– Day 4 –
Rob left Goodwill and got in the silver truck, and sat. His hands were shaking as he took out the piece of paper the lady at Goodwill had given him. Fourteen months before, the computer that the librarian bought had been donated. The donor had requested a receipt for tax purposes and Rob held a copy of it in his hand.
Henry Allen had valued the computer at $200. His father! His own father had owned all that porn and was stupid enough to ditch his computer with it still in there. Porn? Rob was never interested in pornography and couldn’t imagine his father having so much of it. But maybe Rob wasn’t normal. Maybe his dad, like lots of men, liked the stuff. It wasn’t illegal or anything. But the state and the FBI wanted his name and it was Rob’s job to give it to them.
It was too late to check in at work so Rob drove toward his apartment. What to do? He couldn’t turn his dad over to the state. Could he? He couldn’t ask the Chief. And he certainly couldn’t talk to his father about it. He and his dad weren’t close. They weren’t unclose either, but Rob could never really talk to him. His father either knew everything “for a fact” or he didn’t want to talk about it.
At home, Rob sat in front of the TV and drank two beers. His head was spinning. What to do? Finally he laughed. He remembered an old girlfriend from high school. Mary Lee. She always said “If you don’t know, don’t.” So maybe he should just go to bed.
The next morning Rob, still driving the silver streak, was at work on time. The three detectives were flipping through their notebooks and making expense reports. Rob poured Fry’s coffee then stood, leaning against the wall, drinking his own. There were still just three chairs in the office.
Pickett looked up. “Rob. Michael Sharpe from the FBI called. He’s in town and wants to meet about your computer porn progress.”
Rob tried to stay calm. “Great. Did he say when, where?”
“Right here, kid.” Pickett waved a slip of paper.
“Thanks.” He looked at it. Ten o’clock at a diner around the corner.
“Well I’m off.” Dupre threw his coffee cup into the waste basket.
“Right behind’ya.” And Pickett started to leave. “Oh, Rob. I forgot. A Mrs. Moore called and said she had some more for you. Whatever that means”
“Thanks. Ummm… Thanks, that’s good news.” Rob still didn’t know what to call Pickett. Margaret? Rob sat down and stared at Fry.
“What? What?” Fry jabbed. “What’s up, kid? You don’t look too chipper.”
“I’m in a bind. I know something and I don’t know what to do with it. I only wish I could unknow it.”
“Dammit kid, you sound like a daytime soap. Spit it out. Can’t be all that bad.”
So Rob told Fry about finding the computer.
“Hey, not bad. Got a fish on the first cast. Find out who the original owner was?”
“That’s the problem. Yes I did. And I just can’t give the name to the state like I’m supposed to.”
“Who is it?”
Fry hooted. “Jesus! You really stepped in hot tar this time!”
“What should I do?”
“Easy. You can’t tell any other person. Not the Chief. Not the state and positively not the FBI. And not your father either. Tell any of them and you get in real trouble, kid. And most important … you didn’t tell me.”
“But what should I do?
Just forget about it and go get some more names. That’ll patch that leak.