A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
-- Sir Winston Churchill
Despina gloats the day copies of the past case files arrive. Married just three days, she can hardly stand the separation. I really regret not “getting it” one of the first two times we were wed. This is too important to put off, however, if we are going to have much of a future. With a shrug, she sequesters herself in Mick’s office, door closed, and doesn’t surface all day.
When Mick finally gathers the courage to dare the closed door, he finds her in tears.
“His goose is cooked. This Captain Drake will NEVER back off until he’s taken down, high-powered Ombudsman, or no Ombudsman. What Cu needs now is a Dragon Slayer. I fear they’re in short supply, however, in modern America.”
Seeing the look that crosses her face, Mick councils, “No, Despina! YOU can’t do it. You don’t have the skills, no matter how loyal you are.”
“He’s got to come clean, publicly, complete disclosure. Only then will he be safe. This,” Despina indicates the pile of files with a nod of her head, “is a time bomb waiting to go off!”
“Despina, I don’t like the look in your eye. What are you planning to do?”
Casting an eye Mick's way, she says, “And if it’s on the shady side, what will you do?”
Without any hesitation, he states, “Lock you up immediately and call it ‘protective custody’.”
“Do you seriously think that prospect is likely to loosen my tongue?” Despina snaps waspishly.
Drolly, Mick opines, “I’ll restrain myself until you’ve actually broken the law.”
“You mean, broken it further, don’t you? Surely you realize possession of these files isn’t kosher, reading them probably a Federal offense.”
Mick, who was instrumental in putting her in touch with the hacker that procured the files, has the good grace to blush, ear tip to hallux.
“You say you are his best friend,” Despina pokes.
Mick capitulates. “What do you plan to do?”
“Offer the story to Brandon Gannon, in an unannounced, secluded environment, an exclusive. I have a good track record with him. He’ll bite, especially after the “Indians in the Road” special with that dramatic arrest of Tomás he got, then the federal agents on a private vendetta the last time he showed up.”
Mick ponders, tapping his nose. “That actually isn’t a bad idea. How do you plan to keep a TV crew secret? Their job is to make a splash. They’ll be colorful and draw attention no matter what the facts of the case dictate is prudent.”
“Is fear of that better than fear that each time he comes into town, he’ll be arrested or killed outright, possibly taking an innocent bystander with him, or in his place? What are his options?”
“Can you talk him into it, do you think?” Mick asks with resolution.
Incredulous, Despina widens her eyes. “You’re asking ME? He-Who-Does-Not-Speak plays his cards close to his chest, even in marriage.” Despina gives a long sigh.
“Do you talk to him?” Mick asks gently.
“It’s hard to, you know? Faced with that seemingly impenetrable wall of silence...” Despina looks at Mick’s expression. I sure hope that’s not pity! “You’re right - I’ve got to try.”
Locking the files in Mick’s coat closet, they leave.
Last updated 3/17/10 Corrected high-powered. 1/31/10 Added “tells”; 12/17/09 added ombudsman and vendetta material. 12/15/09 - Restored from memory as best as possible, years after the fact.
Word Count: 567