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Novkey > Library > Crime > Number One Fan

Number One Fan

CHAPTER 9

Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5080 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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  THE NEXT DAY, David and I walked towards the conference room at the second floor for an emergency meeting. I noticed that both of us wore brown. I wore a long brown dress while he donned a light brown long-sleeved polo and dark brown pants.

  “By the way, I saw Alex yesterday,” David said.

  “Where did you see him?” I asked.

  “I saw him at the mall, together with your sister, Joyce.”

  “Ah, yes,” I remembered. “I asked Alex a favor to fetch Joyce from her school for me.”

  “Joyce is getting more beautiful than the last time I saw her,” David said. “If I can’t have her elder sister back, could I court Joyce one of these days?”

  I looked at him and did not reply.

  David smiled and winked at me.

  “I was only joking,” he said and turned towards the door.

  I stood silent. The timing of his remark made me think.

  Does his joke mean anything?

  Our new boss, Rodolfo Echaves, presided the meeting. He succeeded Mr. Borja as the head of News and Current Affairs. He was about fifty years old, a former broadcaster of Royale Broadcasting Network. Better known as Ka Rudy, I knew him when I started as a field reporter on the radio, and he served as my mentor.

  The meeting covered many things including the sudden death of Mr. Borja. Then it moved on to the Management’s plan for the News and Current Affairs.

  I observed David as I listened to the discussions. At times, we stared at each other. Different thoughts played in my mind every time I glanced at him.

  Could he be Number One Fan? Would I tell Patrick what I know and suspect?

  After the meeting, I approached Ka Rudy. David approached him, too.

  “Ka Rudy, can I have a minute of your time?” I asked.

  I looked at David. He just smiled at me and it seemed that he would like to speak to Ka Rudy, too.

  “In private, if you may,” I added.

  Were you planning to stop me, David?

  

  

  “YOU HAVE A GOOD MATERIAL THERE,” said Ka Rudy as he leaned back to his swivel chair.

  His office was much smaller than Mr. Borja’s. The drawn curtains showed the view of the city. His desk was full of paper works and disorganized; amazing how he could manage to remember where he put things.

   “Go ahead, put it on black and white, and I’ll take it to Management for their final approval.”

  “Thanks, Ka Rudy,” I said as I stood up from my seat.

  I felt relieved after I proposed a TV documentary about the deaths of Prof. Anacleto and Mr. Borja. It went in the line of a serial killer that targets journalists and broadcasters. But I did not mention the calls I received from Number One Fan. I just told Ka Rudy that a TV documentary might make it to the ratings.

  “So the last time you talked to Mr. Borja was yesterday afternoon about your request for a caller ID,” said Ka Rudy.

  “Yes, because I told him that I received a nasty prank call last week,” I replied.

  “Ah, no wonder he issued a memo yesterday to track all incoming calls here.”

  “Yes, Sir,” I said.

  “Did the prank caller threaten you?” Ka Rudy asked.

  “No, Sir,” I lied. “As I’ve said, those were just a prank call I received in one night.”

  “Go ahead,” Ka Rudy said. “You can pursue that plan. Let’s see if it will rate.”

  “Thank you, Sir,” I said as I was about to leave.

  “Try to make it your best shot, Regine,” Ka Rudy said. “Management has a nice plan for you… career-wise.”

  I nodded and smiled, thinking what that “nice plan” could be.

  “Just cooperate with us and you’ll see,” Ka Rudy continued.

  

  

  I TRIED TO BE CONSISTENT in my statements with the PNP-CIDG investigating the ambush of Mr. Borja. I received no calls from Number One Fan. Yet I had that feeling he had something to do with the crime. I tried to be careful not to commit a slip of the tongue, afraid to mention my conversations with that mysterious caller.

  Police S/Insp. Noel Carrillo was already a familiar figure here at RMBN. He had been our frequent resource person in some police investigations. He called all the employees who met with Mr. Borja yesterday. David and I were one of them. He conducted the interrogation inside the conference room.

  I went in for my turn and I saw another police officer beside him, another familiar figure, my best friend, SPO3 Patrick Dagulo.

  “Hi! Good afternoon, Inspector,” I greeted.

  “Good afternoon, Regine,” he greeted and shook my hand. “Here is my assistant, Dagul.”

  “We know each other, Boss,” Patrick said and smiled at me.

  His nickname not only came from his last name but also from his tall and large frame built. If he wore casual attire, anyone would mistake him for a professional wrestler and not a police officer.

  “Sit down, Regine. How are you?” P S/Insp. Carrillo asked.

  “I’m doing fine, Sir,” I replied as I sat down on a chair across them.

  “All right, we’ll start Miss Sta. Maria,” P S/Insp. Carrillo said. “Will you tell us what happened yesterday when you went to meet Mr. Ponciano Borja?”

  “I talked to him sometime between two thirty to three o’clock in the afternoon,” I said. “I requested for a new phone unit, those with caller ID screen. My phone unit was old and has no screen so I would not know who was calling. The IT department said that VOIP implementation and replacement of old phone units would take some time. Those are just one of the things they have to do right after the merger.”

  “Why did you request for a caller ID?” asked Carrillo.

  I looked at Patrick who stared at me as he waited for my reply. He held a pen and his notepad was ever ready to accept his notes.

  “Ah,” I thought of what to answer. “It was because I received a prank call last week. It was just one of those annoying calls, but it was nothing. I thought I’d better request one because it might happen again in the future.”

  “When was this exactly, Miss Sta. Maria?” Carrillo asked again.

  “Monday last week,” I answered. “But it only happened once.”

  “Can you tell us about that prank call?” Patrick asked. “Nitz mentioned that incident in passing last week when we met.”

  I looked at them and noticed that I got their attention and curiosity already. I have to be careful not to divulge more than necessary.

  “Monday evening was my first day to do the evening newscast,” I started. “After that, I received a bouquet of roses with a card. Written on the card was a message that said ‘Congratulations, you’re now a newscaster. Make me Number One. From your Number One Fan.’

  “And yes, I told Nitz Henson about it,” I continued as I looked at Patrick.

  “And after you have received the flowers, what happened?”

  “I received a phone call from a man who identified himself as Number One Fan,” I said.

  “And what did he say?” Carrillo asked.

  “He asked if I received the flowers he sent,” I replied while staring at Patrick. “So I asked who he was, he said just call him Number One Fan and gave a devilish laugh that sounded terrifying. I seldom receive these kinds of calls. I even asked if that was Patrick, or Alex, or Abet Fortunato.”

  “Why?” Carrillo asked.

  “I thought they were just playing a joke on me,” I said.

  “How could I play a joke on you?” asked Patrick.

  “Yeah, I remembered you were celebrating Inspector Carrillo’s promotion,” I said. “I asked if that was you and the caller said, ‘Wrong, guess again.’ I asked if that was Alex or Abet. But he said he was not. I thought that it was a joke because it did not happen again since then.”

  At that point, I decided not to divulge more.

  “Maybe the caller just wanted to annoy me,” I continued. “People see me reporting on the streets rather than being in front of the camera most of the time. A dissatisfied fan might do that."

  The two police officers looked at each other and nodded.

  “Did you notice anything with Mr. Borja that day?” Carrillo asked again.

  “Nothing much,” I replied. “Often times he would greet us, congratulate us; give us advice while doing his rounds.”

  “Anything more you would like to add?” Carrillo asked.

  I shook my head.

  “Wait,” Patrick said. “You received the call Monday evening just before you and Alex saw Ka Luis and David at the restaurant, right?”

  “Yes, that’s right,” I said. “I remember Alex called me to say that he’ll be late in fetching me up here. Then Alex, David, and I talked outside the lobby for a few minutes then David left earlier.”

  “What time was that?” Carrillo asked sensing that he could connect the two deaths with my statement.

  “Around nine o’clock, I guess,” I said.

  “Who came first at the restaurant, you and Alex or Ka Luis and David?” Patrick asked.

  “I didn’t notice them,” I said. “I saw them when Alex and I were about to leave the restaurant.”

  “So you’re positive that it was David Lim who last saw Ka Luis alive?” Carrillo asked.

  I nodded. I saw the two stared at each other.

  “Did you notice anything strange with David?” Carrillo asked.

  I kept silent. At that point, my mind and heart tugged each other.

  “Regine,” I heard Patrick said. “We have two dead journalists. We may or may not connect this prank call with their deaths but it can lead us to something.”

  “As I always tell my men,” Inspector Carrillo said, “there’s no such thing as coincidences in crime.”

  Coincidences! That was happening around me.

  I sighed.

  “None,” I lied. “I think Prof. Anacleto brought David here at RMBN.”

  I looked at them and they looked at each other.

  “Well, thank you, Regine, for your cooperation,” Carrillo said as he stood up and shook my hand once again. “By the way, I saw Alex Joven last night. Patrick mentioned that Alex is no longer connected here. Is it true?”

  “Yes, he’s now with DZQR, Quality Radio,” I said. “Did he cover the ambush, too?”

  “Yes,” Patrick said. “We saw him together with David.”

  I remembered David told me about the ambush first. Again, he was there when things like these happen.

  Why?

  

  

  AFTER INSPECTOR CARRILLO AND PATRICK HAD LEFT, David treated me for lunch. I agreed for old time’s sake and he couldn’t take no for an answer. We went to a fine dining restaurant near RMBN, the same restaurant where Alex and I went a week ago. This time, only a few customers dined in. I could not help but think of the possibility that David is Number One Fan.

  “Were you also interrogated by Inspector Carrillo?” David asked as we ate our lunch.

  “Yes,” I replied. “I was one of those who’ve met with Mr. Borja that afternoon hours before the ambush.”

  I took a bite of pasta and could not help but observe his actions.

  “Have you told him about the prank caller?” he asked.

  Surprised with that question, I remembered the way he knew about it when I told Mr. Borja about my request for a caller ID.

  “Ah, yes, I mentioned that,” I said. “I said that the prank caller just annoyed me for a night and nothing serious.”

  “I hope so,” he said.

  “You were also interrogated, right?” I asked.

  He nodded.

  “Yes,” he said. “I told them what I knew.”

  “May I ask why you were there?” I asked remembering what Patrick had said earlier. “I mean, you were there to cover Mr. Borja’s ambush.”

  “I was at Starbucks with some friends when it happened,” I said. “Although I didn’t see the actual shooting, my friends and I just heard the gunshots and saw the commotion after.”

  “Did you see Alex that night?” I asked.

  “Yes,” he said. “He was there to cover the news for DZQR.”

  Most of our conversations during lunch went trivial. Sometimes we would discuss a topic at length just like before until I asked about Adele.

  “I hope you don’t mind if I brought this up,” I said. “Why did Adele commit suicide?”

  David stared at me and shook his head.

  “I don’t know,” he replied. “But Alex kept on telling everyone that she committed suicide because of me.”

  “Why?” I asked. “I saw you two kissing. After a few days she died. What happened?”

  David bowed and shook his head.

  “I tried to explain to you that nothing happened between us,” he said. “She kissed me first. You didn’t want to listen. I understand. You saw us in an uncompromising position.”

  I did not reply. I admit I did not listen to his explanations.

  “I kept on telling Adele,” he continued, “that I love you. So I have to reject her.”

  “Reject her?” I repeated. “You rejected her? You hurt her feeling that’s why she committed suicide.”

  “Blame me if you want,” David said. “Anyway, I'm already guilty as charged before I could state my case.”

  “What about Alex?” I asked. “Did Adele break off her relationship with him?”

  “I don’t know,” David said. “Why don’t you ask Alex?”

  “Well, Alex said that they were in a relationship when that happened. Every time I bring out Adele, he didn’t want to discuss about it.”

  

  

  WHEN I GOT BACK to my workstation after lunch, I saw a new email in my Inbox. I clicked on it to open and found this:

  

  To: regine_stamaria@rmbn.com

  From: numberonefan@sexwitheveryone.com

  [Add to Address Book]

  Re: Hello!

  Cc:

  [Reply] [Forward] [Delete] [Move]

  

  Psst… This is my email address. Ssshh… Do not tell this to anyone. Send me your plan on how to make me famous at this address. Make no mistake… If you do not want this to happen, (see attached picture.)

  

  Attachment: joyce1.jpg (585KB)

  

  I clicked on the attachment to view the picture. The photograph seemed X-rated and dark. I could not believe in what I saw. It showed Joyce naked and having sex with an unidentified man.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  
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