“I’ll get back to you on this, Cynthia,” LAPD Detective Desdemona Valdez said over the phone. “So Conrad Waller was arrested in his Vegas hotel room after a dust-up with a lady friend. Something about a disagreement over whose money was won at the craps table?”
“That’s what I got second-hand from a friend, Des,” the Congresswoman said. “Obviously, I’m not looking for you to interfere in another law enforcement jurisdiction. But there’s some kind of cop-to-cop brotherhood, sisterhood, whatever you all call it, you can invoke with Vegas PD to find out some details, yeah? Since it’s been my experience the thin blue line ranks politicians only slightly above reporters and child molesters.”
“I do you this solid, what’s in it for me?”
She smiled. “What exactly are you soliciting, detective?”
“I should probably be discrete. ‘Cause, you know, if you don’t want to nod…”
“Then wink, to paraphrase the former governor of New York.” They both chuckled softly and a comfortable silence dragged between them. Then Kang added, “Even if you don’t find out anything else, call me back, okay?”
“I will,” Valdez murmured as she hung up.
Kang put on her sweats and loose top, and sat up in bed beginning to reread Childhood’s End by the late Arthur C. Clarke. She’d last read the book more than twenty years ago in a college class on the iconography of pop culture. The way she remembered the story was, aliens show up on Earth who look like demons, but hide this from us knowing how we’d react to this imagery. They usher in a technological utopia on our planet, but their real goal is to facilitate the transformation of our children into beings of pure thought to merge with their A-Number-One being, who is also pure energy. Kinda like what the Borg attempted to do in a more funky way, Kang the closeted Trekkie observed.
As she got into the book, it occurred to her the working analogy was that the aliens in Clarke’s novel and the Borg were Republicans, since they seemed to be bent on assimilating any divergent, independent thought into one collective hive-mind that imperiously set the tone and tenor for humankind. This pleased her, and she got up to fetch some juice from the refrigerator–when the intercom buzzed. It was past one, and she foolishly hoped that Desdemona Valdez couldn’t fight it any longer and had to make that booty call.
“Yes,” she said depressing the button.
“It’s Chet. It’s important, Cynthia. Can I come up?”
How pitiful was her life, that he knew she would not only be up now but alone. She almost sighed as she said, “Come on,” and clicked him through the security gate downstairs.
She put on a kimono-style silk robe and let him in when he knocked on her door moments later. “What the hell happened to you, Chet?”
Kimbrough was slashed and cut about the face and arms and his pants were torn and muddy at the knees. He sat wearily on the couch and told her how he was ambushed in Big Bear following what proved to be a false lead on Lacy Mills.