Chapter Eighty-One: My Fallen Idol, Part One
Richard Dickson walked into the police station, looking around suspiciously. The suspicion was returned wholeheartedly, except for Constable TJ who had his head down and buried in paperwork.
“You look hard at work for once.” TJ heard his boss, the stupid Inspector Dingbat, standing over him. TJ groaned inwardly. He wished like crazy Dingbat would just leave him alone.
“Just taking after you Sir.” He suddenly heard slip from his mouth. Uh-oh…
Dingbat narrowed his eyes at the younger man and was about to start a triade when Dickson walked over.
“I'll deal with you after work Jacobs.” Dingbat sneered at TJ, who groaned. Now there'd be trouble, and he probably wouldn't get home until well after dinner-time!
“Good Morning Mister Dickson, glad you've decided to visit our little establishment.” Dingbat said in his most wheedly, suck-up voice.
“I want to speak to your men. Individually. Privately.” Dickson narrowed his eyes and got straight to the point.
“Oh really?” Dingbat narrowed his eyes back.
“You've been told to cooperate with the Presidents Entrusted National Intelligence Service on this exercise Inspector, I suggest you do.” Dickson looked intimidating. TJ knew though that Dingbat was too stupid to be intimidated by anyone, and too ambitious to let anyone get in his way. Everyone else was trying not to giggle.
“I think I should join my men. For emotional support. They need to know they have their leader with them.” Dingbat stated. TJ tried not to snort. He knew full well that Dingbat wanted to make sure nothing was said against him!
“I want them to know that anything they say won't be used against them. I can't assure them of that if their boss is breathing down their neck.” Dickson fired back. TJ allowed himself a small smile. “Now if you'll excuse me, I'll start with your lowest-ranking officers, so you have less time to threaten them.”
The giggling stopped.
Dingbat looked beyond ropeable. Dickson motioned to the newest young recruit to the force, a pimply little weasel of a kid who reminded TJ of a school snitch. The little weasel quickly looked at Dingbat, terrified, not sure what he should do, before looking at the much more intimidating Dickson and bolting out of the room.
TJ quaked a little himself. This was going to get very, VERY ugly.
Petunia was stirring a beef casserole in her kitchen when TJ finally trudged home.
“Again?” She asked sympathetically.
“Again.” TJ groaned.
“Your father called earlier, he asked for you to call him back after dinner.” Petunia said, checking the rice.
“Swell. He probably heard about Dingbat and Dickson.” TJ slumped onto the couch, feeling defeated.
“Dingbat and Dickson?” Petunia began to dish up the dinner. TJ sighed, and got up to set the table.
“Dickson wants to interview all the cops privately without Dingbat involved, and Dingbat wants to make sure the truth doesn't get out. There was a huge blowup, Dingbat was screaming at Dickson and Dickson didn't even break a sweat.” He told her as he set out the cutlery.
“Damn. Sounds like Dickson is one cool customer.” Petunia said.
“You should have seen him. He totally had Dingbat scouted. Although I'm worried about what this means for the force.” TJ sighed.
“You really should talk to your Dad.” Petunia brought out two big bowls of steaming casserole and rice. TJ was beginning to feel better already.
The pair happily talked during dinner (TJ nearly spitting his out laughing when Petunia told him about a rather disgusting mess she had to clean up in the childrens ward). Afterwards, they cleaned up together before Petunia settled down to her jigsaw puzzle and TJ called his father.
“Heya Teej.” Theodore Jacobs Sr. greeted his son.
“Heya Dad. I guess you heard about the big blow up today.” TJ chuckled as he settled down in his favourite easy chair to talk.
“You bet. I've heard a few different versions, including one involving a gunfight and Chuckles and Giggles getting involved.” Theodore chuckled along with his son. “So the government is running an inquiry eh?”
“Yeah, Dickson wants to talk to us all privately.” TJ pulled up his footrest and leaned back.
“Teej, let me give you some advice. Don't say anything. Plead ignorance.” Theodore warned his son. “It's for your own safety, and a good career move too.”
“Dad…what?!” TJ suddenly felt uncomfortable.
“You're at a stage of your career where you can't afford to be making waves, and believe me, when this is all over there'll be a tsunami. Minimise the damage to yourself.” Theodore continued.
“But what about Pleasantville?!” TJ sat up. “If I have a chance to do something I have to do it!”
“You've been listening to those Knights of the Last Order.” Theodore groaned. “TJ, let them take care of Pleasantville, you need to take care of yourself and Petunia. How do you think I got so far?”
TJ felt himself boil inside. His father would never know that he was in fact a Knight of the Last Order, otherwise there would be no end of trouble. Theodore Jacobs Sr. was a career man, and he had hoped his son would be the same.
“Dad, I can't. I joined to serve and protect, and I can't do that by clamming up and letting morons like Dingbat get away with murder!” TJ cried. Petunia looked up from her puzzle.
“TJ you start blabbing and it's gonna get ugly!” Theodore also raised his voice. “Don't think for a second that those private talks are actually private, you talk and you're going to find yourself so deep in trouble you won't be able to breathe. Especially if it goes up the City Hall and the Mayor gets involved.”
“I'm telling you this to protect you. There are dangerous people in Pleasantville who will easily destroy you if you make trouble, and for added pain they'll take down your whole family too.” Theodore pleaded. “Think about it. Do you really want to risk your Mother and I? Petunia? Could you honestly live with yourself if anything happened to her?”
“I'll think about it.” TJ groaned.
“I only say this because I care about you kid. Look, your mother is having a fit, she needs to call a friend to organise their next Bridge game. Catch ya later.” Theodore said.
“Love you too Dad. Catch ya.” TJ hung up.
“That sounded controversial.” Petunia sat down next to her husband.
“He wants me to put my head down, bum up and shut up.” TJ sighed. “He worries if I talk and cause waves it will get back to me and put me in danger.”
Petunia said nothing.
“But I have to say something! If I don't, nothing will change!” TJ cried. “Dickson HAS to know where the problems are, and I have to tell him, I'm the only one on the force who actually cares about the people of Pleasantville! Everyone else just cares about their pay packet and half of them are under the employ of the Mob!”
“Yes. Dickson needs to know, but you're not going to tell him.” Petunia said.
“If I don't, who will?!” TJ cried.
“Sir Dark and the Noble Knights of the Last Order.” Petunia grinned.