Enough was enough. It was time to make the call. Clint just hoped he hadn’t miscalculated. But as long as you gave people an even better story then they’d quickly forget the old one.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Tobin Makem’s number. The call was answered almost instantly.
“Tobin? This is Clint Walker.”
“Clint. It seems I’ve been hearing your name a lot lately. And now you call. How are you doing?”
“She’s fine,” said Clint, a little shortly.
Tobin chuckled. “No need to get jealous. She did go back to you, didn’t she?”
“You know I really didn’t call you to talk about Nikki.”
“Why did you call me then? Because first I hear from Malcolm Grant, asking about you. Then I hear from him again, with some photographs and him saying you recommended he send them to me. And what was interesting was those photographs definitely were of the variety I thought you didn’t take any more now that you’ve gotten into quote, unquote: serious photography. And now here you are calling me up. So, what is going Clint. Because I would love to know.”
“I just sent you an email five minutes ago. That should explain some things.”
Clint could hear the sound of Tobin typing on a keyboard and then there was a long, drawn out sigh.
“Tell me this isn’t what I think it is.”
“What are you going to do with them?”
Tobin swore quite eloquently. “Why on earth did you do this to me?”
“This isn’t about you. But you do have to release them. I mean if someone else did it for you, it would look pretty bad wouldn’t it?”
“This was about Nikki wasn’t it? You wanted to get back at me or something?”
“Actually, no. I already told you, I’m not calling you about Nikki.” Clint was annoyed. He didn’t like her being brought into this. “In weird way this was a compliment.”
“And how on earth do you see that?”
“I knew you’d do the right thing.”
There was a very long pause.
“What exactly do you expect me to do?” asked Tobin.
“How did Grant give you the photographs?”
“He emailed them over.”
“Perfect. Then what I expect you to do is release these new photographs and release that email. I think people will have far too much to talk about to care about you and your magazine’s involvement.”
“Oh, my boss will care. You can be certain of that.”
Tobin snorted. “Says the freelancer.”
“Look, its better your magazine exposes the truth than someone else, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” he agreed reluctantly. “Though it’d be best if we weren’t in this mess to begin with. Why did you do this Clint?”
“Look, if I do this, if I release that email…well you’re mentioned in it. It sounds very much like you and Grant both are responsible for it. Which, actually apparently you are.”
Clint hesitated. He’d known he was playing a dangerous game to begin with and that this was always this risk. He’d been prepared to take it.
He heard Tobin sigh again. “I swear Clint, I knew you were ruthless but this…my career is on the line here.”
“Your career will do just fine. You didn’t do anything unethical.”
“You certainly did. This is playing dirty. I just don’t know what the game is.”
“The game doesn’t concern you. The only thing that should concern you is putting out the truth before someone does it for you.”
“Alright. I’ll start working on the article and inform my boss. But one thing Clint: never, do anything remotely like this to me again.”
“I doubt that would even be an option.”
Clint hung up and set aside his phone. Well that was that then.
A part of him felt guilty. He knew he’d traded on Tobin’s standard of ethics. That probably wasn’t right. But he had done what he had to do.
Standing up, he walked over to the side table and picked up his camera. He weighed it in his hands. And suddenly, a surprise burst of hatred for it swept over him. It seemed every crappy thing he had ever done in his life, he’d done with it. He slammed it back down on the side table and heard something crack.