[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 061
Chapter 14 (6 of 8): Headquarters
“Ill get right on it.”
And if you have any time left, I think you have some paperwork to catch up on, don’t you?”
“Always,” he sighed.
They threw their empty containers in the waste basket and walked out of the room.
Well, it’s a start, Phoebe said to herself.
She took the elevator up to the tenth floor and entered the cavernous conference room. Her own War Room down on the third floor suffered by comparison. Up here they had a long, handsome table in pale wood. The comfortable chairs placed around this large oval were, like the table itself, of modern Scandinavian design. There was a general impression of spaciousness. The American flag and the state flag stood in one corner, and the walls were covered with photos of former commissioners, and of officers slain in the line of duty. Greenery was tastefully distributed throughout the room. A DO NOT SMOKE sign was affixed above a kitchenette alcove off to the side, where a secretary was using an electrical grinder to prepare beans for brewing coffee. Next to plates of cookies she was setting out cups, saucers, spoons, a creamer and sugar bowl on a large tray. She gave Phoebe a tight smile.
There were eight other people already at the table. The Commissioner sat at the end nearest the door and was flanked on either side by the Assistant Commissioner and the mayor’s liaison. Along the sides were the Chiefs of Service – Vice, Robbery, Bunko, Drugs, and Battery. Phoebe, as Chief of Homicide, walked around the room and took a place about midway down the table. She had come up the ranks with these men, and she knew them all fairly well and liked some of them. They had long since pretty much accepted her as one of their own. The only other woman, Amanda Love, the Chief of Vice, had become a close friend over the years.
“So what’s the latest on His Honor’s campaign?” the Commissioner, Mark Pulverino, was saying. He was addressing himself to Jake Mohre, the mayor’s liaison. Mohre was a small man with extremely close-set eyes in a scrunched face, and Phoebe didn’t particularly like his ingratiating approach. She was no clothes-horse herself, and dressed in a drab style people call sensible, but here was this leering iguana wrapped in a too large suit of K-Mart polyester, penny loafers, and – for God’s sake – white socks that showed calf. She knew he was the ultimate political fixer, working his devious deeds behind the scenes. But the mayor kept him on a short leash and made him eat a lot of shit. Maybe he liked it – it can become habit-forming. He wasn’t the kind of guy you wanted up front for all the world to see. But he’d been with the mayor a long time and therefore no doubt did very well whatever it is mayoral liaisons do. He knew a lot about buried bodies.
Mohre’s lips pretended to smile. “The news is all good, sir,” Mohre launched smoothly into campaign mode. “The other party is all set for a brutal primary in March and we’re already the choice of the faithful. Contributions are up, we’re ahead of the curve, and the mayor expects to extend his service to the people by one more term.”
There were grunts of approval all around. Roy Rany was an ostentatious tough-on-crime law-and-order kind of guy and most of the police fraternity wanted to see him stay in power. He’d been good to the department with money and moral support, and the pork had never been fatter.
“That’s good news, Mohre,” Pulverino said. “Anything we can do to help the cause, you just pass the word. Be sure to tell Mayor Rany we’re behind him here,” he said. “Pretty much.” He shot Phoebe a pointed look down the table.
“Yes, sir, I’ll be sure to convey the message of support.” Mohre made a busy show of scribbling something down on the yellow pad in front of him on the table. “He’ll be very pleased to hear that.”
The secretary approached the table with the tray she had been fixing and placed it down at the other end. She asked the Commissioner if there was anything else they needed right now.
“No, thanks very much, Ms. Hathaway. That looks very nice.”
This day and age, Phoebe imagined, one was on one’s best behavior around inferiors, especially if they were female and one was oneself a male superior. One could never be sure what novel feelings might be hurt or uncomfortable predicaments could be alleged to launch another one of those multi-million dollar transfers of wealth to lawyers.
“Why don’t we all get ourselves something to drink and nibble on, and then we’ll get this meeting started. I don’t doubt we’re all very busy today.”
They moved down to the other end and, filling the room with idle talk, fixed their coffees and put a cookie or two on the saucer.
“Now,” Pulverino said as he stirred his coffee, “let’s start with Vice and go around the table.”
It was fairly standard. Each Chief reported on doings over the weekend in his or her bailiwick and the others took notes, liaison Mohre most vigorously of all. Vice was concerned about rising levels of violence to both the girls and their tricks down in the River District. Robbery had been unusually quiet for a summer weekend. Bunko reported on fake credit card cons run in several hotels and defraudings of innkeepers; one ATM had been hacked into somehow without visible damage, and a sizeable chunk of cash had disappeared. Drugs … well, J.J. Quinn wearily let it be known there had been, as always, plenty of action there. And this, Phoebe thought cynically and not without some weariness herself, in spite of almost daily assurances by local, state and federal officials that the War on Drugs was definitely being won — all evidence to the contrary, now, thirty years on, morphing temporally into The Hundred Years’ War of our era. J.J. looked like he needed a long vacation on a distant beach laved by a warming sun. Assaults and batteries were about normal for early January, certainly down from the normal Christmas enthusiasms.
It was Phoebe’s turn.
TO BE CONTINUED