Jessica Barett Interviews Mike Brody from ‘The Last Track’
Jessica seldom used a tape recorder when conducting interviews. Instead she preferred the give and take of a conversation. No flashy technology necessary, just a pencil and notepad. Yes, the technique was old fashioned. She could be that way at times. But she knew what worked for her. She had a lot of practice.
And what Jessica knew best about interviewing, was that when subjects knew they were being recorded, they edited their answers. Maybe just a little. Maybe a whole lot. Either way the sight of a tape recorder had an odd effect on people. She had seen it in their eyes that the device she considered a tool, those being interviewed saw as an invitation to embellish. Not that people lied outright. No, they just tried a little too hard to say something really memorable.
Something about Mike Brody told her he would offer up something compelling all on his own. She was certain of this. Jessica knew Mike better than almost anyone. And so when dealing with Mike, even though she really wanted to make an exception and preserve every moment, she knew enough to leave the tape recorder in the leather satchel, right next to her laptop.
Mike sat across from her, hiding behind a hairstyle that was somewhere between military and business professional. Only Mike had long ago stopped being either. It showed. A lot more than just the table separated them.
Catching her off guard, Mike made the first move. “So is this working for you?”
“Just so we’re clear,” Jessica said, “I asked you for an interview and not a mediation.”
“Yes, “Mike said. “And I agreed to an interview. But I didn’t agree that you would get to ask all the questions.”
Even without glancing at the table, she caught herself crossing her arms at the wrists. She tapped the table a few times with the fingers of both hands, before she returned to her point. “Tell me about Senator Hexler and how you came to be involved with the search for his son. Was there a phone call from his office, or did the police ask you?”
“You’re asking who brought me into the search.”
“That’s very good, Mike. Your question sounded nothing at all like one.”
“I learned from the best.” He paused. “Someone inside his circle had heard about other searches I had been involved in and they thought I could help. I never spoke to the Senator directly.”
“Even after you recovered his son? Two hundred law enforcement searching for nearly a week couldn’t do that.”
Before answering he cleared his throat. “You know, to me, the most important thing to remember about that experience, was that I was a tiny part of a very large search team. There were a lot of well-trained and dedicated individuals involved. At the end of the day, I was just in a position to find him.”
“And you haven’t spoken much about the case, until now,” Jessica said.
Mike nodded. “I haven’t spoken at all about the case.”
“Why?” asked Jessica
“Why not talk about the case? Or why speak about it now?”
“Whichever you feel comfortable answering.”
“Honestly,” Mike said, “it was a chance to talk to you. And also, I feel like I owed you for everything you did for me. I know you wanted to place a piece in News Story for a long time. You used to talk about it, back in the old days.”
“Do you feel like there are other debts you are trying to pay down by finding the missing? Is that why you keep doing it—no matter what it costs you personally or emotionally.”
“I think,” Mike said, pushing back from the table, “that’s a question for another interview.”