Episode Seven

Disloyal Opposition

 Rebecca sits straight up in bed. She’s just seen two men doing something under her car and has a strong feeling it’s not just a dream. She lies down, but doesn’t go back to sleep. It’s happening. She knew it would. The forces for centralized power want to nip her resolutionary movement in the bud. She thanks her guardian diety and asks for continued protection and guidance.

   After breakfast, she calls her neighborhood mechanic, Mr. Kim. She tells him she suspects her car has been sabotaged and wants him to check thoroughly for every possibility. Mr. Kim comes over and immediately finds a bomb on the oil pan. “I don’t know how to deal with bombs. Do you know anyone you can call?”

Rebecca calls Anytown’s police chief, Anthony Scalia. She tells him briefly that she’s found a bomb under her car and needs someone who can remove it without blowing anything up.    

   “OK, I’ll have Hendersen there in a few minutes.”

   “Chief Scalia, please send Cassidy with him, and please put her in charge. I want her handling this case.”

   “Are you kidding? She’s barely been here three years. This is a high-profile case. I can’t let her have it. The whole department’ll be up in arms.”

   “Blame it on your stupid, hysterical mayor. Tell your people I threw a hissy fit, which I will if I don’t get Cassidy. I need her on this case, and I believe by the end of this you’ll see why. Please, trust me.”

Hendersen and Cassidy arrive in less than 15 minutes. While Hendersen is on the porch talking to Mr. Kim and Rebecca, Cassidy crawls under the car. “Hey, get outta there,” Hendersen yells from the porch, “You’ll blow yourself up!”

   “Relax, I’m just looking for fingerprints, which I have found.” She slides out, sits up, grabs her print kit, then squirms back under. A few minutes later she slides out and says, “It’s all yours.”

   Hendersen takes over. “Everyone please move back. I have no idea what I’m dealing with here.” Luckily, it’s a primitive IED. He clips the wires, takes out the explosive, and removes the plate that was stuck onto the oil pan. He comes out waving a stick of dynamite and grinning like a kid on a scavenger hunt. 

   Rebecca presses stop and puts her phone away. “Thank you, Hendersen, you’re my hero.” 

   He grins a bit wider, then turns to Cassidy. “Shall we go?”

   “Go ahead. I’m gonna look around a bit more.” 

   “How can I go ahead? We’re in the same car.”

   “I’ll bring her in when she’s done, OK?” Rebecca offers.

   “Suit yourself.”

   “And thanks again. I really am grateful for your skill and courage.”

   “I hope it never happens again.”


When Hendersen leaves, Mr. Kim leaves as well. Rebecca turns to Cassidy saying, “I want you to tell me whose prints you found down there before you tell anyone else. Can you do that?”

   “Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. We’re gonna know who did this. He or they were expecting the thing to blow up so they weren’t even careful. There were prints all over the bomb and the oil pan. I’ll tell you who it is before I do anything else.”


The next day

Cassidy walks into Rebecca’s office. “You’re not going to believe this.”

   “Hendersen, right?”

   “How’d you know?”

   “I didn’t, for sure, but I’ve been worried about Chief Scalia for some time now. He’s been pretty upset about the DDR. Doesn’t tell me, of course, but I heard it through the grapevine. Still, I can’t believe this was his idea. He’s being used by someone. I want to get closer to the root. How can we do that?”

   “Not sure. Hendersen’s gone already. Haven’t seen him since he took that bomb off your car. If I take his prints to Scalia, he’ll just start a manhunt that’ll fail to find Hendersen. I think I know some guys in the department who are probably on his side, but I have no idea who might be calling the shots.”

   “I trust Judge Carter, do you?”

   “Yeah, he’s on your side.”

   “Let’s see if we can get a warrant to search Hendersen’s house and subpoena his bank records. Tell him we need this to be top secret, even from the police.”


Two days later

Cassidy walks into Rebecca’s office. “You’re not going to believe this.”

   “Whatchu you got?”

   “Hendersen had five deposits of 9,900 dollars each before the bomb and two after. They came from a bank in New York. Hendersen took a bunch of it out the day he left and has been taking as much as he can the last couple days from ATMs. I can trace the ATMs. I can also find out who owns the bank account in New York.”

   “Don’t bother with the ATMs. Find out about the account in New York.”


The next day

Cassidy walks into Rebecca’s office. “You’re not going to believe this.”

  “I give up. What?”

  “The New York bank account belongs to an 18-year-old blind musician named Tim Ribbons. You want me to keep investigating that angle?”

   “If they’re that determined to hide the trail, it’ll take you forever to find out anything. Let’s go ahead and take the bull by the horns. Get an appointment to talk to Scalia this afternoon. Let me know the time, and I’ll be there.”


Cassidy walks into Scalia’s office, followed by Rebecca, who sets up the camera herself. 

   Rebecca moves to a chair in front of the desk and begins. “Chief Scalia, I think you know we have a problem, right?”

   “What’re you talking about?”

   “I have Hendersen’s bank records, I can get yours, and I can easily investigate the bank account in New York. However, I’m not a vindictive person. I suspect you had your reasons for doing what you did, so let’s talk. You think I’m dangerous for this city, right? And some people you know want me out of the picture. They asked you to take care of me. They offered to make it worth your while, and they implied it wouldn’t be healthy for you to refuse this offer. Am I getting warm?”

   “I have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s true I have some problems with the way you’re managing this city, but what are you saying about me and Hendersen?”

   “I can easily find Hendersen, and I can prove he put that bomb under my car. And, I can prove you sent him out to remove it when I called you for help. Let’s not play cat and mouse here. I want to know who wants me dead and why you agreed to help them.”

   Chief Scalia sits for some time in crestfallen silence. “I don’t hate you. I didn’t want to do it. I think your way of governing this city is ridiculous and bad for business, but I would never have lifted a finger to harm you. The bomb came from some guys who think you’re going to get too popular to control. If your approach to government spreads, a lot of powerful people could lose a lot of power and money. They don’t want that to happen. They told me to get rid of you, and they didn’t offer me a choice.”

   “You had a choice. We always have a choice, but I understand. You were afraid of what they’d do to you, and you still are. In fact, you think you’re dead already, right?”

   “You don’t know these people. You don’t know the power and control they have. You escaped their first attempt, but you’re not going to last long, and neither will I.”

   “What can we do about it?”

   “Nothing. Not a thing. They’re going to win this. They always do.”

   “You seem to know quite a bit about them. How far up the ladder can you see?”

   “That’s the thing. I hardly know anything about them. I get calls telling me to arrest someone or not to arrest someone. They tell me about some of their handiwork in other cities. They tell me in advance so I know it’s them. I know they can take anyone out that gets in their way. I got a call basically ordering me to get rid of you. I got some money for Hendersen and some for me as well, but I don’t know who was calling. I don’t even know where they are. The caller could have been right here in Anytown, for all I know.”

   “Look, you think we’re already dead, right? So if we’re going down, will you help take some of them with us?”

   “What do you mean?”

   “We can find the phone and probably the guy who’s been calling you. Once we find him, we can probably go a rung or two up the ladder. But there’s really only one hope for us. We have to bring this whole thing into the bright sunlight. We need attention and full time protection. For that, I need to know everything you know, and we need Cassidy and other cops we trust to know the whole story. Then, we need to take our story to anyone we think might be able to help. We need to fight this thing as if our lives were at stake, which they are, as you well know. And you have to decide right now whose side you’re on. If you’re on my side, we’re a team. I’ll do everything in my power to protect you. If you’re on their side, I’ll arrest you and put you in jail right now. So where do you think you’ll be safer?”

   “I won’t be safe anywhere, but if I’m going to die, I’d rather die for the right side. I’ve been a coward. I kept giving in cause I was afraid to fight. I’m ready to fight now, and I’m on your side.”

   “Can you contact Hendersen?”


   “I think we need him here, don’t you?”


Four days later

Rebecca, Chief Scalia, Hendersen and Cassidy sit at a table covered with microphones. 

   “Thank you for being here today. We’re going to tell you the beginning of a story. What we’re hoping is that you’ll have the courage and resourcefulness to track this story to the end. 

   Ten days ago, I found a bomb under my car. If I’d gotten in and started my car normally, I’d be dead. I called Chief Scalia, and he sent Mr. Hendersen out to remove the bomb. Before Mr. Hendersen removed the bomb, Ms. Cassidy here checked it for fingerprints. What she discovered is that Mr. Hendersen was the one who put the bomb there. And, after investigating a bit, we learned that Chief Scalia is the one who ordered Mr. Hendersen to do it.” Rebecca pauses to let all this sink in. The reporters are looking at each other, then back at Rebecca, Scalia, Hendersen—jaws are dropping. Clearly, they’re having difficulty computing. 

   “You may be wondering why, if what I’ve said is true, Chief Scalia and Mr. Hendersen are sitting here instead of jail. That is the part of the story we need your help with. The Chief and Hendersen did what they did because they were ordered to by some powerful figures connected to a certain bank account in New York. In the handout you should all have, you’ll find the information for that bank account. In addition, you’ll find a list of phone numbers that we believe may be associated with the people who called Chief Scalia. 

   Of course, Chief Scalia and the Anytown police will be investigating all of this, but we need your help. We need to find out who’s been calling the Chief, but more importantly, we need to look on up the ladder. Where do these orders come from? What organizations and which individuals are involved?

   The attack on me is a symptom of a disease that has infected our national body politic for a long time. There are people in this country using money and, when necessary, violence to limit the range of discourse and activity in our political and economic system. We need to find those people, reveal them, and stop them. 

   I have asked Chief Scalia to join me today because you might not have believed all this if it was just the word of a paranoid mayor. The Chief is the one who knows most about this situation and the people involved, so I’ll let him take over. Chief.”

   “For most of my career I have, at times, been forced to do things of which I am extremely ashamed. I have made arrests and not made arrests. I have fabricated evidence and lost evidence. Mayor White is the first person I’ve been asked to kill, and right now, I feel extremely lucky I didn’t. I’m already thinking and planning how I can clear the record and make amends to the people I’ve harmed, but today, my goal is to persuade you to invest whatever time, energy and resources you have available into finding and revealing the people who have been controlling me.” Chief Scalia goes on to tell his story, offering every detail he can muster about who, what, where and how. 

   When he finishes, a reporter raises his hand and asks, “If these people are as powerful and ruthless as you say, how can you protect yourselves, especially the Mayor? How can you protect any of us if we get into this?”

   “That’s a very good question.”

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