فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

Ideas and Information

The meeting East and Voyles had with Coal and the President did not go well. Not only could they not report any progress, but they had to admit that investigations like this could take many months. Then Coal handed Voyles a list of eight possible members of the Supreme Court, two of whom would fill the places left empty by Rosenberg and Jensen. ‘We want a report on these people in ten days, Voyles,’ he said, ‘and make sure the press doesn’t get to hear about them.’

‘You know we can’t promise that,’ Voyles said. ‘We can’t guarantee no leaks. As soon as we start to dig around these people, someone will realize what’s going on.’

‘The FBI can’t guarantee secrecy?’ Coal said. ‘You’d better keep this out of the papers, Voyles.’

Voyles jumped out of his chair. ‘Listen, Coal,’ he shouted. ‘Why don’t you investigate these people yourself? Don’t start telling me what to do.’

The President tried to make peace. ‘All we’re saying is do your best, Voyles,’ he said. ‘These people are young and they’re good Republicans. They’ll be giving the Constitution shape long after I’m dead. So it’s important to me that the two who become members of the Supreme Court are clean, so that they can stay there for ever. So no drugs, no unusual sexual habits - nothing like that. OK?’

‘Yes, Mr President. But we cannot guarantee total secrecy.’

‘I understand. Just try your best.’

‘Yes, sir.’


Callahan went round to Darby’s apartment with a pizza and a bottle of wine. He hadn’t seen her for four days. He rang on her doorbell.

‘Who is it?’ she called through the door.

‘Thomas Callahan,’ he said. ‘Do you remember me?’

The door opened and Callahan stepped in. ‘Are we still friends?’ he asked, and gave her a kiss.

‘Of course. I’ve just been busy.’

‘So what did the great detective find?’

She was opening the bottle of wine and didn’t answer straight away. She poured wine into two glasses and they went and sat together on the sofa. She put her legs up on to him, and he stroked them. He repeated the question.

‘Nothing, really. I was following a path, and it took me somewhere. I even typed it up as a brief, but I don’t think it’s worth anything.’

‘What? You’ve been running around playing detective for four days, and refusing to see me, and now you’re just going to throw it away?’

‘It’s over there on the table, if you want to see it,’ she said.

‘I don’t want to see it now,’ he said. ‘We have more important things to do. I’m going to be away in Washington for a few days, remember? I’ll read your brief and then we’ll talk about it. But not till we’ve been to bed, OK?’

She pulled him towards her and they kissed long and hard.


There was a cleaner in the White House whom everyone called Sarge. He was old, very black, and had white hair. He wore dark glasses all the time, and everyone thought that he was half blind.

In fact, Sarge could see very well. He could see round corners. He had been working in the White House for thirty years now, cleaning and listening, cleaning and seeing. He knew which doors stayed open and which walls were thin. No one ever noticed him.

His son Cleve was a policeman. This is how it worked: Cleve would contact Gray Grantham of the Washington Post and arrange a meeting. Sarge and Grantham would meet. No one knew how Grantham got his political information, but it was always good and always correct. Sarge never talked to anyone except Grantham, and he didn’t tell even him everything he found out.

This time they met at Glenda’s, a little cafe on Fourteenth Street. Sarge was able to tell Grantham two of the people on the list of possible Supreme Court judges.

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