Sequence: The Heron’s Foot (part five)
They chuckled together. Dix had his back to Oliver, preoccupied now with writing a note, reading it twice, jamming it in among a sheaf of notes that were tucked behind a fat electric cable clamped to the wall.
Oliver said, “Murchison is gonna hand in his copy like any reporter. Better he should catch a by-line than me. If he writes like he talks, everyone’ll figure the story came from Harvey.”
“Why so much trouble over Mr. Planter?”
Phillip, reduced to an abstraction, rather than a hapless victim held in detention between Dix and Oliver, asked this, as much to reassert himself, as for curiosity’s sake.
“Planter’s no trouble. Listen, Murchison, it’s Healy you need to see. I don’t wanna know about him; I wanna know from him. Myrna’s a nice lady…she’ll let you in, if you knock on the door.”
“But Healy and I have… Are there no rules about objectivity?”
“Objectivity…jeez.” Dix spun his chair, flattening Phillip against the wall, to catch the eye of Oliver, who shook his head.
“No, I don’t need a lot of gossip the whole city could tell you. There’s a mystery here, Murchison. I got good sources…I did a little asking. No one knows. You have to talk to Healy. Who wants to kill him?”
“Well, he was blotto when I saw him last, but he seemed to have the impression I did.”
It was no good talking to Godshaw. He had done that. Phillip was in thought, this with rigorous discipline, a thing he usually avoided…he had got some dozen blocks from the Herald building. He had never gone home in the middle of his working day, and he had never walked the entire distance from downtown. He was in a jam. The only insight his footsteps had pounded into his head so far, was that he lacked the needed vantage point, that distance of which Oliver had been so scornful. He ought to be able to see where he was, where they were. But the others were uncertain…and if he could not fix them, he could not fix himself.
Godshaw held more power than Phillip had credited to him. And this development of Oliver was unexpected. Possibly, that bulldoggish sphinx, to whom he owed his deliverance, would reward him if he could answer the riddle of Healy. Possibly not. At the same time, the threat had been, not spending a night or two in jail…Phillip supposed if Freda could manage it, so (though he counted her tougher than himself) could he. No, the threat was Gamotte’s displeasure. And this, it seemed, Phillip had incurred.
On the Friday morning, the sixth of April, he had dropped in on Godshaw. During that brief interlude of blissful ignorance, Phillip had felt assured—that he was a valuable man to Gamotte, that he’d proven this. Gamotte’s feudal distance from his servitors was the only reason he must put his case before the disbelieving Godshaw. Phillip had not bothered even, for the sake of bolstering his credentials, bringing the papers in with him, though the scandal had broken already.
The Heron’s Foot
(2016, Stephanie Foster)