[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028 029 030 031 Chapter 10 028-031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039 040 041 Chapter 11 032-041 042 043 044 045 046 047 048 Chapter 12 042-048 049 050 051
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 052
Chapter 13 (4 of 7): The Hooker
“Well, your name came up at a news conference His Honor held earlier today.”
After a second or two of silence, Michelle said, “That’s probably not a good thing.”
“That was kind of my thinking too?”
“So, what happened next?”
“End of news conference.”
“Well, that’s a relief.”
“But I had a heart-to-heart with Roy Rany. Eventually he admitted to seeing this Mazarine. On a pretty regular schedule, was my impression.”
“Yes, that is the case.”
“Oh, my, no. Certainly not that I know of. He clicked with Mazarine the first time, and that’s all he wants when he makes appointments.”
“What can you tell me about her? Is she likely to blabber? Should I be worried about blackmail, here?”
“No,” Michelle answered thoughtfully, “that would surprise me. I don’t think that’s it. Mazarine is a lovely lady, good family, educated – B.A. and M.A. – discreet, never any complaints about her on any score. She’s been with us since … since ninety-five, about eight years. Steady and reliable. And, as I said, the soul of discretion.
“I can’t imagine that she is actively involved in anything here.”
“O.K. Can you think of how this thing might spin itself. Or unravel.”
“You know, Bob, somebody might have just tossed out a line trawling, to see if anything got hooked.”
“I’ve thought about that. Of course. And maybe you’re right. But I can’t afford to take any chances. Somebody set this thing in motion. And after what Roy told me, there is in fact something to it.”
“Yes, I see what you mean. You know, it happens sometimes these gentlemen turn obsessive, get hung up on a lady, start confusing sex with love, begin following his true love, stalking her, or hires an agency to keep tabs on her. Our clients all certainly have the means to mount that kind of campaign.”
“Jesus,” Bob groaned.
“Do you believe in serendipity? It happens in the real world. Maybe she’s bee seen once too many times going to the same hotel at the same time the mayor’s visiting. Maybe both are seen leaving, separately, yes, but still leaving the same hotel at around the same time. I suppose somebody could have put two and two together. I mean, Mazarine and His Honor have been getting it on for a good five months now. Who knows what somebody might do with that kind of information?
“But I know Mazarine. She would not betray any confidences, she would not talk about other clients to anybody else. She knows the rules. Eight blameless years with us gives me a certain bed-rock confidence in her. She’s done very well for both us and herself. Why would she jeopardize all that? And her and blackmail? Oil and water, Bob. Strictly!”
Bob reflected on what Michelle had said. It made a kind of sense. “Do you think you could talk to this girl?”
“And say what, Bob?”
“Well, I’m thinking you could sort of give her summary of what I told you and see if she has any ideas. Frankly, Michelle, I’m desperate, and I don’t want things to blow up in my face. The media smell blood, and the first question at our next news conference is going to be about Michelle et cetera.”
“Sure, Bob. I can do that.”
“I don’t suppose you have any thoughts about new … new clients she’s seen recently. Maybe some kind of Trojan horse, somebody who’s supposed to … I don’t know … find out things she doesn’t realize they’re trying to find out.”
“Now I think you’re being a little paranoid. Bob.”
“Yes, and that’s part of what I get paid to be.”
“But find out what? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I know, I know. Not on the surface. But at some level it does. All I’m asking is that you check it out with this Mazarine, and maybe check her appointments since the start of last August. See if anything unusual pops up. Can you do that?”
“I sure will, Bob. And I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. In a day or two.”
“I really appreciate this, Michelle. I’ll make sure the right people get to know how helpful you’ve been.”
“All right, Bob. I’ll talk to you soon. Ciao.”
Bob ended the transmission and tucked the cell into his coat pocket. He was going to have to get to the bottom of this thing. He didn’t want any explosions mid-campaign.
He put on a smiling face, insouciant, unperturbed.
“Everybody ready?” he asked cheerfully as he came out of the bedroom.
Roy and Caitlin Rany looked up from the futon they were sitting on.
“Dinner. Let’s go have some dinner.”
“Why don’t we order in,” Roy suggested.
“Because then nobody can see you, Mr. Mayor. And what we want between now and November is a lot of exposure. A lot of the right kind of exposure,” he added, pointedly focusing his gaze on Roy. “The mayor, the candidate eating dinner with his wife, being a devoted husband, living up to all those family values he espouses so passionately.”
“Let’s go, Roy,” Caitlin said. Rather peremptorily, Bob thought.
“I’m just going to take a quick shower and mow the lawn,” he said, stroking his five o’clock shadow. “I’ll just be a few minutes.”
“I’ll make a reservation downstairs,” Bob said. “An hour?”
“No,” Roy shot back as he headed for the bath room, “call that place around the corner. The Steak. I know La Ville has a great restaurant, but I’d like to try the other one. It’s been a while since we’ve eaten there, and I just love their Caesar salad. Nothing like it in the entire city.”
Bob looked questioningly at Caitlin.
“I don’t care,” she said. Sullen.
So, Bob thinks, Roy did have his little confessional with Caitlin. He calls and makes the reservation.
Forty-five minutes later the three of them are on the go. “Cody and Jeeter, I’d like you to accompany the mayor and his wife to the Steak.”
The two large men both nodded, made sure their ear-pieces were secure, and formed outriggers for Roy and Caitlin.
“You’re not coming?” Roy asked.
“No,” Bob said. “I’ve got some unfinished business that needs looking after.” And I want your wife to have a chance to think about what you’ve just told her. Alone, the two of you. “Besides,” he adds in full campaign manager mode, “you and the wife should be seen alone. Having a husband and wife night out with a quiet dinner. And Roy, remember, no cocktails or wine!”
Roy winced, but said nothing. Bob did catch the small twitch of a smile on Caitlin’s face.
“You kids have a good time, now,” he said, not, Roy felt, without a hint of malice.
Bob peeled off to his own suite as the others continued on down to the elevator banks.
TO BE CONTINUED