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Scene Three
Monday, December 21, 1998 (back to the present) / Buffalo, New York / Late Afternoon

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 ~

It was approximately four in the afternoon when Mrs. Rebecca Newton appeared on the porch of her parents' home. Jose looked up. He had remained in the car the entire afternoon reviewing his manilla envelope.

"Mr. Fernandez?" asked Rebecca, knocking on the window of his car. "May I talk to you?" Jose rolled down his window. "Is there somewhere we could go? I don't want my parents to hear this," said Rebecca, nervously. Jose leaned over and opened the passenger door. Rebecca climbed in.

"Anywhere in mind?" asked Jose.

"The mall. There's a lot of people there," replied Rebecca. After they were well inside the mall, Rebecca sat down on a bench outside a toy store. The loudspeakers played 'Jingle Bells,' and the sound of children's excited voices filled the air. Jose sat down beside her on the bench. "It didn't occur to me until you left my parents' home, but you're the reporter who tried to call me three months ago," asked Rebecca, "aren't you?"

"I am," replied Jose. "I asked some of the people who operated businesses beside ClearFieldz' office, and they said you left there last Friday, looking troubled. They guessed that you had been fired. I thought if you had been fired, you might be willing to answer some questions." Jose stopped talking and waited for Rebecca to speak her mind. If there was one thing Jose had learned by being a reporter, it was how to listen. She was about to talk and he knew it.

"I was told," began Rebecca,"that if I spoke to you, I would be fired. I guess it doesn't matter now." Rebecca watched the small children running in and out of the toy store. "What I told my parents wasn't true. I'm not pregnant. I just didn't want to frighten them."

"Won't they find out when you don't have a baby in nine months?" asked Jose. Rebecca shook her head.

"I won't be alive in nine months, Mr. Fernandez. They will see to that."

"They?" asked Jose.

"The company I worked for, ClearFieldz, is run by people, mostly men, with a background in the military. There are people in ClearFieldz that would be more than willing to kill me, if the order were given. It wouldn't make any difference to them."

"Why?" asked Jose, incredulously.

"I was the secretary to Christopher Cushing, president of ClearFieldz, Inc. I had access to sensitive files, that, if made public, could be incriminating to the personnel of ClearFieldz and it's president." Jose glanced around them. He was beginning to feel uneasy.

"Do you have any of these files, Mrs. Newton?" he asked carefully. Jose saw Rebecca's hands tremble. He put his hand on top of hers. "Do you?" he repeated. Rebecca nodded. Her face was pale white. "Does Cushing know you have these files?" Rebecca's breathing grew rapid. "Mrs. Newton, you're hyperventilating," Jose warned. "Hang your head down, and breathe," he instructed. Rebecca did as she was told. When she felt better, Jose repeated his question. "Does Christopher Cushing know you have the files?"

"He does now," Rebecca replied, "at least, I think he does. I took them from the locked file cabinet before I left work, last Friday."

"Are you telling me you just left, not giving any explanation?" asked Jose, looking at her in surprise. Rebecca nodded. "When Cushing arrives at his office today, and finds both you and the files missing... Mrs. Newton! whatever were you thinking!" exclaimed Jose half angrily. Rebecca covered her face with her hands.

continued on next page...
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