Sheriff Porter 40
Liam and his crew were in full body armor, so I stood back and let them take the room. I just watched them overpower him and put him in the back of an SUV. I stayed behind to check the motel parking lot for his truck with the Kayaks. It was parked in a far corner of the parking lot. I hadn’t known where it would be, but I did know it would be there. Coincidence time was past.
When I got back to the compound I was met by Colonel Martin. “Well Sylvia you did good. I expected no less. The sun is barely down and we have a man who was instrumental in our losing my Tobias something or other. I never paid much attention to those names.”
“Do you want to take over now?” I asked.
“No, not at all, this is what I wanted to talk to you about. You know we contract lots of things out there these days. I want you to set up an investigative service. One with which I can make a contract. This just proves to me you are the right person,” he said.
“Let’s leave that whole thing till I talk to whoever we have in the dark house,” I said.
I walked into the night and over to a cabin away from all the others. I went inside and there in a straight chair sat a man with a black hood over his head. He was from the former Soviet Union. He was for sale now, but he had once been filled with idealism. I made enough noise so he knew someone had sat down.
“Hello,” he said with no fear in his voice. “Well are you going to speak to me or just kill me?”
“To be perfectly honest I’m trying to decide,” I said.
“You don’t strike me as a gangster, and I have no current intelligence of any value to anyone. You are wasting your time and mine.”
“You are the only one with a shortage of time,” I said. I got out of my chair and walked to the door.
“Your government would not allow you to kill me,” he said. “It’s the beauty of due process and your bill of rights.”
“Then you are a citizen of the United States?” I asked. “Because if you are not, those rights and protections are not guaranteed to you.” I looked at the hooded figure and said, “Even if you are, I don’t give a shit. See the beauty of this job is we tell the people we are homeland security and give them a phony piece of paper to sign and they never report what happened to anyone. Then you just disappear.”
At that point I felt pretty sure I had his attention. So I got up and left the room.
“I’m going to bed,” I told the guard on the door. “Make sure he doesn’t sleep tonight.”
I went back to the cabin I had been assigned while babysitting. It had eight bunks and there were two of the female agents staying there. The Colonel did not want Osborn on the loose so he had her move in as well.
“I’m going to stink, if I don’t get some clean clothes,” she said.
“You can borrow some of mine tomorrow,” I suggested
“No offense Boss, but I couldn’t be fine in yours with a hundred years of stretching,” she said.
“Here,” one the Mosad agents said. “Keep them they come in a large pack from your Wal-Mart.”
“Thanks,” Osborn said. “What’s your name?”
The Israeli looked at me and said, “Jewish Chick.” then she walked away.
“You don’t want to get to know anyone here Oz. We are all just nicknames here. It makes the whole thing less real,” I said.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Skinny Blond chic to the rabble,” I said.
“So who will I be?” she asked.
“Big tit blond chic,” I said. “Now go to sleep Oz. This may be your last chance before you get your cherry popped.”
“I’m no virgin,” she said.
“There are all kinds of virgins honey. Tomorrow you will see what I mean,” I replied.
“At 5 AM I ran for an hour. Since we didn’t have the chef from the swamp, the food sucked. They served me the usual powdered eggs and burned bacon. Some of the soldiers from the Middle East refused to eat the bacon. I had no problem with it burned or not. I certainly had no religious aversions to it. I went from breakfast to the dark cabin, where it was always dead of night.
I started the conversation with the half asleep man, as if it never stopped the night before just to further disorient him. “Now let me explain what is going to happen next. I am going to ask you some questions. Then I am going to assess whether or not you are telling the truth. There will be a punishment for lying. I am afraid there is only one reward for telling the truth. You stay alive a little longer. Maybe, if I am satisfied with your answers, you can eventually walk out of here on your own two feet. First of all before we begin did you know this was a Swamp Dog facility?” I asked.
“What is a Swamp Dog?” he asked. The chair he was sitting in was metal and wired. The table was also metal and grounded. He was in fact naked in an electric chair, and had been all night.
“Beep wrong answer,” I hit the charge at 175 volts. It was just enough to get his attention. “Now we will do this again. Did you know you were up against the Swamp Dog?” I asked.
“I told you, I had no idea who you were, and I don’t know what Swamp Dog is,” he said bravely.
I hit him with the juice again. “At some point this is going to fry your brain. I really do feel bad for you. You either talk or you die from the questioning. In case you die, you will get chopped up and go into the lake to feed the fish. It really is a very efficient system. “Who did you think you were helping your friend escape from?” I asked.
“He didn’t say. He just paid me to deliver the boat. That’s all I know,” he said.
“Damn not bad, tell me who trained you?” I asked. “Was it KGB or military intelligence.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” he said.
I hit him with a long jolt. When the power stopped he was disoriented. “Sorry too much juice. Heavy drinkers had less brain cells to spare. You are going to wind up a complete idiot, if you keep wasting your brain cells on things to which I already have the answers. So what part of the mother land’s security system did you belong?” I asked.
“The military,” he answered.
“That’s better, I am going to ask you again, did you know who was holding your friend?”
“Not the name, but I did know it was a group of retired military like me,” he said.
“You were almost right,” I reached over and pulled off his hood. “Do you have any idea who I am?”
“Yes the angel of death,” he said. “I have seen your picture. I thought you were in civilian law now.”
“I came out of retirement just for you,” I said.
“This swamp dog, you work for them?” he asked.
“Let’s stay with you. My friends stayed behind to ask your host at the motel how long you had stayed. Imagine my surprise when I found you were sloppy enough to spend two night in the same room. Then I realized part of the service was to delay and misdirect us. So here is the deal, I realize that you are going to hold out as long as you can, then you are going to lie to us as long as you can. You are figuring at least twenty four hours delay. So this is what is going to happen next. I am going to ask you a few questions, you lie and I’m going to burn your brain out on the very first one. No more torture. Just a lifetime of sitting by the window drooling.”
I gave him a few minutes to think about it. He could either decide to talk or make his plans for a lifetime of idiocy. I was serious and I think he knew it.
“Now let’s just cut to the chase. Where did your friend code name Fred go? You can give me as long and as complete an answer as you like. I will consider it all before I make a decision.” I sat quietly and waited.
He admitted to delivering the boat and dropping Fred at a car rental agency. He gave me the name and address of the agency. That was pretty much all the useful information he had.
It is very difficult to rent a car without a credit card. I left the accomplice resting while I had Osborn go to the rental agency and find out in whose name the contract was and how he paid. I sent along a swamp dog operative with a fake homeland security card.
She called me as soon as she was back in the car. I called the geek with his fake name and credit card. Then I went back to the dining hall to drink the world’s worst coffee and wait. It took the Geek less than an hour to call me. He called to inform me that he had Fred’s other fake ID and had unraveled it under his expert picking away at it.
“As long as no one warns him how far along we are, he will likely continue to use this ID,” the geek said gleefully.
“Before you start to celebrate he will likely guess that we are onto him in about twelve hours, if not before. So stop showing off and tell me what you know,” I demanded.
“The rental car was swapped for a car with a different agency in Georgia last evening before dark. The fake ID is pretty good because he got the car the same day from a different agency. We have him in a Hilton Courtyard Suites type hotel last night outside Atlanta.
His credit card has a AAA rating, so it is either a very good fake, or he had the ID set and stashed somewhere in advance.”
“Either is possible,” I said. “So is he still there?”
“Impossible to tell. It is one of those you check into and when your shit is gone at checkout time, they just bill you. Then they clean the room and rent it again. If however you leave as much as a toothbrush, they bill you for another day. So you can easily be two places at once,” The geek informed me.
“That’s a nice touch,” I said. “Keep an eye on that credit card”
“Tell Detective Osborn what do you think?” I asked.
Osborn did not know about the electric chair. Some things she didn’t need to know. Some cherries didn’t need to get popped so soon or at all if possible.
“Sounds to me like we need to move the investigation to Atlanta,” she said.
“You heard the lady. Get a team together and let’s drive like hell to Atlanta. Even the drive will be faster than a plane,” I said.
“Osborn, Liam, the Israeli chic and I were standing in the parking lot admiring what appeared to be an ambulance. What it was, Liam explained, was a retired Burke county rescue squad vehicle rebuilt from the ground up. The original markings had been altered. Rescue squad and ambulance were still in bold letters, but the county name was in very small letters. It was equipped with a police scanner that could be turned to almost any frequency available to the cops. We could overhear their questions before they got an answer to it. There were all kinds of subterfuge plans for the ambulance, but on that day it was going on a road trip.
“Liam and I were dressed in our battle fatigues, Israeli Chic in a uniform with a paramedic patch. Since Osborn was in her jeans, and too tight white tee shirt, she got to be the patient should we need one. We left immediately.
Edited by Walt