Associate Justice Glenn had received no further calls from the mysterious man since late March. He had contacted the FBI on his return to Washington from Arizona, and the FBI’s response had been rapid and thorough.
However, attempts to identify the caller were futile. Though more than the usual technology was applied, nothing could be traced. The FBI agents didn’t tell Glenn, but the fact that Level 3 analysis of the call produced nothing indicated the person they were dealing with was sophisticated.
FBI and local law enforcement provided protection to Glenn’s family. Glenn’s own security and that of the other judges were boosted. After a few months, with all parties in agreement, the security ratcheted down. But FBI field offices in Washington, Phoenix, and St. Louis (Glenn’s daughter’s hometown) kept the case open.
When he returned to Washington, Glenn met personally with his fellow justices and told them about Helen, including the episode with the pearl necklace. His colleagues were understanding and offered their best wishes and assistance. Later in the day, Glenn called the Washington Post’s Supreme Court reporter and told him about Helen. A short story appeared the next day, sympathetic to the Glenns.
Glenn hoped the whole affair was over. The caller had given no clue as to what case the blackmail threat might be related to. Although Glenn wanted to assume it was over, but how the caller had obtained his cell phone number nagged at him. The number was known only to Helen, the managing director of the Benjamin Center, his colleagues on the Supreme Court, and a few very senior Administration officials.
When the Supreme Court announced the cases it would review, Glenn suspected he would receive another call. Call tracing on his phone had been terminated; the FBI said it likely wouldn’t work anyway. If he received another call, he was supposed to get the caller to talk and pay very close attention to what he was told.
Glenn was beginning to prepare dinner for himself but changed his mind. He rarely went out, but tonight he decided to treat himself. He had a car and driver for official business, but as dinner wasn’t very official he called a cab for the short ride to the Rock Creek area of town and a little Italian place.
“Judge, so good to see you. How are you doing?” greeted Sal, the owner.
“I’m doing pretty well, Sal. And you?” Glenn inquired.
“My family is fine, thank you for asking. I do hope Mrs. Glenn is well.”
“She’s hanging in there, Sal. I’ll tell her you asked about her,” Glenn said, thinking that Helen remembered no one these days, not even her husband.
Glenn ordered Sal’s special: veal with a delightful garlic sauce. He was finishing a glass of Chianti when Sal approached him nervously.
“Judge, there’s an emergency call for you. It came in on our reservation line, but you can take it in my office.”
As he followed Sal, Glenn’s first thought was that something had happened to Helen. But he remembered that of course the Benjamin Center would have called his cell phone. Then it occurred to him nobody knew he was at Sal’s. Glenn tensed and tried to remember what the FBI had told him to do if he received another call from the mysterious man.
Sal showed Glenn to a chair and left the office, shutting the door behind him.
“This is Bill Glenn.”
“Good evening, Justice Glenn. I do hope you enjoyed the veal.”
It was the same voice. Glenn tried to stay calm and get the man to talk.
“I did. Your voice is familiar.”
“I am pleased that you remember me, Justice Glenn.”
“You can’t blackmail me anymore.”
“Ah, I recall the article in the Post,” the caller said.
“Then we have nothing further to discuss,” Glenn said.
“To the contrary, Justice Glenn. We do have things to discuss. Also, there is no need for you to try to contact the authorities this time. The FBI will not be able to trace this call,” the man said. “I see you have not chosen to retire and spend more time with your sickly wife. This is a shame, Justice Glenn. We never know how long our loved ones will be with us.”
“Why do you want me off the Supreme Court? That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?” asked Glenn.
The man on the other end of the line ignored the question.
“Justice Glenn, I think you would agree that spending more time with Mrs. Glenn would prolong her life.”
Glenn was confused and upset. “Helen isn’t dying; she’s losing her mind!”
“Let me be direct and clear, Justice Glenn. Your retirement will prolong your wife’s life.”
“Are you threatening my wife?”
“No, Justice Glenn. I’m simply giving you the opportunity to extend your wife’s life. And, Justice Glenn, when you talk to the FBI, they will not be able to assist you in learning who I am. Nor will they be able to assist Helen, should your resignation not be forthcoming. Good evening, Justice Glenn.”
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