mentioned. She listened and said, âCertainly, sir,â and put the phone down. She stood and gestured toward a door. âPlease go right in, Mr. Jackson.â
I went in.
Fox was standing behind his desk when I came in. Brad Hillborough was leaning on his cane beside a chair off to one side. In front of Fox, seated in chairs, were two other men. Everybody was wearing a suit and tie and looking at me.
At the far side of the room was a conference table. On the wall beyond it was a gigantic map of Marthaâs Vineyard. The small, colored flags stuck in the map reminded me of those used in maps in military operation centers: Here is the enemy, here is us, here is where we want to be; weâre gathered together to discuss how to get there. When the discussion is over, I will decide what to do and you will go do it.
âWell, well, Mr. Jackson,â said Fox, âhave you changed your mind about working with us?â
âNo. I just have a question.â I glanced at the two men in the chairs.
âThese are trusted colleagues, Mr. Jackson,â said Fox. âYou can speak freely. Allow me to introduce them. Gentlemen, this is Mr. J. W. Jackson, of whom I have spoken. Mr. Jackson, this is Jonathan Burns and this is Samuel Jacobs.â
The men rose and put temporary smiles on their otherwise emotionless faces. As we shook hands and exchanged assurances that our meeting was a pleasure, they studied me with their entrepreneurial eyes.
âNow, Mr. Jackson, what is it you wish to know?â Fox glanced at his watch. Time is money.
âYesterday,â I said, âtwo men in a green Range Rover with Georgia plates followed me until they realized that Iâd spotted them and broke off their surveillance. Today, when they thought I wasnât looking, they put a tracking device on my car to make their job easier. I got a good look at the men before I got rid of the tracking device.â
Foxâs eyes seemed to brighten. They moved to Jacobs and Burns and came back to me.
âMy question is: Why are they doing it? I thought it might save us all a lot of time if you just told me what you want to know.â
Fox stared at me. âAre you sure of your facts?â
I nodded. âI switched the tracking device to a Tisbury police cruiser, so your two boys will be following the cops instead of me for a while, at least. I thought Iâd use the time to have this chat with you. So, what is it that you think youâll learn by following me around?â
Fox looked silently at me. Then he said, âYouâre absolutely sure of what youâre saying? Youâre not mistaken about anything youâve told me?â
âIâm sure. Dom Agganis checked the carâs ownership. Itâs one of yours. Iâm curious about your interest in my travels.â
âI have no interest in your travels, Mr. Jackson.â He turned and looked again at Jacobs and Burns. âDo either of you know what this is about?â His voice was cold.
They seemed almost to squirm before his gaze. They flicked glances at each other beneath raised brows and shook their heads, then looked back at Fox and shook them some more. âI donât know anything about it, Donald,â said Burns.
âItâs news to me,â agreed Jacobs with a nervous shrug.
âNothing that our people do should be news to you two,â snapped Fox. âFirst someone tries to kill my brother, then Kirkland is murdered, and now this! And you two know nothing about any of it!â
Jacobs appeared to shrink in size. Burns was cooler. He looked at me. âPlease describe the two men, Mr. Jackson, and provide me with the license number of the vehicle, if you have it.â
I did that. Burns frowned. âSounds like Wall and Reston,â he said. âIf youâll excuse me, Donald, Iâll get right on this.â
âYou do that,â said Fox in a voice like ice. âAnd you go