Nothing more to say
I took a seat in the interview room where the FBI agents led me and lit another cigarette.
"You sure smoke a lot, kid," Agent Spilotro said.
"I do when I'm nervous."
"You don't have any reason to be nervous," Agent Kennedy said. "You haven't done anything, unless there's something you haven't told us."
"Excuse me, what do you mean, I don't have any reason to be nervous?" I shouted.
"Take it easy, kid," Spilotro said.
"No! I won't take it easy." I sprang out of my chair and got right in his face. "It's easy for you to say take it easy. You haven't been through what I've been through. No one's trying to run you over with a car. No one damn near killed your girlfriend. No one's grabbing you when you come off the subway and bringing you someplace to talk. Three hours ago, I was sitting in my girlfriend's living room, drinking tea and eating soda bread. Now, I'm sitting here talking to the FBI about someone that I happened to lend a cigarette to in a bar."
"Tony..." Kennedy said.
I whirled around and thrust a finger at him. "That's Mr. Reardon to you bozos." They looked shocked. Spilotro pulled up a chair and sat down. I took a drag off of my cigarette and blew the smoke in his face.
"Mr. Reardon," Kennedy said. His tone was apologetic and calm. "What we meant was that you're not in any trouble with us. We understand that you're nervous about everything that's been happening to you in your life. Hey, anyone would be. You're in the middle of something that all of us are trying to put an end to, but we're not quite sure how to. We believe that the woman you know as Rosalie might be involved with organized crime or international terrorists. We're not really sure, but we do know that there seems to be a lot of interest in her from a number of quarters, and it would explain a lot about why they're going after you."
"Yeah, you can start with an answer to that one," I said, pulling up a chair and flopping down into it. "Why are they going after me? I didn't do anything."
"Well, whoever's been doing this might be using you to get to her. You know how it works: they put you in the hospital, she comes to see you, they grab her. They grab you and hold you for ransom, she has to do what they say to get you out of it. That kind of thing."
"And, I suppose, that would leave my life in her hands?"
"OK, so what if she doesn't care? I mean, what if she tells them, OK, do what you want to Tony, I'm not going along with...whatever it is that she's supposed to go along with?"
"That's a risk we have to take. My guess, though, is that she wouldn't do that. The letter you provided from her is indication that she cares about you. At least cares enough to let you know what's going on."
"She just said that she was going away."
"At least you heard from her. And, am I correct, she came by to see you in the hospital when you ended up there?"
I nodded in reply. "So, where does this leave me? Do I need a bodyguard? Are you going to send me away for a while? I want to get on with my life. I don't want to see her again, if it's going to mean that I have people trying to kill me to get to her. I swear to you, I lent her a cigarette. I saw her the next day, she was...interested in me."
"Was she your first woman?" Agent Spilotro said.
"You mean, my first girlfriend?"
"No, I mean did you..."
"Why is everyone so interested in that?"
"So she was."
"I didn't say that."
"No, but you're acting like it. Look, Tony...I'm sorry, Mr. Reardon...we have a good reason for wanting to know that. It gives you motive for wanting to cover for her."
"I swear to God, I'm not covering for her."
"No one said that you are..."
"No? Then quit talking to me like I am."
Spilotro sat back in his chair. "OK. So you're not covering for her. Where is she?"
"I have no frickin' idea. That letter that you guys saw is the last that I heard from her. I tried to go see her after I got it, and they told me that no one had been in her apartment for months. Which was bullshit, because I had been in there."
"Is that the apartment at the Hancock Center?"
"We've been through there, and there's no trace that anyone's been there for some time. How would you explain that?"
"I don't know. You're the FBI, you tell me. Look, I've told the police everything that I know about her. You're not telling me everything that you know about her. No one is. I want to know why not."
"Because you don't need to know."
"I want to know."
"That's not the same, kid. Look, you want this shit to stop? You cooperate with us."
"I hear a lot of that lately. People want to talk to me, people want to help me, no one's telling me what I'm up against."
"OK, you want to know what you're up against?" Spilotro sprang out of his seat and leaned over the table at me. "You're up against the Mob, you're up against God knows what terrorist groups, you're up against the police, you're up against this woman, and you're up against me. And right now, the only one that you need to worry about is me."
Kennedy stood up and pulled Spilotro back. "Rick, take it easy. You're not going to get his help that way. Go get us some coffee, OK?"
Spilotro frowned at me, and stormed out of the room.
Kennedy turned as if to say something to me, but I interrupted him. "Good cop, bad cop, right?"
Kennedy laughed. "You ever consider a career in law enforcement?"
I laughed back. "I hear that a lot lately."
"OK, Mr. Reardon...."
"OK. Call me Dan. Here's the deal. We're not sure that we know exactly who this woman is. If our suspicions are correct, she is knowledgeable in areas that would be of interest to organized crime and international terrorism. If she isn't, then it's a horrible mistake that everyone's making, and everyone should just back off and let the two of you be. I can't tell you what our suspicions are, because it would violate her civil rights. That whole innocent until proven guilty thing. If we were to say something to you, and it were incorrect, that would be slander."
It sounded plausible to me. "OK, but what I'm trying to tell you is, I don't know where she is. I've told you and the police everything that I know. I'm tired of being treated like the bad guy here. I want this crap to stop."
"And it will. You did a lot today to help us make it stop, by identifying those guys. You're doing a lot by cooperating with the investigation. I want to make sure that you continue to do so. I'm sorry that we've had this confrontation. You've been trying to help us, I understand that. Now, can you think of anything else that might help us?"
"Not right now. I'm sorry."
"That's all right. You're working with Detective Johnson, which is good. We'll be working with him on the case from here on out. You have his number, right?"
"All right. So, got big plans for Christmas?"
"No, just going home."
"All the way out south, huh? I'm sure that Johnson knows that."
"He knows where I live, yes."
"OK, then. Guess we'll wait for him to get back with the coffee."