“Greetings,” Kemos kept her gaze on Trumble. The barmaid appeared as if by magic and took drink orders. Kemos added another Harvey Wallbanger to their order. “I know I haven’t even started on this one but I’ll need one more.”
“Are things so bad?” Trumble asked keeping his eyes locked on hers. They always seemed to play a game to see who dropped eye contact first.
“That’s the problem. We don’t friggin know. The DEA’s getting pressure from the FBI to get moving on this case but we can’t really define who the perpetrators are.” She sipped her Wallbanger which seemed fluorescent yellow in the dim light. “So we start with Wilson Medical Products and Legg Pharmaceuticals.”
“It was our game plan to begin with.” Feinberg paused as their drinks were delivered. “Lance could take one company and I’ll take the other.”
“The best way to do this is to let me be the bad guy here for both companies.” Kemos drummed her right fingers on the table. “Too bad you can’t smoke anywhere anymore. Whenever the stress piles up I think of how good a cigarette would taste.”
“You gave it up years ago.” Feinberg frowned.
“Yeah. It’s amazing how nicotine addiction is still there waiting for the right moment.” Kemos managed a smile. “I’m going to get into their faces. You two may have to go undercover and infiltrate or, I should say, become employees of Wilson and Legg.”
“How did the DEA come to such a conclusion?” Trumble raised his water glass with its floating lemon slice to his mouth.
“Trumble, you look troubled every time we meet.” Kemos sipped her drink.
Trumble looked at Feinberg and back to Kemos. “It seems Dear Willy, every time we meet, Purity and I have to qualify with a 9mm automatic.”
She smiled. “It’s Agent Kemos, remember. Lance, we deal with life takers and in this case with murderers who use the same automatics.” Kemos tented her fingers. “And watch the ‘dear’ stuff.”
They laughed and Feinberg continued. “So who gets which company?”
Kemos gave them each a thin file. “Porfirio Quintos is a wimp with no criminal record, no black marks with the FDA and appears to be an ethical drug developer. Mary Murphy at Wilson, on the other hand, is a vicious, corner-cutting, devious, ladder-climbing, pseudo-scientist who’ll do anything to get ahead, make more dollars and crush the competition.” She started on her second Harvey Wallbanger. “So, Purity, you get Murphy.”
“What?” Trumble’s voice shook. “I get the Don Knots of the pharmaceutical world and Purity could get herself butchered.”
“Butchered? I can take of myself Lance Trumble. Besides, a woman working with a woman like her means I’ll be thinking from my neck up and not my waist down like men often do.” Feinberg readjusted her seat.
“Sexual or impure thoughts are not part of the job, Purity. I’m talking about real danger.” Trumble stared at her.
“Are you two through? Purity is correct. A female in Mary Murphy’s midst is less threatening and less suspicious than a male presence. Besides, Porfirio Quintos could become her next target. I mean personally. Murphy’s thinking should naturally go to Quintos as being the one behind her NDA being sabotaged.” Kemos waited for them to cool down. “Anyway, it’s what the DEA’s plan includes. There are job openings in both companies each of you qualifies for. In your file, you’ll find several. Look them over and pick one and get back to me tomorrow.”
“So we got our orders?” Trumble asked.
“Your bosses are smart. They would rather you be mad at me than at them. Yes, those are the orders and the plan. However, there is also the possibility to get both of you into Wilson’s circle. We’ll see how it plays.”
Kemos finished her drink and stood up. She shook Feinberg’s hand and looked at Trumble. Trumble extended his hand and Kemos looked at it. “Remember when you said ‘Dear Willy’? That’s what I meant about from the waist down.” She accepted Trumble’s handshake.
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