Monday, June 23, 2014

First Shot (8)

Mary Lloyd's red Honda was parked in front of Good Fortune when he arrived. She had gotten them a booth and seemed absorbed in something there. She was staring at her notepad on the table, a ballpoint pen in her hand poised above it. Tendrils of steam rose from a fragile-looking cup next to the pad, and a matching china teapot sat nearby. She looked up as Blow approached the booth.
“You're late.”
“You must be a speed demon.”
She smiled. “Nah, just quick. I can get around big old slow pickups in my little Honda.”
“Sorry. Just about out of gas. I stopped at the Little Sue,” he said, sliding into the booth across from her. “You putting something up today?”

“Definitely. That was a great idea going online with the Bones story, Blow. I can't tell you how many new print subscriptions we sold then.”
“Can't or won't?”
“Oh, stop it. People really hated the pay wall when we started it. They saw it as a nuisance. But before we started posting breaking news during the week, they'd just buy a single copy or go to the library and read the print edition for free if they wanted to finish a story. With something new in Bones breaking every day before the print edition came out, they had to subscribe just to keep up with the story online.”
“It didn't hurt that the Daily Herald slept through Bones.”
“True, but I still would've kicked Mel's butt.”
“No doubt. So what are you gonna lead with today?”
“I'd love to go with Salzwedel—with your permission, of course.”
“Sorry, Mary, no can do. Not yet anyway.”
“Damn. Well, when?”
The waitress came, set a teacup in front of Blow and took their orders. Blow used the distraction to think.
When she left, he said, “I don't want him singled out, if possible, unless he's actually charged with something, or his name comes up officially, like in a news release.”
“I understand you position, Blow, but you know everybody's talking about it. His name's the one that keeps coming up.”
“A rumor's only a rumor, until it appears in print or comes out of somebody's mouth on the air. Then way too many people will believe it's the truth.”
“You think the Herald will go with it?”
“Not without talking to me, unless they wanna give Andy a free ticket to sue their ass.”
She nodded, grinning. Stared at her notepad. “Heard from any other reporters?”
“Not yet, although once my name's mentioned I'll probly hafta go into hiding.”
“So you'd rather I not mention you at all? That you were at the school?”
“I'd rather you didn't, Mary. Not at the moment. Unless I'm in a photo you're planning to run. Then how about just saying I happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by to see what was going on?”
“Damn you. I almost spit tea all over my notes.”
“Can I see the photos before you pick which ones to use?”
“Don't worry. I made sure your best side was in all the group shots.”
“Group shots? I didn't even see you shoot any group shots.”
“I didn't. Haha, gotcha. All I have are door shots, and I'll probly go with the one of Gunther's door because it's the most dramatic, broken glass and all.”
“What about the other one? Salzwedel's?”
“Not very noticeable unless you looked closely. Looked like somebody pried on the door around the latch with a screwdriver or small prybar, and then probly used it to pry the latch out.”
“Sounds like a crude lockpicking tool.”
“How come you didn't go in with Andy to see if anything was missing?”
“Carl shook his head. Didn't say why, but I imagine he wanted to preserve the scene until his evidence team got there. He went in with Andy.”
“Andy say if anything was missing?”
“He said it didn't look like anything had been disturbed.”
“Hmmmm. What do you think they were looking for? Whoever broke in?”
“That's a mystery, isn't it. Andy said the computer hadn't been moved. That would be the most valuable thing in there I should think. Himmler hinted Andy maybe did it himself to make it look like someone else broke into Gunther's office.”
“Andy say anything?”
“If he did, I didn't hear it. Seemed like he was kind of in shock.”
“What's with Himmler, anyway? What a name, huh.”
Blow shrugged, shook his head. “You going to use him today?”
“He's my lead. Wouldn't let me shoot him, so I think I'll run a photo of his grandfather. In uniform.”

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