“Miss Morrison, we will be at your beck and call, immediately ready to respond should there be any issues,” Gregory Wang said.
Sarah Yale’s voice was soft and persuasive. “This could really help many people, Miss Morrison. You’d be making a great contribution to the bureau and society by helping put these monsters where they belong.”
My laughter was dry. “Do you know exactly what my relationship with him is?”
“We are aware,” Gregory responded. “Salvatore Picollo informed us of the details.”
“Yes. One of his men turned informant. We have him in custody.”
I shuddered. Did Luca make one of his men turn on him? “If you know what my relationship with him is all about then you should also understand that I cannot wear a wire without it being discovered. Also my time with him is almost over.”
“We know the details and this is why we need to give this a shot now. We—”
“I did this to save my father’s life.” I glared at them enunciating every single world. “I sold myself to two people because I couldn't afford to pay my father’s medical bills. But now you’re telling me to possibly sacrifice his life all over again just so I could… make a contribution to society? If I had asked society to help with my father’s bills would they have given a damn?”
“What about after all of this? What if you’re successful and his criminal enterprise is brought down? Doesn’t that put a target on me and my family for the rest of our lives?”
“You’ll be in the witness protection program. We will ensure—”
“I don’t care what you will ensure. I know what witness protection means. You guys don’t give a damn about the people you step on to get your big wins. You get to live your life while I have to look over my shoulder for the rest of mine? And what about my father? Do I leave him behind? Do I get to take him to a place that is completely foreign to him? Does he get to bring my stepmother? Does she get to bring her daughter? No? I thought so.”
Fuming, I straightened my back and gave my final and definite response. “No! I will not do it. Please find someone else.”
With as much confidence I could muster I turned around to exit the bathroom.
“We will prosecute you,” Sarah Yale said coldly.
I stopped in my tracks. There it was: she was playing the part of bad cop.
“For income tax irregularities,” she continued. “You received payments from both Salvatore Picollo and Luca Messana in cash, and you failed both times to put aside what is due to the IRS. Not declaring monies received in relation to services rendered is an offence that could get you incarcerated and will most definitely come with a hefty fine. And as we are government officials we are bound to report and act on such irregularities.”
I turned around slowly. “You’re threatening me?”
“No, Miss Morrison,” Gregory spoke. “We’re not threatening you. We’re giving you a choice. You can either pay the amount owed, which at your tax rate we reckon would be close to a hundred thousand by the time all your dad’s bills are taken into consideration, or… you could simply agree to collaborate with us.”
Tears burned my eyes as I glared at both of them.
I swallowed hard, then spoke, every word even more painful as the last. “What exactly do you need me to do?”
“The first thing is to try to find a way to extend your time with him. This way we can work with you to obtain the specific type of information we need. Anything too sudden or direct will force him to become suspicious and clam up.”
“And what if he doesn’t want to extend the relationship?” I asked. “And anyway why do you assume our relationship is cordial?”
“Isn't it?’ Sarah asked. “Based on Salvatore’s report about the incident at the Hospital gala, it would seem to be.”
“Salvatore insulted me and Luca helped Salvatore understand the error of his ways. Isn’t that basic human decency?”
Sarah Yale hid a smile.
“Not for a man like Messana. Miss Morrison, as previously mentioned we have been chasing him for years and know more about him than his own mother probably does. This is not a man that is driven by affection or care for his fellowmen. He has sent his own men to their deaths.”
“And yet this is the person that you’re asking me to betray?”
Both had nothing to say to that. “The situation is the same. Do not help us and you are looking at prison time. If you don’t want to do this for yourself, do it for your father. It would break his heart if you were incarcerated.”
At the mention of my father I sighed. “All right. I’ll help you.”
The second I said that Sarah Yale pulled up a briefcase from the floor, opened it and took out her wires. Gregory went out of the room while she fitted me up. She worked quickly and expertly. Then she phoned someone. “Is it working?”