Chapter Eight

Mike wanted the entire length and width of page one of the Sentinel's morning edition to be nothing but the headline, "Green Hornet Caught." Britt vetoed the idea. Too much news surrounding the previous evening's events had to go onto page one. Nevertheless, the words had sufficient space beneath the Sentinel's banner. The question mark Britt ordered on the headline bothered Mike, who was confident the police had nabbed their man. Still, a sub headline indicated that Blake denied being the real Green Hornet. Mike's article was on the left half of page one. On the right side, Britt's editorial about Mitchell Blake's hypocrisy served as a preface to the editorial Blake had written and sent to Britt just hours before Blake's tenure as the Green Hornet was terminated.

Frank knew the police had not apprehended the Green Hornet. He never wanted to see that day arrive. Had it not been for the Green Hornet a counterfeiting operation would have set up shop in town. Instead, a total of nine men were in jail, a surplus of charges and evidence awaiting them when they had their day in court. Still, he enjoyed the moment of glory, short-lived though it was, as praise poured in from all over the city and state upon the news of the capture of the Green Hornet.

Frank sat in Britt's office, reading the words Blake had written attacking the District Attorney and the Sentinel publisher regarding the Green Hornet. He finished the editorial with a shake of his head, pulling his glasses off his face and holding them and the paper in his right hand. "Unbelievable," he said.

"I couldn't let that editorial go unpublished," Britt said with a smile.

"I'm glad you ran it," Frank admitted.

"How's the interrogation going?" Britt asked.

"They can't stop 'ratting' on each other," Frank said. "The punch line about the deal Patrick made with Morrison and Blake to pay for the Green Hornet's arrest or demise…"

"The money he was going to pay was counterfeit?" Britt guessed.

Frank nodded. "When Morrison and Blake found that out, they turned on each other, and both turned on Patrick. The hardest part now is deciding who gets to prosecute them first, the federal boys, the state, or me."

Britt saw movement in Casey's office through the window. Mike entered her office from the city room. "Poor Mike," Britt mused with a smile and a twinkle in his eye that betrayed his spoken lament for his employee.

Frank laughed. "Let him enjoy it while he can, Britt."

"Good morning!" Mike sang as he opened Britt's door. Casey followed him in, ostensibly to protest his entering the publisher's office without permission, but also to watch him gloat. She wanted to soak in the joy Mike exhibited so she could remind him that Britt had warned him not to be too overconfident about the imprisonment of the Green Hornet the next time the Green Hornet showed up. Her left arm still sported a couple of bandages, but the healing process was well underway.

"Isn't it a lovely morning?" Mike continued, almost dancing through Britt's office to the publisher's desk.

"You're not going to retire, are you, Mike?" Britt asked. "I know you said you'd retire the day the Green Hornet was caught, but I don't…"

"Yep," Mike said. "I can die happy now."

"Mike," Frank said, putting the paper on Britt's desk as he stood and slid his glasses back on his face, "I think you should think twice about that. We have a taped confession from Blake and two other people who swear he's not the Green Hornet."

"Mr. Scanlon," Mike said, "if you were the Green Hornet and you were facing the list of charges he's facing, you'd say anything to get out of it, wouldn't you?"

"You have a point, Mike," Frank said, "but…"

Casey's outer door opened and a flower deliveryman entered, a vase crammed with roses in his hands. The noise and movement interrupted the conversation in Britt's office. The man walked tentatively to Britt's open door and peered inside. "Excuse me," he said, "I'm looking for Miss Case."

"I'm Miss Case," Casey said.

The deliveryman was very young, most likely just out of high school judging by his pimply face. "These are for you," he said, extending the vase in her direction.

"For me?"

"Yes. They're from the Green Hornet."

"The Green Hornet?" Mike spewed. The words deflated him like a hatpin to a balloon.

"I've never been so scared in my life!" the young man said.

"What happened?" Britt asked. Frank marveled at Britt's ability to keep a straight face.

"I was in the flower shop this morning, about an hour ago," the man said. "I was opening the store, and in walked the Green Hornet! I thought he was going to kill me. Instead, he ordered four dozen roses to be sent to those women who were attacked this week by that guy who was arrested last night. He paid for them and left." The young man raised his eyebrows as if impressed by the Hornet's appearance. "He's certainly a good tipper, I'll say that."

Casey sat the flowers on Britt's desk and opened the card sitting amid the roses. "'Thanks for your help in getting rid of the phony Green Hornet'," Casey read aloud, "'and get well soon. The Green Hornet.'" She smiled. "Isn't that nice?"

"No, it's NOT nice!" Mike snorted. He stomped toward the door, the deliveryman scurrying out of his way.

"Mike?" Britt called. The reporter stopped and turned. "Want me to keep your retirement notice for another time?" Mike replied by throwing his hands in the air in defeat before leaving the office.

The trio waited until the delivery boy was clear of Casey's outer office door before breaking into laughter. Britt shook his head. "I tried to warn him," he mused.

"He'll get over it," Frank prophesied as he turned to leave. "I know I will." He laughed as he left with a wave of his hands.

Casey picked up her vase and headed for her office to resume her work and to allow Britt to start on his day's activities. As she reached the door she turned back to her boss, happy to see the sparkle back in his eyes. "Thanks for the roses, Mr. Reid."

The End