“You got an axe to grind?” I asked.
Lindsey Reese leaned back in the chair, but she didn’t relax.
“I always have an axe to grind: the truth.”
I shook my head slowly. “No, this is something else. I’ve given you the truth. There’s a drug out there that could potentially plunge the city into an epidemic.”
She rolled her eyes. “Every drug is an epidemic. We’ve been through cocaine, crack marijuana—which is now legal in most places—heroin, crystal meth, prescription opioids, and now this. We’ve heard it all before. You think that the public is going to respond to the latest drug craze?”
“If they’re given the facts—”
“Wrong. People who don’t use drugs will skip on with their lives rolling their eyes at the ‘stupid addicts.’ Those who already do the drug will fall into two types, ‘I can quit any time,’ or ‘it hasn’t hurt me, so that’s crap.’ What they will respond to, what they might give a damn about, is if the police are covering it up. That will give the story the necessary boost to make the public care about a drug epidemic.”
“You want to turn it into a sexy scandal?”
“It’s the only thing people respond to any more.”
I shook my head. “You want to crucify the cops for a story, for a byline?”
She shook with rage, but was still in control. She leaned forward again, but this time seized my collar and pulled me close. “You unbelievable bastard. You don’t get to judge me. You don’t understand anything. I’m trying my damnedest to get the public to care about something, anything. I’m not out for myself, I’m out to help people, to get at the truth, and we’ve got a world of morons who can’t pay attention for more than thirty seconds or only pay attention if it’s a celebrity or scandal or something. And, you know what, I see corruption out there. I see companies and agencies taking advantage of the people, ramming policies through that wouldn’t otherwise happen or just glossing over things so that public will forget. Well, I’ve got a story where the cops are hiding a potential drug epidemic. Drugs won’t get attention, but people don’t trust government so they’ll pay attention to that.”
“But it isn’t true.”
“Says you. I’ve got information that says it is.”
Could it be true? Collins has been skittish about the whole thing. The special division isn’t really a step up for him, almost like a promotion to the dead letter office. People sure seemed to pay attention to the twits—tweets?—from Shadow Valley the other day.
I broke her hold on my collar and set my shirt right. “Convince me.”