Episode 79: Promoted to Glory
Lindsey's blog: Lana takes a nap
She is so unreadable. Levi still hasn’t come through on a talking book, so we ride in silence again this morning. She doesn’t listen to the radio or play music over the stereo. Bored, I ask her what it’s like to kill someone? Not really expecting her to answer. To kill someone who is trying to kill you is… and she doesn’t finish answering and just looks straight ahead. Bettina called five minutes later, and announced a route shift off the interstate to avoid a traffic snarl. Lana asked if she could ride with her and Tim for the next stretch, that she was really tired and wanted to take a nap. Sure, sweetie. See you in a few minutes. Levi let out this exasperated breath, and Raj wouldn’t look at me.
Lana didn’t even go in the gas station, she just climbed into the backseat of the Suburban and laid down. The Senator wanted to know what happened, and Levi covered for me. “Lana doesn’t drive tired”. Then Bettina asked me to drive the Tesla. I asked Tim if he had another audiobook recommendation. He told me that he was in the middle of a Colin Powell memoir and that it was superb. He’d let me listen when he was done. Tim’s a really nice guy. He’s a lot like that Sackett character in Mojave Crossing, except he isn’t homely. Just saying. I asked the guys if they cared if I put some music on, and they gave me the cold shoulder, so I used my earbuds to listen to Miette Hope. “My Love” on repeat. I could tell that Levi was really upset with me, so I didn’t try to talk with him.
Wednesday evening blog: Lana goes home. I feel really, really bad right now. I swear I didn’t know that Tank’s grandmother had passed away when I asked Lana that question. I was just trying to get a reaction. We dropped Lana off at the airport before the rally. We all watched as she put her handgun and her pocketknife in her tiny Pelican case, locked it, and put that in her checked bag. She didn’t take off her holster.
She grabbed her backpack, put in her earbuds - attached to nothing, hugged Bettina and walked away.
Senator, what are your thoughts on the passing of Rae Jael Corman? She’s been promoted to glory. Her obituary can be viewed in the Tribune. Bettina shows him her phone, which he reads. The family requests that any honorariums be sent to her church. The committal will be held prior to the service…
Are you going to be attending either the service or the committal? No, I will not be attending. Bettina whispers something in his ear. Thank you, he tells her. Bettina has already sent a condolence card and a floral arrangement on behalf of the campaign.
Where is Lana Radley? She flew back home early this afternoon. She asked for some time off. No further questions.
Two days later, it’s raining cats and dogs. The mayor and much of the city council attends the funeral service, standing room only. Captain Ron shows up in his dress blues along with his wife, and sits through the entire service. Deluca walks up to the podium and does a Scripture reading, and then gives his condolences personally to each of the surviving family members as the choir sings.
Lana sits on the floor by the window at Rolf’s, looking out at the afternoon rain. Let’s go. She startles and looks over at Rolf, who she sees is wearing a black suit. Lana puts her hand up to her face. I can’t, Rolf. I won’t be welcome. The memorial will be done, and everyone gone home by the time we get there, Rolf replies. I don’t know, Lana whines. I’d need to go the apartment to change, and the press will be waiting for me. There’s a black dress in your closet, up in your room, Rolf tells her. Lana gets up and goes upstairs. She comes down the stairs ten minutes later, with her hair up, and wearing a black silk crepe mourning dress with long sleeves and a high neck. Finish zipping me up please, she tells him, turning around. He complies. Thank you, Rolf. He offers her his arm and goes to the side closet and grabs an umbrella, and opens it when they step outside into the rain. Rolf gets the passenger door for Lana, and then gets in the driver’s seat, and puts his hands on the sides of his head. Are you okay? I get migranes. It’ll pass. He pulls out sunglasses from his inner suitcoat pocket and puts them on. Do you want some Tylenol? Please. She reaches into the glovebox takes out a small vial, and shakes one out on his hand. He swallows it dry. Thanks.
He starts the car and Lana puts on her sunglasses as they head out the drive. Water? No thanks. Rolf drives slowly for an hour across town in the downpour. He parks a distance away, and they walk the sidewalk in the steady drizzle, feet soaked. Finally they come to the freshly covered grave.
Rae Jael Corman.
Wife, Mother, Friend.
Deluca cruises by the cemetery on his way home from the catered meal and sees a red Volvo parked by itself. He pulls over suddenly and stops the SUV, and stares through the wipers, as the rain keeps on coming. His elderly passengers look at him. Is everything alright? I’d like to see her grave once more, Deluca admits. We know where she is, an old lady says to him. She’s up in the heavenly choir, son. It’s been a long day; I need to rest. Hmmmm-mmnnn, says an old man. I could use a toddy right about now. Deluca reluctantly pulls back unto the highway and continues on.
An hour later, all by himself, he drives back to the cemetery. The red Volvo is gone. He places a call. Big John, let me talk at Little.
Federal Building, New Orleans.
A black preteen boy with a bald head comes into the building wearing his school uniform and backpack. He’s holding a cut bicycle lock in his hand. He walks up to the male receptionist. I need to talk to Officer Toni. My bike’s been stolen. He holds up the snipped cable. You want to try the NOPD, the man behind the desk tells him. No, Officer Toni, the redhead who works with Special Agent Peter of the FBI. I want to hire Buck Neezy’s friend, Rolf Asgaard, to find my bike. He has to be approached through channels. The security man laughs. I’ll bring you up to her. Follow me. The alarm beeps when they go through the metal detector, but the agent waves the boy through.
Officer Willis, you’ve got a visitor, the security man announces. Toni looks up and sees a cute kid staring at her. Pull up a seat, she tells him. Thank you, she tells the security guard, I’ll take it from here. I’m Little. Other agents gather around and look at the broken bike chain in the boy’s hand. I’m Officer Toni Willis. How may I help you? We need to talk. You, me, and Special Agent Peter. He’s a busy man, Little. He’s Special Agent in Charge Peter. So what should I tell him it’s about? I want to hire Rolf Asgaard to find who stole my bike. Charlie, see if the boss is free, Toni tells him. Where did this happen? The boy doesn’t say anything. Toni reaches into her desk and pulls out a jar of pickles. Want one? The boy takes one, and Toni takes another, and they munch on them as they study each other. He’s free. Bring him up, Charlie says.
So, how can I help you, young man? Peter asks. The boy just looks at him and doesn’t say anything. This is Little. He wants to hire Rolf to find out who stole his bike, Toni says, trying to keep a straight face. Let me get his number, Peter says, and searches his phone. He finds it and writes it down on a piece of paper, and holds it up in his hand. Have you thought about becoming an FBI agent? Peter asks. I’d rather be a PI, the boy replies. If you change your mind, you know where to find me, Peter says and stands up to offer the boy the piece of paper, indicating that the meeting is over.
I want to cut a deal, the boy says. My brother is in the federal pen. I want him taken out of gen pop immediately and put in your witness protection program. Peter sits back down, still holding the piece of paper. How are your grades? School is easy, the boy replies. My brother knows things. He’ll name names, but he needs protection, so they can’t get to him. Who is they? Toni asks. Dirty undercover cops in the NOPD. What’s your brother’s name, Little? Charlie asks. You all think I’m just blowing smoke. I have the evidence in my backpack. After my brother hear – heard – that Mrs. Corman died, he told me to bring it here to Officer Toni. Tank’s gun. My brother took it and hid it. He’ll testify, but he wants out….
The Mayor of New Orleans holds a press conference. In conjuction with the FBI, I’ve instructed NOPD to reopen the investigation of the shooting death of Chancellor “Tank” Corman by then NOPD officer Lana Radley. Since the passing of Rae Jael Corman, new evidence and a witness has come forward...
That afternoon, Captain Howard knocks on the mayor’s door. Resignation in hand. Is that what I think it is? The mayor asks him, gesturing at the envelope. The Captain nods. You don’t need to fall on your sword, Ron. Serve out your term, and then retire with accolades. In exchange for? Reinstate Lana Radley on the force, with backpay and seniority. Ron closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. Is that such a hard thing to do? It’s not that. Mr. Mayor, we’ve found evidence of serious financial improprieties among some of our undercover drug officers. I think you are going to want my resignation. How serious? Six figure hidden bank accounts, with monthly deposits. If this leaks and goes public… Handle it quietly, the mayor says. Clean house. The media will be distracted by Lana coming back. We can both survive this.
USA TODAY: Vindicated!
Missing crime scene evidence withheld by the associates of the deceased suggests that former NOPD officer Lana Radley’s shooting of “Tank” Corman was a justifiable homicide. Unnamed sources high in the mayor’s office are advocating for exonerating Ms. Radley, and restoring her badge with backpay and seniority as if she had never been ignonimously dismissed from the NOPD.
Reporters surround her apartment. Lana comes out mid morning, wearing workout clothes and carrying a gym bag. Lana, would you like to make a statement? Cassidy Meadows asks. Lana shakes her head no, and opens the door of her car and throws her gym bag in the back seat. Lana, just a few simple questions, Cassidy pleads. Please?!? Lana turns around, and takes a deep breath, and then looks up at the blonde reporter. What do you want to see happen, Lana? I want to see Senator Johns become President of the United States. Please vote for him, she says softly, with her head down. What do you have to say about the passing of Mrs. Corman? The memory of the just is blessed, Lana replies with her head still down. She was prepared to meet her God. Then Lana lifts her head and looks straight into the camera. Are you?