Friday, March 13, 2020

Moving In

This is Chapter 12 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Tuesday morning, July 14, 2020, Seattle

“So we meet again, agent—?” said Mary.

“Robert Marchal, I worked on the ‘Billygate’ affair.”

Mary Robinson and Sean Carroll were sitting in an interview room in a Seattle FBI office with the agent who had previously worked with them. They all wore masks. They had been called there for a briefing on the recent riot that occurred in front of their apartment building. Eight years previously Sean had been pressured into a plot to hide details about the shady dealings of a United States Senator who was also, unbeknownst to Sean, his father. The affair had died down after the group behind the senator, The Brotherhood, had been destroyed in a mysterious explosion.

“Well, I never thought I’d be sitting across the table from you again,” said Mary, “Six feet across. Thanks for bringing us in for an update on this latest event. Is there anything you know for sure about the cause of the riot?”

“Did you find a connection with Ted Benson and this event?” said Sean, “The man from the nursing home in Decorah that I mentioned to you on the phone yesterday?”

“I spoke with the Winneshiek County sheriff; Mr. Benson is well known there, a regular ‘booster’ with his fingers in many pies. He’s evidently legit, he just likes to act the big shot. The sheriff talked to him about the incident, and Mr. Benson appeared to be genuinely shocked at the result of the ‘tip’ about your daughter that he gave to the KWAH news department. I don’t think we’ll be hearing from him again. The Twitter feed from the television station did cause a stir and we’ve spoken to the news director at the station. He denies any culpability in the affair, but I know how Bill Preston operates, he’s probably doing follow-ups to the story as we speak. The other major contribution to the incident was the actions of a certain television evangelist, the self-styled ‘Reverend’ Andrew Stevenson, based in Phoenix, Arizona. He, for reasons unknown, has decided that you, Mary, are a threat to the peoples of planet earth and must be eliminated. Have you had any dealings with him previously?”

“No, none that I know of, although it must have to do with the Icelandic religious group that I am affiliated with. I have contributed some written materials to an app by the group, nothing major… some simple affirmations and mantras really. I have no formal authority within the group.”

“There also seems to be something else going on here,” said the agent, “We’ve been looking at video of the event and there were definitely some professional provocateurs in the crowd. This has been the first real public demonstration since the George Floyd riots. I don’t think the Reverend Stevenson hired them, but there may be some person or group that is either trying to capitalize on the situation or has some nefarious intentions towards you and Sean and your daughter. Thank goodness there wasn’t any looting or arson. We’ll be acting upon some of this information very soon.”

“Here is some additional video of the event,” said Sean, handing the agent an SD card, “Our personal assistant, Jo Sanford, was across the street from the event, unable to get in to her apartment. She recorded some of it on her iPhone. Jo had warned us about the developing situation when we were still at the airport, that’s why we went to the Hotel Motif instead of returning home.”

“She’ll have to come in and give us a statement,” said agent Marchal, “Where can I reach her?”

“Here’s her number,” said Mary, “She is with our daughter now, helping her get ready to move.”

“You are moving? Will you still be in the Seattle area?”

“We’ve just bought a house, near Northgate,” she said, “Hopefully, it won’t be as attractive to rioters as the apartment building was.”

“Have you got some extra security?”

“We’ve been through this before, we know the drill,” said Mary.

Back at the apartment, Jo was helping Mareka sort her things for the move to her new house.

“Jo, are you going to move with us?” asked the child.

“Yes, I’ll be living in the guest house,” said Jo, “Instead of being in a different apartment, I’ll just be out in the back yard. I’ll still be working for your mom and dad, so I’ll have an office in my apartment too, for a while at least, until your folks get a new office.”

“I won’t be coming back here anymore?”

“Your life will different, better, you’ll be starting school, in some way, there are kids in the neighborhood, and a lot of good things will happen to you as you grow up.”

“Will there be riots again, is that why we’re moving?” said Mareka.

“I don’t think so. Your mother and father are talking to the FBI right now, the FBI and the police are investigating the riot,” said Jo, “They are very concerned and they won’t let it happen again.”

“I will miss living here, it’s the only place I’ve ever lived.”

“I will too,” said Jo, “It’s a very special place, the place where you where born, right here, in this room. I was here, helping your mother.”

“Jo, I’m afraid. You will still be my friend, won’t you? After we move?” Mareka’s lips began to quiver, “You won’t get sick and die, will you?”

“Oh, Mareka! I’ll always be your friend,” said Jo, as she held the child, “You and your mother and father are my family, I’ll be there for you. But you must understand one thing. Your time of being a little kid is over, you are a big kid now, with new friends and new things to learn.”

Barbara Merrit, doing research her project about Sean and Mary’s involvement in the ‘Billygate Coverup’, was looking through the results of her image recognition search for the face of the woman seen with Sean at the riot and in the lobby of the hotel. One face—from news reports from seven years ago—came up: Jo Sanford, a 28-year-old Seattle barista who had shot and killed an unidentified intruder. Barbara started more searches, this time about ‘Jo Sanford’, with as many variations of the name as she could think of.

“I’m moving in on you, Ms. Sanford, your dirty little secrets won’t be hidden much longer.”

Next chapter: Stumped

By Professor Batty

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