Thai Food, Again.
The congressional hearings on what was now lamely called "Billygate" were a bit of a letdown. I had 'top billing', of course, but it felt as if I was only the opening act. There was no speculation on who stabbed me, it remained "under investigation. 'Professor' Shallbetter, the would-be academic whom I'd met in Iceland, was the real star. He was the one who published Billy's 'evidence' of all the dirt on Senator Clarkson. Mrs. Robinson had kept the copy I mailed her from going public and her reticence to spill the beans had been proved correct—it kept her business out of the spotlight.
The hearings focused on my relationship to Billy, especially when a subsequent blood test proved Billy's assertion that we were half-brothers. The blood test performed on Silu's daughter was a big surprise, however. Billy was not the father. I suspected that Billy's ego blinded him to the fact that he wasn't anything more than a fling to Silu. No wonder she despised him. Silu's sister, Þora, wasn't mentioned at all in the hearings, I was glad she was left out of the reports. Anything said about her would only be humiliating and I could understand her reluctance to undergo any further embarrassment. She made no effort to contact me.
Shallbetter came up to me in the hall after the hearings. He suggested we go for lunch. I readily agreed; I still had several questions about the whole affair and I suspected that Shallbetter knew at least some of the answers.
He drove me to a Thai restaurant in a suburban D.C. shopping mall.
"It's one of Tyler Cowen's favorite places!" Shallbetter said as we walked into the small, dimly lit place. My stab wound had healed enough so that I could eat solid food again but I went with the miso, the mildest option available. Shallbetter kept on talking. "So, you see, Sean, both of our trips to Iceland were for the same purpose- to meet Billy and get him to come out from hiding. We ended up with the same results, but through different means. "
"How did you get the information which Billy had compiled?" Outside of Mrs. Robinson, no one else knew about the copy of the files which I had sent via the mail. The F.B.I. had thoroughly searched Billy's computer and all of their examinations of Billy's e-communications revealed nothing about the files either. I guess there is something to be said for snail-mail after all.
"Oh, but I already told you, it was when we met, in the Flybus on the way into Reykjavík. 'The newly discovered manuscripts', they were Billy's 'evidence.' Billy needed some cash, I was happy to oblige, we made the deal the morning before he was killed."
"Three thousand dollars, right?"
"Exactly right. How did you know, or did Billy tell you more than you told the committee today?"
"I knew he had the money, I didn't know how he got it. It isn't important."
"No Sean, I guess it isn't. What is important is that the Senator's presidential campaign has been derailed, and his unholy alliance has been exposed."
"And that was important for you?"
"I have my reasons."
"One of them is Sally O'Donnell?"
"I have my reasons."
"You met with her in Reykjavík, didn't you?"
"Sean, my boy, you will find that that some types of operations are classified under the heading of 'sleeping with the enemy'.