By Cindy and Walt
Mike began day 5 with a five mile bike ride in the suburbs and a hot shower. His mind was clean and his body was clean. He really felt good. His mother had breakfast on the table when he returned from his shower.
Mike: Mom could I have coffee this morning?
Mom: Since when do you drink coffee.
Mike: I figured I needed a new harmless bad habit.
He said it with a confident smile. His mother returned his smile and felt better since he had a job which he seemed to be enjoying. She had begun to think instead of his taking care of her, she would be taking care of him into her seventies.
Wes woke up with a mild hang over. He remembered the lie he had told Mike, so as he promised he went directly from the bed into an old running suit of three layers. He knew that in a block he would be soaking wet but he wasn’t sure he would make it much farther than one block.
He actually made a mile total. The neighborhood was pretty rough but he like that about it. Even the gang bangers moved out of the way when he ran. They didn’t know him or what he was capable of, but they still made room for him. Unless there were four or more of them in the respect me mode, then he had to growl like a dog at them before they made room for him the first time.
He returned home to shower and dress for the day. After his shower he washed his hair three times then took scissors to it and his scraggly beard. Then he went to the closet and found his one gray suit.
I sure as hell never thought I would wear that thing again, he thought. He looked at himself in the mirror. I still looked a little scruffy, but that’s the style, he thought.
He reached into the medicine cabinet for the bottle of white pills like the one he had given Michael. The label read Aspirin. He smiled at the trick he had played on the unsuspecting kid.
May woke up in her own bed for a change but she wasn’t alone. The very young man was the high school son of a friend. He had phoned his mom to say he was sleeping over with one of his basketball teammates. So she woke him not with a kiss but by shaking him.
May: Get your ass dressed and out of here and don’t ever come back.
She couldn’t even say she was drunk. She had just wanted him and took him. Now all she wanted was him out of her bed before he did something stupid in keeping with is age. Something like taking a picture with his cell phone. That’s why she had stolen it the night before.
May (showing him the phone): I’ll hand this back to you on your way out the door. If you are not dressed and out the door first, I will take it with me to work and deliver it to your mother. (an obvious bluff)
Salina (standing in the hall): How is your daughter?
Mother: She still does not sleep and the fever is still with her.
Salina: Take her to the free clinic two blocks over. See Father Eye before you go inside. He will accompany you. Tell him I sent you.
Mother: Thank you.
Salina: I have to go but take her now. It will be a long wait to be seen but she needs to be seen today.
Eddie was half way through his drive at that exact moment. Why the shit am I driving half an hour every morning and night to do this? I don’t need the money or the aggravation, he thought.
The answer was simple, unfinished business. Lucille had hit on it, no one liked to be call off a case till all the leads were exhausted. They were all worked to death of course, but he was the one who should have made that decision. So maybe it was about career closure, he thought as he pulled into the neighborhood.
Speaking of unfinished business he needed to decide what he had to do next on the house renovation. He was trying to do it in some logical order while living in the house. Thinking about the house was his distraction.
He parked the car on the third floor of the deserted parking garage, then entered the almost portable office structure.
Salina: Lucille called. She won’t be in. Her exact words were, ‘Tell Detective Alexander to carry on without me.’ Eddie just nodded.
He hardly recognized Wes when he walked through the door only five minutes late. Mike followed behind him by a minute or two. May came out of the Bathroom.
Eddie: Meeting please. What is the plan of attack for today? In other words where are we?
May: Wes and I are going to see the operations manager of the shipping company.
Eddie: Let Wes handle the interview follow his lead. May, I know you think that you know more than the rest of us, but if it gets technical Wes is the expert witness. What time is the appointment?
Wes: We decided not to make an appointment. May is going to call his office just to be sure he is there, then we are just going to walk in. She can show her Department Of Justice ID. That will get us into see him I’m sure. They obviously do a lot of business with the company.
Eddie: Sounds good. Mike what are you up to?
Mike: I’m going to try to trace the movements of that Seabold woman and fantail it with news stories of violence in whatever town she was in at the time. The super computer at the NSA can do all those calculations in a day.
Eddie: Do I want to know how you got them to cooperate.
Mike: Probably not.
Mike’s smile was a huge conspiratorial one. Eddie just shook his head and looked away.
Eddie: Salina what are you up to today?
Salina: I am going to continue reading case files, unless you have something else? (she obviously was hopeful that he did.)
Eddie: No nothing else at the moment.
May and Wes left the office together. May took one look at the dirt covered, trash filled car which belonged to Wes. She just shook her head.
May: I’ll drive.
Wes: I can make room for you. (he was grinning)
May: I’ll drive, I don’t remember when I had my last tetanus shot.
Wes recovered a canvas bag from the car before they left. They drove for about ten minutes fighting the crosstown traffic. When they finally came to a fenced-in warehouse, they were forced to leave the car outside the fence. It looked as though the employees parked there as well.
Wes: (Into his cell phone) Mikey boy, run me a couple of license plates.
Wes gave him the plate numbers off the higher end cars. He went through them methodically till the got to the Operations Manager’s car.
Wes: Thanks Mike, you are a genius.
He turned his attention to May who had overheard it all.
Wes: Time for us to go work our magic.
Once inside finding the office was easy.
May: My name is Mayfield Jeffery with the Department Of Justice. We are here to speak with the Operations Manager, or to do a thorough inspection of the warehouse it’s his choice.
She hadn’t even given the reception a chance to refuse the meeting, before she gave her ultimatum. Wes didn’t really like May but he had to admit she had a really nice combative nature.
Avery Taylor: I’m Avery Taylor is there something I can do for you?
By that time they were in his office. May just walked in and sat down without being invited. Wes pulled up a chair beside her.
May: We are investigating Bluestone Shipping. You were assistant Operations Manager there before they went belly up.
Avery: Yes but they have been out of business for fifteen years.
May: They have been bankrupt not simply out of business. That’s what we want to talk about. You have several very delicate cargo shipments for the US government, and we want to know about your Bankruptcy.
Avery: I wasn’t involved in the decision to take the company into chapter 11. I’m afraid I can’t help you.
May: Actually we know all about the finances. It’s the motivation of a perfectly sounds business to seek court protection while it reorganizes itself right out of business, that interests us. So unless you would like us to review all your dealings with the US Government, since Bluestone reinvented itself as this company, you will answer some questions for us.
Avery: I think I will have to consult with our lawyers.
May: I think he will advise you to cooperate with this court order for all your financial and shipping records for the last fifteen years. Or you can just answer our questions and save us all a lot of grief.
Avery: What questions?
Wes: One of the last shipments before you went out of business as Bluestone Shipping, was a load of Missiles for some African freedom fighters. There was an attempted hijacking of those missiles. We would like to know that you took proper precautions. So who did you hire?
Avery: I remember it well. I never met any of them, but they were a group who did lots of work for the government. Protecting embassies that kind of thing.
Wes: Do you have a name.
Avery: Those guys are being investigated by the congress now. Swamp Dog I think.
May: Do you know the name of your contact there.
Avery: I don’t think I ever heard. I do know we were all upset when we found that she had killed a dozen hijackers and sunk the two boats.
Wes: You were afraid of some international liability, so you just dissolved Bluestone and came back the next day?
Avery: Something like that. I really don’t know anything else. If you still want the records, I can get them for you. It will take a couple of days.
May: Why don’t you get the records dump ready, and I will call for them.
She and Wes left the building. They sat in the parking lot for several minutes, during that time Wes refused to allow her to move. Then after about ten minutes he got up and walked back to the door of the office portion of the warehouse.
Wes (as he walked past the receptionist and pushed his way into Avery’s office): Sorry I dropped my cell phone.
He recovered the phone from under the corner of Avery’s desk. Wes and May quickly walked out the door.
May: You know that was illegal.
Wes: What I dropped my cell phone I do it all the time. Oh shit I had it set to record.
The two of them listened to a one sided conversation between Avery and the company lawyer. The gist of it was the lawyer saying not to worry their friends would take care of the court order.
May: So we know for sure that Swamp Dog provided the security for the boat.
Wes: My guess is Sylvia Porter made her bones on that trip. Something pushed her ahead of all the men. It could well have been the success of the mission.
May: You know that was illegal and we could never use it in court.
Wes: Mayfield, I am not a cop. I don’t think like a cop. The fact that Alexander told you to let me take the lead, should give you a hint that this is not a traditional investigation.
The whole office met for the debrief.
Wes: Well we learned that it was Swamp Dog that did the killing of the Somali Pirates. They definitely wouldn’t want that to get around. I think that is what brought Sylvia Porter to power. There is no college degree for that job, it’s strictly OJT. What you really need is a huge set of balls.
Eddie: Mike, get me all the background you can on Sylvia Porter. Salina, condense it to a profile please.
Wes: You might want to cross check bank records with violent events for her as well. Prior to fifteen years she might have been a contractor.
May: I can check with the DOJ to see what they have on her. I’m sure they have been told to cooperate.
Eddie: Okay, everyone else you have your jobs for the rest of the day and probably most of next week as well. We are never going to get the full picture, but lets see what we can get. Remember this is not a criminal investigation so we don’t have to follow those rules.
As investigations often do, criminal or not, the Swamp Dog investigation made maddeningly slow progress that Friday afternoon. Salina found nothing, Mike dug up insignificant information, Wes’ sources had nothing on Silvia Porter. The only data came from the Department of Justice who did have a file dating back to her days as a county sheriff. May asked them to fax it over, but found that she would forced to review it in their offices. The file was too politically sensitive to leave the building.
Eddie: You know I can’t let you decide what is and is not relevant to the investigation. You are part of the department that is stonewalling us.
May: I can divorce myself from the department.
Eddie: Horse shit. You are a career oriented person May. You and Lucille have that in common. She chose you, because you will keep her in the loop a few spaces ahead of me. I can’t have that.
May: Then how will you get the information.
Eddie: I’m going to go to someone who knew her. I’m going to Alabama even if I have to drive there. So tell Lucille to get two tickets or plan on a second investigation that does not include you or her.
May: How can I convince you that you can trust me.
Eddie: It isn’t likely that you can.
May: How about if I pressure DOJ to allow you access to the file?
Eddie: How do you plan to do that.
May: I can try to convince Lucille to have the Senator make a call.
Eddie: It won’t work. Do you remember what was going on twenty years ago?
May: Hardly I was seven.
Eddie: Back then there were city policemen and county sheriffs. The almighty federal government decided to wage war on local police in order to bring them under the national police umbrella. A lot of very bad political things were done by the government to make it work. Things they didn’t want the voters to know about.
My guess is Porter was somehow involved and that’s why they are holding the file hostage. I don’t think DOJ will ever release it. If they ever let you see it, it will be so heavily redacted as to be unreadable.
As for Lucille she won’t even try. My guess is she knows the limitations of her power as well as what happened twenty years ago.
May: So what are you suggesting.
Eddie: I have no idea, but I know the next step lies in Alabama.
May: Then I want to go.
Eddie: I think not. It’s Friday and the day is almost over. Go ahead and leave now. Go out and have some fun. Forget about the investigation. Get laid or something.
May: I have a few minutes left, I think I can get some non-classified information from DOJ.
Eddie: Up to you. (he said that as he walked back inside)
Salina left at five. Wes had become the unofficial carpool go to guy. He drove Salina and Mike home after work.
Salina stopped at the downstairs apartment to check on the child. The doctor had given her some antibiotics. The doctor also told her mother that the child needed better nutrition. The priest arranged to get the child on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ feeding program at the local senior community center. It was a voluntary program run by ‘do gooders’ who actually did do good.
Mike went into the house whistling. His mother was both shocked and thrilled by the change in him that had taken place in just three days. It seemed that working a real job for real people was what Michael had needed all along. Those were her thoughts anyway.
Wes stopped at a bar and had a half dozen beers before he walked to his apartment. He was in an evil mood, which he usually was when he drank. The young hoodlums parted to let him pass.
When he got home, he ate a sandwich then continued to drink. He passed out by 10 PM.
May drove her much cleaner car to the Senator’s office where she delivered her verbal report to Lucille.
May: You know that Alexander knows I’m a mole for you?”
Lucille: Don’t be so dramatic of course he knows you are keeping me informed. He is also right the DOJ is not about to air their dirty laundry. I’ll order a voucher for two tickets to Mobile Alabama. You can pick it up on Monday. I don’t care when he uses it.
Eddie drove the half hour home. He contemplated a weekend with nothing to do, so he got back in the Econobox and drove to Bishop’s Crossing to a Home Depot. Even though he had an installation crew coming the next day, he bought paint, brushes, tape, and drop cloths.
Since he had a step ladder, he figured he was good to paint. He had no idea when he intended to use the paint, but he had it in case he got bored.
Eddie stopped at a restaurant for a nice dinner before continuing home. It was late when he finished putting away the purchases, so he skipped the TV. Instead he fell into bed and slept.