TITLE: Pro Bono
Identity theft, computer hacking, murder—and it’s only Monday for TV’s top news jockey, Quindley Dempsy. A former embedded war reporter, she has raised a mountain of cash to build a rehab clinic for treating injured combat veterans. When her friend’s body drops from the rafters during the clinic’s dedication, Quindley sets out to nail the bastard who killed the chief finance officer of her mega-bucks foundation—only to expose an embezzlement ring that is looting her fund and is poised to rock the national treasury.
The spring gala was the social event of the season—until a friend dropped in.
I descended the grand staircase of my spanking new Five Angels Rehabilitation Clinic teetering atop bling-studded stilettos, and faltered past a guy guarding the buffet table, fretting I might cartwheel into his chocolate fondue fountain. Bow-tied waiters proffering trays of champagne and canapés slalomed through the crush of people like Olympic skiers as I inched to the microphone.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this war is creating a painful and expensive legacy. We can measure its cost in wheelchairs and prosthetics. One high-tech leg starts at sixty-thousand dollars.” I took stock of Cooter Ferry’s moneyed elite, noted philanthropists, and local celebrities. “Cheers to each of your two good ones. Now, how many limbs will you buy tonight?”
“Every time I see you, Quindley, you have your hand out,” said a prominent commercial contractor. He studied my emerald gown with an approving eye. “This clinic some kind of vanity project for you?”
“Our injured vets need more than yellow ribbons.” I tiptoed from the podium and snatched his folded cashier’s check.
Tonight’s plan was straightforward—raise enough scratch for Five Angels to sooth my nagging guilt over a probable departure from Eagle 7 News for a coveted network assignment.
The pug-faced mayor barreled toward me, his stately wife in tow. “You’ve really outdone yourself,” he said in an over-articulated drawl. “This clinic is Grade-A. I can almost forgive you being a Yankee. Almost.”