Rikau mopped sweat off his face with his hand as he checked his watch again. His other hand held a white megaphone. He wondered how long it would take for Tobi to come down, as he was having a hard time controlling the whole LIPD population in one room. No, not one room, one hall.
There was a reason it was called the main floor. The ground floor of the LIPD was basically one open floor unlike the corridors and offices on the upper floors. Down here, the only distinction made by walls were those of his own office and the glass walls of Homicide Unit where yesterday’s meeting had taken place. Majority of the floor was taken by the cubicles which the most junior officers in the department used as their offices.
The hum of side-talks began to get louder. He groaned and looked at his watch again. His attention was distracted by the distinct chime of the elevator. The doors slid open and, to his immense relief, Efe wheeled Tobi out.
He sighed. Seeing the indomitable Detective Akano everyday on a wheelchair made him look at him as a son. Slowly, they cut through the crowd and stood directly before him.
With a wave of his hand, he quieted them down a bit.
“I’m sure you are all wondering why I called everybody down here,” said, his voice amplified by the megaphone’s loudspeaker. Rikau wanted everybody to hear what he wanted to say, but with a crowd like this, he would give himself bp first without the megaphone. “It has to deal with the Eel’s case that was closed after Detective Akano’s shooting six months ago. That case has just been reopened.”
“But who is taking it over?” an officer shouted. There were more affirmative shouts. With difficulty, he quietened them again.
“You people should keep quiet and let me talk,” he snapped, and the sidetalks quietened down to near-silence. “Yesterday, the President told me personally that he was reopening the case himself, under the the headship of Clyde dé Crozon.”
That one made the place as silent as a graveyard.
“Wait, sir, do you mean the normal Clyde dé Crozon, or another person?” Tobi’s assistant, Efe, asked.
“I’m sure you can hear very well, Efe.”
“Clyde dé Crozon? Is this serious, or is it some kind of a joke?” Tobi asked, flabbergasted, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. For that matter, Rikau couldn’t believe what he was saying, either.
“Tobi, that is what I thought myself.”
“And you said it’s the President. . . Even at that, self, how are we sure that is even true, and maybe not just something for the media?”
“This is the President we’re talking about, Tobi. If he is correct, Clyde dé Crozon should be on his way, and he will be here this week.” Rikau turned to face the rest of the crowd, most of whom were still silent, maybe trying to decide whether or not he was joking. “This man is going to work here, in LIPD and I wanted all of you to know ahead of time, so that he can have your one hundred percent cooperation, do you hear?”
“Very good. Oya, everybody back to work.”
The room’s population slowly thinned out, most of everybody headed up the stairs, leaving just Tobi, his assistant and Rikau.
“What do you feel about the President’s decision, Tobi?” he asked.
“Clyde dé. . . ” Tobi said in awe, as if he still couldn’t believe he had heard it. “I will feel very privileged if I can work with someone like him.”
“So you see no problem with it at all?”
“Problem? No sir, I don’t see why I should have any problem with it? What about you, sir? Do you?”
Rikau stared at him for a while, then grunted and turned around, headed between the cubicles back for his office. Behind him, he heard nothing, and then Tobi’s assistant turned the wheelchair and pushed him back to the elevator.
Rikau turned around and watched her wheel him along, frowning. Why should I have any problem with it? There were all the same, he thought sourly. President and IG, even this same idiot whose reputation he was trying to protect.
He shook his head, turned back and continued walking.