McGrath loved working with Tom and Kendrick. They knew the case so well that he knew that they could explain it to anyone who’d follow him. Rumbles had begun for his removal and he didn’t know how much longer he had before it was over for him. As long as Tom and Ken were involved in the case, it could still go on without any perceived problems.
Tom, he knew, was stable. Ken, on the other hand, could possibly be pushed beyond the breaking point by any new development. Both were the antithesis of Eddy, who was their boss. And a poor excuse for a boss at that.
Tom was more about the facts. He didn’t care about conjecture. Everything you looked for in a young FBI agent. He researched the laws broken, the statutes ignored, and how best to gain legal justice for each infraction. He had a lawyer’s intellect and a judge’s heart.
Ken was driven by impulse. even though he had a deep sense of justice, he had a tendency to seek it in all the wrong ways. McGrath knew he wouldn’t last long as an agent. Perhaps he would do better as an agent for the newly formed CIA. They were impulse driven people there. And though justice drove their impulses, sometimes they had a problem dealing with reality.
The case was nagging at Kendrick. The more he read the file, the angrier he was getting. No one, in his opinion, should have been allowed to get away with so much. No one. It was just plain wrong.
He couldn’t see how Tom could read the facts and not want to hunt the Frenches down like the animals they were. They didn’t deserve to live. Neither one of them. But Tom still worked to make a case that might never make it to court, let alone get a conviction. Who knew whether the judge would be honest or crooked?
Sure, the Justice Department was working on this. So was the IRS. But that didn’t mean that the case judge wouldn’t be on the French payroll. And Eddy, his boss, was not doing enough to help. But, then, Eddy was preoccupied with imaginary communists. And people said that Ken had a problem with reality. Eddy was worse.
There was an unspoken rumor-an unspoken fact, really-that Eddy liked to dress up in women’s clothing and prance around. It was even said that his assistant director was his lover. But that was hearsay. It wasn’t known fact. It was something Eddy’s enemies liked to use when downplaying his suspicions or trying to put him in his place.
The women’s clothing thing, Ken had seen for himself by accident. He knew that was true. it had given him nightmares for weeks after as well. And an image he could never get out of his mind. Lord knew he’d tried.
Eddy wasn’t handsome in the first place. But he made a damn ugly woman. Either way, he couldn’t change what he looked like. Ken doubted that there was enough makeup to add even a single ounce of beauty to Eddy’s appearance.
He waited outside headquarters for Tom. His friend and partner had been inside for way too long and Ken was beginning to wonder if something had gone wrong. Tom typically came emerged when he said he would. Not today. Today, Tom had said fifteen minutes. That was an hour ago.
Ken was getting antsy. He wanted to go find more evidence. He wanted to dig up more on these two lowlifes they were now investigating. He didn’t want to be this close to Eddy. No one wanted to be this close to Eddy.
Tom emerged finally, an hour and fifteen minutes from his stated time. The six foot twenty-four year old agent shivered. But it wasn’t cold. Not in the summer.
Ken looked at his partner. “What’s wrong?”
“Eddy was being a son-of-a-bitch. He’s in one of his moods.” Tom glared at his keys. “Damn hard man to work with, let alone for. I think I will be heading to the CIA in a year. At least I understand what I will be doing there.
“You can never tell what Eddy’s going to have you do here. And I don’t like chasing imaginary enemies just on the say-so of a megalomaniac. Eddy’s lost his friggin’ mind.”
Ken smiled. “You say that every year, Tom. And every year, Eddy finds a way to make you stay.”
Tom looked at his friend. “You know how I got this gig?” Ken shook his head. “I was fresh off the battle field and the OSS was just disbanded. I needed work and happened to know how to investigate shit. Eddy found out and practically begged me to join the bureau. Like an idiot, I agreed. I’ve regretted it ever since.
“At least when you’re a part of the CIA, you know who the real enemy is. With Eddy, all you have are imagined enemies and the real criminals get to walk. Even Truman believes that Eddy is insane. A genius, but insane.”
Ken frowned. “I joined because you did. Guess I shoulda remained in special ops. Or waited for the Agency to be formed, huh?”
Tom smiled. “Ken, you have been a wonderful agent. Don’t let Eddy tell you different. He’s just frightened of you.”
Ken was surprised. “Really?”
“Yep. You’re the only agent to ever walk in on him when he was doing his…private pleasures. You know the real dirt on him.”
Ken stifled a chuckle. “I guess you’re right. I guess I do have something on him that he doesn’t want leaked.”
Tom laughed. “Even if you did, most people wouldn’t believe you. The truth is just too out there. It is stranger than fiction. Besides. People don’t like the truth. They would rather believe in the illusions they are given by those they elect.”
Ken nodded. “Sort of like how they believe that McCarran passed that damned act in Congress and sent the country into a paranoid tailspin.”
Tom nodded. “Exactly.”