Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deleted Scene #4: Forensic Accounting

This scene in Chapter 4 builds on Detective Donovan's earlier raid of Roy Lintner's office.  In the scene Donovan talks with a forensic accountant who's studied what the police took from Lintner's office and gives her the bad news that nothing ties Lintner to Don Vendetta.  As well the scene also tries to explain why Donovan was at Lintner's office investigating corruption and later investigates the murder of Sarah MacGregor.

I decided this was another scene that while it might be interesting isn't all that necessary to the plot and could be removed without damaging the story.
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Donovan tried to spend as little time at her desk as possible.  While other detectives had pictures of loved ones or prized artifacts like autographed baseballs on their desks, she kept hers free of any personal items.  The desk wasn’t supposed to be a home away from home; the desk was supposed to be a brief stopover to fill out reports and the like.
The name plaque was the only thing on the desk to identify her to anyone walking into the Organized Crime office of the precinct.  Even rarer than her visits were the visits of anyone else.  A few times a month she would see Lieutenant Kramer, usually so he could bitch at her for rattling someone’s cage.  Every so often she would have a witness or suspect at the desk, though she preferred to conduct interviews in the interrogation room.
Today not only was she at the desk, but she had a visitor.  His name was Paul Gettelfinger, a forensic accountant the department kept on retainer.  Donovan had never heard of a forensic accountant before she came to Organized Crimes; now she knew they were the bean counters who figured out how books were cooked and by whom.
Gettelfinger always had the downcast look of someone who had probably been bullied a lot as a kid.  That he looked even more downcast than usual she took as a bad sign.  “What’s up, Paulie?” she asked.  “Find anything?”
“No.  Granted our analysis is just preliminary, but I doubt we’re going to find anything from what you’ve given us.”
“Shit.”  Donovan reached into the pocket of her black leather jacket for her pack of cigarettes before she remembered the department had banned smoking indoors.  She took her hand away and then leaned back in the chair.  “Nothing suspicious at all?”
“Not any more suspicious than any other campaign in this city.”
Donovan knew what that meant.  Every campaign used “creative accounting” in one way or another to get around campaign finance laws.  Some donors also liked to keep their identities secret, so that it wouldn’t seem like a candidate was taking millions from special interest groups with only their own interest in mind.  What she had hoped when she raided Lintner’s office was to find something that linked Lintner to Don Vendetta, or one of Don Vendetta’s many shell companies.  “You’re sure?”
“As I said, this is just preliminary, but I’m sure once we’ve finalized everything the results will be the same.  I’m sorry, Lottie.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.”  She reached across the desk to shake his hand.  “Let me know if anything changes.”
“I’ll do that.”
The accountant hurried away, probably fearing that Donovan would lose her temper.  She badly wanted to hurl some files or maybe to discharge a few rounds into the wall.  She held back, settling instead to go outside to smoke a cigarette.  As the nicotine soothed her jangled nerves, she tried to think of the next step.
Though she might not have a job for much longer.  After this and her informant winding up dead, she would probably have Kramer screaming at her again.  They might bust her down to working the beat with Early, or they might outright fire her.  God knew she had pissed off enough people over the years to make a lot of enemies.
Maybe she ought to go over to the Plastic Hippo and shoot her way to the back room.  Just put a bullet in Vendetta’s head and fuck trying to do this legally.  Someone like the don didn’t play by the rules; why should she?  She blew out a stream of smoke and then shook her head.  No, that kind of Dirty Harry shit was for rookies.  She was a cop and until they took her badge, that’s what she would be.  Maybe she bent the rules a little, but she never broke them.
As expected, she found Kramer waiting for her when she came back up.  He motioned for her to step into his office, which she did.  Without his asking, she sat down across from the desk.  “That was a nice stunt you pulled yesterday,” he said.  “I don’t recall you telling me about a search warrant.”
“There wasn’t time to go all the way up the chain,” she said.  “So I saved myself a couple of steps.”
“You realize that Roy Lintner is a city councilman, don’t you?”
“Yes.  And he’s probably dirty too.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“I kind of thought it did.”
Kramer glared at her and then pointed to the phone.  “I had the captain calling me this morning.  He had the commissioner calling him.  Needless to say, none of us are very happy with you at the moment.”
“I understand, sir,” she said.  “I thought Lintner was getting money from Vendetta.  I had to check it out.”
“You could have been more discreet about it.”  Kramer ran a hand through his thinning hair.  “From what I heard, you scared his volunteers shitless.  I hear you almost broke some girl’s arm.”
“She wasn’t cooperating, sir,” Donovan said, thinking of the fat girl who had mouthed off to her.  That other little bitch had probably tattled to her boss about it.
“In any case, we—and by that I mean the captain and I—think it would be best for you to take some time away from Organized Crimes.”
“You’re transferring me?  To where?”
“Back to Homicide.  They have need of a detective and we think you’d benefit from getting back to basics, so to speak.”  This sounded like something the captain would say; he was an even bigger asshole than Lieutenant Kramer.
“Who’s going to take up the Vendetta investigation?”
“That’s none of your concern.  Leave your notes on your old desk before you go.”
“This is my investigation—”
“And you’ve fucked it up, so now we’re going to someone else.  Get it, Sergeant?”
“I get it.”  The very small part of her brain that was still capable of rational thought reminded her that transferring back to Homicide was far from the worst thing that could happen to her.  At least they hadn’t fired her or put her on public relations duty, where all she would do was give safety lectures to kids and old people.  She would at least still be solving crimes, not sitting at a desk or on her ass at home.
Without asking, she got to her feet.  “Thanks for caring so much about my well-being, sir,” she said, loading her voice with sarcasm.  She spun around and stomped back to the desk she was vacating.  She didn’t bother leaving her notes, knowing no one would really pick up where she had left off.  They would ostensibly assign someone else to the case, but not anyone who would actually give a shit about it.
She plucked the name plaque off her old desk and then went down the hall to get to work.

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