5 - The Pipeline

The Guardian Dolphin

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I lowered my voice anyway, and pointed to the man to the left of the poster.

"That's William Hogan. He wants to run an oil pipeline through the bay. The others are his investors."

"I know who William Hogan is. What do you have to do with this?"

"That pipeline's a bad idea, Kels. Bad for the bay, bad for the town, bad for the beaches."

"What are you gonna do this time?"

"There's a big party tonight at Hogan's. He plans to have them all sign the papers. He doesn't know there's a traveling angel on the job."

"A traveling angel."

Kels talks like that. It was a comment, not a question. I just kept going.

"I've already convinced his sister Betty to pull her money out—that's her, the good looking woman beside William. And Larry—the guy with the mustache—is wavering, too. He's afraid of bad publicity."

"And how is Mr. Hogan going to feel about all this?"

"Oh, he'll thank me."

"Like Mrs. Johnson?"

"That wasn't my fault."

"Or that salesman last year?"

"A fluke. I've got the touch. Believe me, Kels, he's going to thank me."

"Hi."

It was Betty, William's sister, standing right behind me. I grabbed the paper back from Kels, stuffed it in my pocket, and smiled, trying to figure out how much she could have heard.

"Betty! What a surprise! Is something wrong?"

She shrugged as though it was nothing.

"I've been thinking about William's project, pulling my money out, like you said. I'm not sure I can do this to him."

It was time for the traveling angel to move into action. I put on my best, most reassuring smile.

"Kelsey, this is Betty, William Hogan's sister. Pour her a scotch."

"No, thanks." Betty put out her hand as if to say, "stop."

I nodded for Kels to go ahead and pour. He raised his eyebrows at me, but he did it.