Busted Axle Road
CopyrightÂ© 1993, 2001, 2010
"Sure looks like a scam to us," Andy Bairnsfether said. "We were just talking about it the other day, but we haven't done anything on it."
"Why not?" Mike asked.
"Hell, Mike, you taught me yourself that there's sometimes a hell of a difference between what you know and what you can print. We poked around the edges, and found enough to smell, but without some hard evidence, there's nothing we could do about a story. What's got you son interested in the Defenders of Gaea?"
"It's a long story, but we're having some problems with them here, and the more I hear, the less I like."
"That's strange," Andy said. "They're pretty much a bicoastal outfit. They don't do much in the midwest. Probably they got some big donor they could work for a scam."
"I'm starting to suspect that," Mike said, not wanting to let on to Andy just yet what he did suspect.
"Well, if you turn up anybody that wants to come clean, we'd be glad to talk to them," Andy said. "It's going to be hard to blow the whistle on them, unless we get some inside dope."
"Not much chance of that," Mike said. "I've got a lead or two, and a couple of twos and twos. But, I don't have much more than that. I was hoping you could give me a little background, something that I could use for a sidebar to the main story about the trouble they're causing here."
"You mean things like the president of the organization drives a Mercedes, and the VP-Treasurer lives in a million-dollar house in Malibu?"
"Not that sort of thing, necessarily," Mike said. "What I'd really like is to find someone in authority saying on record that the group is a scam."
"Dream on, Mike," Andy said. "We'd like to find that, too. Things like that Mercedes and that million-dollar house are the sort of things that tell us what's really going on. But, it's all circumstantial evidence. We can't print that very well."
"You mean, they do?" Mike said, amazed at the revelation. "God, the more I find out, the smellier and smellier this whole thing sounds."
"Now you know how we feel," Andy said. "Like I said, if you come across someone that wants to come clean, let us know."
"I doubt that anything is going to come from Spearfish Lake," Mike said. "But if it does, I'll be sure to let you know."
"Look, I can send you a little background information, if you think you can use it," Andy said. "There might not be much there, but you might be able to use it to lever open a door or two."
"I'd appreciate that, Andy. I just don't want to steal anything from you."
Andy laughed. "The day we have to worry about getting scooped on a story by the Spearfish Lake Record-Herald, that's the day that I'll think that the whole world needs an enema. Even if you do get something, it won't matter in L.A. Just let us know."
"Right now, anything will be a big help," Mike said. "I'll send you some tear sheets, so you'll have an idea of what we're looking at. Pretty small potatoes for L.A., I suspect." "We might get a lead out of it," Andy suggested. "You might turn up the piece of the puzzle that's missing out here."