She puffed on her pipe. "Now, I need to send Marshall to that building, to ask each of those women one question. Can you arrange for transportation there and back, to save time?"
"There's a police cruiser downstairs. He–"
"Not the best solution," I said. "The building is almost at the other end of U-town from the city bridge, so it would be a very long walk, both ways, even if I got a ride from here to the bridge and back. The most efficient way to do this is to have a car drive me over the highway bridge and then stop by the side of the highway. It's elevated there, but I think I know a good place where there's an access ladder down, which will let me off about three blocks from the building. But if a police car waits there, on the highway, it will attract interest, and certain security procedures may go into effect. An unmarked sedan, with a plainclothes detective driving, would be much better."
My employer had not given any indication that she and I would have a private word before I left, so I asked, "What is the question I'm going to ask these women?"
She smiled, as if it should have been obvious (though I could tell this was for the benefit of the others). "Why, to ask them the same question I just asked this gentleman, of course. I need to know where they were born."
Stu and the detective didn't react. Miss Tumolo pursed her lips in disapproval, assuming this was flummery of some sort. Mr. Prescott looked thoughtful.
"Should I ask Mr. Mason the same question, if he's there?"
"No, there's no need for that."
It was about twenty minutes after the car dropped me off that I climbed back up the short ladder with Jerry Prescott preceding me. He had come willingly, but if he was going to change his mind, I wanted him in front of me.
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