An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
As the chaos unfolded in the outside world, nothing but peace and calm hung in the air of the inspector’s office at the police station.
“What’s the situation, Mr. Gardner? Has the kid confessed yet?” asked the Cobra impatiently as soon as he sat down.
“It doesn’t matter whether he has or not. Any prisoner who falls into my hands is sure to give in eventually.”
The fat inspector took another drag of his cigar with a smug expression.
“It’s not a problem if you’re on–site, but you can’t guarantee that things won’t take a turn for the worse. I think you ought to get it out of the way while you can,” the Cobra suggested.
“Why do you say that? Are you trying to teach me how to do my job?” Gardner cast a cold glare at him.
“Of course not. I wouldn’t even dream of it. It’s just that the kid has someone backing him up. If this isn’t resolved soon, trouble may arise,” the Cobra explained with a quick apology.
“What trouble could possibly arise? I’m just doing my job. Plus, this is my territory. Who would dare disobey me?” he reminded the man with certainty.
“Well, that’s true, Mr. Gardner. You are Mr. Granville’s son–in–law after all–who would dare disrespect you?” agreed the Cobra flatteringly.
“Hmph! At least you’re smart enough to know that!” the inspector guffawed.
He was perhaps prouder of having the mayor as his father–in–law than of his identity as an inspector. The title of mayor denoted the highest position of power in the whole of Swinton.
“Mr. Gardner, this is a gift from Sir Anderson. Please accept it,” said the Cobra as he held out a gift box with both hands.
Gardner opened the box, and the shimmer of the gold accessory put a smile on his face.
“Hehe… Sir Anderson is simply too generous. Send him my thanks! Also, reassure him that I will handle this with extra care and ensure nothing goes wrong!”
“Thank you, Mr. Gardner!” The Cobra bowed in gratitude.
While the two spoke, the squad leader who had made the arrest entered the room unannounced.
“Is something the matter?” Gardner instantly slammed the gift box shut.
“Sir, the Nicholson family has just sent someone to intercede, and they’ve offered to pay a hefty amount to release Dahlia Nicholson on bail,” the officer reported.
“Pah! That woman is a wanted criminal. There’s no way she can be released on ball. Send them away!” commanded Gardner with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“Yes, sir.” The squad leader turned and left.
However, he knocked on the door again in less than a minute.
“What is it this time?!” barked the inspector, clearly losing his patience.
“Sir, Ms. Harmon called in earlier, claiming that we’ve arrested the wrong person. She has asked us to release Dustin Rhys immediately.” the officer said.
“Ms. Harmon? Do you mean Natasha Harmon?” Gardner’s expression froze.
“That’s her.” The officer nodded.
“Cobra, what’s going on? You failed to mention that this kid had anything to do with Natasha!” The inspector’s eyes turned feral Natasha was a lady of superiority in all aspects; money, power, and influence. Under normal circumstances, she was not someone he would offend for no reason.
“Mr. Gardner, he’s just a good–for–nothing Natasha dotes on. In fact, he has no proper background. With your status, you need not pay him much attention,” the Cobra assured the inspector.
“Hmph! That better be the case!” Slightly flustered, Gardner instructed the squad leader, “Tell Natasha Harmon that we are holding no such person in our patrol room.” Since he had already given his word to Duane, there was no going back. For now, the best course of action would be to sweep it under the carpet.
However, as soon as the squad leader left, Gardner’s phone started ringing.
“Mr. Anderson?” He was baffled by the caller ID displayed on the screen. For Mr. Anderson to call at this hour..
could it be for the kid as well? Wasn’t this too much of a coincidence?!
Brushing the thought from his mind, he decided to pick up the call, still feeling apprehensive.
“Hello, Mr. Anderson! Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Mr. Gardner! Tell me, did you arrest a young man named Dustin Rhys?” Hunter cut right to the chase without wasting a second.
“Oh? Did I? Why is it that I’m not aware of this?” Mr. Gardner questioned. His heart skipped a beat, but he didn’t let it show. He asked, “Mr. Anderson, did something happen?”
“Gardner! Don’t you dare pull tricks on me! Heed my order and release Dustin right this instant! Or else, don’t blame me for cutting you off for good!” Hunter yelled into the phone.
“Mr. Anderson, there must have been a misunderstanding! I don’t know a Dustin at all. How about I look into it for you?” The officer desperately put on an act.
There was no way he would spill the beans on the plan.
“Alright then, you fat bastard. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into! Mark my words–if anything happens to Dustin, you and your whole family will go down with him!” Hunter hung up the phone with a threatening growl:
“Did that old man get up on the wrong side of the bed today?” grumbled Gardner, his displeasure written all over his face.
“Sir, what’s wrong?” the Cobra asked cautiously.
“What’s wrong? Where did you get the guts to ask me that?” Gardner slapped a palm onto the table. “Didn’t you say the kid had no background? Mr. Anderson just called to speak to me about the fellow! Does that sound like someone with no background to you? Are you deliberately trying to set me up, you motherfucker?!”
Natasha Harmon was already a handful. Now that Hunter Anderson was also in the picture, this was equivalent to stripping him down and tying him to a skewer over an open fire.
“No way! There’s no way that he has relations with Mr. Anderson! I–I really didn’t know about this,” the Cobra stuttered as the color drained from his face.
“Quick, call Duane now. This situation is getting way out of hand. He’ll have to pay me more if he wants this matter settled smoothly,” Gardner ordered.
“Alright, alright. I will call Sir Anderson immediately!”
The Cobra did not hesitate as he dialed Duane’s number. Over the phone, he briefly explained Gardner’s request.
After confirming an affirmative answer, he reported, “Sir, Sir Anderson has agreed to double the price as long as you can get the job done!”
Hearing this, the tense muscles on the inspector’s face finally eased.
*Sir Anderson is truly generous! In that case, I’ll do my very best!” he declared with a smile of contentment. Well, money did do wonders, after all. A middle ground is always more easily reached with a good payout.