“Do you really have to go? Even
though I told you my suspicions about what happened at the funeral?” McCarthy
asked Patrick as she watched him devour the breakfast she’d brought him
braaied pork and pap his favourite. He hadn’t been himself since he received
that call from Petersen. He was serious if Patrick could be called that;
reserved and always seemed to be thinking about something else. What was
worse she didn’t believe she was thinking this he hadn’t touched alcohol
either ever since. He’d shaved his beard and trimmed his hair he wasn’t
himself. McCarthy had tried everything to keep him around for as long as
possible but it seemed today her luck had run out.
“I have to sort this out. Besides you don’t need me anymore.”
“Why do you want to go so bad? What is it about that call that bothered you so much? Because you’ve been acting weird ever since.”
“I told you Petersen needs me. Let’s not forget that the only reason I came here in the first place was because he sent me here to find your son. I found your son you’ve been reinstated at work so I have no reason to stay now” Patrick said as he got off from the table to dispose of what was left of his food.
McCarthy didn’t know why but it stung her a little bit to hear him say that he had no reason to stay anymore. She was used to having him around now. He’d become someone she could turn to; his intellectual intelligence came in handy in tricky cases while his emotional intelligence and brutal honesty was what she needed during her divorce. Patrick may be a complicated some would even say insane person to deal with but there was something he brought to the table that many didn’t throughout her life and that was reliability. She knew with him in her corner and he was always in her corner she had someone to count on someone who would stand up for her on any day environment or situation. Perhaps a part of her felt that she could be losing a friend. “Are you planning on coming back?”
“Do I look like someone who makes plans? I don’t do plans I take everyday as it comes. Imagine planning for next week or next year only to get hit by a truck today. Nope that won’t be me.”
“You still haven’t answered my question” McCarthy pointed out as she also got up from the table to fix his tie. He also wore a tie these days. She was now face to face with him “Cards on the table no jokes no beating around the bush no bullshit. Are you going to come back?”
“Do you want me to come back?”
McCarthy couldn’t maintain eye contact “That’s beside the point.”
“Oh is it? Then I guess you have your answer.”
“And that is?”
“Whether or not I will come back is beside the point.”
“So in order for you to come back you want what? You want me to beg you?”
“I didn’t say that” Patrick observed her “You’re blinking twice every second. Your cheeks are crimson red…”
“You’re crossing your arms and you can barely maintain eye contact with me.”
“Let me guess you have a grand revelation for all these observations?” McCarthy said arching her brow and forcing herself to look Patrick in the eye.
“As it turns out I do. You always blink a lot when you’re being defensive and when you’re lying but in this case it’s the former. The crossed arms further emphasise that. Your inability to maintain eye contact with me is a sign of uncomfortableness at the situation that you currently find yourself faced with.”
“The situation I’m faced with? And what situation is that exactly?”
“The fact that you’d rather fix my tie than admit that you don’t want to see me leave because you fear that I might not come back. I might be a little incorrect here just a little but I’m guessing the reason for that is because it might insinuate two things; one that you like me and two that you’re asking something from a man even though you can’t stand men at this point because you’re divorcing one. Tell me you want me to come back and I will come back. Tell me that you don’t want me to leave and give me a good reason to stay and I’ll stay.”
“I don’t agree with anything you’ve just said but hypothetically speaking if and that’s a very big if I want to…” McCarthy cleared her throat “You know.”
“No I don’t know. I read body language not minds.”
She sighed. Whatever she said next could be easily misinterpreted and that’s not what she wanted “If I want you to stay. What would qualify as a good reason?”
“You’re the only reason I’ll stay. Not a case not work but you.”
McCarthy was speechless. If she knew the conversation would eventually get to this point she wouldn’t have insisted that they have it. “Patrick I don’t know what to say.” She felt like bolting out of the room and closing the door behind her.
“Then that settles it.”
“Patrick come on. You can’t put me in this position I’m in the middle of divorce proceedings that could result in a custody battle. Between that the Lamar case the Thomas Reeves case and the Knights…” she paused and covered her eyes with her right hand “I can’t possibly tell you to stay for me. It wouldn’t be fair on either one of us.”
“If you could would you?”
She could feel her body temperature rising. With the old whiskey-drinking easy going Patrick she would’ve easily dismissed this conversation but now things were serious. “I don’t know. I don’t want to lie I don’t know.”
Patrick picked up his blazer from the couch “Then I don’t know if I’ll come back or not.” He hugged her and headed for the door.
McCarthy wanted to say something anything that would make sense out of everything that was happening but she couldn’t find the words. She couldn’t even turn around to face him as he walked away she just waited to hear the door open and close but instead she heard a knock the door opened. She turned around instantly to see Douglas Petersen standing in the doorway. He was dressed in a Springboks rugby jersey a pair of denim jeans and flip flops. McCarthy had never seen Petersen in casual clothes except for the one time she went to his housewarming party. Besides he was here to pick Patrick up which meant he was on duty so why was he dressed in casual? Where was his gun? “Petersen? What’s going on? Why are you…?”
Petersen opened his arms “Dressed like this? Well because there’s a new sheriff in town as Silas would put it.”
“You caught me on my way out
Petersen turned to face him “Jesus Christ you look miserable. How long have you been sober? And since when do you wear a tie?” Petersen joked “You even trimmed your hair? You almost look like a recovering alcoholic. What is this? Are you trying to impress McCarthy or something? Word of advice don’t try your luck she will turn you down” he laughed but no one joined him. After an awkward silence he asked “Okay did I interrupt something?”
“No” both McCarthy and Patrick said simultaneously.
Petersen looked at them suspiciously first at McCarthy then Patrick then back to McCarthy “No wait a minute are you getting a divorce because you two are… You didn’t sleep here did you?”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous Petersen. How’d you know I’m getting a divorce anyways?”
“Oh you know how these things go people talk. Anyways happy new year.”
“Are we going to leave today or what?” Patrick said.
Petersen’s playful face disappeared. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’ve been suspended effective immediately pending an investigation.”
“What?” the tone of McCarthy’s voice relayed her shock perfectly. “Why are you suspended?” Suspensions didn’t just come out of nowhere McCarthy knew that as well as everyone in the room. What had Petersen gotten himself into now?
“A new guy came out of nowhere last week goes by the name of Silas Ngobese. He’s very decorated judging by his file. He was sent all the way from the top to conduct an internal investigation and take over the station. That meant that he had to suspend me since it is my station and myself who’re being investigated.”
“Investigated for what?” a curious McCarthy asked.
“Hold on Petersen what does this mean? What about the Blood Disciples? What about Gabhadiya? You promised me that we would get him this time.”
“I know but that was before Silas came along and started all this nonsense.”
“Don’t make your problems mine Petersen. I don’t care who this Silas is I want Gabhadiya’s head on a spike like you promised me” Patrick protested in irritation.
Petersen laughed in disbelief “You think I’m making my problems yours? Think again buddy. Silas is our problem. I’m putting my entire career on the line by being here. I’m here to warn you it’s not me that Silas is after it’s you. And judging by the track record on his file Gabhadiya is the least of your worries right now.”
“Can someone tell me what’s going on here? Who’s Gabhadiya? Who’s Silas?” McCarthy asked. She felt like she’d just walked into a movie halfway and had a lot of catching up to do.
“I don’t care about a damn file. I want Gabhadiya. Dammit Petersen we can’t let him get away again! What’s wrong with you?” roared Patrick.
McCarthy was seeing something for the first time that she never thought she would see Patrick was angry. He was showing emotion. She decided to keep quiet and just absorb everything they were saying. She’d ask the questions later.
“I’m not letting him go and I don’t appreciate you insinuating that I am and I also don’t appreciate your tone either. I’m here to warn you that you have a target on your back. I can’t go after Gabhadiya because I am suspended and I am not going to break the law for you. If you want to go after Gabhadiya on your own then by all means suit yourself but I’m telling you right that you will be chasing after a rabbit in a lion’s territory. If you go after Gabhadiya now you won’t see Silas coming and he will snatch you up and put you away” Petersen said emphatically. “Think dammit it’s what you’re good at. Do you think I’d be here telling you what I’m telling you if I didn’t think Silas was a threat? I’ve read his file Patrick he’s damn good at hunting down his targets and right now he has his eyes on you. Besides Gabhadiya won’t get away scot free because we have reason to believe that he’s aiding and abetting a fugitive. Silas is going after him too but he’ll focus most of his energy on you because that’s the mission he was given.”
Patrick was still not convinced “What makes you think that this Silas is dangerous?”
“I went through his file. He has brought down the most feared criminals and drug lords in Johannesburg. Do you remember Abel Sehole? One of South Africa's most notorious serial killers murdered 38 people while raping 40 victims in what was known as the ABC Murders was handed down a prison sentence of 2410 years? Silas played a crucial role in that investigation. He has reputation of closing every case he opens.”
“He was involved in the case of…”
“I don’t care about his cases. I care about the part you aren’t telling me. The part that made you risk your career and come here to warn me. Why do you think he’s dangerous?” Patrick asked.
Petersen hesitated. He was hoping he’d get Patrick to back off without divulging confidential police information that could get him into more trouble “He has your file.”
“Your file from the Bureau of Secret Security. I don’t know how but he has everything. He knows everything there is to know about your career in the bureau.”
Stunned Patrick closed the door moved across the room and took a seat on the couch “That’s not possible. That information is highly confidential it’s a matter of national security. You must be mistaken Petersen” he said in a quiet tone as if he was trying to convince himself more than anyone.
“Well he has it. It was right there in front of me. It got me thinking about two things. One either Silas is working with some very powerful government people that want to wipe out any evidence of the existence of BOSS or he managed to get a trail from those files that were leaked last year do you remember? Your identity came up. He could’ve easily picked up the trail from there or the people who want you gone were spooked by that leak. Either way you have a target on your back. Silas is coming after you with the backing of unlimited resources. I would highly recommend that you go underground until we figure out a plan of action” Petersen said. “Everything is already in place. We can’t waste anymore time. You need to disappear as soon as possible. Otherwise…”
“I knew that leak would cause me problems. I thought it would be the criminals coming after me I didn’t expect… this. I didn’t see this coming. I dropped my guard” Patrick said his mind was already thinking of a thousand questions and solutions per second. How did he get here? Who was Silas? Why was he after him? Who was he working for? “You’re right. I need to go underground and do my homework on this chap. I need to prepare for war.”
“I’ll make the call.”
A long silence followed.
McCarthy remained silent even though she had more questions than answers. She had seen and heard so much in such a short space of time. Whatever it was that Patrick and Petersen had planned affected Patrick judging by his reaction. She’d never seen him show emotion before even in situations that required him to. And then there was this Gabhadiya character that he was hellbent on bringing down. There must’ve been a history there a dark one but she’d ask him about it when he’d cooled down. And the Bureau of Secret Security? In all her years in law enforcement she’d never heard of BOSS apart from the one that was run by the apartheid government but it was impossible Patrick would’ve been part of that it was disbanded in 1978 and given that they were about the same age Patrick was still a boy then. So what was this BOSS they were talking about? Why were there confidential files? Why was the government trying to hide its existence and who the hell was Silas? McCarthy concluded that she’d conduct her own investigation before asking any questions it would be a welcome distraction from the Lamar murder that she’d promised she’d stop investigating. She’d ignored this for too long. It was high time she dug deep and found out who Patrick Diale really was. She grabbed her phone from her pocket and sent a text message to Lukhasi: “Drop everything and compile a thorough research on Silas Ngobese and the Bureau of Secret Security. Get everything you can. Super urgent. Don’t tell anyone. Delete this message.” She pressed send deleted the message and joined Patrick and Petersen as they discussed a plan of action.