Even though we had very little sleep last night, I went to work on time. I was thankful it was a slow day. Jenny had left for Annapolis at the same time I left for C-town.
Marcy was going to call an office-wide meeting to fill everyone in on the events that happened at Rochester last night. We thought that everyone should hear it from one of us.
I called and talked to Janice after lunch; it was a long talk. We covered a lot of topics. I really wanted to know how she was handling the day after. Did we need to get counseling for her on Friday? Killing someone affects everyone differently. She had done it while defending herself and her friends, as well as her coworkers.
I asked, “How are you feeling, and how did you sleep?”
“My hand is sore. I had to take the pain meds last night and again today. I was exhausted after the fight; I think because of the adrenalin rush. After the pain meds, I slept very well,” she replied.
“How have your friends and fellow workers reacted?” I asked.
“Kelly held the night shift over and played the video of the fight for them, and then the day shift this morning in a joint meeting. They could not believe that we beat those three guys and that I had killed one of them. They think it was impressive,” she said.
“Sly and Becky walked the route earlier and a police car stopped on the side of the highway. The two policemen walked over to them and wanted to know if they were the two that were in the fight last night. They wanted to invite us to the cop’s bar hangout for a free drink for a job well done,” Janice said. “The captain brought back the handcuffs we put on those guys last night and the TV station was out at the entrance doing some kind of report before lunch.”
“Just be extra careful; you only have one more day there,” I replied.
I sent a text to the girls in the gym that Janice was up, feeling well and working the desk if anyone wanted to call and give her words of support.
Tonight was going to be busy. I had never been to a county commissioners meeting. Marcy and Lorrie had been to them several times with Jason.
I felt I had no choice but to go – after all the issues with the airport and the accident that had moved me into the spotlight – and I needed to support Lorrie. I was expecting that our fuel truck move was going to be too much for the commissioners to swallow.
We arrived an hour early. I thought the place would be standing room only and I did not want to stand for two hours.
There were plenty of news crews there. Marley with her channel 23 crew was there along with channel 14, 29 and 46 news crews. They were all at the entrance killing time, making filler video.
As soon as we were near her she and her crew ran to us. The other crews were following behind her. She asked if we had come to speak to the commissioners. “No, just to observe and to defend our actions if it was necessary and state our case,” I replied.
Then she asked how I was recovering from the accident? “I am fine, just black and blue and still sore in places,” I replied.
Then she said, “My station picked up a news story from Rochester about a JBG security team being attacked last night and one of the assailants were killed. Was it one of your teams from Summer’s Road?”
“Yes, it was one of our teams and the report was correct that one of the assailants was killed, another in serious and the third has been downgraded to critical condition this afternoon,” I replied.
She then asked, “Who were the team members and were any of them injured?”
“There were some minor injuries, the investigation has not completed yet so we are not releasing names at this time,” I replied. Then I asked if she was going to cover the press conference tomorrow at the shopping center site?
Marley countered with, “Are you expecting more fireworks?” “Anything is possible,” I replied.
We walked on before any of the other stations could ask any questions. We took the last seats in the building.
Jason and I went to meet his friend from the commercial business department while the others saved our seats. He was shocked to find out that we had been able to lease the site to a big box store. He also expected some kickback from the anti-big-box anti-growth crowd.
Jason assured him that with the grandfather clause in the zoning, there was nothing they could do. He promised that he would be there representing the county and asked if he could drop a teaser during his report tonight that a major retail agreement was going to be announced at the press conference tomorrow at the site and promised he would release no names.
The commissioners meeting turned into a mini riot so bad that additional deputies were brought in. Many of the county groups were screaming about the airport funding swap, how it was going to affect future budgets and how it was going to affect their little piece of the pie. They were demanding heads roll.
Duke’s doctor must have sedated him. He set quietly and said very little. His response to every question about the airport was, “No comment, the issue is under investigation. All questions about the airport funding need to go the county attorneys.”
The meeting was in its final minutes; they were going through the odds and ends to close it. Duke stood and walked from behind the commissioner’s table, then along the wall past the end of the rows of seated people and behind the last row that we were seated in.
There were two sheriff’s deputies, one on each corner of the rear row. As Duke went past, the deputy fell in behind him as he made his way along the back row towards my group.
Duke touched my shoulder, “May I speak with you privately for a minute?” You could have heard a pin drop, it got so quiet.
I followed Duke a short distance to the hall behind the seats with the two deputies in tow. He stopped and turned to face me.
“I want to apologize for my family for what my son tried to do to you. I don’t know what got into him – sometimes he just seemed to go out into left field with some things. I hope that you are recovering from the injuries. I sorry that it happened,” he said.
“I am sorry for your loss and wish the outcome had been different. I know the loss of a loved one is hard to take and to lose a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers,” I said then I gave him an extended hug.
I could hear cameras clicking in the background and wondered what caption would accompany the picture in the paper.
We walked back into the meeting room. He went into a private meeting with the rest of the commissioners and department heads and I to Marcy, Lorrie, and Jason.
We walked to Jason’s Suburban, avoiding the media who were interviewing other attendees of the meeting. One of the reporters shouted my name to get us to stop. I waved and said, “See you tomorrow,” entered the Suburban and drove home.
Edit by Alfmeister