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Blackbird 1 – #youlikeit

By @MonicaPrelooker

12. the list

Banks found Gillian at Orlando’s, already paying for their coffees. They were lucky enough to spot a free table, and hurried to sit down before somebody else could beat them to it.

“What were you doing last night at the scene with a fed?” asked Banks when they were still pulling out their chairs.

“Good morning to you too, Bob,” grunted Gillian.

“Did you take muscle-head Henderson over? Why?”

“It wasn’t Henderson. Now mind if we talk a little business? ‘Cause I didn’t call you over to discuss my private life.”

He rolled his eyes—morning mood. She fished in her bag and produced a notebook, searched for a page, showed him a list of names.

“I’ve identified your killers, Bob, but this is way bigger than that. See all these names? These are the girls that pretty Rogue Johnson assaulted over the last two years alone.”

Banks scowled in disbelief. “What!?”

“The boy didn’t take no for an answer, so when he couldn’t get the girl he wanted, he roofied her to abuse her, or just subdued her by force.”

“Where did you get this, Reg?”

“Tanya found it on the internet.”

“By found you mean she hacked it.”

“That’s against the law, Bob.” Banks flashed a smirk, but she didn’t give him a chance to comment. “There’s a secret online group of girls who were forced to have sex with him one way or the other, and even sort of consensual to not get hurt. The condition to be accepted in the group is uploading a video telling their story.”

“Are you serious?”

“Like a heart attack. Now these three here are your killers.” She pointed at three names on the list, marked with bullets. “So you try to find something to build at least a probable cause against them, ‘cause I’m staying on this other thing.”

“Time out, Reg. How d’you know it’s them? Can’t it be any other from this list, for example?”

“These three ended up in the hospital thanks to Johnson’s sense of romance, and they skipped school to be at the crime scene very early yesterday morning, enjoying the show, even when they live all the way across town. You can see them on any TV coverage, that’s how I know they were there. And this one, Nancy Clarence, her eight-year-old brother is in the school softball team.”

“The small bat,” Banks muttered, nodding slowly as his eyes moved up and down the list.

“That’s your best shot. I’m sorry I can’t give you more.”

“Wait. What did you mean, you’re staying on the other thing?”

“Bob, we’re talking over ten rapes here. I want to see if any of this was ever reported, check hospital records, police reports, school records. There has to be something, somewhere. How come this scumbag was free as if nothing ever happened? I think we’re also talking about authorities covering up for him, whether at school, the police, or hospitals.”

Banks exhaled, shaking his head now, still trying to digest the information. “Jesus, Reg. You may be about to step into a steaming pile of ****, y’know,” he said. “You can get in trouble over this, considering the connections of the boy’s father.”

“Well, you know me, trouble is my middle name.”

Banks wasn’t able to even force a tight smile at Gillian’s little humor. “Okay, got it. I’ll get on it, you try to find out what this is about.”

Gillian’s phone buzzed. She checked it but didn’t take the call. Then she ripped off the page with the names and handed it to Banks. “Sorry, Bob, I gotta go. I still have to get my ass kicked twice about last night.”

They stood up and headed out together.

“Are you gonna tell me who that fed was, if not Henderson?”

“He’s not even a field agent anymore, and he’s in town only to give a seminar. But he’s still the sharpest mind I’ve ever come across, Bob. He led me to figure all of this out.”

They paused at the sidewalk because they were going in different directions.

“Does fed genius have a name?” insisted Banks.

Gillian’s lips curled up in a little smile. “Declan Brockner.”

Banks’ mouth opened and his eyes widened. “Brockner? The Declan Brockner? Those-manuals-you-keep-like-a-bible Brockner? The profiler?”

Gillian nodded, her smile growing wider.

“What the hell, Reg? Where did you find him? But you said he’s been out of order for like, ten years! How did you get him to go to the scene?”

Oh, I didn’t. The man just showed up with a couple of whiskeys under his belt, and I happily invited him in like the stupid fangirl I am. Nope, better keep that a secret. Gillian winked and Banks scoffed, shaking his head.

“Well, you better let Cook and your father think it was Henderson, or you’ll be out of order too.” He patted Gillian’s back. “Good luck now. Stay in touch. I’ll send you a cushion for your sorry ass.”

“Bite me.”

“Maybe I should do it now, before you’re out of ass for good!”

They parted chuckling, as usual, and hurried on their own ways.

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