By Cindy and Walt
Eddie and May went to breakfast at the diner across the street from the tea factory. They sat drinking coffee until Bart opened the front door. He walked onto the sidewalk first thing, as was his habit. He looked west toward the river and east down the main street. That street became an old County Secondary Road just outside of town. It eventually merged with a State Secondary Highway. It did finally intersect with an interstate highway after a few miles.
Eddie: Well, let’s go see how persuasive I can be, shall we.
May: You know I am a lawyer, maybe I should try to persuade him. I might seem less threatening.
Eddie: Let’s just see how it goes. If you come up with a compelling reason for Bart to talk, feel free to break in. Otherwise, I will take the lead.
May: Fair enough.
Eddie and May walked across the small paved main street. Then they stepped up to the doorway. Eddie hadn’t noticed on the first trip, but the floor of the Tea factory was above grade by a couple of feet. He supposed it was in case the river overran its banks. In the old days the factory had been a farmer cooperative exchange. If the river reached over the foundations there would have been a lot of merchandise ruined.
They opened the door and went inside. Eddie remembered the way to Bart’s office, so they didn’t bother to call out. They just went on back.
Bart (looking up concerned): What can I do for you two, so early on a Monday morning?
Eddie: It’s really what you can do for Rose Seabold, I think.
Bart: Well, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for Rose, so name it.
Eddie: While we were here last time someone broke into our office back in D.C. They cloned our computer and planted bugs all over the place. They also ran our computer whiz off the road and put him out of commission over the weekend.
Bart: I’m sorry to hear that, but I had nothing to do with it.
Eddie: I didn’t think you did, but here is the problem. They got all my investigative files from the murder of a mid level drug dealer in D.C. a couple of years ago. Now that particular murder was a professional assassination. It was done a while ago, but as you might or might not know, there is no statute of limitations on murder, especially a murder for hire.
Bart: Very interesting, but I still have no idea why this is of interest to me.
Eddie: Well, I became convinced that Swamp Dog, who by the way we have no jurisdiction over for their work outside the country, is operating a domestic clandestine service from a place called Church Camp. Now you did a job for Church Camp once. That job also involving Rose Seabold, who I like a lot for the Drug Dealer assassination.
Bart: I have no idea what you are talking about.
May: Let me explain. It’s really Investigation for Dummies. Who ever got in to clone our computer has the file on the murder. They also have a surveillance picture of the suspect. Which alone means nothing. We had all that several years ago.
Here is where it gets sticky. You see also on that computer were files of one Iris Martin aka Rose Seabold and her history. Well, at least as much as we could piece together.
Eddie: Now we want to talk to Rose maybe make her a deal to fill in the blanks. I am pretty sure the people who broke into our computer want to be sure she doesn’t talk to us. They will likely go as far as ending her life to prevent her from bringing down a big time politician.
The people who broke in may have been from Church Camp. I certainly hope not, since it means there is an assassin cleaning up after them. It also means you are a target. I have to admit that isn’t very likely.
May: We are willing to offer you protective custody and even witness protection relocation, if you talk. You would also nullify the damage Rose could do, so they would most likely lose interest in her.
Eddie: So what do you say?
Bart: I can’t help you. I also can’t hurt Church Camp. That one trip to the Caribbean was my only job. We have already been cleared in that fiasco. Before that job I did work some protective details overseas, but nothing ever happened. So I have nothing to say.
May: Okay then help us save Rose’s life. You left her to rot once. Don’t do her dirt again.
May’s choice of words surprised Eddie. She said exactly the right thing, but he just didn’t think she had that kind of understanding.
Bart: (Bristling) I would go protect her myself, if I knew where she was living. If she doesn’t want to be found, you will probably never find her.
Eddie: You better hope we find her first. Unlike us, Swamp Dog or whoever is looking for her doesn’t have her well being in mind. They want to shut her up I am sure.
May: Any ideas where we can look?
Bart: She disappeared for a couple of months before she disappeared for good. It corresponded with a wilderness survival course that the PT instructor at Church Camp ran. It is not supposed to be affiliated with the camp. It’s just a way to make a buck or two while Church Camp is lying low. I thought at the time that she might have been there. Rose’s specialty is reinventing herself.
Eddie: We will check it out. Keep your head down and don’t do business over the phone. I’m not sure that it is Swamp Dog after her. It might be some shadow government operation. No matter who it is we don’t need to feed them information.
Bart: Government outfit like you?
May: Not like us, but you have the idea.
On the sidewalk out front Eddie sent the coded message to Wes that ordered him to raid Church Camp. He also advised him to find the PT instructor called Killer.
While Eddie did that, May arranged for a search warrant. They were supposedly looking for unregistered machine guns. She had creditable evidence from a confidential informant that there were fully automatic assault weapons stored there.
Wes managed to limit the personnel to just the DEA Regional Officers and the Rural Police’s Swat Detachment. Of course, everyone wanted to be in on the raid, so it took some effort but they managed.
Once inside the compound the hastily arranged raiders began searching everything in sight. Even the safe houses were not exempt. The residents were allowed to hide their faces.
Wes: So you are the one they call killer?
Killer: It’s just a nickname it means nothing.
Wes: Bullshit you are the hand to hand combat and fitness instructor for this training facility. I’m not a cop, so don’t worry. I have only one interest in being here. That is to locate and save Rose Seabold.
Killer: What do you mean?
Wes explained about the investigation and where it stood when the computers had been breached. Killer understood the ramifications instantly.
Wes: Someone wants to cover up the Church Camp involvement, or make sure the name of the person who protected the Assassin never comes to light. Either way Rose Seabold is expendable under their plan. I and my friends intend to stop that. She might even get immunity, if we can get to her and she talks. Either way, we want to save her life.
Killer: I honestly can’t help you and I’m glad that I can’t. I would be tempted to help, if I could. I like Rose, I always did.
Wes: I get the feeling she was about ready to reinvent herself when she came here. So what can you tell me about that?
Killer: She wasn’t all that much a traditionalist. If she went to live in the woods, she didn’t plan on building a log cabin herself. She just didn’t have the skills or the bulk to do that. She might have been able to bluff it before her time in that island prison, but not after. She wasn’t frail or anything, but she couldn’t manhandle a ten inch tree either.
Killer: For what I didn’t do anything.
Wes: (Into the burner phone) Mike, go over Rose’s computer files again. Look for any searches that appear off the wall. Hell, pull all her searches.
Mike: Eddie called a couple of hours ago with the same information. She was doing research, but it might not have been on her computer or she destroyed the trail.
Wes: Keep looking. Salina says to keep those wounds clean and dry.
Salina: What should we do till Eddie and May finish their interviews?
Wes: Let’s go talk to Rose’s contractor.
It was late in the afternoon when they pulled into the parking lot of Carlos and Son Construction and Development Company. Since it was late in the afternoon there were a lot of pickup trucks in the lot.
Wes: Is one of you guys Carlos or the son?
Middle aged South American looking man answered.
Carlos: Carlos would be me. There is no son. Can I help you?
Wes: We are looking for Rose Seabold. I think you were an employee of hers at one time.
Carlos: I was an employee and a partner and finally I owned some of the property that we developed together.
Salina began conversing with him in Spanish. Wes caught a word every now and then, but never got them all. He gave up trying to stay in the conversation. He began looking around the small office instead. When there was a break, he jumped in the conversation.
Wes: I have seen an awful lot of small houses. Is that what you specialize in?
Carlos: Rose specialized in them. I just went along. These days I build anything that I feel will turn a profit.
Salina went back to Spanish and Carlos became more vocal.
Salina: Wes we should go. Carlos needs to get back to work.
Wes: Sure. Well, nice to have met you.
Wes put through a call to Lucille. His plan was to check into the B&B for a second night when the call was complete.
Lucille: You can stay the night and come back in the morning, or you can drive all night. If it was me I would stay another night.
Lucille: (to Eddie) Mike found something in the public records, but it took the super computer at George Washington University to do it. Don’t ask me how he got in there. Just get back tomorrow sometime. Why don’t you and May spend the night and drive back in the morning when you are fresh.
Eddie: I think we will start back and stop along the way. There is nothing else here for us.
Lucille: That’s fine drive carefully.
Mike had gotten into the George Washington University research computer lab thanks to an online friend’s backdoor. It took the super computer fifteen minutes to research all the real estate transactions for the spring of the last year around the time of Rose’s survival course.
By checking all of her known aliases, Mike found her purchase of slightly over a hundred acres of restricted wilderness land. That was the big news he was saving until Eddie, Wes, and the two ladies returned. Nobody wanted that information in the public domain. He had to assume that no communications were secure.
The information Eddie and Wes secured limited the time and pretty much told him what Rose was looking for. So his information wasn’t a breakthrough as much as a slow march forward.
Mom: (Calling from her office) Honey, what do you want for dinner? I think I will cook.
Mike: I’m kind of celebrating. Do you remember those hamburger pies you made when I was a child?
Mom: Sure, would you like those tonight. It means we will be eating a little late.
Mike: Later is fine. I just had my childhood years on my mind for some reason.
Mom: Then I’ll stop by the store to buy the ingredients.
Mike took the time to do more research on Rose’s new location. He prepared a complete package for Lucille. It was one she could distribute to the others or not as she wished. Remembering the events of the last week, he put the file on a flash drive, then took his scooter to the Capitol Bike Courier service. It wasn’t his money so why not hire someone to deliver the drive. Fortunately for his scraped legs the courier service had its office in a shopping plaza near his house. Besides all that, he had begun to promote bicycles since his change in life styles.
Lucille received the flash drive before she left the office for the day. She carried it home with her to review. When she arrived the nanny was giving the kids their favorite pasta with tomato sauce. Lucille always wondered if any of it got inside their mouths, since they always had so much on their faces.
After making herself an egg and toast Lucille settled down to review the file Mike had sent. After reading it carefully, she called up the Google Satellite images of three places in the USA. Two of them meant nothing, but one was the plot of land Rose had purchased the year before.
Lucille saw the fire road cutting across the front of the property. She searched hard but didn’t see anything that looked like a dwelling on the property. She was sure that Rose was living there, but she had gone to a lot of trouble to conceal her presence there.
Only because Lucille knew Rose’s habits, did she know where to look. Because she knew that she saw the break in the trees. There was a very rough trail leading into what looked like a thicket. The Satellite image was refreshed every couple of days, so there wasn’t always smoke visible from space. Most likely Rose made an effort to burn seasoned wood, which would emit less smoke.
Eddie and May were driving back to DC. They had actually done well since by nine they were down to approximately five hours left on the drive home.
May: If we stop now we can be home by noon tomorrow.
Eddie: How about one more hour, then we stop outside Roanoke VA. That should give us an easier drive tomorrow.
May: Oh alright. I’ll drive tomorrow though. You drive like an old lady.
Eddie pulled the car into a Super 8 Motel just outside Roanoke.
May: Can we share a room again. I feel safer that way.
Eddie: I kind of doubt that there will be any problems, but since I never thought Mike would have a problem either, we certainly can do that.
May: Besides, you don’t really mind sleeping in the same room with a woman half your age do you?
Eddie: What man in his right mind would object to that? It’s going to be kind of late, but I’m sure we can find a place for you to get a sleep outfit.
May: Do you mind if I wear your tee shirt again. I can wear the same one I wore last night.
Eddie: Okay, but no alcohol tonight. I want to be sharp tomorrow. Since they called us home, they have to have something.
There was a restaurant in the parking lot, so after they checked in Eddie made a coffee run. He sat drinking his while May was in the bathroom. He enjoyed the time away from her never ending chatter. He drank his coffee and enjoyed the silence.
Then May came out. She filled his tee shirt beautifully. There were even dark spots where her nipples were barely concealed. When she saw him stare her nipple got hard making them impossible not to notice. May blushed. Hell, Eddie probably blushed as well.
Eddie slept with May but not the same way that Wes Slept with Salina.
Lucille slept in the same bed with her husband, but they didn’t sleep touching.
Mike slept in the same house with his mother. But while she slept he began working on the data he had compiled. He was determined to have it better organized for Wes.
Mike was still in pain, but he found that he could work through it. He had people all around him who wouldn’t let that kind of shit stop them. He realized that he was developing into someone he liked.
Eddie was surprised when May slipped into bed with him after less than an hour in bed.
May: Sorry, but I just can’t sleep alone in a strange bed. I know I’m safe with you.
Eddie: May I can’t guarantee how safe you are going to be, but you are more than welcome to share the bed and I promise I will try to resist my baser urges. Now go to sleep.
Eddie slept with an erection which pleased May. She truly was an evil girl, Eddie thought.