Dead Men’s path 5
Senator Watford hummed a little tune he still remembered from school, from when he was very small. He had forgotten what the words were but he still remembered every beat of the tune.
He walked to his car, smiling. The sitting had been great and they had managed to get a bill on top of the table, but he did not trust the Senate president. He appeared too suspicious and there were other disgruntled senators asking stupid questions.
He prayed they could get the number of senators they needed to push the bill during the second reading. As he approached, his car whistled and unlocked its door. He pulled it open and got in.
The key tickled the car through the ignition hole and the car cackled to life. The senator was just about pushing the gear into drive when someone knocked hurriedly on his window. He turned to the window, irritated and pressed the button for it to go down.
“Mr. Barry, to what do I owe this ‘pleasure’?”
His stress on pleasure showed his irritation and annoyance. Barry pushed his phone in front of the senator. Two eyes widened as they read what was displayed on the screen.
“He was… “
“He was there alright. Works with Senator Markle.”
“Does Markle know about this?”
“I don’t know. I just wanted to let you know.”
“We have to do something about this quickly.”
“I share the same sentiments.”
“How much does he know?”
Five minutes later, his car drove off. His burner cell had sent off messages to ten other cells like it. Tonight they were going to decide on what they would do about it.
Inside the interrogation room of the FBI, tennessee station, Hikinfield sat down alone at the table, watching different pictures of him meeting with the people who offered him a bribe. What he had not told the agents that got him is that most of those bribes were not even for him, but for someone else.
Some other people who went by the fancy name of senators and who were now well protected in their big mansions while he was here facing the toughest time of his life. He did not think there was anyway he was going to slip through this one.
The FBI agents who had spoken to him had the meanest look on their faces, like people who wanted to get back at him. He wondered what Senator Markle was doing now. Probably smoking one of his fat, fancy cigars, and drinking expensive wine. Was he even doing anything about him? Or had he found someone else? He had not even made as much money as he would have loved to make when the net caught him.
The door swung open and the agents came matching in again.
“Well, howdy. You look cold, congressman, are you cold?”
Hikinfield ignored the agent and stared pointedly at the light bulb like it was something new that he had never seen before. There was no point talking.
“Cold cold tunnel,” Newman said. “Wondering what’s at the other end?”
“Can you stop gloating, agent?”
“That’s impossible. You’re a former congressman looking at ten, twenty years in prison with a lot of hardened criminals. Wonder what they would feel like to have a congressman in their midst.” Newman snapped his fingers, obviously enjoying this. “A congressman, one of those who made the laws to have them imprisoned.
Now it doesn’t matter that you’re not the one. What matters is that you represent the legislature. You represent their enemies.”
Hikinfield groaned. Won’t he ever shut up and stop talking?
He knew he would die in here if the talkative agent kept going on and on.
“What do you want?”
“Cooperation, Congressman, cooperation.”
“You know half of the city knew immediately you guys took me, right?”
“Yeah, some leak. A pretty fast leak that we have to fix. We are working on that.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“Your people? We will work on fixing that as well.”
“I want a deal,” Hikinfield said.
In the next few weeks, the FBI announced the release of a former congressman, Charles Hikinfield. There had been a slight issue of misinformation, but the investigation was still being carried on. However, Mr. Hikinfield was free. The news was relieved with mixed feelings by the senators.
Some said it was because Hikinfield covered his tracks really well. It was impossible to get through all that. Others had the weird idea that the FBI was baiting them. Whatever the case, Hikinfield was completely excluded from the scheme of things.
He was now a liability, he had been marked. Senator Markle had a strange idea about ‘dealing with liabilities’. The other senator’s pretended to neither hear nor understand what he met.
For them, it had not come to that yet. It was true Hikinfield knows their modus operandi, but since he had been singled out and excluded from among their circle, there was no way the FBI could use him for the bait they intended if that was the case.
After the meeting, the senators dispersed, each moving to his car, their identity no longer hidden. Before he got into his car, Senator Markle sidled over to Watford.
“I suppose you’d also pretend not to hear what I suggested, senator,” he said.
“What was it?”
“Don’t fib me,” Markle replied, an ominous, warning note in his voice.
If Watford was afraid, he did not show it.
“Get the fuck out of my sight. You brought the former congressman into this circle. If he’s a leak, it’s your duty to take care of that.”
He stomped on his gas pedal, causing his car to spring forward as Markle moved quickly out of the way. Markle’s evil stare followed the car as it went up the mountain, away from the lonely house where the senators met and plunged down into the valley out of sight.
He texted Hikinfield’s name and address. He included Watford’s. He was about sending it to a particular number when he had a rethink. Slowly, struggling to contain the trembling in his hands caused by fury, he deleted the senator’s name and sent the congressman’s only.
He would not be caught because some people are too scared and stupid to do what must be done.