By Cindy and Walt
Mike was on his bike in the suburbs where the most dangerous thing he faces so early in the morning was falling asleep. May, on the other hand, rode her bike through the streets of DC. Those streets could turn from the quaint redeveloped downtown neighborhoods to slums in two blocks. Two blocks went by very quickly on the bicycle that she bought only the day before.
May pedaled about eight blocks from her chic downtown apartment, then found herself in a more dangerous part of town. She looped around and headed back to the safer downtown. On the way she saw signs posted on the side of the road for a park. The signs showed a cartoon picture of a bike and two old folks walking hand in hand. So the park had a bike and nature trail, noting it should be more fun, she thought.
Mike rode to the shopping plaza, but he didn’t feel that he had done enough so he continued on. He made a right turn at the next intersection, which took him into an industrial area. It was filled with buildings which ranged from a city block, to several city blocks in length.
It was industrial only in the sense that the buildings were large. They were mostly warehouses filled with foreign made consumer goods. The availability of the airport and a good highway transportation system made for easy access. Therefore, it was a distribution hub for several online virtual stores. Mike knew those operations needed only a warehouse and web page to make millions of dollars in sales each year.
His combination made for a long ride with almost no car traffic and very little truck traffic at 6 AM. When Mike felt tired he turned and headed for the drive in restaurant.
May got tired of circling the downtown area. She also noted the uptick in traffic so she headed back to her neighborhood. She swore that tomorrow she would ride straight to the park for the nature trail ride.
Once home, she showered, dressed, and then retrieved her car. All done in time to find a drive thru restaurant on the way to the Hole In The Wall. Even with the stop, she was only five minutes late. The few minutes made a difference only when the boss was on a tear. At the DOJ five minutes late was actually early, since everyone tended to be late.
Mike stopped in the middle of his ride to work, so he pulled up on the scooter just a couple of minutes before May. If it was late, it was by maybe two minutes.
May found that when she got out of the car her legs had gotten sore. That’s why the aspirin was part of the regime Wes had laid out for Mike. She vowed not to forget it again, as she walked to the office from the car with what was almost a limp. Her muscles were tightening quickly.
Eddie had arrived fifteen minutes before Mike and May and thirty minutes before Wes and Salina. Lucille never did show up at the Hole In The Wall Hq. He made a point of looking at his watch when Wes arrived.
One of the reasons they called him Steady Eddie was that he knew how to pick his battles. With the exception of May and Lucille, none of his people considered this a career move. It was just a little extra money at first. Then it became a puzzle for him and the others as well. They were collecting more and more pieces, so he decided their tardiness thing would be a non-issue. He could ignore it as long as it didn’t get worse. He would try to curtail it with a little meeting.
Eddie: Gather round people. I have decided that we will continue working on verifying Wes’ information and adding to it. We need to know more about the two compounds occupied by the Swamp Dog people. The Church Camp is worth at least a phone call, so who is best to make it?
Wes: I could make a call and get a contact name and number so maybe I should call. I’m not sure my source will let me use his name for the intro, but even so I can get some kind of reaction.
Eddie: Or we could work a sting.
May: My guess is they will closely vette anyone we try to put in there. They aren’t on the ropes enough for us to get that kind of cooperation from state or DOJ, certainly not the CIA.
Eddie: I expect the FED Police are going to be the same. So if we can’t go in undercover, we will just have to depend on our brilliant interrogation skills.
May: How does that go, ‘you talk to me’ or I water board you.
Eddie: I expect you have great skills. You probably belong with the National Division of the Federal Police. You would do fine. They are mostly politicians these days. It would be a lot like working for the DOJ.
May: Have I just been insulted?
Eddie: Do you feel insulted?
Wes: Boss, we got a problem.
Eddie: Oh really?
Wes: Yeah a Detective Supervisor Austin is on his way over. Salina tried to tell him he had to have an appointment, but he said and I quote, ’Fuck that.’ So I took that to mean he was on his way over.
Eddie: Yeah, I would think that was his meaning as well. I expect his first words after asking my name will be, ‘What the hell do you think you are doing?’ Want to bet a hundred bucks on it.
Wes: Are you trying to set me up?
Eddie: Yeah, I worked with the guy once upon a time. He has no imagination. He likely won’t remember me.
Wes: Well, he is here. So let’s go see what he says.
Austin: (After the introductions) So what’s going on here Edward?
Eddie: Well Wes, is that close enough?
Wes: Yeah, but we didn’t make a bet.
Austin: What are you two talking about?
Eddie: Nothing Important, So what can we do for you?
Austin: You can tell me what you are investigating and on whose authority?
Eddie: Austin calm down, you are going to bust a gut.
Austin: You want to talk here or come down to the office.
Eddie: If you want to do the interview there, I think you will need to take me into custody. I am not compelled to go to your office unless you state a reason, then take me into custody for some particular reason. It doesn’t appear that you have that in mind, so this interview is terminated.
Austin: Do you really want to air our dirty laundry here?
Eddie: I really don’t give a rat’s ass about your dirty laundry, and mine I do in a public Laundromat these days.
Austin: Expect a call from your boss.
Eddie: I always do. (Said to Austin’s departing backside)
After he had gone Eddie took a Deep breath and tried to pretend nothing had happened. Of course he wasn’t all that imaginative either. He couldn’t forget any of it. Someone was trying to get involved in his investigation.
Eddie was glad he hadn’t ordered the wall furnace for his tenant house. He was renovating it on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. He could pay for the under a thousand dollar furnace without the job, but it would put a cramp in the other renovations for a while. The kerosene heater worked fine for now and the winter was almost over, so the purchase could wait until fall of next year. In that time the job should have ended or at least sorted itself out.
Eddie: Wes, a word please. (Once outside Eddie continued) We need to do the black bag thing sooner rather than later. Me, you, and Mike are the only ones to know exactly when we are going to do it. We need to make it untraceable. That means no phone conversations of any kind mentioning it.
Wes: I know the kid has been accessing the computers here from home. Let’s give him a burner phone for the code word. He said that he had breached the security and planted a Trojan. Now it’s just a matter of sending a string of code to set it off. Once that is done, he will do the loop thing for exactly one hour, then get the hell out.
We could do this boss by trying to hide it from everyone, or we could make sure everyone they all knew and had a self interest in keeping it quiet. Like I don’t give a crap about you, but I’m keeping quiet to stay out of jail myself.
Eddie: So you really think May would go along with this? She would want to get warrants and go in with ten cops and let all of Rose’s friends know so they can warn her. We best go in alone. Besides, most cons get convicted when an accessory flips.
Wes: I was just asking.
Eddie: Do I need to worry about you flipping?
Wes: I already told, you that you could trust me.
Eddie: That was before you were spending all your time with Salina.
Wes: Nothing has changed.
Eddie: Then we need to work out the details and get on the road.
Wes: Simple. Church Camp is on the way. We check into a motel in that next town over. Go out poking around at the camp, being sure we get noticed. Then leave that same afternoon, drive straight to Mossberg, do our Watergate thing, then drive back to check out and head home.
Eddie: That’s a lot of driving for one forty eight hours without sleep.
Wes: What, you never slept in a moving vehicle, so when do we go.
Eddie: Did you drive in.
Eddie: Have Salina drive your car home. We will take the company sedan on our road trip. You brief Mike at lunch and we will leave right after.
Wes: Then let’s do it. If you really want to fuck with their minds, we can stop at that little town where Mike stayed. We’ll check into a motel with no CCTV and then drive through the evening, hit the apartment and drive back by morning.
Eddie: Okay, let’s go for it. We can leave right now.
Eddie and Wes went back inside to tell the others they had decided to hit the Church Camp as soon as possible. That meant a long drive down to the small town where May had stayed while Mike was getting laid. Keep it quiet this is not to be discussed with anyone.
Eddie: Wes and I plan at the very least to be in position to hit them first thing in the morning. So we are going to leave here immediately and check into a motel.
Eddie decided to leave his car in the parking garage where the ‘Hole in the Wall’ had been built. Which means he and Mike could take the government boat. Somehow Wes was able to sleep all the way to the first stop for gas. They filled the tank and filled the car with snacks on the company credit card. Then continued to drive until they got to College Hill. Even though Wes, on his turn driving had a heavy foot, the drive still took eight hours. The check in took thirty minutes out of their highway drive time.
At five O’clock Salina left the office in Mike’s beat up old SUV. She parked it in the parking lot for her housing project. Mike had told her not to worry. He has said that if it was vandalized, he had good insurance. He in fact had none.
She saw a couple of people from other projects after dinner. Then at nine there was a gang member with a gunshot wound. His name was Marcus one the men helping him in said.
Salina: Marcus you need to go to the clinic this is a bad wound.
Marcus: Just fix it puta.
Salina: (to his friend) Get him out of here, or I’ll call the police. I am not going to risk my ass to help him and get no respect for it.
Friend: You better play nice or you gonna die in the street, cause we ain’t taking you to no doctor.
Marcus: Okay, please help me.
Salina: There is a price to pay this time.
Friend: How much?
Salina: You make sure no one bothers that red SUV with Virginia plates in the parking lot. It’s gonna be out there a few days maybe.
Marcus: You got it now fix me please.
Salina began work. She knew he was already high on something. Whether he got high before or after he got shot was immaterial to her. She was going to probe for the bullet which was located in the fleshy part of the arm. It was no doubt a small caliber handgun wound. She had seen enough large caliber assault rifle wounds to know the one in Marcus wasn’t shit.
She found it, removed it, packed the wound with Antiseptic ointment from the dollar store, then stitched and bandaged the wound.
Salina: Keep it dry and change the dressing every day, but don’t wash it. Dab it with peroxide.
May: Come on Lucille you know if they find out, Wes most likely will make me disappear. He scares the crap out of me.
Lucille: Where the fuck did they go.
May: Church Camp to try to find out what they are up to there these days.
Lucille: Okay, that’s a logical move, since I’m sure they don’t return calls. (Pause while she thought) May do you have a favorite Chinese restaurant?
May: Sure, China Palace on 14th street, why?
Lucille: Unless you have other plans, I thought I would call in an order and have you pick it up. You could come over and meet my family.
May: I’m sorry Lucille I am exhausted. My plan is to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then take a long bath, before bed.
Lucille: And what do you plan to do during that long bath? Never mind, don’t answer that.
Lucille broke the connection. She would have packed the kids in the car and drove to Eddie’s house, except for the fact that he wasn’t there. He was out working for her and the Senator.
Lucille: The things I give up for this job.
Mike went home and found his mother dressed and cooking dinner. It was some kind of fancy stew with a red wine gravy. It really smelled delicious, he thought.
Mike: So who is your dinner guest?
Mom: Why you are sweetie. I thought since I have been so selfish lately, I would cook tonight. Make something special.
Yes, he was suspicious. His mother wanted him to believe that she had suddenly turned over a new leaf. He doubted it, but he would play along to see how it worked out. One thing he had learned at his new job was patience. He had learned that if you try to force an issue, you seldom got the result you were after.
Mike: So how long before dinner is ready?
Mom: It should be about an hour. You don’t mind the wait do you?
Mike: Of course not mom, I would have to wait longer, if I ordered pizza delivery.
Mike couldn’t help the dig. His mother had to know that he knew what she had done and with whom she had done it.
Mom: Yes, pizza delivery. I do enjoy the pizza delivered to the house. It makes it so much more convenient. Don’t you agree?
Mike: I suppose it does.
Mike knew that his mother was flirting with him. It didn’t surprise him as much as it should have. She started drinking right after work and was pretty well feeling no pain by the time dinner was done. He had no idea how to handle it. He had enjoyed seeing her and it had turned him on but even if he wanted to have sex with his mother, it was the wrong night. He had work to do that could mean the difference between being a heroic team player, or having to bail his team out of jail. Mom would have to wait if that truly was what she had in mind.
Wes: Hello baby how are things at home?
Salina: Things are fine at my home. I have no idea about your home. I had a visit from the Homeland Sixers tonight.
Wes: Are you okay?
Salina: I did a small repair to one of their speakers, but I’m fine. I managed to negotiate protection for your piece of shit car though. (Salina laughs)
Wes: You are the best honey. I got to go we are just pulling into the motel.
They were about to pull into the town of College Hill.
The motel was an old mom and pop place which had been converted to Middle Eastern motel. Those were the types with only one CCTV camera. It was in the lobby and trained on the front desk.
The two men had a good meal in the restaurant across the street. They paid with the company credit card, then filled the tank also with the company card. When they left the convenience store with the CCTV looking at them, they did not return to the motel. Instead they drove an additional eight hours toward the town of Mossberg Ala. Midnight found them one hour out, but closing fast.