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It was nearly noon when the burner phone rang. She was sitting on the bed tailor style and he was in one of the recliners. She grabbed the phone and answered.
“Got it. Put it in my office dropbox.”
She hung up the phone.
“Your appointments are starting to materialize. Apparently, whatever you did yesterday is starting to pay off.”
“I knew it had worked when you told me the IAD guys had packed up and left.”
She grabbed the laptop, turned it on and was soon logged into the department site. He watched over her shoulder as she was looking through her dropbox account. She pulled up a document.
“Jesus Steve. How the hell did you convince these people to give you their private phone numbers.”
“Fear is a wonderful motivator”
She rolled her eyes at him.
“I start making calls and setting up meets.”
“Do you think that’s wise. I mean, if one of these people is behind this thing, won’t you be a sitting duck.”
“I think the word you are looking for is bait.”
“You mean to make yourself the target.”
She slid off the bed and then slid into his lap in the recliner.
“I don’t like that idea very much.”
“It’s the only way I can figure to smoke these guys out. They have already demonstrated a desire to get me out of the way. If they try again and I can take down who ever makes the try, then we can take down the whole thing.”
“You mean we can take them down.”
He looked at her.
“I mean I can take them down. You don’t need to be anywhere close to this.”
“I am your partner.”
“Still. This has the potential to get really hairy. I have been there, you haven’t.”
“Steve. If you try to put me off on this I will call Stu.”
He looked at her. Why were women so fucking complicated.
“Ok, but you do exactly as I say.”
He swatted her on the ass and stood her up.
“I have to get on that phone. When I am done with it, we toss it and start using the other one after we forward the calls from the old one to the new one. We will pick up a second one this afternoon.”
She looked at him incredulously
“Where did you learn all this stuff.”
“I like to watch James Bond Movies.”
Several hours later he sat at the desk in the hotel room and looked at the notepad. He had arranged meets with the board of directors of the Dashwood group. They were arranged for different places at different times and on different days. He wanted enough time to get everything planned properly.
The meets happened in high profile high traffic public places, yet they offered a bit of privacy just by their very nature; parks, shopping malls, amusement parks, the zoo. They all were part of his plan. He had a bit of shopping to do, but that would go quickly. He turned to Rafferty.
“We need to go shopping.”
“I am good at shopping.”
“I bet you are.”
As she walked by she thumped him on the back of the head.
As they drove down the parking garage she asked directions.
“Where to first.”
“The sporting goods store just down the street.”
She followed him around. She watched as he picked out a pair of walkie talkie radios with headsets, a hunting jacket, a floppy brimmed hat and several pairs of shades, all in different lens colors and styles. He also spent quite a bit of time selecting several different knives.
Back in the car she finally had a chance to ask.
“What the hell is all that for?”
“The radios are for what they are for. The jacket and hat are easy to use disguises. I will be buying a few more things at the thrift shop. The knives. Knives are backups. When all else fails, a sharp blade always works.”
She realized that he was preparing for a battle.
At the thrift shop he picked out a long raincoat, several different styles of sports coats, some shirts and a sweater. He suggested that she get some different clothing that she could discard in a hurry if need be. She picked out 5 different outfits that seemed to meet with his approval.
Back in the car she looked at him.
“The rental car place at the airport.”
She looked at him strangely.
“Look. By now they know this car. Mine is toast, literally. We need wheels that no one knows. We park your car in the long term parking garage and then rent two cars.”
She nodded. It did make sense.
Within the hour they were headed back to the hotel. He was driving a black SUV and she was behind the wheel of a sporty sub compact. He had spent the time on the drive to the airport unpackaging the radios and putting batteries in them and testing them. Each of them now had one on and an earpiece fixed firmly.
Rafferty, can you hear me?”
“I got you.”
“Good. We are going back to the hotel, up the garage to the top floor again and then back to the room. I will brief you on this first meet when we get there.”
He winced as she used the police standard canlı bahis şirketleri radio jargon. When they were back in the room, he tossed his purchases toward the couch and missed. They piled into the floor in a heap.
“Aren’t you going to hang that stuff up?”
“Nope, I want it to look lived in.”
He sat down and began to unbox the knives. They were all self-opening models He checked each one to make sure it operated flawlessly. One went into his back pocket, one in the jacket pocket he was wearing and he handed her one.
“Practice with that until you can open it in the dark upside down with your left hand. When you are comfortable with it, keep it somewhere you can get to it with your off hand.”
She nodded and began working the knife. He watched her. She was surprisingly adroit and it took only a few minutes until she was working the knife expertly with both hands.
“Ok. Here is the setup for the first meet. It’s in the park across the street from city hall at noon. That means there will be a shit ton of people out eating lunch in the park and walking to and from lunch. I will be on the bench across from the fountain. There is a bench surrounding the fountain. You will sit on that bench facing me. You are my eyes behind. You can see everything coming from behind me. I can see everything coming from behind you. If you see anything suspicious you simply say “trouble” on that radio and I will immediately head toward you. Meet me half way and we will deal with whatever you saw. I will do the same for you.”
“Who are you meeting?”
Her eyes got wide. She knew that he was on the list but she never imagined that he might be one of those in a position of power in the group. He was the mayor but he also owned a huge investment firm.
The next day they were in position in the park at 11am. He had a newspaper to keep himself visibly occupied. She sat on the fountain, slowly eating a sandwich. He was dressed in an old sports coat and a pair of stained jeans. He was wearing a pair of the shades from the sporting goods store. Just barely visible in his ear was the speaker.
The park soon began to get crowded. The lunch time groups were meeting and the foot traffic increased. He watched the front of city hall carefully and soon saw the mayor exit and walk straight across the street and towards him. He waited until the mayor sat on the end of the bench.
“Well Mayor. Let’s talk about Dashwood.”
“You are an impertinent son of a bitch Stevens.”
“That may be true, but you haven’t had your wife tortured to death, your house blown up and you job threatened. It tends to make one a bit aggravated.”
“You don’t think we had anything to do with that?”
“It happened in a building owned by your little social group and someone had a key. You tell me what it looks like.”
“We rent that building all the time.”
“I have checked the records. Remember I got them from Cogborn despite your best efforts and one of your members who is a judge. There was no rental on that night. One of your members is behind this.”
The mayor got quiet
“What do you want me to do.”
“You tell me who in your group has access to that building and who is involved in the kind of illegal operation that would warrant such an act.”
“I have no idea. The Board members have keys. Cogborn has keys. Several of the committee chairman have keys.”
“I want a list of the keyholders and I want you to check and make sure every one of them can account for their keys.”
“It will take a few days.”
“I have time. Also, just for my own interest. Where were you on the night this murder took place.”
“I was in Washington DC attending a meeting of Mayors.”
“Good enough. That should be easy enough to verify.”
“Have that list delivered to the homicide office addressed to me.”
“Is that all”
“For now. I may have more questions.”
The mayor looked at him and stood and without another look walked back toward city hall.
Steve raised the newspaper and talked quietly.
“Rafferty. Get up and walk to your car and get in it. When you are locked in I will go to mine. Head back to the hotel.”
He looked over the paper and watched as she gathered her trash and walked toward the car. She passed a trash can and deposited the trash and was soon in her car.
“Start it and pull away. I will be right behind you”
They returned to the hotel without incident. In the room, he stretched out on the bed.
She sat next to him and looked down.
“I really don’t think the guy is involved or has any clue. He was in DC when it went down so he certainly couldn’t have been there.”
“Who is next?”
“The judge who quashed our subpoena”
“Where this time”
“At the zoo in the pavilion in the middle, mid-morning. I checked. There will be about a million elementary school children there. It should be a mad house.”
The next morning, canlı kaçak iddaa he sat in the sunshine watching hundreds of elementary children and their teachers dutifully tromping around the zoo. He was sitting facing the entrance to the zoo and he could see Rafferty parked on a picnic bench to one side of the gate next to one of the drink stands. She had a snow cone.
He saw the judge enter the zoo and look around. He finally spotted who he was looking for and came straight toward him and sat on the bench.
“Who the hell are you and what is this all about.”
“I am the detective that ordered the subpoena that you quashed a few days ago.”
The man sat silent
“Why don’t you tell me about the Dashwood group.”
“It is just a bunch of old friends who get together to socialize.”
“Is that what the dungeon is for and all those play rooms upstairs?”
The judge cut his eyes around quickly.
“Yeah, I have seen them. It seemed strange to me that the uniforms were stopped from doing a room by room search of that place which is standard procedure. Care to explain why that happened.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“I will let it go for the time being. I want to know what you know about the murder that happened in the basement of your building and why you wanted to stop the investigation.”
“I don’t know anything about it. We rent that building all the time. It could have been anyone. I got a call from our attorney about the subpoena. He asked if I could kill it. I told him I could temporarily but if it was a legit subpoena, someone up the chain would reinstate it. That seemed to satisfy him. Why do you think it was our people behind this?
“tI was someone with a key. Now, we have eliminated the maintenance guy. He was at a lodge meeting and his lodge members can vouch for that. One of your keyholders was there to let in whoever did this.”
He was silent for a while.
“Judge, can you tell me who you think it might be?”
“I don’t have any idea.”
“You think on it and if you have any revelations you can leave word at the homicide division and I will call you back. By the way. Where were you on the night the murder happened.”
“I was hosting a dinner party at my house. One of my colleagues is retiring and we were celebrating with him.”
“Ok, were any of your other members there so I can mark them off my list?”
He named off two more names.
“Is there anything else.”
“Not now, but I may want to talk to you again.”
The judge looked at him and stood. He walked straight out the gate. When he was out of sight, Steve spoke quietly.
“All done. Same drill. When you are locked in your car tell me and I will follow you out. Back to the hotel.”
They again arrived back at the hotel without incident. Once in the room, he again sat in the recliner. She came in, got a cold drink from the fridge and looked at him.
“When is the next one.”
“Late tomorrow evening at the Mall. Peak shopping hours.”
“Who this time.”
“He looked at her.”
“The president of the biggest bank in town.”
They meeting continued for the next week. After the last interview, had been conducted they sat in the hotel room. He was looking dejected.
“Nothing happened. I expected someone to at least try to tail us back here to see where we were staying but nothing. All of the people have solid alibis’ Doesn’t mean they weren’t involved, but they certainly weren’t there.”
“I don’t know. I need to think about it.”
“I have an idea!”
“Well, it has been better than a week since I flashed you in the bathroom. We have slept together since then and other than the occasionally kiss you are still being the chivalrous knight. Why don’t you take me to bed and make love to me?”
He looked at her.
“You are turning in to a slut.”
“No, just a woman who has been near a man she finds very attractive and she can’t figure out why he doesn’t pay attention to her.”
He looked puzzled.
“I. . . I mean. . . . I didn’t. . . . “
“Just shut up and come to bed.”
Later that afternoon, as they lazed in the bed together, the burner phone range. She picked it up and answered.
Raferty recognized Stu.
“Hangon, he is right here.”
She handed the phone to him.
“Hi Stu, what’s up.”
“I got some more information for you. Can you come downtown and pick it up?”
“I would rather not. Can you meet us at the hot dog stand at the amusement park.”
“Really? Jesus, you’re acting like a paranoid.”
“Yeah, I know I am getting paranoid in my old age. Humor me.”
He hung up the phone.
“Better get up and get your panties on. We have a date for a hot dog.”
She grinned and bounced out of bed. He watched as she crossed the room and into the bath. He rolled out of bed and started dressing all the while his mind was a whirlwind of activity.
They got to canlı kaçak bahis the park, bought their tickets and strolled around inside. They killed some time and then he went to the hotdog stand to wait. He put her across the way, just inside the entry to the women’s restroom. They were wearing their radios.
Stu came through the gate. Steve watched as Stud immediately made for the hotdog stand. Steve could see a manila envelope.
“You ok Steve?”
“Where is Rafferty?”
“She is around.”
Stu studied at him
“Still playing spy games?”
“Still being careful. What do you have.”
“Couriers have been arriving all day with stuff. It is all in here. Ralph in electronic crimes sent you a disc. He just said to deliver the envelope to you.”
He handed Steve the envelope.
“Are you going to tell me where you are staying?”
“Why all this cloak and dagger shit?”
“Stu, the less you know the better. Let’s just say that there is more going on here than you realize. Maybe more than I realize.”
Stu shook his head.
“I think your nuts. Seems to me that your wife got herself involved with a bunch of perverts and things got out of hand. Someone panicked and killed the guy she was with. Sooner or later we will figure it out.”
“You keep working on that Stu.”
Stu looked at him and started to leave. Steve watched him go until he was out of sight and then turned and spoke quietly.
“Ok Rafferty. Meet me at the gate.”
She was waiting when he arrived.
“Let’s go back to the hotel. I have some reading to do.”
Back at the hotel, he sat down and opened the envelope. Inside was a another envelope, sealed and inside that was a simple list titled KEY HOLDERS and a list of 11 names. Eight of them he already had. He also knew that Cogborn had one and that the maintenance guy had one. The other name on the list he didn’t recognize. He marked the name in red and handed it to Angela.
“Get on line and find out what you can about this guy. Do all the background stuff on him. See if he has a record. We need to know all we can about Mr. Angus McDuff.”
He opened the other envelope. Inside was a dvd and a note.
“Steve. We have been monitoring the black net. I can’t give you the details of the operation but we picked this up off one of the sites. It is being sold for a whopping $50,000 a copy. We had already hacked the site so I downloaded this. I thought you should see it.”
He looked at the dvd. It was plain, no markings or labels.
“When you get done with the computer I need to use it.”
She nodded and went on about her work. She ran the keyboard for nearly 45 minutes and when she looked up she was puzzled.
“There is nothing on this guy. He has no record, no driver’s license, nothing. He is a ghost.”
“He is an alias. We will deal with that tomorrow. I need to see what is on this dvd that I got from the geek squad.”
She handed him the laptop and went to the bathroom. He put the disk into the drive, shut it and waited.
When she came out he was sitting in the chair staring at the screen. She knew something was wrong. He was dead white. There was no blood in his face and his eyes looked dead.
“Steve! What’s wrong?”
He looked up at her and handed her the note from Ralph.
She read it and then looked at him.
“What is it? What did they find?”
He turned the laptop toward her and clicked on the keyboard. She stood and watched. The screen flickered and then she saw a dark image. At first, she couldn’t make out what it was and then she began to recognize the basement of the building where the murder occurred. It was the bench. As she watched three shadowy figures walked into the screen. Well two of them walked, the third was being held between them and marched in. In an instant, she recognized Steve’s wife. She watched, wide eyed, as the two men held her down on the bench and tied her tightly. She was fighting and trying to scream. The two men walked out of camera and for several seconds the camera only focused on the woman tied to the bench as she struggled against the ropes holding her. Angela watched as the man that they found dead in the basement came into view again. He had the pole and she watched in horror as he placed it at the bound woman’s ass and gave it a hard shove. It was gruesome. The pole split her ass and she screamed in agony as the point penetrated into her abdomen.
He grabbed the pole again and using his immense weight shoved again and the pole disappeared another 6 inches. She screamed again and this time it was accompanied by a spray of blood from her mouth. Once more he prepared and shoved so hard that it moved the bench forward a few inches and the pole impaled the woman another 6 inches. She was limp, her head hanging down and blood streaming from her mouth. Blood was also pooling at the back of the bench. The man stood up and walked around to the side of the bench and lifted the woman’s head by the hair. As he straightened up, another figure appeared in the frame and struck the man on the back of the head with what looked like a hammer. The figure was shadowy and never came into focus. The final few seconds of the film were just the two bleeding figures and then it went black.
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