Rough Cut Ch. 03byA.W. Root©
Chapter Three - The Fire Drill
Ian woke up just before his wake up call was scheduled. As he lay in bed, he grinned at the memory of Donna's services last night. He made a mental note to have Max give her a bonus for her attitude. Just then, the phone rang.
"Good Morning, Mr. Quinn, this is your 6 am wake up call. Would you like coffee or juice brought to your room?
"Coffee, please, and ask Max to have my luggage brought down as well."
"Yes, sir, have a pleasant day."
Ian snapped on the television to the local news Channel. As he brushed his teeth, he heard the reporter begin to talk about the raid last night. He quickly turned his attention to the television. Sure enough, he was visible in the video of the people being put into the police van. He would need to make a few phone calls this morning to head off the firestorm that video could cause.
Just as he finished dressing, there was a knock on his door.
"Who is it?"
"It's Max, Ian. I have your luggage and your coffee."
Ian walked across the room and opened the door. Max was pushing a cart with Ian's luggage on the bottom and coffee and two cups on the top. After Ian closed the door, Max stood up straight but bowed his head expecting a tongue lashing from Ian over the footage on the local news.
"Relax, Max, it's just a news story, nothing to get upset about. I'll just have to make a few calls and explain things but it's no big deal - this time. What do we know about this new police chief?"
Max visible relaxed as he began to pour Ian's coffee. He took a deep breath as he handed the cup over and began to relate the background data they had collected during the election campaign.
"If he's that straight, Max, it means we missed something. Nobody gets this far in politics without knowing how to sidestep the landmines and cut a few corners in the process. Work with Sam on this one and find out what we missed."
"Yes, sir, I'll call Sam right away."
"Max, keep it low key. I don't want to ruffle the Chief's feathers until I'm ready."
"Yes, sir. Anything else?"
"Yes, Max, put an extra C-note in Donna's envelope for me. Now I've got to make some phone calls but I'll see you later. Good coffee, Max."
"Yes sir, thank you."
Max left the room and Ian opened his suitcase to inspect it. Finding nothing unusual, he closed the case and sat down on the bed to call Sammi. She probably has seen the news video by now and will want an explanation. If her Dean has seen the video, she'll have to have the same explanation that Ian will be providing to his own boss. After that, he would call his boss at the State Revenue Office and offer the same explanation.
Sammi's phone rang just after 6 am.
"Sammi, it's Deb. Turn on your tv quick. Tune to the local news channel. I think I just saw Ian being arrested."
Sammi quickly grabbed the remote and pressed a few buttons. When the screen came on, it showed a reporter talking about a raid on a motel in in a small town upstate. Then the video of the men and women being put in a police van came on and she saw Ian in the group.
"Yep, that's him, Deb. I haven't talked to him yet but I expect I'll be hearing from him shortly."
"It's funny, Sam, but it looks like he doesn't care that he's on camera. All the other men are hiding their faces. What's that about?"
"If I know Ian, and I do, he's showing his face to tell me he's innocent of all charges even tho he's being taken in by the police. You know they report the names of men caught in these types of raids. I sure hope I hear from him before the Dean calls. Thanks for the heads-up, Deb. I talk to you later."
Sammi no more than hung up when the phone rang again. The caller id showed Ian's cell number.
"Good morning, darling. My, but you've had a busy time up there."
"Good morning, Sammi. I take it you've already seen the news video?"
"Just now. Deb called to alert me. What happened?"
"The local Police Chief pulled a surprise raid on a local bar and the motel where I was staying. They took everybody from the motel down to the police station for questioning but several of us, including me, were immediately released without any charges. No drugs, no ladies of the evening, no gambling, nothing so we were let go and our names will not be in the police report. Feel free to tell your Dean to call the Mayor up here for verification of these facts."
"That's a relief. I'm expecting old burr head to call me anytime now. Thanks for the call, darling. Are you ok?"
"Sure, just another day in paradise. I still have a little work to do but I think I'll be home this evening. I'll call you later with an update but you should probably plan on dinner out."
"Great. I'll let you go now and see you tonight. Bye, darling."
The third phone call, actually a voice message, was from Dean Patterson's office. He asked Sammi to come to his office before her first class. She could only imagine what was going thru his round bald head. Pulling his chain a little might be fun, she thought. We'll see what he says.
Before she left home, Sammi called Debra back and brought her up to date. She told Deb not to worry but she was probably going to have a little fun with Dean Patterson over this incident. She also warned that if Deb should get a call from the Dean, she should just go along with the tone of the conversation. Debra was laughing hysterically at the idea of putting one over on old baldy and quickly agreed.
Sammi took her time getting ready as her first class wasn't until 10 am. She was very careful about what she would wear but she didn't want to give the Dean too much time. She only intended on finding out his approach this morning . That would then decide her strategy for defusing it.
She walked into the Dean's waiting room at precisely 9:30 and politely greeted Anne, his secretary.
"Good morning, Anne. What's new?"
"Hi, Sammi. Boy, has he got his knickers in a twist this morning. What on earth did you do to him?"
"Nothing at all, Anne. It's just his imagination working overtime. He thinks he finally has a way to control me. We'll just see about that. You had better tell him I'm here so I can get to my first class."
"Dean Patterson, Sammi Quinn is here. Shall I send her in? Yes, sir."
"Go right in, Sammi, he's waiting for you."
"Good morning, Dean. I received a message that you wanted to see me?"
"Yes, Mrs. Quinn. Please have a seat. It has come to my attention that your husband, Ian, has been arrested on charges of prostitution. I'm sure you're aware of the prohibition of this kind of activity by faculty members. What have you to say for yourself?"
"Quite frankly, Dean Patterson, I don't know what to say as I am completely unaware of this incident. Was my husband really arrested?"
"Not only was he arrested, but he was shown being put into the police van on national tv just this morning. I'm afraid we're going to have to take this incident very seriously. You realize, of course, that the tenure committee will have to be informed of this development."
"Dean Patterson, are you threatening me?"
"Of course not, Mrs. Quinn. I'm merely stating that the committee will need to have a detailed explanation of this event, starting with your own statement."
"Dean Patterson, I have a class in 7 minutes. This discussion will have to wait until later. I'm sure you don't want me to be late for class."
"No, of course not.But aren't you going to at least give me some kind of explanation? I do have to report to the Board of Governors about this and I don't think you want my report to be one-sided."
Sammi rose and turned towards the door. With her hand on the knob, she turned back towards the Dean.
"If you say anything at all about this incident to the Board of Governors, I'll be obliged to have you removed from your post. Good day, Mr. Patterson."
Sammi slammed the door on her way out and smiled and winked to Anne as she passed her.
As she left the building, she called Debra on her cell phone.
"Deb, Sammi. I just left the Dean's office. He all but threatened to have my tenure withdrawn and to report this incident, as he calls it, to the Board. I told him if he said even one word about this to them, I'd have his job. I think he almost shit!" "Wow, Sammi, that's a pretty bold step. What are you going to do now?"
"Teach my class. I'll catch up to you at lunch. I have our entire conversation on tape. You'll love it, Deb. If you get a chance, call over there and ask Anne what happened after I left. See you."
Sammi and Debra met at noon and proceeded to Sammi's house for a private conversation. Debra was practically beside herself with the news from Anne.
"After you slammed his door, he was quiet for a few moments, then instructed Anne to get the Board members on the phone, one after the other. Anne, of course, listened in and he really blasted you. He said you were insubordinate, rude, and refused to answer his questions, even calling his authority into question. The Board members all listened politely without taking sides but Anne says there's a quick Board meeting brewing."
"Ok, thanks Deb. Now listen to this. He's confusing Ian and me, quoting school policy as tho I was the one who was arrested. He doesn't even have his facts right. Wait until Ian hears this, he'll go through the roof."
"I know Ian works for the State, Sammi, but what can he do about school police and the Board?"
"Debra, have you ever wondered how we got this house and the cars we drive? My clothes? Our vacations? It didn't come from a teacher's salary even with help from a State employee. Ian has outside interests, Deb, that's all I can tell you."
"Ian thinks I don't know about his outside interests but I know a lot more than I let on. My tenure is not really in jeopardy because his outside interests include some if not all of the members of the Board. If anybody's in trouble, it's old Baldy."
"Wow! I had no idea! Sweet little Ian is the hand that rocks the cradle. Wow again!"
"Debra Anne, in all seriousness, you know nothing! You don't even have a clue about what I just said. I mean it, Deb, your life could depend on it."
"I swear I didn't hear a thing, Sammi, not a thing."
"Right. When Ian gets home tonight, I want you there to tell him about my interview with the Dean. I want you to pretend you're really mad about what the Dean was insinuating and you really want to do something to help me. Trust me, Ian will do the rest."
The remainder of the day passed almost uneventfully except that some of her students saw the video of the arrest and asked her if that was her husband. She replied honestly but also told them that he wasn't involved and was immediately released, a fact the video failed to mention. Ian called to say he'd be home by six and Sammi mentioned her run-in with the Dean in general terms, saying they would talk about it when he arrived. When he arrived home at 6:15, he was a little surprised to find Sammi and Debra deep in conversation.
"Good evening, ladies."
"Oh, hello, darling. How was your trip?"
"Pretty routine, sweetheart. Hi, Deb."
"Hi, Ian. I saw you on tv this morning."
"Did they get my good side?"
"Actually, yes. So good that our beloved Dean even recognized you right off the bat. He's already had a go at Sammi here and I think we need to have some harsh words with him."
"Well, let me mix a drink and we can talk about it. What exactly happened this morning, darling?"\
"Here, Ian, I'll play the tape for you."
After listening to the tape, Ian sat back and a slow smile began spreading across his face. He swirled the ice in his drink, took a sip, then faced the ladies.
"It seems your Dean has overstepped his bounds. Your school is one of the places my team audits and I know the rules of authority . He doesn't have the authority to hire, fire, or even discipline an instructor, only the Board can so those things. But let's take things in order."
"In the first place, I am not a member of the faculty so no matter what I do personally, there is no effect on the image or operations of the school. In the second place, attempting to coerce an instructor is an offence punishable by dismissal. In the third place, he says I was arrested – not true – so his allegations are completely baseless. At this point, our Dean is wrong on all counts and we have the tape to prove our side. Excuse me, ladies, I need to make a few phone calls and then we'll all go to dinner."