After Foote left the Lounge, Burke tried Slaughter again. When she answered, he asked where she was.
“I’m on the way to my place,” she said.
He asked how it went with Pittman.
“I didn’t talk to him. When he finally returned my call, he said he was on the golf course so we’re going to meet tomorrow. How about you? What did you find out?”
“A lot,” Burke said.
“Okay, you can fill me in tomorrow…or you can stop by my place but you should know…I never discuss work there.”
Burke was already half-way out of the booth when he said, “I’ll be there in a minute.”
What, if anything happened at Slaughters’ place that night would be known only to Slaughter and Burke.
The next morning, Burke met Powell in the interrogation room. Powell was waiting to give his report to Captain Meade and was surprised when Burke entered the room, whistling.
Powell took the opportunity to ask Burke what was going on with him and Slaughter.
“What do you mean?” asked Burke.
“I mean you two seem to be buddy-buddy and now, you’re….whistling. Is there something going on that I don’t know about?”
Before Burke could answer, Slaughter and Captain Meade came into the room.
“Okay, kiddo, what have you got?” asked Captain Meade.
“Well, his wife was understandably beside herself with grief and she seemed to be sincere,” he said. “She said that she wasn’t aware of anybody who would want to hurt him. She gave me ‘he’s the finest man I have ever known…he was the love of my life’, you know the usual rigmarole.”
“She referred to his ex-wife as ‘that crazy ex-wife’ but said she had never met her. She said she knew Mulder resented having to pay alimony and that this crazy ex-wife had done everything she could to ruin him financially.”
“I asked about his friends and read a few of the other victims’ names. Her answers ranged from ‘I don’t know, to maybe, to possibly’. She did say that she knew he and Pittman were friends.”
“Apparently, he was a genuinely ‘nice guy’.”
Burke said “well, I may have been given a different opinion from somebody else. Mulder didn’t seem to be as pure as the driven snow, if you know what I mean and I think it would be worth a shot to take a closer look at Pittman.”
“What do you mean?” Powell asked.
“I mean, depending on who you talk to, their relationship ranged from being best buds to a couple of outlaw cowboys trying to shoot each other in the back.”
Powell said “that’s interesting, because Mrs. Mulder did say that although she considered Pittman to be a friend, she resented the fact that he took credit for ‘saving Mulder’s career’.”
“What exactly did she say?” asked Burke.
“Well, she said that Pittman bragged to everybody about how he had given Stan a job and made sure that he was promoted when he retired.”
“Her view was that Stan had earned that promotion on his own merits and it had nothing to do with Pittman.”
Captain Meade asked Burke if all the information he got about Mulder was from Mr. Foote.
“From Mr. Foote and from the publisher” Burke said. “I talked to a few clerks and reporters but they all sang the same song…”he was a nice guy.”
“The publisher is either blind or is an expert at being politically correct. Foote however didn’t seem to be shy about saying what he thought, even though he was a bit fearful that somebody might find out that he had talked to me.”
Slaughter asked if Burke thought Foote was telling the truth or did he think that maybe he was holding a grudge and seized the opportunity to get revenge by trashing his character.
“I’m pretty sure this guy was being honest,” Burke said. “He doesn’t have anything to gain. It’s not like he’s next in line to run the paper and from what I can gather, the newspaper business can be very political. I think that’s why he was a little trepedatious.”
Burke filled in Slaughter, Captain Meade and Powell about the rest of his conversation with Foote.
Slaughters’ immediate response was “I’d like to talk to Mr. Foote and I’d like to talk to him before I meet with Pittman. I think there’s more to his story.”
Captain Meade asked Powell how the warrant was coming along for Mulder.
“I submitted my request to Judge Grantham and I’m waiting to hear.”
Captain Meade infuriated Powell when he suggested that he get Slaughter on it. “She seems to have a way of getting things done,” he said.
“Fine,” Powell said as he picked up his folder and stormed out of the room.
“What kind of bug has kiddo got up his nose?” asked Captain Meade.
“I think he’s starting to feel a little like a third wheel,” Burke said.
Captain Meade wiped his forehead and said “for crying out loud.”
“Okay, what’s on for today?”
Burke said “I thought I’d take a drive upstate and talk to Mulder’s ex-wife and son. You know, exes and children are more likely to offer a different perspective when it comes to a former spouse. I think it’ll be worth it to talk to them.”
Captain Meade looked at Slaughter and said “and you?”
Slaughter said “first, I’m going to do a follow up with Mr. Foote and then, I’m going to meet with Mr. Pittman.”
Captain Meade looked over his glasses and said “you will try to leave most of him intact, right?
Slaughter smiled and said “I’ll do my best.”
Again, wiping his forehead, Captain Meade shook his head and said “oh, Lord. What was it Clubber Lang said about Rocky? Oh, yeah.”
“I pity the fool.”
To be continued____________________