Sunday, 20 March 2011

CHAPTER 3.3: Dirty deeds

Finlay strode confidently into John Cain's office, he was working at his desk and instructed Finlay to sit.

While he waited he glanced around the office.  It was plushly decorated with mahogany furniture and the walls were adorned with plaques and medals. 

Clearly John Cain was an accomplished figure in the political world, Finlay wished he had done his research before coming to ask for a job.

John snapped his laptop shut and fixed Finlay with a beaming smile, "So you wanted five minutes of my time Mr Traytor, you have it."

"Mr Cain, I read all about your campaign and I would love the opportunity to come and work for you."  Finlay started.

John Cain eyed the young man sitting in front of him, he could plainly see ambition written all over his face.  One thing was clear and that was Finlay Traytor had charisma, it oozed from him without effort on his part.
"Tell me Finlay, what makes you think you're qualified to work on my campaign."  He asked.

"Well I was senior class president before i graduated top of my class." Finlay began.

"That's very impressive."  John Cain nodded, "Now which of my proposed policies are you most in favour of?" 

Finlay swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, he cursed his haste in getting here.
Why had he not thought to read up on the campaign first? 

He tried to remember the article he had read that morning, what else had been mentioned about his policies?

Drawing a blank Finlay fixed his most charming grin in place and replied, "I'm in favour of them all."

John Cain threw his head back and laughed, and when he looked again at Finlay he was still smiling.
"I think you are going to fit in perfectly around here Finlay."  He laughed, "You can start right away."

He pressed the buzzer to connect him to the girl at reception and asked her to send someone called Ethan in.

"Ethan here is my campaign manager, you'll report to him."  John advised, "You don't mind starting at the bottom do you Finlay?"

"No Sir!"  He answered, relieved to be walking out of the office with any opportunity at all.

After Ethan and Finlay had left the room John congratulated himself on a wise decision. 

He had learned long ago that it was better to keep any potential competition where you could see them, and Finlay Traytor had the potential to run for office one day. 

John would have to see what he could do to deter that ambition.

Ethan showed Finlay to his work area and instructed him to begin envelope stuffing right away,
"These campaign pamphlets need to go out asap."  He instructed, "Oh and Finlay?"

"Yeah Ethan."

"You might want to rethink your work wear, after all you won't be schmoozing any potential donors you'll mostly be fetching the coffee."

"Thanks for the advice Ethan."  Finlay replied fixing a smile in place, "I always thought it was best to dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

Ethan gave him a withering stare, but said nothing more.

"Hey new guy!"  The boy opposite called, "You gotta name?"

"Finlay."  He answered.

"The name's Don."

Don was a campaign assistant who specialised in marketing he was responsible for promoting the campaign agenda, and also answered to Ethan.
Finlay loosened off his tie and got stuck into his assigned task, and by 3 o'clock he had stuffed 1000 envelopes.

His tongue felt like sand and his hands were peppered with paper cuts.

"Need a break?"  Don called.

Finlay nodded toward Ethan, who was fiercely engrossed in his work.

"Sure could do with a coffee."  Don said loudly, "Finn how about it?"

"Yes Finlay, fetch the coffee." Ethan commanded, looking up from his screen interrupted by Don's voice.
"Wow that guys a real machine when it comes to work huh?"  Finlay said once he and Don were firmly out of earshot.

"Ha!  You can say that again."  Don agreed, "He barely leaves this place, i don't even think he has a home."

The two boys laughed, "So is this your first campaign?"  Don asked.

"Yeah, my first job."  Finlay admitted.

"Well i guess Mr Cain must of seen something in you, he never hires people without experience."

"Oh i have experience."  Finlay bragged, he proceeded to tell Don all about his term as class president.

"That's all good for the schoolyard, but you're in the real world now."  Don replied, resting his hand in a friendly fashion on Finlay's shoulder, "Stick with me I'll show you the ropes."

Finlay got back to work and stuffed another thousand envelopes, when he next glanced at the clock it read 7 o'clock. 

Ethan was still hard at it, he had barely moved from his chair all day, Finlay wondered where his off switch was. 
But if that was what it took to make it in this business he would be there day and night to prove himself.

"Clocking off time!"  Don called to Finlay, "You coming for a drink?"

"Not if he hasn't finished stuffing those envelopes he isn't."  Ethan interjected without looking up from his screen.

"I'm all done."  Finlay replied proudly.

"Well drop them off at the business centre and you can both go."  Ethan conceded.

"I thought he was never gonna let us out of there!"  Finlay exclaimed as Don ordered the round.

"You think that's bad just wait until the campaign really starts, you can kiss your social life goodbye."  Don said.

what social life?  Finlay thought, slipping back into his depression over Cherry momentarily.

The pair found a table and made their way steadily through a couple of pitchers of beer.

"Hey check it out!"  Don said nodding towards the bar, "Those two girls are totally checking us out."

He flashed a smile towards the girls who giggled and waved coyly.

"Let's ask them over."  Don suggested.

"You mind if we don't?"  Finlay asked, feeling lame, "I don't think my girlfriend would like it."

"Oh i get it, you're under the thumb huh?"  Don teased him lightly.

"Nah it's not like that."  Finlay protested his colleagues ribbing, "I just don't have time for any other girls y'know?"

"Yeah i gotcha, you got a special girl."  He replied smiling, "I'm gonna get me one too someday, but until then my friend."

Don drained his glass and stood up, patting Finlay on the shoulder he said "I'm still in the game." 
He walked off towards the girls. 

Finlay laughed Don sure was a character, finishing his drink he grabbed his jacket and waved goodbye to his new friend.

Eliza had set off that morning intent on solving the case of the closed bistro.
There had to be someone in Bridgeport who could give her the information she needed.

But after hours of sounding out passersbys she had found out exactly zip. 
She was about to quit when it occurred to her that she had a potential source already.

Uncle Bobby was head chef at the diner on Dockside Ave.

Bobby greeted her warmly and steered her outside where they could talk in private, "So what brings you all across town?  Come to sample my famous french toast?"  He asked.

"No thanks Uncle Bobby."  She grinned, although the offer was seriously tempting Bobby made awesome french toast.

"Then what's up kid?  Everything OK at home with your Mom gone?"  He said suddenly fearing the worst.

"Oh sure me and Finn are fine."  She dismissed his fears, "I actually thought you might be able to help me out with an investigation?"

"Sure!  Anything to help out my favourite niece."  He agreed.

"Uncle Bobby, I'm you're only niece!"  She reminded him, giggling before getting to her point. "You know the Bridgeport Bistro on Fuller Street?"

"Yeah, terrible business it getting closed like that."  He replied, "I know the chef over there and i can't imagine her letting it get in that condition."

"Do you think maybe there could be another reason behind it's closure?"  She asked, reading between the lines of his reply.

"I know Jamie pretty well and she runs a tight kitchen there is no way that place had an infestation."  He confirmed.

"Then why did it get closed?"  She pressed.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes, "Look all i know is for a couple of months before it closed down there was some guy trying to buy out the owner, but they kept refusing to sell the place.  Then outta the blue they get this health inspection visit and there's rats running riot.  If you ask me it doesn't add up."

"You think maybe this buyer had something to do with it?"  Eliza asked.

"Well having it shut down like that leaves them no option but to sell.  No one wants to eat somewhere they think is dirty." He answered, "Look Eliza promise me you'll be careful, digging around with stuff like this it could get dangerous."

"I can take care of myself Uncle Bobby!"  Eliza claimed, "I'm gonna be the best private eye this town ever saw."

She hugged him and set off in search of evidence, Mr Big shot detective was going to eat his words.
Eliza arrived at the Bridgeport Bistro, there was a notice of closure posted across the front door. 

She headed around back towards the dumpster.  If she was going to unearth evidence she needed to get her hands dirty, literally.

Rolling up her sleeves she opened the dumpsters lid.  The stench of week old garbage hit her like a train and she stepped back. 
I have to prove him wrong, she thought returning for a second attempt. 

Taking a deep breath she began rummaging around.
Somewhere between the old potato peelings and the and used coffee filters Eliza's hand came across a stack of papers.  Dusting off the garbage from the edges, she flicked through them. 

Most of the envelopes contained only junk mail but one letter had been ripped in half.  Eliza pieced it together on her lap, it was a written offer to buy the Bistro and it was typed on headed paper showing the sender as Henley Estates.

So Bobby was right, Henley Estates had been trying to buy out the Bistro just days before it was shut down. 

Now she had her first clue she needed to find out who else was involved in this.  After all someone at city hall must have been in on it to have got the restaurant closed down. 

Eliza brushed herself down, she was in dire need of a shower but her mind was working over time trying to connect the dots of this case.

Now she had her lead she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep until she followed it through, I have to stakeout the office of Henley Estates, she decided.
A quick google search lead her straight to the door of one Mr Corbin Henley, property developer extraordinaire. 

Mr Henley had moved to Bridgeport a penniless carpenter and had built up an impressive portfolio of both private and business properties over the last forty years. 

To most people in town Corbin Henley was a shining example of how hard work and determination could lead you from rags to riches, but the amount of good fortune he had, had rang alarm bells in Eliza's mind.
Just as she was about to begin rifling through his garbage can, the electric gate started to roll open. 

Eliza dived into a bush and narrowly avoided running straight into Mr Henley himself.

He looked around as if aware of her presence but then shrugged it off clicking open the door to his Mercedes instead.

As he sped off farther into the hillside of Bridgeport's exclusive district Eliza hoped her bicycle could keep up!

Pedaling furiously she made it to the top of the hill and could see from there exactly where Corbin Henley had headed. 

She moved a little closer and pulled out her binoculars, zooming in on him she saw him ringing the call bell at the gates of one of the most expensive houses in town. 

She didn't need to rely on Google for this search, everyone knew who lived here.  It was the home of Martha Cole, Bridgeport's beloved Mayor.

Now she had found the missing link between Henley Estates and the closure of the bistro, it was clear to her that Corbin Henley was paying off the mayor in exchange for her co-operation with any "problems" he came across.

This was a huge discovery for Eliza and more than enough to show her capabilities as an investigator.  Packing away her binoculars she cycled home, imagining all the witty retorts she could throw at the private eye tomorrow.

When she walked through the door she stopped in her tracks at the sight of Finlay dancing around the living room like a lunatic.

"What are you doing?"  She yelled, trying to get his attention over the sound of the music he was playing at full volume.

"Sis!  Come dance with me."  He called giddily.

Eliza had never seen her brother so happy before and if she wasn't mistaken he was also a little drunk!

"Have i ever told you you're the best sister anyone ever had?"  He slurred trying to throw his arms around her.

"So you got a job on the campaign then?"  She concluded.

"Yes!"  He shouted pumping his fist in the air, "I'm gonna make it all the way."  He yelled.

Getting caught up in his infectious excitement Eliza started jumping up and down and celebrating with her goofy brother, before steering him towards his bedroom.  He would need his sleep if he was going to make it to work in the morning.

Heading for her own room she felt elated at the day they had both had, things were looking up for the Traytors.

She pushed open her bedroom door and stopped in surprise.

"What are you doing here?"  She asked.



Scones For Cream Tea said...

Oh my gosh! Stranger danger!

TheFlyingBurrito said...

:O Who is it???

angiebeno said...

All will be revealed!

PiB said...

Oh dear.

Nice chapter. Love that his new boss mainly wants to keep a close eye on the competition.

Hope Eliza isn't in too much trouble.