Sheriff Porter 58
“If that is what it takes,” I said with a laugh meant to lighten the mood.
“I need to think. I’ll call back,” he said.
“Make it soon,” I said.
“What the hell was that all about,” the sissy boy asked.
“That is called gathering intelligence. They don’t want to break off negotiations, so they will call back. They won’t kill her yet, even if she isn’t part of the plot. Once the information comes out, it has no commercial value. They are in it for the money.”
“So what did you learn?” sissy boy asked.
“Well he is an amateur. If he was working for someone, they would hardly trust him to deliver that note. He is consulting with someone. That someone is a partner, so either the girl is with him, or there are multiple amateurs involved. I would bet my skinny ass she is involved. It’s probably her and her boyfriend, maybe one extra gun thug, just in case you were to send someone dangerous with the money. Someone also has you under surveillance. That does suggest a certain amount of knowledge of how the Senators office works.”
“My guess is someone on the senator’s staff is involved with the two of them. It shows a pretty good organization, but not filled with bright people. So now we have a possible member of your staff running the two of them.”
“I have just changed my working theory. It is probably a plan hatched by a member of the senator’s staff. That person recruited the boyfriend and the Senator’s courtesan to join in the plan. Since that is probably the case, if we go to the girls apartment we shall find cameras. There in lies the evidence, and the problems become different now.”
“The girl most definitely will be killed before the release of the film. Paying the blackmail may be part of a move to discredit the Senator even more. This might be a power play. The mastermind, if you can call them one, is most definitely a member of his or your staff. I presume the staffs are the same.”
The phone rang. “Hello,” I said.
“You and the Senator’s aid take the money to the Lincoln Memorial. I will meet you there,” he said.
“You will have the girl with you?” I asked expecting the lie he told me.
“I will take you to her,” he said.
“Bullshit,” I said. “We both know this about blackmail it’s not the girl for you guys. For me it’s all about the girl. So you produce her at the exchange, or no deal. Remember friend. It isn’t my money, or my reputation. For me, it’s all about the girl.”
“Alright,” he said. That set all kind of bells off in my head. This time I wasn’t talking to the aid about them. “You come on over we will be waiting.”
“I’m so nervous I need to use the bathroom,” I said.
Edgar drove me to a convenience store where I went into a smelly bathroom. I sent a text to Wilson. It took me several minutes to get the reply. When I did, I should have been shocked but I wasn’t. How to play it was the next big question.
We drove to the Lincoln memorial. I had the newest of the revolvers and the smooth bore derringer. It was only good about ten feet anyway so the rifling did little to improve its accuracy and the lack of it would make it hard to testify to anything about the tiny pistol.
“Edgar, we have a problem,” I said to him while we waited. “You know quite a bit about me by now. So it won’t be a shocker that I have figured out you are the one who set this up. You just had to insinuate yourself into the investigation to be sure it went right. It really is a nice plan, almost elegant.”
“So now we do have a conundrum,” Edgar said.
“Yes we do. You most likely have a sniper somewhere to make sure nothing goes wrong. I mean you are a careful man. But you most likely didn’t realize you would be up against a crazy woman. I went to the bathroom to arm a suicide vest with a dead man switch.” I said showing him the small black tube with the switch on the end. “Now we have a problem don’t we. I know what is going down, so you can’t let me walk away. You have the money so I can’t let you walk away. So why don’t you just give me the briefcase and send the text to bring your man out in the open. He is the one with the sniper rifle I assume. You don’t have to be brilliant to be a army ranger.”
“You know I can’t use that bomb and walk away, so once the sniper threat is neutralized, it is no longer a threat to me,” I said and shrugged my shoulder.
“ You don’t want to die either so I can just walk away?” he asked.
“Yes you can,” I said.
“Then you can use the worse case scenario and ruin the Senator?” he added.
“You could but I also have a .22 mag derringer pointed at your spine. It probably won’t kill you, but you will be eating through a tub and shitting into a bag for the rest of your life,” I explained. “So it isn’t quite a stand off.”
“How about I drop you and the money, then you walk away?” he asked.
“If the girl was part of it she will most like drop out of the plan, once I tell her what your plans for her were. So here is the new plan. She and her boyfriend are going to die, and I’m going to frame you for it, unless you make a confession in your own words.”
“So you can’t use my confession unless there is a crime. The Senator won’t press charges,” Edgar said.
“True, he won’t press charges unless there is a crime for real. But if you ruin him what do you think he will do to you. And how do you think you will do in prison. Now here are your options as I see them. You can run like hell starting now and take those in the conspiracy with you. If the girl wasn’t in on it, she has a kidnap charge she can bring against you. I’m giving you a chance to stay alive and out of prison. Depending on what the Senator wants to do with you.
“None of this will stick,” Edgar said.
“Surely you know I can break the other two in an hour. Intelligence is power. I have the intelligence to put them away now. They will flip and give you up in a heartbeat. So my advice is to run fast, and far,” I said. “Oh by the way.” I pulled out the five bulb LCD flashlight from Harbor Freight and turned it on. “I just love these mini flashlights.”
“I thought it was a fake dead man switch,” he said.
“But with my reputation of insanity, you couldn’t take the chance right?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“So take off quickly before I transmit this conversation to the Senator,” I said.
“So do I get the hundred grand back,” the Senator asked on the phone while I waited for the rental car to be readied for me.
“Give me your account number and I send you a bank transfer for the 10k retainer. I figure you were willing to pay the 100k and I earned it,” I said.
“You most definitely did. Just so you know, my friend had no idea. The boyfriend swears he would not harm her, but in her heart she knows better,” the Senator said.
“Senator, trust me when I say that is of absolutely no interest to me,” I said.
I drove to the closest large Town to New Wales that had a drop off site for the rental car. Then I had Wilson meet me in Ellisboro at 2 AM.
We were on the way home when he asked, “So how did it go?”
“Well, I made us a hundred grand, stopped a murder, and saved a rotten Senator’s reputation,” I said. “Just a another day at the office.”
“Shit, you are a real piece of work. I mean that in a good way,” Wilson said.
Well tomorrow while you keep an eye on the news out of DC looking for the Senator’s name or even the Edgar Price’s name, I have to meet with someone to work out our fee for his referral.
I went to bed as soon as we got home. I noted that Wilson did as well. I slept like the dead, since I had been going almost a full day. Even so I awoke at seven, a full hour before Wilson. While he slept I rode the tricycle. I covered most of the town before nine. At nine I called the Swamp to make sure the Colonel would see me. I was really making sure he wasn’t off somewhere doing some kind of scheming.
“I can be there in three hours,” I told Liam’s replacement.
“That should be acceptable,” the Sergeant Major replied.
I didn’t much care for his attitude. I also hadn’t cared for Liam’s either, when I first met him. The drive to the Swamp was uneventful as it should have been. What I didn’t know was that somehow Colonel Martin had gotten hold of sissy boy’s confession. In all honesty when I found out, it sent off an alarm bell telling me to keep my eye on Wilson. I didn’t think that he was on the Colonel’s payroll, but one thing I had learned was not to underestimate the mangy Swamp Dog.
“So Sylvia, what can I do for you?” he asked. “Before you start that was a brilliant piece of work on the Senator’s behalf. Neutralizing the prick without any blood shed was a stroke of pure genius.”
“Oh really,” I said.
“Yes,” Martin replied. “I heard the tape. It is checkmate. He can’t damage the Senator without destroying himself. It was sheer genius.” That was when the warning bell went off.
“So I’m here to work out a payment schedule for the work we do for you. Do you want a finder’s fee?” I asked.
“For this job of course not. I have a US Senator who owes me a favor, that is worth a lot,” Martin said.
“Well I need to know going in, how much you are going to take off the top on the next one?” I asked.
“How about this, referrals are free. If you work for me, I’ll be sure you are compensated appropriately,” Martin said. “You do trust me don’t you.”
“Martin, you were always fair with me, but I really don’t need money. However money it’s how we keep score. Besides my new partner needs money,” I informed him.
“I doubt that he does. We did a background check on Mr. Wilson. Soon he will be working to pay his wife’s nursing care expenses.”
“Yes I know all about that,” I said. “I have had to consider how to compensate him for his work. I’m getting ready to lease him a car, as a part of his compensation package.”
“Do you want me to call our lease dealer and get you a Cadillac SUV,” Martin offered.
“Thanks but I think he would like something a little less aggressive. Only Mercs and gang bangers drive them. Well an occasional independent drug dealer as well,” I said.
“Well if you change your mind call me,” he said.
I got back in the ten year old candy cane red Ford Ranger truck and headed home. When I got home I found Wilson up and moving about. “Did you finally get moving?” I asked.
“Hey the hours the last couple of days have been brutal,” he said.
“Well your cut of the job is 30k, now remember you are no longer on salary so take care of that money,” I advised him.
Edited by Walt