آزمون لیبی

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Chapter 8 Libby’s Test

The next evening the Stantons had a meeting at their house.

Howard Ferguson, Susan, and Jack Stanton were in the Stantons’ living room when I arrived. Susan kissed me on the cheek.

“Henry,” she laughed, “you didn’t bring us back any jelly?” She turned to the Governor. “Do you remember, Jack?

Whenever my parents went to Florida they always brought back three jars of jelly. One was orange, one was . . .” “OUT!”

We all turned to see Libby storm into the room. She was pointing her finger at Howard. “GET OUT!” “But Libby,” said Howard.

“OUT!”

Howard left the room.

“Can I stay?” asked Susan.

“Yes, you can stay,” said Libby.

“Libby,” said Jack. “You’re being silly.” “OF COURSE I’m being silly! I’m CRAZY! HERE!

Read this!”

She gave the Stantons and me some pieces of paper with the information about Freddy Picker. I saw the names EDDIE REYES, RUSTY FIGUEROA and LORENZO DELGADO.

I watched the Stantons read. Their eyes were wide.

“I don’t believe it,” said the Governor. “What will we do with this information?”

“Give it to the press,” said Susan. “Let’s give it to the Times or The Wall Street Journal.”

Libby looked at me. The Stantons had failed her test.

“I don’t think you should tell anybody,” said Libby. Her voice sounded sad.

Susan looked shocked. “What do you mean, Libby?” “I mean that you’re not going to be able to prove anything about the cocaine or the bribe. Nobody is going to talk to the press or to the police about the cocaine. And Picker didn’t actually bribe that senator. Eddie Reyes did.” “We don’t have to prove anything,” said Stanton. “If the newspapers print the story, nobody will vote for Picker.” “Freddy Picker is a good man. We shouldn’t do this to him!” “Libby” said Susan. “If we don’t give this information to the press, Picker may win. If Picker wins, Jack can’t be President.” “Yeah, maybe,” said Libby. I could see that there were tears in her eyes. She was trying not to cry. “But it’s not the right thing to do.”

“Maybe we could tell the press about the bribe but not about the cocaine,” said Stanton.

“Jack, that’s stupid,” said Susan. “Nobody is really interested in a bribe. The American people don’t care about one little bribe.

Cocaine will interest them. Cocaine will get Freddy Picker on the front of the National Flash.”

“Susan!” I said. “I’m surprised at you.” “Oh, come on, Henry,” said Libby. “You know what Susan’s like. You know how she’s not afraid to hurt people. You know how she needs to be loved when her husband is too busy for her.”

The Governor looked at me with angry eyes. Now he knew that Susan had come to my room that night.

“Enough!” he said. “We have to decide what to do with this information.”

“There is NOTHING to decide,” said Libby. “Henry and I have already made a decision. We have decided that nobody is going to tell the press about the cocaine or the bribe.” “No,” said Susan. “We’re going to tell the press” “Wrong,” said Libby. “Here’s why.” She reached into her big leather bag and pulled out some more papers. “I didn’t want to do this,” she said.

“What do you have there Libby?” asked Stanton.

“Well,” said Libby. “Doctor Hastings doesn’t lock the windows of his office and I thought I’d go in and have a look at a few things.”

Suddenly Stanton looked frightened.

“Doctor Hastings had a lot of information about you, Jack,” Libby continued. “I guess he was very interested in you. Does Susan know?”

The Governor nodded.

“Oh, well,” said Libby. “Then it’s only Henry who doesn’t know.”

“I don’t know what?”

“That Doctor Hastings is Jack’s real father.” “What? But what about Momma’s husband? The one who was killed in World War Two ?”

“Oh, she was married to him,” Libby answered. “But he wasn’t Jack’s father. Doctor Hastings and Momma didn’t tell anybody because Doctor Hastings was already married. Isn’t that right, Jack?”

Jack nodded quietly.

“But Doctor Hastings has been a good father. When Jack needed a blood test to prove that he wasn’t the father of Loretta McCollister’s baby . . .”

“You mean Fat Willie’s daughter?”

“That’s right, Henry. Well, when Jack and Uncle Charlie went to have Jack’s blood tested, Doctor Hastings tested Uncle Charlie’s blood instead. When the test results proved that Jack wasn’t the father, what they really proved was that Charlie wasn’t the father.”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “You mean Jack Stanton is the father of Loretta McCollister’s baby?”

“Yes,” said Libby.

The Governor looked ashamed.

“So,” Libby said. She was crying now. “If you’re going to tell the press about Picker and his cocaine, I’m going to tell the press that you cheated on the blood test. I’m going to tell them that you’re the father of Loretta McCollister’s baby.” She ran out of the room. I found her waiting for me in her car.

“You drive,” she said.

I got in her car, drove to my apartment, and parked the car.

“How did I do?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. “Even better than with Randy Culligan.” “I didn’t have my gun this time,” she laughed. “Henry, you’re going to quit, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“You saw what they did,” she said. “They didn’t even think about it. When they knew Freddy Picker had taken cocaine, they were ready to tell the press.”

She put her hand out for the car keys. Like a fool, I gave them to her.

“Henry,” she said. There were tears running down her cheeks.

“Don’t become like them “

“I won’t,” I said. “Are you going to be okay?” “Of course,” she said. “I’m always okay.” She drove away.

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