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Pepper Herman

Chapter Thirteen


Wednesday, January 15th

            It was bitter cold outside, but Molly’s fireplace beckoned, its logs crackling and popping.

            At Cate’s suggestion to finally get together, the Doomsdayers sat around the fire feasting on take-out Chinese and toasting their new-found lives with champagne glasses.

            Ed and Molly listened with fascination about the mission, and of the courageous part Octavius played in Rob’s rescue.

            Rob was saying, “Problem now is, having had  no idea about Aspel’s death, I went and put that article on the Internet and now I can’t back it up with any medical records.”

            “Know what, Rob?  They know that too,” Molly responded.  “They also know that if they’re smart, they won’t touch this thing.  They’re going to let it die ... fast.  Trust me.”

            “You might say,” Ed said, looking at Rob, “that we’ve got each other.  They know we can’t say anything without putting your ass on the line -- that’s their trump card -- and we know they’re not about to pursue that website article -- that’s our trump card. Home Team - 0, Visitors - 0.”

            “They’re right, sweetheart,” Cate said, looking at Rob, “why would they want to make anything out of this?  Their reputations are at stake. “

            “Yeah?  Well, that leaves me frustrated,”  Molly replied, taking a sip of champagne. “I really hate seeing those bastards get away Scot free.”

            “Hmmm,” said Cate. “I don’t know.  Life has a way of equaling the score.”

            Popping a steamed dumpling in his mouth, Rob said, “Well, that sounds good on paper, sweetheart, but I’m with Molly.  “I still wish I could do something.”

            Ed interrupted.  “But you did, Rob.  You did it all!  That plant is gone with the wind.  And even the army is denying there was anything but an empty storage warehouse that blew up. They sure as hell don’t want to get involved.”  He added more wood to the fire. “Cate’s right.  Let it rest.  We don’t need to pull an eye-for-an-eye bit.  We’re here.  That’s good enough for me.”

            Walking over to the front door, Cate retrieved her shopping bag and returned to the middle of the family room.

            Ed swallowed a forkful of lo mein.  “Whatcha got there, Cate?”

            “Feast your eyes,” Cate said, as she dumped onto the carpet all of Rob’s medical records --X-rays, test results, physician’s comments -- the works.

           “When I first heard about Rob, I called Aspel and requested copies of all his records.”

            Rob looked at her with wonder.  “You did what?”

            “I did, hon.  I wanted to have copies.  You know.  Just in case.”

            “Just in case, what?” asked Molly, her eyes almost popping out of her head.      “I don’t know.  It just seemed like the logical thing to do at the time,” Cate said, shrugging her shoulders.  “Some people save receipts, I save records.”        

            “We’ve got ‘em,” Molly shrieked.

            “Well, in a way that’s true, but not like you think. You see, Rob can never be put in a position of vulnerability.  In that sense our hands are tied. 

            But,” she added, a twinkle in her eye, “there are such things as compromises.  I took these to Greyburn’s office.”

            They all stared at her in astonishment.

            “Greyburn saw these?” Ed asked, amazed.

            “Yep,” she replied, with a grin. “Friday.”

            After telling them of the trade-off she made with the doctors to erect the Bayakinnon Home for Battered Women in return for silence from the Doomsday Club, Ed said, “You are one remarkable lady, lady.  Did I ever tell you that?”

            “I can’t believe you actually pulled that off,”  Rob said, looking stunned.

            “I’d have given anything to see Greyburn’s face,” Molly chuckled.  “That immoral ...”  and her voice died out.   As she raised her champagne glass, the others followed.  “To Becca McKinnon.  To Diego Bayamon.  To The Doomsday Club.”

They all clinked glasses.  

Epilogue -- Index

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