News of the arrest of Sergeant Edwards as the leak of departmental information spread faster than a wildfire through the chaparral-covered foothills east of Manzanita. By the end of the workday, news anchors from television stations as far away as San Diego and San Francisco were on the phone or in MPD’s downtown complex. Police Chief Dwight Rogers was the most coveted interview target.
Petula Jacobs considered herself the eye of any media maelstrom that included MPD. As Rogers’ administrative assistant, she’d deflected more than her share of television, radio, and newspaper reporters away from her boss. By no means a Rogers fan any longer, she was less concerned how this might end for him as she was for her fate.
Edwards’ getting captured with his hand inside the copy machine—his information cookie jar—gives new meaning to that old saying. It’s my job to find a different cookie jar to fill, a jar that will deflect attention away from me.
Her phone rang. She saw the light from Rogers’ private line blinking. What’s he got in mind?
“I need your help.”
“That’s not how it’s been in the recent past.”
“Get over yourself. And get into my office!”
“Have a nice day,” she said.
“Now!” Rogers’ tone left no doubt about his expectation of obedience. She locked her desk drawers and put her phone on “Private.” She didn’t want anyone interrupting what she was sure would be a most interesting meeting.
“Edwards has placed me in what has the potential to become a disastrous situation,” were Rogers’ first words after Petula closed the door to his office behind her.
“I think that’s a fair statement.”
He glared at her. After a moment, his face relaxed.
“What are we going to do?”
“I assumed you had planned for such a contingency,” she replied. He’s nervous. That’s different.
“I do. It used to include you. Now, I suspect you’re more a liability than a liaison.”
“You’re not far off with that assumption.”
“What are the chances of our reconciliation?”
So that’s your game. She stared at him with her best poker face. Rogers realized he have to try another tack.
“I suspect you’ve calculated a monetary value for shoring up the business portion of our relationship.”
“If you’re referring to Anderson as the portion of our relationship, it has crossed my mind.”
“You knew Edwards was the leak.”
“Au contraire. I only suspected him as the leak. I never knowingly communicated directly with anyone named Edwards.”
“You received copies of every leaked document.”
“As part of my position as your administrative assistant. Listen, Dwight, don’t try to implicate me as Edwards’ co-conspirator. You really don’t want to know what I can do, and will do to you if I’m implicated by anybody.”
“Fine.” She’s got me right where she wants me. I should have anticipated this and stockpiled evidence or falsified some implicating her. Maybe it’s not too late for that. “You work on keeping both our names out of the Edwards investigation. I’ll work on freeing up some funds, enough for the both of us.”
“If you do that, I just might find it in my heart to work on that reconciliation you asked about. You might want to start compiling a file of documents that we need to shred.”