Chapter 57. News Channel Gone Dark
In her apartment, every moment Kaylee spent outside of class, her computer logged in and a bluetooth connection to her television to watch it with her sister.
Melanie paced around the apartment in agitation. The news website out of Singapore at first uploaded the few still images and fewer videos had no recent enough updates to calm her irritation.
One high-quality video, the news reporter explained that Singapore authorities detained an American, Thomas Harte, while they investigated the charges that he smuggled marijuana bundled for transportation and a bottle of unknown liquid that investigators suspected as a narcotic. Cleared of drug-use by medical examination, the prosecutor planned to use the reports against him in a court and prosecute the United States Citizen as a smuggler.
‟He was cleared by a blood check? How can they use that he was clean against him?” Melanie said.
‟There, it said it. If he had it in possession and he’s clean, they know he was trafficker.” Kaylee held both hands to her tear-streaked face.
‟I’ve called Lettie, she called the government here. I talked with a lawyer that Lettie set me up with, he will set me up with the state department and we will see if there is any help I can do.” Kaylee said.
‟How can you help?”
‟The stash was mine.” Kaylee said. ‟It was in with my massage oil. I know that’s what they are calling as narc-oil.”
‟You left it? In his plane?” Melanie clapped her hand to her forehead. ‟You never planned to stay with Glenn.”
‟I, uh…” Kaylee stammered, then her temper flared. ‟Screw you.”
That just made Melanie the Monster and kid sister laugh harder.
‟You say that and that means I’m right. Tom got you to love him.” She smiled at her sister and poked her older Kaylee over her heart. “He writes about airship pirates, but he is the King of Pirates who stole your heart. Thomas Harte is a thief of hearts.”
‟Shut up, Melanie or I’ll tell mom.” In an empty threat. “And don’t poke me.”
Melanie quieted down and giggled for several minutes.
‟I’ll need to tell the State Department that Tom and I had gotten married and then annulled.” Kaylee rubbed her forehead. ‟Dad will poop a pinecone.”
‟Yeah, a whole tree of them.” Melanie smiled, but her tone was sad. ‟You know those crazy paparazzi with cameras will be here. You won’t be able to walk or drive to classes.”
‟I’ll live on campus then.”
‟The wait list is two years long, you won’t get a place until after you graduate.” Melanie shook her head. ‟If you tell the State Department, you can save him, but you will lose your chance to graduate in peace. The photographers will be all over you like flies on a dead fish.”
‟What…?” Kaylee interrupted. “Mel, the feed just went down. Just have a four-zero-four ‟Not Found” code.”
‟Just go back a page.”
‟I did, Online Network News only has other countries in the menu, Singapore is not there. Not even weather.”
‟Wierd. Try alternate news feeds.” Melanie suggested and sat next to her sister at the computer.
‟Okay.” Kaylee typed in the addresses of the different sources.
‟Those are old images we’ve seen. Tom might be free. Oh!” Kaylee smiled. ‟Lettie has sent an email.”
Then the excitement turned into crestfallen defeat.
‟She says Tom’s locked up in jail, Singapore police have confiscated his passport. She looked at the laws, sent me the link.” Kaylee clicked on the highlighted text. ‟That is harsh. He might get ten-years for the weed and forfeit all his possessions and death penalty is mandatory for the narc-oil.”
Melanie looked at her sister.
‟Death? But that is only aromatherapy oil, right? That essence of rosemary I gave you for your birthday.” She shook her head. “And they took… His plane?”
Melanie kept reading over Kaylee’s shoulder.
A phone rang, and both sisters looked at their phones before Kaylee picked it up.
‟Hello? Yes. Yes, at home. Yes. Las Vegas, three weeks ago. My address is…” Kaylee looked down off the balcony. ‟You know where I am? Yes. Right away? I’ll be here.”
‟That was the lawyer. He and a State Department rep are on their way.‟ Looking down, ‟Oh… Drat! I need to get dressed in something nicer than my t-shirt and jeans.”
‟At least put on a bra. You’re kind of on point since you have been on the phone.” Melanie pointed out.
‟What! ACK!” Kaylee squawked and ran to her room to change clothes, covering her chest up with her hands.
‟Why did you cover and run? It’s only me.” Melanie laughed again. The younger sister enjoyed when the elder stressed out.
‟Oh my god! Omygodomygod I can’t find what to wear.” Sounds in her bedroom echoed as she slammed drawers and closet doors.
‟Wear your dark green skirt, boots and your black silk blouse with the pocket.”
‟You borrowed my skirt last month for the class interviews, have you brought it back?”
‟No, it’s in my laundry.”
‟Crap. Mellie, help, I am in a panic, I need some advice.”
‟Okay, black skirt?”
‟Yes, past my knee. Heeled boots, black silk blouse and the gray jacket.
‟Yeeaah… I would leave the jacket.” Melanie said and looked out the window. ‟It’s too hot to dress in those extra layers.”
‟Yeah. Yeah… I will meet with some important people, I don’t want them to think I am just a college kid.”
‟Well. You are, and he is a lot older, you might not get away without that label in their minds, then they would say it.” Melanie mused as she helped her sister adjust the collar on the blouse.
‟I don’t know what to say.” Kaylee said and walked out of the room. ‟The lawyer will be here in a moment.”
‟Okay. Okay.” Melanie said as the sibling turned around. ‟Okay, you look good. Wait, did you put a bra on?” Another squeak of profanity from her Kaylee who disappeared into her room again.
A short few minutes and she was ready. The sisters opened the door to walk down to the sidewalk and both sisters screamed in surprise.
Four men stood in the hallway, two in military uniform in places on either side of the door. Two in civilian office clothing, one looked like he had swallowed some vile drink.
‟Miss Grant?” The dark-skinned man held out a hand. ‟I’m Beyron Ferguson, attorney at law. The G.I. Joe here is the secretary of the local state department office, Maxwell Silverham.” he indicated the sour-faced man.
‟Local?” Melanie said. ‟I didn’t know we had a local one.”
‟And you are?” Beyron said.
‟She is my sister, Melanie Grant. I would like to have her here while you interrogate me. Should I get a lawyer?”
‟Please call me Max.” The older white-haired man said. ‟No you don’t need a lawyer, and local is a relative term Miss Grant.” He nodded with a smile to Melanie.
‟May I get you a glass of water?” Kaylee asked.
‟No, thank you.” Max said. ‟May we sit?”
Motioning to the breakfast table, they all took a seat while Beyron pulled out a notepad.
‟For the record Miss Grant… Kaylee. I am your attorney, appointed by the Attorney General of the United States, pro-bono. That is no charge to you.” Beyron explained to the two women. “I will give you advice, but I will do what you ask, even finding a replacement if I do not fulfill my job to your satisfaction. Mister Silverham here is the government investigator in charge. He would like to ask about your relationship with Thomas Harte who is now in custody in Singapore and will stand trial for drug possession in the next few days. This is not a criminal investigation, but I am here to protect your rights in any event his questions stray into private areas that are not relevant. If at any time you wish to stop talking with Mister Silverham, we will bring this to an end. Do you understand all that?”
‟Before we start,” Max said, ‟What is your relationship with this author who seems to lack a street address.”
Kaylee held hands with her sister and relaxed, she felt more confident than ever and explained the events of the past summer.