You’ll Be Happy to Know This: part two
“Sure. I have no use for junk like that. I need to trust the people I hire, Oliver. You’re gonna work for me another time, right?” This last, he said to Bruner, and Bruner, finding himself acknowledged, repeated his question.
Oliver changed the subject. “So, what is it troubles you?”
He was getting the ball rolling. He gestured at the Durco family on the wall, the picture that Bruner, feeling almost superstitious about it, had re-hung.
“You saw something you didn’t like.”
He, Summers…and Durco, probably, despite his claim of having nothing to do with it…wanted Bruner to tell them about the work. He thought his face had been disinterested when he’d flicked through Summers’s file. He must have twitched, or flinched, when he’d seen that shot of Van Nest, and…
What was Freda’s phrase? No, it was Boardman, by her report, had said it. Nightmarish apparition. All these mushroomings of disquieting remembrance had been, rather, the ticks of a mechanism, leading to this interview.
He tried to explain the nature of what they’d done.
“I can’t give a specific example,” he told Summers. “I mean, I can’t give you names, that type of thing. Consider Durco…” Maybe it was unwise to speak of Durco in his own office, but of what Bruner had to say, Durco must already know. And if he didn’t, it would do him good to learn.
“…we’ve all heard Durco is just a short version of his father’s name. Remember, this was ten years ago. A man like Durco, who does well for himself in America, who has a lot of friends…whether anyone could think he has tendencies or not, needs to be watched. He’s a conduit for sedition; his household is a conduit. But at the same time, information can be funneled back the other direction, to Durco’s people. We’re promoting wartime initiatives. We might say, ‘Mr. Durco, you’re a businessman. Can you give us a list of community-minded folks you know, who are willing to help?’”
Bruner slumped in his seat, gaze fixed on his hand, on the armrest, his wristwatch, without seeing the time. He raised his head and looked Oliver in the eye.
“Uh huh.” Oliver nodded. “But the idea…”
“The idea was that Bolshevism was a kind of foreign hysteria. That…if you want to know…the eastern Europeans, the Slavs, were temperamentally inclined to it.”
“So how did the business break up?”
You’ll Be Happy to Know This
(2016, Stephanie Foster)