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“If we cancel now, we could start a panic,” Ed Vargas pointed out from behind Joe Stellacadente’s desk.
“I’d prefer to have scared and living people on my hands versus dead people, Mister Vargas,” the FBI man shot back. His arms were now crossed.
Joe Stellacadente, from the guest chair in front of his own desk, looked past his boss’s shoulder at a portrait of Joe’s only child, his daughter and a descendent of Genoese traders who had destroyed their world by trying to save their selves. “He’s right, Tony.”
“Excuse me?” Vargas’s face registered the shock of being contradicted by his deputy.
Joe unsteepled his fingers, and calmly set them on the arms of his chair. “If we cancel now, the race will take a big hit in prestige. But if it’s the scene of a terrorist attack that we had warning of in advance, however vague a warning...” Joe allowed his voice to trail off, but his shoulders remained bedrocks as his eyes bored into his boss’s eyes.
Anthony Vargas stared back, hard. Then he looked away, at no one. “God help me.” A sigh, and downcast eyes. “Let’s cancel the race.”
Sarah Smeltzer the Registration Director spoke up for the first time. “We’ll send out a blast email for–sorry.” She blushed at her choice of adjective.
“No, we had better be as public with this as possible, and most people won’t read their email tonight anyway.” Vargas leaned forward and reached for one of Joe’s pens stacked in a Boston Marathon coffee mug. “We’ll need to think of some non-threatening way to say there’s a threat--”
“Hold off on that.”