Michael Anthony is a Caribbean author that continues to foster the importance of the Caribbean story told from the voices of the Caribbean people.What would you do if you stumbled across a scandal in your office? This week, indulge in the captivating tale of equal parts suspense and of equal parts plot twist in Michael Anthony’s “High Tide of Intrigue.”
High Tide of Intrigue
When Corporal Maureen stepped into the offices of the Criminal Investigations Department Inspector Rolf Cook knew right away that something was wrong. He went straight to where she was sitting at her desk.
“Something wrong, Corporal?” He could see the pain and anger in her eyes, and around those very eyes a little soreness and puffiness which meant she had been crying.
She looked up at him. She was going to say, “No, Spec, everything’s all right.” But she hesitated. She had hidden things long enough. She had always regarded what happened at home between herself and Francis as their own private business, especially since Francis was Senior Special Detective of the department. But this morning she felt she could not hold back. The matter was serious and had to be confronted.
Hesitatingly, she said, “Inspector, yes. Yes, something happened this morning.” She raised her large eyes: “It really upset me because it was really bad. It was really, really bad this morning, Spec.”
The inspector looked very concerned. He had heard, of course, that for the past few months things had not being going very well between Maureen and Francis, and that in fact they were having a turbulent life together. He could not guess what had upset her so much this morning and he did not want to pry. So he did not know what to say now. She was such a fine officer, and so elegant and attractive, but the fact she was so attractive was her own downfall, he was sure. And he was sure that half her problems were due to the mad jealousy of Francis, an officer of whom, he felt, the least said the better.
Over the past year Francis had caused a few scenes in the office and had only escaped being arrested because the authorities liked his work. He had proved an outstanding detective; in fact that was why he had gotten a promotion as head of the newly established squad Fight-Against-Drugs. With a sigh, the inspector left Maureen’s desk and crossed to the nearby window. He stood there, looking out at Saint Vincent Street.
Maureen raised her head. She had expected Inspector Cook to question her, which would have made it easier for her to let him know what exactly had happened. Instead she would have to tell him now. She got up and joined him at the window.
“Spec, you think I could talk to you a little bit?”
He swung round, “Sure! Why not?” He was rather anxious, but pretended he could not be calmer. He said, “You want us to talk now?”
“Yes,” she looked around. There were police officers all over the room. She said, “Yes, but privately.”
“Of course!” he said, “I wouldn’t talk to you out here just like that. Come. Let’s go in me office.”
They eased their way through the crowded front lounge to the inspector’s office. The inspector showed her to a chair in front of his desk, and he sat down facing her.
She said, “Inspector, you know how I don’t like to talk about these things. Several times when I come to work with a swollen face and you ask me what happened I make up some sort of excuse telling you what is obviously not so. But I always feel you have an idea what is really going on. Everybody here know what Francis is. How he is so stupidly jealous. We had a hell of a row this morning and of course he punched me down as usual. But the question of hitting is not what I want to tell you about now. So many men beat up women in this place — anyway let’s not start off on that. What I want to tell you Spec is even more serious. I could have dropped dead with shock this morning. I mean to say it’s only a few months ago the commissioner appointed Francis to head the Fight Against Drugs department. And you know what I found in his pocket this morning? Drugs!”
Inspector Cook stared at her, shocked. “You really serious?”
“I found drugs in his pocket.”
The inspector stood up. “I can’t believe this.”
“But it’s true? You remember Palm Sunday when the feller looked in here?”
“But you can’t take that sort of thing —”
“I’ll never take that sort of thing as fact. Not without investigating it. But it did strike me. Remember that the man pointed upstairs and said “You three musketeers supposed to be destroying drugs,. Not distributing drugs.” When I mentioned it to Francis that night he said the man was a vagrant. I knew the man wasn’t any vagrant, but I thought it was maybe somebody talking nonsense. Sorry now I didn’t go out and talk with him.”
The inspector leaned on his desk and held his forehead. He was thinking hard. He said now: “Drugs in his pocket? Why you didn’t call me to arrest the bastard! But bet he’d say the marijuana came from one of the crooks he searched. Or he might say you planted it in his pocket — This sort of case with husband and wife always terrible. But the most important thing is this: if those three fellers really distributing marijuana, and if they still distributing marijuana, let’s ketch them and clamp their backside in jail.”
Maureen said, “I don’t know if Seepersad and Bledman in this. I meself don’t feel Norman Bledman will get into that kind of thing. He is me good friend and if there was anything I would have known.”
“You can’t trust nobody. If the captain is in it, the cook’s damn well in it too.”
Maureen smiled weakly, and he hastily said, “But not this Cook. Not this Cook.” He went on, “If Francis and the others are into drugs they in it on their own. But first things first, you feeling okay? You want to go to a doctor?”
“No. I’m fine, Spec.”
She smiled, but he could see she was in pain from the bruises and blisters on her face and neck. He said, “I know that fool’s born jealous but I wonder if it’s this blasted thing he messing round with what making him hit you so much.
“I wouldn’t doubt it. Although, really, he was always hitting me. He was hitting me since the day after we got married.”
“And why you married the so-and-so?”
“I loved him. I didn’t know how he was.”
“Well you know now. That beast!”
Inspector Cook felt he couldn’t hate Francis more. It was unbelievable how this policeman, whose job it was to protect people, could be so brutal to his own wife. From the time he realized that Francis was using his fist on Maureen he had been appalled, but he had decided not to interfere unless Maureen came to him for help. Now she had, but he suspected it was the discovery of the drugs which made her talk.
Everyone in that department knew how strongly Maureen felt about drugs. Anyone just wanting proof of this feeling just had to look at the wall above her desk where she had a poster with large red letters reading: SAY NO TO DRUGS. Some people said she was paranoid about drugs because drugs had led to the death of a close relative in Grenada. Drugs had killed no relative of the inspector but he had seen enough to reject anything to do with the stuff.
“Corporal” he said to Maureen, “Do something for me. I want you to investigate this thing about your husband. And I want you to do it quiet and undercover. I’m taking you off your normal duties to have you get to the bottom of this thing.” He looked at the pile of sheets on her desk and he said, “When you finish with those finger-print records take them over to the sergeant. Then leave that off completely. Say I say so. I’ll give somebody else that job. Your job from now on is investigating those three guys. In secret, mind you! Don’t let nobody know. If you get enough hard evidence we’ll hang their bleeding jack— pardon my French.”
She looked up at him. He said, “You’ll do that for me? Investigate like a hound dog, with your nose to the ground. I mean, you want to do it?”
“Yes, yes please, Spec.”
“Take as long as you like but do a thorough thing. Today is what — Wednesday, June 20. I give you as much as a year to catch those crooks.”
“Okay Spec. Just leave it to me.”
What did Maureen discover? Stay tuned to find out more!