The state cable news network called me at the motel but on my cell phone. It wasn’t the man from the crash, it was a chick who claimed to be his producer. It looked to me as though they were trying to be a real news agency.
“Hi there, you are Deputy Sylvia Porter?” she asked.
“I am. Who might you be?” I asked. That’s when I found out about the producer thing, “So what can I do for you Miss Producer.” I didn’t even bother to file her name into my short term memory. I didn’t expect her to be there that long.”
“Edward would like to say thank you and do a human interest piece on you,” she suggested.
That left me between a rock and a hard place. The Sheriff wanted the publicity for the department and his own re-election plans. I wanted nothing to do with it. The more video exposure I got the more likely the chances of me being recognized from the party in Mountain Home. I had already done a rational assessment of the danger and it went like this. At the time Simon explained that I didn’t have to be worry about being recognized because Mountain Home resort was over a hundred miles from the county seat. Also that it was a party for the festival goers, who were mostly from way out of the area. They would have no access to the local news network, I reasoned.
Since the car hadn’t blown and there was no video of it anyway, it would never make a national story. So odds of it being seen by the party goers was remote. I did plan to do as much as possible to keep even that remote chance from being a disaster.
“There is no human interest story here. As far as meeting on camera for a reunion with your reporter, that’s fine,” I agreed. “I do have some special request. I would like to be in uniform with a patrol car in the background, when we meet. The department can always use the publicity.” Which will also help distract the eyes of the viewer, I thought.
I didn’t think I could get the Chief Deputy to refuse me permission to do the interview, since the Sheriff was a publicity whore, so I went immediately to the station to have a talk with him. I wanted to at least lessen the impact of the interview.
“Chief Deputy, I know you want me to do the interview, but how will it effect my safety later. I mean not too many people know me as the only female deputy in Warren county, but if I do this interview a lot more will know me. If Sergeant Michaels sends me in to buy drugs or guns, I might be recognized. It could put me in danger,” I suggested.
“You do have a point, but refusing the interview is not an option. So what do you suggest?” he asked.
“If we do the interview outside, I can wear my knit cap over my ears and the official cap over that. If I also wear dark glasses and explain to the reporter it should make it almost impossible to recognize me from the interview.” I hoped that he bought it. Even though the odds of being recognized by anyone from my past was nil, I didn’t want to take any chances.
“I think that sounds prudent. If you explain it to that reporter guy, he should understand.” That’s the way we left it.
It was a good thing since I had already agreed to the interview. It was set for the next morning at 10AM, in the motor pool parking lot. That gave me a chance to work the car in. The Sheriff would love it and it was a way for me to work in the knit cap. The cap would seem to be keeping my ears warm while in fact it was there to hide the fact that I was bald.
“So Edward you look a lot better than the last time I saw you?” I said.
“Thank you Deputy Porter, I feel a lot better pain wise, and outlook as well. So I understand you had some special requests?” he asked.
“Not many just that we do it here with the patrol car in the back ground. I also want to keep my sunglasses on. I might have to make an undercover drug or gun buy someday soon. I would prefer not being recognized by a thug,” It obviously sounded as reasonable to Edward as it had to Chief Deputy Webster.
“That sounds prudent,” he said.
“I’m not the TV guy,” I said to him, but why not have the camera man film you walking up to the car with your cane. It will kind of put the whole story in context.” I suggested. It would also shift the viewers attention to Edward. Hopefully I would just be a sideline. I expected him to agree since TV reporters are all attention whores.
“That actually sounds pretty good,” the camera man agreed. And that’s how it happened. Edward talked a little and I talked a lot about my life with the Warren Sheriff’s office. I knew it is what everyone wanted. The filming took about twenty minutes, so I figured two minutes might make it to air which was two minutes more than I wanted.”
The rest of that day I spend either in bed or on the computer. I bought groceries, if you can call two frozen dinners and a deli sandwich groceries. I had decided that if I did breakfast at all, it would be at the cafe on the square at the least. I might drive to the waffle house in the plaza area, but that wasn’t likely to happen with my morning run factored into the equation.
The second of my days off, I went for my run at 7AM. The sun was pretty much still behind the mountains, but making an effort to show itself. I turned the corner onto the one block off main back street. It was the headed toward home part of my run. When I saw the car, I didn’t recognize it. Since I was coming up from behind it, I didn’t recognize the driver either. I slipped my hand into the field jacket and came out with the box opener.
As I got close he opened the door and stepped out, if he let me pass, everything was going to be cool, but if the driver had a gun, I was likely dead. If he tried to grab me, he was more than likely dead. He did neither, “Sylvia we need to talk a second.”
“James, what the hell are you doing. I told Simon I did not want to ever talk to either of you again,” I said.
“I know, but I don’t want you to do anything foolish while worrying about the party with Allen thing. Nobody is going to question us about it. If they do, and we need to throw a name at them, we have a much bigger one than yours so forget it. You are going to skate on this and I will leave you alone. Take this in case you need to talk,” He handed me a card with a phone number.
“Alright now I need to show up on time at the cafe,” I said that as I ran off. What I needed to do was get the hell away from James. I could try to figure out what he meant later. I put the card with the number into the pocket of my field jacket. I stopped in at the cafe for a glass of iced tea and to tell my waitress friend that there was a dog one street over. I placed the stray exactly where I had met James Boyle.
Later that afternoon, I almost loaded the car for a long drive to mom’s house to do my laundry. To be honest I preferred a laundromat to spending the day hearing about her new life. Her old life was the only life I knew until I joined the Air Force. Discussing her new life just tended to remind how bad it was to grow up with a perv for a father. He hadn’t hurt me, I just didn’t realize until I was a teenager that what we were doing was wrong. It didn’t feel wrong on a purely physical level. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to spend an afternoon being reminded that I was damaged goods.
I drove the Toyota, which was so small the back seat was filled with just one plastic laundry basket. I had well over a dozen pair of white cotton bikini panties and a half dozen elastic contraptions suited for a dark-ages dungeon. I wore those when I ran, or when I might have to run. Even my smallish 36b, boobs hurt when bounced up and down for a few miles. Not to mention that kind of thing just added to the hastening the sag, or so I had been told. The basket also contained a dozen green tee shirts. They came from the army 2nd hand store on Fort Dix New Jersey. Fort Dix was across the street from the Air Force Base where I was discharged.
Wearing the same colors everyday made dressing so much easier. Of course there were a couple of black tee shirts I wore when I went out. There were also three men’s dress shirts, white in color. Those I wore over the black tee shirts. I owned two push up bras which were not in the laundry, since I had no reason to wear them over the last two weeks.
The towels and sheets were furnished by the motel, so my laundry for two weeks was not more than one of the high capacity washers would hold. I could do the wash for less than five dollars easily. It was a much better deal than listening to mom.
It was two hours of pure boredom though. It did give me time to wonder who James was talking about. He made a special effort to find and talk to me in a fairly secure place, so he felt it was important at least that I know there was someone. He obviously thought the information he could give up would be a pass on being interrogated, or at least a get out of jail free card. He went to a lot of trouble to be sure I knew about it. It was just too vague at that time for me to guess. Maybe the details would get filled in later. As long as it worked out like he thought I was good with anything. I expect that he hunted me down to reassure me so that I wouldn’t continue trying to insulate myself and accidentally expose them.
With the ‘why he had contacted me’ more than likely explained, I decided just to go back to my original plan of letting the whole thing ferment. I still hoped that James and Simon would not become part of the investigation. I especially hoped my involvement with them would not become common knowledge.
I returned home to computer TV reruns, and the deli sandwich which wasn’t bad at all. Time passed more or less quickly until 8PM when I went to the lounge. I took a seat at the bar to talk with Sarah.
“So you been keeping it quiet in here?” I asked.
“I sure have. Your buddy Simpson came by to ask about Gypsy. I did not tell him that I had already given you all that information,” Sarah said.
“You did right Sarah. I told him but you never know, I don’t always play nice with others. I failed sharing in preschool,” I admitted.
“Deputy Sylvia Porter,” the slightly rough looking man said.
“Monk, if you scrubbed a little harder, you might be an okay looking dude,” I said.
“I’ll keep that in mind. So you ready for that drink I promised to buy you?” he asked.
“Only if you will talk to me about Gypsy Allen,” I replied.