Prophet Of Death

Chapter 12

     Pete was going through some of the security tapes form the exchange building, looking for a break, but so far he was finding squat. They had three nights and over fifty camera angles worth to look over and not a lot of time to do it. Toss in the cameras from the previous night at the building where Mrs. Blitzer was killed, and that meant Pete and Grozza were going to spend the better part of the next fifty hours watching their screens. Yet his viewing was short lived as the captain came storming out of his office and tapped Pete on the shoulder.

     "What's going on?" Pete asked as he paused his screen.

     "I've been summoned up to the Commish's office," McManus replied. "I'm not going to face that firing squad alone. Since this is your case you can give them some decent answers. That will make them less likely to rake me over the coals over, so you're coming with me."

     Pete didn't like the idea, but at the same time if he was in the man's shoes he wouldn't want to go up there alone either. With a deep breath, he got up out of his chair and turned to Grozza. "If Jones gets back before I do, put her to work watching videos till I get back."

     "Roger that," Grozza said, never taking his eyes off his own screen.

     Pete didn't want anything to do with the meeting they were about to attend, so Pete didn't get any resistance when he was ordered to go back to his constant viewing of security cams at high speed. He did not envy the men who were marching off toward what was likely going to be the verbal equivalent of a firing squad. As he and his captain rode up the elevator to the top floor of the building, he didn't think much of the meeting they were about to have. The exchange building was saved but it was at the expense of another CEO. The meeting ahead could literally go in either direction. From a pat on the back to a complete telling off with threats of unemployment, there was just no way to tell until they walked into the room to see the looks on their faces. The two men strolled out of the elevator and over to the desk where the Commish's secretary resided.

     "Kathy," McManus said as he took a peppermint from her candy dish. "How are you this fine day?"

     "I'm doing well, thank you." Kathy gestured to the door on her left. "They're waiting for you in the conference room."

     "They?" Pete repeated.

     "Come on, Kathy," McManus said as he leaned over. "Don't let me walk in there blind. Who's waiting in there for us?"

     McManus knew that if the meeting was in the conference room, it was because there were too many people and not enough chairs in the commissioner's office to handle the amount of people. That did not bode well for the men walking in, and Kathy knew it, too.

     "The mayor," Kathy whispered. "As well as the FBI, Homeland Security and a representative from the White House."

     McManus stood back up and straightened his tie. "Thanks, I owe you one."

     "You owe me two now," Kath corrected him.

     "No problem, two it is," McManus said as he walked up and opened the door to her left. As he strolled into the room, he did so without an ounce of emotion, prepared for the gauntlet he was about to run.

     "Captain," the commissioner started, "Thanks for coming."

     "Thank you for calling," McManus said as he looked around. "Standing room only, I see. I would have dressed up if I knew all these Washington boys were coming over."

     "How could you know we were here?" one of the suits asked.

     "Your plates," Pete stepped, covering for Kathy. "They're a dead giveaway because they're federal issued."

     "No need to show off, Detective." The commissioner stood up. "This is Special Agent Brown of the FBI. The man sitting across from him is Agent Avery from Homeland Security. They're here to assist us."

     "Are they here to take over the case?" McManus asked.

     "Not yet," the mayor answered. "That's what we're here to discuss."

     "Just a note," Pete said as he looked over at the suits. "If we know you're here, you can assume he also knows you're here, too."

     "Who does?" another suit asked.

     "Who do you think?" McManus snapped back. "I doubt you're here to talk about anything else except the deranged nut ball who tried to blow up the exchange building this morning. He's been ahead of us every step of the way, so I'm pretty sure the Prophet anticipated your arrival."

     "Well he is exactly why we're all here," the mayor said, his patience wearing thin. He wasn't in the mood to watch the cops at the table play games. "This man has been terrorizing our city for the past week, and we are no closer to getting him."

     "So you called in the feds?" Pete asked.

     "We don't need to be invited," Avery replied.

     "The exchange building is federal property," Agent Brown added. "That gives us the right to claim jurisdiction in the matter."

     "The fact that he used a bomb," Avery continued, "also makes this a Homeland case. We deal with acts of terror, foreign or domestic."

     "The bomb was a dud," McManus declared. This was not public knowledge and only he and the bomb squad knew it. "It was never going to go off."

     The mayor still wasn't impressed with the morning's activities. "So what was the purpose of planting a fake bomb in the exchange building?"

     "It was a decoy, wasn't it?" Agent Brown asked.

     "Yes it was," Pete answered, as it was not his turn to go on the offensive. "And we all fell for the bait."

     The room went quiet when it seemed clear that declaration was pointed at the commissioner and the mayor.

     "Explain yourself, Detective," the commissioner replied. Despite the accusation, he was still cooler than a cucumber. That kind of demeanor under fire was why he was the top man in the force, a true leader.

PJ Lowry

Edited: 02.08.2020

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