The Cochin Commodore
Author: James Stevenson
Setting Year: 1998
Setting Decade: 1990s
Main Themes: CorruptionExcerpt: The hearing room was impressive with its high ceilings and elegant wood paneling. Directly across from the witness table, staring at me was a large painting of an African-American, standing tall with papers in his left hand, hanging behind one of the representatives whom I assumed must be Chairman Quenzell Fontaine, chatting with some people seated behind him. Captain Fletcher showed me to my seat and then left, returning to the public area behind me. I had never felt so isolated. I glanced around the room and then saw Debra Weinstein scribbling in her notebook. She looked up in my direction, lifted her pen, and tilted it toward me and smiled. Reflexively, I smiled back. Our eye contact was broken when Chairman Fontaine rapped his gavel and said, “We can come to order now. We are here today to look into the allegations of the recent article in the Special Access newsletter, which if true, portend to be the most serious act of governmental misconduct I’ve witnessed since I’ve been chairman. I am most interested in getting to the gravamen of this issue, so I’d like to collapse the time necessary to get to the heart of this. Consequently, I’d like to ask our one and only witness this morning, Commander Paine, to waive the reading of his opening statement, which we will incorporate into the record without objection. That is if it is alright with Commander Paine, and begin with questions.” Without waiting for a reply, the Chairman continued. “Now Commander, let me begin by. . . .” -- “That’s not my statement,” I interjected. “I’m sorry. What?” asked Chairman Fontaine. “That’s not my statement. I didn’t write it and it does not reflect what happened,” I said with my palms beginning to get moist. There was a stir in the audience and the members of the committee began looking at each other.
Submitted by: James P. Stevenson
Excerpt Page Number: digital so no page numbers
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