ll be interested in
hearing all my stories of football glory in high school, so how about
cheer up a lonely, girlfriendless, wifeless boy who can’t imagine a
single, good reason to get married at eighteen.”
Because it just does. You’re leaving out details that would tell me
what makes you so different from most of the other Army recruits that
are not nuts enough to get married at 19.
“Okay. On the first day at A & P, just a few minutes after
starting the job, I saw Abigail at her cash register. It was loaded with
groceries, so I started bagging them. Once I got all the cans and boxes
that were piled up on the end of her counter, I reached for the next one
without looking and grabbed her hand by accident. That was when the
magic began for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s hard to explain. It was like with that one touch I knew we
were connected somehow.”
“Oh, come on!”
“No, really. You know that song, “Just One Look?” Well, just one
touch of her hand was all it took, and I knew something great was about
to happen to me.”
“Okay, so then what happened?”
“While I was hearing birds singing and bells ringing on a hill
somewhere in la-la land, she snatched her hand away, and told me not to
do that again.”
“That was cold.”
“Yeah, but I was way too dense to catch a cold shoulder as subtle as
that. I was sure she was in love with me at first site. I knew that
something important was going on between us from that moment on.
Besides, I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.”
“So what’d you do?”
“From then on I would grab her hand as often as possible when bagging
her groceries. She would shoot me some dangerous lightning from those
beautiful, green, Irish eyes, but I just took it as her being coy.”
“Yeah, you know—shy, demure?”
“Man, I know what coy means. I see now. You weren’t exaggerating.
You really were dense!”
“Do you want to hear my story, or not?”
“Oh, I’m just messing with you. Go on with your Greek tragedy.”
“I didn’t think I was being dense then, but now I realize I was
lucky to ever get a date with her. The only reason she agreed to go out
with me the first time was that she was determined she would teach me a
“What kind of lesson?”
“Well, keep in mind that I knew nothing about the mythical
lesson-teaching until after we were going steady. Her plan had been to
make that date so rotten that I would never want to grab her hand again.
But we fell in love that night.”
“Women! No guy would ever think up something like that.”
Excerpted from "The Hiroshima Agenda" by Robert Clemons. Copyright © 2015 by Robert Clemons. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.