Sheriff Porter 41
When my cell phone played it’s stupid ring tone, it was 10 AM and we were about two hours into the drive. I saw that it was Rita, my lawyer, and almost didn’t answer. Finally I said, “Yes Rita, who is suing me now?”
“I have good news for a change. Actually it is great news. It’s the last hoop to jump through. You have to decide if you will take five million now and one million a year for ten years or if you insist and want the whole fifteen million at once. They are ready to write the check or buy the annuity this week. You will be a millionaire by Friday either way,” she informed me.
“Take the annuity. I plan to live ten more years. It will save a ton on taxes,” I said. “Now Rita I’m kind of busy. Do you need me for anything else?”
“No, I’ll call you when the money is in the bank, and I have the annuity in my hand,” she said.
“Fair enough,” I said clicking the phone off.
“Good news?” Liam asked.
“Not really just news,” I said. “Hey Oz, it looks like you will be getting paid after all.”
“Cool, so I won’t have to move in with you to eat after all?” she asked.
“Don’t seem so,” I replied.
We were in the parking lot of the Hilton Courtyard Suites before 2 PM. I dialed their number on my cell phone. “Hi this is Lois Lane at the National Car Rental Agency. We are calling to see what time Mr. Janus is planning to stop by. He is in room 306 I think, but there is no answer,” I said.
“Mr. Janus checked out sometime this morning,” she said.
“Oh my I do hope nothing has happened to him. He should have been there by before noon to pick up his new car,” I said.
“I’m sure he is well. I spoke to him as he had the continental breakfast this morning,” she said.
“Well, I’ll just hold the car a little longer and thank you so much,” I said.
“Geek raid that car rental. See if he has returned it,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“How about just because I said to do it,” I said shortly. “Call me back when you know something about his use of that card.”
“Osborn do you know why I want to know, if he returned the car?” I asked.
“No,” she said honestly.
“If he returned it, there is a chance he wants to use that ID again. If he left it in this parking lot there is not a chance he will ever be Janus again,” I said.
“So Liam, lets cruise the lot,” I said.
We checked it all and it was nowhere to be found. “That’s a good sign?” Liam asked.
“A 20% good sign. It might still be parked across the street from another car rental office. But even that is a help. These guys think where they leave the car it is of no longer of any importance since they aren’t going to use it. So much can be deduced from where they leave the car.”
The phone played that cheesy ring tone again. “I am going to have that changed,” I said “Yes my Geeky friend.”
“He used the card again bought a ticket on the am-track to New Orleans,” the geek explained.
“Keep an eye on that card my friend, but also anything on the new bank accounts it is linked with. He has a substantial amount of money in it. He may continue to use it or he may switch to another one to allow it cool off.”
“Can do boss,” the Geek said.
I handed the phone to Osborn. “Change that fucking ring tone and then find out where the am-track stops between Atlanta and New Orleans,” I said.
“He bought a through ticket, but you think he is going to get off somewhere in between?” Osborn asked.
“I would, wouldn’t you?” I asked.
“I would never think of it,” she said.
“For someone like him, it isn’t all about running. It just as much about laying the false trail.” I thought a moment then said, “Crap don’t bother to check that. He never got on that train. He ditched the ID and left us following a false lead. Use my phone and call the Geek. Have him find where Janus bought the ticket.”
A couple of minutes later Melissa Osborn said, “He bought it with that credit card over the Internet.”
“He has given us the slip. He has another ID for the next town,” I said. “Check the trains but he isn’t going to be on it.”
I thought a minute then said, “The car is still clean, he thinks. No one has made a fuss anywhere, but then neither his accomplice nor his wife has contacted him. He probably had a dead man plan for one or both of them,” I said more to myself than anyone else.
“Dead man plan,” Osborn asked.
“If a certain thing doesn’t happen, then assume I’m blown,” Liam explained.
“He is trying to decide what he has to do next. He originally thought his accomplice would hold out at least a day or more. He couldn’t know how far I would go in questioning him. So he might still think the ID is good. He will assume we have moved on from the car, even if we have the new name.”
“If it’s me, I’d switch to a new card and keep the car,” Liam said. “Even if you are onto me, I have laid the false trail. But I need cash. I hit the ATM one last time before I leave town.”
“We could be within a few miles of him,” the Israeli Chic said.
“More likely he will hit it on a convenience store by a major highway. Oz call the Geek again,” I said handing her the phone. “My guess he is headed to Florida. Somewhere near the keys. He is going to buy a boat, so he can make a quick exit. Assuming we manage to find him.” I was just bouncing shit off the walls.
“No way, Miami to live the high life for a while,” Osborn said. Then she held up her hand and explained about the ticket and the ATM.
“One more thing ask him to break into corporate security for the car rental agency to find out if they have a GPS tracker on board. I will bet a blow job they do, but they would never admit it,” I suggested.
The phone rang and I let Osborn get it. “ATM in Vienna, Georgia was used half hour ago. It takes that long to process the payment.”
“Liam here is your chance to go like hell,” I said.
He took me at my word and drove with the lights and siren till we got out of the Atlanta metro area. Then when we were on highway 75 south, he slowed down to 80 not far enough above the speed limit to get an ambulance stopped. We had changed the stick on Label on the side of the ambulance to read Ft. Benning GA.
We ran all the way to Vienna without incident. Just as we past Vienna and continued on south the Geek called. I answered. “So where is he?” I asked.
“You are Psychic. They indeed have a secret GPS. It took me this long to figure out which car he is in. He is still on 75 South about a 75 miles south of Vienna.”
“Okay Geek I’m going to give you the next mile marker. You work your magic and tell me how far behind we are. I bet he stops for lunch. He isn’t at all worried.”
I hung up on him and said, “I bet one of you has to go pee.”
“I do bad,” Osborn said.
“You have exactly the length of time it takes me and Liam to fill this car up. You Israeli Chic, buy whatever food they have ready and what ever kind of drinks you can get. Osborn you check out while she goes. Trust me folks every second is going to count.”
“Liam, I will put the card in the pump and start the gas. You do your thing quickly then come back to relieve me, while I will go. That means either you or I stay with the vehicle since it has the weapons,” I said. We saw a sign for a convenience store that said easy access back on the highway. I jumped on it.”
The whole thing at the convenience store took about ten minutes mostly because of the speed of the pumps. They ran slow, so you thought you were getting more gas than you really were. The ambulance had been fitted with very large tanks. I put twenty eight gallons in the tank. At the current prices it was under a hundred dollars but not more than a couple of God Father’s pizzas.
We were very close by the time he started to move again after lunch. If he had waited another ten minutes, we would have had his ass in the restaurant parking lot. Life is filled with lost opportunities.
We fell in behind the silver Chevy Impala just past Lake City Florida. “Let’s drop back a half mile. When he pulls off the highway we will get him at his next stop,” I commented.
I handed Osborn the Telephone, “Here call the Geek. Tell him what we are doing and have him tell me when Fred pulls off the highway. Tell him I said not to let him get away by telling me too late.”
Osborn passed on the message then said, “He asked that you guess where he was going. He said his guess was Miami.”
“Tell him not to worry about it, just stay glued to that display,” I said. When I was sure the connection was broken I said, “Fort Myers.”
“Miami,” Osborn said.
“I don’t know that much about Florida. I have heard of Fort Lauderdale, if that is possible it is my guess,” Israeli Chic said.
“Key West, I’m just going with your original theory,” Liam said.
Several minutes later the Geek called. “He turned left onto highway 40 and is headed inland.”
“Got it,” I said.
“Liam close it up,” I said. “First chance we stop him, if he doesn’t stop on his own first.”
We were sitting on his ass when he pulled into a convenience store. He went into the men’s room. “I’m going to get in his back seat and surprise him.” You guys do your bathroom breaks. We are going to be headed out as soon as we get him in the ambulance.”
He stopped inside to get a cup of coffee as well. When he got back in the car, he was too busy juggling the coffee cup to notice me. I put the silenced pistol against his neck,
“My God how well you and your wife have learned English over night. You make a fucking move and I will spatter your brains all over the windshield. I will do it with no remorse and walk away you son of a pig. Pull around back to the truck park.”
When he was around back Israeli Chic came to the door and hit him with a hypodermic and he went bye, bye. Osborn rolled the gurney over and we loaded him up. I got out of the car crying. I had taken the jacket off and the truckers there saw one ugly grieving woman in baggy pants and tight tee shirt carrying what would look like a handbag. It was actually my shirt.
Once we had him in the back, I climbed in with him. “Is he alright?” a nosy passerby asked.
“We think it is a heart attack,” Israeli chic said.
Liam and I took turns driving all night. Israeli Chic checked to make sure Fred was alive before we pulled into the compound.
“You guys did a hell of a job,” I said to them all.
“We did nothing but watch you work,” Osborn said back to hero worship mode. Hell, I let her. My self esteem needed a boost even if I was a millionaire. I hadn’t been able to process that part of my life yet.
Edited by Walt