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Investigator part one (standard:other, 79677 words)
Author: AnonymousAdded: Apr 18 2014Views/Reads: 1902/2319Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Part one of a continuing story... This story is not pornographic. It does however contain adult situations and language nothing worse than you would see or bBritish TV
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

replacement early, so for the next five hours he sat at his desk 
staring out the window.  Over half his life was in the one cardboard 
box sitting atop his desk.  He wasn't even imaginative enough to see 
how the small cardboard container was a metaphor of his life. 

His last meal in the city was a celebration.  He went to the New China
City Restaurant alone for the combo plate with egg rolls.  Steady 
Eddy's personal life was as bland as dishwater and he didn't mind 
at all. 

Eddie had dated a few times and found women to be a pain in the ass.  So
when he first became involved with the widow of a Police Officer, who 
was nuts, he wanted to run away.  She however called him over to fix 
things about once a month.  She got her plumbing cleared, and he got 
dinner with her and her two children.  After the kids went to sleep, 
they always had boring sex.  The arrangement lasted until she and the 
kids moved home to Indiana. 

Anna met a man and decided the kids needed a father who was not a cop. 
Eddie never blamed her, since they were just friends.  At least the 
closest thing to a friend he ever had.  People around him envied his 
peaceful life style, but they sure as hell didn't want it as a full 
time lifestyle. 

Eddie:  (into his phone)  Dep....Hello. 

Voice coming out of the phone:  Deputy Chief Alexander? 

Eddie:  I was this morning.  Who is this? 

Voice:  I'm Lucille Martin, Chief of Staff for Senator Jeffery Ames. 
I would like to arrange a meeting with you. 

Eddie:  To what end?  I don't know the Senator and as far as I know I
have no business with him. 

Lucille:  The meeting isn't with the Senator it is with me. 

Eddie:  I see.  I am really not interested in making any contributions. 

Lucille:  (Laughing)  I know the press makes it seem like all we do is
raise money, but we try to fit in public business now and then.  The 
meeting is about public service.  We know you just retired and most 
likely will be bored silly in a month.  This is just a chance for us to 
talk about your options. 

Eddie:  The only options I'm interested in at the moment is
traditional shingles or architectural ones. 

Lucille:  Go with the architectural.  Now how about lunch at that
dreadful Cafe you like so much. 

Eddie:  You seem to know a lot about me. 

Lucille:  You, most of all, should know the devil is in the details. 

Lucille had managed to make him curious.  He decided that he should at
least listen to her even if he did have to go into the city to do it. 

Eddie:  When do you want to meet? 

Lucille:  Lunch tomorrow and bring your appetite I'm buying. 

Eddie:  In that case I'll skip breakfast. 

Lucille:  What dreadful combination of cereals are you having these
mornings? 

Eddie:  I don't know the names, but it looks like pine needles,
maggots and bat shit. 

Lucille:  You got to love a man with a sense of humor. 

She was gone without setting a time for the meeting.  Eddie decided to
just go at his usual time since she seemed to know everything else 
about him, she surely knew he ate lunch everyday at 1 PM. 

Eddie didn't worry about who she really was or what she wanted.  There
was nothing he could do to change whatever she had in mind for him.  He 
also didn't expect anything good to come of the meeting.  He planned 
to have lunch with her then walk away. 

The roofer showed up in the early evening, presumably after a full
day's work on another project.  His truck looked like it was twenty 
years old and hadn't been washed since it left the dealer's 
showroom.  The rust might have been the only thing holding the fenders 
on. 

Roofer:  So Mr. Alexander you ready to let me start work? 

Eddie:  We agreed on the work to be done and the way it is to be done,
right? 

Roofer:  Sure we put it on old school, hammers and nails, not nail gun. 
I am gonna tear off the old one, use felt every where, shingle leaf on 
the edges and step flashing around the chimney.  I am gonna install 
rubber boots around the two vents.  It's a small little three bedroom 
house so price is $2,500. 

Eddie:  We did not agree to that figure. 

Roofer:  That's the going rate. 

Eddie knew that he was right but he had no intention of paying that kind
of money without a second estimate.  During the last meeting the roofer 
went home to compile his estimate.  So now he had come back with a full 
downtown price.  Eddie had spent enough time in the farming community 
to know labor was at least 10% cheaper than it would have been 
downtown. 

Eddie:  I'm not going to haggle like a fish monger.  I checked around
and I'm prepared to do the job for two grand.  More than that and I 
will have to take bids and compare them. 

Roofer after a minute of silence:  Twenty two and I'll roof that shed
out back.  You know it needs it. 

Eddie:  Done, so when you want to start? 

Roofer:  Early tomorrow morning? 

Eddie:  Yeah that's fine.  I have to go out for lunch tomorrow, but I
expect you will still be working when I get back.  I'll write you a 
check for half now and the other half when it is completed 
satisfactorily. 

The roofer left with a check for eleven hundred dollars with which he
would purchase the brown plain shingles for the roof. 

Eddie watched some Television with his new Internet TV device for
awhile, then walked on the deck with his Budweiser beer.  He sat until 
11 PM listening to the sounds of the night, then went to bed.  The bed 
and small kitchen appliances were the bulk of the items to come from 
his studio apartment. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

While Eddie Alexander was slipping into oblivion Lucille was busy
recruiting another person for the Senator's team.  The interview was 
being held in a quiet brew pub in the middle of a revitalized 
neighborhood in downtown DC.  It was within walking distance of May 
Jeffrey's apartment. 

Lucille:  So you in or not.  I have an appointment with a retired
homicide detective tomorrow.  I would like to be able to give him the 
whole team's background. 

May:  Surely you can do better than a rookie assistant US attorney.  You
are talking about a high powered investigation cranking up. 

Lucille:  Don't sell yourself short you know the law and now you have
three years with the US Attorney's office.  Your evaluations have 
been excellent all the way through.  You will still be working for the 
US Attorney but just on loan to the Committee. 

May:  Committee my ass.  You and I both know I would be working for your
boss.  He wants to bring down those last members of the so called 
American Foreign Legion. 

Lucille:  You sound like you don't approve. 

May:  There has been no evidence whatsoever that they committed any
illegal acts under the US department of Justice's jurisdiction. 

Lucille:  And that is why we want you.  We all know Sylvia Porter is
dead, but she had lots of underlings who did her dirty work.  She knew 
where some pretty rank skeletons were buried, but that all died with 
her. 

May bent over and kissed Lucille on the lips.  The kiss lingered just a
bit. 

Lucille:  What the fuck? 

May:  Those two guys at the end of the bar were planning to come down
and hit on us.  Unless you think your husband would prefer you come 
home filled with some other man's sperm? 

Lucille:  I think he would prefer I just said no to you both. 

May:  Careful you are letting your homophobia peek through. 

Lucille:  It's not homophobic to want to choose who kisses me. 

May:  So you say. 

May picked up her purse, then stood.  Be sure your cop knows who is in
charge. 

Lucille:  He is in charge of the investigation.  You will be in charge
of the administration of the law.  That's how it's going to roll. 

May standing beside Lucille:  So who is the hotshot cop? 

Lucille:  Deputy Chief Homicide Detective Edward Alexander. 

May:  My god not Steady Eddie.  Tell me you don't have Steady Eddie. 

Lucille:  I can't since I'm seeing him tomorrow, if he agrees he
will be heading up the team. 

May:  Are you going to sleep with him to make sure he goes along? 

Lucille:  I did not have to sleep with you to recruit you. 

May:  But you would have, if I had insisted. 

Lucille:  Yes I would have, but that wasn't necessary and won't be
necessary with Eddie either. 

May:  No it won't be necessary for me.  Just knowing you would is
enough. 

Lucille:  You are one strange bitch. 

May:  That's what my daddy always said. 

Lucille:  Well that's another thing he was right about. 

May:  You ain't giving me this chance because of him are you. 

Lucille:  Frederick Jeffrey ran for congress when I was in college.  I
was one of his volunteers.  He was so young and charismatic, we all 
called him the southern John Kennedy.  But no May, you stand on your 
own merits here. 

May:  Good, but nobody is going to believe either of us.  So when do I
start? 

Lucille:  There is going to be a team meeting just as soon as I convince
Eddie Alexander to come on board. 

May:  Will you fuck him to get him on board? 

Lucille:  Not unless I have to.  He is an old man. 

Day 2 

Eddie was in the cafe five minutes before Lucille entered.  He didn't
recognize her of course, so he had to wait until she moved toward his 
table.  He didn't recognize her but he recognized the look of someone 
coming toward him, so he stood. 

Eddie:  Lucille I assume. 

Lucille:  Steady Eddie, you look just like your picture. 

Eddie:  I do hope you aren't talking about the dreadful ID photo. 

Lucille:  No the one of you coming out of the Senate Hearings on the
Swamp Dog Mercenaries. 

Eddie:  So that's what this is about.  I really don't know any more
than I told the Senate committee. 

Lucille:  I'm sure you think that is true, but we would like for you
to continue that investigation.  You would give us a huge leg up. 

Eddie:  That case was closed with a 'cleared' notation.  There is
nothing to investigate. 

Lucille:  A man is murdered and there is nothing to investigate? 

Eddie:  The man who was murdered was a drug wholesaler.  Everyone
figured it was the cost of doing business.  Nobody is going to miss 
him. 

Lucille:  Two weeks before he died, he is alleged to have had the son of
a congressman killed.  Some kind of message he was sending I heard. 

Eddie:  I don't know about that.  All I know is a drug lord in
Columbia claimed to have been responsible for the killing.  It was his 
way of taking the heat off the drug trade, I expect.  We were told it 
was no longer in our jurisdiction.  DEA would be taking the lead. 

Lucille:  Don't you just hate when that happens? 

Eddie:  It was just a job Lucy, not a crusade for me. 

Lucille:  You can call me Lucille or Ms Martin, but you can not call me
Lucy. 

Eddie:  Okay then let me explain that I am retired.  I don't need a
job and didn't come looking for you.  So Ms Martin our business is 
done.  You don't need to buy me lunch, since we are not doing 
business after all. 

Lucille:  Wouldn't you like to know who actually put that hole in
Carlos' ear. 

Eddie:  Not especially.  I was told the case was closed, so the case is
closed. 

Eddie wasn't nearly as cool as he acted.  No cop likes to be pulled
off an active case.  When he found out the Congressman's connection, 
he was reminded that it was all political.  He didn't really need 
that reminder.  The last five years had been ripe with political 
decisions made by others. 

Lucille:  Did you put a name to the image? 

Eddie:  I assume you read the file. 

Lucille:  The file might easily have been sanitized. 

Eddie:  If you saw the image you know as much as I do, a woman with a
blonde wig, great body, and large dark glasses.  The Federal database 
couldn't find her.  That was four years ago. 

Lucille:  Five years and two months since the murder. 

Eddie:  Nobody cares about a drug cartel operative who gets killed doing
business. 

Lucille:  Senator Ames cares. 

Eddie:  Why?  Is he going to run for President? 

Eddie looked for a reaction.  There was a small twitch in her face.  He
knew then that it was a political ploy.  Nobody really cared.  They 
just wanted to investigate so that they could keep the Foreign Legion 
thing alive till the elections.  Of course it could be that the kid's 
father had hired the Swamp people to off the drug dealer.  That would 
pretty much seal his fate.  At least it would ruin his career.  It 
would also mean any chance he ever had to run against Ames was gone as 
well.  Eddie didn't like politics or politicians. 

Lucille:  So what's it going to take to get you on board. 

Eddie:  You don't have anything I want.  Get yourself someone else to
persecute the kid's father.  You don't give a crap about some dope 
dealer.  You probably don't care about Swamp Dog.  It all just makes 
for good theater. 

Lucille changed her tactic:  What is it you plan to grow on your five
acre mini farm. 

Eddie:  Goats. 

Lucille:  Why goats? 

Eddie:  Why not? 

Lucille:  Six months, that's the most this will take. 

Eddie:  Let me tell you something.  You do not want me to take the job
after this discussion.  Because if I do and the facts don't fit your 
needs, they will come out anyway.  If this begins to look political, I 
will go to the press.  I don't work for the government anymore.  For 
twenty five years I have played by the rules.  I am going to be a 
decent human being and do the right thing in my final days.  My 
non-disclosure agreement is no good anymore.  So why not just go find 
yourself another boy. 

Lucille:  You have experience dealing with this thing.  You have
credibility and you have already testified before the Committee, so 
they probably won't call you again.  Not unless we get some hard 
evidence about the blonde with the big boobs.  So are you in? 

Eddie: I know I'm going to regret this.  I have given all my suits and
ties to the Goodwill.  If I work for you, the dress is casual. 

Lucille:  As long as you don't become a nudist. 

Eddie had a grilled cheese and homemade potato chips.  Lucille had a ham
and cheese salad.  Lucille paid the check as promised. 

Lucille: Tomorrow 9 AM at this address. 

She was standing on the sidewalk outside the New Town Cafe.  She nodded
then walked to her car. 

Eddie:  Where is that address?  I don't recognize it. 

Lucille:  Google it.  Now don't set a bad example by being late.  You
are going to meet the team and you are one of the bosses now. 

Eddie:  I was one of the bosses yesterday but I still had to put up with
shit.  Tomorrow I don't have to put up with anything.  We are clear 
about that, right? 

Lucille: You just have to do what you do, then tell us when it is done. 
We don't care how you do it. 

Eddie:  Then I'll see you tomorrow. 

Eddie drove his brand new South Korean Econobox through the town of
Bailey Crossroads and five more miles then into the driveway of his 
small three bedroom frame house.  He was glad to see that the roofers 
were still driving nails.  Eddie went inside after waving up at the 
roofer boss. 

Once inside he opened a can of diet soda from Walmart, then turned on
the new Internet TV.  He unlocked what used to be the linen closet in 
the hall to remove the strong box.  From the box Eddie removed an old 
style cell phone, then installed a battery.  He dialed the number of 
the House of Representatives Office building. 

Eddie:  You were right she is obsessed with you. 

Voice on the phone:  My staff heard she was going to try to recruit you
for the Senate Investigation.  I suppose for a change they knew what 
they were talking about. 

Eddie:  How long has she been planning this. 

Voice:  The investigation has been ongoing.  When she was told you were
going to retire, they began making plans.  You are considered the 
expert on Swamp Dog investigations.  You didn't act eager to work for 
them did you? 

Eddie:  Of course not.  This isn't my first rodeo.  It might have been
a while, but I know how to work undercover.  (knock on the door)  I 
have to run.  I have to pay my roofing contractor.  I'll stay in 
touch. 

Eddie went outside to check out the roof.  Just before he climbed onto
the roof to inspect it, he tried to work out the story line for the 
intrigue in which he found himself at the moment.  He gave up and just 
spit on the ground and muttered, "Politicians". 

After he climbed the ladder he walked all over the roof.  Only then did
he hand over the roofer's check for eleven hundred more dollars. 

Roofer:  Call me if you have any trouble. 

Eddie:  Don't worry I will. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Meanwhile in the Senate Office Building Lucille was picking up her
secure office phone.  It was as secure as a phone could be by that 
time. 

Lucille:  May, your boss is going to be in to see you, if he hasn't
been in yet.  The first meeting is tomorrow at 9 AM at the Hole In The 
Wall.  The equipment has been installed and we are already to go. 

May:  Good I'll be there in the morning.  I still don't see why all
this hung on one man.  A retired Federal Cop for god's sake. 

Lucille:  That Fed has information that never made it into the report. 
All cops keep over half the information on a case in their heads.  They 
at least know which paths to walk down.  That kind of thing doesn't 
go into reports, but can save us months. 

May:  Alright but it has been my experience that cops and lawyers on the
same team make a disastrous mix. 

Lucille:  Maybe, but we need him and I need you to play nice,
understand?  You are ambitious and he is not, so use that.  So there 
shouldn't be any pissing matches. 

May:  I'll see you in the morning at nine. 

When the connection was broken Lucille began alerting the rest of her
people.  She had five people in the crew, each with a different agenda. 
 That's why they chose her to lead the investigation.  Get out in 
front of a potentially embarrassing story and stay ahead of the curve.  
Cops and lawyers didn't understand political perception and the news 
cycle's effect on it. 

Lucille had her cop, her lawyer, her retired CIA operative, her forensic
computer nerd and her nurse practitioner.  The nurse was just in case 
there was medical information to be reviewed.  She was also going to 
coordinate the movements of people and act as receptionist. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille speaking into the phone:  Selina, we are on for tomorrow morning
at 9 AM at the Hole. 

Selina:  I'm not sure you need me, since I'll just be sitting around
most of the time. 

Lucille:  Would you rather be sitting around in the office, or sitting
around at home. 

Salina:  Do the others know who they will be working with? 

Lucille:  No but they will have to know.  We are going to have to be
honest with each other.  None of us are perfect. 

Salina:  So, of us all who have the worst history. 

Lucille:  That depends on your definition of worst.  I know that is a
political answer, but this is going to be a political game.  If you 
tell that, I'll swear I never said it. 

Salina:  Yeah, who would the other politicians believe?  One of their
own, or a Junkie Nurse. 

Lucille:  Let's hope it doesn't come to that. 

Salina:  Yes let's hope. 

Lucille reviewed Salina's file only because she knew that Salina was a
bit of an idealist, always a bad sign.  She had been an Army combat 
medic when the Army first began allowing women into combat.  That's 
where she first tried Morphine.  She swears she never compromised the 
men under her care, but who knows. 

According to her probation report she secretly kicked it on her own. 
She went through college drug free, according to her statement.  
College was paid for with the college benefits supplied by the 
Military.  Where the money for her living expenses came from was not 
really clear.  Evidently no one thought to ask.  Three years before 
that night, she was caught with five bindles of heroin.  She also had 
fresh track marks on her arm.  She did a year in a Federal prison 
before being paroled. 

Since her parole she had tested clean for drugs of any kind.  She lived
in a halfway house part of the time finally moving to a tiny apartment 
after taking a job with a Medical Supply Distribution Center.  She 
drove a truck delivering medical devices to geriatric facilities.  She 
even saved a life when one of the patients went into cardiac arrest and 
the new nurse panicked.  Those places didn't hire the best nurses 
even Lucille knew that.  So she recruited the junkie nurse to be the 
receptionist and half ass medical authority. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille spoke into the phone again:  Michael, are you ready to begin
work? 

Michael was a chubby mid twenties pimply faced kind of kid.  He was the
best computer specialist Lucille could find in DC, who didn't work 
for NSA.  He most likely would have, if he could have passed the 
background check. 

Michael's problem, other than the occasional Joint, was his
willingness to reprogram phones and clean computers which had once 
belonged to other people.  He told Lucille he felt like he was saving 
the planet by recycling. 

So what if he recycled other people's junk without their permission.  He
had worked with a gang of kids who hung around high end restaurants and 
train stations.  The information on the laptops and Iphones was 
sometimes worth a few bucks.  How was he to know the actors in the 
video, of the two people fucking, were cops.  Trying to blackmail them 
got him arrested. 

Michael:  Do I have a choice? 

Lucille:  Not if you want to stay out of jail. 

Michael:  Then I will be there.  Just tell me when and where. 

Lucille:  Tomorrow 9 AM at the Hole. 

Michael:  10-4 

Lucille:  Don't try to talk like a cop.  You aren't now, nor will
you ever be a cop.  (her tone was motherly) 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille prepared to make a call to the last member of her team.  Wesley
was a former CIA operative.  He had been on forced retirement for five 
years.  At thirty five he lost a leg while trying to dismantle a bomb 
which he had placed under a local warlord's car. 

It was a tragic accident since Langley changed their mind about the need
for the bomb.  The removal order came half and hour after he placed the 
bomb.  He had to return to the car and take it off. 

It was dicey but he and the bomb were in the safe house, when somebody,
somewhere made a call to his daughter or some such shit which according 
to Wes triggered it.  Nobody knew quite what happened.  So in the 
absence of any witnesses his version stuck. 

Wes had either been a drinker or started to drink after the accident. 
There was a review of the case, wasn't there always, and Wes was 
deemed unfit for duty.  He was offered an office job or a pension.  He 
went out on his CIA pension which was good enough to drink himself to 
death. 

Then of all things Wes got religion.  A year of preaching was more than
enough according to his statement.  After that he was just a drunk.  
That is where Lucille found him and convinced him to check into a 
clinic, get clean and come back to work for her.  Wes was her mole on 
the investigating team.  He owed her and he believed in paying his 
debts. 

Lucille into the phone:  Nine AM at the Hole. 

With that call her work was done, but the day wasn't finished so
Lucille read reports until 5 PM.  She hated reading intelligence 
reports from field operatives.  She would much rather be in the field 
or listening to conversations from wiretaps.  Political intrigue went 
back to the cave men and the fight for food, she was sure. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

That night Eddie watched TV with his mind on the next day more than any
of the make believe heroes with their glamorous lives.  He knew what it 
was like to be a real life cop hero and it lasted about two months.  
Then it was back to being bored to tears. 

May went to a very upscale club to meet a mid level state department
employee.  The woman was middle aged, but she was also a very powerful 
woman.  She was not as well known as others but was more powerful than 
most of them.  Her power was also the source of her ability to meet and 
seduce women like May.  They had a quiet drink, then left early to have 
kinky sex in the state department employee's bed. 

Selena would have liked to go to a club, but the ankle bracelet wasn't
her best piece of jewelry.  So she sat home with a bottle of wine and 
the same TV shows Eddie watched. 

Michael wore one of those bracelets as well.  Since all of his ill
gotten gains went into lawyers and fines, he lived with his semi 
professional bridge player mother.  Now that he had a job at least he 
could get away from her some of the day.  Maybe he could manage a place 
of his own some day.  He went on line to join a virtual reality game, 
so that he could interact with other people.  His avatar was an average 
guy nothing special just average.  Michael felt that average was an 
upgrade to his reality. 

Wes went from cheap bar to cheap bar till he found a prostitute young
enough to be his daughter.  He engaged in sex with her.  He usually 
only had sex with her once a month on check day, but he was back on the 
government payroll, so he could afford her more often. 

Lucille went home to her banker husband and two elementary school
children.  She had delivered them almost at her desk.  She worked right 
up till the day before delivery in both cases.  The kids were her gift 
to her husband.  He needed the nuclear family to parade around at 
company picnics.  So she gave it to him, then hired a really good nanny 
and went back to work. 

They never discussed that he was bi sexual.  Even though his leanings
were more toward men than women.  Which made it easier for him to stay 
away from other women.  The banking community was more conservative 
than most businesses, so he knew being discrete about his private life 
was everything.  It also meant he never questioned his wife.  He knew 
she was more about her job than about sexual desire.  So they had what 
Lucille thought was the perfect marriage. 

Lucille looked at the empty king sized bed and mumbled.  "What a
waste."

Of them all Eddie was the only one to accomplish anything positive that
day.  He at least had a new roof on his little house in the country.  
The others ended the day just as they had every other day. 

Day 3 

After a stop for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit Eddie arrived at the
address fifteen minutes before the nine o'clock starting time.  He 
had time to scout the abandoned parking structure.  He would have but 
he couldn't get in. 

The gate to the eight foot chain link fence with barbed wire on top was
locked.  Eddie looked around, since he couldn't believe he had the 
right place.  He was sure that he had the right address, since the 
whole block was occupied by the parking structure.  The sign on the 
gate informed him the area was not to be trespassed upon.  It also 
stated that failure to adhere to the rule would result in arrest and 
prosecution.  The parking garage was the property of the United States 
Government.  There was a phone number on the sign, but Eddie decided 
that if no one else showed by 9 AM, he would be heading home. 

Just as Eddie started the car the first of them showed up to work.  It
was Lucille obviously the others didn't care about first impressions. 
 Well, it wasn't his team so if Lucille couldn't be on time then no 
one would, including Eddie in the future.  Lucille unlocked the gate. 

Lucille: The others here yet?  (walking past his car) 

Eddie:  I have no idea.  I have been waiting since before nine and I
have seen no one.  What the hell are we doing in parking garage? 

Lucille:  I thought you would approve of not drawing attention to
ourselves.  The Dog has friends in high places. 

Or high friends in low places, he thought but said nothing.  Eddie
stayed in his car and followed her inside.  They drove up the parking 
garage to the third level just below the roof structure.  On the 
stairwell side of the third level sat an enclosed structure that looked 
a lot like a double wide mobile home.  The enclosure turned out to be 
big enough for eight desks and a bathroom.  Much more impressive was 
its state of the art communication center. 

Eddie (after looking the place over):  Did you have that awful graffiti
painted on the outside. 

Lucille:  After 911 Dick Cheney got paranoid about security.  He wanted
small operation centers everywhere.  This is just one of them.  It has 
never been used till now.  The senator requisitioned it for office 
space last year.  You and the others are why he did it.  He didn't 
know your names, but he knew what you were going to do. 

Eddie: I see.  So where are the others? 

Lucille:  That's a very good question.  We give them ten minutes then
we start looking for them. 

Eddie:  If we have to look for them, I'm out.  Do you understand?  An
investigator's hours maybe erratic, but you must have confidence that 
someone is available to support you when you call. 

Lucille:  Don't be such a Prima Donna. 

Her voice was sharp and cutting.  She knew she was allowing her anger
and disappointed to show it.  She also knew Eddie was correct, but she 
didn't like being threatened.  She knew that all this was on her.  
She had assembled the team of misfits.  She could have gotten a squad 
of Federal police to do the investigation, but she would have no 
control over them.  It looked as though she had none over the team she 
had assembled. 

Lucille:  I'm sorry I snapped at you.  You are the only one taking
this seriously it seems.  I will get them here on time tomorrow, if I 
have to carpool every fucking one of them. 

Eddie:  You were five minutes late.  Maybe you should lead by example. 

Eddie took a closer look at his desk.  Both he and Lucille's desk was
set up to look over the others.  It was on a lightly raised platform.  
The simple stage must have been built as a place for a briefer.  Eddie 
didn't like it but it was there so he would live with it.  That is if 
there was anything to live with. 

May (Addressing Lucille as she entered):  Sorry boss, I had to stop by
the dry cleaners.  (Actually she had to go home to shower and change) 

Lucille walked her outside the door into the parking garage. 

Lucille:   What do you think people will say when I fire you.  How is
that going to look on your resume?  You pull this shit again and I am 
going to terminate you on the spot.  Now you can quit right now and it 
probably won't look so bad on you, or you can stay and do your 
fucking job.  What you will never do again is to embarrass me again.  
Do I make myself clear? 

May:  I will think about it. 

Lucille:  Don't bother just get back in your car and go back to DOJ. 
I'll call ahead and advise them it didn't work out. 

May:  Wait a minute, it won't happen again.  I really want this task
force on my resume.  I promise to play nice. 

Lucille:  If you can't get up in the mornings on time then sleep in
your own fucking bed.  Now get in there and make nice with your new 
boss. 

May:  Hold on I didn't sign up to work for a fucking cop. 

Lucille:  The door is still open.  If you can't play nice, do us all a
favor and walk out of it now. 

May didn't answer.  She just turned to walk into the office area.
Lucille followed her inside.  She put her briefcase down on the second 
desk on the stage area. 

Lucille (throwing the files on Eddie's desk):  Those are files on your
team.  Now I have to go round them up. 

Eddie just glared at her, but he opened the files and began to read. 

Lucille (into the phone):  Where the fuck are you?  (There was no way
she would hide her anger)  You bet you skinny drunk ass I'm pissed.  
I can fire your ass even faster than I hired you.  You are a fucking 
consultant, not a government employee you are not protected.  So get 
sober and get in here. 

Eddie:  Wesley I presume. 

Lucille:  Yeah he may prove to be unmanageable. 

Eddie:  Yeah sometimes they can't be resurrected.  Give him one more
try but only one.  'One more chance' can also be an addiction. 

As they spoke a middle aged woman walked into the 'Hole in the
Wall'. 

Lucille:  It's about time.  What's your excuse? 

Salina:  I stopped to pull a bully off a three year old.  Here is the
cops badge number, since I'm wearing this thing he thought I might 
need it. 

Lucille:  Okay yours is the desk with all the monitors by the wall. 

Salina:  I don't know shit about computers.  I can use one, but I
can't find anything more than porn or a movie. 

Eddie:  The monitors are the CCTV for this office.  There might be other
feeds from time to time but someone will show you how it all works.  
You are a smart lady you can handle it. 

Salina (smiling at Eddie):  Thanks boss I'll give it a try.  (Eddie
nodded) 

Lucille:  I just have to go get our computer genius. 

Michael:  No you don't my mom finally found the place.  We have been
looking since nine. 

Lucille:  You call ahead next time, or the next door you hear slam will
have bars. 

Eddie (opening the door to the stair well.):  Lucille, could we have a
talk?  (When they were outside)  I will have a talk with them.  We just 
need to get everyone to work now. 

Lucille:  You are suddenly less angry than me. 

Eddie:  I'm sure you have a reason for tossing me in with this gaggle
of misfits and losers.  I will do my best to make some order of it all. 
That's what I do best. 

Once back inside Eddie went from desk to desk meeting and then 
explaining each person's task for the day.  Mostly it was going to be a 
get acquainted with the equipment and create working relations with 
other branches of the Federal police and computer archive systems. 

Eddie:  Michael, pull up all the files on the Carlos Delgado murder five
years ago.  Then run a search for the word cartel and copy any names 
that come up.  Pull the intelligence file on that Cartel so we can read 
the background. 

Then give it all to Salina.  Salina did you hear that.  (she nodded)  I
want you to read it all and pick out anything that stands out to you.  
Look for paramilitary type operations against the cartel.  It is 
operations that are unexplained or unauthorized that interest us. 

Salina: Right boss.  You looking for black ops? 

Eddie: Any kind of raid pulled off like a combat operation.  (he turned
his attention to May.  May call your friends at DOJ and find out if 
there were any rumors as to why the investigation was canceled.  Not 
the facts we know but any rumors. 

May (surly):  I know what you want and I don't think that will do my
career any good. 

Eddie:  Fair enough, would you mind taking out the trash and sweep the
floor. 

May:  You are kidding right? 

Eddie:  Not at all it's the only totally safe job we have here. 
Everything else carries some kind of risk. 

May:  I'll make the call.  But I will not risk damaging my career for
some pie in the sky investigation. 

Eddie:  That's fair.  You are young still and have a future, unlike
the rest of us.  You should remember careers are made not on the safe 
track, but by standing out.  Sometimes you have to bend the rules to 
get noticed. 

Rough looking middle aged man:  So what you want me to do? 

Eddie:  I want you to find me someone to talk to about the Cartel that
took the rap for the murder of a Carlos Delgado. 

Wes:  Tell me which Cartel and I'll make some calls. 

Eddie:  Michael is checking on that now. 

Wes to Eddie:  Can we talk? 

Eddie (opening the stairway door):  Sure step into my private office. 

Wes:  You know I drink a bit. 

Eddie:  Sounds like a song. 

Wes:  It has never caused me to fuck up a job.  I never, ever got anyone
hurt because of it. 

Eddie:  That's good to know cause if we go Tactical you will be my
partner. 

Wes:  Good.  Just wanted you to know I'll be standing there hung over
or not. 

Eddie:  Maybe you can at least draw fire. 

Wes:  If we can't kill them, at least we can confuse them. 

Wes extended his hand to Eddie who took it.  They went back inside
without saying anything else. 

Eddie (holding the door to the stairway open):  Michael a word please. 

Michael:  Sure boss (he said walking outside.) 

Eddie:  Something smells about this whole thing, so I want you to watch
yourself.  Mainly I want to know why they think Carlos was connected to 
the Swamp Dog crew.  There is a potential for a shit storm.  Try not to 
get caught without an umbrella. 

Michael: I can find out if there is anything connecting the Swamp to the
killing in the system.  I am sure I can do it without getting caught in 
their web. 

Eddie:  I know I have loaded a lot on your plate.  There is one more
thing.  Let's keep this between us.  Lucille doesn't need to know.  
Some things are bigger than Lucille.  But be careful protect yourself 
first, then do the job. 

Michael:  I understand she has a lot of clout. 

Eddie:  Yes she does.  Follow her orders, but protect yourself. 

Eddie (holding the door open for Michael):  Salina a word please. 

Salina:  Sure boss. 

Eddie (once the door was closed):  You've got the biggest job of all. 
You have to keep us all safe.  From the time the first one of us steps 
foot in this building till we all leave you are charged with keeping us 
safe.  Don't get the idea that being on the desk is just a make work 
job.  You are just as important as Wes or me.  You do understand that? 

Salina:  Yeah I get it now.  I also give great CPR. 

Eddie:  At my age that's a good thing to know. 

Eddie intentionally did not have a chat with May or Lucille.  It was
obvious to everyone who he felt he could depend on, and who he didn't 
trust.  Why would he?  A lawyer and a political operative, talk about 
your whores, he thought. 

Everybody spent the rest of the day checking files and extracting the
relevant data.  The investigation was taking form.  The story line was 
forming but it was all speculation and rumor.  There was not a single 
fact to back any of it up. 

The story line was the Senator made a call to the Swamp Dog people and
it just happened.  They found out who the killer was even before cops 
had him on the radar.  They dispatched a crew of assassins and the deed 
was done.  Then the cartel took credit for the kill for some reason.  
There were hundreds of possible scenarios for each of those events.  
Each of them would make a completely different story line. 

Eddie:  Wes a moment please.  (Eddie walked to the stairway before he
spoke.)  Does the farm know anything about Swamp Dog? 

Wes:  Like what?  I mean they know they exist, but not a lot more.  The
Swamp is closed mouthed but so are the controllers at the farm.  
Someone might know something, but they aren't going to share.  I 
personally had no contract with anyone down there.  The CIA and Swamp 
Dog are probably incestuous.  That might also be true of military 
special ops soldiers. 

Eddie:  There is always a former member of any organization with an ax
to grind. 

Wes:  I'll ask around, but don't expect much. 

Eddie:  He doesn't need to have been familiar with our case.  We just
need some background on the outfit.  Listen though, if you think they 
might come after you don't do it. 

Wes:  I never heard of them doing that and I would have.  They hid
behind the curtain of silence and political clout.  They never needed 
to silence anyone outside their own people.  I don't even know that 
they did that. 

Eddie: Just be careful. 

Day three ended with no real progress made, but with a lot of
information having been processed.  May left first right at 5 PM, then 
Salinas a few minutes later.  She had been told to go since Michael 
could monitor, if they decided to work late.  Ten minutes later Wes 
left along with Michael.  Wes had agreed to take him home. 

Since Lucille had left much earlier, Eddie was the last to leave.  He
locked the door, shut off the light, then locked the front gate.  The 
drive to Bishops Crossing took only thirty minutes even in the traffic. 
 It was unusual for the traffic on the crowded roads to move right 
along, but it did. 

Once he got to Bishops Crossing and passed the shopping center there, it
was a nice back road drive to his little piece of dirt.  He managed to 
get the Econobox into the drive, even though the drive was just a muddy 
mess after all the recent rains.  He knew that paving the drive was not 
a priority but couldn't be put off forever. 

Eddie had to force the front door open since it stuck terribly after a
serious rain.  Eddie hadn't gone out for lunch so he hadn't even 
known it rained.  He did a quick walk through and found no new water 
stains. 

There were so many things which had slipped through the cracks while
Eddie had been living in the studio apartment.  The apartment was only 
a few blocks from his office, so he stayed there for the last five 
years.  The leaky roof was only one of the things he had neglected.  It 
only leaked when it rained, and even then he visited the place only 
sparingly over the years, so he just let it slide. 

If he had taken advantage of all the opportunities to take payoffs under
the table, he could have paid off the mortgage much faster.  As it was 
he paid it off the same year he retired. 

He had planned to do most of the work on the place himself, but now that
he had agreed to work for the Senator, he had extra money and no extra 
time.  It looked as though he would need a handy man. 

He had a list of handyman type workers provided by a local policeman. 
He had checked with the local coppers when he first bought the place.  
Those names led to other names before he knew it. 

Eddie:  Hi there are you still doing floor refinishing? 

Painter:  I do small repairs to the flooring as part of the painting
contract.  I really don't like floor refinishing. 

Eddie:  Well I got a little five room house that needs paint and some
kind of flooring work.  I'm not sure how much. 

Painter:  You need to do the flooring first, then paint. 

Eddie:  That sounds about right.  Do you know anyone who does flooring? 
The place is about forty years old and has carpets.  One of the corners 
came loose and I think there is hardwood under it.  I would like to get 
that refinished if it's possible. 

Painter:  You speak Russian? 

Eddie:  No why? 

Painter:  I ran into some guy from the Ukraine.  He gave me his card,
but his English is shit. 

Eddie:  Give me his number and I'll see if I can communicate. 

Once Eddie had his number he changed his mind about calling.  If he had
a communications problem, it would be better to see him in person.  
First day he had off Eddie decided that he would hunt down the Gerick 
person.  So he had a beer as he settled in for the night. 

Michael was home in his mother's basement.  He was using his home
computer to access the office computers, which he used to remotely hack 
into the DOJ files and the NCIC computer.  He was working off the 
clock, because it was more fun than playing virtual reality games. 

Wes brought the six pack home and got drunk. 

Salina sent and received emails to her long list of friends.  Some of
them really were friends.  Others were virtual friends. 

May stayed in even when she was invited out by the State Department
worker.  She was asked to her friend's home, not really out for a 
date.  Just show up, fuck her, and leave.  It somehow didn't sound as 
exciting as it had the night before. 

Lucille stopped on the way home for Chinese take out.  Her kids loved
it, even if it was reasonably healthy food.  They watched TV for a 
couple of hours until she had all the preteen comedy she could stand.  
When she had them in bed by nine, she went to her half of the king 
sized bed and fell into it.  Thus ended day three. 

Day 4 

Mike woke up ready to try new things.  The old things, that had been his
whole world a couple of days before, hardly held any interest at all 
for him.  His new gig seemed exciting.  Who was the blond chick with 
the great boobs?  It was almost all he thought about.  He tried to 
figure a way to track her down but he had no idea how to unravel the 
thick cord of deception.  He didn't even have a clue.  He remembered 
the day before when during his ride home with Wes, Wes had suggested he 
run before breakfast to clear his mind. 

Wes:  You don't have to run far Mike.  Just do it consistently. 

Mike:  Running makes my knees hurt.  I have tried it. 

Wes:  Okay, do you have a bike? 

Mike: There is an old one of mine from when I was a kid in the garage. 

Wes:  When I let you out of the car go right into the garage and pump up
the tires and adjust the seat.  Tomorrow morning ride that bike.  It 
won't hurt your knees, but it will make your mind even sharper.  Ride 
it out till you are exhausted, then head home.  When you get home take 
one of these pills.  It's the best high in the world.  It's like 
really mellow man. 

The next morning Mike rolled the bike out and took off on it.  It was
early enough so that there was almost no traffic on the road.  He rode 
away from the house till he was tired, then he turned and rode it home. 
 When he arrive home he took one of the white pills Wes had given him.  
He took his hot shower and felt better than he could ever remember 
feeling in his life, especially so early in the morning. 

His mom was up fixing breakfast while he answered his email.  They left
early at Mike's insistence, so that he wouldn't be late.  He and 
Wes arrived almost at the same time. 

Wes:  Did you ride your bike? 

Where Mike was a clean cut kid, Wes looked like a homeless street
person.  The nerd and the hobo would a been a great tag line for them, 
Mike thought. 

Mike:  Damn right I did.  I rode about five miles out and five back. 
When I got back I took the white pill and the shower.  Man I am so 
fucking mellow I can't believe it.  I don't give a fuck what 
happens. 

Wes:  This is our secret.  Keep it to yourself.  Wes used his key to get
through the gate then drove his car inside, with Mike as a passenger.  
They drove up to the third level. 

Mike:  Did you run this morning? 

Wes:  I got a hangover, so I run till I throw up, then I run home. 

Mike:  Are you going to be okay? 

Wes:  Yeah Mr. Hangover and me are really good friends. 

Eddie:  Hey you two let's get some coffee, we need to talk.  Mike, call
Salina and tell her where we are. 

Wes:  Where is your Econobox with the slanted headlights. 

Eddie:  Lucille thought I should drive an American car, so she got one
assigned to the Team.  The car stays here and it's for official use 
only. 

Mike:  Like for coffee breaks? 

Eddie:  Yeah for those. 

No one spoke again until they were in the parking lot of the local
McDonalds.  In the drive thru Eddie ordered three small black coffees. 

Mike:  I would rather have a coke. 

Eddie:  Three black coffees he repeated. 

He pulled the full sized Ford into a parking space.  Eddie passed the
coffee around. 

Eddie:  Take small sips it's very hot.  (after a couple of sips)  Well
anything to report?  I know you both worked last night so did you learn 
anything. 

Mike:  I couldn't find anything connecting the big titty blond to
anyone.  There is also nothing connecting her to the murder.  She just 
happened to be in the lobby around the time Carlos was reported dead by 
his bodyguards.  The only thing the blond and the woman with Carlos at 
the time had in common was she had a great body according to the 
guards. 

Eddie:  Yeah I knew all that.  My detectives interviewed the guards. 
The medical examiner said he thought the drug dealer let someone stick 
an ice pick in his ear.  Actually something a little larger than an ice 
pick. 

Wes:  There was an advisory to look out for people carrying very sharp
pencils.  According to the National Transportation Service, they 
believed they could be daggers. 

Eddie:  We didn't find any foreign stuff in the wound according the M.
E. (Medical Examiner).  A pencil would leave graphite behind.  There 
was none. 

Wes:  Okay it was just a thought.  I couldn't find anyone from the
Swamp in town, but there is a former operative in Alabama.  He most 
likely won't talk since he left in good standing.  And he is the 
boyfriend of the Swamp's lawyer.  He is the only one I can find 
living in the country. 

Eddie:  Well lets see how the rest of the week goes, if nothing pops out
at us we probably should fly down and talk to this former Dog of War. 

Wes:  Technically he was just a contractor.  Maybe we can find out a
little about how the Swamp is organized. 

Eddie:  Well let's get back to work.  Keep sifting the shit. 
Eventually something that doesn't stink will fall out.  Mike you got 
any idea how to use that computer shit to cut down on the suspects, or 
find the connections. 

Mike:  To be honest boss we got lots of data, but we don't really know
what questions to ask.  We might already have the right data just 
don't know it.  I will keep analyzing what I have.  Maybe something 
will pop up. 

Eddie:  Mike, shift your focus to finding me a connected member of the
cartel.  We do know which cartel it was.  Maybe someone who was there 
will want to help us.  Wes let me know if any of your old CIA buddies 
ever met any of these guys.  We are still trying to find a thread we 
can pick at. 

Wes:  If you just want a thread, we were sent details of an operation
fifteen years ago.  The email just said it was a private contractor.  
They had no rules of engagement, so they warned the bad guys a few 
times then they lit their asses up.  They never named the contractors, 
but looking back on it, I'm sure they were from the Swamp. 

Mike:  Unnamed contractors came up in a couple of investigations that
got dropped for security reasons.  Frankly it didn't look as if the 
investigations were going anywhere anyway.  I picked them up all over 
the world.  I even got a few in the states. 

The most recent was something to do with a Girl who got falsely
imprisoned on one of those island countries which cruise ships visit.  
She was held in prison for almost a year.  She was listed as a private 
contractor offering protection to a billionaire's family. 

Eddie:  Probably nothing but find out all you can. 

The three of them went back inside and started to work.  There was a
donut box with a dozen fancy donuts inside, well not quite a dozen.  
There was also a brand new coffee pot sitting on a table.  It had not 
been there at five the day before. 

Eddie:  So who do we thank for the Coffee and donuts? 

Lucille:  I arranged the coffee pot and I made the coffee.  I am sure
that it is better than anything you guys are getting at those drive 
thru restaurants. 

May:  I brought the donuts as a peace offerings since I have been a
bitch.  I promise I will do better.  I am never going to like being 
ordered around by a cop, but I will try to be a team player.  (she said 
it looking at Eddie) 

Wes:  Not that I'm complaining about the sugar fix, but what happened
to you last night. 

May:  I had a very special visitor who convinced me it was in my best
interest to pitch in.  So meet the new May May. 

Eddie:  May May? 

May:  Childhood nickname. 

Eddie:  Well thanks for the donuts.  As a matter of fact if you are
serious, Mike is going to come up with some information.  Take a look 
at it and run it by whoever you need to in order to get a current 
address on the woman in question. 

In the meantime everyone one else work on the blond with the big boobs
case.  She is our best lead at the moment. 

May:  Why are we concentrating on this woman when that whole operation
is what we are supposed to be investigating. 

Eddie:  We are looking at the operation of Swamp Dog and we are also
trying to catch a thread into the cartel that is involved with it.  
There may be some kind of solid connection between the two.  It 
wouldn't be the first secret alliance in history.  Now back to work 
everyone. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Since Eddie had awaken at five in the morning cold as hell, he began to
think of living as where he lived not the house he visited on weekends. 
 The Kerosene heater, he used for the occasional weekend visit, was 
never going to do.  He needed to consider a better heating system. 

He made a call to a heating and air conditioning company in Bishop's
Crossing.  The guy agreed to come out on Saturday since it was the only 
time they could agree upon. 

Wes:  A word boss.  (he said it walking toward the stairway door.)  I
talked to a friend who is so far out of reach, he might as well be on 
the lunar colony, if you get my drift. 

Eddie:  The lunar colony is an urban legend. 

Wes:  Right, anyway the company who owned the freighter which was
carrying the rockets to a group of terrorist we had ties to was 
Bluestone Shipping.  Their headquarters is in Washington believe it or 
not. 

Eddie:  Let's see, a shipping company hauling rockets to rebels,
backed by the CIA, has its headquarters in DC.  Who would have thunk 
it.  Wes we need to go see the boss over there. 

Eddie (stuck his head in the door):  May, a word please. 

May stood instantly hoping her boring research was over. 

May:  Yes boss. 

Eddie:  I want you and Wes to go interview the president or CEO whoever
you can get at this Bluestone Shipping Company.  But first I want you 
to sweet talk Mike into pulling everything he can on them.  I want you 
armed with the facts when you broach him or her.  You fill her in Wes. 

From that early morning chat until after lunch there were conversations
between the people of the team.  Lots of research and sharing of 
information.  Eddie tried to learn what he could about the Bluestone 
Shipping Company, but he couldn't find a current listing for them. 

May:  A word boss. (she said it while walking to the stairwell) 

Eddie:  You know we can talk inside some of the time at least. 

May:  You are probably right.  Mike found that Bluestone is no more. 
They seem to have gone out of business a month after the pirate attack 
off the coast of Africa.  The company's security team fought off the 
Somali pirates.  The pirates lost twelve men and two boats.  Bluestone 
closed down and disappeared.  Most likely thought there would be some 
kind of civil suit. 

Eddie: So it was a dead end? 

May:  Oh no Mike found a report written to the Department of Justice
explaining why they had no jurisdiction.  It was written by the CEO of 
another shipping company.  Mike is digging now to see if they are 
shipping for the CIA under some dummy companies.  No matter what he 
finds we have a name and current address.  I think I can take my DOJ ID 
and get into his office.  From there is it more or less up to Wes to 
sweat him. 

Eddie:  (he stuck his head back in the door)  Wes, a word. 

Wes:  Right boss. 

Eddie:  Has May explained how you are going to sweat this guy. 

Wes:  Yeah leave the knife and forceps in the office.  The gaff is to
bill it as a DOJ investigation.  Being uncooperative will likely mean 
the end of the government shipping contracts. 

Eddie: That sounds good to me.  Tomorrow is Friday set the appointment
for sometime during the afternoon.  If we need to travel to do 
interviews, we can do it next week. 

Wes:  Sounds good. 

Eddie was back trying to decide what to do to his house when Mike came
to his desk all excited. 

Mike:  You are going to love this. 

He tossed a digital picture of a blond.  Eddie knew a booking photo when
he saw one.  They did them the same even in banana republics it seemed. 
 The match to our mystery blond wasn't perfect, but it wasn't 
impossible either. 

Eddie:  Did you get us a name. 

Mike:  Rose Seabold with a bunch of other aliases I think.  She is some
kind of operative for hire.  Not only has she never been investigated, 
she has never even been mentioned in an investigation. 

Eddie:  She isn't now.  She just resembles our person of interest.  So
where is she? 

Mike:  Last known address Mossberg Alabama. 

Eddie:  That's where the retired Swamp Dog is living now.  That's
some coincidence. 

Mike:  More than you know.  He was involved in the same contract she
went to jail working, the one that was to protect that billionaire's 
kid and grandkid. 

Eddie:  I guess I should pack a bag. 

Mike:   You want me to get Wes. 

Eddie:  Yeah do that.  Also try to find a more recent picture of our
girl.  Wes tomorrow is Bluestone then next week we go to Mossberg 
Alabama. 

Eddie had Mike spent the rest of the day on the Mossberg connection and
some time on the Bluestone connection as well. 

At five o'clock Eddie almost had to order everyone to leave.  They all
wanted to stay and work.  Well all except Lucille who had to be called 
to arrange the plane trip to Alabama.  She was somewhere doing 
political things.  Her idea had been to get it started then go 'hands 
off' which suited everyone except May. 

May:  Mike could I talk to you please. 

The two of them went into the parking garage far away from the
stairwell.  Mike was thrilled to be in the presence of such a pretty 
young woman.  May had hair the color of honey and she was tall.  Mike 
liked tall leggy blondes but who didn't, he thought.  He also like 
that her breast were on the small side of perfect.  Okay he would have 
liked them to be larger, but she really very attractive in her own 
right. 

Mike:  What can I do for you May? 

May: Do you have a name for us on the shipping company. 

Mike:  Sure there is so much going on, I guess I forgot to give it to
you.  There is an operations manager who was the assistant to the 
operations manager with Bluestone.  He might know all about it. 

May:  So what's his name. 

Mike:  Simon Highsmith.  I have no idea what he knows but he should know
something.  He was at Bluestone when the hijacking attempt took place. 

May:  Thanks Mike you are a doll.  (She spoke as she walked away) 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina walked into her small apartment.  She was on a leave of absence
from her minimum wage job delivering medical equipment to mostly 
geriatrics patients.  She did not miss that job at all.  What she was 
up to at the moment wasn't exciting, but it was at least interesting. 


Salina drank a beer before she heated her TV dinner.  When she went
shopping for groceries it was easy.  She just picked up a frozen dinner 
for every night of the week. 

She was not allowed to hang out with her old friends so it was easy to
stay out of trouble.  The closest thing to trouble she got into was 
giving first aid to neighborhood thugs.  They paid well and they had an 
interest in keeping her safe. 

That night one of her neighbors brought her toddler to Salina's house.
The mother was illegal and afraid to go to the free clinic. 

Salina:  Listen closely your baby has a temperature.  It isn't
dangerously high but it is too high.  Give her these and if she still 
had a fever in the morning take her to the clinic regardless. 

Mother:  Si Senorita. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike went home to his basement bedroom.  He could have stayed in his old
room but he needed privacy on the million to one chance a girl would 
ever want to come home with him.  The chances were even less since he 
had the ankle bracelet, which restricted his movements. 

He drank a coke and tried to interest himself in the role play game.  He
just could not get interested.  He changed over to remote accessing the 
office computer.  He added even more color to the investigation. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie tried to decide on a type heater based on information from the
Internet.  He had pretty much decided not to put in central heat.  The 
house was small enough that a free standing unit with a good blower 
should work just fine.  He had grown up in a house with a floor 
furnace, so he wasn't worried. 

He decided to install a gas burning stove in the living room.  There was
a wall that would allow the air to pass down the hall in a straight 
line.  It might mean that the bedrooms would be cooler.  That might be 
a good thing.  Eddie liked a cool bedroom.  He would just have to 
experiment. 

Eddie: (into the phone)  Hi.  We have an appointment on Saturday.  I
need to cancel it.  If you insulate houses, I would still like to talk 
to you. 

Contractor:  No we don't do insulation, but I know a guy. 

He seemed perfectly happy to hook Eddie up with someone else.  In the
end that one didn't work out either.  Eddie made arrangements with 
the Home Depot to send a man out to talk about several cold weather 
projects.  The Home Depot installer agreed to make it Saturday morning. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May went to dinner with her more mature State Department girl friend but
didn't spend the night. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille played an interactive video game with her kids.  Something about
saving a princess from hoards of rampaging republicans. 

Day 5 

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 take 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 Ritter 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 no 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 here 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. 

The weekend-1 

Eddie was up at 6 AM which was his usual time.  He read the local paper
on line with a cup of coffee made the night before.  While he did that 
fresh coffee brewed in the drip machine.  The machine was one of the 
old style Mr. Coffee knock offs sold in Walmart.  It might be a knock 
off, but it made good coffee.  Eddie joked that it should have been 
called Mr. China. 

As was usual he ate a bowl of custom cereal which he mixed himself.  It
was a blend of cheap cereals bought at the dollar store.  The kitchen 
cabinet that served as his pantry was filled with many food items from 
that particular store. 

Since it was the weekend he would be making a list and going to both the
dollar store and the grocery section of the Walmart later that day.  
Between the two he could find all he needed.  The two cheapest places 
in town were still way too expensive in his opinion. 

After the coffee and the morning update of the news, Eddie took a shower
and dressed for the wait.  He had no idea how long it would take the 
Home Depot installer to arrive.  They were seldom early, almost always 
late. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike was up at 10 AM more or less.  Like all young people he could never
seem to get enough sleep.  Most likely because he stayed up until well 
after 1 AM.  Unlike his usual habit he used the time to compile 
information on the mysterious blond.  He had an advantage the others 
who looked for her over the years lacked.  He had access to many 
terabytes of information gleaned from the archives of the NSA. 

Tracking the mysterious blonde would have been hard, maybe even
impossible without that information.  It might have been done 
previously if those archived files could have been accessed in real 
time.  In other words if there had been a system that could process all 
the data he had available, the mysterious blonde could have been 
identified before she did her killing thing.  At least she could have 
been brought to justice somewhere along the way. 

Mike knew it was just a matter of time till he could identify her. 
Courtroom style evidence was for the others to worry about.  His job 
was to identify her.  He hadn't been officially told that, but in his 
mind the priority was to put a name to the gorgeous blonde's always 
hidden face. 

He lacked that one piece of information to nail her ass.  He needed
something from the early days.  So far she was just the mysterious 
blonde, or possibly Rose Seabold, who at best was a ghost, or at worst 
no longer existed.  He knew that at present the ID was so murky that it 
made the investigation a complete cluster fuck. 

Mike loved puzzles, which was why he was so good with a computer.  He
was preparing to hunker down with his cup of coffee and power bar.  He 
was determined to learn to like black coffee.  Sure he knew it was just 
so that he would get to run with the big boys.  So what he thought. 

As he filled the coffee cup a stranger entered the kitchen.  The man
looked terribly embarrassed.  Mike could see the indecision on his 
face.  He was trying to decide if he should back out or try to bluff 
his way through. 

Stranger (extending his hand):  Hello you must be Michael.  Your mother
has told me all about you. 

Mike (Ignoring the hand):  And you are? 

Stranger:  I'm Simon and I have to go.  I just thought I would
introduce myself.  I didn't want to sneak off like a thief now that 
you are some kind of super cop. 

Mike:  That's not really what you thought.  You though oh shit busted. 
And it was not alright to sneak around when I was Sarah's son Michael 
the computer nerd either. 

Simon:  That's not what I meant, but I really should go. 

Simon was obviously very uncomfortable as he left the room.  Mike
returned to the basement with a power bar and his coffee cup.  He 
stayed with his computers until 2 PM when he took a break.  He rode the 
bike ten miles before he returned home to shower. 

When he found his mother in the kitchen with a smile on her face, he
knew he shouldn't but he just couldn't help himself. 

Mike:  So Mom did you get your itch scratched? 

Sarah:  Michael that is rude.  I suppose I have your new friends to
thank for that kind of comment.  (She paused then smiled)  Yes Simon 
stayed over and if you must know, we had sex.  This is still my house 
and I can do what or whoever I want. 

Mike:  Yes you can. 

He said that as he walked to the basement door.  Then descended the
steps into the artificially dark room. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina had a steady stream of sick and injured people at her door.  She
cleaned wounds and dispensed aspirin all day.  She also referred people 
to the free clinic if they were in serious trouble.  The poor who 
could, made donations for bandages and antiseptics. 

The local Catholic Church brought aspirin and other mild pain meds over
in huge bottles.  Those were donated by manufacturers or drugstore 
chains.  Many were nearing their expiration dates, but they were still 
effective. 

She often had to ask a patient to bite down on a towel, while she
stitched a knife wound.  The gang bangers couldn't go to the hospital 
emergency room, or the free clinic, since they were forced to report 
the wound. 

In exchange for her treatment of the gang bangers, she got protection
and a few dollars for supplies from them.  Her apartment was declared a 
safe zone. 

When the gang wars ravaged the neighborhood armed men from different
gangs had stood by the entrance to her apartment to make sure she was 
safe.  She asked them to leave as it discouraged the poor illegals from 
seeking help. Such was Salina's life in those days. 

She often had dreams of her former lives.  Those dreams were filled with
fear and agony.  She described herself as the junkie whore nurse, 
because it was accurate.  At least it had been accurate at one time. 

She found a day old pastry in her refrigerator and had that for
breakfast along with a cup of strong coffee.  She was allowed out of 
her home only to work or go to the store.  She had to explain any 
deviation from her approved schedule.  So she stayed home and watched 
TV while she waited for the next crying child or injured worker who had 
no insurance and a fear of the system. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Wes was either hung over, drinking, or having really horrendous dreams
all weekend.  He tried not to sleep since all sleep brought to him was 
a long line of victims, victims of his former employment.  He was in 
fact the personification of the evil men that do, in the name of the 
greater good. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May woke up Saturday in her own bed with a young attorney.  She had met
him as she left the Senator's office.  He was one of the multitude of 
young lawyers who worked in the Senate office building. 

He was probably a good judge of character as he recognized her available
look.  He took her to dinner, then she took him to her bed.  After she 
dressed for the day, they caught a cab to his apartment so that he 
could shower and change.  May found his wife waiting.  She tried to 
think of some excuse for being there other than the truth but just 
stared at the woman stupidly. 

She and the man's wife had an awkward conversation while he showered. 
He was planning to dress for a day in the park with May. 

Tommy's wife:  So you are Tommy's latest whore. 

May:  Would you rather I left? 

Wife:  Why bother, we both know what the two of you have been doing. 

May:  I didn't know he was married.  I would never have come here if I
did.  What is he some kind of sadist rubbing your nose in his affairs. 

Wife:  It is some of that and some just plain insensitivity.  When he
gets dressed, he is going to take us both to lunch.  We will sit and 
try to be polite. 

May:  I have no idea how you can do this.  I mean you are so gracious. 

Wife:  I do it because I love him.  Why did you do it? 

May:  I guess because he was charming and swore he was great in bed. 

Wife: Oh he is both of those.  He is also a narcissistic sociopath.  But
I have to admit he is lovable.  (she was smiling) 

May (trying to decide whether or not to run like hell):  This is a
little strange.  I have never met anyone so understanding. 

Wife:  I would expect that is true.  I know it's very strange but
honey it's our life.  You might enjoy it if you try just going with 
it.  (She smiled brightly) 

May:  Okay I'll give it a try. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille spent the weekend with her kids.  Soccer games Saturday morning
in the park and kiddie movies in the afternoons.  She also pretended 
that her marriage was good, even though she knew it was the cold war 
with good manners. 

She did give the investigation some thought as she reviewed the tapes
from the office the night before.  Of course she taped everything that 
happened.  After the first day she also had cameras and microphones 
installed in the stairwell. 

After all she was in charge of keeping the Senator informed as to the
progress of the investigation.  She had the feeling that if Steady 
Eddie got too close to the truth, she would be shutting it all down. 

Lucille pretended to enjoy the weekend even though she would rather have
been working.  Not in that Hole In The Wall, but in the Senator's 
office.  If she wanted, she could have an affair.  But it was like she 
told that May woman everything wasn't about sex.  It was all about 
power, who had it, who didn't, and what you would do for more of it. 

About the whole family thing, she was one of those women with very low
maternal instincts.  She had managed the pregnancy and delivery pretty 
well, but the actually day to day grind of motherhood was just not for 
her.  At least she admitted it and avoided it rather than drown the 
kids like so many unwanted kittens. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie made the deal with Home Depot for the blown in cellulose
insulation in the attic and the walls and for ten storm windows and two 
new storm doors.  The agreed price was over fifteen hundred dollars.  
It was a bit much, but he was working again.  He could stretch his 
pension to cover the Home Depot, even if he worked himself out of the 
job.  He also knew that the job was only six months at the most, so he 
planned to pay off the Home Depot in just one month. 

Eddie: So you are going to start on Tuesday? 

Installer:  Well some of us will.  We can work on the windows and doors
from the outside, but we are going to need to get in for the overhead 
insulation. 

Eddie:  Yeah the access is a trap door in the ceiling of my hall closet.
 I guess I need to be here for the insulation work then.  Do you have 
any idea when that will be? 

Installer:  My men can do it as well as the doors and windows.  We only
need a couple of hours for the overhead so we can start with it first 
thing Tuesday morning.  If we do the ceiling first we can be out of 
your way by 10 AM most likely. 

Eddie:  Lets do this, you start work on the doors and windows.  Call my
cell phone and I'll come home to let you inside so you can do the 
overhead.  Then when that is done, I will go back to work.  It will 
take about an hour, for me to get back here from the city. 

Installer:  That will work just fine. 

On Sunday Eddie watched a couple of movies on his new Internet TV
system.  In the early evening he heated a frozen dinner in the 
microwave before he sat down at the computer to check his email.  The 
kerosene heater was working as hard as it could but it couldn't quite 
keep it warm enough.  If he used the rear of the house for a den he 
would have been very cold.  So he moved everything into the living room 
and left only the bathroom door open.  There was no door leading into 
the kitchen so there was a free exchange of air there. 

By having his TV system and computer station in the living room the
Kerosene heater managed to keep him from being terribly uncomfortable 
most of the time.  His next purchase had to be a heating system, he 
thought. 

Eddie decided that he would paint the kitchen cabinets.  Those most
likely wouldn't be harmed by the flooring contractor should he decide 
to hire one.  He sanded the dark stained wood before painting the 
cabinet skeletons white.  He decided after the first set of wall 
cabinets that they were going to make the place brighter.  He had to 
make some repairs to a drawer, but all in all it was a successful 
Sunday. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

On Sunday morning May was still with Tommy and his wife, Edith.  She
found that once they got past the uncomfortable first meeting, she and 
Edith had a lot in common.  Edith was a follower and knew it.  But she 
was able to turn the lack of alpha characteristics to her advantage.  
She exploited the weaknesses of others.  May decided that she might 
just like Edith better than her husband. 

She had dressed for dinner at a fancy restaurant with the two of them
Saturday evening.  The sex after the date had been more than simply 
adequate.  There was something beyond simply erotic about the whole 
thing.  She had felt it even during dinner. 

When she woke up in their king sized bed, she felt quite content.  The
three of them went to breakfast, then back home for more sex.  It was 
quite a weekend even if she did sleep alone Sunday night. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina had a gang member come in who was experiencing loose bowels and
vomiting.  She was sure he was suffering from flu, but didn't want to 
rule out something more serious.  She suggested he go to the emergency 
free clinic on Monday if he wasn't feeling better. 

Banger:  There are warrants out for me.  If I go there they will lock me
up. 

Salina:  You could have something much worse than the flu.  I don't
think so, but I have no way to test.  The only thing I'm sure of is 
that you aren't pregnant. 

Banger:  I would laugh but I'm afraid I would have an accident. 

Salina:  Go to the clinic and give them the name of a friend who is not
wanted.  They can't refuse to treat you.  Maybe you can slip away 
after they determine what it is you have. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike  (into the phone):  Hey Wes, are you there. 

Wes:  What day is it. 

Mike:  It's Sunday man. 

Wes:  What's up that couldn't wait till tomorrow? 

Mike:  I guess it can wait.  You sound like you have been drinking. 

Wes:  Yeah Mike, it's what I do.  So what's the news you are dying
to tell me. 

Mike:  You sure? 

Wes:  Yeah I'm already awake. 

Mike:  That former Swamp Dog operative was the Operations Commander on
that cruise ship fiasco. 

Wes:  Oh really?  Be sure the boss knows before you tell either of those
women about this.  I don't want him to be blindsided by any of this.  
In the meantime keep digging.  Run the financial on all of the players 
we know so far, the guy, the woman who was in prison on the island, and 
that Swamp Dog lawyer. 

Mike:  Sure thing Wes.  How about giving me a lift to the office in the
morning. 

Wes:  Okay but you call me before you leave on your ride.  That should
give me enough time to get my run in. 

Lucille spent the evening Sunday with her family.  The kids and her
husband didn't require a lot of time which was a good thing.  The 
kids were too young for boarding school, so that was a fight she and 
her husband would have time to prepare.  She waited until the kids were 
in bed to have a drink. 

She most likely would have only the one drink before taking a bath.  She
usually masturbated in the tub, since it was her quite time.  She had a 
very active fantasy life.  She imagined having sex with all kinds of 
men and women.  Lucille was not actually bisexual.  She simply 
fantasized about it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Steady Eddie finished the second coat on his kitchen cabinets Sunday. 
He was satisfied that they were at least clean looking.  He also 
decided that he could paint the kitchen, since the work for a new floor 
would be no more than replacing the vinyl covering.  It seemed 
structurally sound and didn't seem to slope.  He decided that the 
kitchen walls and ceiling would be a good project for the next weekend. 
After all he had planned to do some of the work himself. 

He went on line late Sunday evening to check the news.  He found one of
the Sunday political recap shows.  There was Lucille's boss talking 
about the hearings. 

Senator Ames:  We need to get to the bottom of this whole affair.  We
need to know who did what, and determine if anyone covered for them.  
It looks like one or more people interceded to have investigations 
aborted.  We are still investigating and holding hearings.  I give the 
American People my word.  We will get to the bottom of this whole 
affair. 

Day 6 

The day six meeting began with a rehash of all they knew and all they
needed to know. 

Eddie:  It's time for a working hypothesis.  We can't prove it, but
we think Rose Seabold was in that room.  If she was then she killed our 
drug lord wannabe.  Her motive was money.  Most likely she was getting 
paid well for it.  It is very likely that she stole a large amount of 
money from the victim. 

Wes:  So we start there and work out? 

Eddie:  Unlike a politician, before we ruin her life, we are going to be
sure.  We don't need as high a threshold of proof as a cop, but we 
have a moral obligation to get it right.  No wild accusations and no 
leaks to mama on this.  If Lucille wants to know she needs to attend 
the meetings.  No one outside this room gets our working theories, 
ever. 

Mike:  So how do we prove Rose and blonde body are the same. 

Eddie:  Good question.  Salina make a few calls.  See if the island
court or prison has a blood sample or her fingerprints.  If we can get 
her prints or DNA we can start to tie the fake names to her.  One of 
those names will lead to a mistake.  They always slip up. 

Wes:  Do you want to hold off on Alabama till we have more on her? 

Eddie:  No.  Let's go there and ask about Swamp Dog.  We will just
work her into the conversation and see what their story is. 

Shit somebody get us a fucking storyboard.  May you are close with
Lucille, tell her we need a white board down here.  It's the easiest 
way for us all to get on the same page. 

Mike:  I think I can prove that Rose Seabold had a loose connection with
at least a domestic group working with Swamp Dog.  I think I can also 
prove she was an asset of the state police back when they were in 
charge of all law enforcement in the state.  It was a black bag 
relationship, but I think there was one.  They purged their files just 
before the Feds took over, but there might be some financial data.  I 
found traces of a truck purchase.  That truck was later registered to 
Rose Seabold.  There was never any record of the purchase, or of any 
sale in the official record.  There was just some comment in a 
discretionary acquisition.  The SBI bought a truck that they gave to 
Rose Seabold, maybe. 

May:  That tie is way too iffy to be of any use in a criminal case. 

Eddie:  True but we aren't talking about a criminal case.  Do I have
to keep reminding you of that?  If that is true, how did she get from 
the old SBI to the Swamp Dog? 

Wes:  And was she ever a part of the Federal Police Undercover Group. 
If she was part of their black bag operations, did they order the hit 
on Carlos?  Are we looking at corruption in the Feds on a giant scale? 

Eddie:  Seabold, Martin, or whoever she is, may be the key to opening
the lock on those operations.  She could not have been the only one.  
The only thing we can prove is that she was in a bodyguard operation 
that may have been routed through Swamp Dog but everyone involved was a 
contractor.  The Government did not get involved in covering anything 
up for them.  That's why she was in prison for almost a year. 

Eddie:  Michael, keep downloading information.  There is going to be
some tie in all those bits or bites whatever they are. 

Wes:  So what we going to do in Alabama, since we don't know what to
ask Rose. 

Eddie:  If she is there, we just have a chat.  If she is not, we ask
Bart, as he calls himself now, about the organization of Swamp Dog.  
You know who did what, that kind of things.  We get some more names 
from him, then some names from those names.  Pretty soon we have the 
whole organizational chart filled in. 

Along the way we just might find out about Rose Seabold.  Hey Michael
what was the first address you have for the Rose Seabold ID?

Mike:  She lived in a place called Farmer's Grove community.  She
lived there for several years.  She kind of pulled up stakes and left 
for no reason.  There doesn't seem to have been any plan or reason 
for it.  Next time we hear of her she is in Alabama. 

Those were facts Mike had pulled from the digital soup during his
weekend of tracking Rose. 

Eddie:  So she was Rose Seabold until a couple of years ago when she
became Iris Martin in Mossberg Alabama.  In that case we need to send 
someone to talk to the people in Farmer's grove.  Some of them surely 
knew her.  Mike, how about you and May go down there and nose around. 

It's a pretty good drive, so you are going to need a car.  Come by
here tomorrow and pick up the Ford.  In the meantime get a copy of the 
Senator's staff credit card.  Put all your expenses on the card while 
you are gone.  Be sure you talk to anyone who might have known her. 

May:  Where do we start? 

She seemed to be lost.  Eddie took a deep breath but he didn't speak. 

Mike:  Did you know that the women who was leading Swamp Dog, when all
this American Foreign Legion shit came out, was once Sheriff of the 
county where Farmer's Grove is located?  It was back in the old days 
when they still had sheriffs. 

Maybe we could ask around about the Porter woman and just let it go to
Rose Seabold.  It's a start anyway.  It gives us a known person to 
connect to Swamp Dog and maybe then we can connect Rose Seabold to 
Sylvia Porter. 

Eddie:  Okay Mike you guide the direction of the investigation but let
May ask the questions.  You keep me advised and I'll try to give you 
some direction but it's going to be mostly on you. 

Leave from here tomorrow morning, so come prepared for a few days on the
road.  May can interface with the Federals there.  Your Ankle bracelet 
just might make them less than cooperative.  Besides she still has her 
DOJ ID card. 

Mike's eyes were bright.  He was thrilled with the assignment.  May
was less so, but she didn't mind getting away from DC for a while.  
She could handle Mike for sure.  She also felt she could use the break 
from Tommy and Edith.  The sex was great but she didn't want to give 
them time to get clingy.  The road trip would allow for a cooling off 
period. 

Salina:  Bad news boss.  There are no records on Rose Seabold on the
island.  According to the people I spoke to there was never a Rose 
Seabold on the island and certainly not in the prison there. 

Eddie  (More to himself than Salina):  That is a little odd, but I guess
there are lots of folks who would be willing to pay to keep her a 
secret.  The billionaire for one, then of course it could be a 
political conspiracy if you believe in the dishonesty of politicians. 

Don't much matter what happened back then, the DNA and Prints are
missing.  So now we have to look for another source of DNA or 
Fingerprints. 

Give May and Mike a quick lecture on where they might find her DNA.  You
never can tell since that shit last forever.  Hell give us all a 
lecture after lunch. 

Everyone settled into their research projects until lunch.  Then after
lunch the meeting with Salina went well enough.  Everyone had a pretty 
good idea where people left their DNA.  Eddie always had a pretty good 
idea, but the others were a little surprised that DNA was not as easy 
to pull up as they made it sound on TV. 

Wes:  A word boss? 

Eddie:  Sure.  (They walked to the stairwell.  Eddie kept going until
the were outside.) 

Wes:  What's that all about? 

Eddie:  Lucille had a camera installed on the stairwell.  I'm pretty
sure she doesn't trust that I will keep her up to date. 

Wes:  Should she trust you. 

Eddie:   Of course not, she is a political operative.  Those kids are
trained to trust no one.  I am a former cop, so I was taught to be 
suspicious of everyone.  I guess we are just being who we are. 

Wes:  Okay...  So I called a buddy in the CIA.  He said about fifteen
years ago Swamp Dog began taking jobs in the United States.  One of 
them was bodyguard for some rap singer.  Sylvia Porter was a contractor 
on the job.  It might have been her first contact with the Dog.  She 
would have had minimal contact with the real bad asses. 

How she graduated from contractor babysitter for a rapper, to head the
whole thing is beyond me.  Nobody else understood it either.  We are 
really going to need to talk to someone inside the organization back 
then to understand it. 

Eddie:  We don't have to understand it to get the facts right.  As a
matter of fact we can probably do a better job investigating, if we 
don't try to understand it at all. 

Wes:  Yeah understanding is the stuff nightmares are made of. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike was so excited he could hardly contain himself.  He wanted to shout
he was so thrilled.  He forced himself to keep looking for more 
information to sift.  He wanted to be on his way into the field, but he 
knew his true value wasn't in talking to people, it was in finding 
out about people. 

He was trying to find a former address when he checked the real estate
records.  It looked as though Rose might have dabbled in real estate 
development.  There were buy and sales records for several items on 
file with the country registrar of deeds.  Mike copied the addresses 
and any other names involved in the purchases or sales.  By the end of 
day he had ten names and their home addresses.  He was proud of 
himself.  He wanted to tell May about it, but it was too late.  She had 
already gone for the day. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May had been summoned by Lucille.  Her meeting with Lucille took place
in Lucille's very comfortable office in the senate office building. 

Lucille:  So where are you? 

May had struggled with her decision about her response all the way to
the meeting.  She knew that she would be asked the status of the 
investigation.  She was struggling with how to answer. 

May:  I'm right here. 

Lucille:  I mean with the investigation. 

May:  It's progressing which is why I'm here.  Mr. Alexander wishes
to have a staff credit card to use for travel expenses.  Actually I 
think we need two of them.  You knew that Alexander and Wes were going 
to Alabama sometime this week.  What you didn't know is that Michael 
and I are going to the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Lucille:  The cards are no problem but why are you going to the
mountains? 

May:  Our person of interest at one time lived in a small place called
Farmer's Grove.  We are hoping to find someone who can remember her.  
It is possible there might even  be a picture there.  Mike also found 
some Real Estate transactions in which she was involved.  We are hoping 
to find out more about her there. 

Lucille:  Sounds like you are making progress, keep up the good work. 
Check back with me after your trip down south. 

May:  I will and thanks for the credit cards.  It makes me look more
valuable to the team, and gives me a reason to come see you.  I think 
Mr. Alexander is a little paranoid. 

Lucille:  Don't you think he has reason to be. 

May:  I guess he does at that. 

May left the senate office building after 5 PM for her drive home.  When
she got out of the car in the parking area of her apartment building, 
she turned her phone on.  There were two messages from Edith and one 
from Tommy. 

May  (Into the phone):  What do you need Tommy?

Tommy:  You of course.  Edith and I were wondering if you would like to
have a drink tonight. 

May:  I think I need a day off, but I appreciate your offer. 

Tommy:  Oh okay. 

He sounded disappointed.  May went into her apartment to have a glass of
wine and a sandwich.  She made her sandwich from a fancy cheese and the 
last of the bacon.  She had fried it so crispy that it was almost 
burned.  She was intending to watch television news, then go to bed 
early and alone.  If she was going to drive all the next day, she 
needed to get a good night's sleep. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike walked into his mother's house and found her sitting alone in the
kitchen.  She looked upset so he stopped to talk. 

Mike:  Is everything alright? 

Mom:  Sure honey it just times like this I miss your dad. 

Mike:  Mom he isn't dead.  He lives in a studio apartment downtown. 
You could go see him. 

Mom:  No honey, I can't.  He sent this today. 

She handed Mike what turned out to be a wedding invitation.  It was
addressed to the both of them. 

Mike:  Well I'll be fucked. 

Mom:  Mike that is a terrible thing to say.  Besides I think I'm the
one who feels like that.  (she laughed.) 

Mike:  I have to go out of town for a day or two.  Why don't you
invite your friend to stay over? 

Mom:  (She looked at Mike then shrugged)  I don't think his wife will
let him out again so soon. 

Mike stared until she laughed again.  He smiled back then walked to the
refrigerator.  He chose a hard boiled egg, then walked through the door 
which led to the basement. 

Mom:  I'm going to have a glass of wine would you like one. 

Mike:  Start without me and I'll come down later.  I need to check a
couple of things quickly. 

Later, when Mike walked back into the kitchen his mom was sitting at the
table with half the bottle of wine gone. 

Mike:  So what are we celebrating. 

Mom:  I guess we are celebrating freedom. 

Mike:  Mom you and dad have been divorced for five years why celebrate
now? 

Mom: I suppose that I finally believe it is over now.  Enough about me
and the prick you call dad.  Tell me are you a virgin. 

Mike was terribly embarrassed.  He was most likely blushing he knew. 

Mike:  No mom I'm not a virgin.  Of course living at home and wearing
this monitor has put a real cramp in my style lately. 

Mom:  Yeah it hasn't been easy on either of us.  I like the new you by
the way.  You are almost sexy these last few days. 

Mike:  Thanks I guess.  I have a new found respect for you. 

He smiled at her as he emptied his wine glass. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

When Wes dropped Salina out side her apartment building, he noticed how
rough the neighborhood looked. 

Wes:  Would you like me to walk with you to your door? 

Salina:  Wes I walked alone yesterday, and I will tomorrow.  So no
thanks unless you want to come in for a drink. 

Wes:  I never turn down a drink.  In this neighborhood even my old piece
of shit car might not be safe. 

Salina:  You car will be fine. 

Wes:  Then sure why not. 

Word spread quickly through the projects that the angel had a man in her
house.  She and Wes shared a couple of beers before the first knock 
came at the door.  It was a child with a splinter in her foot.  Salina 
shrugged then set about taking the splinter out.  She soon had it out 
and the wound clean and bandaged. 

Wes:  Why not send her to the free clinic? 

Salina:  Some of the mothers can't afford the free clinic. 

Wes:  Huh? 

Salina:  They are illegals.  Some of the men have warrants, so they
don't want to give their names.  If I can help them I do, if not I 
sent them to the clinic through a local priest. 

Wes:  Why do you do it?

Salina:  Pay back for all the evil shit I have done.  Trying to balance
the Karma scales. 

Wes finished another beer dropped a five dollar bill on the table. 

Wes:  Use the money to buy some more beer or a pack of sewing needles,
your choice. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

It was 7 PM before Eddie got home that Monday night.  He had stopped at
Little Ceasar's to buy whatever pizza they had ready.  It was a 
combination of three meats that night, so that's what he had for 
dinner. 

When he arrived home he sat at the kitchen counter across from the range
to eat his pizza and drink a beer.  He actually would enjoy the left 
over pizza more the next night. 

He watched his Internet TV news for a couple of hours then went to bed. 
He knew that he had to be awake at 6 AM to be able to get his morning 
shit done and make it into the office by 9 AM. 

When he got into bed, the phone rang.  He had no idea who would call him
at 10 PM.  Of course he had to answer it or he would never be able to 
sleep. 

Eddie:  Hello? 

Mystery Voice:  How you doing on the investigation.  I haven't heard
from you so I was getting a little worried. 

Eddie:  I told you I would call when I learned anything.  So far we are
just checking background information.  I'll let you know if anything 
point toward you.  I agreed to do that. 

Day 7 

It was Eddie's usual 6 AM start on the day when he finally crawled
from his warm bed.  It was also an awful time of the day to do anything 
that wasn't part of his routine.  He did his morning things half 
expecting to see the Home Depot winterizing team to show up.  Since 
they didn't, Eddie got his morning off to a proper start. 

He stopped at the plaza at Bishop's Crossing for a very quick biscuit.
 He had a small thermos of coffee since he didn't care for the 
restaurant's coffee.  Most all of them were the same standard 
dishwater blend.  He ate his breakfast in his car to save time.  That 
particular morning was going to be all about time.  He needed to be in 
the office earlier than his team. 

His thermos was empty by the time he arrived at the office.  He poured a
cup of the office coffee, which was just a couple of notches better 
than the restaurant swill.  Then he put the day old coffee into the 
microwave oven to heat. 

With that cup of coffee in hand, he stood looking at the storyboard. 
They had posted the very poor surveillance picture shot by a camera 
outside a jewelry store beside the hotel.  The camera caught her 
reflection in the store's window.  Naturally the definition was 
terrible. 

Eddie had of course seen the picture during the original investigation. 
At that time it had been an only half hearted investigation, one which 
ended too soon.  Since the investigation was heating up, Eddie expected 
it to be ended sooner rather than later.  Still there was the chance 
that without any teeth, he might at least find out what happened. 

He had to admit the driver's license picture of Iris Martin was
similar.  Mostly it was the perfection that was similar.  She was too 
perfect to be a call girl or a country girl.  She obviously had 
corrective surgery, so who paid for it.  Certainly not the evil 
mercenaries, as they liked to bill themselves. 

If he ever got her talking he wanted to ask her that.  Who had created
Rose Seabold?  That might be the real question worthy of an answer. 

Wes and Mike arrived just before eight.  It was obvious that Mike was
looking forward to his road trip.  He was lugging a large black 
backpack. 

Eddie:  After you got the kitchen sink in that bag, did you have room
for your laptop? 

Mike:  Do you think I over packed?  Wes kidded me all the way in. 

Eddie:  You would be fine for a six month hitchhiking tour of the back
roads. 

Mike:  I can cut it down some.  It's mostly electronic shit that is
redundant. 

Wes:  You are going by car and that Ford has a full sized trunk.  You
will be fine. Just make a note of what you really need to carry next 
time. 

Eddie:  Yeah it is your first road trip.  You will figure it out.  If
you don't it will be your last road trip. 

Wes, speaking of road trips gather all the information on Mossberg you
can find.  Particularly information on the one who calls himself Bart.  
Look into all you can find on the life and times of one Iris Martin, 
Rose Seabold and half a dozen other aliases I'm sure. 

Wes:  I got ya boss so when are we leaving. 

Eddie:  I am going to try to make reservations for tomorrow.  That is if
May has a credit card for us.  We can fly down there using the 
vouchers, but we can't survive without that card.  I don't know 
about you, but I'm not going to pay for the Senator's witch hunt.  
I do have faith that May can weasel the cards out of Lucille.  I'm 
not sure what information she will have to trade for them, but she will 
get the cards. 

Salina arrived next she looked tired.  Mike also noted that she smiled
at Wes. 

Wes:  A word boss. 

Wes was already headed to the door.  He held the stairwell door for
Eddie. 

Eddie (after they were outside the building):  What is it Wes? 

Wes:  I went into Salina's house when I drove her home yesterday.  She
is running a free clinic from her apartment in a housing project.  She 
has junkies and illegal immigrants coming and going all the time.  Gang 
bangers get their gunshots and knife wounds tended to by her.  A lot of 
the shit she does is really, really close to the line.  We ought to do 
something for her.  She is not even shielded by the medical 
confidentiality laws. 

Eddie:  Yeah she is a convicted felon with her license revoked. 

Wes:  Yeah but she is doing good things. 

Eddie:  We don't make the laws.  Stay close.  If she needs anything,
we will try to work it out.  You aren't screwing her are you? 

Wes:  Of course not. 

Eddie:  Okay we need to fly out of here tomorrow.  I have no idea when
we will return. 

Wes:  I have nothing on my dance card, so it's not a problem. 

Eddie got the call from his installer about 10 AM. 

Installer:  We be ready soon Mr. Alexander. 

Eddie:  So what time do you want me home?  Is noon too early? 

Installer:  We should be ready then or soon.  If gone, we go lunch, but
be back soon.  (The answer had been in broken english) 

Salina and Wes spent time with the files from Mike's latest download. 
There were a lot of secret smiles.  Eddie had believed him when Wes 
said he wasn't screwing Salina, but he also knew from the looks that 
it was just a matter of time.  Eddie waited until 11:30AM before he 
advised the others of his lunch plan. 

Eddie:  I have to go to the house to meet some people.  It isn't case
related so if anything comes up call me on the cell. 

The two of them nodded as he walked outside.  Eddie realized that it
hadn't been necessary to specify his cell phone, since he hadn't 
had a land telephone line installed.  It just didn't seem necessary.  
He stopped on the way home at the Bag-o-burgers for a a couple of the 
small burgers.  They were probably 50% fat but he loved them anyway. 

The men were sitting around the yard drinking water from plastic
bottles.  That told Eddie the investigator that they were most likely 
ready for him.  They had probably already been to lunch.  He was glad 
since it meant they would stay at the work till they were finished. 

Eddie could see the new windows and the two new storm doors that had
been installed and looked good.  He could also see some of the siding 
they had removed to force cellulose insulation into the wall cavities.  
They seemed to be complete except for the overhead insulation. 

Eddie:  You ready to start inside? 

Installer: Si. 

He obviously spoke the best English of them all.  Their language skills
or lack thereof didn't matter at all to Eddie.  He showed them the 
access to the attic and walked away while they jibber jabbered.  
Finally they brought in the machine and began to blow the attic full of 
insulation. 

It took them only an hour or so to finish the job.  Eddie was back at
his desk by 2 PM. 

Eddie:  Did I miss anything? 

Salina:  Nothing at all.  Our sweet young couple didn't even call from
their mountain vacation.  (Eddie glared at her)  Come on Boss Wes is 
hoping they'd become an item. 

Eddie:  I am going to ignore that remark.  Let's get our ducks in a
row for the trip tomorrow.  Salina call the airport taxi service and 
get us a ride.  We probably need a pick up at the office before 10 AM. 

Wes: what are we going to do about firearms? 

Eddie:  We are going to behave in a manner which will not require us to
find a need for a firearm.  And if someone draws down on us, I expect 
you to take it away from him and stuff it up his ass. 

Wes: Yeah you can expect that, but I'm not Bruce Lee and life is not a
movie.  I'm way too old for that shit. 

Eddie:  Then maybe we should get Lucille.  She's the youngest we have
left since Mike and May are gone. 

Wes:  I think we can struggle. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May:  What the hell are you doing? 

She and Michael were in the restaurant attached to a three star motel. 
She would not have been in the restaurant, if there wasn't a 
requirement that staff stay within a per diem rate when traveling.  
That rate did not allow for really expensive motels or restaurant.  It 
did cover three star motels and their restaurants. 

May:  Well? 

Mike:  I'm eating my french fries. 

May:  You are covering them with ranch salad dressing. 

Mike:  I like ranch dressing on french fries.  You want to try one? 

May:  That's disgusting.  (Pause)  So where is this place where you
haven't made the reservation located? 

Mike:  It is the only place we can stay in Farmer's Grove.  It's a
bed a breakfast three miles from the downtown.  From here it's about 
fifty miles.  It is winter and it's a small bed and breakfast 
downtown.  I'm sure they will have room for us. 

May:  There is a downtown in that place? 

Mike:  A small one.  There is a branch Post Office that has been closed
and a couple of small town retail things. 

May:  So how far is this County Seat place from Farmer's Grove? 

Mike:  County Seat is twelve miles east of Farmer's Grove. 

May:  After you finish those disgusting french fries, we will finish our
drive 

May was very attractive in the slightly stocky way.  She wasn't fat or
even chubby.  She was simply thick here and there.  Mike of course 
thought she was beautiful.  He felt she was even prettier than the 
pictures of Rose Seabold, who everyone agreed was a knock out.  Seabold 
was almost mythical, while May sat right across the table from him. 

Mike:  Okay I'm finished.  If we leave now we should make it to
Farmer's Grove in an hour or so. 

May:  Maybe you should make reservations for us before we get back on
the road. 

Mike:  Okay I will.  (he punched at the screen on his smart phone, then
smiled)  It's done. 

May:  Well I hate B&Bs, but it's the only game in town, so I guess we
have no choice. 

Mike: none. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie sat in the office being very bored while May drove the office Ford
while being bored.   When 5 PM finally came the three of them left the 
office together.  Eddie wasn't at all surprised to know Wes was 
driving our resident former nurse home. 

Wes:  You wanna stop for dinner somewhere? 

Salina:  Sure the sick, lame, and lazy can wait. 

Wes:  I promise we will go somewhere fast.  How about one of those
sandwich food trucks over at union station.  There is usually a steak 
and cheese truck over there. 

Salina:  You can afford to eat at a gourmet food truck? 

Wes:  No but I'm trying to impress you. 

Salina:  Don't try to impress me.  Let's just go to the sandwich
shop on 13th.  They are inexpensive and the food is good. 

Wes:  Would you rather have wine or beer with your sandwich? 

Salina:  I would rather have a soda and so would you.  (It was obvious
that she saw Wes as someone who needed taking care of)  At least you 
should have coke if you are going to help me. 

Wes:  I have no idea how to help with your calling. 

Salina:  Some how I don't think you will throw up at the sight of
blood.  So you can be trained. 

Wes:  Sure, but the sight of blood gives me really bad dreams. 

Salina:  Not tonight. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May (standing at a Victorian reproduction desk):  What do you mean you
only have one room.  I know I saw him send the message to make the 
reservations. 

Wife and co owner of the Inn:  His message said, party of two, not two
rooms.  We don't have another room.  You can drive to Williamston or 
College Hill they both have motels. 

Mike: (consulting his I phone) The closest motel is twenty five miles. 

May:  Wonderful.  I'm tired and I need a bath.  I am also hungry.  Can
we at least get a second bed. 

Wife:  There is a sofa that makes a pretty good bed with the back
cushions removed. 

May (to Mike):  You screwed up, you get the day bed. 

They each signed the register so that the owners would know who to
notify when she murdered and dismembered him. 

There was hardly enough room for their clothes in the closet.  Actually
there was no room for his.  There was hardly enough room for her 
clothes.  Wes and Eddie thought he had over packed, he took a picture 
of the closet packed with her clothes.  The Iphone shot would show them 
what over packing really looked like. 

Dinner was at the family steak pit half way to College Hill.  The food
was good but the ambiance was non existent according to May. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie found that the Kerosene heater, he had used on weekends when he
visited the cabin was quite warm that night.  It was a small tenant 
farmer's house but he thought of it as a cabin.  Even with the new 
insulation he left the bedroom doors closed.  The new insulation and 
the semi shut down house made it almost pleasant inside.  He was even 
able to turn the heater setting down. 

He did the usual things, watched the news and a couple of the TV shows
on line.  Eddie was sure the house was going to be quite warm when he 
got the wall furnace installed.  He decided to go to bed early and 
leave the packing for morning.  Of them all he was the first to go to 
sleep. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

In the community of Farmer's grove May and Mike were in their room
after dinner.  It was only 8:30 and Mike didn't want to go to sleep.  
May tried to go to sleep, but she just lay there staring into the 
darkness.  The room was lit only by the changing level and color on the 
screen of Mike's tablet.  He had the sound muted but the colors 
danced. 

May:  Why don't you shut that thing off and go to bed. 

Mike:  I am way too excited about tomorrow.  I have never questioned
anyone. 

May:  Neither have I.  Where should we go first? 

Mike:   While you were taking a shower I interviewed the owner's wife.
 She gave me a name and address.  Someone named Jeremy and his sister 
Alice Littlejohn.  Apparently she returned home this summer after the 
congressional investigation began.  They were supposed to be great 
friends of Rose.  After her husband came back in the room she walked 
away.  It seemed she had let the cat out of the bag. 

May:   Where had she been?  Alice I mean. 

Mike:   Apparently England. 

May:   So what are you doing now? 

Mike:   I'm logged into a chat room.  I found it mentioned in a report
someone at the Swamp Dog compound wrote.  I think Rose Seabold or 
Sylvia visited it.  Maybe both.  They might have used it to communicate 
with having it overheard.  It a pretty anonymous place. 

May: (rising from the bed) Let me see. 

Mike  (Changing the screen quickly):  That's probably not a good idea.
It's an adult chatroom.  It get pretty dirty at times. 

May:  I have heard of them.  I know that if I sign in as a woman, I will
get a lot more information than you can as a man.  It's like ten to 
one men in there. 

Mike:  Yes I know but I'm not sure you can handle it. 

May:  You have no idea what I can handle. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

After the last of Salina's patients left she sat in the kitchen.  She
drank a cup of coffee while looking up at a bottle of Irish whiskey 
sitting on the counter. 

Wes:   Tell me something, how come you drink when it is why you are in
so much shit.  It is obvious that you are in control of it now, so what 
happened? 

Salina:  You mean how can I take one or two and stop.  An addict is
always an addict according to folklore. 

Wes:   Yes that is what I always heard.  And I have a little experience
with alcohol addiction. 

Salina:   I never had the addictive personality disorder.  The cops
where amazed that, when I went cold turkey in jail.  Not that I cleaned 
up in jail but that I didn't go back to it when I got out.  Once I 
kicked it I was able to make rational decisions.  Once I had that 
ability, I decided not to go back.  I never even went to a meeting. 

Wes:  I guess I haven't gotten that far yet. 

Salina:   You aren't an alcoholic, but you are a habitual drunk.  You
are going to keep running from your demons till they get tired of 
chasing you. 

Wes:  Maybe. 

Salina who was somewhere between mildly attractive to slightly
unattractive managed to project sex when she wanted to.  She thought 
about it, then decided she wanted to.  With that in mind she excused 
herself while she went to change. 

When she returned she was wearing a heavy pink robe.  It wasn't sexy
till she opened it and revealed there was nothing but Salina under it.  
Mike could have seen that it was after midnight, if he could take his 
eyes off the scars on her body. 

Day 8 

00:01 AM on day eight found Eddie fast asleep all warm and toasty in his
newly insulated share cropper's house.  He was dreaming of the day 
when his house was complete, and he could sit on the deck in the back 
yard and watch his goats graze.  Eddie hadn't been joking when he 
said he planned to raise goats. 

First he had to finish his house then find the money for a fence over
the whole property.  Five acres of Chain link fence wouldn't be cheap 
even if he did it himself.  He knew that so he was going to go with a 
goat pen first for their safety and heavy chain attached to junked 
wheels so they could graze during the days. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

The same midnight found May and Mike giggling like children over the
remarks in an adult chat room.  The giggles lasted till 1 AM when May 
returned to her warm bed to sleep.  She was surprised that she had 
found Mike good company.  She was at least a third older than him.  
Still he was harmless and didn't really seem to be running any games 
on her. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

It found Wes in Salina's bed making love to her.  Well he thought of
it as making love, but Salina thought of it as getting screwed by a man 
she respected, if not loved.  Wes had allowed her to do her work during 
the evening.  At that moment he was showing her what he could do with 
her body. 

She of course wasn't just lying in one place quietly allowing it to
happen.  She was a totally willing participant.  She even did things 
she didn't usually do on a first date.  She was acting very much like 
the perfect crack whore slut.  She did what ever it took to get what 
she wanted.  In her case it wasn't drugs.  Well maybe it was the best 
drug of all, one her own body manufactured.  The free flow of 
endorphins was truly intoxicating.  She wondered if she could be 
charged with driving under the influence of great sex.  Then she 
wondered how the hell they would test for it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille was sleeping on her side of what she felt was a cold king sized
bed.  If I ever fall in love and get married for the right reasons, 
I'm going to sleep with my husband in a twin bed, she thought.  Since 
she couldn't fall asleep she simply got out of bed and had a drink.  
She looked at the empty king sized bed and wondered who her husband was 
screwing that night, not that it mattered to her. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie arrived at the office first, after having stopped on the way in to
purchase coffee and a small box of cake donuts.  Since there was likely 
to be only three of them in the office, a half dozen donuts had sounded 
about right.  He had bought plain cake donuts because he didn't like 
sweet icing on his donuts.  The others would just have to live with it. 
 He bought two chocolate cakes, and two spice as well a plain yellow 
cake pastries. 

None of them had any extra sugar of any kind.  He told himself it was
his way of keeping his weight down.  In truth spring would do more for 
that than anything else.  In his case physical activity defeated the 
munchies every time. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

While Eddie, Wes, and Salina munched on donuts and coffee, May and Mike
were sitting uneasily over breakfast at the downtown grill in County 
Seat. 

May: Do we need to talk about last night.  Because if we do, let's do
it now and never speak of it again. 

Mike  (Smiling):  I don't need to talk.  I'm fine with how our first
date went. 

Mike actually laughed confidently which bothered May immensely.  She
just didn't know how to respond so she shook her head and looked at 
him sarcastically. 

May:  Tell me again why we drove all the way here for breakfast. 

Mike:  This place was mentioned in Sylvia Porter's biography report. 
We have to eat somewhere and someone might remember her here.  You know 
killing two birds with one stone.  Also getting a feel for where she 
started is a good thing. 

The black waitress came to the table to get their order. 

Waitress:  What you out of town lawyers going to have? 

Mike:  Okay out of town I get, since you probably know everyone who
comes in, but what makes you think we are lawyers? 

Waitress:  Do you really want to know? 

May:  Sure give us your homegrown deductions. 

Waitress:  Well he looks like a nerd, and you look like you sittin' on
the sharp end of a fence post.  What with your little black tailored 
power suit and all.  The only things brings folk like you here is the 
judge sittin'.  We be the County Seat after all. 

May:  Well I'm a lawyer and this is my nerd bitch. 

She probably enjoyed saying it too much.  She winked at the waitress who
broke into a real laugh. 

Waitress:  Well, he do look that way now that you mention it.  So what
y'all going to have? 

May:  If you have a breakfast special, I'll have that. 

Mike:  The bitchboy will have the special with black coffee and some
information. 

Waitress:  What kind of information? 

Mike:  Did you know Sylvia Porter? 

Waitress:  Course I knowed Miss Sylvia.  Everybody round here knowed
her.  Best damn Sheriff we ever had. 

May.  So you knew her as a Sheriff? 

Waitress:  Honey I knowed her from the first day she came to town.  She
come running in here on her first day as a Deputy.  Had a big ole black 
stray dog running behind.  He wasn't chasin' her.  Like all you 
stray dogs he knewed she was going to feed him.  I fixed him a plate of 
left over eggs and stuff.  Silvia gave me two tips.  One from her and 
one from the dog.  I found that dog a home.  I could almost always find 
her strays a home.  Them strays just attached themselves to her like 
they knowed they was going to be safe. 

Grill cook:  What y'all want with Sylvia, she be dead.  You can't
fuck with her no more now. 

He was holding what was obviously a very sharp knife used to cut things
for the stew pot.  Or maybe to cut the heads off Yankee white trash, 
May thought. 

Mike:  We are looking for a friend of hers Rose Seabold. 

Grill cook:  Never heard that name. 

A look passed between the two cafe employees.  It signaled that the
information well had dried up. 

A customer seated at the counter turned to look at the two of them. 

Customer:  You see that sign across the square?  The one that say the
Fox and Hounds Pub. 

Mike:  Yeah. 

Customer:  That's owned by the Brit and his friend Jeremy.  They
knowed Sheriff Porter real well.  Most likely if anyone knows that Rose 
person, it will be one of them. 

May:  Thanks. 

She and Mike concentrated on the greasy food.  It was delicious but May
could almost hear her arteries hardening.  After breakfast they went 
back to the B&B to discuss their next move. 

May:  What kind of B&B gives you a voucher for a greasy spoon cafe two
blocks away? 

Mike:  I don't know May.  I never stayed in a B&B before.  But take a
look over there.  That is a Farms Cooperative Savings and Loan. 

May:  So what? 

Mike:  I never saw that in either of their financial reports.  It was
pretty close to where they both lived for a while.  It might be the tie 
in if they both had secret accounts in there. 

May:  That's out of my realm of expertise but trust me Michael you still
haven't stayed in a real B&B.  So what's next bitch nerd? 

Mike:  Since we don't want to hang around for a court order for the
records and I can get them anyway, I guess we go visit the brother and 
sister act, Jeremy and Alice. 

May:  You going to call and make an appointment? 

Mike:  I think we might do better just showing up on their doorstep. 

May:  Unless they aren't home, or are just heading out the door, or
something else. 

Mike:  It that is the case we shall adapt, as Wes says.  He says it's
all about being able to adapt. 

May:  What is this you and the burned out CIA man getting to be asshole
buddies? 

Mike:  Before I met Wes, I would be pissed by that.  Now I just think it
is sad that you don't have anyone you respect.  So let's get over 
to Jeremy's and see what is going on with them. 

May:  (shaking her head)  You are getting all zen on me aren't you. 

Mike:  Wes says when you are deprived of something it is natural to
attack those who have what you want.  Whenever you are attacked it is 
usually about envy or sex.  I would love to think your attack was about 
sex, but most likely you envy my relationship with Wes. 

May:  Right, you are one sick puppy. 

May insisted on driving, so Mike just tried to stay in the moment.  He
wanted to remember where Jeremy and Alice lived, if he ever returned to 
Farmer's Grove with someone who would let him drive. 

The long driveway led from the county road led to a very nice modern
designed house.  There was a Bentley parked in the circular driveway in 
front of the house.  May rang the bell.  The two of them waited until a 
woman answered. 

May:  Hello my Name is May, I with the Department of Justice.  I am here
to see Mr. or Miss Littlejohn. 

Alice:  Well Miss May, I'm Alice Littlejohn and my brother Jeremy is
here as well.  So which of us would you rather talk with.  I would 
think you might like Jeremy better. 

May:  How about we make it both of you. 

Jeremy:  So what can we do for you? (walking up behind Alice) 

May:  You could start by inviting us in.  Then by telling us all you
know about Rose Seabold and Sylvia Porter. 

Alice:  Why would we do that.  We have no idea who you are or why you
want to know about them.  We are also very particular about who we 
invite inside. 

May:  We are investigating Rose Seabold's possible connection to Swamp
Dog.  Is there something in there you are hiding. 

Jeremy:  Do you by chance have an arrest warrant for one or both of us? 
Or even a search warrant? 

May:  No of course not. 

Jeremy:  Then you should go get one, because I have nothing to say
without being placed under arrest.  At that time I will require a 
lawyer, before I talk to you. 

May:  Your lawyer wouldn't happen to be named Rita would she? 

Alice:  Actually she is yes.  Did you know Rita grew up within twenty
miles of here? 

May:  No I didn't know that. 

When May and Mike made it back to the car, it was still mid morning. 
May started the car then drove out of the drive and onto the county 
road. 

May:  Where to now. 

Mike:  There is a place around here somewhere called the Village.  Rose
was instrumental to the development of it.  Surely someone there will 
know her. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Wes waited until Eddie left the office, then kissed Salina goodbye.  He
hurried down the stairs to catch up with Eddie.  They rode in the 
minivan to the airport then they spent two hours waiting to board the 
plane. 

The flight took less than four hours.  It seemed as if they spent more
time waiting than they did in the air.  When they arrived Wes went to 
rent the car.  He had more experience with airports than Eddie.  Well 
at least his experience was more recent. 

Eddie drove the Econobox rental from Mobile to Mossberg.  Once there
they found the local cafe, they began their interview there, even 
though it was after five the place was still open.  The fry cook had a 
pretty scarred face.  They weren't burns, he had been beaten more 
than once, it appeared. 

Eddie:  Hello,  (He was talking to the waitress)  My friend and I would
like a couple of steak sandwiches and cokes. 

Waitress:  Okay, I haven't seen you around before. 

Wes:  That's because we are not from around here.  Do you by any
chance know a Rose Seabold?  She might have been calling herself Iris 
Martin. 

Waitress:  Sure I know Miss Martin but I don't know you.  You two
sound like cops. 

Eddie:  Fair point.  We are from Washington and we need to ask her a few
questions.  But we are not cops.  We just work for some Senator. 

Cook:  (after he walked from the kitchen)  If you find that woman remind
her she owes me money. 

He turned and looked at the waitress who scurried off.  When he was sure
he had made his point, he returned to the kitchen.  When the check 
came, Wes signed the credit card receipt. 

Wes:  So you don't know where Iris is now? 

Waitress:  None of us know. 

Eddie:  Would you know a good place in town to stay? 

Waitress:  If you want to stay in town, you will have to stay at the
fish camp.  Or you can drive over to College Hill.  They got a couple 
of mom and pop motels.  Only they ain't mom and pop no more they are 
all Paki. 

Eddie:  How do we contact the manager of the fish camp? 

Waitress:  Well you go to that bulletin board and take a card.  Then you
call. 

Wes:  Okay.  Sounds like a real class operation. 

Eddie:  This from the man who told Mike he once fell asleep outside an
afghan bad guys house, and woke up in a camel pen filled with dung. 

Wes:  That kid talks too much. 

Eddie:  Hell he idolizes you.  Careful what you say to him, he believes
all of it. 

The owner gave Eddie directions to the fish camp alongside the Alabama
River.  The small house had been remodeled to add small kitchen areas 
to the three sleeping rooms.  Since the weather was better recently, 
there was only one room available.  It was very much the same story as 
with Mike and May.  Of course neither group knew about the other at the 
time.  Eddie and Wes didn't mind the two sets of bunk beds, since 
they each got a bottom bunk with no one over them. 

Unlike the others Eddie and Wes went to be early.  They had plans for a
full day the next day. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Back at the Farmers Grove B&B Mike and May were discussing the lack of
cooperation from anyone who knew Rose.  They had decided to give up on 
the interviews for the day.  The new plan was to start over the next 
day with the village.  Mike was sure someone in the village would 
remember Rose. 

In the meantime May used her tablet to enter the adult chat room used by
Sylvia and Rose to pass messages.  She signed in with the screen name, 
DivorcedFemLawdog.  Just as she expected the men came out of the 
woodwork to chat with her.  Mike heard her punching the screen almost 
non-stop for hours. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina had a really quiet night.  She had hoped to stay busy but it was
a boring night till 11 PM when the insistent knock on the door pulled 
her out of a stupor.  Not a drug or alcohol stupor but one caused by a 
flashback.  The knock first was a part of the flashback, but it finally 
pulled her out of the flashback.  She finally went to the door.  It was 
so late she was pretty sure she knew who was at the door. 

Salina:  Who is it? (She said through the cracked the door) 

Male voice:  You know who it is puta.  I came to collect the rent. 

Salina:  Not tonight Raphael. I'm tired. 

Raphael:  Unless you want to spend tomorrow with a broken door open up
right now. 

Salina stepped back and Raphael pushed into the room.  Once inside he
went to the refrigerator, then helped himself to a beer.  He then 
leaned back against the counter and drank it. 

Raphael:  Word is you got a white boyfriend.  Is that true? 

Salina:  He isn't a boyfriend just a man who helps me with the people
who come looking for help. 

Raphael:  You know you are my puta.  If I hear he has been here again, I
will kill him.  Do you understand? 

Salina:  (staring at the floor)  Yes I understand. 

Raphael:  Good now pay your rent. 

Salina walked across the room, stood in front of him, then lowered
herself to her knees.  She unzipped his shiny black pants and removed 
his only average sized penis.  She took it in her mouth and began to 
suck and move her mouth on it.  She had to work several minutes before 
he became fully erect. 

Once he was erect he began to move his cock inside her mouth. 
Effectively using her mouth as a vagina.  Once he was really into it he 
couldn't last long he came with a grunt.  Salina's mouth filled with 
his semen.  She swallowed it to complete the ritual. 

Raphael:  Good.  You are paid up for another week. 

Once he had gone Salina went into the bathroom forced her finger into
her throat and threw up several times until her stomach was empty.  
Maybe it helps keep her from getting anything or maybe it was her only 
means of rebellion but it too was part of the ritual. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

The road trip was in full swing.  Nothing had been accomplished but they
were in full swing.  Well as far as Eddie and Wes went they had found 
out where Rose ate her breakfast most mornings simply by asking the 
owner of the fish camp.  It was something called the Dairy Queen, about 
five or six miles away. 

Day 9 Part 1 

May:  You know I hate this cafe? 

Mike:  It's where the breakfast voucher is accepted.  You got to relax
and just go with the flow.  You fight the flow you will wear yourself 
out and still not get anywhere. 

May:  It that more of Wes' bullshit Zen. 

Mike:  When you hitchhike on the waves of contentment, you get to the
same place refreshed and ready to fight the good fight.  It is Wes' 
own version of Zen.  So let's go inside and just go with it. 

May: What an ass. 

Once inside they were assaulted with the smell of burning pig flesh and
bird embryos. 

Waitress:  I see the lawyer and the bitch boy are back.  What y'all
want this morning? 

Mike:  Two specials and some information.  What the hell is the Village,
some kind of resort community? 

Waitress laughing:  Not hardly honey.  It's some kind of hippy
nostalgia place out on the back road to College Hill.  It you drive out 
there, you will see a sign that says festival park, follow those signs 
to the office of sorts.  You will recognize it for what it is. 

May:  These eggs are much better than those cooking in my egg cooker,
but I bet I have lost a few months off my life eating here. 

Mike:  All lost years come off the end of your natural life.  Do you
really want to be in a hospital bed hooked to tubes for a few more 
months?  Or would you rather have good eggs now. 

May:  Shit that actually makes sense.  That's one scary thought.  It
means the government is fucking with us with all these health warnings. 


Mike:  Yeah, the trick is to eat so that you can enjoy the good years. 
I have not done that, but now I am trying to do it.  You know I miss my 
bicycle.  Wes has me riding every day before work.  It clears my mind 
just like he said it would.  It, along with the shower after, and the 
white pill helps me think.  The pills do nothing on their own.  I have 
tired. 

May:  You seem to have made a lot changes in just two weeks. 

Mike:  Time is not measured by the passing of daylight.  It is measured
by what we overcome on our journey, and by the distance we travel. 

May:  You know it's a good thing I wasn't issued a weapon for this
trip.  I think I would shoot you. 

Mike:  You do not want to do that it would only add to the burden your
soul must carry on its journey to the light.  (He knew that he was 
fucking with her and he enjoyed it.) 

May:  That's it.  One more of those little wisdoms and I'm going to
stab you with this butter knife. 

They finished their breakfast in silence.  The waitress had hovered to
listen to Mike/Wes' philosophy. 

Waitress handing them their receipt and taking the voucher:  You talk
real nice.  What your real name? 

Mike:  Michael, but Mike is ok. 

Waitress:  If you can get away from the lawyer bitch, call me.  (She
wrote her number on the receipt.) 

May: (once they were outside)  Shit, how often does that happen? 

Mike:  Er, never.  And you wondered why I think so much of Wes. 

May:  Getting laid isn't everything. 

Mike:  Getting me laid may be the only thing worthwhile we do today. 

May:  You may never get laid by anything other than a skanky crack
whore. 

Mike:  (with good humor)  Killer of dreams, thy name is May May. 

May:  Bitch boy. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina had a bowl of oatmeal then went to the office to check on the
others.  She was determined to keep them safe.  It was what she had 
always done, keep people safe. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie and Wes went to breakfast at the Dairy Queen.  They had an ID
picture of Rose Seabold from her pot business application.  They began 
with the waitress behind the counter. 

Eddie:  Do you know this woman. 

The shift manager pushed by her to look at the picture. 

Shift manager:  We all started here a few weeks ago, and I ain't never
seen her.  Sorry, now you are holding up the line. 

Wes looked upset but Eddie shook his head. 

Eddie:  How about two of your big bacon egg and cheese sandwiches and
two coffees? 

The bacon egg and cheese came on a sour dough role. 

Wes:  No wonder this was her favorite breakfast place.  That is a really
good sandwich. 

Eddie:  Too much bread. 

Eddie picked at his with a plastic fork taken from the coffee bar.  They
were quite the odd couple.  Eddie picking at his sandwich as if he was 
having high tea at the White House, while Wes tore into his like a 
stray dog. 

Wes:  So we going to the tea plant next? 

Eddie:  It would be the next logical stop.  Maybe her buddy Bart can
help us locate her. 

Wes:  Oh I'm sure he can.  The real question is will he.  They are all
connected but we have to find the threads.  I don't think they are 
not going to hand them to us. 

Eddie:  Stop with that Zen shit, just say it. 

Wes:  You know what I meant.  The common thread is Swamp Dog and the
first rule of Swamp Dog is? 

Eddie:  The first rule of Swamp Dog, is never talk about Swamp Dog no
matter how insignificant the question seems. 

Wes:  Right, the Evil Mercenary.  He stands alone on the scorched
battleground asking help from no one, and giving free help to no one. 

Eddie:  You don't believe that shit do you. 

Wes:  (With a shrug)  Don't matter what I believe.  It only matters
what they believe. 

So they left the restaurant and drove to the downtown of Mossberg.  They
parked the rental car across from the factory.  It was impossible not 
to notice that the whole block had been restored.  It had the look of 
old New York style condominiums. 

Wes:  I'll bet you ten bucks Rose has a hand in those. 

Eddie:  No bet, I read the file about her real estate developments as
well as you. 

The only empty parking space in that block of Main Street was in front
of a fenced in, very small private park at the very end of the block.  
It had probably been a parking lot for the original retail stores 
predating the condos. 

After entering the unsecured front door they found Bart inside the plant
mixing ingredients for his special herb tea.  He was wearing a white 
lab coat and one of those silly looking hairnets. 

Eddie:  Bart my name is Eddie.  I work for the Senate Committee
investigating Swamp Dog.  I would like to ask you some questions. 

Bart:  Yeah I thought so.  I got a call from the manager of the DQ and
one from the owner of the fish camp. 

Wes:  Nothing goes unnoticed in a small town. 

Bart:  Some things do.  They didn't tell me about you.  So are you
that guy. 

Wes:  It's not me. 

Eddie:  (confused)  You two know each other. 

Bart:  No I thought he was someone else.  So what do you want to know? 

Eddie:  Well are you, or have you ever been an employee of Swamp Dog. 

Bart:  (without any hesitation)  I make herbal tea, nothing more. 

Eddie: I have it on good authority that you worked for the Swamp Dog at
one time. 

Bart:  I make herbal tea, nothing more. 

Eddie: Then before you made Herbal tea. 

Bart:  We have reached the point where I must talk with my lawyer before
I say anything else. 

Eddie: I believe your girlfriend is the lawyer for Swamp Dog.  She your
lawyer too? 

Bart:  Sorry I'm going to answer no more questions without consulting
with my lawyer. 

Eddie:  Just one more question.  Where is Rose Seabold? 

Bart:  I have no idea. 

Eddie:  We are going to find her.  You could make it easier on yourself.


Bart:  I make herbal tea, nothing else. 

Eddie:  From what I hear you froze Iris Martin out of her own plant.  If
I were you I would be worried. 

Bart:  I make herbal tea, nothing else. 

The two of them left.  They crossed the street and looked at the plate
glass windows on the renovated building.  They each had a name from the 
building's past.  They both realized what a great view of Main Street 
those buildings had. 

Eddie:  How did he know you. 

Wes:  He doesn't know me.  Trust me he has never met me, nor I him. 
He was just reminding me that we are all connected.  Some in different 
ways, but we are all connected. 

Eddie:  Guys with your background have always been a mystery to me.  I
just need to know, can I trust you? 

Wes:  My background is why I was chosen.  Yours is also why you were
chosen.  Just like Bart back there knows.  We are all connected.  Some 
connections are stronger than others. 

Eddie:  You are driving me nuts with all this Zen shit. 

Wes:  That is just part of our connection.  His question was really,
'Are you the guy who is going to burn it all down'? 

Eddie:  You mean his good life? 

Wes:  That's the one. 

Eddie:  Let's go find her connection to the catfish pot farm.  I know
there is a contract on file that gives her a third of the profits from 
a very profitable pot farm.  She doesn't even have to work for them.  
Sounds like a motive to make her disappear.  At the least we can follow 
that money. 

Wes:  As I understand it those profits are capped at a total of five
million dollars.  She is allowing two guys, who had nothing, to buy a 
five million dollar farm.  They are buying it using only the profits 
from operating the farm.  They have a damn nice income while they are 
buying the place.  I wouldn't mind a deal like that. 

Eddie:  I read that report on the farm, but there has to be more to it. 
Those two are PTSD sufferers from the Swamp Dog.  She was 
rehabilitating them, then she up and decides to turn the farm over to 
them.  I just don't buy it.  Now she has disappeared.  So either she 
was planning to split with the money all along, or they disappeared 
her. 

Wes:  She hasn't touched any of the money from those accounts
according to Mike.  But there is one thing.  You never know something, 
till you know what you don't know. 

He said it getting all mystical again. 

Eddie:  (frustrated)  What the fuck does that mean? 

Wes:  She is good at disappearing, so we wont know how she did it till
she surfaces again, or until we figure out where she went.  She just 
dropped off the world a few months ago.  Hell we aren't even sure 
when she went missing. 

Eddie:  So how did she do it and where did she go? 

Wes:  The where should be first, since the how is probably not
traceable.  She has spent half her life doing things without leaving a 
trail.  Every operative has a stash of money and ID's just for that 
purpose.  Even when you go under completely you have to surface 
somewhere, sometime.  Somewhere there is a new lady in town. 

Eddie:  Fucking A.  We need a profile to figure out where she might go. 
We need some new eyes on her background. 

Wes:  There are a lot of holes in her life.  Ever wonder why there are
no tall tales about what she has done.  Those are all part of the 
persona most of these people try to project.  Bigger than life stuff. 

Eddie:  So? 

Wes:  So she has none of that.  Nobody knows all of what she has done or
even what she is at the moment.  Either that or they were so involved 
in it that to tell her story would be a confession.  The truth like the 
sun shines on the flower and the weed equally. 

Eddie:  I sorta know what that means.  I can't tell about you, or I
will be going to jail along with you.  Right? 

Wes:  Exactly.  She is that gal. 

Eddie:  What gal? 

Wes:  The one who doesn't give a shit what you think about her.  She
doesn't need to promote herself, or to have anyone else promote her.  
You are going to need a confidential informant inside the organization 
you think she was working for.  I have no idea what you can promise 
them, since we don't have any idea what she did, or for whom she was 
working at the time. 

Eddie:  I would find a victim to talk, but I'm afraid they are all
dead. 

Wes:  There is always collateral damage.  We need Mike to go back
through the files again.  This time let the profiler guide him.  
Don't need a cop or a field man, certainly not the DOJ lawyer or the 
political operative.  You need someone who understands her. 

Eddie:  Where do I find this profiler.  The FBI profilers are great at
predicting what a loony tune is going to do next.  Rose is no loony and 
she isn't going to do anything.  She is on the lamb. 

Wes:  I'll bet you a week's pay Salina can do it. 

Eddie:  She is a junky nurse. 

Wes:  And I'm and old drunk.  Who gives a shit?  If she can do what we
need, then what have we got to lose?  If she can't, we will know soon 
enough. 

Eddie:  I'll think about it.  In the meantime let's go look at a
hydroponic pot farm. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

There was a knock on May and Mike's door after breakfast while they
are preparing for the day.  Since they weren't expecting anyone Mike 
carefully cracked the door.  The crack grew very quickly as the tall 
straight gray haired man leaned into the door. 

Intruder:  Who the fuck are you working for?  Don't give me that DOJ
shit.  I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with 
me.  The local alcohol cops maybe, but DOJ not a fucking chance. 

May:  I am with the DOJ. 

Intruder:  I didn't ask that, I asked who you are working for. 

Mike:  When in doubt, the truth works pretty well. 

May looked at him angrily.  She apparently expected the computer nerd to
defend her from the man who looked like a soldier.  That automatically 
and the fact that he was a friend of Sylvia Porters made him dangerous. 
Too dangerous for Mike to handle and he knew it. 

May:  If you are going to kill anyone start with him, he is driving me
nuts.  We are investigators for the Senate Select Committee 
investigating Swamp Dog.  Are you the one they call the Brit? 

Brit:  I am, but I got nothing to say.  You two need to just move along
there is nothing to see here. 

He showed that he could still do a respectable about face and march off.


May:  Was that a get out of town by sunset message? 

Mike:  Maybe not sunset, but definitely a get out of town. 

At that point Mike called Wes.  He explained what had happened then
listened for a long time. 

Mike:  Wes said to pack the car and do what interviews we could, but not
to come back here again.  Preferably make the interviews on the way out 
of town. 

May:  I have to admit I like his advice better all the time. 

The two of them checked out of the B&B, then loaded the car.  They were
gone well before the noon check out time.  May found the Village just 
as promised.  In the office they found a well past middle aged woman 
with a nice body for a woman so old.  She also had a pleasant smile and 
beautiful gray hair. 

May:  We are interested in the village, we heard a lot about it. 

Ruby the agent:  Oh?  What have you heard? 

Mike:  That it is a good place for an artist to live.  People are very
understanding. 

Ruby:  Yes we are.  We have everything from a tattoo artist to a high
end jewelry maker in our community.  We have our own festival park for 
shows.  The park also has a retired circus tent.  We use it for winter 
shows mostly.  Tourist come for the crafts in the summer.  In the 
winter they drive over from 'The Snow Devils' ski resort to shop. 

Mike:  All the houses look kind of small. 

Ruby:  Yes they do.  The houses were originally built by the Mill for
the worker's families to stay.  The rental houses in the artist 
community are all three bedroom one bath homes.  The houses that were 
for sale have all been bought now.  A lot of successful people with 
ancestors who worked in the mill bought them for retirement cottages.  
Some of those have garages and room additions.  Like I said there are 
no houses for sale at the moment and our artist community is full.  You 
are welcome to fill out an application though. 

May:  So who renovated these houses. 

Ruby:  A local who no longer is involved with the Village.  She sold it
to the current owner.  Carlos will be at his office I expect.  It is up 
on the mountain. 

May and Mike didn't know that the office used by Carlos had once been
a sample cabin.  Rose had built it as a sample for a project Jeremy was 
involved in.  If they had been able to get all the history on Rose, 
they would have been able to trace it back to Jeremy.  Since they 
couldn't get a complete history on Rose they would never know. 

Even though they had a hard time believing it, Carlos hid behind his
poor English skills.  What ever May or Mike asked he just shook his 
head and replied, no English.  They left in frustration and began the 
long drive back to Washington with their tales between their legs. 

Day 9 Part 2 

May:  (into phone as she drove she gave Eddie the complete rundown)  So
boss we are headed back home.  All we got is stonewalled. 

Eddie: Turn your ass around and get back there.  From what you just told
me you haven't exhausted all the possibilities.  Move your 
headquarters to Williamston or somewhere else, but get back to that 
town. 

May:  What more can we do? 

Eddie:  What makes you think that waitress wanted to screw Mike.  She
may have wanted to talk to him outside the restaurant.  Now have Mike 
call her and set up a meeting for tonight.  Have him take her out and 
wine and dine her without you.  He will figure out what he needs to do. 
 Tell him that he has my permission to sleep with her if that's what 
it takes. 

May:  I think this is a mistake and that it is dangerous, but if Mike is
willing I'll go along. 

Eddie:  Ask him if he wants to talk to Wes about it. 

Obviously he didn't since May cut the connection.  Eddie had been
about to drive off from the Main Street of Mossberg.  Wes obviously 
wanted to speak. 

Eddie:  What? 

Wes:  You are the boss, but you know if that Brit guy was an operative
for the Swamp, he could be dangerous. 

Eddie:  He's a bar owner.  He isn't looking for any trouble.  He
just wanted to scare those kids off, I hope. 

Wes:  Well it's done and we couldn't drive there in time to cover
his ass anyway.  God knows that May won't be any help if he gets in 
trouble.  Let's hope if he does, it's just a beat down. 

Eddie:  Best case is they slip in and out unnoticed. 

Wes:  If he survives this, we are going to have to get him some
training. 

Eddie:  If he survives this he won't need any more training.  When
this ends we all go our separate ways.  Maybe Lucille will send us a 
card at Christmas. 

Wes:  Start this cramped up piece of shit car and let's go to work. 

Fifteen minutes later they were at the gates to the catfish farm.  Eddie
blew his horn and waited. 

Wes:  You see those cameras and the dogs.  If you wanted to go in that
compound uninvited you would need an armored vehicle at least to crash 
the gates. 

Eddie:  If these two really were Swamp Dog alumni, there is a chance
there is some heavy duty shit underground that would turn an armored 
car into an armored oven. 

Wes:  Yeah that's what I would do.  Here they come. 

What they thought were two men was actually a man and woman.  Dressed as
she was, and with her body type, it had been hard to tell.  They 
stopped on their side of the fence.  The man was carrying something 
that looked like an M-16 with a grenade launcher mounted under it.  
Most likely under the AR-15 semi automatic was a 12 gauge shotgun 

Eddie:  We are federal inspectors, we need to look over your operation. 

Male farmer:  (To his companion)  Cover me. 

He stepped into the space between the walk gates then emerged through
the second gate.  When he emerged on the outside the wire, the dogs 
started to bark again.  The man said something to them in a foreign 
language. 

Male farmer:  Let's see your paperwork. 

Eddie:  Okay we are investigators for a Senate Committee checking on
Swamp Dog.  But we can have inspectors here in a couple of hours. 

Male farmer:  Then you need to do that, because you are not coming in
and you are not talking to anyone here.  Now you have yourself a good 
day, and you might, as long as you don't try crashing the gate behind 
me. 

He turned his attention to Wes. 

Male Farmer:  What you doing traveling with the cop?  You're that guy
aren't you? 

Wes:  No I'm not that guy.  But you should talk to us.  It would make
my life easier and in the long run yours as well.  We can get a squad 
of ATF in here just by dropping a dime. 

Male Farmer:  Do you think they would be the first ones in here to
inspect?  We have the arms we need to protect our crops, but nothing 
illegal, so bring it on. 

He turned and walked away.  They were back in the car and headed back to
the fish camp when the conversation continued. 

Wes:  That went well.  You charmed them as usual. 

Eddie:  What is this 'are you the one' shit. 

Wes:  It means different things different times.  In this case it mean
the traitor to be killed on sight. 

Eddie:  I'm going to ask you again.  Were you ever a part of the Swamp
Rats. 

Wes:  No, but they were players in the same world as some of the CIA
people.  I recognize them when I see them, and they do as well.  In 
some of the nastier places of the world, CIA operatives have told the 
bad guys where to find the contractors in order to save their asses.  
So the contractors are on the look out for those informants. 

Eddie:  How do they recognize you as CIA. 

Wes:  There are ways.  That's all you need to know. 

Eddie and Wes sat in the small almost warm room of the fish camp to
discuss their next move. 

Eddie:  There were three mail boxes for the building where Rose/Iris
lived.  Do you reckon she keeps the condo in case she wants to come 
home? 

Wes:  Since we are talking millionaire here, she could afford it.  Wish
we had Mike here.  We might could find if she had a contractor or 
cleaning service. 

Eddie:  Why would she need one?  She has Bart living two doors down and
the boys from the farm to do anything he can't.  My guess is that if 
we went to the door they would know it before we could get through the 
triple lock door lock.  I would guess that it would not be the Federal 
Rural Police Officers who would put a gun in our face, 

Wes:  I would agree.  We could cut the power but then they probably have
battery backups on the cameras.  But I bet you they are monitored by a 
company not by Bart or the Farmers.  The company monitors are never 
gone to dinner or to piss. 

Eddie:  So what we try to get a warrant then go search it. 

Wes:  I was thinking, have Mike find the monitoring company and cut
their power. 

Eddie:  We don't have those kinds of resources.  How about Mike sends
them a phony message that says we have to shut them down for some kind 
of service and then we slip in. 

Wes:  We could just get him to loop the feeds so they look the same as
they did the two hours before.  Then we go up the back stairs and spend 
some quality time picking locks and looking around. 

Eddie:  For that to work he would have to be back in DC, and we would
have to stay here. 

Wes:  So tomorrow night? 

Eddie:  Next week.  We want time to do this right.  Your plan is the one
we will use only we won't be at the fish camp when we pull the pin on 
it. 

Wes:  Yeah, best to do a drop in raid.  I expect I can get us a nice
little black box to use. 

Eddie:  Good for you.  Now let's find something to occupy us while we
wait for Mike to talk to the waitress. 

Wes:  We could go to a movie. 

Eddie:  Even if I do sleep in the same room with you this is not a date.


Wes:  Jesus you smiled, I don't believe it. 

Eddie:  Don't tell anyone, it might ruin my relationship with the
others.  (after a pause)  How do you think she spent her time? 

Wes:  Nobody will talk to us so she could have been a stripper at night
for all we know. 

Eddie:  Her finances don't show her ever having a real job.  She could
do anything she wanted.  She sure as hell had the money.  But what is 
there to do for entertainment in a town this size. 

Wes:  You know that's a harmless question.  We might get an answer to
that one. 

They went back to the Dairy Queen drive in restaurant to have a burger
for dinner.  When they sat down next to an older couple Wes was the 
first to speak. 

Wes:  Excuse me folks we are kind of stuck in Mossberg for a couple of
days.  Our truck broke down.  Is there anything to do here. 

Old man in overalls:  Not unless you like to watch a fire burn in the
fireplace. 

Wes:  We are staying at the fish camp, there are no fireplaces and it
ain't the season for fireflies. 

The couple joined Wes and Eddie in the laugh. 

Old woman:  Well they are having a social at the Grange tomorrow night. 
They have coffee all day long for us old folks. 

Eddie:  I think Wes had a little more action than a coffee club in mind.


Old Woman:  You mean a younger crowd?  Stop by anyway sometimes we have
younger mothers stop in so their kids can play together. 

Eddie decided to risk it. 

Eddie:  We used to make deliveries to the tea factory downtown.  There
was a really nice looking woman who ran it.  You wouldn't know if she 
still owns it would you? 

Old Woman:  No she sold out to some other strangers.  I hear she got
real sick, Cancer.  Haven't seen her in a while.  I hope she didn't 
have it come back on her. 

Wes:  (After they left)  That's the problem with gossip.  Lots of time
it's just plain wrong. 

Eddie:  Yeah but you know who might know more?  The people who work at
the Grange.  We should ride by. 

Wes:  We can do that but most likely it is closed this time of night. 

Eddie:  I bet there is a lounge in a motel in the next town over.  She
might have gone there.  We can at least show her picture around. 

So an hour later they walked into the lounge at the Howard Johnson's
motel.  Nobody recognized Iris.  It was the same at every motel lounge 
in town. 

Wes:  You know maybe she likes it down and dirty.  We should try a biker
bar. 

Eddie:  Might as well try a strip joint then.  Probably a booby bar
somewhere in town. 

Wes:  Hold on, the kid is on the line.   (into the phone)  What's up
grasshopper?  (after listening for a few minutes)  Okay head on back to 
DC in the morning.  Yes I'm sure Eddie won't call you back again. 

Wes:  Well the kid says he got a lot of personal shit on Rose/Iris but
that all.  He said, when she lived there she worked on oil rigs.  Some 
kind of security shit, you know on the rig a month or more at a time. 

Eddie:  Bullshit that was her cover. 

Wes:  Fuck it's all a cover.  She was going deep undercover.  Places
she couldn't even come home for a visit. 

Eddie:  Something always bothered me.  Her ID's weren't bought
online, they were real.  Maybe not the last ones, but the first ones 
were for sure. 

Wes:  She was a fucking undercover cop.  No telling how much shit she
did for the Feds before she went to the dark side. 

Eddie:  Ask yourself who would she have worked for back then.  She
started during the transition.  She would have to have been with the 
State Police, not some half ass locals to have been in that deep. 

Wes:  I don't know about any of that shit.  I was out playing war
games, when you were playing cops and robbers. 

Eddie:  More like cops and dope dealers.  We need to get Mike back to
the computers. 

Wes:  Let him have the night off.  (he laughed gently) 

Eddie:  Okay but they head home in the morning. 

Eddie:  Lets go to that Grange in the morning, then see if we want to
try to get home, 

Wes: I'm going to call Salina.  I'm curious about that cancer story.
(he dialed the cell phone)  Hello Salina, tell me something.  Why would 
an otherwise stable woman tell people she had cancer?  She did say it 
was in remission. 

Salina: Are you talking about Rose? 

Wes:  Yes she told some locals that she had cancer, but that it was in
remission. 

Salina:  If it was after her imprisonment, she might have lost a lot of
weight and looked sickly.  She might have even had some medical issues. 
I can only imagine the hellish conditions she endured. 

Eddie:  She is smart.  Cancer treatment would explain her being gone for
so long and her obvious weight loss, 

Wes:  Could she have had issues which would require treatment? 

Salina:  Of course.  When Michael gets back I will have him check for
any medical treatments she might have had two years ago. 

Eddie:  He is going to be one busy boy. 

Wes:  It will be good for him.  Keep his mind off the waitress. 

Eddie:  Would it work for you. 

Wes:  Not a chance. 

Eddie:  You realize that you called Salina at home.  That is not
something you would do with a coworker is it? 

Wes: That is none of your business. 

They were on the way to a biker club when they had that conversation. 
The bar had been a large convenience store previously.  It just had 
that look.  The owners had just blacked out the door and window and 
reopened it.  There was a counter that ran along all the walls and a 
bar made from rough cut two by eight unfinished lumber. 

Eddie:  Hey bartender you ever seen this girl? 

Bartender:  (without even looking) no never seen her before. 

Eddie:  Come here.  Now you listen close you made me for a cop what you
didn't make me for is a Deputy Chief Inspector. 

Bartender:  Is that supposed to impress me? 

Eddie:  It should since first of all the office knows where I am every
minute and there is a swat team within five minutes of this place right 
now.  I can call them in to keep all you boys in place while they check 
for gun and dope.  If we find any we can and will close this fucking 
place for about a hundred years.  Now do you know her? 

Bartender:  She has been in a few times but not for a year or more.  We
through? 

Eddie:  Yeah we are. 

Wes:  Shit that was pretty bad ass. 

Eddie: I have my moments.  Now let's leave before someone calls my
bluff. 

Wes:  You were bluffing?  (laugh) 

The two of them stopped for breakfast at midnight after checking a few
more clubs.  Wes was pretty much at home in the rough biker bars and 
strip joints but Eddie was not at all comfortable in those 
surroundings.  Even when he played bad cop he was nervous. 

Eddie:  I don't know what she would have been doing in those grungy
little clubs where we went last. 

Wes:  It's called fun Boss.  You should try it sometime. 

Yeah right, Eddie thought.  He said nothing. 

He would have called May when he was back at fish camp if it weren't
so late.  He could find out tomorrow whether she had stayed in College 
Hill that night.  He didn't care.  He just wanted Mike back at his 
computer as soon as possible. 

The heat at fish camp was minimal at best, but it was as good as his
sharecroppers cabin had been before the insulation.  Even though he had 
only slept in the house once since.  He knew it would be better than 
the fish camp. 

Eddie: You know Wes, Mike is going to be the key to breaking this.  It
will be something he pulls up, or something we can pick up at her 
apartment.  Either way he is probably going to provide the information 
that beaks it. 

Wes: If we do break it. 

Eddie:  Yeah that too.  There is nothing we can do here, so I'm going
to make a plane reservation for tomorrow. 

Wes:  I'm not like these guys around here.  Even though we have some
things in common, swamp life is not one of them. 

Eddie:  I hadn't thought of it, but this could be Swamp Dog West. 
There seem to be plenty of them here. 

Wes:  You know we may never be able to tie her to the Swamp.  Even if we
tie her to the drug killing, we don't have anything to tie her to the 
organization. 

Eddie:  What is it they say 'Miles to go before we sleep'. 

Wes:  Yeah but not tonight. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mike met the waitress name Lucy after work.  He drove and she directed
him to a nice restaurant in College Hill.  The restaurant was located 
not more than a couple of miles from the motel where he and May were 
spending the night. 

Lucy asked about Mike and he sounded like a nerd for sure but she
didn't seem to mind.  After he learned about her and she about him it 
was time to get serious. 

Lucy:  Mike you been with many girls? 

Mike:  Truth is none. 

Lucy I be your first.  I kind like that. 

Mike:  Could I ask you about Sylvia Porter first. 

Lucy:  Let me just tell you all I know before we waste the whole night. 

Lucy knew a lot more than she thought.  Most likely it was because Mike
knew so little. 

Mike:  I got to thank you for talking to me.  I will really impress the
others that I could get this much information. 

Lucy:  Sweetie I expect you to pay for the information. 

Mike:  Would you like to get a bottle of wine and go back to my room and
watch TV? 

Lucy:  Well it all sounds good except the TV. 

Day 10 

May:  We are almost home.  You are not my ideal travel companion. 

Mike:  Ever since I got back from my interview of the waitress, you have
treated me like shit.  What's up with that. 

May:  Are you trying to say that I am jealous? 

Mike:  Maybe, something is wrong for sure. 

May:  If I was going to be jealous, it might be because she chose you
instead of me to confide in. 

Mike:  Don't blame me because she saw me as more sympathetic. 

May:  Fuck you Mike.  I'm plenty sympathetic. 

Mike:  If you say so. 

May was very upset Mike had reminded her yet again that she had little
empathy toward others.  She didn't like that about herself.  It was, 
however, true.  What she hated most was her inability to fake it.  She 
didn't like that people could read her that easily. 

She would have liked the black girl to take her home and do sick
disgusting things to her.  Then spill her guts.  She and Mike had time 
to stop at the office after having driven the work car all day. 

Salina:  So how was the trip. 

May: Mike got himself laid, so it wasn't a total loss. 

Salina:  Details Michael.  I have been stuck here doing nothing fun
while you guys have been out playing. 

Mike:  A gentleman does not kiss and tell. 

May:  A gentleman does not screw for information. 

Mike and Salina together:  Huh? 

Salina:  Boss man is all hot for some information, if you can get it
quick.  He want to know what Security Company does the surveillance on 
Rose's home in Mossberg, and he wants to know what private doctors or 
clinics she has been to since her return home, 

Michael shook his head then went to the white board and wrote under
Sylvia's name, jewelry maker and lived at the coast and gave the 
dates.  Those dates were the time between her being the County Sheriff 
and going to Swamp Dog as director. 

Then he sat at this desk to find a payment from her bank's automatic
payments to a security company.  Since he had her account number it was 
easy to find her CCTV feed monitoring company.  He wasn't sure what 
the boss wanted, but he made notes. 

One of the CCTV cameras covered the front stairs, one covered the rear
stairs and one inside the house.  The one on the rear stairs faced 
outside, so it shot not only anyone coming and going but also anyone 
hanging around outside. 

He switched to her medical issues.  By finding the dates of her stay in
hell, he was able to narrow down the times of interest.  Since they 
were legitimate expenses, she had paid for the treatments using the 
clean expense accounts.  Those accounts were online and open to review 
by the banking commission.  Thus they were open to the review of 
hackers like Mike. 

His next move was to get her records from the clinic and send then on to
Salina's computer. 

Mike:  So what was she being treated for? 

Salina:  To keep it short Malnutrition, vitamin deficiency and three
different treatments for parasites. 

Mike:  She had worms? 

Salina:  Like every thing else we know about her, she had giant worms. 
She had an STD and scarring in her vagina and rectum consistent with 
sexual violence. 

In other words Rose was a pretty broken flower.  How she functioned at
all is a wonder to me. 

May:  Don't start falling in love with her, she is likely to have
committed murder among other crimes. 

Salina:  (Angrily)  I'm not the one who swings that way.  The woman
maybe all that you say, but it doesn't change the suffering she 
endured on that island. 

She did not add bitch but the implication was plain. 

Mike took the sensible stand with self preservation in mind he remained
absolutely quiet. 

Since they came by air Eddie and Wes made it to the office, but not
before the others had gone for the day. 

Eddie:  I guess we might as will go home and meet back here in Monday
morning. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

May was still miffed as she drove into the parking garage where she
stored her car.  Since there was not nearly enough 'on street' 
parking to meet the demand of the tenants in her building she used the 
garage.  If she chose to circle the block instead she would likely have 
spent more in gasoline than she could save by not paying the parking 
garage charge. 

In truth she could do away with the car entirely and save even more
money.  Having a car in DC was status, so suffering the disadvantages 
for that went along with the status. 

Her apartment seemed cold when she entered.  It was in fact cold due to
those government mandated thermostats in all new buildings.  Those 
thermostats turned the heat down to the lowest temperature possible, 
while still maintaining the safety of the other systems.  In other 
words it was forty five degrees in the apartment.  The up side to the 
thermostats was that there was no up side. 

If May spent the night with a friend, the apartment was icy upon her
return.  It took less than an hour to climb back to a comfortable temp. 
 The moment she left the apartment the thermostat was reset to forty 
five. 

The apartment was so well insulated, also by government mandate, that
the temperature took a long time to fall to that point.  Usually it was 
in the low sixties after a day's work.  After the three day trip, it 
was at the forty five degree mark and had been for days.  Which meant 
she would have to sit in the kitchen under the vent to feel warmth even 
after the hour passed. 

May kept her coat on while she called for Pizza delivery.  She removed a
bottle of wine from the cabinet, then returned to sit under the heat 
vent.  She had heard during a DOJ briefing that Pizza delivery was a 
dangerous move.  Several of the delivery men had either attacked women, 
or checked the place out for future crimes.  Worst of all she felt 
obligated to tip them for doing it. 

She made the conscious decision to stay in.  Having made that decision
she changed into her frumpy but warm gown and robe. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Salina was home in the project eating an orange that one of the patients
had brought her as payment.  It was a good orange even if it did have 
lots of fibers and seeds.  It tasted much different from the synthetic 
orange juice she usually bought in the stores. 

When the knock came at the door she went expecting it to be one of the
patients or maybe Wes.  It was neither it was Raphael. 

Raphael:  I came to collect the rent. 

Salina:  You are early. 

Raphael:  There is no early.  You know it is just whenever I want it, or
when you need to be brought back into line.  There is a rumor about a 
gringo.  It is time to reinforce your connection to me.  You do 
remember who allows you to stay here and take care of these sheep. 

Salina:  Yes I remember who allows me to stay. 

Raphael:  Not just allows you.  You are under my protection as long as
you stay in line.  Now pay for your protection. 

Salina knelt in front of Raphael the half black and half South American
giant of a man's penis into her mouth.  He was a large muscular man 
but had only an average sized penis.  Nonetheless she made love to it 
as well as she had to Wes' penis.  She felt a connection to Wes but 
only a need to survive as a motive for doing Raphael.  Even so after a 
while she got into it and began to enjoy the feeling of his penis in 
her mouth.  She, however, did not enjoy when he tried to drown her with 
his semen. 

As usual the power he exerted over her was an aphrodisiac and he came
quickly. 

Raphael:  God you do that better than anyone.  That's why I will never
let you go. 

He zipped his pants, then left.  On his way down the narrow stairs he
literally bumped into Wes. 

Raphael:  Watch where you going gringo. 

He also smiled since he knew Wes' girlfriend had just given him a
blowjob.  Not just a blowjob but in his mind a great blowjob.  He was 
sure she did it so well because she loved his power. 

Wes gave him a hard look then shrugged and walked away.  He walked up
the stairs slowly and listened to the sound of Raphael walk away. 

When he reached her door it was ajar and there was the sound of
wretching.  He went inside before speaking. 

Wes:  Hey you okay? 

When she came out Salina's face was flushed.  Her hair was a mess and
there were stains on her blouse. 

Wes:  What happened to you? 

Salina:  Nothing, 

Wes:  Bullshit.  What happened? 

Salina:  Nothing that hasn't happened a hundred times before.  Nothing
that won't happen again.  So just forget it and go. 

Wes:  Just tell me this, was it that man I passed on the stairs? 

Salina:  Yes Raphael.  He manages the building.  He keeps the thugs away
from the people who come to see me. 

Wes:  You should move. 

Salina:  I can't move they have no one else. 

Wes:  Does he own the building or work for the owner? 

Salina:  No I don't think so.  I think he just does business here. 
With the local gangs maybe.  People who do business in these buildings 
pay him for protection. 

Wes:  I thought the gangs had declared this neutral ground. 

Salina:  In my case the protection is from Raphael himself. 

Wes:  I see.  Clean up I'm going to take you out, if there is no one
here when I return. 

Wes went back down the stairs.  He had no weapons, so it would be a fair
fight, of that he was sure.  Raphael depended on his bulk and 
willingness to injure people to intimidate them. 

Wes did a quick mental assessment as he had been trained to do.  For
instance he knew there were damn few CCTV cameras that worked in the 
project.  Most had been destroyed by the gangs.  Gang bangers didn't 
like being watched. 

So Wes wasn't worried about being filmed.  That night he didn't
particularly want to be watched.  Salina had been forced to tell him 
where to find Raphael.  Wes waited for him to come outside the filthy 
little convenience store which catered to the project's residents. 

Wes:  Hey man you want to buy some weed? 

Raphael:  Who are you man?  Oh you that whore Salina's gringo.  She
tell you about me Gringo? 

Wes:  Yeah that's me I thought you and me should talk.  How about you
ain't afraid of a skinny ass gringo are you? 

Raphael:  Okay we talk but not here on the street man.  Follow me, I
know a quiet place where nobody will disturb us. 

Raphael led him to a dark alley between two of the buildings.  It was
obvious he planned a beat down or worse.  When they were deep in the 
alley Raphael removed a knife from his pocket and attempted to turn 
toward Wes.  As he came around Wes jabbed him in the throat with stiff 
fingers.  As Raphael gasped for air Wes removed his belt made a loop 
from it, then flipped the loop over Raphael's head.  He held him 
upright as he kicked his legs from under him.  When Raphael was 
helpless on the ground, he put his right foot on Raphael's back then 
used the belt to choke the life from him. 

Wes looked at the lifeless body then removed the belt from around
Raphael's neck calmly and replaced it around his waist.  He then 
returned to Salina's apartment. 

The two of them went to dinner at an oriental restaurant on the edge of
the project.  Salina didn't ask what Wes had done, and he didn't 
brag about it.  When they returned they walked by the alley.  Wes was 
glad there was no activity around it. 

Wes was counting on the likelihood that who ever found the body first
would remove the wallet and money.  Before the cops were called most 
likely all his jewelry and his cell phone would be missing as well. 

Wes spent the night in Salina's arms.  She felt safe and loved for the
first time in a long time. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Friday night, 7 PM 

Mike:  Mother I'm home. 

It took his mother five minutes before she joined him in the kitchen. 
His first thought was that it was early for her to be dressed for bed.  
Then he realized she had been in bed for a totally different reason.  
Like Salina her face was flushed and her hair was a mess.  Unlike 
Salina she was smiling. 

Mike:  Okay where is his car. 

Mom:  In the garage.  He is spending the night and we didn't want the
neighbors talking. 

Wes:  Why would anyone care that you are fucking some guy.  If I'm
okay with it, why should they care? 

Mom:  Please watch your language.  The reason he is parked in the garage
is that his car has government license plates. 

Mike: Jesus mom not a politician.  You know they are all married and
only looking for a piece on the side. 

Mom:  Maybe that's all I'm looking for.  Now take your sandwich and
stay in the basement.  We will talk more tomorrow. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Eddie didn't arrive home until 7:30 PM.  He chose to make coffee
before doing anything else.  It was cold, since when he left he shut 
down the kerosene heater.  He had also drained the water from the 
pipes.  Not only did he drain the water from the toilet tank he poured 
a couple of ounces of rubbing alcohol in the bowl.  He hadn't needed 
it, but the alcohol was cheap and a new toilet wasn't. 

He was forced to listen to the pipes bang and clank while they flushed
the air out through the faucet.  At the same time there was the noise 
of the toilet tank filling. 

He had the coffee on before he started the kerosene heater.  He, like
May, had to sit near the heater to stay warm.  May's situation just 
went to show the new energy saving technology was really a step back a 
hundred years or more.  It made one wonder how may other things were 
really a step backwards. 

The trip out of town had been a more or less disaster, so he was
exhausted.  He made sure the house was warm and the heater was safe, 
before he went into the kitchen.  He drank the coffee he had made in 
the Mr Coffee knock off, while he contemplated the empty space left by 
the previous owner when he removed the range. 

Eddie was comfortable with the small appliances he had used in the
studio apartment for years.  In the apartment he had also used a gas 
cook top.  He felt he might miss that, so he decided to go online to 
look for a cook top only.  He didn't feel that he needed an oven as 
much as he need storage space. 

His sink in the house was one of those old double porcelain things. 
There were spaces for counters on each end of it even with its attached 
dish drainer space.  He thought he would put a cabinet at one end to 
hold the microwave and toaster oven.  On the other end he could easily 
fit a couple of gas cook burners. 

After his coffee and with those decision made, he lay on the sofa bed. 
It had been salvaged from his apartment.  Once he lay down he quickly 
went to sleep. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Lucille put her kids to sleep then had a drink.  She was sick and tired
of her husband coming in late leaving her to manage the house alone.  
They had agreed to manage things together, even if it was all they did 
together. 

She hated sleeping alone but managing an affair in addition to her job
and her so called home life would just be too much.  If she had a 
sitter or it wasn't the nanny's night out she would go to a bar and 
troll for men.  Someone who wasn't so clean cut.  Maybe she could 
fine a man who just wanted to use her mercilessly.  She had never tried 
it but felt as though she might like it. 

Instead she had another drink then placed a call to May.  It was her
intention to leave her a message.  She certainly never expected to 
speak with her. 

May:  Hello Lucille. 

Lucille:  Are you home? 

May:  Yes, what the hell are you doing home.  Are there no Washington
parties for you to attend? 

Lucille:  It's the nanny's night off and my husband had a bank
meeting. 

May:  A banker's meeting on Friday night?  Why don't you get a
sitter and go have a meeting of your own. 

Lucille:  Afraid it isn't my style. 

May:  Too bad I was about to volunteer to babysit no sense in both of us
being alone.  One of us might as well have some fun. 

Lucille:  I would expect the someone to be you.  After all it would be
easier for you to get a date than me.  What is it they say a bi woman 
has twice as many chances to meet someone. 

May:  Boss you realize that is a sexist comment.  I might have to use it
to blackmail you. 

Lucille was a little concerned for a second then realized that May was
joking. 

Weekend Two Saturday 

Mike awoke that Saturday with nothing on his plate.  He couldn't go
into the office some stupid rule about over time.  They could track his 
logging on and off the computer.  The door lock also had a tracker on 
it.  He could access the computer from home, but the requests from the 
others were all filled for the time being. 

He wanted to work on the puzzle, but it wouldn't be fair to force the
others.  So he went up to see if his mother's companion had gone.  He 
really didn't want to see the man who forced his mother to moan, 
whine, and scream obscenities. 

Mike: My God didn't she know mothers didn't do that kind of thing (a
mumble to no one) 

In the kitchen he found a note....  Gone out to breakfast. 

Mike:  Simple and to the point.  Time for me to ride the bike... 

He got on his boyhood bicycle and rode it to a dinner in the closest
shopping center.  Every shopping center in the burbs had some kind of 
small restaurant.  The one he chose was 70% take out, but they did have 
a few booths.  Since he was on a bicycle he ate at the booth. 

After his dry eggs and burned bacon, he sat at the booth using the
restaurants WIFI.  He checked out the sites he used most often.  Most 
of them bored him almost to tears.  That is until he got to his online 
bank account.  He found that unbeknown to him someone had made a $1500 
dollar deposit in his account.  He assumed it was his pay for two weeks 
as a government contractor.  Of course it could have been from his 
previous business.  He occasionally got commission payments on the 
account.  He had never before found one so large in the account.  He 
decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. 

In the same plaza, where he ate breakfast, there was a moped store. 
Actually it was a pawn shop which had branched out to selling a few 
scooters. 

Salesman:  That's a real beauty.  50CC 4stroke top speed forty miles
and hour.  A really nice ride for the money.  It's the next logical 
move up from the bicycle. 

Mike:  The bike is more about exercise than transportation.  I just came
by to look since I was here having breakfast. 

Salesman:  I can make you a great deal.  Gas it up and you can ride it
home.  I'll even hold the bike for you till you come back for it. 

Mike:  What is the great deal? 

Salesman:  Normally this model is $999, but I'll fill the gas tank and
give it to you for $899.  I might be able to get it financed for you, 
but then it will be $999. 

Mike:  Let me get the name and other specifications and I'll research
this model.  If it is what you say it is, I'll catch a ride over to 
pick up one. 

Salesman: Right, is there anything i can do? 

Mike: not for the next four or five hours. 

------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes woke up in Salina's bed.  Unfortunately Salina wasn't in it. 
She was sitting in the kitchen at the table with a cup of coffee.  Wes 
joined her with no shoes or socks and in his tee shirt. 

Salina:  You look comfortable. 

Wes:  I am comfortable.  How are you this morning. 

Salina:  Making a list for the grocery store.  It seems the Government
made a deposit into my account last night. 

Wes:  I guess I should check my account when I get home. 

Salina:  Oh you are going home? 

Wes:  Eventually yes.  Maybe not today though.  Of course I need to go
take a shower. 

He needed to do was the smell of death off his body, but he didn't say
that to Salina.  She didn't need to know what happened when he last 
had to run out for a bit. 

Salina:  So go take your shower and I'll be back by noon I'm sure. 

Wes:  I need to check on some things around the house.  How about we
meet back here at three.  Maybe we can go somewhere? 

Salina:  Not till you convince Lucille I can be trusted.  She has
control of the ankle thing.  At least I think she does. 

Wes:  Okay we will still do something, I just don't know what. 

When he got home Wes downloaded five movies.  They were the newest ones
on the premium service.  He put them all on flash drives so that he 
could take his laptop to Salina's house.  His plan was to use his 
computer /TV connection gizmo.  He carried that along as well.  Of 
course he had to remove it from his own TV first. 

He left his house planning to return to Salina's all clean and sweet
smelling.  His plan also called for him to stop for a deli sandwich 
tray from the Jewish Deli on the same block as his slightly better than 
slum apartment.  He always visited it when he needed fancy take out to 
impress a woman.  He hadn't done that in a very long time. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
- 


May May:  (Into the phone) Hello. 

Lucille: It's me.  Are you busy this afternoon? 

May: I was going to wash my hair and do my laundry, so no not at all. 

Lucille: I am taking my kids to the Lincoln Park this afternoon.  Could
you meet me at the playground area.  I can bring coffee and donuts and 
you can bring me a real update, since all I get is 'nothing to 
report' reports from Steady Eddie. 

May: Sure, I take my coffee black. I like filled donuts and I don't
care much what they are filled with. 

Lucille:  Good shall we say 3PM? 

May:  Sure I'll throw my laundry in the car and do it after we meet. 

Lucille:  Don't you have a laundry room in you apartment.; 

May:  No the apartment has one for everyone but it's all closed off. 
It's also pretty creepy.  I always go to one one of those suds and 
brew places.  I have a drink while the clothes wash. 

Lucille:  I have never been to one of those.  Maybe I'll stop by and
buy you a drink for my next update? 

May:  Sure why not.  But for today it's Lincoln park by the swings at
3PM. 

Lucille:  That's right the kids have already been promised. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------- 


While May and Lucy were having their phone conversation Eddie was at the
outdoor mart.  He had found on line that they had a two burner propane 
stove for less than a hundred bucks.  That would give  him his burners 
to complete his kitchen appliance set up. 

Eddie:  Hey there how about some help over here? 

Salesgirl:  Just a minute. 

The bottle redhead was talking into a cell phone.  Eddie waited a couple
of more minutes then he decided, fuck it.  He walked to the next aisle 
over and asked a man at lease seventy for some help. 

Old Man:  Sure let me get someone in that department. 

Eddie:  If you are going to call the redhead, don't bother.  She is
too busy on the phone with her boyfriend. 

Old Man:  How about I get the department manager. 

Eddie:  That would be fine. 

Five minutes later a kid about fifteen showed up.  Eddie explain what he
needed and the kid found a complete table top cook setup.  Burners line 
valves and all.  Eddie went to the register to pay. 

Redhead:  Hey mister, why couldn't you wait five minutes for me to
finish that call. 

Eddie:  Because my time is probably just as important to me as yours is
to you.  The difference is you are being paid for your time, and I'm 
the one doing the paying.  So technically I'm paying you to ignore me 
and I really don't like that at all.  Now get the fuck out of my way. 


Eddie pushed past her.  A black woman rang it up, he paid with his debit
card, then went to his car. 

White driving home he drove by a flea market, so he stopped to check out
a couple of used furniture dealers. 

Eddie:  Hey there.  I like this chest do you have a ruler.  I need to
measure it and I didn't bring mine. 

He took a scrap of paper from his wallet and compared it to the chest. 
He carefully measured it. 

Eddie:  Sorry it's too short by five inches.  It's wide enough and
deep enough but it five inches too short. 

Very old Gray haired lady:  Too bad people once used a can of veggies
under the legs to raise them up. 

Eddie:  Thats and excellent idea.  Not a can of veggies but a couple of
two by fours will lift it high enough.  How much do you want for it. 

Old Lady:  Since you got to do all that, how about twenty dollars. 

Eddie: Fifteen would be better. (haggling was expected) 

Old Lady: Done 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------- 


Mike:  So mom where is your married politician tonight? 

Mom:  Oh he is home with his family.  I guess I'll see him next
weekend.he might even call a few times during the week.  That how this 
is most likely going to play out. 

Mike:  You have done this before? 

Mom:  Since your dad moved it out there have been a few times.  It's
always the same.  They find a younger woman and they just move on.  
I'm usually their first affair.  Of course I am a little older now, 
so I don't have quite as many options. 

Mike:  Why do you do it? 

Mom:  I like sex of course. 

Mike:  Hell, mom everybody likes sex, we we don't chose inappropriate
lovers. 

Mom:  Have you finally found yourself a woman?  Maybe you will move out
of the basement now. 

Mike: I found a woman, but I still can't afford to live anywhere else.
Also she is about five hundred miles away. 

Mom:  I don't believe that.  The woman sure, but about you moving out.
It was never about money, it was always about being alone. 

Mike:  I guess you are right.  I like living here with you it's
comfortable.  And I can wash your car so it not all bad. 

Mom:  No it's not all bad.  When you were a teenage boy did you even
fantasize about me.  I mean it wouldn't have been unusual, or even 
shameful it's just a fact most boys do.  I'm too too bad looking 
and you have seen me at my best and worst. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------- 


Wes and Salina were only interrupted three times during their movie
night.  Two of the interruptions were patients and one was a cop 
canvasing the neighborhood. 

Cop:  Ma'am we are going door to door asking, if anyone knows this
man. 

He showed her a mug shot picture. 

Salina:  Of course that is Raphael, he is some kind of representative
for the owner, I think.  At least when I see him he tells me he is 
taking care of the place.  Has something happened to him? 

Cop:  Why do you ask that? 

Salina:  When cops ask about someone in this neighborhood, he is either
dead or he killed someone. 

Cop:  We found his body this morning.  We just got around to organizing
the door to door. 

Salina:  I really don't know anything about it.  He was here last
night asking me if I needed anything.  That was about 9PM. 

Cop: How about you sir. 

Wes:  I'm just visiting Salina here.  We work together.  I never met
the man. 

Cop:  Call me, if you think of anything.  (He gave Salina a card) 

After the cop left Wes made a sandwich on a Hogie roll.  He opened a
beer and looked up to see Salina staring down at him. 

Wes:  What? 

Salina:  How dangerous are you? 

Wes:  Honey, I'm a pussy cat. 

Salina:  More like a Tiger. 

Wes knew that a secret shared, is no longer a secret.  It didn't
matter how much you trusted the person. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------- 


Eddie spent the after noon trying to fit the dresser into the space
beside the sink.  He had decided That the space should be his cook 
area.  The chest of drawers would make a fine replacement for a base 
cabinet.  He was able to fit the two gas burners beside the microwave 
but not the toaster oven.  He changed his mind.  Instead of the 
microwave he placed the toaster oven beside the cook top.  He used 
those items less than the microwave so he planned to place the 
microwave and the Mr. Coffee clone on the other side of the sink.  When 
he found another dresser. 

Eddie:  Hello. 

Voice on phone:  What are you finding out? 

Eddie:  Well today I found out that kids have no respect for anyone.  I
have no idea how this country is going to operated when they are the 
majority.  The last generation fucked it up bad enough. 

Voice:  You know that's not what I mean. 

Eddie:  To be honest we can't get anyone to talk at all.  Not even a
casual interview.  They just clam up and refuse to discuss anything. 

Voice:  So what are you going to do next? 

Eddie:  We are going to try to follow the evidence.  Whatever we can
pull out of the stew. 

Voice:  Stay at it Eddie.  I know you are fighting the good fight. 

Eddie:  Did you have anything to do with selecting the team? 

Voice:  Do you want to change the members? 

Eddie:  No I just want to know if whoever chose them couldn't have
found competent people without all the baggage. 

Voice:  Eddie people in their right minds, would never go near this
investigation. 

Eddie:  Yeah I guess you are right, there aren't likely to be any
winners. 

Voice:  Keep me informed. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------ 


May was on time for her meeting.  She saw Lucille by the playground
equipment.  She allowed the children to play on the large climb and 
slide village.   May expected to see Lucille in a different light.  
Instead she was reminded even more that Lucille was a political animal 
and seemed to have to human emotions.  She was almost robotic with a 
computer for a brain. 

Lucille:  Here is your coffee and donut as promised.  So what does the
team know now that it didn't last time we talked? 

May:  They know maybe even less than before.  We have some theories and
leads but none of it can be proved and shouldn't be in the public 
domain.  I would rather not be the source of conjecture, that we later 
have to clarify or take back. 

Lucille:  So this is all a waste of taxpayer money? 

May: Surely you knew that was likely, since people all over capitol hill
are looking into all this.  There may just be nothing to find.  If you 
think the things they have done need reigning in, you may have to find 
a way to do it which doesn't require a smoking gun. 

Lucille:  Do you know anything at all which we don't. 

May:  It's petty much accepted that one of their contractors was
involved in some killings in the Caribbean, but they were ruled self 
defense.  One of those contractors might have been involved in the 
murder of a Drug distributor in this country.  We know she was working 
for a second contractor at the time of the Caribbean incident.  There 
were sketch ties to Swamp Dog.  She was imprisoned there.  She was 
later released but we haven't pursued how that happened.  Someone 
with Juice might have interceded for her.  That might be a place we 
could look next.  That person might be an opening to the congressional 
connection. 

May had realized that as she spoke.  She knew it was a lead they should
follow.  The boss might not know what the investigation was about, but 
May did.  Which was why she was being asked to narc or the others. 

Lucille:  Keep me in the loop.  (Louder and to her children)  Come on
kids time to go. 

May went home to call  mike and arrange a meeting.  She decided to make
the meeting with Mike for the next day.  She needed some release.  So 
instead of Mike, she called a man from DOJ.  One who had nothing to do 
with her career.  He could neither help her, nor toss a monkey wrench 
into the works when she proved to be not as loving as she seemed on the 
surface. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------- 


Lucille went home.  She her husband and the kids had a cook out.  They
grilled hamburgers for the kids and steaks for themselves. 

Lucille's husband:  We should have called some friends over. 

Lucille:  We don't have those kinds of friends.  Beside what would we
talk about, who you were screwing these days. 

Husband:  I was thinking we could talk about how much more important
your job is than mine. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------- 


Mike slept alone in his basement wondering why his mother seemed to be
flirting with him all of a sudden.  She was attractive even at forty 
four.  She kept her figure and dressed well.  Since she worked in the 
clerical office of the FBI she had been instrumental in keeping him out 
of jail.  The ankle monitor was a great improvement over gang rape in 
prison. 

He just wondered why she was so flirt at the moment.  He gave up on the
idea and decided it was his imagination.  Since the waitress in County 
Seat, he had begun to see everything in a sexual light. 

He looked climbed the stairs to look at the scooter in his garage.  It
was bright orange and didn't look quite so cutesy as his other 
choices. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------- 


Wes had spent the day with Salina so spending the night was expected so
he did. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----- 


Eddie went to bed with his unfinished kitchen cabinet on his mind.  He
had the name of a handy man he could get to install the upper cabinets. 
 Which left him only the conversion of the base units.  It would be an 
eclectic mismatched mess of a kitchen, but it would suit him. 

Weekend 2.2 Sunday. 

Wes woke up to find Salina in the bed beside him.  He reached over to
hug her, when he did she turned away, but press her backside against 
him.  He wiggled into her even closer, then tried to go back to sleep. 

Salina knew whose penis was pressing against her and she didn't mind
at all.  She had felt him inside her only a few hours earlier.  She was 
surprised how tentative he was with her.  Almost as if she was the one 
with the power.  She knew he was a very dangerous man, but he seemed 
almost childlike the night before. 

Salina:  You know I'm not going to break, if you want to do things to
me. 

Wes:  What is it you are saying to me? 

Salina:  I guess I'm saying I want to please you no matter what it
takes.  I want you to let go and do whatever makes you happiest. 

Wes:  Just being here makes me happy. It also makes me happy to see you
happy. 

Salina:  You know that is not what I mean.  I hated what I did for
Raphael, but I also got exited by it as well.  Then I hated that I 
hated it.  Do you understand. 

Wes:  Yes I do.  Sex is like killing.  You hate it the first few times,
then one day you don't hate it.  You are good at it, and you are 
proud of that.  Next you are ashamed of it because you are supposed to 
be.  Later you are ashamed, because you let someone outside the circle 
convince you that you are defective.  Defective because you don't 
feel remorse for doing a job that needs doing. 

Salina:  Yes I understand that. 

Salina turned toward him with tears in her eyes then slithered down in
the bed, pulled the sheet off of Wes.  Without warning she took his 
soft penis in her mouth and began to nurse on it.  She did it exactly 
as she had for Raphael and she enjoyed it just as she did with Raphael. 
 She even enjoyed it when she had to suck the semen from him.  He had 
not fully recovered from the late night they had shared. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------- 


From his basement bedroom Mike heard his mother moaning and grunting. 
The politician must be back, he thought. 

He he climbed the stairs that led to the kitchen.  He continued to hear
her moaning and grunting. He could see that the door to her room was 
open.  He knew it was wrong and he also knew it would scar him for life 
to see her, but he couldn't help it. 

The congressman must have come after midnight since the two of them had
shared take out pizza and a bottle of wine just before then.  He was 
sure that she had flirted with him, and he probably flirted with her as 
well. 

When he could see in the room, he saw that the man, who was choking his
mother with his penis, wasn't the congressman.  She was sucking on 
the penis belonging to the Pizza delivery man.  Actually he was just a 
boy.  He was possibly even younger than Mike. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------- 


May woke alone and depressed about it.  She had been alone in the
mornings too often lately.  She had trolled the bars the night before, 
but couldn't find anyone who was the least bit interesting to her.  
She knew for a fact that the men and women were the same ones or at 
least the same types who frequented the bars.  Those were the ones who 
stayed over, then took her to some trendy restaurant for breakfast.  
Kissed her on the cheek then disappeared with an 'I'll call you'. 
 Half the time they didn't even have her number when they promised to 
call. 

She was alone in her bed, which she hated. but she hated more that it
bothered her to be alone in her bed.  She wasn't even sure why it 
bothered her.  Sure her body often screamed for release, but that was 
not the case that Sunday morning. 

That Sunday morning she was piss that she felt the need for someone else
to make her complete.  It was a realization she came to only because 
she was investigating two women who had not needed anyone else to make 
them complete.  She envied them.  They seemed to have lived in the 
world, but not been a part of it.  Almost like they were some kind of 
new super humans. 

Not a super human because they could fly,  Rose seemed super human
because she could live almost a year in Devil's Island, as she began 
to think of it, come back and not be any different for the experience.  
They had obviously tortured her, but she didn't come back a killer, 
she had been a killer when she went there.  It didn't change her, she 
had always been who she was after her return.  May couldn't wrap her 
head around it all.  She wondered what she would do if she met Rose 
Seabold in a bar.  Better still what would Rose Seabold do. 

May decided to walk to breakfast.  It was only five blocks to the
neighborhood sandwich shoppe.  She got up almost took a shower, then 
decided to wait till she returned.  She wore three layers of clothes 
when she left her apartment for the five block walk.  She began at a 
blistering double time pace.  Instead of the walk she could have gone 
to the gym, where she had a membership, but the walk suddenly made more 
sense. 

Along the way she passed real people doing real things.  It was a
kaleidescope of sights.  There were joggers in their matching running 
suits from her neighborhood, and and immigrants standing in the 
doorways watching the people go by.  The immigrants were dressed in 
colorful if unfamiliar clothes. 

May: Why the fuck have I never noticed all this life before.  Shit life
is all around me, I just never looked. 

She felt like a small row boat in the sea of humanity.  She knew that it
was silly to wax philosophical about a five block quick march to 
breakfast.  It was simply a morning of discoveries. 

She went into the sandwich shop.  She sat at the counter for the very
first time.  She perched on a stool near an older man in a blue 
worker's uniform. 

Waitress:  What can I get you? 

May:  I'll have what he is having and the coffee black. 

Waitress:  You not having your coffee with all that latte stuff in it? 

The waitress asked not because she knew May, but because she knew the
type. 

May:  No I want it truck driver style. 

She couldn't remember where she heard it, but she was sure that it was
in County Seat.  Probably from the waitress there.  The one Mike, the 
little shit, had fucked.  She laughed at that thought.  Some was in 
possession of a shorted out brain to not only was she acting like a 
bimbo, but also thinking like one. 

The food came and it was excellent.  It sure as hell wasn't healthy,
but it was better tasting than her usual egg white omelet. 

After breakfast she power walked back to her apartment and took a
shower.  After she dressed for the remainder of her Sunday she felt 
terrific. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--- 


Lucille woke up with her whole family in bed with her.  The kids knowing
it was Sunday had slipped into the bed.  Her husband as usual came home 
in the middle of the night.  He was still sleeping when she awoke. 

As was her Sunday tradition, she slipped into the ratty old College
Jersey.  It was one she wore for her winter rowing matches.  She rowed 
from the number one position in her four woman Scull.   That jersey she 
wore over sloppy athletic sweat pants.  It was probably her outfit of 
choice to remind her of her glory days, or some such nonsense. 

It was also comfortable for her cooking chore.  It really wasn't much
of a chore.  She opened a packet of premix for pancakes and a pack of 
chocolate sprinkles.  Her main work was to mix an egg and 3/4 cup of 
milk with the pancake batter, then pour it into the pan.  When they 
were done on one side, she flit them and add multi colored chocolate 
sprinkles. 

All that was taking place while the coffee was cooking.  She saved one
cup of the coffee from the night before to drink while the new coffee 
brewed.  Something she had started to do since working on the new 
project.  The people in the office, who arrived before the new coffee 
was stated by Salina, all drank a cup of the reheated coffee straight 
from the microwave.  After she tried it once she found it tasted strong 
and awful, but it was what she needed first thing in the morning. 

After breakfast her two sons dressed for the day, then she took them
back to their room and redressed them.  That to was a Sunday tradition. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------ 


Eddie was awake and out of bed before any of the others.  He had things
to do, even if it was Sunday.  His renovation of the tenant farm house 
had all kinds of problems.  He had been determined to fix them all 
himself, until the job came along.  Even so there were some jobs that 
he hadn't deemed urgent, so he was planning to do them as he found 
the time.  The rear deck was one of them. 

The rear deck was not a repair job, it was a complete build from the
ground up.  He looked out the rear door and found the eight posts he 
had set the day before still standing tall.  He had dug the holes for 
the treated six by six posts in the afternoon of the day before.  He 
also poured the cement into the holes to secure them.  The cement 
really hadn't been necessary but he did it anyway. 

The posts were eight feet long with roughly three feet set into the
holes.  That left them five feet above the ground.  They could be 
trimmed later with a few saw cuts.  The deck was going to be eight by 
twelve feet, give or take a few inches. 

His plan was to build the deck right on top of the existing concrete
block steps'  The were low enough to allow for it.  After a bowl of 
dry cereal, Eddie began to work.  He snapped his line to keep the deck 
level then began to build.  He knew that it would be dark at least 
before he finished.  He might finish in the dark or do it later.  It 
would depend on how far he got on it during the daylight hours. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------- 


Lucille:  Breakfast is done so what are you going to do for the rest of
the day. 

Husband:  I need to go to the office for a while today.  There is some
banking loan papers to review. 

Lucille:  Don't lie to me.  Just tell me you are going to go out and
how long you plan to be.  You have a cell phone, if I need you.  So 
answer the damn thing. 

After her shower Lucille was dressed for the day.  She asked the boys
what they wanted to do.  Park was their first choice.  Lucille had 
other ideas.  She knew everything about her team.  Well maybe not 
everything but a lot. 

Lucille:  How about we go for a drive in the country instead. 

Both kids were excited to get away from their usual routine.  It seemed
to Lucille to be a perfect chance to talk to Steady Eddie alone. 

_________________________________________________________- 

After Mike rode his bicycle and showered he took the aspirin, then went
back into the house.  His mother was still in her room, but passed out 
on the bed naked.  He looked at her several minutes, then closed the 
door. 

In the garage he rolled the scooter into the drive and started it.  He
used his smart phone to access his hack.  The one he had installed 
months before.  It allowed him to send a fake signal to the monitoring 
service, and to shut down his ankle bracelets GPS.  He could probably 
work out a way to remove it, but he chose not two.  He was after all 
working with a couple of cops.  Well one retired cop and one DOJ 
attorney.   They did have eyes and would have noticed the absence of 
the anklet. 

It was only the second ride he had made on the scooter, so he was still
getting used to it.  He stayed away from the few heavily used areas on 
a Sunday morning.  He found the out of the way restaurant before 
shutting down the scooter.  Once inside he saw a table with eleven male 
and females gathered around it.  Of of the occupants had motorcycle 
helmets on the floor beside their chairs.  As always he was amazed by 
the shit you could find on line. 

Mike:  Mind if I join you? 

Bearded older man:  Not at all brother, what you got. 

Mike gave him the specifications.  The bearded man gave the specs on his
scooter followed by all the others.  They almost all were riding some 
version of the same Chinese scooter he had.  There were a couple of 
Tomas and Vespa but just one of each. 

He would never have considered meeting strangers for coffee before he
met Wes.  It amazed even Mike that one man could make that much 
difference in his life. 

After his hamburger roll with an egg and cheese stuffing, Mike went
along with the group on a ride around town.  He felt that it was a 
great way to spend a Sunday.  Out seeing new sights and new sites.  He 
smiled a lot.  He realized the men of the club tended to be older.  The 
woman were as well, but not quite as old as the men .  He supposed 
women in there sixties didn't like the idea of a scooter.  Mike 
decided he would look for a club with younger members. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------- 


May called a young woman she had spend a night with recently. 

May:  Helen how is it going? 

Helen:  I'm fine, who is calling? 

Mel:  It's Melody, you know Mel from the Pines.  A couple of weeks
ago. 

Helen:  Oh yeah the lawyer.  How have you been. 

Mel:  Just over worked, how about you. 

Helen:  I've been working a lot as well.  I moved into a new apartment
and it's hard to find time to do everything that needs doing. 

Mel:  Well if you need some help, I'm not too bad with a paint brush. 

Helen:  Well that's nice of you to volunteer, but I don't think my
partner would approve. 

Mel:  Oh one of those.  I get it. 

Helen:  I could ask.  She might enjoy the company. 

Mel:  No Thanks, I'm not good as a third wheel. 

Helen:  Shame I love tricycles.  Hey I got to go we have a call. 

Mel:  What do you do? 

Helen:  Firefighter 

The line went dead leaving Mel to ponder that. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- 


Lucille showed up at Eddie's former tenant farmer's house with the
kids shortly after stopping at McDonald's.  The kids brought their 
own happy meals.    The three of them walked around the house to the 
rear where the sound of an electric saw could be heard. 

Lucille:  I recruited some help for you.   I also brought lunch, since I
figured you would forget to eat. 

Eddie had no idea what was going on, but he didn't mind the two boys
being in his yard.  Eddie liked kids and usually they liked him. 

Eddie.  I was about to take a break for lunch anyway.  While I eat lunch
we can build a couple of cars for the boys.  What do you think guy you 
want to build your own cars. 

Lucille:  Really?  What kid could refuse to build his own car. 

Eddie:  Of course I was thinking how cool it would be to build a car
with nothing but scraps and our imagination. 

He left Lucille and the boys to go into the house and find his hole saw.
 The one he had used to install door knobs on the new security doors.  
He had installed them himself almost immediately after he first bought 
the mini farm. 

The saws cut a two inch disk from the door.  That Sunday he used them to
cut four disk out of a piece of scrap 1x6.  The disk had a hole in them 
dead center where the pilot hole had been drilled by the saw.   Eddie 
found some deck scrapes he used to make the body and roof of the car.  
Then he nailed the wheels on loosely.  In the thirty minutes it took 
for the kids to eat there meals Eddie had make two wooden cars.  They 
were pretty rough but the two boy loved them. 

For the next two hours he worked on the deck while Lucille and the boys
got in the way.  He had to find jobs for them to keep them out of the 
way.  He did it as many times as possible. 

Lucille: (closing the rear door) They will sleep well tonight they are
exhausted. 

Eddie:  Did you want anything, or just looking for a place to go outside
of the DC madness. 

Lucille:  It can wait.  I'll try to get by the office one day.  We can
go sit on the dirty steps and you can tell me where we really are. 

Eddie:  I look forward to it.  And bring the boys back anytime.  After
this assignment I will have goats they can play with. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------- 


Salina:  Wes I need some time alone.  What have we had this weekend is
wonderful, but I need time to think. 

Wes:  Sure I understand.  Take all the time you need, but remember I
will be here when you decide. 

Because of that conversation each member of the team slept alone and
frustrated that Sunday night. 

Day 11 

Eddie: Okay where are we? 

May: Not much farther than we were before the road trips. 

Mike:  I don't know, the waitress told me that after Porter was
removed as Sheriff, she sued the shit out of the state police and won.  
They had arrested her as an excuse to take over the country law 
enforcement.  That Rita chick claimed false imprisonment and defamation 
of character.  The settlement was never announced but it was said to be 
several millions of dollars. 

She also said, that after the arrest and before she dropped out of sight
she was involved with a private church camp. No one could figure out 
why.  After that she just dropped out of sight for a while.  Then she 
began dropping into the cafe now and then.  The speculation was that 
she was visiting the church camp, since no one knew where she was 
staying. 

Eddie:  Mike find out all there is available on that camp.  Especially
directions to get there, since someone is soon going to pay them a 
visit.   We didn't come up with anything new on  Rose, but we got a 
plan.  You guys are better off not knowing what the plan is. 

May:  I have an idea about that. 

Eddie: Oh? 

May:  Yes Sir.  If we could find who made the request for her release,
we might have a second avenue to pursue in out effort to find her. 

Eddie:  Excellent thinking.  Mike get on that as well.  Seems like you
are going to be a busy hacker. 

He smiled and Mike smiled back.  Mike genuinely like Eddie. 

Wes:  I would suggest that you be careful on that scooter, we need you
in one piece. 

Everyone nodded their agreement.  That show of support really meant a
lot to the kid, who still lived in his mother's basement. 

Mike:  The waitress also mentions that Sylvia had told her, she was
living in a small town on the coast. 

Eddie:  Did you check it out yet. 

Mike:  Not yet I haven't had a chance.   I plan to search all the
counties around there for any purchases of real estate by her or anyone 
with a similar name.  Unlike Rose, she is not known to have used any 
alias. 

Eddie: add that to your other searches.  If we find her on the coast
someone needs to go see what the locals say.  Maybe the Swamp Dog 
hasn't gotten to them yet. 

Salina:  Mike did a search on Rose's medical condition.  He found
where she saw a private doctor for sever weight loss.  It wasn't 
cancer, but it would have appeared that way to anyone not knowing the 
diagnosis. 

What she really had was an extreme case of malnutrition and an active
parasitic event, both consistent with her time in the island prison. 
She also had signs of abuse and probably torture. 

Eddie:  Lets not start empathizing with her, she is a murder suspect. 

Wes: It's hard not to empathize with her.  She was protecting her
employers.  The same ones who did not send anyone for her, and yet she 
didn't betray them.  Like her or not, you have to admire that kind of 
loyalty. 

Eddie: Are you telling me you can't be objective?  If you are, I can
and will replace you. 

Wes looked at him his eyes glaring.  Instead of speaking, Wes stood and
walked from the room. 

Wes: (Standing in the stairwell) Fucking cop, (spit) 

Eddie: (to the group)  Anything else? 

Mike:  I got into the security footage of KMX.  Those cameras can be
disabled and I can replace the footage with a loop of prerecorded data. 


Eddie:  Good we are making progress people. 

Eddie returned to his desk to work as did everyone else. Lucille called
about half an hour later. 

Lucille: I have some information for you.  It seems you hit a nerve
somewhere.  The politicians are circling the wagons.  There are two 
senator asking what authority you have to be asking questions.  I 
explained you were working for the committee.  Then they explained that 
they were on the committee and they had authorized no such 
investigation.  It got a little contentious. 

Eddie:  So are we shut down.  You know I have plenty of work left on my
retirement home. 

Lucille:  No way Edward, we need you sifting through this crap and hope
a strong wind does not come alone and create a shit storm.  On a 
happier note the boys slept with those cars on their bedside table.  I 
couldn't get them to put the cars away in their toy box. 

Eddie:  You can bring them back any time Lucille.  Next time give me
some warning and I will build them a dump truck. 

Lucille:  So, were to next Edward? 

Eddie:  Not on the phone too many ears.  How about dinner after work
today. 

Lucille:  Is this just an excuse to take me to dinner in a cheap
restaurant? 

Eddie:  Who said I'm taking you. 

Lucille:  Hey, I bought last time. 

Eddie:  Okay, but you are going to have to be a cheap date, unless you
can get me a raise. 

Lucille:  Burger King by the airport at 6PM? 

Eddie:  That will work. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------ 


Wes:  Guess what Boss. 

Eddie:  You are pregnant? 

Wes:  No it's better than that.  Church Camp is the name of a
satellite of Swamp Dog.  Mike is running down the history, but a friend 
of mine told me the company used it as a long term safe house for some 
of it's assets. 

May:  Guess what else, the DOJ used it to hide our high profile
witnesses.  The Witness protections guys are going to call me back.  
They won't tell who they stashed there, but they will give me an 
outline of how it all worked. 

Eddie:  Things are starting to move.  That's a good thing.  Get us a
new white board.  We need to separate the investigations. 

Wes:  You are wrong.  Somehow it is all connected.  Church Camp had to
be running the domestic operations.  Rose's contact was with Church 
Camp not Swamp Dog.  That is why it was hard to establish.  She 
didn't work for the Dog she worked for the Church.  A totally 
different shadow organization on paper. 

____________________________________________________________ 

With that information they all knew to start looking in a different
direction. 

Mike:  Guess what I found, Church Camp Inc.  is on a list of business
doing business with the CIA, Homeland Security, NSA, The US Marshal's 
service and even the Federal Police. 

Eddie:  Well now there is a shock.  It would be kind of hard to trust
the results of an investigation run by FedPol since that are doing 
business with the people they are investigating. 

Eddie didn't say it, but he was sure the senator who hired him could
have saved them two weeks by mentioning that small fact.  Eddie had 
wondered all along how the senator got the money approved to hire his 
own team of investigators.  Now he knew. 

Eddie:  Good work Mike.  Now find out what kinds of things they were
doing for the various government offices. 

Mike:  On it boss. 

Mike:  From now on nothing leaves this office? Right.  That goes for all
of you, no more updates for people who aren't at the morning 
meetings.  This shit has now gotten serious.  If we implicate Rose 
Seabold in the Murder of the drug dealer, Church Camp will be guilty of 
a conspiracy at least guilty by implication.  Then it will be just a 
matter of who gave the order and why.  So starting now it is all top 
secret. 

Wes:  To get the details of how it works, you need someone from Church
Camp or someone from management of Swamp Dog to talk. 

Eddie:  That's what the Committee wants from us.  The want the name of
a witness.  Most likely the less he knows about current plans the 
better. 

Wes:  So their thinking is, we want to know just enough to damage the
other side, but not ourselves. 

May:  Closed door hearings with just enough leaks to embarrass the
opposition party.  So do we walk away? 

Eddie:  You certainly can walk away at any time.  As far as I'm
concerned it will always be a no harm no foul move. 

Salina:  If we stay and work are we going to keep quiet about what we
find. 

Eddie:  I'm not going to sanction the killing of any of you.  Short of
that, how do I keep you from talking?  Now get back to work, find out 
what you can.  I bet you there are hundreds of people in the this town 
who knew things, they didn't know they knew.  So, find enough of them 
and we can build a picture.  If we build enough pictures they will be a 
cartoon strip.  So start reaching out. 

Mike:  Boss a word please.  (Once they were outside)  Who do I reach out
to? 

Eddie:  Try to get into the National Crime Data Base.  Look for someone
involved in a violent crime, who also has a tie to Swamp Dog or Church 
Camp.  Any of the other security contractors, for that matter, might be 
a link as well.  What we need is leverage over someone with knowledge 
about the operation of Swamp Dog, or Church Camp.  So find me a former 
employee awaiting trial or all ready inside so we can play let's make 
a deal. 

Mike:  We really need to get the IRS records for this.  If I can find
out who they paid money to, then we can track them all down.  Some of 
them might fit your search grid. 

Eddie:  If we ask them nice they are going to fuck with us.  So you tell
me Mike. 

Mike:  I just wanted you to know that if I disappear, who you should be
looking at.  I don't want to go in so deep that I get caught.  I'll 
just get into their archive back about five years.  That is probably 
less protected than the active ones. 

Eddie:  Do what you can and I'll take the heat for it.   But we really
need a break here. 

Wes:  Church camp has a strange history from what little I could get
this morning.  It was a real church summer camp.  Then it's sponsor 
church lost most of the congregation, so it was it was on the market 
for a couple of years before Swamp Dog Enterprises bought it. 

I think Sylvia Porter was still a Sheriff when it went up for sale. 
They went into operation to fill a need their Government contacts had.  
The various agencies needed more than one safe house with good 
security.  The Church Camp could do that.  From the beginning the safe 
houses financed a place to plan, train, and launch Domestic operations. 


They trained employees to be body guards, and even taught military style
domestic drug raids, using civilian operatives.  The commanders came 
and went until a drug raid that went bad.  The deputy commander of the 
Swamp Trainer cadre was leading it for some reason.  He was injured.  
I'm not sure exactly how it happened but it was pretty bad. 

He was put in charge of the Camp as soon as he was able to manage it
from a wheel chair.  He hasn't been called by the committee yet 
because they haven't make the connection.  The CIA hope they can bury 
the connection to save the safe house program.  That program has been 
operating on a very limited scale since the home office came under 
investigation. 

Eddie:  Wes can you find out if the Swamp Dog is still operating off
shore. 

Wes:  I already know that their security contractors are still in the
field.  I don't think their strike teams are still working, but they 
surely found other employers.  Those were the smallest number of men 
and women. 

Eddie:  Are any of the domestic operatives still working. 

Wes:  Best I can tell they have shut it all down.  They maybe working
freelance though. 

Eddie:  They probably have come in contact with the law since they lack
the Swamp Dog clout.  Mike is looking for some of them now.  If we find 
them we have to find a way to flip them. 

Wes:  Some of them will talk, if we can keep them out of jail and
don't ask them to testify in front of the open hearing. 

There were no further breaks on day eleven.  Just more probing with no
results. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------- 

Lucille chewing on a fat french fry: So what do you know that you 
haven't told me.


Eddie:  I know I should be home finishing my deck.  The thing is not
going to build itself. 

Lucille:  Yet here you are choking on that artery hardening whopper.  I
should probably have chosen a vegan restaurant. 

Eddie:  If you had you would be dining alone. I have to eat sometime
that's why I agreed. 

Lucille:  Yes you do.  So what are you working on. 

Eddie:  Truth is we are trying to find an informant.  You know cops.  We
need someone to flip to gain information. 

Lucille: Are you holding back on me? 

Eddie: No matter how good or bad I am, I'm always holding back
something. 

Lucille:  Then at least tell me you are making progress. 

Eddie:  We are making progress. 

Lucille:  So give me something I can pass on. 

Eddie thought about it and decided that it was time to test how well his
side could keep a secret. 

Eddie:  Not to be shared with the press? 

Lucille:  Okay just something for internal use.  Just to let the boss
know you aren't playing cards on his dime. 

Eddie:  We think we have found the domestic operation that is tied to
Swamp Dog.  It's called Church Camp.   That's all I can give you 
now. 

Eddie knew if she leaked it hell would come to his team.  Every law
enforcement command and intelligence agency seemed to have used Church 
Camp.  It might even shake something loose.  If there was a leak, he 
would know it sooner, rather than later.  He would also find out who 
really had the juice. 

Lucille:  What an innocuous name.  So what exactly did they do for the
Government? 

Eddie:  I'm not sure what, if anything they did.  They were a domestic
operation which might have been pursuing body guard, drug raids and 
hostage rescue type operations.  They might have been training 
government and freelance operatives as well at that camp. 

It got real quiet while Lucille thought about the information she had
been given.    Eddie could not read her reaction to the disclosure he 
had made. 

Lucille:  So you want to buy me a drink? 

Eddie: I would love to, but I really have to get home to get to bed
early.  I want to be able to finish the deck during the week.  Maybe we 
can do a whole team meeting in a bar.  It would likely be good for 
moral.  You know no husbands wives or girl friends just team members 
getting to know each other. 

Lucille:  Sure that would be better.  I hardly know anything about some
of them. (Eddie looked at her as if she was lying.)  Nothing on a 
personal level.  I know whats in the background file, but it leaves out 
most of the important personal stuff. 

Eddie:  Yeah the personal stuff is good to know. 

Lucille: So tell me something about you.  Something I won't find in
the files.  (she wasn't ready to give up on Eddie just yet) 

Eddie:  I always wanted to go gold mining. 

Lucille: You are kidding.  Like those shows on TV. 

Eddie:  No not like that.  Just me and a tiny bit of equipment.  Living
off the land and sluice mining the streams I come across. 

Lucille:  So what's stopping you. 

Eddie:  This investigation.  When it is done, the house will be done,
then I might mount a mining expedition.  Now you tell me something I 
don't know about you.  Something not in any file. 

Lucille:  Something as silly as gold mining with a gold pan? 

Eddie:  Silly, embarrassing, or just plain weird. 

Lucille:  I was a NCAA class one rower champion in college.  I still
sleep in the jersey I wore to the awards ceremony. 

Eddie:  Okay but that doesn't fit the criteria.  There is nothing
strange in that. 

Lucille:  You don't find a woman, in my position, sleeping in a twenty
year old sports team jersey strange. 

Eddie:  That depends on where the hole are.   (he smiled) 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------- 


May went to a thrift shop after work.  She search through their bike
rack.  Eventually she found a bike with almost no wear on the tires.  
It had just a small amount of surface rust.  The bike was an old ten 
speed racing style bike.  The other racing style bikes were eighteen 
speed or more and they were more modern ones that showed some wear. 

Since the thrift store was in the neighborhood she roll the bike home
after a stop at a convenience store to pump up the tires.  She found 
the building manager before he left for the day.  For ten bucks he 
oiled and adjusted the gears and the brakes. 

Since there was no daylight left she parked the bike in her living room.
 She was determined to wake up early enough to try riding it the next 
day.  Since she had recognized Mike's magic pills as common aspirin, 
she checked her medicine cabinet. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------- 


Salina had dinner on the way home to her apartment.  There were two
different families waiting for her when she arrived home.  She had 
already decided that she missed Wes and was willing to take a gamble on 
him.  After she treated the two kids for common colds, she called Wes 
who rushed over. _________________________________________________ 

Mike spent his evening listening to his mom moan and groan again.  He
had to admit that in addition to being strange, it was also erotic.  
Michael got off to the sound, then felt guilty for having done so. 

Day 12 

Mike was on his bike in the suburbs where the most dangerous thing he
faced 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, which she had 
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 downtown to the safer downtown.  Along 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.  That 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 building were 
large.  They didn't make anything they were mostly warehouses filled 
with foreign made consumer goods.  The availability of the airport and 
a good highway transport system made for access easy.  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 6AM.  When Mike felt tired he turned and 
headed for the drive in restaurant. 

May got tired of circling the downtown.  She also noted the up tick 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.  Those 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 fifteen 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 minute before Mike or May and thirty minutes
before Wes and Salina.  Lucille never did show up at the Hole In The 
Wall Hq.  He make 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's 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 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 vette anyone we try to put in there very
well.  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 FEDPOL 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 this
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 lets 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 dirt 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 tired 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 farm
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 since the winter was almost over, the 
purchase could wait until the 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 
do 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 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. 

Boss could do this by trying to hide it from everyone, or we could make
sure everyone knew and they 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 that.  She would
want to get warrants and go in with ten cops and let all Rose's 
friend know, so they could warn her.  We best go in alone, beside 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 after noon, 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 forty eight hours without sleep. 

Wes:  What, you never slept in a moving vehicle, so when do we go? 

Eddie:  Did you drive in. 

Wes:  Yes. 

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 were Mike stayed  Check into a motel 
with no CCTV and then drive through the evening hit the apartment and 
drive back by morning. 

Eddie:  Okay lets go for it.  We can leave right now. 

Eddie and Wes went back inside to tell the other that 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. 

Eddie: Keep it quiet this is not to be discussed with anyone.  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.  Done there this evening. 

Eddie decided to leave his car in the parking garage where the 'Hole in
the Wall' had been built.  Which meant 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 then filled the car with 
snacks on the company credit card. 

After all that they continued to drive until they arrived in College
Hill.  Even though Wes, on his turn driving, had a heavy foot the drive 
still took eight hours.  The motel 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 had said that if it was vandalized, he had 
good insurance.  He in fact had none at all. 

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 is Marcus, 
one the men who helped him in said. 

Salina:  Marcus you need to go to the clinic this is a bad wound. 

Marcus:  Just fix it punta. 

Salina:  (to his friend)  get him out of here, or I 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 bother 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 
his shoulder.  It was no doubt a small caliber hand gun wound.  She had 
seen enough large caliber assault rifle wounds to be sure that 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 everyday, 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 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. 

Mike:  Okay. 

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 was doing and with whom she did it with. 

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 made 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. 

Day 13 

It was 1AM when they arrived in Mossberg Ala.  Wes made the call from
his burner phone to the one he left with Mike. 

Wes:  Rabbit. 

Just as he had been directed, Mike hung up the phone without saying a
word.  The two men gave him fifteen minutes before going to the rear 
door.  If all went well, they had forty five minute of their hour left. 
 While they waited for the fifteen minutes they alloted for Mike to do 
his work, they chatted. 

Eddie:  Let's do it.  I'm going to pretend that I am Moshe Abraham. 

Wes:  Who the fuck is Moshe Abraham. 

Eddie:  No idea. it's a name we gave a burglar.  One we never could
catch.  He never left anything behind, not one single clue in his ten 
year career. 

Wes:  Then why the name? 

Eddie:  Why not.  Actually we figured he was a spy, and who has the best
spies. Wes: Mossad, hence Moshe? 

Eddie:  Exactly.  (looked at his watch) Time to go to work. 

They went to the rear door, where Wes picked the pick proof lock in
about a minute.  Once they entered the door, they found a private 
staircase to the third floor.  Just as the blueprint Mike had secured 
from the county planning board had on it.  It hadn't suggested that 
it was narrow and steep with only one landing.  I didn't appear to be 
an after thought, if it had been Eddie expected that it would have been 
built on the outside of the building like a fire escape. 

With all the security devices turned off, it was a simple matter to pick
the upstairs lock, then put on the rubber gloves and begin their 
search.  The modern search included booting her computer with a flash 
drive which a clone program.  Wes booted the computer to the flash 
drive and it began copying the contends of Rose's computer bit by 
byte. 

Meanwhile Eddie walked around looking at her decorations and furniture. 
Like Eddie, Rose was a minimalist, he discovered.  For a millionaire he 
was surprised by her spartan digs.  Everything was functional, but none 
of the furnishing screamed money.  He found absolutely nothing out of 
place.  He did find that it all seemed to be just too clean.  She 
wasn't planning to come back.  She kept the place just in case, but 
she had already moved on.  He had very little hope for the computer 
since she had done such a professional job of leaving the apartment 
sanitized.  Rose had simply disappeared again.  There was no telling 
when or where she would reappear.  Hell they didn't even know who she 
would be when she did reappear.  Presumably she had cash, as well as 
access to accounts they knew nothing about. 

Eddie and Wes left the apartment with ten minutes to spare.  They had
walked almost a quarter of a mile to her apartment, so they had to 
retrace their foot steps.  They had not said a single word since they 
left their observation spot outside her small private park.  As they 
passed it, Wes took another glance into the spot quickly to make sure 
they had not left anything which might later identify them. 

When they reached the car, they drove away very carefully.  The
apartment should seem as though no one had been inside it.  The 
didn't want to get a ticket at that moment, which could later come 
back to bite them on the ass. 

Wes knew that all her friends were pro's.  They might well have left
their own version of the string over the door trick.  If so they would 
know someone had been inside, but there was nothing they could do about 
it.  He also knew that driving the speed limits was a good idea,  since 
one day they might be asked about their where abouts on this night.  
When he and Eddie lied, he didn't want any evidence to prove they 
were lying. 

At 8:45 they sat down to breakfast at a small diner in College Hill. 
The food was heavy on animal fat and grease, but it was also very good. 
 Eddie's eyes were gritty from lack of sleep.  He had slept some on 
the two four hour drives to and from Mossberg to College Hill.  Wes had 
insisted on driving and he didn't object.  His reasoning was that Wes 
had slept some on the way down from DC. 

Sunrise had revived them both, but it could only do so much.  They had a
plan and since they were a little sleep deprived and dopey, they knew 
it was best to stick to it exactly.  Eddie downloaded an image mike had 
provided for them.  He glued it to the screen of his phone to use as 
wallpaper till they got to the camp. 

After breakfast they returned to the motel to shower and dress for the
day.  There was no time for a run or even a walk, so they were out the 
door by ten and at the gate of Church Camp by 11AM.  There was a large 
warning sign on the gate. 

STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE SOUND YOUR HORN SOMEONE WILL COME TO GREET YOU. 

Eddie: Not very friendly are they? 

Wes:  I will bet you there is a siren on that gate.  If we went to touch
it there would be a high piercing sound.  Most likely those metal 
strips are revolving tire spikes. 

The strips ran from side to side on the dirt road.  They were about ten
inches wide and level with the road. 

Wes: I would go with punji stakes on the sides of the road to discourage
walking around the gate. 

Eddie:  Simple but effective.  Especially since land mines are
discourage these days. 

Wes:  Don't be surprised to find non lethal mines.  Probably a little
sniper harassing fire as well.  Take a look in the tree over there.  
That's a camera with a .177 pellet barrel attached.  That's only 
what is visible.  Odds are pretty good they could get a team up here 
before a force could clear the area. 

Eddie:  I bet they have scaled back till the congressional things clear
up.  They are not going to want an incident now.  Let's try to use 
that against them. 

Wes:  Take a look. 

Wes pointing down the road leading from the camp to the gate.  From that
road a rusty pick up truck emerged.  The gate lifted and the truck 
pulled up to greet them.  From the truck emerged a fat man of at least 
sixty.  He walked toward their sedan. 

Fat man:  Howdy what can I do for you.  Camp don't open till June,
water is too cold to swim till then. 

Eddie:  Ah so is the owner or manager here.  We are looking for a place
to send the kids this summer. 

Fat man:  You two got kids? 

Wes:  My wife and I have a 12 year old daughter.  My brother here has
ten year old twin. 

Fat man:  Okay but the camp manager isn't here.  He will be coming up
in May.  I'm just the caretaker. 

Eddie:  I see well how about we come in and take a look around. 

Fat man:  Sorry I got my orders don't let nobody in.  It's an
insurance thing they tell me. 

Eddie:  Okay, whatever you say.  By the way, is Andrew still the camp
commandant. 

Fat man:  Don't know nobody named Andrew.  The camp manager's is
Sarah Jenkins. 

Eddie:  Well how about giving us her number.  I'm sure if we called,
she would let us tour the place.  We drove a long way to see it. 

Fat man:  Wish I could, but that's not how it works.  They get their
campers from church groups.  So wouldn't do you no good to tour it.  
Miss Sarah don't want to be bothered. 

Wes:  Take a look at this.  (Showing him his phone)  The image is your
parking lot.  It was made by a Russian Satellite this morning.  You see 
all the cars in your parking lot.  The place doesn't look deserted to 
me. 

Fat man:  I think you need to go.  If you want to come in and look
around get yourself a search warrant. 

Eddie:  (Talking into the phone) May you want to fax the local rural
police a search warrant for the Camp.  Yeah we will block the entrance 
to the road until the police arrive.  Put on the search warrant that we 
will be searching for weapons. 

Wes: So? 

Eddie:  May said it would take about thirty minutes for the local cops
to get here with the warrant.  Meantime we need to leave, we can go 
back to the road and block this driveway to be sure nobody and nothing 
leaves. 

Fat man:  You guys cops. 

Eddie:  Senate researchers, we are just here to count beans for the IRS
special committee. 

Fat Man:  Wait here I'll be right back.  Call your friend ask her to
hold off on the search warrant till I get back. 

Eddie: (Into the phone)  May hold off on that warrant.  (Turning his
attention) Well Wes, do you think this will fly. 

Wes:  Who knows.  It would be nice not to be bothered with dealing with
the proceeds of a search warrant. 

The truck returned followed by to two black Cadillac SUVs. 

Tall man with a limp:  What's this all about? 

Eddie:  You must be Andrew. 

Andrew:  I am. I seems you know more than I do. 

Eddie:  My friends call me Eddie and this is Wes.  We are investigators
for the chair of the Senate Committee investigating the so called 
American Foreign Legion. 

Andrew:  What does that have to do with me. 

Eddie:  You either are the new head of Swamp Dog Enterprises, or you are
still the commandant of Church Camp Inc. 

Andrew:  At the moment there is no Church Camp.  We have shut down
everything on the advice of counsel.  If you want to come in to look 
around bring me your warrant.  If conversation will do, maybe we can 
talk and defuse this situation. 

Eddie:  Let's go the talking route first. 

Andrew:  I hoped we might be able to do this like gentlemen.  Our
attorney is on the way.  She will get here tomorrow morning, if you 
come back then, I will give you as many answers as she allows.  They 
will most likely be the same ones I will give to the Committee, if they 
figure out what to ask me.  However until Rita gets here I got nothing 
to say. 

Eddie:  Call me when you do. 

Eddie and Wes retreated first to talk to local businessmen, then for an
early dinner, finally to their motel.  A early bedtime was called for, 
they both agreed. 

They definitely weren't as young as they once were Wes decided as
well. 

Eddie:  I'm going to take a look at this flash drive before I go to
bed. 

Wes:  I wouldn't do that.  If you plug it into your machine the wrong
way, it will clone your hard drive as well. 

Eddie:  I don't have anything worth reading on the computer, however
you do have a point.  No sense confusing Mike when he gets it back.  In 
that case I'm going to turn in. 

Wes:  I'm going to power walk early in the morning, you want to go? 

Eddie:  You operative types start way to early for me.  Unlike my life
back in DC, I won't need an hour's prep time before work tomorrow, 
I do not plan to be awake before eight. 

Wes: Whatever 

They parted for their respective rooms. 

------------------------------------------------------- 

Back in DC Salina was the first to arrive for work.  She drove Wes's
car into the office because it would be safer in the abandoned parking 
structure, than it would be in the parking lot outside her housing 
project.  She had the coffee on before the rest of the office staff 
arrived for work. 

Mike was first to arrive.  He was bundled up to look like the Pillsbury
dough boy.   The first thing he did was to remove his helmet, then came 
his dear hunter thermal Jump suit.  After those item he removed a 
Sweatshirt with the name 'Georgetown' on it.   He was left standing 
in jeans and another sweat shirt with Born to Ride on it logo. 

Salina:  Obviously you came to work on the scooter? 

Mike:  That thing is always a blast, but sometimes it's a blast of
cold air.  I can only imagine what it's like in a snow storm. 

Salina:  White hell comes to mind. 

She was smiling her motherly smile.  She was less than twice Mikes
twenty two years old, but she still felt motherly sometimes.  She, 
unlike his real mother, would like to see him become a man, not stay a 
geek boy forever.  Certainly not living in his mother's basement till 
he was forty.   Partly the feeling came from them both being Wes's 
friends.  Mostly it was her need for redemption by saving others.  Of 
course she didn't realize either motive. 

May came in next.  She also said good morning.  She had a brief
conversation with Mike.  Then she poured herself a coffee. 

May: (To Salina) Have you heard from our missing members. 

Salina:  Not yet, but it's early I expect them any time. 

Anytime turned out to be almost lunch time.  Eddie called and asked for
May.  He ran the warrant scam passed her.  She of course had no idea 
what he was talking about, but went along. 

An hour later Wes called to inform Salina that he and the boss were
going to talk to some people, then call it an early night.  At the same 
time he updated her on the plans for the next day. 

Salina:  (To the others)  The interview is set, but don't expect too
much.  The CC's Lawyer is driving down. 

May:  You mean the infamous Rita, who has weaved her way though out this
case like the master manipulator she is. 

Mike:  More like a black widow spider's web. 

Salina:  Her husband it very much alive, but she is black.  I wouldn't
say that around her, if I were you.  But yes she does represent the CC, 
Swamp Dog, and Bart's Tea company. 

May:  I should be there for that interview.  I should have insisted. 

Salina:  I think Wes and the Boss can handle it.  By the way they said
for us all to continue on with what we are doing.  I'm going to keep 
calling unaffiliated doctors and clinics.  May, I might need you to 
pressure some of them.  You can flex some of that girl muscle you are 
dying to use. 

They exchanged sarcastic looks.  Salina was determined to be a team
player and try to resurrect her life.  However it was hard with the 
yuppie May always around to remind her how low she had sunk. 

Mike like a good geek buried his head in his computer.  Salina used
Wes's car to go for a take out lunch at the closest Chinese 
restaurant.  It wasn't on May's Yuppie list, but the food was good 
and inexpensive.  Since it catered to the Chinese immigrants, it was on 
Salina's list and she did go out for it. 

The afternoon passed till five while the men in College Hill slept and
the office ran along without accomplishing much.  Then the day came to 
an official end. 

Salina spent the evening waiting for a call from Wes that never came,
since he slept until well past midnight. 

Mike lay awake listening to his mom moaning.  For some reason she
suddenly had become extremely slutty.  He had no idea why.  He thought 
she probably didn't either. 

May went out to the neighborhood bar for a glass of wine and some
friendly conversation, which turned out to be just noise.  She spoke to 
a couple of men but decided that if they weren't bi, they were 
definitely wimps at the very least.   By 9PM she had enough and walked 
home alone.  When she arrived, there was a message on her phone. 

Lucille:  You need to check in dear. 

May: (into the phone)  Sorry Lucille I had a personal matter to attend
to.  Eddie and Wes have an interview with the commander of Church Camp 
tomorrow.  They called me to run a game on the commandant to try and 
force  him to agree to it.  It must have worked, they called back to 
say they were staying at least until tomorrow. 

Lucille:  Very good you are doing an excellent job. 

When she hung up Lucille poured herself another glass of wine and
checked on the boys.  They both asleep in the bottom bunk of the bunk 
beds they had insisted upon.  She had a least talked them out of the 
'Transformer beds' in favor of a classical rustic cabin type bed.  
One day they could be separated to make a bed for each of them, should 
they demand to have separate rooms. 

She went into her own empty bedroom and decided that for a while at
least, maybe the second guest room should be used by her banker 
husband.  It was the room designated for one of the boys later.  Since 
he was determined to lead an alternative lifestyle, the least she could 
do was look the other way.  She had decided to actually encourage him 
to the point where he wanted to leave her.  That was in response to the 
prenuptial agreement he had forced her to sign. 

In general it read that she got less, if she moved out or sought the
divorce.  If he did, she got her full community property.  She had 
signed the agreement because she was young and naive.   He had insisted 
because he knew he wasn't going to change.  It was a way to coerce 
her into keeping up appearances.  Those appearances helped him to rise 
in the super conservative world of international banking. 

Day 14 morning 

Eddie found he couldn't sleep past 3AM.  He rolled around the bed half
asleep from 3AM until 5AM, then finally gave up.  The motel was so 
cheap he heard the water run in Wes's room when he flushed the 
toilet.  Eddie dressed in everything he had brought with him then went 
outside in time to catch Wes before his walk. 

Eddie:  So let get on with it. 

Wes: Right, you want to lead and set the pace. 

Eddie:  You set it, I'll keep up. 

Wes:  Good luck with that old man. 

Eddie:  This coming from a man with a hangover. 

Wes:  Not hangover for the last four days.  I have been on the wagon and
suffering with sobriety the whole time. 

They walked five miles more or less.  Three out and two back to a
restaurant on their route.  When they stopped for breakfast Wes ate a 
biscuit and jelly washed down with orange juice and coffee, lots of 
coffee.  While Eddie had the country breakfast special.  Lots and lots 
of burned animal fat and scrambled eggs.  He was able to swap the grits 
for hash browns potatoes since he had never developed the taste for 
corn stew. 

Eddie: So how did I do? 

Wes:  You did fine for an old man.  I expect Salina will be able to do
better, if we ever wake up in time to walk before work. 

Eddie: (Nodding)  So how you think today is going to go. 

Wes: I respectfully refuse to answer on advice of counsel. 

Eddie:  Maybe or maybe not.  If we can ask the right questions, we might
learn something even from that.  Get him to talk about harmless stuff.  
Then when we hit him with something we know the answer to if he 
refuses, we try something harmless again.  Keep going back and forth 
then slip in something we aren't sure of and see how he answers it. 

Wes:  Like: is today Thursday, oh by the by do you operate a safe house
for spies? 

Eddie: Exactly. Oh by the way where is Rose Seabold at the moment. 

Wes: So what should we do till Andrew calls us. 

Eddie:  We should make their lives miserable.  At least as miserable as
we can.  First of all we assume that there is not going to be any new 
information from them.  So why not put a rock in their boots. 

Wes:  Okay how do we do that? 

Eddie:  Why we start another line of investigation.  We talk to anyone
who knew Sylvia Porter over in County Seat.  Get our own biography 
started.  Then when Andrew calls, we will be too busy to hold the 
meeting today.  Explain we are sorry, but when they didn't call we 
began a new line of investigation.  We couldn't possibly get to them 
till 6 or 7PM.  Maybe tomorrow would be better after all. 

Wes: I like it, put them on the defense and try to tie Rita up for
another day.  The least we can do is to let her know where the real 
power is located. 

Eddie:  If you are going to play power games, it is best to know how
much you have.  So let's find out how much we have.  Let's head 
over to the courthouse.  The former clerks and judges haven't been 
forced into the federal system, so let's try them. 

At 11AM they were talking to a local judge. 

Judge:  She was one of the best sheriffs we every had.  She was
absolutely incorruptible.  She didn't care a whit about money, so she 
couldn't be bribed.  I generally hated her guts, when she came before 
me, but I would loved to have been her friend outside of court. 

Just then the phone rang.  It was Andrew.  As Eddie had explained to
Wes, he stonewalled Andrew. 

Eddie:  Sure let me know what you want to do before five. 

Wes:  Even I knew you were gaming him. 

Eddie:  I hope he realizes we are playing at whose is biggest and Rita
explains that ours is.  Sure he knows, but Rita can't prove it, so 
they have a decision to make. 

Eddie and Wes continued to interview people who had known Sylvia.  One
of them was the Brit's friend Jeromy.  He told the stories about how 
he and Sylvia had gone to craft shows and the like, while she was 
between jobs. 

Everything about Sylvia seemed larger than life.  Eddie knew better.  If
he had enough time the dirt would begin to roll out. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------- 


Day fourteen started for Salina with a scrambled egg and cheese sandwich
make in her own kitchen.  She then showered and dressed for work, which 
seemed more like a break from her real job.  The people of the projects 
depended on her to tell them how to manage their health care.  While 
keeping in mind a trip to the clinic could be a ticket home for some, 
and jail for others.  She advised them on the least dangerous option. 

She made it out the door with no last minute emergencies, so she was at
work early for a change.  Once she parked Wes's car, and before she 
opened the office door, she saw the tiny bit of Kleenex on the ground.  
It was the 'tell' which Wes had insisted upon.  Eddie then stressed 
the need to do it to everyone of them. 

The last person out had to place the Kleenex bit on top of the door. 
There was no way it could have fallen on it's own or stayed in place, 
if the door had been opened.  If it had been opened by one of them, 
they would have known to replace it.  First she had to be double sure 
that none of the others had returned to the office after hours.  She 
was almost 100% sure they had not since Eddie and Wes had stayed in 
College Hill.  No one else cared enough to return to the office. 

She went inside to start the coffee.  She decided to wait for the men to
at least finish their interviews in County Seat and the Church Camp to 
share the news.  The remaining three of them at the 'Hole In The 
Wall' office were in very little danger she decided.  Every soldier 
knew what a threat assessment meant and knew how to do it.  The only 
one of them who wouldn't be screwed, if caught with a weapon was May. 
 The thought of May with a weapon was as terrifying as the thought of 
someone invading their space.  She decided she had to ask, even if it 
created speculation among the others.  She needed to know who was the 
last one out and if they had remembered to set the 'tell'.  She sat 
down with her fresh brewed coffee and began to work on Sylvia's 
medical records which arrived late the day before. 

All she could find of any significance was the mention of injuries from
altercations over the years.  They were nothing like those sustained by 
Rose Seabold.  She did find mention of an over twenty year old injury 
sustained before she was a Sheriff.  She had been injured during a drug 
raid by friendly fire.  A tree beside her exploded from a high velocity 
riffle round fired by a SBI agent.  The splinters moving at a high rate 
of speed had shredded her hand.  The damage was something similar to 
being shot in the hand with bird shot.  The splinters had damaged skin, 
muscles, and nerves.  They had also bruised bones.  In other words her 
hand was a mess. 

The emergency room doctors treated her for blood loss and shock, then
forwarded her to a trauma specialist who stabilized her hand.  There 
followed months of surgery to reconstruct the hand rather than remove 
it.  She ended up with a club  hand but it was a working hand.  It just 
didn't work a hundred percent. 

The thing Salina found most interesting in the reports referred to her
as Wildlife Enforcement Officer Porter.  She must have been a game 
warden.  She decided to recommend to Wes that he have Mike check on her 
official files for a background in Wildlife Enforcement. 

She made that decision before Mike showed up.  He was extremely late. 
Since she wasn't his keeper she put it down to when the cats away the 
mice will play ect. 

May arrived first looking less dull than usual.  Anything would be an
improvement over the usual drag ass May.  She was like a zombie most 
mornings.  Which led Salina to believe she was sleeping poorly. 

May:  Good morning Salina. 

Salina: (Skeptical) Good morning what have you been up to so early. 
Obviously it was someone special to make you all smiles. 

May:  Well it wasn't sex this morning.  It was a ride down the bike
trial in a neighborhood park, which connects with a deserted stretch of 
railroad bed.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I rode over ten miles.  
Where is Mike this morning. 

Salina:  God you are so enthusiastic it's disgusting.  As you can see
Mike isn't here yet. 

The two women put their heads down and continued to read the files Mike
had provided.  It was grueling work and no fun at all.  It was almost 
ten when Mike came limping through the door. 

May:  What in the world? 

Mike:  Some asshole ran me off the road.  I was on my way home after
breakfast and he ran a stop sign right in front of me.  I took to the 
curb to avoid him.  I got tossed off the bike.  My knee is bruised and 
my arm and shoulder is scraped pretty good. 

Salina:  Did you go to the ER. 

Mike:  I don't think it's that bad. 

Salina:  (In disgust) Oh fuck it, let's see. 

Mike tried but couldn't get the leg of his jeans over the knee.  It
was the same with the shirt. 

May:  You have to go to the ER. 

Mike:  I have no insurance.  If I go there, I will be in hock for the
rest of my life not to mention the IRS will find me.  Right now I have 
no contact with them.  If I check in the hospital, they will be all 
over me for not paying taxes for a couple of years.  I had hoped to put 
them off till next year. 

Salina:  Yeah the National Health Care Act ties all the support agencies
together.  Everybody knows everything.  That is why the people I see 
don't go to the ER either. 

May:  Then you have to do something. 

Salina:  Get your ass to the closest drugstore get some gauze pads lots
of them and some tape not that skin sensitive shit, some real tape.  
Then a big bottle of peroxide and two tubes of antibiotic ointment.  
Also get some ice packs.  I'll try to get a look but for god's sake 
hurry. 

(After May left) 

Salina:  You are lucky I carry such a large purse.  I have a small
amount of supplies in there.  So lets get you undressed.  Can you get 
your jean off, or do I need to cut them off? 

Mike:  I can get them off I think, but it is really painful to bend down
for my shoes. 

Salina:  Please don't tell me you rode that scooter to work in this
cold dressed like you are. 

Mike:  Yeah and it was pretty cold, but actually it felt better out
there, than in  here, pain wise. 

From her purse Salina removed some pills. 

Salina:  You allergic to anything? 

Mike:  Manual labor. (he smiled sickly) 

Salina:  Take this. 

She handed him a pill and a cup of tap water. 

Mike: What is it. 

Salina: Don't worry it's not a narcotic.  It's a super version of
Ibuprofen.  It won't kill all the pain, but it will help.  Now take 
these Tylenol tablets. 

Mike:  You sure that its safe. 

Salina:  Not safe enough to take everyday, but safer than riding a bike
in DC obviously. 

Mike:  Yeah looks like it. 

He got his pants down without screaming.  Salina used non sterile water
to clean the grit out of the scrape.  Her real concern was the 
swelling. 

Salina:  You got a nasty scrap that is going to be painful as hell, but
that knee should be x rayed.  It could be damaged. 

Mike:  You don't look upset enough for it to be serious. 

Salina:  (smiling) It's messy, but not as messy as a belly wound from
an AK47. 

Mike:  (trying to smile)  That's good to know. 

Salina had Mike down to his shorts by the time May returned.  Mike still
had a pretty good sized paunch.  He didn't tell them that he had lost 
eleven pounds in the two weeks he has worked with the group.  His 
exercise and a controlled access to food accounted for the weight loss. 


The controlled access was mostly due to being out of the house working. 
Some of it was his reluctance to go upstairs and confront his mom and 
her lover dejour.  That was an issue going onto the back burner for a 
while for sure. 

May came rushing in after almost thirty minutes.  Salina used the
peroxide to clean the wounds a second time.  Then she coated them with 
antibiotic ointment and bandaged them. 

Salina:  It looks worse than it is, but he is going to have some
discomfort.  He should be home where he can lay down. 

Mike:  No I want to work.  I don't want to be home. 

May:  Well you don't need to put these clothes on again.  They are
bloody.  Call your Mom and have her bring some clothes. 

Salina: also have her check her medicine cabinet for any left over
prescription pain killing drugs.  You know like vicodin, codeine, or 
anything of that type. 

Mike:  She's at work I'm sure.  I'll call her.  She doesn't know
about the fall.  I don't want to worry her. 

May:  Mike you don't have any choice, you have to call her or I'm
going to take you home. 

Mike made the call while May and Salina tried to decide how to handle
him. 

May:  Should we force him to go home? 

Salina:  He won't be any better off at home alone than he is here.  He
is going to need a ride home tonight, but I can handle that.  Once he 
is home, I assume his mother will take care of him.  He probably 
doesn't need to be going up and down the stairs there twenty times a 
day.  But otherwise he should be able to do anything he wants, but I 
doubt he will want to do very much. 

May:  Well I got stairs at my place or I'd take him.  (There was a
questioning look from Salina.)  Okay maybe not. 

Salina:  He is off the phone let's go talk to him.  (After she walked
over to Mike)  You need a blanket? 

Mike:  I am getting cold. 

Salina:  I don't have a blanket, but at least put your pants and coat
on.  You can change them out after your mom shows up with clean 
clothes. 

This is not the best time to ask, but who was the last person to leave
the office last night. 

Mike:  Why did I leave it unlocked? 

Salina:  No, I was wondering if you remember to set the Kleenex. 

Mike:  To be honest I can't say that I have a memory either way, why? 

Salina:  The paper was on the floor outside when I came to work this
morning.  I'm sure that it was there before I touched the door. 

May:  We need to contact someone about that.  Mike's accident may not
have been an accident. 

Mike:   It was an accident trust me the guy never even looked.  It
wasn't like he planned it.  He was just a jerk. 

May:  Bullshit, ask Eddie, there are no coincidences. 

Salina:  Of course there are.  Everything is not a coincidence though. 
Some things are planned to look like random events.  When the boys call 
in, we will discuss it with them.  What we will not do is to discuss 
this with Lucille. 

May:  It's noon already have you heard from them. 

Salina:  No but it's okay they are running games on the staff at the
camp, remember the call for you to obtain a search warrant then to 
cancel it.  They are just winging it down there.  They will call later 
to let us know when to expect their return.  In the meantime we need to 
keep going as if none of this were real. 

May: it's noon where the fuck is Mike's mother.  You can bet I would
be here in a minute, if it was my kid. 

Salina:  Spoken like a true woman.  One who has no kids.  (she laughed) 

A few minutes later a thin woman in her early forties appeared at the
gate.   Mike buzzed her in. 

Mike:  Mom is here. 

May went into the parking garage to meet her.  When she opened the door
May was surprised to find that the woman looked only a little older 
than she.  She was very attractive.  It was hard to believe she was 
Mike's mother. 

May:  Hi my name is May I work with Mike. 

Mom:  (not overly concerned) How is he? 

May: Pretty banged up, but he isn't too bad.  Fortunately we have an
army medic here.  She patched him up.  Come on I'll let you see for 
yourself. 

Mom: Sure lead the way. 

May was surprised at her lack of concern.  When they entered the room
and the woman saw Mike for the first time she did look a little 
concerned but the look vanished quickly.  She gave the pill bottles to 
Salina.  Then went to Mike. 

Mom: How are you Michael. 

Mike:  I think I got a bruised knee and some scrapes but I seem to be
holding up well.  Salina cleaned me up and I finally got warm. 

Mom:  Good. 

Salina:  You got a ballsy kid there.  He walked home from the accident,
then got on his scooter and came here.  He was in a lot of pain and did 
all that.  The kid is not just a Geek and wimp.  He has real balls. 

Mom:  I'm not surprised every mother thinks her child is special. 

May:  Well yours is. 

Salina removed a pill from one of the bottle Mikes mother had brought. 

Salina:  Take this. 

Mike: Are you sure it's safe on top of all those other pills. 

Salina:  Trust me I'm a professional. 

Day 14 afternoon. 

Eddie: (Into phone)  We should be finished by 5:30 or we can do it in
the morning.  (pause)  Okay then 5:30 it is. 

Wes:  Well we sure showed them.  Now we can drive all night to get home.


Eddie:  Lets just see how it plays out.  Right or wrong it's done now.
 You know this interview stuff is all a big staged game show.  It's 
all part of the set decorations. 

The two of them spent the afternoon running down old employees of the
Sheriff's office.   On a suggestion from a deputy they tried the gym 
run by the daughter of Sylvia's old school boxing coach. 

Daughter:  My name is Ang and I knowed her yeah.  Her with that skinny
ass worked out here.  She brought some other chubby white  bitch now 
and then, but she was here every day.  I can remember the day she took 
on a regional Golden Gloves finalist in that ring right over there.  
They still talk about it around here. 

Wes:  How did she do? 

Ang:  How do you think she did.  She get her ass whupped.  My pops he
had to step in and stop it.  The crazy bitch just wouldn't stay down. 
 The other fighters they didn't smart mouth her after that.  She 
shore was a bloody mess face all cut up and bruised ribs.  She didn't 
come around for a week, but she was back after that and worked just as 
hard as before.  She had to hold a piece of wooden broom handle in her 
glove to make a fist.  Pop said she would have broke her hand other 
wise.  She didn't have no grip, he said.  That was one tough skinny 
blond bitch though. 

Eddie:  Anybody else around here remember her. 

Ang:  No, its been ten years or move since she hung out here.  What we
get here is fighter wanna be's and soft little high school boys.  
They want to stay out of the gang banger life.  Like my father before 
me, I try to make them men first, then boxers. 

Eddie:  You get any cops in? 

Ang:  None old enough to remember Sylvia.  Now and then some black cop
will come in to work out.  We don't have no fancy upscale gyms here. 

Wes.  Maybe you should try to get the housewives to come in a couple of
days a week.  If you advertised it right, I bet you could get some in. 

Ang:  Thanks but I'm doin' okay. 

Eddie looked around at the patrons.  Then he looked at Wes. 

Eddie:  Well thank for your help. 

Wes (in the car)  Should we drop a dime on her.  You know she is
dealing, at the very least, in some of those new human growth hormones. 


Eddie:  Not unless you saw some young kids hangin' out there.  I
didn't see any, and I don't work for the Feds any more. 

Wes:  True and I never was a narc.  You want me to call the office? 

Eddie:  Call your girlfriend and tell her we will both be into the
office tomorrow, but it might be late. 

Wes: (nodded then spoke into the phone)  Hello Salina what is happening
back there.  (listened then)  Is he okay.  (Listened again)  Are you 
sure it was there last night.  Okay let me talk to the boss and I'll 
get back to you be careful in the mean time.  You know where the 
shotgun is?  Okay. 

Eddie:  What the hell is going on back there. 

Wes:  Two things both could be serious.  Let me try to get the time
sequence right.  Someone may or may not have broken into office last 
night.  Mike got run off the road on his bicycle this morning. 

Eddie: Is he okay? 

Wes:  Salina patched up.  Some scrapes and he might have bruised his
knee.  He is, like a lot of her patients, living off the grid.  He is 
afraid to go to the hospital for xrays.  He is in pain and may not be 
functioning at a hundred percent. 

Eddie:  Someone may have broken in for an update on the investigation
and they may be stalking our people.  Is that how you paranoid CIA 
field men would see this? 

Wes:  Yeah. 

Eddie:  Since it is a possibility tell them to lock themselves in there
until I get Lucille to get them some protection. 

Wes made the first call, then Eddie got on the phone.  He told the story
to Lucille stressing that it might possibly be nothing. 

Eddie:  Even  so I want the whole fucking team in a safe house till me
and Wes get back tomorrow.  One officer guarding them all, will be 
cheaper than one for each at their homes.  It is also safer than 
rushing through a weapons permit for each of them.  You got them into 
this shit now protect them.  If you have any questions remember who we 
are dealing with here. 

Wes:  No officer for Salina that will make her a target in the hood. 

Eddie:  Just get Salina home for her clothes with an undercover officer
in tow, then to the safe house for night.  Wes will take care of her 
after that.  Now get Mike checked out at a walk in clinic with an xray 
machine.  Have the Senate's budget cover it and treat him as an 
identity protected witness. 

Wes and I are going to see the church camp people this after noon.  We
will bring all this shit up with them.  That you can fucking count on. 

Lucille:  Eddie listen to me.  If they are stalking you this could be
the break we need.  Do not tip them off that we are onto them. 

Eddie:  Okay.  If they kill us at the Church Camp it will the the excuse
you need to raid it for sure.  So I'll call you when we are out safe. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------- 


Mike was in a lot of pain but he managed to concentrate.  He couldn't
find anything amiss with the computers, but if it was a professional 
breakin he wouldn't expect to find it that easily. 

Since Salina had told him about the tell, he hadn't backed up any data
to his cloud account.  He hadn't even gone on line since he assumed 
that his data was all compromised.  The he knew was a bad thing, but if 
he had a Trojan it would be a worse thing. 

Since Wes had called back with the she decisions Salina was expecting
the cop just not six of them at the gate.  There three cars and two 
officers to a car.  Two of them were marked cars and one was not.  They 
identified themselves at the front gate for the CCTV before entering 
the garage. 

One of the cops came inside the office to motion them outside with a
gesture for silence.  He was wearing a polo shirt with the police 
insignia on the chest. 

Man in the polo shirt to May:  I'm Marco.  I am going back inside to
sweep the place and search for evidence of an intrusion.  You are 
finished for the day.  I want you to go back in and get your things.  
Keep it quiet okay and tell the others. 

It took five minutes to evacuate everyone to the parking garage area. 
The uniformed police took charge of May and Mike. 

Salina:  I can't stay away overnight.  The people in the projects need
me. 

Undercover cops.  I'm sorry but tonight they are going to have to do
without their angel.  Your man will be back tomorrow, but tonight you 
are going to have to go into protective custody.  Do you need anything 
from home. 

Salina: Clothes and my kit for Mike. 

UC:  Okay then we do it like this.  You drive your car, plain clothes
officer will follow behind.  The officer will pass your parking lot.  I 
will already be in place.  You stay in the car so he can cover you till 
you spot me.  When you see me go in your building.  Get out of the car 
and walk quickly to the building.  Nobody  will pay attention to me 
hanging out in the entrance to your building.   I'll follow behind, 
when you open your door, I will slip inside.  Got it? 

Salina:  Seems like a lot of trouble just because of a kid fell off his
bike. 

UC:  Could be, but you never know.  They tell me a senator is taking a
special interest in you, so I'm going to be your best buddy for a 
while. 

Salina:  You got a name best buddy. 

UC:  Yeah, but they call me Jasper.  We will move when the tech guy
finished his sweep. 

------------------------------------------------------------ 

Eddie answered the phone just before they went into the interview. 

Eddie: Hello Lucille, what you got. 

Lucille: I'm only going to tell you all this because you have friends
in low places and can dig it all out anyway. 

Eddie:  Fine, just spill it. 

Lucille:  The tech people found bugs inside the office and in the
stairway. 

Eddie:  Were they all yours?  Don't bother to lie cause I know you had
me bugged. 

Lucille:  No not all of them.  The ones in the stairs were ours, but the
new ones in the office didn't belong to any government agency that I 
can find.  That does not mean the CIA or NSA didn't do it. 

Eddie:  It could have been the Fed's Intel unit as well.  Everybody is
bugging people these days.  Could they tell how long hey had been in 
place. 

Lucille:  Looks like our team got to them on day one.  The bigger issue
is your computer network was compromised.  Mike doesn't think it 
spread, since he told the tech officer he felt like shit from the 
accident and didn't download any new material.  The cloud backup  
only connects when he calls it.  We think the Trojan they installed is 
confined to your in house network. 

Wes: How is Mike. 

Eddie:  How much damage did the kid have. 

Lucille:  Looks like just a bruise and the doc said Salina was doing a
good job on his scrapes, so he was released.  He might have also 
injured a rib or two.  They don't show up on the xray though.  The 
knee is just a deep bruise. 

Eddie: Good.  (to Wes) Looks like he is okay.  (back to the phone)  Is
everyone in the safe house? 

Lucille:  Yes all present and accounted for.  All their cell phones are
off the grid, so don't try to call.  I'll call you, if anything 
changes. 

Eddie:  Fair enough you can relay anything I need to tell them.  I have
a pad with me I'll use it to set up a new email to night for 
messages, if you need to send me new information. 

Lucille:  We are considering everything compromised.  Any business goes
to heat when you get back. 

Eddie:  Wes and I will be black till we are back in DC. 

Lucille:  Be careful you maybe going into the lions den down there. 

Eddie:  Gee, I hadn't thought of that. 

Lucille:  Asshole 

She broke the connection and smiled.  She had chosen the right crew for
sure.  From the medic who treated Mike, to the man who put the Kleenex 
tell on the door.  She had the best people in place.  People who 
didn't trust anyone not even her. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------- 


When Wes and Eddie showed up at the gate, they were met not by the
caretaker with the shotgun rack in his rusty old pickup, but by a 
middle aged black woman with just a bit of gray in her hair.  There 
were two men by her side who were holding shotguns. 

Eddie: You know those guys aren't going to do you much good if a Fed
Police swat team come in. 

Rita:  I never show all my cards till the dealin's done.  My clients
have a lot of people who would do them harm.  They come in all shapes 
and sizes. 

Eddie:  Then I assume you know when to fold them and walk away. 

Rita:  Not till I see your hand.  So you want to come in and look
around.  I will be happy to accompany you. 

Eddie:  Good, now that you have had time to sanitize the place, there
won't be any need to go over the place in detail.  I would like to 
see the safe houses. 

Rita:  Sorry they are occupied.  You know you can't visit them.  You
can visit the staff area and the offices, but not the safe house area. 

Eddie. Fair enough. 

She might or might not have realized that she had just verified a large
part of Wes's information.  The Church Camp did indeed operate safe 
houses for the government. 

Rita showed them a village of ten cabins which had been renovated years
before so that they could be occupied year round.  There were sealed 
shutter that covered the half screen upper walls.  Those were bolted 
down for the winter at the time of Eddie's visit.  The large dining 
hall and administrative building had the same kind of shutters. 

Andrew:  Welcome to Church Camp.  I do hope this conversation stay
friendly.  Rita is here just to make sure I don't say anything that 
is inaccurate or confidential. 

Eddie:  Oh sure I understand it's going to be ask me anything and as
long as I can answer yes or no, I will.  I'm just not going to 
volunteer any information.  Is that about it? 

Andrew:  Unless you brought your own water board, that's about it. 

Wes:  Well I'm sure we could improvise, if you volunteer? 

Rita:  Andrew most certainly does not volunteer to be tortured. 

Wes:  Shame. 

Eddie:  Let's try to get back to the friendly interview.  So with that
in mind was Sylvia Porter ever employed by the Church Camp? 

Rita: Just to be accurate define employed. 

Eddie:  Was she ever on staff or an operative of the Church Camp? 

Edward:  No. 

Eddie:  Was she ever a contract employee. 

Rita and Edward whispered.  Eddie knew that he was onto something at
that point. 

Edward:  No 

Eddie:  Keeping in mind that your tax records can be subpoenaed by the
select committee, did she ever do work for you as an independent 
contractor. 

Rita:  Several years ago Sylvia performed contract work for Church Camp
while she waited for the outcome of a law suit against the State Bureau 
of Investigation.  Once that suit was settled she did other work on a 
purely contract status.  She was never an employee of Church Camp. 

Eddie:  When did she become an employee of Swamp Dog. 

Rite:  That is outside the scope of my clients first hand knowledge. 

Eddie:  When did you first learn that she was the director of the entity
known as Swamp Dog. 

Rita and Andrew had another whispered conference. 

Rita:  We will concede that Sylvia was director of the Swamp Dog
enterprise from the time that the state government made the 
unconstitutional take over of law enforcement in the rural areas, until 
her death last year. 

Eddie:  So she led swamp dog for about fifteen years. 

Edward:  Fifteen years while the government ran amok. 

Eddie:  And during that time what was Church Camp's mission. 

Another conference was held before anyone answered. 

Rita:  Church Camp did not commit any illegal operations at any time. 
Church camp has provided services to the US government during their 
time of domestic reorganization.  They also provided private security 
to wealth or controversial clients.  All of those actions were carried 
out within the exiting laws at the time of the operations. 

Eddie:  Would you provide us with a list of operations. 

Edward:  Absolutely not.  Get your fucking subpoena and I will burn the
place to the ground before I give you shit. 

Rita:  I think this is meeting has ended. 

Eddie:  One more question.  Do either of you know where Rose Seabold is
at this time.  We know she worked for Church Camp. 

Rita: I have no idea. 

Andrew shook his head. 

They didn't realize but they had verified that Rose had indeed worked
for the Church Camp. 

Wes:  Would any of the staff know her whereabouts. 

Andrew:  I'll ask around and get back with you.  Now I think you
should leave. 

-------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes:  (Into the phone)  It's 7PM.  We are heading home.  I know you
aren't there but you will get this sometime.  See you soon. 

Eddie:  Are you crazy you know we will be back before she can reactivate
her phone. 

Wes:  I promised I would call, so I called. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------- 


Salina:  So May, May you want to talk about anything?

May: (Laughing) The angel with dirty hands wants to talk to the sinner? 

Salina:  Okay forget it.  I'll just watch 'here comes Honey Boo
Boo' or 'the Kardashians' on the TV. 

May:  You know that is extortion. 

Salina:  I had no idea. 

May:  Okay so what's with you and Wes. 

Salina:  Wes gets me, that's all.  He also has a 12 inch penis. 

May:  Holy shit, you are kidding. 

Salina:  Yeah, he don't get me at all. 

Salina walked from the kitchen into the living room where Mike sat. 

Salina:  Mike do not forget to take your pills.  They are there in the
saucer.  Take them now, so they will be working at midnight. Whenever 
you decide to go to sleep.  If you wake up in pain during the night, 
call me. 

May:  You want to share a room? 

Salina:  I'm sure Mike isn't up to it and I know you weren't
talking to me yuppie princess. 

May:  Sarcasm does not become you Angel. 

Salina:  Where did you get that shit. 

May: From the undercover cop.  That's what they call you in the hood
isn't it. 

Salina:  Nobody ever called me that. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Day15 Morning and afternoon 

Eddie:  Damn, at the next exit with a truck stop, I have to pull over. 
I really need coffee. 

Wes:  Yeah, I need coffee and to take over driving.  You drive like an
old lady.  It's after midnight, at this rate we won't get home till 
Saturday. 

Eddie:  Screw you Wes.  I will let you drive though.  I'm pretty
sleepy. 

The second half of the drive took less time than the first half, since
Wes drove quite a bit faster than Eddie.  At 3AM they pulled into the 
parking garage where Eddie's car was stored. 

Wes:  So do you want to drive me home or let me borrow the company
wheels? 

Wes had said it as the rolled up the ramps to the third floor.  When
they arrived at the office, they found Wes's car parked there. 

Eddie:  Looks as though you won't need the ride after all. 

Wes:  I guess the protection team took Salina to the safe house. 

Eddie:  Yes it does.  Wait till tomorrow, if the other's aren't in
the office call Lucille.  She will know what is going on by then. 
(pause)  And Wes watch your back.  We are the only two the bad guys can 
find right now.  Pull you phone battery. 

Wes:  You are kidding me right, I pulled it before we left the
mountains. 

Eddie:  You should have told me.  I'm going to pull mine now.  They
will know we are back because I showed up on their gps.  You know there 
is nothing we can do for the others.  Why don't I pull my battery, 
then you and I go to my place. 

Wes:  You know they can find us.  They are bound to know where you live.


Eddie:  Yeah they may kill us, but unlike Mike we can make them pay. 

Wes:  Ever since I have been working for you, I have been wondering. 
Which of us were the real bad asses the Swamp Dog or us. 

Eddie:  So that is a yes? 

Wes:  Bet your ass it is. 

Eddie:  I got a couple of shotguns at the house.  They come complete
with some dear slugs and buck shot.  I bet we can make a mess of some 
of them at least. 

Wes:  Then forget about pulling the phone battery. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Mike walked down the hall to Salina's room leaned against the door. 

Mike:  Salina. 

Salina: (opening the door)  You okay Mike? 

Mike: My knee and my ribs hurt so bad that I don't even notice the
scrapes. 

Salina: hold on a minute. 

She went back in her room to collect a vicodin and a benadryl tablet. 
She returned to the door a moment later. 

Salina:  Take these and go back to bed.  They should ease the pain and
help you sleep. 

Mike:  Thank you, you really are an angel. 

Salina:  Hardly now go back to bed. 

---------------------------------------------------- 

From 4AM till 9AM Wes and Eddie slept in shifts.  The also slept within
reach of a pump shotgun.  It turned out that when the Federal Bureau of 
Prisons rearmed their guards Eddie had collected three pump shotguns 
from the old stock auction.  The guns were all old winchester 1906 riot 
12 gauge pump guns.  Wes wanted one them bad, but didn't even bother 
to ask.  He knew they were not for sale.  No gun man in his right mind 
would sell a gun like it.  Especially  with the provenance those 
shotguns had.  The were absolutely irreplaceable.  Since they were 
literally loaded for bear, no one came of course. 

Eddie:  Well we were wrong, nobody wanted us. 

Wes: (Smiling)  These guys may be smarter than we thought. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Eddie (into his phone)  Lucille what's the word on the others? 

Lucille:  They are fine.  I got a call from the protection unit a few
minutes ago.  One of them just walked through the door with a bag of 
Egg Mcmuffins and a dozen donuts.  They should be at the office in a 
hour or so.  There is a bit of a line for the shower I would expect.  
My guess is May will take the longest. 

Eddie:  Good Wes is here with me.  We will head that way in a bit.  When
you stop by the office we have a lot to discuss. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes:  Well boss all's well that ends will. 

Eddie: You know better.  This hasn't ended, it's only taken a left
turn. 

Wes:  Couldn't have said it better myself. 

--------------------------------------------------- 

May:  Jesus Christ  Mike did something die inside you. (Mike passed her
as he exited through the bathroom door.)  God how the hell am I 
supposed to take a shower with that smell. 

Salina:  Cut him some slack those meds do strange things to people. 
Speaking of that, I want you to hold onto them for me.  I can't 
afford to be searched with them on me.  I also don't trust myself to 
hold onto them. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
- 


Eddie and Mike arrived at the Hole in the Wall at 10:30AM. 

Eddie:  I guess we are the first to arrive. 

Wes:  No there is a security detail inside. 

Eddie:  What makes you think that. 

Wes:  Because it's what I would do.  They know we are coming by the
CCTV so maybe they won't shoot us. 

The two of them opened the door and were greeted by two police officers
in uniform and very much on guard. 

Middle aged slightly paunchy police officer:  Deputy Superintendent,
I'm patrol Sergeant Norris. 

Eddie:  I'm just Eddie now Sergeant.  Do you know who broke into the
place? 

Norris:  Not yet.  The Detectives assigned to the case are on their way.


Wes:  Damn Boss we got a patrol sergeant baby sitting us and a Detective
on the way to brief us, I had no idea we had this much juice. 

Norris:  Would you like for me to contact the safe house and have the
others shuttled over? 

Eddie:  Let's wait for the Detectives, then we can start our day with
a threat assessment. 

Wes:  If they are not safe here, then the others can work from home. 

Eddie:  That isn't your call Wes.  It isn't even my call. 

Wes:  Yeah, I'm never gonna get used to working for big brother.  The
all seeing, but never seen entity. 

Eddie:  I'm more used to that kind of thing, but I do miss the chain. 
Lucille being a cut out makes me nervous I admit. 

The door opens and a man in a suit, which fit way to well for him to be
any detective Eddie had even known, came through it. 

Man in suit:  Detective Rose.  (extending his hand to Eddie and Wes) 

Eddie:  So what you got? 

Rose:  Not a lot.  No forensics to amount to anything.  Lots of prints
but I doubt any are the bad guys.  This was your classic black bag gone 
wrong.  That bit of Kleenex saved your asses. 

Eddie:  No Wes saved our asses.  How about the gate CCTV. 

Rose:  3:10 AM a black SUV with no tags pulls through the gate.  They
knew the gate code.  They must have known the camera wasn't being 
monitored at night.  They left through that same gate, with their hoods 
on, again at 4:22 AM.  They didn't appear to be armed.  They seemed 
to want an 'in and out' black bag with no muss no fuss. 

Eddie:  So you found microphones and something in our computer network. 
Did you find anything else? 

Rose:  No sir.  I hope you backed up your files, because those computer
hard drives are never going to be trustworthy again. 

Eddie:  Mike will know the answer to that, but don't even bring that
shit back in here.  We will either close down, or they will bring in 
new computers and communications systems. 

Wes:  Good call. 

Eddie: (desk phone rings)  Hello Lucille. 

Lucille:  What's going on. 

Eddie:  I got cops here now briefing me.  Some DI named Rose is here
now.  Do you want to talk to him. 

Lucille:  I have a DCI on the way to our office to brief the Senator. 
Is Mike around. 

Eddie:  No and I haven't talked to him.  I don't know what the bad
guys got or what they did to our on line back up.  We may have to scrap 
it all and start over.  You do know there are only two people who could 
have ordered this . 

Lucille:  Yeah, somebody in the government or Swamp Dogs.  It the Swamp
did it, they have gone rogue.  It's not like them to stage an attack 
on the US government. 

Eddie:  It's not like them to get caught they were always rogue.  How
badly I don't know, but I'm getting the sense that they made their 
own rules.  It seems they answered to no one, but  they have extremely 
loyal people, unlike us. 

Lucille:  Find their cracks. 

Eddie:  We are looking.  You check your own house, or should I begin
investigating the CIA. 

Lucille:  Of course not. 

Eddie:  I hear even at this time of year Cuba is hot.  (Puts down the
phone) 

Wes:  Do you think the others are in any danger. 

Eddie:  Of course they are, how much I don't know.  Mike could have
been a warning, but we can't ignore it.  He never signed up for that 
kind of thing.  We can't protect them all round the clock.  So there 
is a decision to make. 

Wes:  Are you thinking about closing it down? 

Eddie:  That's an option for sure.  So is adding another layer of
protection for the office. 

Wes:  What cops? 

Eddie:  I had Church Camp in mind.  (both men laughed) 

Wes:  We could teach all our people to shoot. 

Eddie: Can you really see Mike with a Glock? 

Wes:  You have a point, he would be just as likely to shoot Salina or
one of us. 

Eddie:  Well for one thing we for sure add more cameras.  None of them
work alone in the office ever again.  We can't ride together any 
more.  I'll have to take one of the others. 

Wes:  Mike is not up to riding a lot of hours in a car at the moment. 
How about if we have to check on anything I take Salina.  She was an 
Army Medic, she should know how to shoot a shotgun at least. 

Eddie:  Okay but not one of my antiques.  We go to Lucille and tell her
we want weapons.  If she says no, we go to Walmart and buy a couple of 
cheap shotguns for the office and the cars. 

Wes: You got a handgun. 

Eddie: Sure but I don't want to carry it.  Of course if I'm going to
be responsible for May, I might rethink that.  So we go with Mike as 
information and communications director. 

We are going to need a secure communications network.   I know the NSA
will be listening, so we need to use the burn phone system and a secure 
code for our emails and out of town use.  None of that computer 
encryption shit. 

Wes:  Okay we can do that.  But you have to explain to everyone how
dangerous this might be, and give them the chance to quit. 

Eddie:  Yeah.  You be thinking about what you want to do.  I'm going
to call Lucille and get the meeting set. 

Eddie: (on the phone)  Lucille we need a meeting with everyone even you
here in the office.  You are the one who can communicate with the safe 
house.   It's almost time for lunch, so how about this afternoon.  
I'm on the regular phone, so let me know. 

Eddie and Wes went out to eat.  They finished and were back in the
office before Lucille called. 

Lucille:  Meetings at 3PM. I figure we can talk to them, and then give
them the weekend to decide what they want to do. 

Eddie:  You know there are going to be some serious changes no matter
what they decide. 

Lucille:  You gonna be everybody's uncle Eddie? 

Eddie:  Lucille, we all go home every night, you understand.  We do
whatever it takes to get them all home safe. 

Lucille:  Are you willing to make them killers like you and Wes.  All of
them? 

Eddie:  We all go home safe after work, no matter what it takes.  If not
I bail right now. 

Lucille:  I'll let you know what the boss thinks at four.  I'm going
to have to move the meeting back. 

With nothing to do for two hours Eddie and Wes swapped stories.  Wes's
were much better, but some of the ones from Eddie's early days were 
pretty good.  Those were days before the Unified Law Enforcement Act 
was passed.  The stories from those days were hilarious, Wes agreed. 

The cowboy image was more on Wes's side, but there were a few reckless
moments in Eddie's career as well. 

Wes:  So tell me, how and why did you get hold of so many antique
weapons. 

Eddie:  It was part of the Unformed Law Enforcement Act that a weapon
manufactured more than a hundred year ago could be bought and sold 
without license or tracing number engraved on them as long as they 
aren't fully automatic. 

Wes:  So that takes care of the Shotguns, but there were several racks
of other weapons in your spare bedroom. 

Eddie:  I got a couple of 1903 Springfield Arsenal rifles which were are
also classified antiques. 

Wes:  Where did you find them? 

Eddie:  Believe it or not rural police departments had them in their
arsenals.  also The Federal Bureau of Prisons had a few that had been 
retired for years but had never been sold.  That stash of weapons is my 
retirement plan. 

Wes:  So what else do you have hidden away back there? 

Eddie: A couple of 1911 Colt .45 pistols.  When the stock of Antique
weapons ran out, I got a class c dealer's license. 

Wes:  You mean the baby dealer's license. 

Eddie:  Under the used weapons registration law, I can buy and sell
sporting weapons manufactured within the last hundred years, if they 
were manufactured more than fifty years, and are not military surplus.  
In other words I have to have a provenance on the weapons.  Bureau of 
Prisons does not count as Military surplus, even if the rifle was 
manufacture under an army style contract. 

Wes:  Huh. 

Eddie:  I have two .30 cal carbines manufacture and stamped US Bureau of
Prisons. 

Wes:  So if you bring out a handgun, is it going to be a hundred years
old. 

Eddie:  Of course not.  Probably the old .38 Detective special revolver.


Wes:  A fucking wheel gun, that is really old school. 

Just then Lucille wandered in, followed quickly by the troops. 

Eddie:  So what did the esteemed senator say. 

Lucille:  See for yourself. 

She handed Wes and Eddie each a badge and identification card. 

Lucille:  Welcome to the Federal Investigative Task Force specializing
in Senate investigations.  The others stay on the Senator's payroll 
as researchers.  You two have permits to travel armed anywhere in the 
United States. 

Eddie:  So guys here is the deal.  We had a break in here.  You all knew
that.  Thanks to Salina's good eyes,  I don't think any of our 
sources were compromised.  I am sure they took picture of our white 
boards, so they know where we are headed. 

Mike got run off the road and thank god he wasn't killed.  I think
that if they wanted to do more than send a message, they would have 
come back and run over him a few times.  That's the good news.  The 
bad news is they might next time. 

You all know that Salina, Mike and Wes are all friends.  Wes has
volunteered to drive them both into work and take them home.  However 
if he is not available, you may call Lucille and she will arrange a 
secure ride for you to the office.  When you are not working, I suggest 
that you be extra careful and vigilant.  If you feel the need to go 
anywhere, call Lucille.  If you in anyway feel ill at ease, call 
Lucille, Wes, or me.  This sounds serious because it is. 

Finally, if anyone feels that they would rather not continue due to the
danger, I will understand.  Please take the weekend and be sure you 
wish to continue.  Then call Lucille who will contact me or Wes about 
giving you a ride to work on Monday.  From now on no one works in the 
office alone for any reason. 

Now go back to the safe house in the police fan and give this some
thought. 

Wes:  Salina it isn't necessary for you to go back to the safe house. 
The street gangs where you live have guaranteed your safety. 

That left Mike and May in the safe house for the weekend. 

May:  I don't care what anyone says I'm not going back to that safe
house.  I am going back to my apartment.  I'm willing to take my 
chances. 

Mike:  I feel the same.  Besides my mom is alone in a house that might
be invaded by people looking for me. 

Lucille:  Well go home and think about it.  Be very careful where you go
and what you do until Monday.  I will order an increase in police 
patrols of your neighborhoods. 

Lucille waited until everyone left except Eddie.  Then she started on
him. 

Lucille:  Tell me what you think is going to happen.  What do you think
is going to be the end game. 

Eddie:  I think we can't find anything on the Swamp Dog.  They worked
out of the country and out of our jurisdiction.  Unless we are invited 
in, there is nothing we can do.  I'm sure they counted on that. 

Lucille:  So we are wasting our time and money investigating this. 

Eddie:  Not necessarily.  You are going to need to do an end run, if you
want to bring them before the bar.  Prove that Church Camp was a 
domestic arm of Swamp Dog and that they broke the law.  If we can do 
that we might have them. 

Lucille:  Is that what you believe? 

Eddie:  Yes finding Rose Seabold is the key.  She is the only one of
them all, who I think I can connect to a murder.  Even that isn't a 
slam dunk. 

Steady Eddie Day 15 evening 

Lucille:  How about you bring May to my house and I'll fix dinner for
us all.  Of course you will have to deal with my husband and the kids. 

Eddie:  Ask May.  I'm going to be her driver for this evening.  If she
is willing I will be more than happy to have a home cooked meal. 

Lucille:  I did not promise you home cooking.  (turning her attention to
May)  Would you like to have dinner with my family tonight.  It might 
be a chance for us to clear the air. 

May:  Dinner's fine, confession is not fine. 

Lucille:  (Concerned look)  Then come at seven. 

Eddie:  Maybe you should let the police follow you home and check your
house.  Just as a precaution. 

Lucille:  They can follow me home, but I have the greatest deterrent of
all, two small children.  No one in his right mind would lay in wait 
inside a house filled with kids. 

Eddie did not tell her there was a way to handle that.  A truly evil
assassin would just kill everyone one and sit waiting in the puddle of 
blood for Lucille to return home.  Eddie did not tell her, but he 
exchanged looks with the sergeant in charge of the security detail. 

May:  I have decided that if I get horny, I'm going to screw one of
the security detail.  Otherwise I'm staying home with the door 
bolted. 

Eddie:  Good call.  If you have to screw someone, make it a cop.  There
would be hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers to chose from. 

May:  Is that some kind of a cop compliment? 

Eddie:  It's a fact.  Compliments sometimes are and sometimes they are
exaggerations this one was fact. 

Lucille left for her home.  She had already checked out of the
senator's office for the day.  The security detail left with her, 
leaving Eddie and May alone. 

Eddie:  So where do you want to wait till seven. 

May:  I guess my place you live to far away. 

She gave him a coy smile which she could tell embarrassed him.  He was
about to explain why he wasn't interested when she laughed.  He knew 
then that it was part of the running joke from earlier. 

Eddie:  I hadn't noticed your wicked humor before.  I'm not sure I
can deal with it. 

May:  No one here has seen it.  I have to keep it under control or word
would get around that I'm an evil slut. 

Eddie:  I don't think you are evil at all. 

May laughed quietly.  It was hard to believe that Eddie hadn't known
what he left her with. 

------------------------------------------- 

May:  I'm going to take a shower, make yourself at home.  (May
disappeared down the hall. 

Eddie:  I think I'll watch the news on TV. 

While May shower Eddie watched the news about a missing airplane.  Then
the story switched to a story about the new Russian Confederation.  
They were still trying to consolidate their power after the last land 
grab.  Eddie thought it served them right, if they lost control to all 
those different ethnic groups.   The US had their diversity due to 
immigration, so we could always send ours packing. 

On the other hand the R.C. had nowhere to send them.  Since they began
their land grab, it was just chaos there all the time it seemed.  The 
Russians were too heavy handed to control the diverse populations 
without violence large scale violence.  Some things never change, he 
thought. 

May:  (after 15 min)  So what do you think? 

She was wearing a short black dress with a halter top.  It accentuated
her slightly thick body, but all women did that in those days.  Women 
had tried to hide their curves in the old day, but at that time they 
flaunted them. 

Eddie:  I think you are going to be mighty cold in that outfit.  I also
think it would be a bad idea to sit across from any man.  Also it's a 
good thing you aren't trying to carry a concealed weapon. 

May:  Well if an old man, like you, thinks it's too short, it is
probably the right length.  You don't like the tight dresses?  You do 
know they are in style now? 

Eddie:  That's twice you called your boss and Old man.  I hope you
don't do that at the D.O.J.  It could definitely limit your 
promotional opportunities. 

May:  No, him I give a blow job now and then. 

Again she laughed.  That's what made Eddie suspect that she was all
talk.  He figured, from having seen her interact with the people around 
her, that she was an unhappy bisexual female.  Not surprising since it 
was all the crazy at the time.  Women and men were losing their sexual 
identities.  Eddie knew it and even understood it, but thought it was 
just more shit they had to deal with.  Like the dress it was just in 
style at the moment. 

Eddie was known to be asexual.  He had long ago lost the need for any
human contact.  He was quite happy to be home working on his house or 
cleaning his weapons.  People thought it had come about because he had 
lost a lover, or something equally dramatic.  What really happened is 
he found peace when he learned to beat the biological imperative to 
reproduce.  He made friendships, of a sort, but none of them were based 
in the need to spread his seed through the known world.  He was way 
past that, or at least that is what he told  himself. 

May:  So lets go.  We don't want to keep the real boss waiting. 

Eddie:  The real boss is not going to be there.  Just his underling and
us. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------ 


Wes had dropped Mike off at home.  At that time Salina gave him back the
pills his mother and the doctor has made available to him.' 

Salina:  You probably need to stay out of the basement for a few days. 
Try wearing that running suit instead of jeans.  They are softer but 
will still keep your scrapes covered.  Your mom can help you bandage 
them.  Stay out of the shower as well. 

Mike:  Got ya and thanks Salina.  You really are an angel. 

Salina:  Not hardly Mike, but I'm glad I fooled you. 

Mike walked into the house.  Since he didn't call first his mom
wasn't home.  She probably stopped after work for a drink, or a man, 
he thought.  She probably wasn't going to like the change in their 
status.  It was past due, so he wasn't worried about the next step. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- 


Wes and Salina went back to her place in the project.  They were there
much less than an hour when people started to show up.  At one point in 
the evening there was a line in the hallway.  It was a good thing that 
none of the Gangs had any business with her.  It was very possible that 
Wes would have gone postal on them. 

He frankly needed to kill someone.   Wes had thought he was past that
feeling, but he realized that he wasn't and probably never would be.  
His destiny was to either die in battle, or in a death chamber 
somewhere.  He honestly liked to kill people.  He kept it to evil 
people.  It was indisputable that there was an endless supply of them.  
It was too bad he hadn't known about the Swamp Dog earlier. 

Salina insisted on skipping dinner to help the people at her door.  Wes
went outside to make a call on his cell phone.  While out there he 
noticed the black kid in gang colors hanging out across from Salina's 
building.  He walked up to the kid standing in the chilled night air. 

Wes:  You wanna come in? 

Kid:  What? 

Wes:  It's kind of chilly out here.  Do you want to come in where
it's warm.  It's okay. 

Kid:  No man, if Red comes by and I'm not on guard out here, he will
be pissed. 

Wes:  Okay kid.  You got a name. 

Kid:  Moms calls me Leroy. 

Wes:  Well Leroy, tell Red that the angel's cracker said thanks.  You
look out for yourself.  There may be trouble here in the next few days. 


The kid nodded as Wes made a phone call, then walked back inside the
building.  Even after five years he still wanted a cigarette.  He had 
quit smoking after a heart attack.  He quit only because he promised 
someone special that he would.  Even so now and then he had the urge. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------ 


It was 9PM when Mike's mother showed up at home drunk and alone. 

Mike:  So where you been? 

Mom:  Out trying to have some fun.  You should try it.  Besides when did
you become the parent here?  This is still my house. 

Mike:  Actually it isn't.  I checked and I am on the deed.  Dad's
Will left the house to both of us jointly.  He really wasn't sure he 
could trust your motherly instincts.  You know all these years I just 
tried to avoid any confrontation with you, but now I need some things 
to change. 

I am not going to back to living in the dungeon.  Salina tells me I
should not be walking up and down those stairs till my ribs heal, so 
I'm going to stay in the guest room.  And while I am recovering up 
here, you will not bring men home.  If you want to have affairs, fine, 
but don't do it in MY house. 

Mom:  Who the fuck do you think you are. 

Mike:  I'm your son. 

Mom:  You owe me some respect, I gave you life. 

Mike:  And you owe me some respect.  We are forced to live together, so
we are going to need some new rules.  Tomorrow when you are sober we 
will decide where we go from here.  Now go to bed. 

Mom:  It's only 9PM and I need another drink. 

Mike:  You have had enough to drink.  Go to bed or I will tie your ass
up and throw you in bed.  I have had a rough couple of days and I'm 
not up for dealing with a fucking drunk, even if she is my mother. 

---------------------------------------------------------- 

Eddie found Lucille's three story townhouse to be very uninviting.  It
was like everything had been on the pages of Better Homes magazine the 
month before.  It was all done in decorator plastic.  There were very 
few, if any, personal belonging on display.  Every personal item had to 
be very formal it seemed.  There were no snapshots of Lucille and her 
banker husband.  The walls were adorned with posed studio portraits 
even of the kids.  It was more than a little disconcerting, especially 
to Eddie who was so open and natural it disgusted most folks. 

On the other hand May loved it all.  She walked around admiring
everything.  May went her own way and Eddie was just as happy that she 
did.  He really was uncomfortable around her.  She brought back old 
memories of a time in his life when he was like her.  A man on the rise 
and consumed by the politics of sex and career advancement.  
Fortunately he had survived it and risen in the ranks.  She might do so 
as well, but for every Eddie, there was a hundred retired patrolmen or 
detective sergeants. 

Eddie found the children playing alone in their playroom.  He was
thrilled to see the rough wooden cars sitting on a shelf with all the 
fancy toys. 

Eddie:  Hello you two. 

The kids came running to him.  Even the little one who almost never
spoke tried to say Uncle Eddie.  It was heart warming.  The older one 
showed him around the playroom.  He picked up and handed Eddie several 
of the toys.  He handed Eddie a Book.  It was cat in the hat. 

Eddie:  You want me to read to you.  (child nodded)  I'm not very good
but I will try. 

The older child nodded his head vigorously.  The younger one did as
well.  The little one was most likely only mimicking his brother.  
Eddie had no idea why, but he found himself sitting on the floor back 
against the toy box reading the story.  He got lost in the children's 
excitement.  So much in fact that he failed to notice Lucille and May 
standing in the doorway.  May looked bored, but Lucille looked pleased 
with herself.  Eddie didn't like the looks on either of them, but for 
different reasons. 

Lucille:  Dinner is ready.  I'm afraid it is nothing special. 

Dinner proved to be very good.  Of course not even Lucille could fuck up
a steak.  The baked potato might have been a disaster had May not 
jumped in to help.  The kids got something resembling a burger and 
fries.  It only appeared to be a burger, because Lucille's children 
ate very little meat.  Chicken and dairy prevented it from being a 
vegetarian diet, but beef and pork were off limits. 

Lucille:  I'm sorry my husband had to go to a meeting.  It happens
often with him. 

Eddie knew, and May suspected, that there were no banker's meetings on
a Friday date night.  Lucille's husband was either avoiding her 
friends, or he was out with his own.  Either way it was fine with 
Eddie.  May however would have enjoyed meeting Lucille's husband.  
She would definitely have tried to charm him.  He was an attractive man 
in all the pictures hanging on the wall at least. 

After dinner and after the kids were put to bed the three adults were
sharing a glass of wine, when Eddie raised the question of the five 
hundred pound elephant in the room. 

Eddie:  So May where do you intend to sleep tonight.  I would feel much
better if you didn't stay alone in your apartment.  Do you have 
someone you can call. 

May burst into tears and ran from the room. 

Eddie: to (Lucille)  What did I say?  It was a fair question. 

Lucille:  Men are such idiots.  That question at a time like this
reminds a woman that there is no one in her life she can trust. 

Eddie:  Then maybe she should stay with you. 

Lucille:  You bastard. 

Eddie: What now? 

Lucille:  You just reminded me that with my life maybe in danger, my
husband can't be bothered.  That is another stupid thing to say. 

Eddie:  Okay, I'll stay here till I get a chance to talk to your
husband.  I can bunk on the sofa. 

Lucille:  To be honest I will feel better if you did stay.  If he were
here my husband wouldn't be much help in an emergency. 

Eddie:  Unless it's happened before, you can't be sure of that. 
When he gets here, if he seems competent enough to phone 911, I'm 
going to go home.  So find May a bed for the night and I'll see you 
Monday morning. 

Lucille:  Do you play poker? 

Eddie:  Every one plays poker. 

Lucille:  Not my husband.  I'll get the cards and the chips. 

They played a few hands before May joined them dressed in just her
almost nonexistent black dress.  She sat across from Eddie but 
fortunately there was a table blocking his view. 

Eddie:  I'm glad we are playing for money and not clothes.  May had
almost nothing to bet with. 

May:  Maybe we should play strip poker.  I have a feeling the boss here
would win for sure.  He is such a gentleman he is almost prissy. 

Lucille:  He may be a gentleman, but he is definitely not prissy.  He is
completely remodeling a house in the country. 

May:  Oh how wonderful, we will all have a weekend place. 

Eddie: The hell you say.  I bought that place five years ago.  It was my
get away till I pulled the plug, now I'm trying to make it full time 
livable.  All that work and money was not spent for you to drop in with 
your latest boyfriend. 

May:  Why not I'll bring the beer and not the boyfriend. 

Eddie:  You have had too much to drink May.  Trust me you would be
disappointed.  I'm twenty years older than you at least. 

Lucille:  You aren't twenty years older than me.  Ten maybe. 

Eddie:  Fifteen at least. 

----------------------------------------------------------------- 

Salina:  God Wes. 

Wes:  What you didn't enjoy it? 

Salina:  Of course I enjoyed it.  That is probably the best meal I ever
had in this shitty apartment. 

Wes:  The chef at Mike's Irish Cantina owes me.  I do have to admit it
was delicious.  I have no idea what the names are, so I just told him 
to fix what he would fix for his own girlfriend. 

Salina:  It was delicious for sure.  I had no idea you could fuse Irish
and Latin cooking.   (pause)  What did you do for him? 

Wes:  I just brought his daughter home. 

Salina:  Were you a cop or something. 

Wes:  It was sorta like that.  Let's try that Irish Coffee cake. 

Salina:  Alright dodge the question.  So you can pretend to be the
strong silent type. 

----------------------------------------------------------------- 

Mike was up at midnight on his Ipad knockoff trying to find something
interesting to do.   He couldn't do much with just a Pad device.  He 
wanted to get back on the computer at work and try to find out who his 
hacker was. 

He roamed around a couple of adult chat sites and even a few porno sites
while he tried to drink the beer.  He would rather have had a joint, 
but he promised Wes and the Boss that he would stay away from the pot 
till the job was completed. 

Mom:  Michael can I get you anything? 

Mike:  No Mom I'm fine. 

Mom:  Could we talk? 

Mike:  Sure what's the problem. 

Mom:  You are right about respect.  I have been disrespectful and I am
truly sorry.  Going forward I promise I will try to find a way we can 
both be happy, since we are going to share this house. 

Mike:  Good but for right now we have to be careful.  The people who ran
me off the road could be back to finish the job.   I do not want you to 
be hurt, so please be careful who you go out with. 

Mom:  I promise no more strangers  in the house. 

Weekend3.1 

Saturday. 

It was 3AM when Lucille's front door opened.  The very clean looking
younger middle-aged young man entered.  He probably came close to heart 
attack when Eddie spoke to him from behind the .38 cal wheel gun. 

Eddie:  Now I'm going to assume you are Lucille's husband, so I'm
not going to just shoot you then ask who you are. 

Husband:  (near panic) Yes I am, who are you. 

Eddie:  My name is Eddie and I'm one of your wife's associates. 

Husband:  (contemptuous) She seems to have sunk to an even new low. 

Eddie:  Shut the fuck up before I mess up that pretty face.  (Playing
thug)  Now there are some very bad people, who might be targeting my 
team.  I don't like that one fucking bit.  You can either stay here 
and protect your wife, or I am going to have her and your kids moved to 
a safe house.  At the same time I will hold a press conference to 
explain why this is necessary. 

I doubt that kind of publicity will be good for an international banker.
 You want to show strength, not how irresponsible you are.  The choice 
is yours.  Now go be your wife's protector like you promised when you 
married her. 

Eddie picked up the rest of his shit and walked though the front door. 
He walked to his car never giving May a second thought.  He was 
absolutely sure that Lucille wouldn't shrink from her responsibility 
for May's safety. 

He drove until 4:30 AM.  It was a bitch staying awake.  He had been
sleep deprived since his foray into Mossberg two days before.  Hell he 
still had the flash drive with the clone program, and the camera's 
memory card of what they had seen inside the apartment type condo, 
inside a plastic case in his pants pocket. 

Eddie hit the wall after he got inside the house.  He didn't even heat
house at all, he just hit the sofa with a coverlet wrapped around him 
and crashed. 

-------------------------------------------------- 

Lucille woke when her husband came to bed.  She didn't speak, she just
turned away from him. 

Husband:  Who was the thug in the living room?  One of you misfits. 

She had once described her team as social misfits and world class fuck
ups.  She regretted having described them that way, but it was too late 
to go back. 

Lucille:  Did he have a talk with you? 

Husband:  Did you put him up to it? 

Lucille:  Actually I didn't.  If I were going to do that, I would have
had Wes do it.  He would probably have broken one or more of your parts 
not needed to approve loans to petty dictators. 

Husband:  Which of the Neanderthals are you screwing? 

Lucille:  None yet.  Now I'm going to sleep, so you can stop your
whining. 

------------------------------------------------------------------ 

It was 5AM when Wes left the projects to run.  He carried only a spring
loaded lock knife for protection.  It was all he felt he needed against 
men who wanted to posture more than they wanted to kill. 

He ran along at a slow pace while he looked the project over.  It
wasn't as bad as some of the slums he had seen around the world.  It 
was probably just as dangerous in it's own way.  The Gangs had a 
death grip and were squeezing the life out of the young people.  Not 
all of course but a significant number. 

It was depressing enough to want a drink at 5AM.  He didn't stop by
his car for the bottle of Vodka in the truck under the spare tire, but 
he sure as hell wanted to.  The gang culture was like the warlord 
culture of the middle east and Africa.  They were like a spreading 
disease with no cure. 

The only thing to do was to eradicate them completely.  It would be
necessary to do it to all of them at the same time.  You couldn't 
leave a single one of those from that culture.  God hates a vacuum.  If 
you left even one member of one gang, they would simply spring up again 
like weeds.  Until the powers that be were willing to get thier hands 
dirty, there was no hope for the poor trying to raise kids in that 
environment. 

Wes turned back to Salina's home feeling helpless as he always did
when confronted with social problems.  He was much better at 
eliminating a purely military problem.  Again he thought that it was 
too bad he had to hunt Swamp Dog when he felt so akin to them. 

Salina awoke when Wes returned.  She pulled his sweat soaked body back
to the bed.  They made love yet again.  She loved the feel of him as 
well as the smell of him.  What he loved about her was hard to explain. 
 One of the things her lack of planning.  She never mentioned tomorrow 
in any planning context at all. 

------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Mike had awakened in the middle of the night to the sensation of pain. 
He struggled from the bed and into the hall bathroom where he found the 
pills from his doctor at the free clinic.  He was registered there 
under a generic false identity used by the Department of Justice. 

With it he had been able to get painkillers without being in the system.
 Not being in the system saved him the hassle of paying a penalty for 
not registering with the IRS.  The penalty was in lieu of proving he 
had income or assets.  Mike was not one of the traditional working 
poor, he was one of the ever growing working poor who worked off the 
books.  Almost untraceable until they applied for government subsidized 
benefits, like the National Health Services treatment. 

With the pills ingested he tried to return to sleep.  He was prevented
by his need to work out the problem of his being hacked and what they 
had or didn't have.  He began to review the contents of his files.  
The hacker knew what progress they had made. 

Whoever he was, he also knew Rose Seabold was a target of their
investigation.  It was more important than ever that they find her.  
She could be a target of the hacker group as well.  Not to investigate 
her, but to silence her.  Mike finally did drift off to sleep. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 

May slept better than she had in years.  The bed was a dream and those
sheets were to die for.  She carried the dress she had worn the night 
before down the hall to knock on Lucille's door. 

May:  (in a exaggerated whisper)  Lucille could I borrow something to
wear home.  I also need a ride.  I am so sorry to ask. 

Husband:  So you are one of Lucille's misfits.   I have to admit you
are better looking than the one who put a gun in my face.  I'm 
considering filing a police report about that. 

May took an instant dislike to him.  Misfit my ass, she thought. 

May:  If I were you, I'd think twice about that.  First of all your
wife was in danger, and I'm with the DOJ.  We can find out where your 
cell phone was last night, while the man with the gun was protecting 
the two of us.  The papers love shit like that.  Now give me one of 
your tee shirts to wear over this dress or I'm going to scream sexual 
assault. 

Then May did the most unbelievable thing.  She scratched Lucille's
husband. 

Husband: (In surprise)  What did you do that for? 

May:  DNA evidence. 

Lucille came out of the room holding a tee shirt.  She was also smiling,
since she knew that having a woman verbally abuse him after Eddie had 
done the same the night before, was driving her husband crazy. 

Lucille:  Would you mind waiting?  There is a Saturday tradition in this
house, I always make pancakes and those little sausages on Saturdays. 

May:  Do you have blueberry syrup? 

Lucille:  No but I have strawberry. 

May:  Count me in. 

---------------------------------------------------------- 

It was afternoon when Mike finally got moving.  Even so, when he called
Eddie he woke him 

Eddie:  What the hell do you want Mike?  You are supposed to be mending.


Mike:  I had a thought last night.  If some one cloned or hacked my
computer memory they found the file on the drug dealer killing. 

Eddie:  So? 

Mike:  They also found all the files on Rose Seabold and all the files
from the killing in detail.  They are not going to have to be a 
weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. 

Eddie, along with every other lawman of his generation, had heard that
phrase but he doubted that Mike knew the origin of it. 

Eddie:  Shit. 

Mike:  Yeah. 

Eddie:  Should I come by to pick you up, or can you ride that scooter to
the office. 

Mike:  I'll meet you there in an hour, if that is okay.  I just woke
up and I haven't eaten yet. 

Eddie:  Sure it will take me a while to get there as well.  I need to
find May and see if she is still with us.  I am assuming you are going 
to see this through. 

Mike:  Oh yes. 

Eddie:  Good then I'll see you in an hour. 

-------------------------------------------------------------- 

Eddie:  (Speaking into the cell phone) May I know you Probably haven't
had time to decide about staying with the team or not we have a problem 
that can't wait, I need your decision right now. 

May:  Lucille just dropped me at home.  Give me a half hour to dress
then I'll pick up my car and be on the way. 

Eddie:  So I can  count on you to be here in less than an hour? 

May:  Yes you can. 

Eddie's next call was to Wes and Salina who were still in the
apartment watching some sports show.  Eddie knew it only because it 
played in the background.  Most likely it was to cover the sex noises.  
Neither had seemed to be much of a sports fan to him. 

The final call was to Lucille. 

Eddie:  You might want to come to the office.  We have some new
information to explore. 

Lucille:  Oh and you couldn't have explained all this last night? 

Eddie:  We sent them all home to decide whether to quit, remember?  I
rushed the deadline, but they are all in, so you need to decide how far 
in you are. 

Lucille:  What the hell are you talking about? 

Eddie:  Come down in about forty five minutes and we will see if we wish
to redefine the mission. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------ 


They were all present at 3PM so Eddie began. 

Eddie:  Michael pointed out to me that whoever broke into the office
should be able to figure out quickly that we are trying to connect Rose 
Seabold to the Swamp Dog.  They maybe be afraid that it will just be a 
matter of time before she decides to talk.  At the very least they will 
be concerned about it. 

So we have to consider something we did may cause her life to be in
danger.  Consequently we need to pull out all the stops and make every 
effort to find her right away. 

Since everyone seemed to agree, Eddie presented the plan. 

We are going to have to divide into two groups.  One group needs to go
talk to the people in Mossberg again and the other to the people at 
church camp.  We have already decided that we are going to change the 
groups. 

May and I will go to Mossberg and Wes and Salina to church camp.  Each 
team will take a burner phone to use for all communications.  I want 
both teams in place at the same time.  If I can get Bart to give us 
something you two will need to follow up at church camp.  We need to 
find her before who ever broke in here finds her. 

Lucille:  What about Mike.  When you four poke the bear, he might run to
Mike to slow you down.  I will find an office in the house office 
building for him.  I can even get a capitol police officer to drive him 
to work and back. 

Eddie:  If we all leave in the morning, Mike won't need to be in place
until Monday.  Can you find him an office by then. 

Lucille:  I will be by his house Monday morning to give him a lift to
his new temporary office.   (Lucille gave Eddie a smile)  Mike and I 
will have a grand old time while you four are gone. 

Eddie:  Well try not to have too good of a time or to spoil him please. 
He has work to do while we are gone.  (Eddie handed Mike the flash 
drive.)  So sometime in the morning we all leave for our respected 
assignments so that we can be on site at 9AM without excuse. 

May:  Wes the only place to stay in County Seat is a crappy little bed
and breakfast.  If you don't want to sleep with the local bug 
population, you might try commuting to college hill. 

Wes:  Thanks  I don't think you are going to like the accommodations
in Mossberg any better. 

Eddie (Pulling May aside)  May we have the furtherest to drive.  Its a
good ten to sixteen hours on the road if I drive.  I have no idea how 
long it will take you to drive.  I'm sending Wes and Salina in the 
company car, so you and I will be squeezed into my econo-box. 

May:  Okay?

Eddie:  What I'm getting at is that if we want a good night's sleep
we need to arrive by 6PM.  Then we can get a good dinner and be ready 
for the next day.  Or we can eat dinner on the rode and try to get in 
before 9PM. 

May:  Look we are both grown ups.  Why don't I spend the night at your
place.  Then we can leave at seven in the morning.  Even driving slow 
we should get there in around 9PM. 

Eddie:  Okay but it's not very comfortable in my house I'm still
doing home improvements on it.  (turning to Mike)  Stay by this burner 
phone.  Sometime Monday we might want you to try hacking the church 
camp.  In the meantime check Rose's computer for information, but I 
have no hope for it. 

Mike:  There is always hope, as long as she didn't toss the hard
drive.  Since everyone knows the files can sometimes be recovered that 
is happening more an more. 

Eddie:  Just do what you can and put a Trojan or worm on the church camp
computer.  Just be ready to monitor them somehow.  I don't care how 
you do it. 

Mike:  I can't do that.  What I can do is have it ready to implant as
soon as you give me the word.  They have a sweep of the files every 
four hours at least. 

Eddie:  How do  you know that: 

Mike:  They have a legend in the dark arts on the payroll, so I would
expect no less from him.  He may do even more. 

Eddie:  Then do what you can.  (To May)  You want time to do anything
else or will you be ready to go after the meeting. 

May:  Once we go by my apartment for clothes. I'm ready to leave for
your house. 

Eddie:  I have to stop at a laundry before we leave town but that's
all.  I dropped some off on the way into town this afternoon. 

May:  I feel better knowing we have a plan to fight back.  I don't
have any idea why that would be. 

Wes:  Most likely because no one wants to be a victim.  I totally agree,
and I'm glad the boss give Mike the credit for it. 

It was early evening when Eddie and May started the thirty minute drive
to his tenant farm.  Eddie stopped at the highway plaza for a slightly 
later than usual dinner.  They had Chinese.  It didn't look a thing 
like traditional Chinese.  It looked more like wild rice with beef 
stew.  There were a few Chinese vegetables and a some mini egg roll 
kind of things on the side. 

May:  I ate way too much, but it was delicious.  Should we stop and get
a bottle of wine. 

Eddie:  I'll stop for you, but I don't really want a drink tonight. 

May:  Well I do.  If your place is as rough as everyone says, I'm
going to need it. 

Eddie:  Oh who has told you about my place. 

May:  It's not a secret is it.  Lucille said there was a lot you had
to do yet. 

Eddie:  We had a conference down here once, she brought her kids. 

May:  Yeah that's what I thought. I need something to soften the blow
of sleeping on the floor. 

Eddie:  Fair enough but there are no wine stores out this far.  I can
get you into a really nice convenience store.  There are so many 
bedroom communities on this road, I'm sure they have wine.  Probably 
not what you want, but wine of some kind. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------- 


Wes:  We only have a five or six hour drive.  We won't have to leave
too early.  We could go on a picnic around a country road, if we left 
early. 

Salina:  I can't afford to be gone any longer than the job requires. 
You know that.  The people here depend on me. 

Wes:  That's why I left the decision up to you.  I really don't know
what is best.  It could be that no one ever comes to you on Sunday. 

Salina:  They do come to me on Sundays.  The people who work or who get
cut on Saturday night come in.  I know there isn't a lot of time for 
us, but you did know what my life was like. 

Wes:  Yes I knew and I have tried to accommodate it, since I have no
life of my own.  The poor and the wretched I can tolerate, but the 
bangers, with them I am having a hard time.  Let them bleed out on the 
street.  They make these people's lives worse, not better. 

Salina:  Wes I am like a band-aid on a cancer.  Sometimes I feel
useless, and yes when I save one of these freaks, I feel I have let the 
community down.  I know the community would be better off without them, 
but I can't do that.  That is for the others, mine is to save what 
life I can.  Usually it is just an aspirin, but it is something. 

Wes:  You know that one day you will get caught up in the crossfire. 

Salina:  Maybe but at least I met you before that happens. 

-------------------------------------------------------------- 

Lucille went home to play with her kids and watch Sponge Bob on TV with
them.  The TV show taught simple little moral truths that people could 
accept no matter what their big beliefs were.  It was the beauty of 
mass marketing.  Preach some universal truths, no matter how you have 
to disguised it.  Don't go near the other universal truths.  Why 
should you?  Preschoolers don't need to know about serial killers.  
Keeping them safe is our job as parents. 

Her kids were learning about right and wrong from a sponge, while she
chased a band of Mercenaries.  That just seemed really strange.  They 
weren't really a band, the thought, they didn't play music.  Maybe 
they were really a tribe.  Like one of those desert tribes.  Hell they 
could even be a gaggle, a Rose by any other name was still a killer, 
kind of thing.   She knew then it was time to cut back on the wine till 
the kids were in bed at least. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------ 


Mike went home to have dinner with his mother.  He decided he would go
into his basement lair to study Rose's computer records.  His mom was 
antsy so he told her she should call her friend and go out.  No sense 
in both of then staying home on a Saturday night. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------ 


Weekend3.2 

Eddie:  So this is it.  Not much but it's all mine, there isn't even
a mortgage on it. 

May: (As she looked around)  There is only one bed? 

Eddie:  Yeah but you can have it.  It won't be the first time I slept
on the floor. 

May:  Hey I know my reputation as the team slut.  You don't have to
sleep on the floor. if you can control yourself. 

Eddie:  To be honest I think I would rather sleep on the floor.  You
strike me as being impossible to resist and extremely high maintenance. 


May:  Well yeah I guess that is true. 

Eddie:  (smiling) I hope you brought something to sleep in. 

May:  That's why we stopped at my place after dinner.  Well to get
clothes in general, but yes I brought my night gown.  You think I am 
high maintenance because I had you stop for my clothes. 

Eddie:  And for dinner and for wine on the way down. 

May:  Okay, but trust me I'm worth it. 

Eddie:  Not to me. 

May:  We will see about that. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Lucille:  (to her sleeping children)  Get up you lazy urchins.  I have
been up for hour slaving over a hot skillet making bacon and scrambled 
eggs with cheese. So let's get a move on and brush your teeth. 

She turned then walked away.  She had a few more minutes to wait in the
kitchen before she could go back in the room to get them dressed.  
Raising kids was a chore, but she did enjoy moments with them.  Like 
those Sunday morning breakfasts.  She also enjoyed the days spent in 
the park with them.  Yes she did spend time on her I phone sending and 
receiving messages, but she was outdoors so it was better than being in 
the office. 

She and the kids left their father sleeping.  He had a strenuous night
before after all, she thought.  She longed to be in the country with 
Eddie or anyone else for that matter.  Alas Eddie would be on his way 
to Mossberg by that time. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------- 


Eddie:  Come on May you have been in the bathroom for an hour.  It time
we got moving. 

May:  You shouldn't be bitching, I did let you go first. 

She opened the door and walked past him still wearing his white tee
shirt.  Even though she swore she had her night clothes, she had to 
borrow a tee so as not to sleep nude.  That would have been extremely 
hard for Eddie to ignore. 

Eddie:  Will you get a move on please.  I want to be in Mossberg by
morning. 

May: It's only a twelve to fourteen hour drive, we don't have to be
in such a hurry. 

Eddie:  May the way you dawdle, we will be two hours over breakfast. 
Then there is lunch and dinner along the way, we will be lucky to get 
five hours sleep tonight. 

May:  If I didn't consider good manners and careful attention to
grooming as a positive, I would be hurt.  Instead, I'm just going to 
mark it up to your lack of a proper upbringing. 

Fortunately she was smiling.  She was also pulling on a light weight
sweater and jeans.  Even though she was a little over weight she looked 
really good in the that outfit.  She was built to be a regular girl, 
not a clothes horse.  She was not fat by any means but she was not a 
size 0 either. 

May:  Your car is not large enough for my suitcase. 

Eddie:  We got it here in the car. 

May:  Yes but it filled the whole trunk where will your clothes go. 

Eddie:  I'm wearing them.  (he smiled)  This small back pack has
enough clothes for me.  Most important thing to pack when traveling is 
the company credit card. 

------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes and Salina slept late, it was well after nine when they dressed for
the day. 

Salina: (standing outside the bathroom)  Why don't you go to the
store.  I need some sausages and I can't leave the apartment till 
noon.  That's what Lucille programed into the machine. 

Wes: She could have had them drop that thing entirely. 

Salina:  You know better, it's court ordered.  Now go to the store.  I
will give you a list. 

Wes:  tell you what, I will drive out to the real supermarket to do your
shopping.  Why don't you make a real list. 

Salina agreed and made a longer list for him to take.  He was glad to
get away from her neighborhood.  The scenery was much better in the 
parking lot of the suburban food lion, than the neighborhood bodega. 

After Wes returned, they put away the groceries, then ate a quick lunch.
 They were on the road in the government car in less than an hour.  
They expected to be in County Seat before dark. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------ 


Even though Mike had heard his mother in the throws of lust, it hadn't
bothered him near as much as it had previously.  Maybe he was growing 
up or maybe the novelty of it had worn off.  Either way for 10AM on a 
Sunday morning, he was in a good place.  The scrapes hurt, but they 
also were drying up a little so they were on the mend. 

His mom cleaned them for him after breakfast.  She also re-bandaged the
wounds as well as making sure he took the right pills and in the right 
dosages.  Mike was surprised that she actually seemed to have a look of 
pride for him that Sunday morning. 

Mom:  Maybe when you get that ankle thing off, we can go out for dinner
and dancing.  I love to dance. 

Mike:  I'm not a very good dancer. 

Mom:  I'm sure I can teach you easily, after all you are my son. 

------------------------------------------------------------- 

Lucille:  Okay you two march yourselves into your room and clean.  I
want all those toys in your toy chest.  And all your clothes in the 
hamper.  Do it now chop chop. 

To the boys it was a game they played on Sunday afternoon before dinner.
 She pretended to be a drill sergeant, then ended up doing most of the 
straightening of their room herself. 

It didn't matter that they got lost in the cleaning.  It mattered only
that they try and that she reinforce it. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------- 


Eddie and May stopped for a late lunch on Sunday afternoon somewhere in
Tennessee.  One superhighway interchange was very much like another.  
They even had pretty much the same restaurants. 

The signs were often different but the food was pretty much the same. 
The waitress were a bit different as they got farther south.  They went 
from college student with a smattering of single moms to more single 
moms with a smattering of college students. 

May could see herself in their waitress.  That would have been her she
thought, if she hadn't had the abortion.  It was a scary thought.  
She almost brought it up for discussion, but decided she didn't know 
enough about Eddie to trust that his reaction would have been 
supportive. 

Eddie allowed May to drive his car after the late lunch.  It was a mark
of acceptance, even though she didn't recognize it as such.  Eddie 
was comfortable with her competence in some things, if not all things.  
It was obvious that he wouldn't hand her a sniper rifle and expect 
that she would shoot the right people.  He also wouldn't ask Wes to 
defend him in court.  ?Every task was tailored to the individual's 
abilities.  That's why they called it management. 

While they drove Eddie learned way too much about May.  He learned all
about her parents, and her friends at law school.  He even learned 
about her sex life until he finally objected. 

Eddie:  Hold it May.  I didn't want to know about your childhood, but
it did pass the time.  I didn't care how law school went for you, but 
it passed the time.  I don't give a damn about the DOJ, but it seems 
harmless.  However trust me, I do not want to hear about your sex life. 


Things got quiet in the car for a few miles then May started again. 

May:  I know I talk too much and I'm sorry, but somehow you remind me
of my dad only better. 

Eddie:  So you talk about this shit with your dad? 

May:  Well he knows I've had sex, but probably not that I have given
blow jobs. 

Eddie:  Not to the president I hope. 

May:  No, a senator once, but no other politician. 

Eddie:  Great. 

May missed the sarcasm.  So she began to explain how she came to have
the Senators cock for desert one night.  Eddie was considering opening 
the car door and stepping out onto the highway from his car going 
75mph. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------- 


While Eddie listened to May Prattle, Wes and Salina tried to find things
to talk about.  At least things that didn't make them depressed.  Wes 
knew that Salina had seen terrible things in Iraq and that she used 
drugs to escape and to cope.  That habit followed her home and robbed 
her of her life.  She had seen and done things that only a junky could 
understand.  Wes understood even though his addiction was more 
complicated, it was still an addiction. 

They talked about Salina's brother and sister and her mother and
father.  They lived in Maryland.  Not even Salina was sure how she 
wound up in DC.  Somehow it is where she got arrested for beating a man 
during a robbery that had gone bad.    Because of her military 
background she caught a break.  The VA took her in to do her cold 
turkey treatment, then they helped her stay clean for the first few 
months. 

When she went on a call with an ambulance and she felt it again.  She
felt like she had a purpose in life.  A local priest got her probation 
with the ankle bracelet and helped her start the underground aid 
station.  It didn't take long to get her accepted in the community. 

Wes and Salina stopped for dinner and sat at a booth in a casual
restaurant. 

Salina:  You have no idea how I love American backyard food.  Hamburgers
and baked beans comes to mind. 

Wes:  French Fries and hot dogs? 

Salina:  Yes those too,  I even love barbecued chicken. 

Wes:  That is one too far for me.  Rubber chicken I can not manage to
get down.  I do love barbecued pork ribs though. 

Salina:  God yes and that crap you Americanos call beer. 

Wes:  Hey it is beer.  Just not very good beer. 

------------------------------------------------------------------ 

Mike very carefully took a shower for the first time Sunday night.  He
was careful that the water didn't soften the scabs on his scrapes.  
He was also careful not to touch them.  He mostly washed his body and 
skipped his extremities.  He felt that was a pretty safe move. 

When he went into the kitchen were the medications were he was was
almost naked.  He was wearing only his briefs.  He sat on a stool at 
the kitchen island while his mother dried the scraps, applied 
antibiotic ointment, then bandaged them.  The two of them formed some 
kind of additional bond in the process.  He wasn't sure what it was 
and he didn't want to explore it. 

Mike:  I should go get dressed. 

Mom:  Yes you should this is very unsettling. 

Mike:  Yes I know. 

Mike stood and went to his room where he slipped on the loose running
suit.  He was able to sit around in it, because it was warm and soft.  
It in no way irritated  his scrapes. 

Since his joint pains were also dissipating, he was pretty sure he would
be up to taking care of himself soon.  He probably would feel better 
when he and his mother returned to their 'two strangers living in the 
same house' status. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------- 


Lillian put the kids to bed then walked into her bedroom and
contemplated the empty bed.  She took a hard look at that bed, then 
decided that she was tired of sleeping alone.  With that decision made, 
she needed to decide what she was comfortable doing about it.  She knew 
how much trouble she would be causing, but she also knew how much 
trouble her husband was causing her.  At least she wasn't thinking 
about killing him.  Well not just yet. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------- 


Eddie:  I suppose we should drive over to Williamston to find a motel. 
I don't suppose you would like to experience the night in a 
fisherman's cabins. 

May:  You stayed there is it worse than your place. 

Eddie:  Well it is certainly no better than my house. 

May:  In that case my vote goes to the Williamston Motel. 

Eddie:  Very well. 

Twenty minutes later they were in the parking lot. 

Eddie:  What? 

May:  Can we get one room with two beds? 

Eddie:  Are you fearful about being here? 

May:  Yes and no.  I mean, I'm not really concerned about someone
coming to rape and murder me in my sleep.  Then again all these people 
we are dealing with have killed other people for probably for a lot 
less reason that what we are doing.. 

Eddie:  Okay fair enough, we will share a room. 

Clerk:  Good evening, would you like a room? 

Eddie:  Yes we would like a room with two full sized beds please. 

Clerk:  Of course sir. 

Eddie and the clerk agree on a price then Eddie and May went to their
room.  The room wasn't anything fancy, but it was what Eddie had 
requested. 

Eddie:  So May is it satisfactory? 

May:  Absolutely.  I know you think it is seriously silly, but I can't
get over how seriously dangerous these men are. 

Eddie:  I don't blame you, but we haven't really been threatened
ourselves.  You know even the thing with Mike could have been just an 
accident. 

May:  If you really believed that you would never have had the office
swept. You knew someone was beginning to fight back. 

Eddie:  Frankly I always err or the side of caution.  You can't
replace people when they are gone, they are gone.  But I wasn't 
surprised to find the office bugged either. 

May:  I think that being cautious is a good approach.  Would you mind if
we went out and bought some wine. 

Eddie:  You can, but I have a bottle of Beam's Select, there is an ice
machine and a coke machine, so I'm good to go.  If you like bourbon, 
we can share. 

May:  Do you have a big bottle of Beam? 

Eddie:  Big enough. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--- 


Salina:  You know it's okay if you want to have a drink.  I know you
haven't quit. 

Wes:  Actually I have.  Not the official, carved in the wall kind of
quit, but I haven't had a drink in a while. 

Salina:  Well if you feel you want one, you absolutely can have it. 

Wes:  Thanks honey. 

Salina:  I realize that sounded a little strange, but you know what I
meant. 

Wes:  Yeah I know.  Now you listen to me.  If we have to go into that
Church Camp place someone my die.  Are you going to be able to do that. 


Salina:  If we need to cut anyone's throat, you are going to have to
do it.  I can defend myself and you, but not commit a murder.  Don't 
matter what you call it. 

Wes:  That's fair enough.  Let go to bed. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

May:  When I was little, I wanted a pony. 

Eddie:  Hell half the kids in America wanted a pony at one time or
another. 

May:  No, I mean I really wanted a pony.  I prolly would have done
anything for a pony. 

Eddie:  Well I certainly hope you didn't have to do any anything to
serious for a pony. 

May:  No all the men I knew were to honest to lie.  If one of them had
told me he had a pony he could give me, I would have done anything.  I 
do mean anything. 

Eddie:  Like I said it's a good think nobody took you up on that. 

May:  Yeah it was. 

It got really quiet a minute, then May looked up into Eddie's eyes. 

May:  I got date raped in college and I never reported it. 

Eddie:  You work for the DOJ.  Track him down and arrest him. 

May:  Can't do it.  It will make me look vulnerable.  If I do that no
one will ever trust me again. 

Eddie:  Maybe some truth to that.  So what do you need to do? Explain
what happened. 

May:  The reason I didn't come forward was I went to the guys
apartment to have sex with him.  He took my clothes off and got me into 
bed.  It wasn't my first time and I had enough bourbon to drink that 
I thought I was in love.  After him there were his two roommates. 

This is the first time I drank bourbon since.  I guess I blamed the
bourbon for the rape somehow. 

Eddie:  Well you are safe this time. 

May:  And if that is not what I want? 

Eddie:  Honey Mike is more your age than I am. 

May:  I know, but I feel safe with you. 

Eddie:  You can feel safe.  I will take care of you.  There are no
strings attached to the service.  It's just what guys like me do.  We 
are the kinds of guys who believe in Excalibur. 

May left her bed and stumbled to were Eddie lay.  Then she lay down
beside him cuddled against him and feel asleep.  Eddie wanted to move 
her when she was sound asleep but instead managed to pulled the 
coverlet over them both. 

She was right.  She really shouldn't drink bourbon, he thought. 

Day 16 

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, then 
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 door way.  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 it's 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 statue 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 were it get 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 over 
seas, 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, of that I am sure 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.  Just a way to make a buck or two while Church Camp is 
laying 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 you 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 full automatic 
assault weapons stored there. 

------------------------------------------------- 

Wes managed to limit the personnel to just the ATF 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 keep it quiet. 

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 instruction
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. 

Wes:  Thanks. 

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 was 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 
break through 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 other 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 it's 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 had so 
much was always on their faces. 

After making herself an egg with toast Lucille settled down to review
the file Mike had sent.  After reading it carefully she called up the 
Google Satellite imagines of three places in the USA.  Two of them 
meant nothing, but one was the plot of land Rose had purchases 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 her habits, 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 ever 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 a 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
and hour in the second 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.  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. 

Day 17 

For Eddie the day began with a shower while May continued to sleep
through the sound of running water.  She also slept through the sound 
of his rummaging around his back pack for clean clothes. 

Eddie:  If we hope to get home by noon, you are going to have to vacate
the bed and occupy the bathroom.  You aren't exactly a model of 
efficiency are you now? 

May (eyes still closed)  No, but the results are worth it. 

Eddie:  You got me there.  I don't dare dispute that.  But you still
have to begin.  I am going to walk across to the restaurant for coffee. 
You can join me when you are ready. 

May:  You are not going to be the gentleman and bring coffee back for
me? 

Eddie:  May honey, I can drink three cups, before you finish in the
shower. 

May:  I like that. 

Eddie:  What? 

May:  The May Honey. 

Eddie:  (obviously embarrassed)That was a fatherly honey. 

May:  Boss, I'm just pulling your chain. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes and Salina began there day in an only slightly different manner. 
Salina was up and dressed without a shower.  She and Wes began a power 
walk since the neighborhood with the downtown B&B was much safer than 
her neighborhood at home. 

They returned showered, dressed, and made it into the restaurant just
about the same time May entered the restaurant in the parking lot of 
the motel 8. 

Wes and Salina had a few more miles to navigate in order to get home,
but Wes was a much faster driver.  They both ate slowly but 
efficiently.  They were ready to leave in well under an hour. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 

In the meantime Mike was awake and walking around the garage.  He saw
his new scooter, his mothers mid size sedan, and his bike with the bent 
front wheel.  He knew the old adage was true.  He knew he had to get 
back on after his fall, but he was not going to get back on that bike.  
He had until noon, so he was going shopping for a new bike. 

After he ate breakfast with his mother he rode the scooter to work. 
When he arrived he logged  his personal tablet into the office wifi, 
then began researching Craig's List for a bicycle.  What he looked 
for was one either close to his house in the suburbs or a bike close to 
the office. 

The one he found was a 12 speed road bike which the owner claimed had
been garage stored at his father's house since college, well over ten 
years.  When his parents had demanded he clean out his personal items, 
he carried the bike to his downtown apartment.  It finally became 
obvious he would never ride it again. 

Mike was up to riding his old bike ten miles, so he figured he could get
the bike from downtown to his house about fifteen miles away.  He might 
have to stop for a coke brake, but he should be able to do it.  He 
could get one of the guys to drive him to the sellers apartment after 
work.  His best guess was two hours to get it home the fifteen miles.  
That was with a lot of stop and go.  He also had no idea how his 
injuries would effect him. 

He rode the scooter over to take a look.  Since no one was about the
office, and everyone was paranoid about the phones, he just left.  The 
bike was nothing special but clean and it was for sale.  It also had 
the advantage of being in the right area, so Mike bought it. 

The owner was in such a tizzy that the sale go through he put the bike
in his suv and followed Mike to his house.  Mike rolled it into the 
garage, paid the man, then rode his scooter back to work.  Even after 
all that shucking and jiving he got back to work before anyone arrived 
from their road trips.  Lucille had called with a message for him to 
return the call. 

Mike:  Lucille what can I do for you. 

Lucille:  Where were you.  We have agents in the field, you should be at
your desk.  You are our relay point. 

Mike:  Lucille they are both on the road driving.   No one trusts our
network so they are out of contact. 

Lucille:  Yeah I get that, still you need to stay around you desk in
case of an emergency. 

Mike:  I had the ghost cell phone with me.  I wasn't out of touch.  It
is what we all are using to communicate. 

Lucille:  This is not up for discussion, be at your desk from 8:30 till
5:00.  Do you understand? 

Mike:  Yes Ma'am, I get it. 

Lucille:  Good have them call me when they are all assembled.  We need
to have a meeting.  By the way that was good work you did on compiling 
a probable location for Rose Seabold. 

Mike:  I'm almost 100% sure she is there. 

Lucille:  Just so you know that information is very sensitive.  After
what happened to you, you should realize that her life could be in 
danger.  We need to get to her and get her into protective custody 
before the bad guys do. 

Mike:  Looked at his computer and had a fleeting thought.  What if we
are the bad guys?  He had no idea what his information was going to be 
used for.  He hadn't even considered that the information might go to 
the wrong people previously.  Shit he needed to talk to Wes badly. 

He spent the small amount of morning left worrying about what he had
done.  He realized then that the NSA had computers that could have done 
the same things he had done, if they had been looking.  If it were a 
race they would have already won.  The only explanation was that the 
NSA was not on the case. 

So was it the legendary Wilson, the hacker for Swamp Dog.  He wouldn't
need to hack her would he?   More questions without answers.  Mike 
needed to talk to Wes, and maybe even the boss to decide on his next 
move.  He put his personal tablet online using the office wifi.  He 
figured it was okay since all he wanted was to play a game.  He played 
a combat game which most likely would have turned Wes's stomach.  
Well not that so much as it most likely would have infuriated him. 

At the sound of a car in the parking deck he killed the game.  Mike
didn't killed the connection to the net.  He went instead to the 
weather channel's forecast.  The warming and sunshine was all over 
the screen when Wes and Salina entered the office. 

Mike:  Welcome home you two. 

Salina:  Thank you Mike drop your pants. 

Mike:  I didn't realize you cared. 

It had been a gamble.  Wes would either smile or knock hell out of him. 
We was doubly happy to see Wes smile.  He was happy to see Salina Smile 
as well, but to a lesser degree.  She smiled because Mike had changed 
so much in the last month.  One could see his confidence grow with the 
start of every new day. 

Wes:  We have a message for you from the waitress at the cafe.  She said
to tell you she misses you and you are still the best she ever had. 

Mike:  You are kidding right? 

Salina:  Yes he is kidding.  We told her our friend Mike said hello. 
She asked who.  So I had to say the chubby geek with the Yankee accent. 
 She replied, 'oh him.' (Mike looked crush so she went on). Geese 
Mike I was joking again.  She said to say hi for her and she hoped you 
would come again soon. 

Wes:  I think she has some new tricks to teach you. 

Mike:  Okay that's enough. 

Salina:  I wasn't kidding about dropping your pants.  I want to see
how that knee looks. (After she cleaned and redressed it.)  Not bad but 
you probably would heal faster if you stayed off that scooter. 

Mike:  So you are saying I shouldn't ride that new bike I bought. 

Salina:  Let your feelings guide you, but a few days off both of them
couldn't hurt. 

Wes took the company car out to McDonalds to load up on salads and
chicken nuggets.  Since they have pretty good coffee, he also loaded up 
on that as well. 

While he was gone Eddie and May came in.  May had a very happy and
contented look.  Mike was sure it didn't mean that she had sex with 
the boss, so he wondered who she did have sex with, or what else could 
make her glow. 

Eddie:  Mike how is the leg? 

Mike:  It's doing fine boss.  I even bought another bike. 

Eddie:  Take it easy, we don't want a repeat of the last accident. 

Mike:  Right boss.  (then to May) Why are you so looking so happy and
contented. 

May:  When you travel with the boss, you get a lot of sleep.  No bars
and home by 9PM.  Next time I'm taking my car. 

Mike waited until Wes came back, then they had the pre-Lucille meeting. 

Mike:  I followed all the leads you guys gave me and I found her.   At
least everything points to her. 

Eddie:  That's great so why do you look so worried.  Do you think she
is going to fight. 

Mike:  I would hate to think that the people who ran me off the road are
the ones who are really pulling our strings.  If they are, I have given 
Lucille almost all the information they will need find her. 

Wes:  What do you mean almost all. 

Mike:  She demanded that I give her all the information and she is your
boss, boss.  I couldn't say no.  I did sorta transposed the 
coordinates of the land Rose purchased.  After she gives you the show 
and tell,  I'll give you the new coordinates.  If you are convinced 
Lucille or her boss are not ones trying to harm her.  I trust your 
judgment more than mine. 

Eddie:  Okay give me fifteen minutes to think, then call her and tell
her we are ready for the lecture.  While we wait for her, lets all 
check our wills. 

Eddie's last word should have warned them.  He was seriously thinking
of double crossing the committee.  If there was even a hint that Rose 
might be in danger, he would personally help put her ass in the wind, 
yet again. 

Mike called Lucille since he had been instructed to do so.  He just
didn't do it as soon as the field people showed up. 

The briefing began at 3PM with Lucille standing in front of the five of
them. 

Lucille:  Here is what we know.  Iris Martin bought 115 acres of
wilderness in Maine's interior great northern woods.  I checked the 
satellite view of the property and can't tell she has done anything 
with it.  She may or may not be living there.  It's pretty wild for a 
woman alone. 

What she didn't say was that the view was of the wrong piece of
property.  The reason she didn't mention it was she didn't know it. 


Lucille:  So now the question is, what do we do  next? 

Eddie:  What makes you assume she is alone? 

Lucille:  If she is living with anyone it would be the first time. 

Eddie:  True, but it is also the first time she was gone not just under
the radar, but off the grid as well. 

Lucille:  It is a total change in her operational methodology. 

Wes:  We haven't tied her to any wrong doing.  All we have is that she
was a body guard once for Church Camp. 

Eddie:  Mike have we been able to come up with her connections with the
police back in the day. 

Mike:  When the coppers went all national, they destroyed a lot of the
local files.  It looks like the undercover files of the state and local 
cops were among them.  Nobody was sure what would happen to those 
files, so they trashed them to protect people like Rose, who were no 
longer active. 

Eddie:  Then I suggest that Wes and I go talk to Rose. 

Wes:  It isn't likely that she will lay down and spread her legs, but
it is possible. 

Lucille:  We don't have any leverage and it doesn't look like we
ever will.  We should probably wait, but I doubt we will ever have 
enough to force her to talk, or enough for an arrest warrant.  So okay 
go talk to her.  Wes how long will it take to mount a rescue mission? 

Wes:  Rescue mission? 

Lucille:  Sure I'm worried about her safety aren't you? 

Wes:  Now that you mention it, I guess we should make sure she is doing
okay.  I suppose anything could happen to her.  I'll get started 
organizing the rescue mission. 

Eddie:  We are not going into there with a rescue, or an extraction
team.  There is no creditable evidence that she has done anything 
illegal or dangerous.  Rose Seabold or Iris Martin, she is not a 
terrorist. 

Lucille:  I can agree with that, so tell me what you think we should do.


Wes:  Okay the boss and I will come up with a cover story.  As long it
is just the two of us we can at least get an interview with her. 

Eddie:  You know we have penned a lot of hopes onto the investigation of
Rose Seabold.  She might actually have done nothing other than that gig 
in the Caribbean.  We don't have anyone who says different and we 
have no hard evidence of anything. 

Wes:  Maybe we can flip her. 

Eddie:  You don't believe that? 

Wes:  Of course not.  So when do we leave? 

Eddie:  Nothing to be gained by stalling.  We might as well get Mike to
make the plane reservations. 

Mike:  So  to what destination do you want me to book the flight. 

Eddie:  You are the one who knows where she is. 

Mike:  So do I correct the record I gave Lucille. 

Eddie:  Let's just let that one slip through the cracks for now. 

----------------------------------------------------------------- 

Salina went back to the the projects to check on her neighbors.  When
she got to her apartment there was a note tacked on the door. 

Elderly lady:  Miss Salina the manager of the building came looking for
you.  He told Rosa that you were being forced to move.  If you move 
what will we do. 

The note read:  The United States Department of Public Health has
investigated and is ordering that you cease and desist providing any 
medical treatment whatsoever on these premises.  A copy of this 
notification is being provided to your parole officer.  Expect him to 
contract you in the near future. 

Salina: (into her phone) Wes what the fuck is going on.  (She read him
the note) 

Wes:   I don't know, but I am sure as hell going to find out.  You do
what you have to as far as the people go.  I will do something. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------- 


May went back to her apartment before Salina situation was known by the
team.  She entered it and noticed things out of place.  She picked up 
her phone and dialed the bosses number. 

May:  Hi honey I really need you, could you come over to my place right
now. 

There was an urgency in her voice that convinced Eddie to do it.  It
took him fifteen minutes to get to her house. 

When he knocked on the door she pushed past him and down the flight of
stairs to the street. 

May:  Someone searched my apartment while we were gone.  I feel so
violated. 

Eddie:  How obvious was the search? 

May:  What? 

Eddie:  Did it look as though they were trying to find something or
simply leaving you a message.  Tossing your place is an easy way of 
letting you know that you are vulnerable. 

May:  If that were there intention it worked. 

Eddie:  If a pro were searching, they would have been in and out without
a trace.  So obviously they wanted you to know.  If they wanted you to 
know, we need to play along.  Call police nonemergency dispatch and 
lets get a report made. 

May:  Nothing was taken. 

Eddie:  Sure there was, slip that necklace between the cushions of the
sofa and report it as taken.  I'll make a call and have your place 
swept for bugs, both audio and video.  They might just want some cheap 
porno.  (into his burner cell) Wes I need you to bring your bug sweeper 
to Mays place and after you do her  do everyone's place. 

Wes:  We got more problems.  The public health department shut
Salina's clinic down, and they reported her to her parole officer.  
It's going to be midnight before I can get there with sweeper.  
I'll call Mike to advise him I'm on the way tonight. 

Eddie:  I'll call Lucille and tell her to get a Fed Police crew to
sweep her house.  You just do May and Mikes places. 

Wes:  What about your place. 

Eddie:  Unless they have some really sophisticated shit, I can fine them
myself.  My equipment is down on the farm or I'd sweep May.  I'm 
going to take her to my place.  You want me to have her leave a key 
under the mat? 

Wes:  Are you shittin' me? 

Eddie:  Okay no key.  The cops are going to go over it first, so make
sure they are gone before you go in. 

Eddie and May stayed until the cops left, then drove the over half hour
to his mini farm. \ The Investigator day 18 

Midnight found Eddie and May twenty minutes away from Eddie's tenant
farm house.  They left May's apartment almost immediately after the 
police finished there on scene investigation.  Since they couldn't 
find any forced entry and since May could only show a few things out of 
place, the cops didn't seem to take it seriously.  They did agree to 
make a report for the insurance company on the necklace.  They 
weren't told that May didn't have any insurance to cover the 
jewelry.  She had a very little jewelry and all of it cheap, so there 
was no rider. 

Wes's sweep would tell the tale definitively.  The only reason to
break into May's apartment would be to plant a bug.  Well they might 
do it just to rattle her, which they had done.  She would be even more 
rattled, if Wes found bugs. 

While Eddie and May were on the way to Eddie's place, Was was sweeping
May's apartment.  It took him about two minute to find the first bug. 
 The guy who planted the bug hadn't been all that creative.  There 
were wireless bugs in the light fixtures and switches.  He didn't 
seem to have a lot of hope, since he only put one in each of the two 
rooms. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------- 


Wes went from May's place to Mikes home.  He called before he arrived
to have Mike waiting for him in the drive. 

Wes:  Mike it looks as though they planted two bugs in May's place.  I
have no idea about your place, but I need to sweep it anyway. 

Mike:  Sure Wes, whatever you think. 

Mike led Wes inside.  Wes started in the basement.  From it he pulled
two bugs, then went upstairs.  Wes found one in each of the common 
rooms. 

Wes:  Mike I should check your mom's room. 

Mike:  I'll get her out.  (though the door)  Mom you need to put a
robe on and come out here.  Wes needs to sweep your room for recording 
devices. 

Once Mike's mother came out wearing a grandma's robe, Wes went
inside her bedroom to sweep.  He found a bug in the desk phone and one 
in the light switch inside her bathroom.  Wes also checked the obvious 
places for a video camera and came up with it in the heating vent. 

Wes:  Mike come on outside.  (In the drive) I have no idea how long you
have been on tape, but you both have.  I hope you didn't do too much 
work from home, since you were pretty much being overheard even in the 
shower.  You don't sing in the shower do you? 

Mike:  I hope not. 

Mike realized that he might have been the source of the leak, if the bad
guys found Rose, it could be his fault.  It was a sobering thought. 

Wes:  Well be careful what you say around home.  I'm going to have to
talk to Salina's Parole Officer tomorrow, so don't expect me in 
until noon.  Tell the boss for me.  I don't want to have any 
discussion on it. 

Mike:  Sure Wes, you don't think the boss would try to stop you? 

Wes:  I'm sure he won't, since I'm not going to tell him. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------- 


Lucille finally got to bed around midnight.  She had been trying to
decide what her damage control plan should look like.  This was the 
second time she had been burglarized.  He must have come when the nanny 
was at the park.  How they avoided the security system she didn't 
know for sure, but her own team had proved that it was possible no 
matter how good it was. 

The world had gotten impossibly complicated since she began the job. 
Back then no one bothered to bug ordinary people.  That kind of thing 
was saved for criminals.   Today bug were routine almost.  Sure they 
required court orders, but the paperwork was so routine it was seldom 
even scanned by the judge.  If his clerk put it in front of him, he 
signed it. 

She intended to go to the wall with the invasion of her family's
privacy.  When her office opened, she intended to file a complaint with 
the Assistant Deputy Director of the FedPol.  He was a few steps high 
up the ladder than Eddie had been.  She intended to get the senator to 
sign off on it since it was his investigation they were spying on.  She 
couldn't even guess who they might be.  There could be any number of 
people in the Swamp Dog's Pocket. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- 


When Eddie and May arrived at his home the place was chilled.  He
quickly lit a fire in the Kerosene heater.  He also moved the ceramic 
electric heater from the bathroom to the kitchen.  It started putting 
out heat immediately as did the Kerosene heater.  Within ten minutes 
they were able to remove their coats. 

May:  I see we are back to one tiny bed.   I'm beginning to like that.


Eddie:  Don't get too used to it.  Your place will be clean today,
plus Wes and I are headed to Maine to find Rose Seabold. 

May:  I should go with you. 

Eddie:  If Rose shoots me, you couldn't pack my ass out. (Laugh) 

May:  I could call 911 as well as Wes, and I know the law. 

Eddie:  I will feel better if I'm not shepherding you around the
woods.  No offense, but I could easily get you killed.  Wes is in his 
element there. 

May:  Then take us both.  I really don't want to be alone right now. 

Eddie:  I'll think about it and let you know tomorrow before we go. 
Now we need to get to bed.  You take the sofa bed, I'll sleep on the 
floor. 

He placed his finger to his mouth so that she wouldn't answer.  Then
he went to one of the back rooms for his magic box.  He pulled two bugs 
from the house.  One from the kitchen and one from the living room.  He 
dropped them into a glass of water. 

Eddie:  So much for out uninvited guests. 

May took off her sweater and jeans.  She removed his tee shirt from a
dirty laundry pile, then slipped it on.  She then did that woman thing, 
where she removed her bra under the tee shit.  She slipped off happily 
into the bathroom with her makeup bag to do her evening things. 

Eddie knew that she was flirting.  She could have taken the tee shirt
into the bathroom to change.  She had done it to elicit a response and 
of course human nature being what it was, she got one. 

May:  Boss we have slept in the same bed before and nothing happened.  I
think we can manage it again. 

Eddie:  May I don't think so.  You know what kind of trouble you could
get into.  You are the only one still in the government.  The rest of 
us might get a slap on the hand, but you could damage your career, if 
you let anything happen. 

May:  I'm a lawyer.  Don't you think I know all that. 

Eddie:  I'm sure you do, but it's not everyday I am put in this
position. 

May:  Boss the only question is do you want to sleep with me or not. 

May moved close as she said it, then wrapped her hand around his very
visible erection.  She also tilted her head back to be kissed.  Eddie 
didn't disappoint her.  As a matter of fact all his good intention 
went right out the window.  The small day bed in his living room was 
big enough, since the were almost joined at the hip all night. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------- 


When he returned from Mike's house Salina forced  him out.  She wanted
to be alone to try to think things through.  She also had to deal with 
the many people who stopped by to ask her if it was true.  When she 
answered they wanted to know what they were going to do without her. 

At 6AM Wes left his tiny apartment in a neighborhood only a few hundred
yards from Salina lived.  He ran when he hit the empty sidewalk.  Even 
the street vendors weren't open at 6AM.  Wes had been able to sleep 
only because he knew how to sleep in the middle of a war zone. 

After his long, exhausting run, Wes drove to her parking lot.  He waited
there until she came outside.  When she emerged from the building she 
was dressed in her best clothes. 

He drove her to her appointment with the parole officer.  When he parked
the car, she tried to talk him out of going inside. 

Wes:  I'm going in, that is just how it is.  I think we should have
asked May to come along as well. 

Salina:  It wouldn't have helped. 

Wes:  It couldn't have hurt. 

Salina:  I called Lucille last night, since I knew she would be awake. 
She said she would send someone. 

Lucille hadn't sent anyone.  When the receptionist showed Salina into
the PO's office there sat Lucille. 

PO:  Salina your boss has been talking to me.  She has convinced me that
it would adversely affect her on going senate  investigation to have 
your parole revoked.  You must understand that I can not allow you to 
continue operating an unlicensed medical clinic.  Even thought it is 
according to everyone I spoke to a non profit operation, it is still 
illegal. 

Salina:  I understand. 

PO:  Will you give me your word that you will no longer treat patients
in your apartment. 

Salina:  You have my word. 

PO:  I think we can consider our business finished.  I will remind you
that the Public Health Department investigator will check back on you 
for sure. 

Lucille:  I think I can handle them.  I want to thank you for your
cooperation. 

Once outside the conversation started in earnest. 

Wes:  What the fuck just happened. 

Lucille:  What happened was that you were smart enough to stay out of
it.  This was a bureaucratic exercise in whose is bigger.  For now mine 
is.  Now you two get to work.  Eddie will be biting nails. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----- 


Truth was that Eddie and May came to work in separate cars at 10AM. 
Eddie was prepared to explain that he and May had an interview with one 
of his confidential informants over breakfast. 

He had in fact driven her to her apartment to change before taking her
to breakfast.  They arrived over an hour late because it took him that 
long to get her off him.  He was his usual reserved self, even in the 
throws of the sexual encounter, while she was a clinging animal.  He 
couldn't truthfully say that he hadn't enjoyed it at the time, but 
in the light of day it scare the B. Jesus out of him. 

Since he arrived before all of them, save Mike.  When he asked, Mike
explained why the others were late.  Eddie was about to make some calls 
when the three of them came into the room. 

Lucille: (motioned to the stairwell) Eddie we have a problem. 

Eddie:  More than usual? 

Lucille:  Someone is harassing us.  I think they are trying to divert
out attention.  They already know, what they want to know. 

Eddie:  And what might that be. 

Lucille:  The location of Rose Seabold.  We led them right to her and
off the book, so none of us have any standing to object, if she 
disappears.  It's such a nice box they put us in. 

Eddie:  If that is the case, I quit. 

Lucille:  I don't blame you a bit.  I wish I could go with you, but we
have to make it look as if nothing has changed.  We still have no idea 
what is really going on. 

Eddie:  Good, try to keep them home, if you can find out who they are. 

Lucille:  I can't defuse it that's why I'm telling you.  I will
take care of the team after you leave.  None of them are going to be in 
the shit, I promise. 

Eddie:  I hope you can keep that promise. 

Lucille went back inside to keep the team occupied while Eddie drove
home to pack then to Maine.  He had satellite photos of the real piece 
of dirt belonging to Rose Seabold. 

He checked into a cheap motel in New England, before his burner phone
rang at 9PM. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Wes began to ask around to find out who was after them.  Mike ran the
serial number of the equipment.  That led him down a twisted path.  
From the manufacturer they went to a distributor.   Wes would have 
expected them to have been purchases by some branch of the FedPol but 
they went to a private supplier.  His sales were mostly to sleezy 
private investigators, but he had no records on those wireless mics. 

He showed no records of sales on line, so it was a matter of going to
see him.  Wes and May took the company car on the drive south. 

May:  So you think this place delivered the equipment to Swamp Dog? 

Wes:  I can't find anyone who thinks Swamp Dog does domestic wire
taps.  There is nothing to be gained by it. 

May:  Could be they want to find Rose first. 

Wes:  Even their domestic people seem to be body guards and the like. 
They don't have the infrastructure to do listening posts and follow 
people around. 

May:  Do you think they farmed it out? 

Wes:  I don't know, but I'm going to when I get my hands on the end
user.  I'd bet your ass, that the end user also put the Public Heath 
dept on Salina. 

May:  Ah Salina, so some of this is personal. 

Wes.  Yeah it is very personal.  You know the boss is headed for Maine. 
He won't get there today.  He is going to be staying in a motel just 
like we are.  You might want to call him and let him know that you are 
out with me and I'll take care of you. 

May:  What does that mean? 

Wes:  It's means, he shouldn't worry about anyone coming to harm
you.  He might worry, since we didn't stop investigating.  He should 
not worry about anything else either.  I am not going to betray Salina. 
Enough people have done that. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------- 


Eddie:  Hello. 

May:  Lucille said I couldn't ask where you were.  So did you leave a
key to the farmhouse hidden somewhere? 

Eddie:  Why? 

May:  Because I'm going down there to decorate tomorrow and I don't
want to break the door to get inside. 

Eddie:  There is a key under the deck steps.  What do you plan to use
for money? 

May:  I am going to give you my bank account number.  You are going to
move a thousand dollars into my account and I am going to spend it all 
on furniture.  The rest of the shit we need you can do when you get 
home.  I will not live in a house with a kerosene heater. 

Eddie:  You do realize you haven't been asked. 

May:  It's not like I am asking you to marry me.  I mean I still have
the taste of your semen in my mouth, I think a full sized bed is a 
small price to ask. 

Eddie:  Okay, as long as it's not permanent.  You know I might want to
become a womanizer. 

May:  Oh I don't think you are going to want anyone else.  I could
hear those noises I managed to get from you.  I think I have you pussy 
whipped. 

Eddie:  Enough about that I have to get to sleep.  I have a full day of
driving tomorrow.  Give me the numbers and I'll send the money. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------- 


Lucille:  I know what you have done Senator. 

Senator:  What do you mean? 

Lucille:  I know you tried to intimidate my people and I know that
whoever you hired is extremely clumsy at it.  You aren't usually a 
clumsy man so what is going on here. 

Senator:  The committee was demanding an investigation by outside
people.  So I had you put together a team of misfits and I approved of 
them.  They turned out to be better than I expected.  I had to cover 
how someone else could know where to find her.  So I hired a Private 
Eye in Richmond to come up and plant the bugs.  He did not monitor the 
devices. 

Lucille:  Bullshit...  You may not have authorized it, but those were
working bugs.  If he did listen then there is someone else in the loop 
who knows.  You should leave the cloak and dagger shit to those of us 
who understand it. 

Senator:  So you know who ordered and paid for the hit. 

Lucille:  I do now. 

Senator:  What are we going to do. 

Lucille:  I have a man going up there to bring Rose in.  He is an
excellent investigator.  He is going to figure this out, if not 
tomorrow then the day after. 

Senator:  What are we going to do?  I can not let her flip. 

Lucille:  If she was going to flip, she would have done it already.  The
only new thing in the equation is someone is trying to kill her.  That 
is on you.  You can call it off and take your lumps, or you can kill a 
lot of innocent people to cover it up. 

Senator:  I can't go to prison. 

Lucille:  Are you prepared to have everyone killed.  It's going to
unravel even if you do.  It really has gone too far already. 

Lucille walked around his desk and opened the top drawer.  She pulled on
a pair of rubber gloves and removed a box from the drawer.  She sat it 
on the desk in front of the Senator then left the office. 

She was in the office with his receptionist discussing plans for a
senate retreat when they heard the gunshot. 

She went into cover up mode. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------- 


Day 19 

Eddie learned about the senator from a report on the TV.  The TV was in
a cheap motel just off the interstate headed into New England.  It was 
the 8PM news on the real Fox News channel, not the talk shows that 
where opinion.  So he was sorta in the loop when his burner phone rang 
at nine. 

Eddie:  Hello 

Lucille:  Have you heard the news? 

Eddie:  Yeah, it was on the news.  I assume it was connected to our
investigation. 

Lucille:  Surprise of all surprises a politician did the right thing. 
Oh course now I'm out of a job. 

Eddie:  You won't go hungry.  I trust you know where enough bodies are
buried to find a soft landing. 

Lucille:  Yeah me and the kids could never downsize to a share croppers
house. 

Eddie:  I know, that's why I didn't ask. 

Lucille:  So are you going looking for her? 

Eddie:  Yes 

Lucille:  You going to bring her back? 

Eddie:  Only if she wants to come.  If not, I'm going to help her put
it in the wind. 

Lucille:  Good for you.  I figured we can keep the hounds at bay for a
couple of more days at the very least. 

Eddie:  I'll probably won't need more than that. 

Lucille:  To make Rose into someone else?  I'll bet she can be out of
there in an hour.  Anyway I can't promise you that you will receive a 
hero's welcome when  you return. 

Eddie:  Damn no parade, bummer. 

Once they hung up Eddie checked his rifle case again and then returned
his .38 chief's special wheel gun to the lock box before turning in. 

He awoke early on the nineteenth work day of the investigation. since he
never could sleep well in strange beds waking early was easy.  He 
walked to the restaurant near the motel for breakfast and carry out 
coffee.  Then he walked back for a shower.  He skipped shaving as he 
often did since he retired. 

He dressed in his new uniform of khaki work pants and a faded blue work
shirt.  They were both still winter weight, as the weather wouldn't 
be warm till after lunch.  He had a four hour drive, but that should 
put him at the edge of the national reserve.  Rose's one hundred and 
fifteen acres touched on Maine's share of the Appalachian trail. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------- 


Back in DC Lucille was closing down the office.  She explained to Salina
that she would intercede to keep her out of jail, but her clinic days 
were over.  However she felt sure that the catholic mission, only a few 
blocks from the project, could use some volunteer services.  She could 
even direct her former clients to it.  How she made a living was 
totally up to her.  The church wouldn't be able to pay her. 

Salina:  I'll figure something out.  Thank you. 

A few minutes later Lucille spoke with Michael. 

Lucille:  Mike I'm sorry we are shutting down this operation.  I'm
sorry but I'm going to be out of work in a couple of weeks myself.  
If you need a reference of any kind let me know. 

Mike:  I'm thinking about trying my hand as a researcher.  Can I count
on you for a good reference. 

Lucille:  Absolutely. 

Mike:  Where is May? 

Lucille:  She is taking a few days off then she is going back to the
DOJ.  She is the only one whose life is the same today as it was a 
month ago. 

Mike:  I doubt it.  I think everyone changed some. 

Lucille:  You know, you are probably right. 

Lucille wondered if she would have tried to cover up the senator's
crimes, if she had not met her group of misfits. 

Wes:  So what bone to you have for me. 

Lucille:  You are the luckiest of us all.  You got the brass ring. 
(looking at Salina) 

Wes:  You are absolutely right. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
---- 


Eddie drove until it was time for lunch.  He stopped in a roadside local
fast food joint.  He took his burgers and went to sit in the parking 
lot.  He checked his voice mail on his real cell phone. 

There was a message from May.  She was busy spending his money it
seemed.  He thought about her.  She was young and attractive what she 
wanted with him was hard to imagine.  He decided to just let it play 
itself out. 

After the burgers he sat in the econobox while he charted his course to
Rose Seabold's camp.  The hike would have him either in her house, in 
a tent somewhere lost on her acreage, or in a hole in the ground. 

Thirty minutes later he left everything of any value locked in the trunk
of his little car.  He walked in carrying a sleeping bag, a bag of 
trail provisions, his chief's special and a .30 carbine of Korean War 
vintage.  He walked two hours until almost 5PM. 

Rose Seabold:   You are trespassing. 

Eddie looked up to the top of the ridge.  She was back lite by the
afternoon sun. 

Eddie:  You must be Rose Seabold.  Can I assume you have a couple of
loads of buck shot for my ass, if you don't like my answers. 

Rose:  You may indeed. 

Eddie:  Okay, what you want to know? 

Rose:  Who are you and what are you doing here. 

Eddie:  Until yesterday I was an investigator for the Senate Select
Committee for the investigation of the so called American Foreign 
Legion. 

Rose:  Swamp Dog? 

Eddie: Right, the senate can't go after them for their work overseas,
so they are investigating their domestic work.  In my investigations 
your name came up.  Needless to say finding you wasn't easy. 

Rose:  So you are here to take me back? 

Eddie:  Not really.  If you want to testify, I will do my best to see
you get there safe.  But someone is trying to hijack my investigation.  
I came to warn you that they may be on their way here.  As far as I'm 
concerned, you can take my phones and I'll stay here till you make 
your arrangements and put your ass in the wind. 

While she thought about it, he looked at her.  She was very
unattractive.  Her skin was like leather and her hair was just like his 
cropped short and no doubt done herself.  Her clothes were dirty and 
looked as though they would be smelly. 

Rose:  Let's go to my place while I try to decide what to do with you.
 (She whistled and two spaniels of come kind came running.)  Lady, 
Tramp now y'all behave don't chew his arms off, he is not a chew 
toy.  Don't worry stranger they don't have any teeth.  They have 
turned into damn fine squirrel dogs though. 

Eddie:  Good to know. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

What should have been day 19 of the investigation turned out to be the
last day.  After the team dissolved they went their separate ways.  Wes 
and Salina went to her apartment to clear out her things.  She and Wes 
had decided to share expenses.  By the end of day they had her meager 
belongings installed in his sparsely furnished apartment. 

On that sunny afternoon Mike went for a ride on his scooter.  He found
himself back at the 'hole in the wall office'.  He was feeling a 
bit lost.  He really didn't know where else to go so he went home. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

May had a full sized bed delivered to the home belonging to Eddie.  She
didn't get the full bedroom set.  She felt like that might be a 
little much.  What she did get was the bed with a frame to get it off 
the floor.  Instead of the bedroom suite, she bought two shoe box shelf 
sets.  One for each of them.  She didn't disturb his cardboard boxes, 
but the units would be ready when he returned to empty them. 

May tried several times to reach him but he wasn't answering his cell.
She knew that it could be for many different reasons. 

---------------------------------------------------------------- 

Rose:  Okay I'm going to leave first thing in the mornings.  I need to
borrow your car just in case the people looking for me are as smart as 
your man. 

Eddie:  Do you think it's Swamp Dog? 

Rose:  If it was Swamp Dog, I would already be dead.  It could be the
government, a pissed off client, or someone whose toes I stepped on 
while doing the job. 

Eddie:  Yeah, but they had access to my team.  That worries me. 

Rose:  That is your problem.  Mine is to get lost again. 

Eddie:  I'm going to forget you are traveling with two Springer
Spaniels. 

Rose:  Lady and Tramp are Brittany Spaniels.  They are smaller.  Still I
thank you for not telling on me.  They would be hard to keep with me, 
if those looking knew about them. 

Eddie:  I know you always travel with just what you can carry, just so
there are no leads.  So you going to give me the keys to your car.  
I'll drive it home just so they follow a false trail. 

Rose:  If we are going to do that, let's just go into town tomorrow
and change the tittle and I'll just disappear.  Give me an open title 
to your car and I'll get it filled out later. 

Eddie:  When  you trade it? 

Rose:  You are pretty good.  There is one more thing you can do for
me.................. 

The end. 


   


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