Thursday, June 23, 2011

4. peril

by horace p sternwall

editorial consultant and executive producer: dan leo

illustrations by rhoda penmarq and roy dismas

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here



4) peril





"hi, jerry, it's jake."

"yes, jake."

"i want to talk to bill."

"jake, how did you get through? i just told dorothy not to let you through."

"i told her i wanted to talk about something else - not get through to bill."

"but now you're telling me you want to talk to bill."



"yes."

"so you lied."

'yes - i feel it's that important that i lied."

"you lied to dorothy - to dorothy, the gatekeeper to bill."

"yes - i just admitted it."

"jake, that's almost as bad as lying to bill. it's almost as bad as lying to me."

"can we cut the crap, jerry, and get this over with. just let me talk to bill, please."



"we've just been over all that. tell me what you want to talk to bill about, and i will decide whether he needs to hear it. that's my job. it's what i'm here for. it's what i do. i'm here to serve. let me serve you, jake, and tell me what is so important that you've been wasting my time all morning with it - and then, then i - i , whose job it is to do so, will decide whether bill needs to hear it. am i getting through to you?"

"i need to talk to bill. its very important."

"jake - "

"i'm willing to take the consequences, if any, of failing to go through proper channels."



"oh, really? and what about me? what are you going to do for me, if i get fired for not observing proper procedure? eh? eh?'"

"i'll buy you a drink."

"a drink ? did i hear you say a drink? i am sitting here fifty feet from bill's office and you offered me a drink? what year is this, eh? am i hallucinating here?"

"i meant a drink of pure spring water."

"oh."



"what did you think i meant?"

"let's get back on track here. are you, or are you not, going to tell me what you want to talk to bill about?"

"i think bill should hear it directly from me."

"no."

"but the universe is in peril."

"the universe is always in peril. that's what it's there for. if it wasn't in peril, it wouldn't be the universe."

"i want to talk to bill. something has come up that he should hear about. directly."

"jake, this conversation is over."

"it shouldn't be."



"but it is."

"you are making a terrible mistake."

" jake, i have had enough of you. do you know what i am going to do when i get off the phone?"

"no, what?"

"i am going to find the biggest ugliest agent under my command and i am going to tell him to get the biggest ugliest stick he can find and he is going to track you down like a wounded animal and beat you with it."



"i really have to talk to bill."

"goodbye, jake."

jerry clicked off. he picked up a pint bottle of water - the only thing on his desk - unscrewed the cap and took a few thoughtful sips. then he got up, opened the door of his office and went to the reception area outside.

dorothy looked up at him.

"that was jake . he was lying when he said - "

"i know, i listened to the whole conversation."




"oh."

"i hope you don't mind."

"of course not." jerry smiled. "it's what you are here for, isn't it?

"i hope you are not really going to have somebody beat jake with a stick."

"oh no. i was just kidding - just venting."

"violence never solved anything."

"i know that. thank you for reminding me."



"jake may be lacking in certain desirable qualities, but he shouldn't be beaten with a stick."

"point well taken." jerry looked up. "who is this?"

a man with a cloth cap shading his face was slouched in a chair along the wall. he looked up when jerry spoke.

"jerry, it's roy, roy cohn. you remember me, don't you?"

"roy - of course!'" jerry opened the little railing in front of dorothy's desk and held out his hand. "great to see you. what can i do for you?"

"i got something real important i think the big guy, the inspector, should hear about."



"i see." jerry glanced back at dorothy. "you wouldn't happen to be in touch with that rascal jake mccarthy, would you?"

"jake mccarthy? no, no i don't have nothing to do with that rat. i wouldn't walk across the street to pour a glass of water on him - if he was - if he was - something- i can't remember."

"that's o k."

"i don't remember everything. i'm not what i used to be."

"who among us is?"

"yeah."

"do you remember what you wanted to talk to bill about?"

"sure. that's what i'm here for."



"would you mind telling me first what you want to see him about?" jerry smiled. "that's what i'm here for."

"no, no, i don't mind. i may not be one hundred percent, but i know how the game is played."

"well, that's great. i'm glad somebody does."

"it's about brock, sergeant brock. you remember the brock case, don't you?"

"um - maybe you can refresh my memory. but we don't have to stand out here, come on into my office." jerry stepped back and motioned roy through the opening in the railing. "is there something we can get you? dorothy could get you something or have somebody get you something. something? anything?"



"anything, huh? how about a burger? or even better, a roast beef sandwich with horseradish?"

"uh - those things might present a challenge, even for us."

"i can get you some water," said dorothy, " or an orange or some grapes. how about yogurt - we have strawberry, blueberry, boysenberry - "

"strawberry is good. i'm a strawberry guy."

"that's settled then - we'll get you some strawberry yogurt and some water. come on in."




jerry closed the door behind him and motioned roy to the one chair in front of his desk.

"jeez, i'm glad you could see me. what i am about to tell you was going to blow a hole in my gasket - or my brain."

jerry sat down behind his desk. "well, blow roy, blow."








chapter 5



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