He almost got huffy, till he saw the stun gun in my hand. Instead of waiting for me to find the tiny cell phone, he showed it to me. “See Jen, Bob thinks he is so fucking smart he doesn’t need to listen to anyone. You know that the DEA can trace his cell phone, even if he doesn’t use it. What do you bet that it still has the battery inside.”
Jen shook her head as she said, “Bob you are so fucking suicidal.”
“Jen you are my best friend, but even more important you know too much about me. You have to come with me, You do not have an option.” I said.
“But Bob is my husband and I love him.” Jen said.
“I know, but you have to come with me. If the only way I can make that happen is to kill Bob in front of you, then I will kill him right here and make it look like suicide.’ I said.
Bob heard every word of course. “She is right Jen go with her. I will take my chances.” he said.
“Listen to him Jen. For a change he has it right. I can give him some advice that will keep him alive, if he follows it.” I said it, but I doubted that he would last more than a week. I should have killed him, but I couldn’t do that to Jen. What I could do was to make sure he had no idea where we were or what I had planned.
Jen couldn’t answer, she just nodded. Eve led her to the caddy. “Now Bob, you have about 24 hours max before they come looking for you. First thing in the morning be at your bank. Get all the money you can in cash. If you can have them do transfers for the non liquid assets, have it put in your checking account as it becomes available. Use your debit card to access it from as far away as you can and never in the town where you are staying’
Get out of this state and pay cash for everything. Make up a fake identification and use it where you can. Since you haven’t broken any law, if the cops grab you give them your driver’s license. Do like I said before and leave that cell phone in the house. If you just have to call some girl friend, buy a prepaid cell phone and prepaid cards. Activate it make the call and then take the battery out.
Stay on the move. Buy a car from Craig’s list and keep moving. If you always wanted to go somewhere on vacation, now is the time. When this is all over, if you manage to stay alive, you will see an entry for Jen’s Caddy on the local Craig’s list. It will be priced at about twice what it is worth. There will be directions to call a phone number and instructions to ask for Jen. Do it and listen to the directions. Do you have all that?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said “Shouldn’t I have a suicide pill?” he was smiling.
“Bob honey I love you, but you are the suicide pill,” I said. “check everyday on line for that entry about Jen’s car.”
The three of us got in the Caddy and headed out. The very first time I stopped for gas, about a hundred miles away, Eve asked, “Want me to slip away and go back for Bob?”
So much for the ‘never harm a human being’ directive, I thought. Of course I said, “No thanks, I could have done it myself, if I thought it was absolutely necessary. Jen knows to much to turn her into an enemy. My directive one is to ‘never kill a friend, unless they are trying to kill you.”’ I said.
We drove all night and wound up three states away from home and in a small cash motel. When I reached the license plate box on the registration form, I did one of those dyslexic things. The middle eastern young woman hardly spoke English at all, I was pretty sure she neither knew, nor cared.
I explained to Jen and Eve what I needed for them to do, while I slept away the daylight hours. While I slept, Jen drove the Caddy to the largest industrial plant in the area. She parked the caddy in the employee parking lot. She also kept watch while Eve switched plates with one of the employee’s truck in the parking lot. I knew that the tags would be reported stolen in not more than a day or two, but it should buy us some time.
Then they were to drive to a different parking lot and repeat the process. One more switch should give us a set of plates that would stand up to all be the most accidental of discoveries. Even if that happened, it would be the local cops who found us. It wouldn’t be the cops who might be on Estavante’s payroll.
I did not steal a car, instead I bought one from a man on Craig’s list. We paid three thousand dollars cash for the car. The Caddy SUV went into a $100 a month storage locker, which we paid three months in advance on. If the war wasn’t over in three months, neither of us would have any use for the Caddy.
The guy we bought it from, delivered the econo-box to the storage facility. Jen took care of the Caddy, the storage facility, and she took delivery of the car. She also convinced the seller that we were going to leave his car there for a couple of months, while we moved our furniture down. That was just in case anyone asked.
Instead, she drove him and his license plate home. Then she returned and I put the stolen plate from Caddy onto the seven year old econo-box he had left with us. The Caddy went into the garage, and we drove happily away. We had driven all the way to Florida to leave the Caddy and lay a back trail, just in case. It was an old apache trick. Maybe it would work and maybe not, but we had time and nothing to lose trying it.
We headed back north in the econo-box I had zero confidence in the car, but it was pretty much disposable. I would hate to lose three grand, but I wouldn’t mind having it worked on along the way. It seemed easier to do that in a cash repair garage, than to try to purchase a new car at that moment.
We had money, and we had wheels, which I was pretty confident were clean enough. Jen was deeply involved with all the gyrations, so seemed to be handling the Bob separation well. They had always spent a lot of time apart anyway. When she had some downtime to think about it, then the fact that he was in mortal danger might weigh on her mind. She was staying pretty busy, so Bob’s problems seemed to be in the background at best.
We had backtracked along the false trial, just in case we ended up on our own. As we were about to check into the Mom and Pop motel just outside Tupelo Mississippi, I discovered that it had all been a waste of time. I was just about to ignore the smell of curry and fill out the registration card when Eve whispered to me, “Maxine, I have a message for you.”
“Okay,” I said since I knew her message came directly from the nerds at Langley,
“The message is ‘MS, Call home’ and then a number.”she said.
I had expected to begin the next day putting together a response to Estavante. I had already decided that it would most likely be without help from above. I wasn’t all that worried, since I knew a few bad guys, who were unaffiliated.
I replaced the battery into the burn phone, then dialed the number. “Hello Max,” I recognized the voice even over the poor quality phone.
“Well hello Irish. what are you doing hanging out with the nerds?” I asked.
“Trying to save their hardware and at the same time keep you alive.” he said.
“Sweetie if that is all they wanted, they would pick up the package and send me on a long vacation again.” I replied.
“Well, if your greaser buddy got his way, and it came out that the good guys knew in advance, and their response was to send the messenger away, heads would roll. They figure their best option is to take care of this on the other side of the border.” The redhead said.
“That was my thinking all along,” I said. “And if we get caught on the other side, they still have the ability to say, ‘Who the hell are they’”
“Well you do want to be there, when the bear they have been chasing turns and bites them on the ass, don’t you?” he asked.
“What do you think, Red?” I asked.
“So, the hardware comes along. They want to see how that works out,” he said cautiously.
“They know how it works,” I said.
“Not the 2.0 version,” he said. Then he added, “What about your shyster.”
“We keep her safe however you and the Admiral say. Do tell him that if she dies, she is going to have company on her trip to hell.”
“Got ya, how about her husband.” he asked.
“Do you know where he is?” I asked.
“We can find him I’m sure.” he said.
I gave him the code information to call him home. “Get him and Jen into a safe house for a couple of months,” I suggested.
“Sounds like a plan. You in Mississippi?” he asked.
“Not after I break this connection,” I said.
“Come on down to the White House Motel in Biloxi Ms. tomorrow. Ask for Jake Ireland,” he said and the connection was gone. I Immediately pulled the battery. We left the motel without registering and we drove out of Tupelo right that minute.
Since we just needed a place to sleep for one more night, I drove to Memphis Tn. It wasn’t too far, but it was a fair sized town. Mostly the advantages were that it wasn’t in Mississippi, and wasn’t on the route to Biloxi.
One hometown motel is pretty much the same as another. The one in Memphis was across from a very busy night club. After dinner Jen started to bug me to go dancing. I knew there wasn’t any harm in it. At least no more than there would be any other time. So we went.
Believe it or not nothing happened to me. Jennifer got to dance and I got felt up by some farmer’s son. Most likely his dad had a big farm because he was about twenty five and claimed to have a Corvette in the parking lot. Then again it could be a faded old corvette. When the club closed at 1AM, Eve and i were ready to go home. In the parking lot Jen said, “I want to go for a ride with one of those cowboys.”
I knew how I reacted to a dangerous situation, so I said, “Sure but I want to meet him first.”
I walked him into the alley behind the club as I flirted with him a little. Once in the alley I pushed his ass against the wall. I quickly pressed the stun gun almost against his throat, but it didn’t make the contact necessary to trip it.
“Now listen up cowboy, This is a half million volt stun gun. So cowboy hand me your drivers license, but do it carefully unless you want to talk like Kermit the Frog for the rest of your life.” I took the license in my empty hand. When you get my friend back to the motel across the street, you get this back. If she isn’t back by sunup, then I come looking for you. If I can’t find you, the cops get this.” Then I smiled at him, now have fun kids.”
The nights I had drank at Cowboys B&G had taught me that those kinds of clowns didn’t want anyone to know a skinny bitch had slammed them against the wall. I walked away while Eve watched from the alley’s opening.
“You truly are one bad ass bitch,” she said giggling.
“I had no idea you could giggle,” I said. I was relieved that it had gone as well as it had.
Eve and I went back to the motel and to bed. I had slept in spurts for years, but I had never gotten used to it. I had been asleep only about three hours when Jen knocked on the door. I looked out to see her and the cowboy standing on the concrete balcony.
I opened the door with the .38 pistol hidden behind my leg. I handed the cowboy his driver’s license. “Hope she was worth it,” I said as Jen passed through.
“Oh she was, but I kept thinking about you,” he said smiling.
“Sorry hon, we are leaving at first light.” I closed and locked the door. I did wait until I saw his car leave the parking lot before I went back to bed.
”After your warning, I’m surprised that he could get it up,” Jen said as she dropped onto the bed.