“No sign of him, Cynthia,” Brian Bettors told her over the phone. “I’ve been by his place, a few of his haunts and the situation room we set up. No one’s seen anything.”
“This is going on three days,” Kang responded, worry coloring her voice.
“Should I call the police?”
The Congresswoman’s immediate reflex was to alert her new lover, Detective Second Grade Desdemona Valdez, but she checked herself. Valdez was already more than busy with other cases, and Kang was pretty sure Chet Kimbrough’s disappearance wouldn’t fall under her jurisdiction anyway, assuming the search would have to start at Chet’s home. When in LA, her chief of staff lived out of the top half of a Koreatown duplex.
She said, “Yes, please do that, Brian. But in a just-the-facts-ma’am way, understand? Don’t mention Gilmore or the shit that’s beginning to surface. I don’t want us to sound alarmist or like we’re drinking the Kool-Aid on the grassy knoll.” How would it be for a sitting representative’s office going off suggesting a grand conspiracy was afoot? Kang wasn’t about to get lumped in with the other Cynthia, McKinney, the former Congresswoman and ex-Dem, who was pushing for a “truth commission” regarding the events of 9/11. In her heart of hearts, Kang didn’t believe the Warren Commission findings or that James Earl Ray acted alone in killing Martin Luther King. That didn’t mean she was going to commit political suicide by expressing her beliefs. The going had to be careful through this minefield. Very careful…
“I get you,” the staffer in her Monterey Park office agreed. “But what if it is something to do with Fallenbee?”
“My stomach’s in a knot worrying about this,” she said. “But if Lil can get this meet with Lacy hooked up, we might get a few leads.”
“For sure something’s going on, he said. “I’ll play it straight and tell them we can’t find him and haven’t heard from him. Want me to call our contact in the DA’s office?”
“No, let’s not get too many carts ahead of the horses. Go to the division that would be his station house. I’m pretty sure it’s Wilshire. You know where that is?”
“I do. I’ll let you know what’s up.” He paused, then: “And what about the press? This is gonna leak.”
“The same tack. If the news calls, you give ’em the party line. That the authorities are looking into this, and that we… we, of course, hope and expect a swift and positive resolution of the matter.”
“Okay, on it. I know he’ll turn up.”
“Of course he will.” She didn’t express her dread and neither did Bettors.
They severed their call and Kang sat and worked out a diagram on a piece of yellow notepad paper. She put certain names in circles with other names in orbit around them. Cenine Gilmore was in the center of one with Dieter Countryman as a satellite. At the center of the entire chart was Mace Gilmore. She drew little balloons around his circle, connected via lines. The smaller circles indicated Gilmore’s board.