(written 11/10/2010 - total words 20,521)
Stan’s office was dim, a greenish light washed over everything as if reflecting off of the disturbed surface of a pool.
He steepled his fingers and tried to remain civil.
“They saw you?” he asked.
“I’m sure Cannon did,” Parson said. He sat in his rigid manner in one of the chairs in front of Stan’s desk. He was an emotional blank slate, but that was expected.
“He is difficult to read,” Parson said.
“Yes,” Stan said, trying to move the conversation along. “He got that from his dad.”
“It’s clear that he knows something happened with Walsh,” Parson said. “I interviewed the Sheriff afterwards. He’s easier to read, but was still resistant to me. It may be due to his friendship with Cannon’s father.” Parson paused for a beat. “But that’s your job.”
“Yes, yes,” Stan said waving his hands in front of him. “I’m aware that Sheriff Bradshaw and would-be Sheriff Cannon were friends. I can handle Bradshaw; that’s not the point here. The point is you weren’t supposed to be seen.”
Stan dropped his chin to his chest and stared at Parson through his bushy eyebrows, meeting those cold, grey eyes.
“What about the other two?” Stan asked.
“We should kill them,” Benson said from his chair next to Parson.
Stan pursed his lips and closed his eyes.
He cleared his throat.
“Anybody else?” Stan asked, his voice booming. “Any other bright ideas?” Shouting at these three was pretty pointless, but it felt good.
Stan looked at Wilson.
“Wilson,” he said. “Care to chime in here?”
Wilson stared back blankly. He was the third, the newest; he didn’t talk much.
“No?” Stan asked. “How about a vote then. All in favor of killing all three of them raise your hands.”
All three agents raised their hands.
“Jesus,” Stan said rocking back in his leather chair. “Well good thing I’m in charge then. No killings. No assists. You guys pop any more bodies this soon after Walsh and things will get out of hand. People will start asking questions; my phone’ll start ringing. Nothing you guys care about, but I care and you do what I say.”
Stan took a deep breath. They had no subtlety. No finesse. Their short term fixes might solve problems now, but be disastrous to the bigger picture. He looked up at them. Three pairs of gray eyes stared back. Of course he had that backwards. His big picture was probably only a blip in their even bigger picture. They weren’t being impulsive, they were just completely unconcerned about the consequences.
“Did you two find out anything about the other two kids?” he asked.
“Negative,” Benson said. “The plan was to isolate and intimidate them and their parents. We followed the plan.”
Wilson started to say something, but Parson glared at him. The three of them conferred in silence, quick glances back and forth, then they looked back at Stan.
Stan hated it when they did that. They had to do what he said, but he knew not to trust them. Their allegiance wasn’t to him; their true motivations were alien, not something Stan could even guess at.
He thought about dumping them and going it alone. It wasn’t the first time he’d entertained such a fantasy, though now he could probably pull it off. It’d be tough, but it was possible. Unfortunately he had promises to keep, debts to repay. Without which he wouldn’t be where he was today. Nothing was ever simple. Someday he would fix that.
“So Cannon might have seen you guys,” Stan said, “but it’s possible the other two didn’t see it? Maybe he just told them about it?”
“It’s likely that Martinez was with Cannon,” Parson said. “They are often together. Massenberg’s involvement is puzzling. It is coincident with our capture of Walsh. In looking back she had some interactions with Martinez, but nothing with Cannon before we caught Walsh. She and Walsh seem to be unrelated.”
Stan smiled at Parson’s naivete.
“Oh, Parson,” Stan said. “Nothing is ever unrelated. You should know better than that. Any ideas as to why Cannon was in the industrial park where you caught Walsh?”
“The only open business was a comic book store,” Parson said.
Stan laughed. “The Comic Collector?”
“No,” Parson said. “The Comic Conclave.”
“Well, whatever stupid name he’s chosen,” Stan said. “Jason Dubert?”
“Yes,” Parson replied.
“There now, you see?” Stan said. “Nothing is unrelated.”
An alert buzzed in Stan’s head. An electrical tickling that made him close his eyes. Somebody was about to enter his office.
“Time’s up,” he said to the agents. “But, before you go, someone was at the lake last night. I don’t know who it was. Fortunately it didn’t notice the intruder.”
He considered the agents and how much he really wanted to involve them. He could call up more help, but that just meant more debt owed. He needed to be going in the other direction in that relationship. He’d have to make do with what he had already.
“Parson,” he said. “Find out who it was and how he got in. It can’t happen again.”
If it had noticed the intruder, things might have gotten nasty. Another person in the mix could affect the balance and cause things to happen before he was ready. That would be catastrophic to say the least. He glanced at the three agents. That’s certainly an area where their interests were in conflict. He’d have to be careful on this matter.
“Report back to me on everything you find,” Stan said. “Everything. Also get me more on Ms. Massenberg. That’s you, right Wilson? I want to know how she fits into this puzzle.”
Stan closed his eyes and focused. A pressure released
He opened his eyes and looked around. His office was back to normal. Lisa, his secretary, stood in front of his desk with some papers in her hand. Her intent to enter his office must have set off his alert.
“Sir?”, she asked.
“Lisa,” Stan said, sitting forward and rubbing his eyes. “Sorry, I must have dozed off. What do you have for me.”
“You push yourself too hard, sir,” Lisa said.
She slid a pile of paper onto his desk.
“Don’t you know it,” Stan said with a smile.
Lisa smiled back and went back to her desk, closing Stan’s office door behind her.
Stan sat back with a sigh and rubbed his temples. He didn’t need these loose ends right now. A loose end could unravel everything, but he had no choice but to sit and wait. He needed more information.