Saturday, December 12, 2054

Chapter Sixteen

Duffield left Paul's house in a fine mood. When he got into his car, Addie Rotholz was waiting in the passenger seat.

"Well?", Rotholz asked.

Duffield smiled, "He's gonna do it."

Rotholz said, "I owe you one for this Jackson."

" I rarely let people off the hook for favors, but something tells me we're going to end up calling it even on this one. I should have thought of booking him myself but you're the one who knew what would get him to bite. He barely put up a fight."

Rotholz came back, "Look Jackson, Please don't trash him. I want to see what he's got, so don't go easy, but I'm not out to bury the guy."

"Addie, you still haven't told me what your interest is in this. What are you after?"

"I'm not ready to tell you yet, but I think there's a real opportunity here. And it won't be something at Harkness' expense...he'll benefit too if things work out... and assuming he's interested. I'm pretty sure there'll be something in it for you too in the long run."

"So, how do you want me to handle him on the show?" Duffield asked.

Rotholz said, "Same as you would any other guest. Assume you'll want him on the show again, so don't give him a hard time for its own sake. I want to see how he handles himself on a variety of issues without prep. And you don't need to steer away from the President's allegations. Don't push too hard, but it'll look like a setup if you just ignore the subject. Let Cummings and McKiernan go anywhere they want. If they play rough, I'll get to see how he responds to direct confrontation without him holding you responsible.

Duffield was quiet as he pulled up in front of Addie's Georgetown townhouse. He turned to her and said, "I just hope his Letterman performance wasn't a fluke. In person, he seemed a little indecisive. I wouldn't want him sitting like a lump or coming off as totally uninformed."

Rotholz answered, "I hope he does well too. Look, I need to find out if he's the real deal. I hope he is and I honestly think he is, but if I'm wrong, I need to know."

As Addie got out of the car, Duffield said, "Yeah, well we can only hope. Addie, I know why I hope he's the real deal, but I'll be real interested to find out what's in it for you."

She leaned back in through the open window. "You'll find out soon enough. And don't worry; you won't end up feeling like you've lead some poor innocent to the slaughter, no matter what happens. If anything comes of this, it'll be with Harkness' full knowledge and enthusiastic cooperation."

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