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.
Other Adventures of Charlie and Alex:
The Last Laugh
The Morning After
The Last Laugh
The Morning After
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