Putting Out the Dirty Laundry
Duncan sat in his office in a large leather chair. He had books on shelves behind a brass lattice all around his office, and a brass lamp stood proudly on his mahogany desk. Its green leather work- surface had his screen set within it, framed with brass.
The Mayor's office overlooked the town square and just below his window the American flag fluttered idly in the wind. Duncan went over to the window and looked out over the square. It was late afternoon and parents were walking their children home. An older man walked at an even pace with his Jack Russell.
Duncan had watched the T7 show and was twiddling with a pen. He delved into a draw in his desk and found a box of cigarettes, which he reserved for occasional use. He leant back in the chair and lit one. The clock down the hall ticked rhythmically along and its echo resounded up the hall.
Duncan admired his room, pictures with local politicians, inauguration, the opening of the new school in the south of the town. The ash on the end of his cigarette mounted rapidly and he went in search of an ashtray. He called in his secretary.
“Charles, I want you to get hold of Willerby for me at T7 or Willerby's producer, is that okay?”
“I’ve got the numbers.”
“Oh and Charles…” Duncan beckoned him in. “Come in for a moment and push the door to would you.”
“Sit down, it’s okay, I'm not going to fire you or anything. You don't have to look so worried”
“I know, Duncan.”
“Listen. Things are going to get a lot rougher around here, I think things will get quite personal and intrusive. You might have the press trying to interview you, or you might even be followed. I've got someone on this at the moment checking things out. We need to check our viewcoms aren't bugged. We need to double-check all our security arrangements. The press are going to get very nasty and there are some things that they shouldn't know.”
“Now I'm stepping up the pace with Ellephanie. He’s going to start playing dirty, so I think we need, as they say in the military, a pre-emptive strike. Okay? I'd like T7 to get this particular item, anonymously, but we need to make sure it goes to someone who'll do something about it.”
Duncan opened up one of the draws in his desk and dumped the package out.
“I was hoping we wouldn't have to start doing this, but it seems like we aren't going to have much choice about it.”
“What's in it?”
Duncan looked out of the window.
“Some help from the police...there's an angle on Ellephanie they haven't developed. I'm not sure why. I think Ellephanie had T7 in his pocket at one stage.
“I'm not so sure now. But if they receive this, they can't ignore the angle anymore.” Duncan said desultorily.
“What's the angle?”
“That's just the thing. I don't know why they didn't pull it out before. Wish I knew...sorry what did you say?"
“What's the angle?”
“This is all...”
“In confidence? Goes without saying.”
“Tom Busey is a guy who works at the factory. He was a suspect at one stage for the murder of Ralph McManan but they dropped him as a suspect; a) because the motive was weak and b) because they've since found clues another guy could have been involved at the scene of the crime.”
“What was the motive?”
“Busey got Ralph McManan's job when Busey was promoted after McManan's death. It's all a bit odd if you ask me.”
“Yes but Busey couldn't have known they were going to promote him could he?”
“True, in fact they made him redundant because they got in some nano in the area where he was working.”
“So what's the deal?”
“The deal is Busey has 'been married before and his wife died in slightly cloudy circumstances. The strange thing is that no one seems to know much about it, even the police.”
“So what are you saying? Once a killer always a killer?”
“I'm not saying anything Charles. It's just not too good for the image of Carlton to be promoting an ex murder suspect, and the current suspect, a guy called Jack Robinson, also used to work at Carlton. If it's not good for the image of Carlton, it’s not good for the image of Ellephanie. You know what they say, get them when they are down. For all I know Ellephanie might not realise he promoted a murder suspect.”
“So, why do you think T7 haven't gone for that angle big time before?”
“I reckon there's something going on between T7 and Ellephanie. Don't know what. But I reckon the tide has just turned, but I don't know why, and we need to find out. That's why I need to talk to Willerby. Let's keep this between ourselves. Oh and Charles.”
“Before you disappear, there's something else. I can't explain. I think this thing is bigger than an election, I think there are other people involved.”
“What do you mean?”
“Not sure, exactly, I'll tell you when I know a bit more, but keep your ear to the ground for anything strange, unusual or out of the ordinary.”
Charles nodded and winked.
“Thanks, Charles. I really appreciate it.”
“That’s fine sir, fine. I want to keep my job. It’s not all just being nice you know!”“We'll keep your job, Charles. You just get that package off, okay?”