I was on her side. “He said he’s your boss. That he runs you the way Krongartten runs me.”
“No one runs me. You should know that.”
Ellen set her drink down on the stone table deliberate missing her “Cheers” coaster. “Of course not. No one runs Brock Davidson.”
“We’re opponents.” he replied. “But we’re on the same side.”
“Tell me more.” Ellen was out for skin.
His smiled more broadly and little teeth showed, looking like fine wood molding. “I’d put it more strongly.” Davidson crossed his legs, his tasseled loafer hanging loosely off his limp foot. He fixed his eyes on me. “You’ve done your job for Krongartten, Jackson. And you’ve come to the conclusion that Edder is guilty, which is true but incorrect.”
Ellen wasn’t buying. “How can you be so sure?”
“The family’s black sheep told me, a 41-year-old woman with a penchant for tattoos. Her name’s Cynthia Edder. She’s your type, Ellen.”
Now Davidson was heading into my territory, so I said, “Don’t you think it’s a little unlikely that a black sheep… a tattooed black sheepmight actually be in on the family’s business?”
On the down-low Cynthia Edder and I bar hopped around Santa Fe together. Apparently we were as discrete. Glancing at Ellen, I could see from her attention to Davidson that she didn’t know. And Davidson, who looked pleased with himself, seemed clueless. For a moment, I flashed lurid, thinning that Davidson had know idea that she had tattoos in the most outrageous places. She talked about getting a skull and cross bones tattooed to her clit. I let him prattle on.
“Cynthia’s a language savant. She plays the role of secretary in their overseas negotiations.”
I knew a lot more about Cynthia than he did. I had not recruited her, though I considered it. Going professional I didn’t need to get hooks into her. We just talked casually and she replied candidly. That’s how I developed my Seven Dwarfs, all through Cynthia’s chatter.
Davidson continued confidently. “Edder’s metal and mining unit has contracts across seven continents, and she has the unique ability to speak two of the rarest dialects in all the Pakistani Punjab.”
She and I had begun planning a trip to the Asian subcontinent. She told me about her contacts there and promised me introductions. But most often she talk about a land where the inner world and the outer world mixed and mingled. It’s not just about terrorism over there, she told me. It’s about god. I would listen, then we would go to bed. God manifests himself in many ways.
Davidson coughed softly into his handkerchief. “I don’t want to get too deep,” he continued, “but the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation enlisted the aid of USAID to study mineral deposits in Sindh Province where they discovered rich veins of carnotite. USAID contracted with Edder.”
This was getting a little long. “Can we cut to the chase?”
“Well, carnotite is about one-sixth part uranium. Edder didn’t get the mining rights, but they provided the engineering and construction facilities in an area called Wahi Pandi. Sound familiar?”
Wahi Pandi was the spot my agents at Los Alamos, the Seven Dwarfs, had identified as the source of the nuclear material used to build the bomb that destroyed Washington, DC.
I didn’t say a word.
Davidson lifted the louvered lines that spanned his forehead. “Edder also built a reactor there, which, as you know, is not under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It’s possible, that a connection like that might make Edder complicit in providing the bomb materials that wiped out our government.”
“It’s a stretch.” Ellen said. “Maybe Los Alamos was able to identify the source of the nuclear material because of information developed out of Edder’s experience in Pakistan.” For a moment I flashed back to the Friday Night Club. The good old days.
Davidson got to his feet. “You’re too kind. Edder’s as guilty as shit, if only for covering up information the government, such as it is, needs. If that news got out, the consequences are as simple as following the dots.” He pointed to the dresser. “Cole Edder’s political ambitions would go up in smoke.” He pointed to a square red painting on the wall. “The company would be raked over and ruined.” He walked to the wet bar and lifted a bottle of whiskey. “General Purcell Warden’s financial base would vanish, as would his political franchise. Lots of feather’s lost in the nest.” He poured himself another drink and took a sip. “Break them and Democracy just might have a chance of returning to its rightful place among the stars and stripes.”
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