Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts

Friday, January 19, 2018

Eli Asks Why?

This is Day 15 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Why Ask Why?

My first thought on why ask why was - why not? If you don't ask, you will never know. Not that everyone would be forthcoming with an answer.

For instance, my friend Eli, (remember him?) has this strange habit of disappearing into thin air. You read that right. He just spontaneously becomes invisible. Now if you were to ask him why he was there one minute and invisible the next, what do you think he would say? "Uh...I'll have to get back to you on that."

Eli seeks out the only person who can answer him when he asks WHY?

"Why did I suddenly become invisible? I had to leave Paul to face that madman at the bar, not that he didn't deserve itwhy can't he keep his mouth shut? Plus I had to walk home because an invisible man can't drive," Eli exploded at his mother, who was fortunately in her human state, as Eli would have felt even more ridiculous having this conversation with a bird. 

"Can you tell me why, and then maybe how? I need to know. I can't risk randomly disappearing in public like that. Imagine what my boss would say."

"Take a breath," said his mother calmly, "and I'll try to explain. You've always know that you...that we...were different. I had hoped my stories and your dreams would prepare you."

"For what?" Eli asked skeptically.

"For your new powers," she stated, as if that were sufficient explanation.

"I'd say that the preparation was seriously lacking," responded Eli sarcastically. "I had no idea beyond the fact that my mother is a part-time bird princess."

She sighed, "You are inherently magical, as am I. Back at the bar when you wished you were invisible, you became invisible. It was a fear response. You feared for Paul, and for yourself. Each time you wished you were invisible, the power built until you ceased to be seen. In the beginning, our powers are a response to an intense feeling, and difficult to control," she explained.  "I know it was a shock, and I wish you could have known what was happening."

"In time, you gain control of your power and make it work for you. I do not know why you have been given the power of invisibility, but I'm sure there is a reason. Perhaps there is something new on the horizon for you. Another thing you should know is that your powers grow, or advance, with time, and as you master one power, another will begin to appear. 

"Any more questions?" She asked.

"What other powers are there? Will I suddenly find myself leaping tall buildings, stopping locomotives? What am I...like Superman?"

"I just had to ask, didn't I?" thought Eli. "Now what?"


The previous adventures of Eli:
Birdman


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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Swimming Upstream

This is Day 9 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Swimming Upstream.

Previously on the continuing saga of the FBI and the Scuzzy Art Dealer (SAD), Alex has arranged for Sato Yasahiro of Tranquility Imports to obtain a rare artifact as a wedding gift for his fiancée. Based on a recorded conversation in the alley between Sato and SAD, it is believed that arrangements are being made. 
As the story continues, however, we find that this is how that conversation in the alley really went.
"Hello, I am Sato Yasahiro. I believe we are to be doing some business together," stated Sato.

"It would appear so. I am John."

"Interesting," commented Sato, "You don't look like a John to me." 

"Some things are best not known, so today I am John."

"I understand the object in question is in Hirosaki, and will be in the States within the week," responded Sato in confirmation. "The American will pay top dollar to make his woman happy. This is a good deal."

"This is where the deal changes, my friend," explained John. "I am thinking we kill the American and take the money, then we sell the artifact and split the profit fifty-fifty."

"Okay," says Sato, "But what are my chances of getting out of this alive with half of the money."

John laughed. "Oh, about fifty-fifty. Are you willing to take that risk for the money?

"Sure, why not. If I survive I have millions, and if I die, I won't know anything anyway. Seems fair enough," agreed Sato.


"Good morning Diane. Would you please let me know when the others get in," requested Charlie. "By the way, you look nice today. I mean you always look nice, you just look particularly nice today...Oy that didn't come out right," insert foot thought Charlie. "Excuse me, I'll be in my office," and a very flustered Charlie made his departure, leaving a puzzled Diane looking on. 

"Hey Charlie, what's up?" asked Alex as he, Bobby and Kyle piled into Charlie's office.

Relieved to get back to the case, Charlie plunged in. "We got a hit off of the cigarette butt. The DNA belongs to a Japanese guy with the equivalent of a rap sheet in Tokyo. His name is Hayashi Akio. However, it seems he may not be our guy because he has an alibi for the murder currently under investigation, but he is a person of interest by virtue of being at the warehouse, but not a suspect."

"Since we have no idea who SAD is yet, I guess we are still swimming upstream," stated Bobby matter-of-factly.

"Yes and no," said Charlie, "It's true he has an alibi, but we will investigate all known associates and double check his alibi because Hayashi could still be involved. I'll assign some agents to make phone calls and conduct searches into all his business and social contacts, pull phone and credit card records."

"Alex, you and Bobby keep going around to high-end establishments, museums, and such  and keep up your cover. You never know who is going to say what to whom when they think no one's paying attention."

"Kyle, you and I will do the same on our end, and hopefully we can gather enough information to put our plan into place before the package arrives.

To be continued...




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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Mess at Mass


This is Day 3 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Toilet paper on your shoe.

Jill was running late and scrambling to get out the door. She could not be late for mass again. That would make three times this month, which would not gain her favor with Sister Agnes, and she was supposed to help Jill head up the food drive next week. It wasn't her fault this time, she told herself. Oscar and Pixie had been playing with the toilet paper again...what a mess.

Jill wheeled into the closest parking space available (why there are 15 handicap spaces when the average age of the congregation was 40 she would never understand). She practically ran down the sidewalk and up the stairs, barely catching her breath as the pulled open the large wooden doors of the 19th century cathedral. With just minutes to spare, she slid into the only open spot, near the front, directly in front of the priest. She gave a sigh of relief and uttered a silent prayer of thanks, only to feel her face flame when she glanced down to see about three feet of toilet paper solidly attached to her heel. 








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Thursday, August 31, 2017

So Now We Wait...

This is the 10th and final day of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by 
P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is New York, New York. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

"Over here," called Charlie, standing in front of a rusty door. "Other than a loading dock with a garage door, this looks like the only way in...or out of the building. What does that tell you?"

Kyle looked around, stroking his chin, "No one gets in without whoever's inside knowing about it. Do we stake it out and see who shows up?"

"Or leaves," says Charlie. I'll get some agents down here to blend in and keep an eye on the place. We will meet back up with Alex and Bobby to see what they found out." He pauses, taking a bag and some tweezers from his pocket and collects a cigarette butt. "This may be nothing but you can never tell what might turn out to be a clue."

The four agents piled into a booth at a restaurant on the other side of town and began to compare notes.

"So what did you guys pull out of the woodwork today?" asked Charlie.

"We hit four auction houses, but the first three don't count. I think we hit pay dirt at the fourth" grinned Alex. "A place called Tranquility Imports." 



"Tranquility Imports" That's kind of a sissy name for the kind of scum we're looking for," smirked Charlie. 

Yeah, I thought that was an odd name for an establishment walking the fine line between legal and jail time. Turns out it's a family business going back generations. It is run by Sato Yasahiro, the third in the family to bear that name. Yasahiro means 'tranquil child'. After his father died and the current Yasahiro took over the business, changes were made."



"So these changes are perhaps what leads you to believe this may be our guy?" inquired Kyle.

"Not our guy, so much as the guy who knows the guy, and let's just say that the elder Yasahiro is probably not smiling down on the new business plan," said Bobby, reaching for the plate of fries. "What did you find?"

"We found a grungy warehouse that fits the bill for shady dealings. We put some undercover guys on stakeout," replied Charlie, glancing at his watch. "It's almost the witching hour when bad things get worse."

As if on cue, Charlie's cell rings. "Yeah, what have you got? Okay. What did they look like? I see, got it. Thanks."

All eyes were on Charlie. "Alex, can you describe Yasahiro for me?"

"Stocky, about 5' 8", black hair pulled back into a queue. Dressed in black with a red tie and gold cuff links," complied Alex. "Did they see him?"


"Maybe. There was another guy there too, bald, likely in his 50s. One of our guys posed as a drunk sitting propped up next to the building behind the dumpster. He was wired and picked up a bit of conversation about how to get a particular piece for some rich American."

"The bald guy was driving a rental with New York plates so they checked with the rental agency. It was rented to a Nikolai Petrov, who just happens to be our dead Russian. I'm going to have a piece of evidence checked for prints and DNA. Maybe we'll get a hit." said Charlie. "I'm thinking the bald guy is SAD."

"Yeah, I'd be sad, too, if I was bald," joked Alex. 

"All right, get some sleep tonight. Hopefully, tomorrow we can prove the connection between Yasahiro and the bald guy.

The next morning Alex's burner phone rings. "Hello. Yes, this is Alan. I see. Yes, a week will be fine. Thank you very much. Jasmine will be very happy."

"That was Yasahiro. He says he has met with his contact and they should be able to have it within a week, and he would be in touch to arrange payment and delivery," Alex reported to the group. "In addition to the piece being rare, expensive and difficult to obtain, it is also in Hirosaki. So now we wait."

Charlie smiled over the rim of his coffee cup, "Excellent! In the meantime, we'll quietly continue our undercover investigation. We need to know when and where the deal will go down so we can be in place ahead of time."

"At least this one is on our turf," said Alex. "That's a relief after the last case took us all over the country. Plus I got shot."

"Look at it this way, Alex, you got to meet a pretty girl," said Charlie, thumping him on the back.

To be continued.




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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Let's Make A Deal

This is Day 6 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Achorage, Alaska. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.


"Just for grins, who is it our scuzzy art dealer was supposed to have murdered?"and by the way, where did we come up with these accessories," asked Alex as he strapped on his Rolex and adjusted his silk tie.

Pulling on his coat and setting a hat atop his head, Charlie said "A lot of these things were from old busts, where the perps are long gone and there were no relatives found to claim them. As to the who, it was apparently a colleague. 

As I understand it, he was a Russian collector and there was an exchange of goods somewhere in Alaska...Anchorage, I believe. Anyway, the deal went south and our scuzzy art dealer, let's call him SAD, shall we. So SAD allegedly offed the guy, took the goods and the money."
"That's a scenario that plays out way too often," replied Alex. "But if the murder victim is Russian, wouldn't the Russian authorities want SAD, or for that matter why wouldn't we, if the murder happened here?"

"In some cases, yes, but the Russian was a legal resident of Tokyo at the time of his death, therefore it makes it Japan's problem. Because SAD is currently operating in the U.S. I bet there are any number of things we could charge him with, but getting justice for the murder is our priority.

"Hey guys, you ready?" asked Kyle, who had just appeared in the doorway looking like Charlie's right-hand man. Bobby, on the other hand, looked like Alex's nerdy cousin, a part he reluctantly played, but was rather good at.

"Ready!" said Charlie, "Everyone got their roles down? Time to hit the streets. Alex, you and Bobby start with the auction houses. You have your list of those rare, hard-to-come-by items that should pique their interest. The object is to ask for something the legitimate dealers can't get, and maybe they will know someone who knows someone."

"In the meantime, Kyle and I will check out places where SAD might be doing business and try to make a connection. Let's go!"

"Welcome to Morton's Auction House. My name is Victor, how may I help you?" asked the proprietor with great formality as Alex and Bobby entered the room.

Not expecting such posh surroundings, Alex cleared his throat, "Um, yes, well I am looking for this or maybe this" as he hands Victor a couple of pictures. "I have heard many good things about Morton's, and I thought perhaps you could help me. I would like to procure one of these for my fiancée as a wedding gift."

Victor stared at the pictures for a long moment then said "I am afraid these items are beyond our resources. I am sorry. Perhaps another, shall we say, less prestigious establishment may be able to help you. It is not that the items you seek are not worthy of our House, it is just the means by which we would have to acquire them that renders us unable to assist you."

"Thank you very much for coming in, and good luck in your quest," responded Victor graciously as he escorted them to the door.

That scenario played out similarly in the next three auction houses. "Well," said Bobby, "that's four down and how many more to go?

"Who knew there were that many auction houses in the city," complained Alex. "I hope Charlie is having better luck."

"Next up is Tranquility Imports. I think that is our winner," Bobby said confidently.

They drive to a less fashionable neighborhood to find a rather ordinary brick building with a small sign that read Tranquility Imports. "This doesn't look like the others, but that may be a good thing since we have struck out everywhere else, said Alex as he looked around. "Let's see if we can get in."

"Hello," called Bobby. "Are you open for business?"

Momentarily a man entered from another room. He was dressed in all black, save a red tie and gold cuff links.

Good afternoon gentlemen, I am Sato Yasahiro, proprietor of Tranquility Imports. What can I do for you today?

"Hello, my name is Alan Wainwright and I'm looking for these items, handing Sato the pictures. I have been turned down at the last four places I tried. Can you help me?" inquired Alex, watching him closely.

"If I can, can you afford my services?" said Sato, watching Alex equally as closely. "This type of item is extremely rare...and extremely expensive. It would take a certain amount of, shall we say, effort, to acquire either of these artifacts. Are you comfortable with that?" asked Sato, implying that all would not be aboveboard, just what they were hoping to hear.

Alex glanced at Bobby and saw they were on the same page. "Yes, that would make my fiancée very happy. It is to be a wedding gift."

"Very well then, let's talk business." Sato indicated an office to the left.

Meanwhile Charlie and Kyle, on a tip from one of their contacts, are poking around a warehouse on the less savory side of the city, oddly enough, not far from where Alex is making his deal.

"What do you see here, Kyle?" as they walked cautiously along the building that takes up a full city block. 

"It's what I don't see. Surely there is a door around here somewhere." Suddenly there was a loud noise coming from inside the warehouse. Both men instinctively reached for their guns, then stopped. "That wasn't a gunshot," said Charlie thankfully. "Let's keep going. This seems like the kind of place we might find SAD. 


Stay tuned for the next part coming up August 31.
==============================================




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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Going Under!

This is Day 2 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Tokyo, Japan. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

The continuing adventures of FBI agents, Charlie and Alex.

Charlie grinned as he hung up the phone. "Wow, that's new. Interpol wants us to help track down a Japanese art dealer."

"Okay, I'll bite," replied Alex who had been lounging in the doorway, "Since when does the FBI track down art dealers?"

"Since the art dealer deals in stolen art and is also a murder suspect in Tokyo. They want us to find him and send him back," Charlie said shaking his head. "I think we're getting singled out for the unusual cases."

"That couldn't be because we have been racking up results and solving unsolvable cases out the wazoo, now could it," quipped Alex. "I mean just look at these new digs" waving his hand around to indicated Charlie's new office. "Way to go lead agent in the Atlanta field office."

Always ready to dive into a new case, Alex asked,"So where do we start? What do we know other than the dude is Japanese, a murder suspect and apparently here in the city since we're the ones who got the call."

"Interpol is sending us the file." Charlie grinned again, "In the meantime, we are going to work on our cover." 

Now Alex was the one grinning. "I thought you'd like that idea," said Charlie. "Just remember, nothing ever goes as planned." He thought for a moment, and said "I'll be a shady art dealer and you can be a rich collector. That should get some attention of the unsavory kind. I'll have Sheila get us a list of museums, auction houses and art dealers so we can start playing our roles."

"A rich art collector, huh? I like it," said Alex striking a pose.

"Don't get too carried away now. This guy's a murder suspect and I expect he'd like to stay on the outside of the iron bars," Charlie cautioned. "Now speaking of bars, let's go get a couple cold ones while we plan our strategy."

"I second that," said Alex. "Are you driving?" 





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Friday, January 27, 2017

Crush Or Be Crushed

This is Day 20 of the 2017 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Sydney, Australia. The Saga of Charlie and Alex continues. Please visit the other participants for more adventures.

After a brief reunion, Charlie enlists Adam and Josh to help as FBI consultants on the case. He discusses what they have learned and listens to Adam's ideas. "So are you in?" Both men nod.

"Great, meet me at the field office at noon, and I'll introduce you to my team and we can get started. My guys are champing at the bit. I think Alex just wants to wrap this up so he can go out with the young lady he met on the flight. She is here visiting her cousin."

"That's interesting," said Josh. "My cousin, Nadja, is visiting for a couple weeks."

"Really," said Charlie grinning. "Alex is my partner and he and she were seat mates on the flight. I took a nap and when we landed they were like two peas in a pod." 

Later that day, Alex, Adam, Josh and the other agents met with Charlie to go over the plans. "Based on our intel, there is a major deal going down in two days in the Slasher's territory in Monterey. The cartel has an arrangement with the Slashers for security for a small cut in the profits. They will be meeting with their buyer at the Slasher's warehouse. We believe that Crusher wants a bigger piece of the pie, so to say we anticipate trouble is an understatement."

"Adam, we will need you on surveillance watching the monitors and watching our backs. We will all be on comms so you can communicate with us. Josh, you're on surveillance as well." Charlie caught Josh's frown..."understood?" Josh nodded. "Okay let's go, we're getting an early start tomorrow."

The next morning they rolled into Monterey at breakfast time. "I sure love me some diner food," said Alex. After filling up on eggs, bacon and pancakes, they settle into their temporary command center and begin their final preparations. 

"Okay guys," said Charlie, "It's time. Teams 1 and 2 take the south side. Teams 3 and 4, move up to the rear and hold. Alex you and I will take the East side, Kyle you and Bobby are on the West. Adam can you hear us?"

"Roger, loud and clear."

"SWAT team, ready?" asked Charlie.

"Roger," called the team commander.

As the teams move silently, nearly invisibly, toward positions, Charlie spots an old truck parked half on the sidewalk near the entrance to the dilapidated building used by the Slashers for their business transactions. "Guys, hold up."

Just then a van belonging to the cartel pulls up, stopping just behind the truck. Four guys with AR-15s  get out. "Hector," one man shouted at the door, hanging loosely on it's hinges.

Just as he yells again, the truck explodes sending glass and metal shards flying. Charlie's team was across the street and immediately fell to the ground, more from instinct than the blast. When the debris stopped raining down, they got up guns drawn, only to instantly become targets of gunfire.

"Adam, what can you see," asked Charlie from his precarious position. There was little in the way of real cover, it was modest concealment at best.

"Charlie," responded Adam, "It appears that the blast took out the guys from the van. I can't see the shooters, but I would guess they are Slashers double-crossing the cartel. They probably have either killed Hector or have him tied up in the back."

"SWAT team commander," called Charlie, "move to the front of the building on the north side. Teams 1 and 2 with me. Alex, we're going in behind SWAT. Teams 3 and 4, stay at the back of the building. Kyle you and Bobby find a vantage point. Don't be afraid to take the shot if necessary.

It had only been a few moments since the explosion but it felt like hours and that everything was moving in slow motion.

More shots rang out as the agents descended upon the building. The sagging door splintered as it was breached. 

"Okay," yelled Charlie, "FBI, drop your weapons and come out with your hands up." He always felt foolish saying that. It sounded so scripted, like something off of TV.

"Nah, I don't think so," bellowed a deep voice from inside.

"That you Crusher," shouted Charlie. "Where's Hector?"

"Hector's dead, just like you're gonna be. Just like that guy on the bike. Yeah, I know you been snooping around, setting up camp. You figured you'd just waltz in here and take me down easy. Well easy ain't the way I do things. Boys..."

Suddenly there was a cacophony of gunfire mixed with shouts of exhilaration and screams of pain as bullets tore into flesh. Charlie dove to the side as Crusher came barreling out the door, spraying a hail of machine gun fire at the van which exploded into flames. The gang members left standing at the end of the flurry, dropped their guns, all but Crusher, who was tearing about wildly like a crazed animal, yelling obscenities.

"It's over, Crusher, put it down," said Charlie, keeping his attention while members of SWAT approached from behind. "This will go easier if you just stop now." 

He dropped his gun and for a second his eyes glazed over and it looked like he was going to comply. Then seemingly unhinged, Crusher made a last ditch attempt to carry out his threat. He pulled out a knife and with one last bellow of rage, he charged at Charlie. Within seconds, Crusher was tackled, taken down and lay cuffed at Charlie's feet. "Looks like the Crusher's been crushed."

"Everyone all right?," Charlie asked as he looked around taking a head count. Everything had gone down in a matter of minutes. A chorus of 'yeahs' were music to Charlie's ears, but... "Alex, has anyone seen Alex?"

"I'm over here Charlie, but it looks like I zigged, when I should have zagged," said Alex holding a hand to his bleeding shoulder."

Charlie sighed in relief. There were only minor injuries on his side, plus a few fallen Slashers, along with Hector and the cartel members, and Crusher was finally in custody. They had his confession.

"Good job guys! It turned out that Crusher's plan was to kill Hector and take the money, then when the cartel arrived to make the sale, he would kill them and take the drugs. He almost succeeded, but our grunt work got thugs and drugs off the streets. Let's go get you patched up," he said to Alex. 

"We've been given a few days of R&R before we head back," Charlie told Alex the next day. "You gonna call Nadja and get her to nurse you back to health?"

"Now there's an idea," grinned Alex. "We really seemed to hit it off."

"What about Jenna?"

"Funny you should mention her," said Alex looking a bit bemused. "I got a text from her this morning. It seems she is off to Sydney, Australia to make some Indie film with a producer she met in a coffee shop. Any of that sound familiar?"

"Ha ha," laughed Charlie, "That's an easy out for you, my friend. Speaking of friends, it was good to see Adam and Josh again. I know they are glad to finally get justice for Josh's dad." 

"What do you say we go grab a couple cold ones?" 

Alex nodded gratefully, "I'd say you're reading my mind!"






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Friday, January 20, 2017

No Grunt, No Glory

This is Day 15 of the 2017 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Zurich, SwitzerlandPlease visit the other participants for more adventures.

This is the third part in a continuing story in which I have borrowed some characters and their story from a (never before published) short story I wrote several years ago. If you are interested, you can click the tab called Short Story: My Brother's Son. We pick up the story with Charlie and Alex making their way from Philly to San Francisco via commercial air travel.


"I guess we're kind of spoiled," complained Alex as they wound their way through security at the airport. "I can't believe our jet was unavailable." 

"I know what you mean," agreed Charlie. "I can't remember the last tine I flew commercial. Things have changed a lot over the years. Security...excuse me, ma'am. Like I was saying - oh never mind, we're next."


Having successfully navigated security they found their gate and couple of seats and waited. Alex wasn't long on patience and kept fidgeting with his phone. Charlie pulled out a newspaper and sipped a cup of cooling coffee.


Flight 1650 for San Francisco now boarding. "That's us," Charlie grinned.


As they found their seats, Charlie was seated in 22B and Alex got 22C across the aisle. "I hope nobody has this seat, so I can get a few more winks," blinked Alex. 

"Excuse me, is that 22A?" Alex looked up from his phone with a frown which magically disappeared as he looked into the bluest eyes he had ever seen. 

"Why yes I am...I mean it is. Here allow me," and he steps out into the aisle to let her in. "Let me help you with your bag."

"Thank you! I am finding everyone here so friendly."

Since this was a non-stop flight, he knew she was going to San Francisco as well.

"Hi, my name is Alex." 

"My name is Nadja," replied the beautiful blond seated next to him.

And so the conversation continued for the next five and a half hours, and he totally forgot about taking a nap. Charlie, on the other hand, put on headphones and quickly fell asleep to some quiet jazz.

By the time the plane landed, Alex was totally smitten with his lovely seatmate, who was visiting the U.S. from Switzerland. 

"Charlie, this is Nadja. She's visiting her American cousins here in San Francisco,." said Alex, beaming.

"It's nice to meet you Nadja. I hope you enjoy your visit. San Francisco is a beautiful city. Now if you will please excuse us, Alex and I need to pick up our rental," stated Charlie, refreshed after his cross-country nap.

"I'll call you if I have any free time," said Alex with a sideways glance at Charlie. "Maybe we can get together for a drink."

"I'd like that," smiled the girl with the bluest eyes he'd ever seen.

Charlie wisely refrained from mentioning Jenna. Alex could manage his own personal life...or not.

They arrive at the San Francisco office to be briefed by Agent Rick Morrison. "Glad to see you. You two are really getting around. I hear you just did a week in Philly on this case, and all that hard work got you dragged out here. It seems your perp has his hand in a lot of pots. The most dangerous one being the Slashers. They are a gang that originated in LA about ten years ago and have spread like a wildfire in August. The gang leader, Enrique Hernandez, a.k.a. Crusher, is a major player in the drug trade."

Charlie has that focused look again, "As I recall, the Slashers and the Skulls mixed it up a few years back. Adam Richards and his nephew Josh are friends of mine. Adam's brother was murdered, we suspect, by one of the Slashers. Adam and Josh were up there at the time trying to get some answers. Long story short, there was trouble between the gangs, and Adam was forced to kill one of them who was holding Josh hostage. It all ended well enough for them but no arrest was made. We're hoping this ties in and that case will finally be solved."

Rick took all this in and said "Well, it looks like we've got the right team on this. Maybe we can finally pull the plug on their enterprise, and hopefully bring closure to the family of the man they murdered."

Alex, who had been listening impatiently, agrees, "I certainly hope so. I know we have a guy in custody, and should feel pretty good considering how far-reaching this operation is, but he is still just small potatoes."  It just feels like we have been chasing our tails this past week."

"I know," Charlie agreed, "but catching the bad guys isn't all action and glory, it is a lot of behind the scenes grunt work. As my mom always says...hurry and wait. Unlike kidnappings and missing persons, we have time to set up a good take down. The more of these vermin we can get off the streets, the better."

Charlie turns back to Rick, "Let's set up some surveillance on Crusher and see who he meets with. I'd wager at least one of his associates is part of the Mexican drug cartel. I sure don't like where this is going. We'll bring Kyle and Bobby up to speed when they get here." 

"Rick, how many agents do you have available? Given the multiple factions we're dealing with, there will be no lone wolves. Everyone works in pairs."

"I've got half a dozen agents skilled in gang and drug cases, plus a tactical team if needed," replied Rick. I'll pair them up,  brief them on the case and have them report to you, Charlie."

"Thanks Rick! I'll give Adam a call to see if he's heard anything else that might help."

"Okay Alex, it's time to rock and roll."




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