Monday, September 15, 2014

First Shot (52)

They drove aimlessly for nearly an hour. To a disinterested observer their conversation, as well, might have sounded unfocused. Thinking aloud, Blow bounced developing thoughts off Mary, his only noticeable reticence being that guided by obligations of confidentiality. Mary displayed her curiosities with a faint undertone of cunning. She responded without palpable guile to Blow's remarks, yet she pushed ever so gently to learn more than he seemed willing to give. Her persistence yielded one nugget of new information.
“OK, Mary, I'll save you a little time. Now that we're out of my problematically compromised house, I'll dispense with the barbecue smokescreen—not that you won't find it useful if in fact you like Dad's recipe.”

“Oh, I do. That was a good sandwich. And I did take notes, by the way.”
“I'm glad. You also wrote down Battle of Lexington, I presume.”
“You presume correctly. I even underlined it while Bart Bullshit was bloviating.”
“Say that last forty times a day real fast. Good exercise for the embouchure, I should think.”
“I can think of a better exercise. More fun, too.”
“Don't distract me, Mary. OK, Google the hell out of Battle of Lexington along with muskets and flintlocks, oh, and maybe blog or discussion board--”
“Why don't you just give me the damn address, Blow, if you want to save me some time?”
“I would if I knew it.”
“Oh. So what should I be looking for if I find the...whatever it is?”
“The discussion that got all this going: Gunther's murder, Himmler's, Bart Bullshit coming to town, God knows what else.”
“Wow. All this from a blog?”
“Looks that way.”
“Can you tell me who posted the stuff about the musket? If you know?”
“Ronnie King.”
“Blow! I'm impressed! Are we...are you, um, talking out of school here?”
“Who, me? Not a chance. No client of mine by that name.”
“So who is Ronnie King?”
“I don't doubt there is somebody, maybe many people, with that name, but this one is phony.”
“Aww.”
“Yup. Sorry, Mary.”
“Dead end?”
“Well...”
“No?”
“Well...let's put it this way, it's as far as I can take you, Mary.”
“Hmmmm. Would Andy tell me, you think?”
“Andy Salzwedel? You think he would know?”
“Things are adding up in my head, Blow. You know, two and two and all? High school principal gets killed? Somebody breaks into his office and into Andy's classroom. Andy hires you. Himmler comes to town. Turns out he's a phony insurance adjuster, probly CIA. Bart Bullshit turns up. Former FBI. Bottom line? Yeah, I think Andy knows. Fact I think it's either Andy or one of his students.”
“Good reasoning, Mary. Good reasoning. And if you are right, you wouldn't put something like that in your paper, would you? Knowing how high the stakes are now?”
“I don't want Mel Watterman to kick my ass. Again.”
“You have enough to kick him right back, put him on his ass. Isn't that enough?”
“For now. But what if he finds out who it is before I do?
“That's up to you, and your conscience.”
“And all the rest of the media. They're all going to be at the funeral Saturday. It will be a media circus. The Washington Post, New York Times, even the Times of London for God's sake. Do you suppose they would sit on a story like this?”
“I don't know. That's your profession, not mine.”
“Thanks for calling it a profession, Blow.”
“I like you, Mary.”

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