UC: Undercover Fragments
These stories are not full-length interludes--where the entire UC team works in whole, or in part, to accomplish a given objective--but rather these stories are fragments of individual UC members going about their daily business.
all fragments authored by: ucferrarisgirl
UC Characters copyright their respective creators; the rest are mine; unless I'm collaborating, in which case, i'll post credit
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listen to the music for Fragments which requires Real Player (takes a few minutes): Enrique & Alsou
Frank makes a call to her
setting: The Donovan Master Suite, which comprises the entire third floor of their new home
(landline phone calls cell phone...)
"Did you enjoy dinner?"
"I dined alone, without you, and the dinner wasn't so hot without you across from me."
"You're back in the train's cabin?"
"What are you wearing?" (low sultry voice)
"What I had on this....ohhhhh. I understand. (pause pause pause). What are you wearing?"
"Take a guess."
"Mmmmmmm. Did you use the scented gel I bought you?"
"Yes. The Biotherm. It was nice, but I prefer the Burberry scent. Musk makes you wild for me."
"That I know."
"You on the bed?"
"On the chaise, actually."
"The one by the window?"
"That is correct, my Lady. The kids called before they went to bed."
"Do they miss me?"
"Yes they do."
"Why didn't they call my cell phone?"
"Largely because of the long distance charges to the Wenners."
"Ohhh. Gotta get them a phone card."
"Not a bad idea."
"Do you miss me?"
"As do I. Did you work off the caffeine in the coffee you drank?"
(Chuckles softly). "Actually, my Lady, I bought the decaffeinated coffee."
(low sultry voice) "Give me another nick."
"Stud?! A common nick. (low sultry voice) Give me another nick."
(sound of metal crunching on Frank's end)
"Call you back." Frank hangs up, then dials 911 and leaves the landline phone on the line so the 911 operator will trace the call. He bolts through the bedroom door, down the stairs and out the front door.
He sees two cars, one of which has wrapped itself around the tree in the front yard. He sees two bodies on the ground. Kneeling, he automatically checks the pulse of the teenager closest to him and finds no pulse, because while the body is on its stomach, the head is face up--the neck is broken.
Frank looks at the other teenager's body lying a few feet away from the boy. He knows she's dead because she has been decapitated in the impact.
"Are they? Uh, are they, uh...." a male voice asks.
Frank looks up, then stands up. He takes the teenage boy and leads him into the house.
Sitting the teenager down, Frank says, "Yes. They're both dead."
The teenager pales, and starts trembling.
"What were you teenagers doing? Were you dragging?"
"They, uh, my girlfriend, wanted to drive Tony's car."
"How old was she?"
"Eighteen," Frank repeats.
"Yes. Tony just bought his car with his gambling winnings."
The young man looks shaken. "Uh, we went to Canada."
"And we gambled."
"Are you eighteen?"
"Tony is eighteen or nineteen?"
"When did you go to Canada?"
"Last weekend. We went to Montreal. Tony won two hundred thousand dollars. Then he bought the Ferrari used."
"Canadian dollars or American dollars?"
"Were you drinking?"
"No. I'm Mormon."
"Was Tony or..." Frank trails off.
"Was Tony or Chanteuse drinking?"
"I'm FBI, Mister...."
The young man looks scared. "Gerald."
"Gerald." Frank looks at Gerald. Gerald knows what Frank wants.
"Gerald Michael Donovan."
"Frank Donovan, FBI."
"You've got my last name."
"Appears so. Was Tony or Chauteuse drinking? They're dead, I will remind you."
Gerald looks guilty. "Yeah," he admits. "Chanteuse is uh was a bit of a wild girl. My parents don't like her but yeah, she drinks--drank."
"What was she drinking?"
"How many beers?"
"And you let her get behind the wheel of a car?"
Gerald gets hot. "She said she wanted to ride in the Ferrari so I let her. I pulled ahead, and next thing I know, Chanteuse drives up behind me really fast and yells out the window." Gerald falls silent and hangs his head.
Frank puts his hand under Gerald's chin and lifts it up. Gerald is crying.
"Gerald," he says softly.
"She, she," Gerald's voice breaks. "She, uh, she yelled through the window that she was going to drive for a while. I told her to stop the car, that I'd drive her if she wanted."
"And she tried to pull ahead of you and lost control of the car."
"Who gave her the beer?"
Gerald looks to the side. "Some guy."
"I don't want to get him into trouble."
Frank looks stern. "Remember, I'm FBI."
"The clerk at the Fast Mart down on Oak. He used to be a boyfriend of Chanteuse's."
"Boyfriend? How old is he?"
"Were you at the Fast Mart when she bought the beer?"
"Yes. I tried to stop her. I'm Mormon. I don't drink."
Frank changes subjects. "And what was Tony doing?"
"He was uh," Gerald looks sheepish.
"I already saw the joint on the ground."
Gerald turns his head, trying to avoid Frank's eyes. Frank puts his fingers under Gerald's chin and turns Gerald's head towards him. "Did you know Tony smoked pot?"
"Yeah. But I thought he didn't have any on him."
"And why is that?"
"We just came from church."
"That doesn't stop someone from carrying pot."
"He was always smoking pot. I kept trying to get him to stop smoking pot, telling him it would mess up his mind."
"You were right to try and stop him."
"I feel so guilty. If only I'd done more, if only I hadn't let Chanteuse ride in Tony's car." Gerald sniffs. "I knew Tony smoked pot. I should have known Chanteuse would want to drive the Ferrari. She's always wanted a boyfriend with a nice car. As you can see..." Gerald's voice trails off
"You have nothing to be ashamed of," Frank says softly. "You tried to help a friend who didn't want to be helped. You weren't at fault," Frank says softly. He released Gerald's chin and Gerald's head hangs down.
Frank puts his hand on Gerald's shoulder. Sirens in the background tell Frank the 911 operator has traced the call and has dispatched ambulances and police.
"Stay here," Frank says to Gerald. Gerald nodded his head. Frank walks to the front door and steps outside. On the other side of the street, a small crowd has gathered. Someone is taking pictures.
Frank walks over to the impromptu photographer. "Put that away," he says softly.
"Hey, it's public information, mister," the man with the disposable camera replied.
Frank smiles cynically. "Not when it's FBI," he says and takes the camera from the man's hand. Dropping it onto the ground, he crushes it with his heel, glares at the man, then spins on that same heel and walks back to the wreckage of the Ferrari. The man is spluttering.
"Did you see what he did? He smashed my camera! I'm gonna tell the police. That's destruction of property!"
Frank ignored the rantings of the man. He'd have to arrange for his kids to remain at the Wenner's until shabbat services began at sundown. Frank didn't want his kids to see where the two teenagers died. The Ferrari was literally wrapped around the maple tree.
Frank hears a car pulling up and footsteps behind him. He turns around.
The man who was taking pictures came over. "Hey, this man broke my camera!"
Officer Manchester looks at the man, then nods towards Frank. "May I introduce Special Agent Frank Donovan, FBI. This is his property."
Seeing the two bodies, Officer Manchester pulls out his radio and calls for a second ambulance while the man pales, and tells Frank: "I, uh, I, erm, didn't know. Hey, man, I'm sorry. Right? Sorry." He backs away. Frank is gazing at him steadily. The man turns then walks back across the street to join the rest of the onlookers.
The red lights of the ambulance highlighted Frank's face. The paramedics jumped out and Frank said, "you'll need body bags," before the paramedics could get out resuscitation equipment.
"Uh," the paramedics are shocked.
"Two bags," Frank says. "You two are fairly new, aren't you?" he asks them. The paramedics nod. "The teenage girl is decapitated and the teenage boy's neck is broken."
The two paramedics swallow hard and look at each other as they pull two body bags out of the ambulance. They walk around the wreckage and then stop. One turns and throws up.
"You can put blankets over them," Officer Manchester tells them. "You talk to the other drivers?"
Frank nods. "Yes. Gerald's inside my house. The girl drank three beers."
"And the boy was trying to roll a joint," Officer Manchester says, looking at the ground next to Tony's body.
"Yes. Gerald told me Tony just bought the Ferrari."
Officer Manchester shakes his head. He looks at Frank, who nods at him. Officer Manchester goes into Frank's house to interview Gerald. Frank follows him.
Twenty minutes later, Officer Manchester comes out of Frank's house. The two bodies have been removed and put into the waiting ambulances.
"Are your keys in the ignition?" Frank asks Gerald as the two come out of Frank's house.
"I'll drive you home. Where do you live?"
"Uh, the Mormon Mission Home."
Frank nods and indicates they should go to Gerald's car. Frank gets in the driver's side and starts the car. He looks out the window at the small crowd of neighbors, who begin to disburse. Frank waits until the last neighbor has gone and then drives Gerald home.
(Three hours later.....a cell phone rings...)
"A car crashed into the tree."
(a sharp intake of breath) "My god..." (her voice trails off...Frank knows what she wants to hear)
"Two teenagers dead."
"Dead! My god! In our front yard! Frank!" (Lady D's voice is agitated)
"We'll stay in a hotel this weekend."
"Frank, what..." but his voice, soft and calming, interrupts her.
"Darling. I'll tell you later. Just listen
to the sound of my voice (Frank is speaking softly and with an even tone).
Everything will be all right. I've taken care of the surviving teenager."
"He was driving the second car. Darling, I'll tell you about it tomorrow, after you've gotten a good night's sleep."
(Lady D sniffs and blows her nose) "If you say so."
"You said that to me on our wedding day."
"I remember. I'm looking at our wedding picture now."
"You're in the den?"
"Yes. I've just been wandering around the house after driving Gerald back to the Mormon Mission Home."
"Gerald's the other teenager?"
"Yes he was. You know, every day I dodge criminals and sometimes I am forced to kill. But tonight? Tonight two teenagers died in our front yard. Drinking? Yes. Using marijuana? Yes. They made a stupid mistake and they died for that mistake. And they died in our front yard."
"Did you break the news to their parents?"
"No. The police did that." (Frank strokes his chin) "But now that you mention it, I believe Chanteuse and Tony's parents will be paying us a visit tomorrow."
"To see the crash site. To leave flowers. Their friends will be doing the same."
"Roadside memorial. That's what happened when the SUV flipped over on the interstate. People left flowers at the crash site."
"They were just teenagers. While they were drinking and driving and while one was smoking marijuana, they were just kids." (A tear slips out of the corner of his eye)
"Those are killer substances."
"Do you know who provided the beer to them?"
"Yes. The clerk at the Fast Mart on Oak."
"Is Paul 23?"
"Hmmmm, if he just graduated college last year, we might be talking about the same man."
"Gerald said the clerk is 23 and used to date Chanteuse."
"Noooooo. I don't think we're talking about the same man. Paul is gay."
"No. Not the same man. The police will talk to the clerk who sold an underage minor alcohol."
"Will he go to jail?"
"The clerk? Probably. The family's attorney might try and get additional charges brought." (Frank smiles.) "You scamp. You got me talking about the crash when I told you I'd tell you about it tomorrow."
"You know you needed to talk about it."
Frank looks down. "You're right. Two teenagers dying in our front yard is quite different from when I take down a criminal. Thank you, sweetheart. Thank you for knowing me."
"I love you. Your new job is tough. Sometimes you need someone to listen to you."
"You're right. I do need someone to listen to me at times."
"You wanna talk about it some more?"
"I'd just like to hear you tell me about our wedding day."
"I was so happy."
"You were so beautiful."
"I'm not beautiful now?"
"You're beautiful every day."
"Did you like the music I chose?"
"You know I did. A beautiful choice."
"A beautiful choice for a beautiful lady."
"You're beautiful yourself."
"I'm not handsome?"
"Handsome. Sexy. Intelligent. Romantic. Sensual."
"Beautiful. Sexy. Intelligent. Romantic. Sensuous."
"We're so similar."
"Two parts of a whole."
"I'm glad I married you."
"I'm glad I asked you. We've got two great kids."
"A great family."
"Couldn't ask for better."
(Lady D yawns.)
Frank says, "You're tired."
"Traveling makes me tired."
"I'll sing you a lullaby."
"For my Lady, yes." Frank starts to sing the lyrics to "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
(Lady D laughs) "You scamp!"
"Scamp again? I'm not lambchop?" he says with mock surprise.
"Mmm. Getting closer."
"The beautiful one?"
"Now, now. I do sort of like that nick."
(Lady D yawns again.)
"Love, I shall let you get some shut eye. Dream nice dreams about me."
"I'd rather dream about you while you're next to me. But I'll tell you that I taped a picture of you on the window."
Frank smiles. "I am still looking at our wedding picture."
"I miss you."
"I love you."
"And I love you, beautiful one."
"Love you back, sexy."
"Those kids didn't get to say goodbye or I love you to their parents."
"That's why I always say I love you. In my line of work, you never know..."
"Love you bunches."
"I'd swim the ocean just to give you a kiss."
(Lady D clicks off the phone.)
Frank brings the phone to his lips and kisses it softly. He puts the phone down and walks through the house. He stops off in each of his children's rooms, and looks at their pictures, touching them lovingly.
Finally, he finds himself outside his house, standing over the spot where two young adults died a few hours earlier. He hears footsteps and a young girl comes out of the shadows carrying a teddy bear.
"Is this where...?" her voice trails off.
Frank looks at her. Her eyes are puffy from crying. He nods and she places the teddy bear next to the maple tree.
"She was my friend. She graduated high school a year early," the girl says, sniffling. She stands there a moment longer, and Frank reaches out to put his hand on her shoulder, but she turns and runs from the scene.
Frank stands at the accident scene a moment longer, then he shakes his head sadly. Tears are running down his face as he stands in the moonlight. He turns and slowly walks into the house and goes in. Turning, he starts to shut the front door, but lingers a moment, looking at the maple tree with the teddy bear propped against the trunk.
Frank wipes his nose with the back of his hand, and shuts the front door.
(phone rings...Frank snaps awake and sits up suddenly. He reaches over for the phone.)
"Hello Darling! I'm back from dinner. Did you enjoy your workout?"
"Sweetheart...(his voice is shaky). I'm so glad you called. Uhm, did I phone you earlier?"
"What's wrong? You sound a bit upset."
"It's nothing. Nothing, dear. Stress, I think. Don't worry yourself."
"Did you fall asleep?"
(Frank sits on the edge of the chaise). "Yes I did fall asleep for a while." (he checks his watch). "For about a half hour."
"You have a bad dream?"
"Yes. It wasn't pleasant."
"What was it about?"
"Nothing I can't handle sweetie. Did you enjoy dinner?"
'I would have enjoyed it more had you been there."
(Frank smiles) "In the beginning of my dream, you said much the same thing about dinner."
"What else did I say?"
"That you love me."
"That I do."
"As I love you."
"Did the kids call?"
"They said they missed you."
"I miss them as much as I miss you."
"Tell me about what you did after dinner. I know you watched a movie."
(Lady D laughs) "You scamp! You know me don't you?"
"I can read you like a book." (Frank gets up and walks down the length of the third floor master bedroom. He goes to the window overlooking the front yard. He sees the maple tree, intact. There are no skid marks or teddy bears in front of the tree. Softly, he lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding.)
"I like it when you read me and I love the fact you know what I'm thinking and doing," his Lady is saying.
"I know the lady I love," he tells his Lady.
"And I know the man I love. In the movie, there's this mummy that keeps getting resurrected...."
(Lady D's voice is soothing to Frank, and
his shoulders visibly relax as he continues to look out the window overlooking
the front yard.)
LADY Donovan Phones Frank, Part II: An Hour Later
Frank sat back on his sienna colored leather couch. He pulled a small table next to the couch.
He sat back, sipping the hazelnut coffee his wife enjoyed, and stared into the fire. He missed his wife, and although he knew she enjoyed her train trips, for taking the train gave her time to write, and to see the countryside, Frank wished she would take a plane occasionally.
Her parents had died in a plane crash, and she'd been waving them goodbye alongside her grandparents when she watched as the plane had trouble taking off. Once the plane was airborne, it had barely reached 200 feet when the plane suddenly nosedived and crashed into the landing strip, exploding upon impact.
His wife had watched in horror as her mother's arm was flung towards the airport window where her daughter was watching.
The arm had bounced off the window in front of his wife's face. She'd covered her face and cowered in terror behind her grandmother.
This was the reason she took trains. Travelling internationally was difficult for her, and she usually took freighter cruises to get across the Pacific, and a combination of trains and Nova Scotian freighters to get to Europe.
It was a bulky, time consuming way of travelling to Europe: first the train to Nova Scotia. Then, a ferry or small freighter or even one of the larger fishing boats that was doing a run to Greenland. From Greenland, there existed numerous ferries between Greenland and mainland Europe, notably Denmark, for Greenland was under Danish control.
The entire trip usually took around ten days, which cut into their vacation time. On the occasions when she'd had no option but to take planes, Frank had paid for a first class cabin on Virgin Atlantic, and had ordered tranquilizers. This arrangement was accepted by his wife, but only as a last resort.
She much preferred trains. Time for herself, and time for her writing. Time to wind down.
So now Frank sat, lonely, missing his wife, and sipping her hazelnut coffee as the fire kept spitting and popping in the fireplace.
Frank was so lost in thought that he didn't hear the cell phone ringing insistently.
(Cell phone ringing...Frank starts as he finally hears the phone)
"Darling! It's been ringing for what seems like forever!"
"I'm sorry. I was wool-gathering."
"Terribly. How far are you from Malta?"
"We're just pulling in. The mountains are gorgeous. You simply must take me to our ranch."
"I promised. I don't go back on my promises."
"I know. What are you doing now?"
"Sitting on the couch in front of the fire, missing you."
"You were drinking my hazelnut coffee weren't you?"
"I wanted to share tonight with you. Since I couldn't spend tonight with you, I decided to share something that you love."
"I'm sorry. It couldn't be helped. Business..."
"Sucks." Frank finished her sentence when she trailed off.
"I know. I'm glad you miss me."
"You'll be home tomorrow."
"And you'll kiss me on the train platform."
"A kiss to remember."
"How could I ever forget your kisses? Your sensuous full mouth on mine sends shivers down my spine."
"You're smiling." (she is right. Frank is smiling...)
"What makes you say that?"
"I can tell by your voice."
"What kind of tones in my voice makes you think I'm smiling?"
"It's, well, I don't know. Your voice is pitched differently. I can't explain it, but the tones tell me you're smiling."
"Instinctual. Humans have instinct for tones of voice."
"Think about someone screaming. There's what I suppose is called a happy scream, like when someone's won something they didn't expect to win. Then there's the fear scream. Humans know a fear scream from a happy scream by the tones in the voice."
"And humans developed tone differentation as a means of survival?"
"Kinda like the distress call of a baby alligator."
(Frank chuckles...) "Yes. It's like that. Any adult alligator who hears the distress call of a baby alligator will come to the aid of the youngster."
"So humans learned how to recognize fear in the tones of a scream and come to the aid of the one in distress?"
"You've got the idea."
"So that's why I said I can hear you smiling."
"That's right. And you are right, I am smiling. I'm smiling because I'm talking to you, and even though you're not here, I can hear how much you miss me."
"I do miss you. Sometimes I hate myself for hating planes."
"Don't blame yourself. All children feel safe with their parents and when something happens to their parents, the kids don't feel safe anymore. You saw your parents die, and you don't feel safe in planes."
"I still feel bad for taking so much time away from you and our children."
"In some ways, it's good you do that...spend time away from the kids. They learn to depend on themselves and that teaches them responsibility. You need time for yourself, to tend to your own hobbies, your own interests which are outside of the interests of our family. The kids will be grown up one day and if you haven't developed your own interests and hobbies over the years, you'll have a difficult time adjusting to life without the kids."
"I suppose you're right. But I'm their mother, and I feel bad about being away from them."
"You can worry. There's no harm in that. You're feeling separation anxiety and thinking you're not going to come back alive."
(a small intake of breath as she realizes Frank has hit upon something...) "I, I sometimes think that my business trips are the last time the kids will ever see me."
"Sweetheart, I feel the same way. Every day I go to work, there's a criminal intent on taking me down."
"The kids are okay?"
"They're sleeping over at their friend's house tonight. Tomorrow's a school holiday and tomorrow night they're attending overnight shabbat services."
"I miss them as much as I miss you."
"They're fine, sweetheart. They're growing up, developing their own interests in life, discovering what they can do. It's important for the kids to develop strong relationships with other people."
"Socialization. I wasn't socialized much after my parents..." (her voice trails off...)
"Your grandparents were afraid of losing you as well as their daughter."
(Lady Donovan sniffles) "They rarely let me out of their sight. They kept checking on me every half hour when I was in my room. If I was in a school activity, they kept calling or coming around the school to see if I was okay. That bothered me."
"Too much parental oversight tends to dislodge a child's confidence. He begins to feel that he can't do anything right, because his parents keep looking over his shoulder and supervising his every move. This is why I sent the kids over to their friend's house and over to shabbat services tomorrow night."
"Fostering confidence in their social skills."
"Do they miss me?"
"Of course they do."
"They didn't sound like they were going to miss me when I left."
"Darling, many kids behave that way. They view a temporary parental absence as a good thing."
"A good thing?" (she is fakes being shocked)
(Frank chuckles...) "It's not a shocking behaviour. Didn't you want your grandparents to sometimes leave you alone and go off somewhere?"
"That was because you were developing your independence. All children must develop independence at one time or another."
"But the kids sounded happy about my trip."
"They were happy they were going to overnight shabbat services. I told them that just before you said you had to go on an emergency business trip."
"So they weren't happy about my trip?"
(lady donovan interrupts...) "Snookums?!"
(Frank chuckles...) "Sweetie, kids live for the moment. Yes, they were happy to be going to shabbat services. And yes, they were happy that you went on a trip...no, no, no. Don't start sniffling. I'll tell you why they were happy. They were happy you were going on a trip because they could spend some time alone with me. Quality time with Daddy."
(Lady Donovan blows her nose...) "I suppose you're right. Your job makes it tough for you to get alone time with the kids. I have them so much I forget sometimes that they don't have a lot of alone time with you."
"And all kids need some face time with both their parents, and face time with each parent without the other parent around. That's how quality relationships are built with children."
"When you put it that way...I suppose I am happy the kids were happy to have me going on a business trip."
"They wanted face time with me, alone. Today and tomorrow are school holidays. The kids and I went to the park and played soccer for a while. I taught them a few beginning Krav Maga moves."
"They must have loved that!"
(Frank chuckles again...) "You're right. They did love daddy teaching them martial arts moves. Chris wants to be a martial arts expert."
"Thought he wanted to be a doctor?"
"Kids change their minds frequently."
"Tell me. Last year he wanted to become a train engineer."
"That's because you took him and Olivia on a business trip with you. Quality time with mommy."
"I forgot about that. You didn't feel left out?"
"No. I have interests outside of this family, just as you do with your writing, and your jogging, and your girlfriends."
"You're right again. I suppose I'm just too clingy. Marriage to a psychologist can give me a lot of insight into myself."
"It's natural to feel that way, especially after losing your parents the way you did."
"What does Olivia want to be?"
"Same as always: a television reporter. She says she gets to go into everyone's home at the same time every day."
"She's like her mother. Now you're smiling."
"How can you tell?"
"By the tones in your voice."
"Where are you now?"
"Curled up on the couch, watching the fire spit and pop."
"Drank coffee. Ended up drinking the entire pot."
"The large pot?"
"Yes. I made the twelve cup pot of coffee."
"You're going to be a bit hyper tonight."
"I'll work it off practicing Krav Maga."
"A long workout."
"It will be worth it. After the manhunt, I decided I needed to bone up on additional street skills. That old guy who blasted a hole in his trailer wall with his gun really threw me off."
"Why did he do that? I mean, blast a hole in his trailer wall? Those can't be repaired easily."
"I guess he thought he was protecting his territory. Scared off my quarry is what he did. I don't like to shoot to kill, but when he took that hostage, I had no choice."
"The small talk in the coffee shops in Seattle was about the manhunt. Some people were of the opinion the FBI used too much force."
"The FBI doesn't like to use force unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Sometimes it can't be helped."
"Not in this case. There would have been no reasoning with him."
"So it was either him or he could have killed the hostage."
"Yes. He would have shot the hostage and dumped him out of the truck, despite being surrounded."
"Would he have tried to flee again?"
"Yes. Slipping down in the seat and gunning the engine would have propelled him forward. Or, he could have put the truck into reverse and mowed down my agents."
(Lady Donovan sucks in her breath...) "Alex and Jake were there?"
"I suppose I thought of them as being back at the nest. He would have mowed down Alex and Jake like PR Princess Lizzie Grubman?"
"Something like that. She plowed into a group of people. Our quarry, had he chosen to flee, could have put the truck into reverse, gunned it, and plowed down my agents. Instead of just injuring a group of people, like Lizzie did, he would have killed."
"You had no choice."
"No choice. Zero option."
"He forced you into that choice."
"That he did."
"The Seattle papers said he was in for life, no chance of parole and that he'd threatened suicide."
"His escape was his way of going down on the outside. He wanted to feel the earth beneath his feet once again. He didn't want to die in prison, caged up like an animal. He wanted to die outside."
"A police assisted suicide?"
"Hmmm, yes, that's one way of putting it. He wanted to kill himself because he felt trapped in prison society. He had an antisocial personality and didn't feel remorse for killing whom he saw as an obstacle to his freedom."
"But wouldn't he see prison as a way of fostering his beliefs?"
"No. He was forced to follow prison rules, which didn't allow him the freedom to choose his own beliefs regarding others. He had to respect people from other races, and people who practiced other religions. And that irked him. He was in for life, with no chance of parole. He saw escape as a means of getting out his trapped life."
"So he felt that he had enough of a chance to get away?"
"That's right. He felt that the woods and the stream gave him an opportunity to hide, an opportunity to get away. He took that hostage as a last resort when he saw himself being surrounded."
"Did he have sympathizers who would have helped him get away?"
"We're looking for some, but yes, there exists an underground network. Once his escape hit the news, there would be other people who would have been more than willing to assist him in escaping."
"So, they would have jumped in their cars and came to his assistance?"
"Something like that. There would have been a code word used as a signal. Once he was picked up by someone in the group, he would have gone underground and the FBI would have had a tough time in locating him."
"But you're the best, honey. You would have found him."
"Not without a lot of extra manpower and a lot of time."
"But you would have found him."
"Yes, but with a lot of difficulty."
"Would he have escaped to Canada?"
(Frank hmmmmms here, stroking his chin thoughtfully...) "Hmmm. Now that's something I didn't think of, but yes. Yes, it's possible he could have escaped to Canada."
"Canadian police work with US police."
"True. But there are a lot of places to cross the border undetected, even with the additional security cameras installed along the northern border."
"Don't the cameras feed into a central center?"
"Yes. But they can be activated easily by an animal, or by someone hurling something across the border."
"Along the border, there are several spots where the border patrol has been beefed up because there are backpacks containing marijuana which are left on the other side of the shallow ditch separating Canada from the US."
"So the people will hurl the backpacks across this ditch? Can't they make the ditch wider?"
"Possibly. And yes, the backpacks are hurled over the border, and the payment is hurled back stateside in a backpack. The people doing the business come to the border under cover of darkness and collect their respective backpacks."
"Strange way of doing business."
"Drug dealers come up with the most interesting ways of transacting their businesses."
"That's why they have you to help catch them."
"I'm FBI, not DEA."
"But you work with DEA, sometimes."
"When the case calls for it, like if the drug money is being laundered."
(Lady Donovan chuckles...) "Like when you ran Andrew into jail for transporting cocaine via his yacht in the Hamptons."
"Like that time, yes."
"We should rent a yacht one day."
"Did you want to do that? Rent a yacht? I do enjoy sailing, you know."
"Yes. I'd like that. You don't have a yacht in your trust fund do you?"
(Frank chuckles...) "Not yet."
"But you have the ranch. I can't wait to see it."
"It's beautiful. Like you."
"You're too sweet."
"I'm just stating the truth."
"I know. I like to hear the truth."
"I'm always truthful with you. You have sharp fingernails. You'd scratch my back, deeply."
"Your Krav Maga moves should allow you to subdue me."
"I'd like to subdue you right now."
"Really? What would you do?"
"Take you down. On the bed."
"Would you have my hands over my head?"
"That I would. Best way of taking you down."
"You know you like it."
"Kids won't be there tomorrow night. I expect dinner, dancing and bed."
"That's a deal."
"Mortons it is. They've got a new dessert chef."
"You're all the dessert I need."
"I'll remember that." (incoherent speaking over the cell phone)
"What's that, dear?"
"Dinner call. I'm being summoned."
"What are you having?"
"Chicken cordon bleu, mixed greens and baked potato with the works."
"Morton's will be better."
"You'll be better than the dinner I'm having tonight."
"I'm your wife, I'm supposed to be sweet."
"What are you having for dessert?"
"Black forest cake."
"Amtrak doesn't exactly make the best coffee. Too thick and muddy."
"Didn't you bring the French coffee press I gave you?"
"I didn't have room to pack it."
"Tea for you, then."
"I suppose so."
"Tea is good."
"Not with milk and sugar."
(Frank chuckles again....) "That's the way the British drink their tea. And the way my mother drank her tea."
"Yes. It's good."
"I don't like it."
"That's because your palette isn't used to tea with milk."
"I'm used to Lipton."
"Lipton is not a good tea."
"I did slip some herbal tea bags into your purse."
"Yes, in your secret pocket."
"You know about that?"
(Sounds of rummaging come over Frank's end of the phone...)
"You did! You did put herbal tea bags in my purse."
"Amtrak isn't the best with coffee."
"They could use a Starbucks."
"Now that would make a good business partnership."
"You're right. It would. Better choice of coffee."
(sounds of knocking coming over Frank's end of the phone...) "Darling, sounds like you're being summoned again."
"The Queen's duties never end, do they?"
"Never. I love you."
"I love you as well. Give my love to the kids tomorrow."
"That I will do."
"Miss you too."
"I don't want to hang up."
"Neither do I."
"I'd take the phone into the dining room, but I don't want to be rude."
"Some of our conversation isn't for other ears. I'll be thinking of you."
"When you're practicing your Krav Maga moves, think of me."
"I don't want to fight you. I want to make love to you."
"Now that's the thought I will hang onto while I'm having dinner."
"That's the thought I'll hang onto while I wait for tomorrow afternoon."
"I'll expect a fireworks display."
"That I can provide."
"Bye, Missus Donovan. I'm glad you said yes to my proposal."
"Bye Mister Donovan. I'm glad you asked me to be your wife."
"It's been a wild trip."
"Loved every minute of it."
"Loved you every minute of it."
("last call for dinner, ma'am" Frank hears the conductor say)
"You'd better hang up. Your blood sugar will drop and then you'll get sick. And I want every minute of tomorrow evening with you."
"I'll take care. Bye love."
"Bye. Love you."
Frank clicks off the phone, for he knows his wife will get cranky if her blood sugar gets too low.
Frank stretches on the leather couch, and leans back into the leather arms. He smiles as he listens to the fire spit and pop. After a while, he gets up, and takes the coffee pot and his cup to the kitchen, placing them on the sink. He repairs to the bedroom where he changes into workout clothes, goes to the house's exercise room and begins to practice Krav Maga.
Frank and his Lady! My first all dialogue, so understanding, please! (4/03)
Scene: Cell phone rings...kinda staticky on one end...
"What did you mean when you said 'I hate fire'?"
"Just that. I hate fire."
"Doesn't sound like an explanation Frank Donovan gives."
"I'm a succinct GQ fellow."
"I say what I mean."
"So you hate fire. May I ask why?"
"It's a long story."
"I've got time..3500 minutes to be exact."
"So you bought a new cell phone plan."
"Don't change the subject."
"Are you sitting down?"
"I'm on the train."
"Where are you located now?"
"We'll reach Malta in an hour."
"Malta. Near Glacier National Park and Malta's on the Canadian border. Beautiful country...that's where I have my ranch. All four hundred acres of her."
"You didn't tell me you had a ranch. Can I go see the ranch?"
"Can you drive a four wheel?"
"Because the ranch is an off-road ranch, hidden. Safe. I can text you the GPS location."
"Damn. I didn't bring my GPS locator."
"The location is difficult to explain over the phone. I chose the location because the ranch is so far off the road and you need a GPS locator to reach her."
"It's nice. Custom built house, with jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor pools, huge picture windows and four hundred acres of privacy that backs up into Glacier National Park for even more privacy."
"That's a long statement for a succinct GQ fellow."
"Sometimes I like to explain things."
"Expanding, aren't you?"
"Now that's a succinct statement from a GQ fellow. You have the hazelnut coffee I like?"
"Yes. Freshly made."
"Are you going to have a cup?"
"I like that you picked up my coffee drinking habits."
"So am I. I miss you."
"I miss you too."
(Train whistle sounds)
"When did you buy this ranch?"
"Years ago. I bought the ranch off the state of Montana."
"People can do that? I mean, buy property off a state?"
"Yes. At least I did. A long time ago."
"You didn't tell me about this property."
(Frank chuckles again)
"That's the second time you've made that statement. You're a bit miffed at me, aren't you?"
"I would have liked to have known you had the ranch. We could have spent our vacations there, hunting wildlife."
"I never knew you wanted to hunt."
"My father used to take me hunting when I was a girl."
"In Montana, you have to pass a test if you want to hunt bears."
"Stop kidding me."
"Darling, it's intended to prevent mistaken identity killings of grizzly bears."
"So now the state wants us to take a test to go bear hunting?"
"If you want to bear hunt, you have to take the 15 question test."
"It's a simple test, really, dear. I took the test on-line, and received a 93%."
"You got less than a perfect score?"
"One question wrong."
"I'll console you over dinner."
"Deal. So you'll take the bear identification test?"
"Uhm...let's just go wildlife looking."
(Frank chuckles again)
"You mean wildlife shopping. I know you and shopping."
"I'm a woman. I'm supposed to shop. Gives me therapy and relaxes me."
(Frank is concerned now)
"Is something bothering you?"
"Shopping is one of the ways I unwind. I like to sit with my purchases..."
(Frank chimes in)
"...and drink a cup of hazelnut coffee with half and half."
"Yeah, something like that. I like people watching."
"You've too much stress in your life. Perhaps I should take you to my ranch."
"Yes, our ranch. Except that it's in my trust fund's name."
"You signed it over to your trust fund?"
"Yes. When I bought it. My mother was always adamant that I put property and money into a trust fund."
"Your mum taught you a lot of things."
"She was a special woman."
"I would have liked to have met her. Your Mayfair friends tell me your mother and grandmother were spies in the Great War."
"Not exactly spies. When were you in London?"
"I wasn't. I was in New York. They took the Concord over last week."
"I see. Did they tell you anything else?"
"Just that your mother and grandmother helped the M5. They didn't know how the Weissman women helped the British."
"Damn. Just when I thought I could break into the Donovan Files."
(Lady chuckles) "I know all I need to know about you: you're warm, generous, romantic, and you're mine!"
(Static sounds...) "You're welcome. So they were spies?"
"If they were, that would be classified information until 50 years after their deaths. Where are you sitting on the train?"
"Private bedroom. It's kinda nice. Nice picture window, private bathroom with a shower."
"No one can hear you. You swept for bugs?"
"Yes. No bugs in the room and no one can hear me."
"I'd ask you not to mention my mother and grandmother. They were special women."
"You miss them?"
"I miss them every day."
"Do you miss me?"
"Every minute. Will you kiss me when you get off the train?"
"Darling, I'll be expecting you to give me a passionate kiss and tilt me towards the floor so my leg lifts up in the air."
"That I can order up."
"You won't be embarassed at kissing me in public?"
"You're a succinct GQ fellow, remember?"
"I compartmentalize my life but I can be romantic."
"I'll be expecting that when I get off the train."
(Lady sucks in her breath)
"Ahhhhh, I'm passing the most beautiful mountain right now."
"I think I shall take you to my ranch. You know, I sell hay."
"Hay. To cattle ranchers and wild mustang owners who need feed."
"A working ranch?"
"Yes, a working ranch. Alfalfa, prairie oat hay, grass hay."
"I'm a rancher's lady?"
"Yes, you're a rancher's lady."
"Do I get to wear jeans and cowboy boots with spurs?"
"If you want. I also graze wild mustangs."
"Horses! I'd love to go horseback riding."
"I'll have to rent some domestic horses, but yes, if you want, we can have horses there."
"So you're going to take me to your...to our Ranch?"
"After this next assignment, I'm assigning paid personal leave of two weeks to my team."
"So we can go in two weeks?"
"Not exactly. I expect the assignment to be over in about six weeks."
(Lady sighs sadly)
"It can't be helped."
"I know. I just miss you."
"I'll be seeing you soon."
"In a little over fifteen hours."
"You hate the planes don't you?"
(Lady says forcefully)
"Yes, I hate planes!"
"I just hate planes."
"I know you do."
"My parents died in a single engine plane crash in the Bahamas. I was five."
"Good reason to hate planes. But I'll see you in fifteen hours and I'll kiss you passionately."
"I miss you."
(More static...train is travelling through countryside with no rebroadcasting signal)
"You were going to tell me why you hate fire."
"Yes. Wasn't I saying that?"
"No, we were talking about our ranch."
"Beautiful place. You'll love it."
"So you'll take me there?"
"You bet darling."
"In about six weeks. After I wrap up this next assignment."
"Oh yes. I remember. It's just when I think of my parents' deaths, I get upset and forget what I was talking about."
"It's understandable. You witnessed the plane crash. (Frank pauses...) We'll plant wildflowers on the ranch."
"Yes. She's a four hundred acre ranch, backing onto Glacier National Park. She has an excellent view of the glacier."
"Do we watch the sunset over the glacier from the window?"
"No, we watch the sunrise. And we'll need a telescope."
"Always thinking about spy equipment."
"Basically, I am a spy."
"Can't be too safe."
"I will always make it safe for you."
"That's why I love you. You make me feel safe and I forget what happened to me."
"I know you feel safe with me. I love you, too, darling. And I miss you."
(Static sounds again...)
"Ditto here. This static is getting to me. Can't you have Cody fix it?"
"I'll have him look into it. Perhaps I have him put a rebroadcasting signal somewhere on the ranch."
"Wouldn't they be able to pick the signal up?"
"Hmm. I think you're right, but I'll ask Cody."
(Static sounds more louder...Lady's voice starts fading out...)
"Frank? Darling? I love you!"
"I love you too!"
"I want to know why you hate fire."
"I promise I'll tell you over steak at Morton's."
"I want rib eye."
"I want you."
"Frank! You romantic! You said you were a succinct GQ fellow!"
"I do read Razor magazine now and then."
"Ooooooo! I like this new Frank! I'll pick up a copy at the train station."
"No, in Fargo. We stop there for twenty minutes."
"More time for me to miss you."
"I'll miss you more, snookums!"
"Pet name. You have another name you want me to call you by?"
"I'll whisper it in your ear."
"I simply must read this Razor magazine."
(Static sounds more frequent).
"What's that? I couldn't hear you, darling. Too much static. You must be in the countryside."
(Frank speaks louder)
"We'll have to hang up for a while."
"I miss you!"
"I love you, darling!"
Frank and his lady click off their cell phones simultaneously...Lady lays back in the bunk bed in the private bedroom on the train and enjoys the view of Montana. Frank sips his lady's favorite hazelnut coffee as he lounges on a leather couch in front of a fire.
This is what happened last night to Frank:
Frank broke into a run when he heard the woman's scream.
He ran full tilt around the corner, relying on instinct that no one was rounding the corner at the same time. Running on the flat sidewalk, Frank saw the woman about 40 yards ahead of him.
Her hands were raised to her mouth as if trying to contain her screams. She was turning in small circles, going forward and backing up: a highly agitated woman.
Frank ran faster, his breath coming easily since he practiced Krav Maga regularly. The woman heard him running and she stopped screaming.
"Help me! You've got to help her!" she yelled, pointing with her right hand at the darkness before her.
Coming up on the woman, Frank slowed his steps. He came to a stop beside her and looked to where she was pointing.
There was a small patch of grass, dimly illuminated from the curtained window a few feet above the grass. There, sprawled out, was lying the object of the woman's distress.
Frank used a soothing voice to help calm the woman, "How far did she fall?" he asked as he crouched beside the sprawled female figure.
"Uhm, six floors," the woman said, snuffling now.
Frank glanced up at her. "Six?"
The woman said, "Yes, she was on the balcony and she fell off."
"Can you go find me a small board and a box?" Frank asked her in a soothing voice.
"Yes. Yes, I can do that," she said and went to find the materials Frank requested.
Frank bent himself over his patient. Stroking her back gently, he talked to her in a gentle voice, telling her everything would be all right. She wasn't moving, but Frank could feel her heartbeat: strong, so she wasn't in too much distress.
Frank moved his hands gently over his patient. Her hind legs seemed all right and she was breathing fine. But her front left leg was a bit crooked and Frank thought it was broken. Frank continued to stroke her gently, and he felt her relax under his gentle, knowing hands.
The woman came back. "Here. I found these. Will these be okay? Is she okay?"
Frank looked at the materials. "Yes, they're fine and yes, she'll be all right. I think she has a broken leg."
"Thank god! I was so scared," the woman said. She hovered over Frank as he moved his patient onto the small board and then put the board into the box. Picking up the box, Frank stood up, the woman peering into the box, soothing her friend:
"He's going to take care of you, Cindy." Frank started walking, and the woman matched his steps.
"Do you have a car?" he asked.
She looked up at him. His eyes were full of concern. "Uh, no. I never learned to drive," she said, a bit embarrassed.
"There's nothing wrong with not knowing how to drive. I'll take you to the hospital."
Frank indicated with his head where he'd parked his car--a new BMW Z20--and the two of them walked towards the car, the woman peering into the box and making soothing sounds.
Reaching Frank's car, he set the box gently down onto the roof, took out his keys and unlocked his car. The woman got in the passenger side. Frank picked up the box and put the box gently on the woman's lap. She hugged the box to her, continuing to murmur to Cindy. As Frank started the engine, he glanced over at the woman.
Driving along the highway, Frank took note of the landmarks and soon he pulled into the hospital.
As soon as he rolled the car to a stop the woman was trying to open the door.
"Let me get that for you," Frank said, his voice going a few tones deeper. She couldn't help but respond.
Frank got out of the car and went around to the passenger side. He opened the door and took the box from the woman. She got out of the car and held out her hands for the box containing Cindy.
Frank gave it to her and walked with her into the hospital. The receptionist looked up. "My! A patient! What happened?" she asked, pushing a button.
"She fell off the sixth floor balcony," Frank said. The receptionist gasped. "Oh!" She came around her desk and peered into the box. She and the woman made soft cooing sounds.
A blue clad doctor came out of the treatment area. "Who's the patient?" he asked.
"Cindy is. She fell off a sixth floor balcony," the receptionist answered.
"Let's take her back to the treatment room and see how she is," he said as he motioned for the woman to follow him to the treatment center.
"You can have a seat here. Cindy will be fine," the receptionist said. Frank looked her in the eyes, and smiled.
"Thank you. I will have a seat," Frank said. The receptionist blushed slightly and she went back to gather the paperwork. Finding it, she took it in her hand and went back around the desk and came over to Frank.
"If you'll fill this out," she started, trying not to blush. His scent was warm, and his eyes were so deep.
"I'm not the father. I only assisted her," Frank said, "But I'll fill out how Cindy fell off the balcony," he finished as he reached for the paperwork Marla--as her name badge stated--held out to him.
Marla blushed again and decided now would be a good time to go back to her desk.
The intercom beeped. Marla pushed a button. "Marla? Cindy has a broken leg, but other than that, she's in fine shape for someone who fell six stories. She's obviously using one of her nine lives," the doctor's voice came out of the speakerphone.
Frank smiled. He finished filling in what he knew of Cindy's fall, then placed the paperwork beside him and sat back to wait for Cindy and her mother to come out of the treatment room.
An hour later, Cindy's mother came out of the treatment room. Looking around for Frank, she spied him and said, "she's going to be kept here overnight."
"I'll swing round and pick you up tomorrow so you can pick up Cindy," Frank said.
"Thank you!" Cindy's mother smiled. Frank picked up the paperwork. "You need to fill this out." The woman took it and filled it out. Paying Marla for the vet's services, she turned and found Frank ready to leave.
The two walked out into the sweet night air and got back into Frank's beamer. Starting the engine, Frank turned, and said, "By the way, I didn't get your name."
"Maria. Maria Santa Rosa," she said, turning her head to look at him.
Frank smiled at her as he took the car out of park and drove the few short miles back to the lady's apartment building. Frank had been going on a surprise visit to see an ill friend so he knew the building well.
Parking his car in the building's parking lot, Frank and Maria got out. "Thank you again for helping Cindy."
"It's never a problem, Maria," Frank said.
"You speak Spanish! You roll your r's!" Maria said as the two walked towards the building.
"Si, hablo Espanol," Frank said.
"Vives alrededor de aqui?"
"No. Vivo cerca del Lago Michigan."
Frank held the door open for her, and Maria stepped in. Crossing the small lobby, Frank reached the elevators and pushed the button. The door dinged obediently open and Frank allowed Maria to enter first.
She pushed her floor and Frank was not surprised to see it was the same floor as his friend.
"Tienes un amigo aqui?" she asked.
"Si," Frank said as the doors dinged open on the sixth floor. Once again allowing Maria to exit first, Frank walked her to her door, a few doors down from his friend.
"I'll be around in the morning to pick you up and bring back Cindy," he said in English.
"I can't thank you enough, Frank. Gracias," Maria told him, opening her door and taking a single step inside.
"Es nada," Frank said as he waited until Maria was safely in her apartment. He then walked down to the doorway of his friend...and took out his key.
Opening the door, Frank heard a female voice calling out, hoarse with the flu, "Baby! I'm glad you came around." Frank smiled.
Ardeth, The Cold Mountain & The Sea (I know, wrong site, but still...)
"Yeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooooooooooow!" Ardeth's deep voice rang out on the mountainside and he was sure his grandmother could hear him down in the Sahara. He pulled his foot out of the small, hot pool of water.
The American Indian trick of heating large stones in a fire and then dropping them into a vat of water worked too well. He would remember to send the Zuni Shaman who'd shown him the trick a thank you letter. He had to send a thank-you anyways for the magnificent inlaid turquoise cuff band and three inch sterling inlaid turquoise ring the Zuni tribe had given him. Legend had it that Queen Zar, wife of the second ruler of Egypt's First Dynasty, had been given the four turquoise armbands her mummy wore by his very own ancestors, so turquoise had a special meaning to him. Queen Zar's mummy was 5,500 years old.
There were times when he wished he was one of the Bedouin peoples who lived in the mountains in the Sinai Peninsula, where he was currently hiding out. The mountains were cold both day and night. In the Sahara at least you could warm up during the day before night fell. Ardeth looked at his reddened foot.
"Damn, have to go get some snow," he said to no one in particular as he gingerly stepped on the snow surrounding the small mountain pool into which he'd placed the hot rocks.
He walked naked towards the small snowbank, testing his endurance to the cold as a proper Medjay should test himself. He was in a remote area of the Sinai mountains, and the small pool was well off the beaten track to El Milga, a trek definetely not for normal people. Thus, Ardeth could feel safe being naked, if a bit uncomfortable, in his small, improvised spa.
Attaining the small snowbank, he took the large basket he'd left there and scooped up a basketful of snow. Walking back to the pool, he dumped the snow in to cool the water a bit, all the time thinking the Zuni Shaman would be laughing at him if he were to discover Ardeth had put in not two nor three large fire-heated stones, but ten.
"Dammit, it is cold in these mountains!" he again said to no one in particular. He completed another round of snow-gathering and dumping, all the time noting the goosebumps raised high on his skin. The coating of hair he'd grown on his chest did nothing to break the wind but he noticed his testicles were drawing up towards his body. He was shivering profusely, teeth chattering, by the time he'd made the fourth trip with the backpack sized basket of snow.
Ardeth gingerly tested the water, using his un-reddened foot. "Ahhhh, more to my liking," he said to himself. Thinking himself a bit foolish for talking to himself, Ardeth made the note to speak to himself in his mind. He lowered himself into his makeshift spa, which he'd scented with lavender. He smoothed his long hair back from his face and sighed again.
He rested his back against the now-warm rock wall of the small pool. The hot water relaxed his muscles, tired from his arduous trek. He sighed contentedly, with the fire in the small clearing crackling merrily and the hot water soothing his tense muscles. Ardeth was soon dozing.
A loud snap brought him awake. He opened his eyes to see a man he knew. Abdullah was from the Bedouin tribe of Mezzina. A coastal tribe, Ardeth knew. Abdullah was a fisherman who lived near Nueba in the Eastern Sinai. What he was doing in the remote mountains would remain to be seen. Abdullah put down the two large rocks he'd used to make the loud noise to awaken Ardeth.
"Hello, Ardeth," Abdullah signed. Abdullah, at nearly 34 years old, was almost deaf, a result of a genetic defect in his tribe.
"Hello," Ardeth signed back. "What can I do for you?" Ardeth knew Abdullah wouldn't come to him unless he needed help. But Ardeth couldn't help but idly wonder why Abdullah had tracked him. Bedouins were excellent trackers. They were also great camel breeders and the camels which Ardeth had purchased for his grandmother came from a distant cousin of Abdullah's.
"Oline has given birth. We can't find her child," Abdullah signed.
Ardeth knew Abdullah was upset with this fact. Oline was a very special friend of his. Her first child, Jimmy, had died nearly four years ago. Foul play was suspected. Oline's second child, a girl, Long Tall Sally, had gone away, but she occasionally came back to see her mother. This would be Oline's third birth and Ardeth knew Abdullah wanted to know if Oline's child had simply gone to be with others of her kind, or if there was foul play involved.
"I will come. Do you want to come in? The water's wonderful!" Ardeth signed and gave a big smile. Abdullah shook his head but he proceeded to take out the preparations for a meal. Ardeth smiled. Abdullah was making fried beef strips with feta cheese. Abdullah took out the portable coffee maker and Ardeth smiled. Abdullah caught Ardeth's smile and returned it.
Ardeth stood up and wrapped a towel around his waist. Getting out of the pool, Ardeth took another towel and dried himself off. Dressing rapidly in the cold mountain air, Ardeth and Abdullah sat down for their meal.
After the two men had eaten, Ardeth gathered his backpack and the men set off for the eastern shore. It would be a trek of at least four days, rough and not for the weak-kneed. But Ardeth knew he could make the arduous trek. Along the way, the two men caught up on old times, and shared the gossip of the many Bedouin tribes on the peninsula. Ardeth discovered, much to his surprise, that Abdullah's nephew had found a cave which sounded similar to the cave his grandmother had tasked him to find. And his grandmother was why he'd taken on this arduous trek in the first place.
Four days later, the two men came upon Red Sea off Nueba, where Oline liked to frolic. Ardeth saw Oline jumping in the water, splashing her happy visitors as they swam in the water next to her.
"Her daughter Mara should be near Oline, but she is not," Abdullah signed as he pulled of his robe and dove into the Red Sea. Naked, Ardeth noted.
Leaving Abdullah to frolic with his dolphin friend, Ardeth began to question the dolphin lovers who frequented the area. He soon discovered one compelling thing: the same fishing boat had appeared in the area every day for the last month, always dragging a tow line. Could the fishing boat have abducted Mara? Ardeth hoped to put that question to rest.
He sat down on the shore, both to watch Abdullah with Oline and to watch for the fishing boat. One of Abdullah's younger sisters brought him water. Abdullah waved to Ardeth to come on in. Feeling a bit foolish, Ardeth began to wade in but Abdullah signed for him to remove his clothes.
Ardeth did have on black Lastex swimtrunks. This interesting article of clothing he'd picked up during his trip to America. He thought the regulations for male swimwear were a bit ridiculous. The requirement that men wear shirts while swimming sounded, to his ears, absurd. He dived into the sea, leaving the group of girls behind him smiling.
Swimming out with strong strokes towards Abdullah and Oline, he was greeted by Oline with a huge jump, splashing a full arc of water in his face. Oline, for her part, laughed her dolphin laugh at him. Abdullah too was laughing and signing at him.
"Oline greets you, Ardeth Bey!"
"Greetings, Oline!" Ardeth said, as Oline swam up to him. He flipped his wet hair back from his face as Oline squealed at him.
"She wants you to pet her," Abdullah signed over the encroaching putt-putt of a small fishing boat. Ardeth's dark eyes narrowed. Was this the boat which had a tow-line on it? Ardeth suspected that the boat was towing Mara, Oline's latest daughter. And towing her against her will.
Oline had heard the fishing boat and she got very agitated. She began squealing and swimming circles around the fishing boat. Answering squeals confirmed Ardeth's suspicion that Mara was being towed by the boat proved correct. Abdullah, being deaf, couldn't hear Mara's nor Oline's squeals.
The dolphin lovers didn't understand why Oline was squealing and circling the boat, but Ardeth did. Again, he swam with strong strokes towards the tow line and taking a deep breath, dived under water. There, he saw a small dolphin squealing and circling around in the small cage being towed by the fishing boat. Ardeth undid the latch on the cage, opened the small door. Mara, after eyeing him suspiciously for a moment, swam out of the cage and then swam upwards.
Ardeth kicked his legs and also swam upwards. Breaking the water's top, Ardeth was greeted with curses from the people in the fishing boat. He levelled them a sharp look.
"Egyptian law would have you flogged and sentenced to ten years hard work in the desert oasis for trapping this animal," Ardeth told them in English and levelled another sharp look at them. The three young Englishmen in the boat gulped, and looked at each other.
"He's right, fellas. Uh, we were just playing, Mister," the blonde crew cut said. The others just sat there, nodding dumbly. They'd evidently heard about Egypt's strict laws governing the removal of fish, coral or protected features from the Sinai. A dolphin certainly qualified in this instance, for few, if any, dolphins were ever found in the Red Sea.
"Yeah. Right. Now scram before I call my family's curse down upon you," Ardeth said, narrowing his eyes.
Ardeth watched the three boys start up the motor of their boat. The boat moved away and Ardeth felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned, treading in the water, to see Abdullah.
"Thank you for getting Mara back. Oline thanks you too," Abudullah signed as Oline came up and delivered another thick arc of water in Ardeth's face.
Ardeth couldn't help but laugh. Abdullah joined in as the two men watched Oline and Mara splash in the Red Sea. Ardeth decided he would remain in Nueba visiting with Abdullah and his tribe before returning to the remote trail off El Milga to find the cave his grandmother had tasked him to find. Ardeth knew that in this cave was stored his family's treasured turquoise jewelry and his grandmother had needed but a few gold and turquoise inlaid necklaces, worth thousands of dollars in the marketplace, to purchase the next herd of horses she wished to breed.
Read the real-life Oline and Abdullah's story here:
Firelight danced on Frank's smoothly muscled body as he swung his legs out of the silk sheeted bed. Belinda smiled at him as he stood up, then turned around, leaned down, then kissed her full red lips.
"Stay here, baby," Frank whispered to her. Belinda smiled at him as Frank turned around and walked by the fire, its warm light radiating out of the fireplace and encompassed his body. When he reached the door, he turned again and smiled at Belinda.
The three men pushed the rusty car down the road. Just a little further along, the road sloped downhill ever so gently, but Frank could see that the car would crash before getting started.
"You need to be inside the car!" Frank called out from his black BMW convertible. The day was warm--mid 60's for Chicago--and sunny for a winter's day on the Great Lakes.
The three men paid him no heed and kept pushing the rusted car, trying to get start the car's engine with a rolling start.
Their attempt would fail.
"You need to be inside the car to brake it! Otherwise it's going to crash into the bus shelter!" Frank yelled out a bit more loudly, thinking perhaps the men didn't hear him.
He watched placidly, as he waited for the light to change, as the rusted car gained momentum. As he had thought, the car gathered speed. One of the men tried to run alongside the car, perhaps hoping to jump in to brake the car. The car rolled slightly to the right and up onto the grassy median separating the sidewalk from the curb.
The rusted car door bounced off a street sign next to the curb and the driver's side window glass shattered.
A few feet later, the car obediently bounced off the metal framing of the bus shelter and popped out the safety glass on the side of the bus shelter.
The left front of the car was pushed back rather impressively towards the steering wheel.
A car horn beeped behind Frank. Frank took his Guccied foot off the brake and applied the gas. His BMW smoothly started forward, the engine purring like a cat. He was just about to put on the left turn signal when he glanced in his rear view mirror. A Chicago policeman had already arrived at the scene, and a half dozen pedestrian witnesses were coming forward to tell the police what happened.
Frank made a decision. He'd seen an accident and although there were other witnesses, he'd stop off and give his report of what he'd seen. Insurance fraud was on the rise, and perhaps the three men would be thinking about trying to get insurance to pay for a new--or at least used--car by fradulently claiming one or more of the men was inside the car at the time of the accident.
There had been no one in the car while they were trying to roll-start the rusted contraption (and Henry Ford would have been appalled to see how poorly one of his cars had been maintained). Frank turned on the left signal, and was greeted with a long horn blast from the car behind him.
Frank merely glanced in the rear view mirror. A woman was gesticulating wildly at him. When she noticed Frank watching her, she gave him the finger. Frank merely looked away, then turned the beamer left. He pulled across the opposing lane of traffic and into an empty space in the small garden style apartment complex directly behind the bus shelter.
He got out of the beamer, and noticed the gesticulating woman do a double take when she saw him. Frank pointed in front of her, and when she looked in front of her, she had to slam on the brakes rather hard, which caused her to go fall forward. Frank saw the drink in the drink holder splash all over the driver's side, which included the lady. Served her right, Frank thought.
He went over to inspect the damage to both the car and the bus shelter. Surprisingly, aside from the shelter's safety glass popped out of its frame, the bus shelter had only sustained paint damage. The rusted Ford had sustained major engine damage, and would need to be scrapped.
"Frank Donovan, Justice Department," Frank said to the Chicago police officer when he looked up after taking a teenage girl's statement about what she had seen.
"The Justice Department is here for an traffic accident?" asked the pimply teenage boy standing next to the girl, who undoubtedly was his girlfriend.
Frank replied placidly, "I saw the accident and stopped off to give my statement." The boy looked a bit scared, so Frank added, "when one sees an accident, one needs to give a statement to the police." The boy didn't look any more consoled, so Frank decided to let him be and turned his attention to the Chicago cop.
"You're the one who negotiated for the release of one of my buddies during the bank hostage," he stated to Frank. He was young, very young, obviously just graduated from the police academy. "Thank you for getting him out alive," he continued.
"You're welcome," Frank said. "Now for my statement." The cop was all business, his pen ready to take down Frank's word.
"The three men," Frank indicated with his hand, "were trying to roll-start the car. None of the men was in the car while they were pushing it. As the car gained momentum down the slight hill, one of the men," Frank now indicated the man in the red plaid shirt, "tried to run alongside the car. The driver's side door was open. He was trying to get into the car in an attempt to brake the car," The man in the plaid shirt glanced at his friends. The officer's pen scritched on his pad.
Frank's eyes narrowed just a bit and he continued. "The driver's side door bounced off the street sign there." Frank's hand indicated the street sign just a few inches from the curb. "The driver's side window glass shattered, then the car rolled into the bus shelter, crunching the left front engine like an accordian," Frank said.
He looked at the three men. They were glancing amongst themselves, a bit nervous, Frank thought. Perhaps they had thought about trying to tell the insurance company they were inside the car, or one of them was inside the car when the car went out of control and crashed into the bus shelter.
Then again, perhaps the men were just nervous because of his presence. He'd announced he was Justice Department and from his demeanor, people knew he meant business so few people messed with him.
The teenage girl was looking at him with a mixture of fear and pleasure. He smiled at her, which caused her to blush. "Uh, is it okay if we go now?" she asked the young police officer.
"Yes. I've got your statement. Thank you, Miss Connelly," Officer Burton told her. Her boyfriend tugged on her coat sleeve, pulling her away from the scene.
"Did the boy give you his statement?" Frank asked.
"No. He wasn't watching the accident because his back was turned. He was walking backward in front of his girlfriend.
Frank nodded. He'd seen the teenage couple on the sidewalk, and the boy had been doing just that. His girlfriend had been pointing behind him, but he'd kept ignoring her and had been singing to her. When the rusted Ford had crashed into the bus shelter with a loud bang, he'd spun around and nearly tripped.
The three men were standing around. "Hey, uhm, we gonna get in trouble?" one of them asked.
Both Frank and Officer Burton looked at him. "No. Why?" Officer Burton asked.
"I was just wondering," he said. "I mean, we crashed the car."
"You were trying to give the car a rolling start, and you forgot to put someone inside the car to brake it. The car crashed merely because of stupidity, not because you did anything wrong," Frank said.
Officer Burton's mouth dropped and he gawked at Frank. Frank merely gave him a lifted eyebrow. He addressed the three men again.
"Sorry. But the car is scrap metal. Most likely, if you kept up the insurance premiums, the insurance company will pay for the replacement value of the car. Carmax has some good used car deals," Frank told the three men.
With that statement, Frank decided to leave. He'd given his statement. He turned to Officer Burton. "Have a good day," he said. Officer Burton nodded at him and Frank turned to walk back to his beamer, his Guccied feet softly clicking on the pavement.
Frank's Plunge (Part I)
Frank plunged in.
The cool water lapped at his body as he swam downwards, hoping desperately to avoid the huge explosion he knew was taking place just a few feet above him.
He felt something strike his head and he tried to keep his mouth closed but the force of the strike was so strong, he let out an "oomph".
Breath escaped his lungs and bubbled out into the water. Precious oxygen! He couldn't swim any longer, his head a spinning whirlwind. Spots swam before his eyes--he thought they were fishes. He tasted salt, and knew he'd bit his tongue. He could see a streak of red in front of him.
Wildly, he remember that when someone is struck very hard on the head, they bite down. His tongue hurt. The spots were fading to grey; some were black.
He couldn't help but suck in a large quantity of water. The world went black and he knew no more.
When Frank's body floated to the surface, facedown, Jake and Millara swam out to retrieve his body. The explosion which had rocked the waterfront warehouse had taken out all of the drug gang.
It had also taken out Frank.
"Millara! Do you know CPR?" a scared Jake asked as he dragged Frank's body towards the river's bank.
"Yes, and hurry! There still may be time!" Millara said as she helped Jake swim with Frank's body back to the bank.
Millara's foot struck the bottom and she and Jake lumbered up the riverbank.
"He is heavy," Jake grunted.
"He is dead if he is heavy," Millara answered as she rolled Frank onto his stomach, straddled him and began to push on his back, hoping to get him to choke up the water.
A small stream of water trickled out of Frank's mouth.
Millara rolled him over onto his back, pushed his head back, opened his mouth and breathed into his mouth five times.
Jake, watching, pushed on Frank's chest once. Millara breathed into Frank's mouth five more times. Jake pushed on Frank's chest another time, hard.
Time seemed to stand still as Jake and Millara tried to save Frank's life. They worked in tandem, Millara breathing for Frank and Jake pushing on Frank's chest.
A choking sound emerged from Frank's throat. Quickly, Millara turned Frank's head to the side and a thick stream of water was coughed out of Frank's mouth. He spluttered. But to Millara's and Jake's immense relief, he took a breath and was breathing on his own.
Frank's eyes remained closed. Jake was on the phone, calling 911 for further assistance. Millara applied pressure on the three inch cut on the left side of Frank's head.
Frank opened his eyes. "Millara?" he asked, groggy.
"Yes, baby, I"m here."
"Kiss me. Tell me you love me."
"I love you," she whispered as she kissed Frank's full lips until Jake's foot nudged her.
"Ahem," Jake said. "Sorry to bother you two lovebirds but I think the patient needs his wound stanched again."
Frank closed his eyes and sighed. He'd been hurt but he'd survived, thanks to his love, Millara. In the background, as his eyes closed, he heard the sirens coming.
Frank's quarry was half a block ahead, running fast. In the dimming light of the desert day, Frank could see his quarry jump onto a motorcycle, start it and drive off.
Frank himself veered off his course when he spied a motorcyle that he could use. As he jumped on the motorcycle, the flitted across his mind that a lot of people in this desert town rode motorcycles; indeed, motorcycles seemed to be parked in front of every house on this quiet residential street. Frank zipped up his jacket--for he knew desert nights could get quite chilly. Then he kickstarted the motorcycle, applied acceleration and drove off in chase of the suspect.
One thing about motorcycles was that they did tend to be quite noticeable aurally. In the quiet of the small desert town, Frank could easily hear his quarry's motorcycle as he tried to escape into the darkening desert. The darkening desert also allowed Frank to see the headlight of his quarry's motorcycle.
Good. His quarry was exiting the town via the two-lane highway. Frank would have a straight shot at his quarry. He This part of Arizona was sparsely populated and the distances were long between populated towns. His quarry had picked a bad place to hide out in, for in small towns, it's easy to get picked up when you're on the most wanted list.
Frank drove to the outskirts of the town. Up ahead he could see the taillights of his quarry's motorcycle. He applied more acceleration and soon the wind was whipping against him and Frank thought his cheeks were plastered to the back of his head. But he wouldn't worry about that now.
His objective was to overtake his quarry, collar and cuff him. Frank rode the motorcycle easily, and he was glad he'd thought to zip up his jacket before starting. The wind would have peeled the open jacket over his arms and limited his mobility.
The sand in the wind was scouring his face and getting into his eyes, making him squint. Frank did take note for future reference that he should wear a helmet and invest in wrap-around aviator glasses--one pair with polarized lenses for use by day, and the second pair with clear lenses for use at night.
Frank noticed his quarry up ahead. So the quarry hadn't accelerated much. Frank would be able to over take his quarry soon, very soon.
Frank felt good about that prospect.
Frank accelerated still more, pushing the motorcycle to its limit and moved over into the left lane of the highway. As he pulled up alongside his quarry, he said, "Boo."
Jake, hearing Frank's voice in his ear, turned his head slightly to the left, smiled and Frank heard "Yeah. Not bad. If this were a real chase, we'd be riding for miles to ensure our quarry's capture."
"Practice run. Now we know what to expect. And we also know what we need by way of protection from the sand," Frank said into Jake's earpiece as he slowed down behind Jake, then pulled back into the right lane.
"We ride into the next town over, where Cody is waiting," Frank finished. The two members of the team rode their motorcycles in silence for the rest of the ride, each enjoying the brilliant desert sunset.
FRANK: UC Fragments
In this Fragment, the newly-arrived UC Team's Frank is having difficulty obtaining information from a female suspect. She's stubborn, but she has a reason. Frank is asked, by her, to do something totally unorthodox. When Frank finally understands why she was so reluctant to give him what he wanted, he lets her know the reason why she shouldn't feel bad about the situation. Timeline: a few days after the events in UC's episode "Fathers & Sons"
Frank got up from the slatted wooded chair, and began to pace in front of the woman.
She was a frustrating subject, this stringy haired, wild eyed woman who'd been picked up on a cocaine rap. Sitting in the room's other wooden chair, in the pale blue jail jumpsuit, a sheen of sweat on her forehead, she was adamantly refusing to answer his query as to where the rest of the shipment of cocaine was being stored.
Naturally, Frank had turned up the room's thermostat.
Frank himself appeared to be unbothered by the higher temperature.
"Does it have to be so hot in here?" she asked him as he paced. Astute, isn't she, Frank? But Frank did not let her comment ruffle his placid exterior.
"Forgive me. Thermostat's gone haywire and our illustrious mayor refuses to allow the funds to fix the heating," Frank told her. There had to be some way, some little way of getting her to give him the information that he wanted. She knew where the rest of the shipment was located, but she hadn't taken possession. No. She'd only received a baggie of Colombian white from her supplier. She'd accidentally overhead her supplier's whores discussing the location of the shipment. This is what she had told the arresting officer, apparently in the hopes of getting off. Now, she was being stubborn.
Frank's objective today was to obtain the location of the ton of cocaine which had been run in to Miami from Puerto Rico, cocaine's usual entry point into the United States. The cocaine had managed to elude the Coast Guard and had been hastily dumped into smaller speedboats idling just inside the line demarcing international waters.
He was keen to get the information about the location of the shipment, more so for the people rather than the cocaine. The information the woman held would lead him to the persons running the drug ring.
He paced the room, dressed lightly, as if he'd come in from a round of golf, which is what he had told the arresting officers to tell the woman.
"Can I have something cold to drink?" she asked.
"Forgive me again," Frank told her. He motioned to the guard to get the woman a cool drink. She was profusely sweating by now and Frank had decided to allow her something cool to drink. He had to take it easy, for although he knew that warm temperatures made a person sleepy, and thus less able to resist his questioning, prolonged exposure to warm temperatures tended to agitate a person. Frank had to keep a delicate balance.
The guard brought the drink, "Here it is, Yvette," the guard said, putting the cool soda in front of the woman. She picked it up and took a long sip. "Thank you," she said to Frank.
Frank gave a nod of his head.
Setting the drink down, Yvette said, "There is a reason why I'm not telling you, Mister Donovan."
She merely looked at him. He looked at her with his placid brown eyes.
"Do you want the information, Mister Donovan?"
"That I do"
"I could be 'persuaded' to involuntarily give up the information," Yvette said.
Frank withheld his reaction. Just what did she want? "You're already facing a 10 year rap on the cocaine charge. The best I can offer is a five to seven term, provided you give up the information."
"If I had a head injury, say, from a few police officers 'accidentally' giving me a more than a few right hooks, I'd be dazed. Knocked unconscious. I wouldn't be able to remember questions doctors asked me in order to ascertain the extent of the head injuries," she told him cooly.
Frank merely grunted. She was a cold-blooded individual. But there must be a reason why she just asked me to have her assaulted. Was she looking for a lawsuit against the city? He considered her information. Yvette Montcarlo, 31. Three kids under the age of 8--all living with a cousin who wanted nothing to do with her, but who was more than willing to care for her kids. Grew up poor, just on the edge of society, always looking in on what she considered the good things in life. Cocaine addict, picked up several times by the law. She obviously knew about the high profile 'assault by a police officer' lawsuits currently wending their way through the system. Naturally the press was more than happy to divulge the details.
Was she angling for a lawsuit against the city? What was her strategy? Frank decided he needed more information, and time, to consider her request.
He took a sip of water from the paper cup he had brought in with him.
Yvette merely looked at him. He looked at Yvette. Stalemate.
"There's something more you want to say, but it's not about the location of that cocaine shipment," Frank said. Yvette lowered her eyes, acquiesing without saying a word or moving her head.
"And you will, undoubtedly, suffer 'extreme consequences' if it's known you were the one to supply the information," Frank continued. Again, Yvette lowered her eyes, again, acquiesing Frank was bang on.
"Is there a way for us to get the information from you without your knowing it?" he asked.
"No. The location of the information is known to me, and to one other person," she paused. "It, it is written down," she finished softly.
Frank was feeling frustrated. He considered her choice of words. The location of the information. This meant there was hard information, not intangible information located in her head. The information was somewhere, currently out of reach, but safe. If he could ascertain the location of the information, he wouldn't have to query Yvette, who was proving to be a formidable opponent.
Then he considered her words further and realized Yvette had given him the answer to what he needed to know. And she'd said it softly. He just had to dig to get it. He realized that either Yvette matched him in cunningness, or else she had inadvertantly let slip her tongue.
Frank's beeper went off. He picked it up, looked at the number. "Excuse me for a moment. I'll have some more soda brought to you," he said as he exited the room.
The call could be returned later. Frank needed time to compose himself. Needed time to figure out his next move. He motioned to the guard to bring Yvette's arrest report. He stood just outside the interrogation room, reading through her statement.
He paused. His lips pursed for a moment. Then he flipped back a few pages where Yvette had listed the addresses where she had stayed in the last six months. She'd been picked up at the pricey Delarosa Resort.
He noticed she had listed she'd been homeless six months ago. She'd been living on the edge of the intracoastal waterway, near the marina. Near the marina, Frank knew, were storage units available to rent. Miami was the gateway to the Caribbean and many a romantic sailor dreaming of a solitary life at sea used Miami as their starting point.
Storage units could be rented on a long term basis, and were generally used by those wistful sailors who preferred to be out in the warm Caribbean waters and needed somewhere to stash extra belongings not needed while at sea.
This could very well be the location of the information to which Yvette was alluding.
Frank handed the arrest report back to the guard. He turned down the thermostat so the room would become chilly. He opened the door and walked back in. "Excuse the length of my absence," he said. Yvette just looked at him.
"Have you considered my request?" she asked him.
"Yes. I have considered it and I am denying your request," he told her.
Yvette launched herself out of her chair and towards Frank. Connecting with him, she momentarily knocked him off balance. He, being at least a foot taller than Yvette, was able to poke her in the throat, twist her arms behind her back. He motioned to the guard to cuff her. Frank sat her down on the slatted wooden chair, rather hard. Yvette grunted.
"Satisfied?" he asked Yvette. "Launching yourself at me was not a good idea. Assaulting an officer of the law will add additional time to your sentence," he told her.
He motioned to the guard to take Yvette back to her cell. Let her ruminate for a while. He'd wanted to make a point that he was in charge when he had forcibly sat Yvette down.
Once she left the room, Frank made a call to the storage facility near where Yvette had lived as a homeless person. He discovered, much to his pleasant surprise, that there was a storage unit rented out to a Yvette Montcarlo. She'd rented it six months ago. Frank wondered why Yvette hadn't rented the unit out under a different name but then again, Yvette was a heavy cocaine user and her memory, at 31, was already fading. Sad, Frank thought. She could have been quite attractive had she taken another path in life.
But then he had to think about Yvette again. Was she really that cunning, despite her memory being addled by cocaine? Or had it been an inadvertant slip of the tongue?
He made arrangements for a search warrant to be executed on Yvette's unit at the storage facilty.
Arriving at the facility with the police, Frank waited until the lock was cut off. When the unit was opened, Frank saw, to his surprise, counterfeiting plates.
Tagging the evidence, a rookie cop called him over. "Who is these people in this picture?" he asked Frank.
Frank looked at what the cop was holding. He could not believe his eyes.
"One of them is Sonny Walker." Frank pointed to Sonny. The other man Frank didn't know. A younger, much prettier Yvette was recognizeable hanging on the arm of the man Frank didn't know. The trio was on a boat. That meant there had been a fourth person, the one who took the instant photograph.
On impulse, he flipped the picture over. On the back, in handwriting Frank recognized from an arrest report he'd read a few hours ago, he read:
"Me, A. Delray and Sonny, my birthday, 1988"
So the information Yvette wouldn't divulge was the name of Antoine Delray. The name Frank recognized. The face of Antoine had eluded him, and the entire Justice Department, since Antoine came to power several years ago. Up till now, no one had seen his face. He operated far more undercover than Frank or his team had ever done.
Antoine was a notorious crime king and it was no wonder Yvette was terrified of divulging the information, and why she had requested Frank to have her assaulted by police officers. She wasn't after a payoff from the city.
She was trying to protect what life she had left.
If Antoine, at any time, suspected Yvette of divulging the location of a photograph of himself, he'd put out a contract on her life.
"This is a photograph of Sonny Walker, Antoine Delray..." Frank heard the rookie suck in his breath at the name of Antoine Delray, but he continued giving his information, "and Yvette Montcarlo," Frank finished. "I'm more interested in Antoine than in these counterfeiting plates. She must have been holding them for him, and had slipped the photograph in the locker. Frank had wondered why Antoine had allowed his photograph to be taken in the first place.
He considered his options. He could always re-interview Yvette again, and ask her how old she was in the photograph. He looked at the photograph again. Sonny, as always, was ageless. Frank now noticed that Yvette's hair had been pouffed, and she wore big earrings, brightly colored earrings. Her makeup was a bit garish, and way overdone on the blush, Frank now noticed, but still, she had been much prettier in this picture. She looked fresh.
Fresh, as in: before worn.
Now he remembered how teenage girls liked to look in the late 1980's: big hair, brightly colored big earrings and garish makeup, overdone on the blush.
The photo had been taken before Antoine had started his life of crime. But the photograph remained in existence, and Antoine suspected it. He'd have a contract out on her life if he thought she'd given the photograph, however inadvertantly, to the police. Yvette had obviously been his girlfriend as a teenager, probably a teenage runaway, judging from the freshness of her face. His mind flashed back to the lined, worn face looking back at him in the stalemate he had hated so much.
Like many teenage girls, she had kept this memento of a happier time. She'd obviously told Antoine she no longer had the photograph; she had been homeless at the time she'd rented the locker. Frank knew the counterfeiting plates were Antoine's, and Yvette had last seen Antoine six months ago when he'd given her the counterfeit plates for safekeeping. But why Yvette? Why not have one of his own lackey's keep the plates?
Frank considered the situation. Yvette had been homeless six months ago. Yet when she had been arrested, she'd been staying at the pricey Delarosa resort. Not cheap.
Now Frank understood why Yvette had agreed to keep the plates. Antoine had paid her handsomely. Something else in Frank's mind clicked. The plates were part of the shipment which had been stolen six months ago, right after he'd quit the FBI as a hostage negotiator. Fortunately, Treasury had cancelled the serial numbers used on the plates, a fact which Antoine obviously didn't know, for if he did he would have just dumped the plates somewhere. And he'd needed a fast place to hide them and someone to safeguard them. Someone just like Yvette.
Two weeks later, Yvette was sitting on the hard, narrow bunk in her cell. She'd been crying, and her eyes were puffy. The small black and white television she'd been suddenly been allowed to have in her cell the other day was turned onto the news about the fatal shoot-out. Someone cleared their throat. Yvette looked up.
Without saying a word, Frank pushed the 'play' button. Somehow, Yvette wasn't startled to see Frank. But she was startled to hear the voice voice coming out of the tape player's speaker. She knew that voice, and knew Frank had obtained the photograph.
"That bitch, Yvette?" she heard Antoine say. "I know she has that photograph of me and her from way back when she was a fresh faced whore just run away from home."
Yvette heard Antoine cough. She looked up blearily at Frank, who merely looked steady at her, and still remained wordless.
"I gave her 20 grand along with a few baggies of coke to hide my merchandise for a while, until the plates cooled off. Not a bad payoff. I have an offer on those plates for half a millon. The deal goes down tomorrow. Then, I'm having that bitch killed," Antoine's voice stopped, and he slurped soda. Yvette knew it was A&W rootbeer.
"I have a whore who goes to see her sister in that jail. Her sister's the women's block trusty. My whore's going to give her sister some bad ecstasy to slip into the bitch's food. Kill her right off," Antoine finished. The was a chirring sound, and Yvette knew Antoine was in his limo, playing with the automatic windows, and she knew that Frank had had sound surveillance in the limo.
Frank shut off the tape player.
"Did you let slip the information?"
"An escape route?"
"These days, I can't remember what the jail fed me for breakfast yesterday. I kept losing my thoughts in that room, I had to keep hoping I reasoned it right. I, I could only sit there, hoping you'd take the bait and figure it out," Yvette said.
"It worked," Frank said. He and Yvette looked at each other. Not a stalemate this time. It was a look of sadness on both their parts. She had so much to offer, Frank thought.
FRANK: UC Fragments
In this Fragment, Frank needs his team to rescue him, instead of him doing the rescuing.
Or does he?
Timeline: after "Zero Option"
The figure dangled on the thin nylon rope extruding from the bottom of the chopper. The figure twisted in circles as the chopper flew three hundred feet over the Sonoran Desert. The Colorado River was sparkling in the distance.
"Cut the line, now!" a male voice commanded. The dangling, twisting figure could hear their voices quite clearly, as the two men's voices were amplified through the speaker hastily attached to the bottom of the chopper. It had been placed there so that an exquisite pain would be felt by the figure: that of knowing exactly what time he died.
"Dammit! We're still over the desert. You know we can't have a body to find!" a second male voice said.
"The coyotes and vultures will take care of the body! Now, cut!" the first voice said.
"Dammit, again! Will you listen to reason? DNA analysis is so sophisticated just a bone fragment could link us to this hit. You know who we're hitting. And you know they won't stop until they've recovered his body. I'll cut the line when we're over the river," the second male voice commanded.
'Fine. Just make sure you cut the line," the first male voice said.
Donovan considered his options. In the past months, he'd had to consider his options several times. He was not in a good position dangling three hundred feet above the Sonoran Desert. He had to admit the Colorado River looked good after being dragged through the air, high above the desert from the border town of Nogales.
Then again, he'd not be alive for very long once he hit the river. Dropping three hundred feet into the river was sure to kill him. The Colorado River was raging. He reflected that was why his killers had chosen to drop him from three hundred feet in the air into the Colorado River: the raging whitewater would get rid of his body, never to be found.
Frank knew his team would be frantic. This would be the second time they'd lost their leader. John Keller had been a good man, an excellent leader. He'd had different traits that the team had depended upon. The team had liked Keller; some had even loved him. The team, under Frank, had resolved some tricky cases. He'd learned their idiosyncrasies, their moods. He knew his own approach to the job mystified them. They were used to Keller leading them, used to Keller's way of handling things.
Frank heard a second chopper bearing fast and hard behind him. A voice spoke through a megaphone.
"Border Patrol! Direct the chopper where we tell you!"
Frank could hear the two men's response through the speaker the two killers had kindly installed for him, and their words weren't nice.
A twisting Frank was surprised to hear a shot ring out over the noise of two chopper's blades. He heard a grunt from the speaker and figured one of the two had been shot. He rather hoped the first man had been shot. The second man would be easier to control, once his buddy was out of the way.
"Lower the rope!" Frank heard the voice through the megaphone. Frank felt the chopper lurching, but he felt, rather than saw, the rope being lowered. He felt himself being lowered towards the desert floor and only hoped his body would not be too badly broken upon impact.
The chopper from which Frank was dangling suddenly lost altitude. His stomach turned because the rope was still being lowered and the chopper was losing altitude, causing him to feel nauseous.
Frank looked down. A bad idea but he needed some idea as to how close he was to the desert floor. Much to his surprise, dangling from the rope he wasn't more than a hundred feet above the desert floor, and the Colorado River was rapidly approaching.
Frank readied himself to let go once the chopper was over the Colorado River. He had a good eye--a great eye, that once shot a man through his gun wrist--but he hoped his eye was good enough to judge his jump correctly. If not, he'd be landing on the desert floor, a smushed Frank Donovan.
He didn't like that option, but he had to consider it.
As he twisted in the air, the Colorado River looming larger, the chopper suddenly lost more altitude. He heard the engine falter. He was twisting faster now, spinning around like a Donovan top. The world was a blur. There was no way he'd be able to accurately judge when he'd be able to jump--and enter the river instead of plopping down on the desert floor.
Crazily, he remembered a movie from sometime back. He couldn't remember the name but it was a mountain climbing movie. The one where the opening scene has a family of mountain climbers on the side of a mountain. They're in trouble, and the father cuts himself loose, falling, falling towards the ground, his children stuck to the side of the mountain, watching in horror, yet knowing that it was the only way to save them: either they all died, or one died. They knew their dad had chosen what he considered to be the lesser of two bad options.
This is what Frank had to consider. The lesser of two bad options. Did he want to choose dying in the cool, delicious Colorado River (and he had to admit for the second time that the river looked very inviting and in particular, would soothe his parched throat and skin)? Or would he be content with a death by hurtling towards the ground?
He remembered reading that people who fell to their deaths thought the experience almost a transcendental one. Those people who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge told doctors that the world passed in slow motion, and you felt elation. You felt no fear, just elation.
Frank figured it was that way to reduce the pain the impact of your body would drive into your brain.
He made his choice. He would choose the river.
He grimaced, looking down. They were almost to the Colorado River now, the chopper lurching crazily, the Border patrol's chopper close behind. Frank's ears were filled with the sounds of the whirring blades. This was the last sound he'd hear?
Frank judged that now would be a good time to let go. Hoping he'd calculated it correctly, he loosened his vise-like grip on the nylon rope.
He fell towards the Colorado River.
He had to admit the jumpers were, in fact, correct.
It was a transcendental experience. Frank felt elated, the tendrils of his soul were washed with a pleasant feeling. He vaguely heard someone screaming, and wondered who was doing the screaming.
Frank started. He opened his eyes. Seeing the ceiling above him, he automatically reached out to the nightstand and flipped on the small lamp there.
He sat up, rubbing his eyes. He looked around his tastefully decorated bedroom. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, he stood up, went into the bathroom and the light turned on automatically. Frank turned on the faucet and stooped over, splashing water on his face. Standing up straight, he looked into the mirror.
Noting the pulled expression on his face, Frank said to his reflection, "Falling dream. It's time for a vacation, soon."
JAKE: UC Fragments
In this Fragment, it's Jake's day to teach Spanish to some of his favorite people in the world. But he does something for the kids, first.
Timeline: after "Zero Option"
Jake pulled his rented car up a few blocks from the shelter, for there was no parking available near the shelter. His own car had blown a gasket and was in the shop. He had found, much to his surprise, he rather liked the rental car Frank had arranged for him.
The car was red. A lot of women drivers were beeping at Jake, smiling and waving at him. Jake waved back. Frank was right. Jaguars were quite enjoyable to drive, Jake had to admit. And for the past several months, since Keller's death and Frank's entrance as the team's leader, Jake had found himself admitting a lot of things.
Not that he minded, he told himself as he got out of the car, making sure to set the car alarm. He walked down the two blocks to the shelter. Sometimes weeks had gone by without his being able to spend time with the kids there. But for the last several weeks he'd been able to go on a regular basis.
He'd found spending time with the kids quite relaxing. Very relaxing. Today was his day to give the shelter's kids their Spanish lessons.
And today's lessons was verb conjugations.
Ack! How he hated verb conjugations. The kids groaned whenever he told them their lesson would consist of conjugating verbs. He could relate but hey, you didn't learn a language unless you learned verb conjugations.
Ahh, crud! He'd forgotten the treats he'd brought for the kids! He spun on his heel and walked the two blocks back to the parked Jag. Turning off the car alarm, and unlocking the passenger door, Jake grabbed the shopping bag from the passenger seat. Shutting the door and resetting the car alarm, Jake took a few steps, then looked up. There was a young man watching him. Jake couldn't discern the expression on the man's face--envy? Jealousy? Contempt? A mixture of all three? Jake smiled, then continued walking.
He walked the two blocks back to the shelter, singing to himself.
Opening the door to the shelter, and stepping inside, he was greeted by a cacophony of young voices--"Jake!" "Jake!" "Jake!" "Jake's here!" "He's here!" "Come on, Jake's here!" "Vamos! Es Jake!"
He had to admit the feeling of being wanted felt good. He felt good after so many years of feeling unwanted, so many years of being alone. Yeah, he'd had the Father, and the church, but the feeling of having somebody--a lot of somebodies--get excited when you walk into a room, that feeling was pure joy.
Now that was what Jake considered a homecoming.
The kids gathered around him, all speaking at the same time in an excited mixture of Spanish and English, "Jake! We want the cookies!" and "Jake, queremos las galletas, queremos las galletas, por favor!"
Jake chuckled. The kids always liked the cookies he baked himself. He was actually a decent cook. Uh, make that baker. Food, he still burned sometimes, but cookies he could bake. Probably because he himself liked cookies.
The kids had discovered that the brightly wrapped tins contained double chocolate chip cookies. Jake knew that kids liked to unwrap presents and many of them received precious few gifts wrapped in gift wrapping. Again, Jake had Frank to thank for that observation.
Frank had suggested wrapping the tins of cookies. Some months ago, he'd come across Jake baking cookies in the nest's gym. Jake hadn't known--and still didn't know--just how long Frank had been standing there, listening to Jake hum as he dropped the cookie dough onto the greased baking sheets. Jake had chosen to use the nest's oven for baking because it was larger than his own oven, which looked like somebody had chopped it in two and sold Jake one-half. Frank had cleared his throat.
Jake turned around, a sheepish look in his face, but Frank had been smiling. "Baking?" he asked.
"Uh yeah. It's for the kids at the shelter," Jake said, wondering why he felt sheepish about baking cookies.
Frank noticed the tins to hold the cooled cookies. "You know, Jake," Frank said in his 'observation' voice, which Jake knew by now that Frank was going to give a psychological slant to Jake's baking. Frank continued. "Those kids don't get to unwrap a lot of gifts that have wrapping paper. They'd really enjoy it if you wrapped the tins of cookies up in wrapping paper. Kids really like to rip wrapping paper off gifts, especially gifts with bows and ribbons. The very young children love to stick the bows on their faces," he finished, still smiling.
"I'll try that," Jake said, as the timer on the oven went off. Jake got the cookies out of the oven, put them on the cooling rack, then turned to finish speaking to Frank. But like the wind, Frank had gone, most likely to his office.
Later that same day after Jake had finished baking the few dozen batches of cookies, cooled them and put them into the tins, he'd taken the tins out to his car. It was his day to go the shelter. Walking up to his car, he noticed something was in the front passenger seat.
Instantly wary, yet knowing the nest and its environs were safe, Jake looked around. He cautiously walked around his car, looking for someone hiding. He looked under the car--no one.
When he opened the passenger side door and finally looked at the package, Jake laughed. For there, on the seat, was a shopping bag containing bright wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, along with a big roll of scotch tape that Frank had undoubtedly nicked from the supply cabinet.
Then Jake realized something. He'd forgotten to lock the passenger side door. He remembered locking the driver's side. Damn! Jake slapped his head. He'd opened the car door, but he never unlocked it. Frank had left the wrapping paper there to remind him to never leave his car unlocked, even while it was parked at the nest. Frank and his lessons.
Jake chuckled to himself as he remembered this memory while he watched the kids rip off the rest of the wrapping paper on the cookie tins. Frank had been right, the very youngest children loved to stick the bows on their faces. A few were prancing around trailing the ribbons and singing at the top of their voices.
"Mmmmmmm! Galletas!" a five year old girl said to Jake. "Gracias, Tio Jake! Gracias por las galletas!" she bubbled up at him, stuffing her mouth full of chocolate chocolate chip cookie.
"Why don't we go get you some milk?" Jake said, smiling, taking her hand and leading her to the table. The rest of the children followed him, trailing ribbons and bows, and blowing cookie crumbs out of their mouths.
More Fragments soon!
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