Houston. Friday, April 19.
Sandra Schafer, on her way to work and at the wheel of her white 2001 Chrysler Town & Country, was traveling south in heavy traffic on North Freeway. She reached for her Blackberry when she heard its familiar ring. “Schafer,” she said.
“Sandra, it’s Kerri King returning your call. Can you talk?”
“Sure,” Schafer replied, excited. She was talking to The Iacardi Santa Claus, the mysterious woman for whom the whole world was looking. “Where are you? I guess you know a lot of people are looking for you.”
“I do, and I don’t want to be found. I can tell you that I’m calling from somewhere in Canada... To the best of your knowledge, is there any way this conversation can be monitored?”
“No. I’m using my personal cell, and you just called my private number.”
“Good, then let me tell you I’m honored that you and your boss chose me to work with you. I also want you to know that I think what you’re doing is extremely courageous. Judging from my experience with Enerco management, I don’t blame you for being concerned about your job. To the extent that I can, I’m prepared to help you. I’m also prepared to take every precaution to keep you and your boss anonymous.”
Schafer was overjoyed. In addition to doing what her conscience had demanded, she had succeeded in enlisting the support of a world wide celebrity. “Thank you. Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support... I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while, but I’m really worried about my job. I just can’t lose it. I feel like such a weakling.”
“You’re not a weakling. You’re dealing with very dangerous people. I speak from experience. On that subject, I was initially inclined to fly to Houston to see you, but because of my recent notoriety, that’s not going to happen. I’m going to ask you to make copies the information you have and to mail them to me. Can you do that?”
“Yes. I’ve already taken everything I have to Kinkos and had it copied. There was no way I could use the company’s copying machines. They’re too closely monitored.”
“Good, then package your copies and send them to Steve Monteith, Post Office Box 297, Port Carling, Ontario, Canada. The zip code is...”
Schafer interrupted. “Who is Steve Monteith?”
“Don’t worry about him. He’s a very close friend of mine. Your secret will be safe with him. I don’t have to tell you why I can’t use my name and address.”
“Okay... Could you email that address to me. I can’t write it down because I’m driving. I sent you my email address.”
“Sure. I’ll do that as soon as we end this call. I’ll review your information when I get it, then call you and tell you what I’m going to do. If the information is actionable, I promise I’ll do a lot.”
“Oh, it’s actionable. You won’t believe it. I’ll send it to you today,” Schafer promised, then continued her journey to work at Enerco headquarters.
Her first order of business was to tell her boss the good news. She knocked on Soloman’s door, then opened it and peered in. “Clarence, you busy?”
“Yes, but never too busy for you. Come on in,” he said, beckoning with his right hand.
Schafer entered and sat in a chair closest to Soloman’s desk. She smiled like the proverbial Cheshire cat. “You won’t believe what just happened... I got a call from Kerri King. She’s agreed to blow the whistle for us.”
Soloman forced a smile. “That’s good news,” he said, fear now gripping him. He wished he had not suggested Kerri King or anybody to Schafer. No matter who blew the whistle on Enerco management, Jeffrey Wheeler would immediately assume the information came from his department. Questions would be asked. Answers would be demanded. Heads would roll.