It was noon when they returned, followed by a room service cart of breads, cheeses, and cold meats. Fifteen minutes later, fed, clean, and rested, I was ready for their questions.
Senator Cabral held out a fax and said, “Is this Susyn Fletcher?” It was grainy black and white, but there was no doubt that it was her. “Her name,” he said, consulting a second sheet, “is Alice Susyn Johnson. Her maiden name was Davis. She went by Alice around my office. She was a file clerk and relief secretary. My office manager was grooming her for more responsible work. She knew a great deal about what I was doing and, within a few months, would have known more. If she was in the employ of some enemy, she might have done a great deal to keep that position.”
“How long had she worked for you?”
“Two years, but she was unusually bright and industrious. She rose fast in my organization.”
“Then she was the one Raven suspected and had investigated.”
“Presumably. About six months ago, Ramona came to my office late one night to see me and found Alice – Susyn – there alone. She was going through some files. When Raven told me about it, I had my office manager check it out. He was satisfied with the reason she gave for being there.”
Cabral shook his head. “I don’t remember her excuse. It seemed such a small incident at the time. Ramona wasn’t satisfied, but she has always been a mother hen toward my career. I didn’t listen to her doubts.”
Mother hen? Raven? That didn’t fit. Or did it? Her statement that it was hell to have a powerful father had always seemed a little too large to be completely believable.
Mostly, I couldn’t think of her as ‘Ramona’.
Cabral passed around photocopies. “This is her personnel record. See if anything strikes you strange, beyond the obvious fact of her maiden name.”
Date of birth, place of residence, social security number, salary. All of the facts and figures that constitute identity in a bureaucratic state. I read the document closely, with little enlightenment.
“Ed?” the Senator asked. Wilkes shook his head. “Ian?”
“Just one thing. On this salary, she couldn’t have so casually handed out the money she claimed was yours. Either she has been embezzling, or someone else is employing and bankrolling her.”
“I set an audit in motion this morning,” the Senator said. “I am expecting a preliminary report within twenty-four hours.”
Wilkes said, “I have been assuming that she was working for someone.”
“I think we all have, but let’s save analysis for later. What new facts do you have for us?”
I admired the crispness and efficiency of Cabral’s approach. Clearly, he had a first rate mind.
“I have a report from Interpol. The Venetians had Davis’ body on ice. Like we figured, they checked our description against their latest morgue residents and made a quick match. I got the embassy to send a courier from the nearest consulate to get photos and fingerprints. That’s where I spent my morning, waiting for the fax to come in. I forwarded the info to the Bureau and invoked your name to get a hurry-up. We should know more by evening, if his prints are on file.”
Wilkes held up a faxed photo. I nodded, “That’s Davis.”
“Or what’s left of him,” Wilkes observed, passing the fax to the senator. “What did you do to him?”
“He was walking me at gunpoint to where he could dispose of my body. I was unarmed. When he made his move, he had shifted to a knife for a quiet kill. I jumped him, and got lucky. He hesitated which weapon to use and I knocked him down. He was still trying to shoot me, so I stomped his head into the pavement.” more tomorrow