Tuesday 18 February 2014
Having met with her superiors to discuss the information that Harper Cahill had brought to her, Adelaide Danvers sat, almost relaxed, in her office as she waited for the next appointment that had been scheduled at short notice. Aware that her next meeting could be potentially explosive, Adelaide had requested the presence of a security officer. The Department of Justice had obliged, and enlisted the help of four male agents from the local office of the F.B.I. She had escorted the men to the conference room next to her office, and had sent her aide out for coffee and lunch for everyone, whilst the agents examined her files in order to catch up with the case against Robert Carter.
At two o’clock, Adelaide cautiously welcomed Mike Albright into the conference room. Three of her four F.B.I. sidekicks flanked Albright; the fourth sat beside Adelaide, and didn’t take his eye off of Albright.
‘I understand that you might be a little suspicious about me being here, given that I work for your father.’
‘A little suspicious would be an understatement.’
Albright chuckled at her reply.
‘You approached Harper Cahill to speak to me on your behalf. Is that a fair assessment of our introduction, Mr. Albright?’
He looked around the conference room for a recording device. Adelaide Danvers carried a reputation that was similar to that of her father: what Adelaide went after, Adelaide got. Albright wouldn’t believe that she would run an interview without making a record of the event.
‘You’re not recording this interview, Mrs. Danvers? I don’t see a voice recorder here.’
She pointed to the window behind her.
‘Oh, okay. They can see us but we can’t see them? So you are recording this?’
‘Yes, Mr. Albright. We’re making a video of this meeting in order to maintain the integrity of the interview. Do you have an issue with that?’
‘No, no, not at all. At least, I don’t have an issue if you’re actually going to help me.’
‘And that depends upon what you’re about to tell me, Mr. Albright,’ Adelaide shot back.
* * * * *
A few hours after Albright began his deposition, Robert Carter had been informed of the defection of his most trusted employee. Resolute in what he believed to be the only solution to the problem, he ordered Henry to his office.
‘I’m promoting you, Mr. Jones. You’ll now take on the role that Mike Albright occupied in this firm. What do you think about that?’
‘Up to this point, Mr. Carter, you haven’t paid me to think,’ Henry replied.
‘Well answered, Mr. Jones.’ Carter smiled, and it wasn’t lost on Henry who knew that Carter never smiled. The newly promoted Henry waited for Carter’s instructions.
‘Mike Albright is to be considered persona non grata from this moment onwards. And as a result of that, I want you to find a way to . . . erase him. He knows too much about the company. Get rid of him from my world, Mr. Jones. Do it efficiently, and quickly. My sources tell me that he has already spoken to representatives of the Justice Department, and that he’s done a deal to turn state’s evidence against me in return for immunity for his crimes. I will not have my company or my reputation dirtied by anyone.’ Carter was turning red with rage.
‘Just so I’m clear on this, sir, you’re asking me to kill Mike Albright?’
‘Do whatever you have to do to get rid of him, Mr. Jones.’ Carter waved a manicured hand towards the door, signalling to Henry that the meeting had concluded, and he was to leave immediately.
Henry hurried out of Carter’s office, and down to the underground staff parking lot. He contemplated calling Adelaide from his car but it wasn’t entirely unheard of for Carter to bug and track his employees’ vehicles. Thinking better of taking his own SUV, Henry made his way to street level, and hailed a cab. He handed the driver Adelaide’s business card, instructed him to drive to the address on the card, and attempted to calm his nerves as the cab sped through the downtown traffic to Adelaide’s office.
When he arrived, Henry called Adelaide from the old pay phone on the corner.
‘I don’t have long, and I didn’t want to use my cell phone, that’s why I’m calling from a pay phone. For Christ’s sake, do you think you could hold off on the questions, and just come down to meet me? Now would be good. Thank you.’
Within minutes, Adelaide and one of her F.B.I. minders joined Henry on the street outside her building.
Henry dispensed with pleasantries, getting straight to the point. His harried expression and manner bothered Adelaide.
‘Carter’s told me to get rid of Mike Albright. He knows Mike has been talking to you, and he wants all the loose ends tied up.’
‘Well then, Henry, we can’t disappoint the great Mr. Carter, can we?’
‘Wait . . . what? You want me to kill Mike Albright?’
‘Why not?’ she replied.
. . . To be continued . . .