Dead men’s path CHAPTER 4
“I realize that you two do not know where you stand,” Hikinfield said, his voice taking an ominous, threatening tone.
The two men standing before him did not flinch. The taller one walked to a seat and sat down, facing his pool. The first one watched him like he was a little animal arousing in him the curiosity a rat arouses in a little, curious child.
“You are quite a rich man, Mr. Hikinfield, living far above your means,” he said.
“If you two have nothing to say, get out of here this instance before I’ll have you bundled out.”
“By those tough guys, you pay so much so they can keep out of sight and only come in when they are needed, right? I showed them my badge as I came in; they looked quite scared.” Newman lit a cigar which he stuck in his mouth. “They are quite good though, but they are convicts. I know one when I see them. They want no business with the FBI. I’m pretty sure you assured them against that.”
Hikinfield wrapped a towel around himself. The frown on his face was ike deep cracks made on a smooth road surface. These two were about to accuse him of something. He would make them pay for barging into his house in this way.
He was sure he had covered his tracks and that finding any dirt on him would take a lot. It was, in fact, impossible, unless… unless they had an inside man. The confidence that was building up on his face suddenly collapsed, leaving him with the bits and pieces of confidence.
He could feel his heart gearing up to run away from him. From the confident and smug look on the first guy’s face, it seemed they have had a lot of information provided them. But then again, the FBI did most of its work by bluffing. The two fools here could be bluffing about nothing.
“What do you want?”
“You, Mr. Hikinfield. There’s a lot riding on what I’m about to ask you. The first one is your freedom.”
“How dare you threaten me in my house?”
“Perhaps our office would be better, eh?” Newman gazed sideways at Jack.
“Mr. Hikinfield, you are under arrest for…” Jack began.
Hikinfield saw his world begin to collapse. A series of movement caused by one tiny move which he had failed to see. He did not hear Jack read out his charges. He was already thinking about the news, about his reputation, his child staying with his mother now. A lot of thoughts flashed across his mind. When his hearing came back, he heard the last of it.
“…anything you say now, can and will be used against you in the court of law.”
Well, bummer, he thought, the end comes for everyone. He was silent as the handcuffs embraced his wrists in a cold hug. He saw his dead wife looking at him from the pool, her eyes were filled with pity for him, for what he had become.
“Cold swim, congressman, cold swim,” Newman said.
The Mayor of Memphis had more than a cold bath that morning. It was a thing of coincidence. He forgot to turn on the hot shower in his bathroom, and after the cold water had drenched him, he decided it was no use getting a hot shower anymore.
The coldest shower, however, was yet to come. He ate quickly, a meal fixed by his cook, Fred. A simple man’s meal of bacon and eggs. It was all he needed. He was a simple man after all. His aides waited for him outside.
“Good morning, mayor.” The dark girl, Jenny greeted.
“Good morning to you too, Jenny. Is Hikinfield not here yet?”
“He did not say anything about coming in late?”
“No, I haven’t heard from him.”
Hikinfield was never late to work. It meant something was wrong. Or not. Two cars drove to the mayor and his people to his office where he faced what was arguably his worst nightmare.
“Pressmen,” Jenny announced as if seeing them was not enough.
The mayor had dealt with pressmen in the past, but he was always flustered when he met them. He would smile and wave while his heart beat inside. That was why he got the former congressman, Hikinfied. Now, he was not here.
His car pulled to a stop in front of the office and the pressman swam forward. Just kill me, he thought. His guards tried to push through, but the questions thundered at him from every corner.
“What does the mayor have to say about his aide who was arrested by FBI agents in the morning?”
Shit, what was that?
“Mayor Southdale, do you know about the corruption charges leveled against your aide, former congressman, Hikinfield?”
The mayor was momentarily lost before Jenny jumped in and announced. “No comments. The mayor will attend to your questions later.”
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He was whisked through the crowd of journalists who recorded the change in his color and demeanor after they threw one bomb of a question followed by another. He was almost breathless when he got into his office and shut the door.
“Jesus Christ. What was that?”
“I’m just seeing this, sir. It appears Mr. Hikinfield was arrested by the FBI this morning,” Jenny replied.
“Why hasn’t anyone seen this since?” The mayor exploded. “How is it that I’m just knowing now?”
The mayor’s question hung in the air, spiting his people, testifying of their inefficiency. On another part of his mind was the possibility that someone deliberately leaked this to put a dent in his campaign. It was now left for him to find a way to control the damages. Outside the journalists bustled, heads bobbing up and down, waiting for the mayor to come out so they could embarrass him the more.
“I hate the press,” the mayor muttered beneath his breath.