Outside, GTNN was in chaos.
And the news director, Mike Stewart, loved it. He was directing people with cameras, gesturing with his nods and simple raises of his fingers, running the program from outside on the lawn, using the police generators for power and their lights for staging.
People could be seen running left and right, carrying microphones, trailing cords and wrapping staff with remote battery packs on large leather belts.
It was a flurry of media activity with the police department at the core and looking like the heroes.
This night at GTNN, only one life had been lost.
The bad guy.
Well, at least until they found the one whose security card Mr. X was carrying. From a quick investigation thus far, pulling the card from his fallen body, one of the interns told Corigan it had belonged to one of the accountants in purchasing.
A squad car was already enroute.
Other than that, everything was perfect.
Annabelle was in her element, directly before the audience of cops and co-workers, microphone in hand, her hair fixed by the onsite stylist, at the centre of attention.
Technicians were running in and out of GTNN behind her with wiring and tools to fix whatever Mr. X had destroyed. The camera perfectly positioned to catch it all, advertising to the world, when it came to GTNN, the show must go on.
GTNN was running alright, but with the mass of contractors now on site, it was easy to discern, they wanted to be back up at one hundred and ten percent fast.
Vertigo finished his interview with Annabelle, the one that had not even started from hours before, with him making declarations to the unsuspecting public that the Metro Toronto Police had everything under control and their operation was executed like clockwork, exactly as planned.
This villain never stood a chance.
Vertigo was a master bullshit artist.
Annabelle tried to get a statement from Corigan as well, but all Corigan would offer to her was. “We had this guy in our sights for some time. Wish we knew more about him.”
Annabelle gave him a bemused look, suspecting there was more to what Corigan knew, and to what she had been told, but she already had a great story, a good contact now with Special Investigations and a favour on her side of the scale to call in for the future. No need to push for more.
‘Why dig for diamonds in a gold mine?’
Corigan turned to walk away, knowing he had downplayed the full extent of Mr. X’s crimes to Annabelle, knowing Mr. X was right. Revealing what Weathers, Mr. X, had been doing and truly done for the past several years could devastate the Canadian legal system.
Such crimes were unheard of, unimagined to anyone, and the most brilliant of lawyers would love having such a chance to free their clients under the suspicion of such an enemy having been alive.
Not unlike one Darrell Dykes.
Corigan could picture every court case of his in which his defendant sat meekly at the table, eyes staring downward, their hands clasped in prayer for Mistress Justice to see the truth, all the while, Dykes making the claim, “Members of the jury. This is obviously the work of Mr. X.”
For now, Weathers would be remembered as a footnote in the stories of Toronto history as nothing more than a failed actor who tried to implicate a cop for a crime he did not commit. As to the why? Corigan could create something for the press once he got back to the office.
Vertigo came over to congratulate his detectives once the cameras were off them. He let his arm drape over Corigan’s shoulders, smiling to Catherine. “About that promotion…”
Corigan cut him off. “It was actually a raise.”
Vertigo ignored his reply. “About that promotion… I decided tomorrow, you can be Captain for a day.”
Catherine knew what was coming.
Corigan was dreading it. “Captain?”
“Captain McAllistor.” Vertigo smiled with dark grin. “You made all the decisions in the planning of this little horse and pony show tonight, I think it’s only fair you do all the paperwork that comes with it.”
Vertigo slapped Corigan on the back. “Shit rolls downhill son. And since I’m not at the bottom, it’s landing on your desk... Captain!”
Corigan groaned again.
Vertigo smiled. “Since you’re one of the heads of Special Investigations, make us look good while you’re at it. I’d like the report on my desk for Monday.” He let Corigan go. “I’ve had enough excitement for one evening.”
Before Vertigo could leave, Corigan quickly asked. “Do you know when I will get my weapon back?”
Vertigo replied, seriousness in his tone. “The OPP want it for a while, to confirm it was stolen and fired by our Mr. X. Should clear up the charges they have. The RCMP’s only interest in you was a result of our two agency’s primary investigations, so once we close those, so ends their desire to look into you. I’ll have the armoury provide you a new weapon tomorrow.”
Corigan liked the prospect of that. Having the weapon Mr. X had used to kill a comrade, regardless of his failings, was not something he cared to admit he wanted to carry. The gun would be weighed down by a blanket of bad luck which most cops don’t want on their shoulders.
Good luck was something they liked to have in abundance.
“What about Beckham?” Corigan threw in.
“We’ll quietly release him in the morning. I’m sure only his lawyer will make a stink in the media.” Vertigo winked. “Nothing I’m sure you can’t handle.”
Corigan grinned. “Nothing I can’t handle.”
Catherine turned to her Captain. “I should mention sir, you can keep wearing all the ugly ties you want.”
Vertigo gave her an off handed look. “I don’t have any ugly ties.”
Catherine considered debating, but quickly decided, she did not want to be Captain for a day tomorrow either.
Vertigo straightened his tie, the little handcuffs jingling as he turned, initiating his plan to get his forces back to the 17th precinct. At least until his own station was back up and running. He would let GTNN keep one of the trucks and generator to run their program tonight. Couldn’t hurt to have a few favours from GTNN in his back pocket.
Once Vertigo was out of earshot, Catherine punched Corigan in the shoulder. “Guess that means you’ve got your job back.”
A paramedic ran towards them, holding a clipboard. A small little man with short red hair, freckles and beady blue eyes. He sauntered up to Corigan and said, “The big man over there.” Pointing to Vertigo. “Said you were in charge.”
Corigan looked up. ’Nice touch.’
Corigan took the clipboard. It was a movement order for Mr. X’s body. He looked up and could see it in a zippered black bag in the rear of the ambulance. He looked back down at the sheet. “Do you need a signature?”
The paramedic replied. “No sir. His name.”
Corigan considered it for a moment. He wrote it in followed by his signing the form.
The paramedic looked at it, shrugged his shoulders and departed.
Catherine saw what Corigan wrote. “John Doe?”
Corigan looked back at Catherine, anger still in his eyes. “Considering all the lives he destroyed, all the identities he stole, the least I could do was take from him what he took from everyone else. They can bury him in a pine box with a number on the lid. He doesn’t deserve an identity. He can spend the rest of eternity as no one.”
Catherine offered no response as she too felt it was fitting.
Corigan looked up to see one of the producers, a large black man in a sharply tailored suit, getting into his black automobile, his red ring laden finger closing the door. Recognition flashed back at him from the highway a week before. He suddenly thought to himself maybe being Captain included a quick traffic stop for his GTNN friend.
Catherine looked in the same direction. She punched him hard in the shoulder, making him wince. “Don’t be a jerk. Considering you just took down a guy for creating crimes against innocent people, don’t you think childish revenge should be outside your plans?”
“You’re right.” Corigan agreed. ’Maybe later.’
Catherine kept looking at him. “And not later either.”
A young Hispanic officer ran up to Corigan with a paper bag. He handed it to Corigan who took it with a genuine thank you.
The officer returned to his station, where Lakos was now cleaning up the mess there too.
Corigan smiled broadly to Catherine. “Your sandwich.”
She looked at him with a sarcastic lilt to her head, took the bag and peered inside. “And my change?”
“Excuse me?” Corigan seemed insulted.
“I told you inside, I gave you a twenty.”
“And I reminded you, you offered to buy me lunch that day.”
She turned to walk away. “Too little, too late. You can get me one tomorrow too.”
The two of them walked off towards the parking lot, Catherine driving Corigan home since his car had not been found yet, munching away on her sandwich.
Corigan grumbled to himself under his breath, but loud enough for Catherine to hear as they vanished beneath the concrete parking structure. “Who takes back a lunch? I mean seriously. You know I was shot at that day. Maybe I had in fact got your sandwich and Mr. X shot it. Ever think of that? And me, trying to protect you, I didn’t want to give you lead poisoning, I gave it to criminalistics. Maybe it could be down in evidence as we speak if you’d ever asked.”
Catherine’s last words. “Tomorrow. Less mustard.”