“Bad News Travels Slow” — Continued
Fiction Saturday — “Bad News Travels Slow”
On the drive back to my apartment I went over what things I’d learned so far and what I had to do to have this all come out right side up.
Dinwiddie had George Sweet stashed somewhere. He’d need him alive to sign his dotted line on the paperwork giving the business away. After that, who knew?
Dinwiddie had worked this all out like any General planning a coup. Whether it was some small country in Central America or a chain of bakeries, it was all the same. You place your forces in strategic places, surrounding the guy in charge, until he sees he is out of options. With Dinwiddie, he snatched the husband off the street because he knew that it was the wife who really signed the checks. Having hubby on ice put more pressure on the power behind the throne. The fact that he wanted the wife for his trophy case was just so he could rub his Boss’s nose in it. Mrs. Sweet was not a bad looking woman, but I had a feeling Dinwiddie liked his women not quite so likely to claw his eyes out.
Like any other tinpot despot, Dinwiddie had to rely on the loyalty of his troops to get him into power and then keep him there. He wasn’t charismatic enough to keep them in line out of love and adoration. All that was left was loyalty out of fear, or for money. That works only as long as the soldiers don’t grow backbones or miss a paycheck. If either of those things happen…well, there’s always another ambitious Colonel waiting in the wings.
What I needed to do was attack Dinwiddie’s weak spots and, so far, I’ve only been able to identify two possible targets – his secretary, P.D. Quick, and the Police Chief.
Quick was behind Dinwiddie for the money was my guess. I don’t think she is scareable. Some punk on the street pulls a gun on her and she’d catch the bullet in her teeth and spit it back at him. She is one tough cookie, Granny Sweet’s or otherwise.
The Police Chief? He is so afraid of Dinwiddie that he behaves like a rented mule – obeying to avoid another whipping. He must have showed some spine at some time. He walked the streets in his Blues as a beat cop in his younger days, through some very tough neighborhoods. Cowards can’t do that.
Dinwiddie obviously had a grip on him. I needed to find out what it was and convince the Chief to lower the drawbridge on Dinwiddie’s castle.
While I was worming my way into Dinwiddie’s defenses I’d have to have Mrs. Sweet run some delaying tactics to buy me some time. She was a lawyer. She could probably twist enough paperwork around to make the sun come up late.
The first thing I wanted to do was to get in to see the Chief – alone. I needed to spend some time with him to find out what Dinwiddie had on him and to get him to trust me. I had to convince him that I was his friend, or, at least, not his enemy. That might be the harder of the two.
Unless a Private Detective was a former cop that the other cops already knew from the job, it was hard to get their respect, trust and cooperation. Currently I had none of the three. I learned my trade in the military, not locally, and we had bumped heads too often for me to be on their Christmas Card list. It was going to be an uphill battle.
“No time like the present to get started,” I said out loud.
I reached for my phone.
— To be Continued —