“Wow,” Slaughter said. “He sounds like a real peach. Tell me, how did he come to work for the Daily Ledger?”
“Well, that’s an interesting story,” said Foote. He finally managed to get his foot in the door of an independently owned newspaper, with the promise of being put into the top position as soon as the current editor retired.”
“That was the paper where he and Mulder met?”
“Exactly…and like with Caldwell, he and Mulder immediately started butting heads. The only difference was that Pittman was already Mulder’s boss.”
“Pittman didn’t waste any time immediately making everybody in the place hate him, either.”
“What do you mean?” asked Slaughter.
“Well, there was this woman named Caroline, who was in line to be Pittman’s managing editor once he was promoted. Unfortunately, a few days after Pittman arrived, she was killed on her way to work.”
“The next day, Pittman was ready to dig in and make his mark but it was like everybody was in a fog. He was getting more and more frustrated and finally asked what the fuck was wrong with everybody.”
“One of the clerks said ‘I think everybody’s sad about Carolines’ death’.”
“Word has it that he exploded and screamed ‘I don’t have time for stupid shit like death. Just do your fucking jobs’.”
“He got his promotion but that didn’t stop him from pretty much treating everybody like they were less than garbage. He would fire somebody just because he didn’t like them and he seemed to enjoy it when he made the women who worked for him cry.”
“Mulder started sucking up to Pittman. He was lobbying hard for Carolines’ job but Pittman had always intended to give the position to Linda, until they had a falling out.”
“And why did they have a falling out?” asked Slaughter.
“Because she realized that Pittman wasn’t going to leave his wife and children for her.”
“Speaking of his wife and children. There’s a story about his wife calling him to tell him that one of their children had been injured. Everybody heard him scream at her, ask her what the fuck she expected him to do about it and then tell her to just fucking handle it.”
‘People started leaving the paper en masse and after several complaints, the publisher strolled down to the newsroom to pay Pittman a visit. The altercation that ensued is legendary. In the middle of the newsroom floor, Pittman pointed his finger in the publishers’ face and screamed ‘listen, you fucking idiot. You have one person in this entire place who can win you a Pulitzer Prize and that’s me’.”
“As you would expect, he was fired. It took him a long time to find another job because he was considered poison. But, then he met Mr. Robinson, who was the former publisher of the Ledger. The paper was struggling and Pittman charmed Mr. Robinson into hiring him to ‘fix it’.”
“In the meantime, Pittmans’ wife found out about his affair with Linda. It seems Pittman had given her a ‘gift’ he got from Linda, if you know what I mean. She left him and moved to another state but Pittman never took his wedding ring off and acted like they were still married. When the staff asked when they were going to get to meet her, he would come up with some excuse, like she had to stay behind to sell their house.”
“After a few years, we were surprised when he started bringing this woman to the office and then to all the functions. Everybody hated her. Quite frankly, she looked and acted like trash. She walked around, hanging all over him like a cheap suit and people wondered what was going on. We all knew he was married and we all knew that this woman wasn’t his wife.”
Foote laughed when he said “we all took to calling her the ‘parasite’.”
“He finally started telling everybody that his wife had left him because he had gotten fired from his high-profile, high-paying job. In other words, he wanted everybody to think she was a gold-digger and nothing more. It was a shame really…the portrait of her he painted.”
“When he would run into somebody he and his wife had known in the past, he lied and told them he was divorced, so he didn’t have to explain why he was with another woman.”
“The worst thing was that he was still making regular trips to see his wife and playing husband to her. She didn’t have a clue what he was doing.”
“So,” Slaughter said. “He and Mulder were cut from the same cloth. Both were cheating on their wives and keeping a mistress on the side.”
“Yep…and Mulder knew his wife…and he knew they weren’t divorced but she got the last laugh, you might say.”
“How so?” asked Slaughter.
“She found out about this latest woman and filed for divorce…and she filed for adultery. Then, she wrote letters to all of their friends and all of his co-workers and told them everything.”
“Pittman was spitting nails.”
“Did you get a letter?” asked Slaughter.
“Yes, I did and he knew it. He wanted to read it but I told him I wasn’t going to let him. That really pissed him off and I worried that he might fire me but he didn’t. He just tried to get me to believe him when he said ‘you can’t believe anything she says. She’s an insane, vindictive bitch and she’s trying to make me look ridiculous’.”
“He did everything he could to make everything look like her fault. He wrote a letter to the judge, blaming her for the failure of the marriage. He said she was an uneducated woman who had ‘an unreasonable sense of injustice’. He even blamed her for ‘destroying his career’. I don’t know if this is true but I heard that the ‘parasite’ tried to get some of her male friends to say they had…”
“Had what?” asked Slaughter.
“Had been with her…in the Biblical sense of the word, if you know what I mean. The parasite knew that charges of adultery would be voided if there was any doubt about reciprocation on his wifes’ part.”
“Mr. Foote,” said Slaughter. I think I have all I need. Thank you for talking with me. You have given me a great insight into what kind of man Mr. Pittman is. I’m looking forward to chatting with him.”
“Be careful,” Foote said. “He’s a great manipulator. He will cut you open and laugh while you’re bleeding.”
Slaughter smiled as she said “yes, I have heard that about him.”
Foote started running his finger along the rim of his coffee cup. He finally looked at Slaughter and said, “you know, Mulder’s dead and we’re talking about Pittman. If you ask me if I think Pittman is capable of murder, I would say yes…absolutely. But I would qualify it by saying that even though he’s a bully, he’s basically a coward and I don’t believe he’s capable of physical murder…just emotional murder.”
To be continued_________________