Joel was keeping within the speed limit, even though he desperately wanted to get north of Georgetown on Route 17 before the State Police would be looking for his car. Once there he could decide where it would be safest to stop for the night. He had some minor burns on his neck and arms that hurt like hell. Joel had no feeling for the people who died in the fire. Just the feeling that he had lost his capital and the hard work he put in to build his business. Thank God, he had saved the images of the young girls in their moment of death. Those couldn’t be replaced. Each one was unique.
He had enough of al Qaeda. If all they could do was destroy his business in a failed bombing attempt, he was done with them. Take their money and disappear. He didn’t care if he ever touched another rug. He would find another way to support himself and his real work of hunting and killing young women. His research was much more fulfilling than selling rugs and acting as a boarding house keeper for occasional terrorists. Let the man from Herat try to find him.
When Joel’s van parked in the rundown Vision Motel in Surfside, the CIA helicopter that had tracked him from his rug shop in Charleston reported his position, and a ground surveillance team vectored into the location took up position around the motel. Frank had instructed the team to maintain discreet surveillance but do not lose the target.
The next morning Joel drove over to the Citizen’s Bank of Surfside. After going through the identification procedures, he emptied his safety deposit box of two different identity packages and $100,000. Now he was equipped to disappear. Using his new identity as Robert Huxley, he bought a five-year-old gray Ford Explorer in good condition with 40,000 miles. It was a cash deal in a small used car lot that was hurting for business. No questions were asked, and he drove off with dubious temporary plates.
His old blue van was parked two blocks from the used car lot. Getting rid of it would not be a problem. Parking the van in a nearby strip mall with the keys in the ignition and no plates would attract some of the clientele hanging around the cut rate shops. Pulling up several slots away from the van, Huxley AKA Hankins removed the van’s plates, took his reserve of stolen plates from under the back floor mat, and drove off in his Ford Explorer. The temporary plates would last 30 days.
When Joel’s car was out of sight, one of the three surveillance cars pulled into the mall and parked beside Hankins’ abandoned car and removed the tracking beacon. Frank instructed his surveillance team to remove the beacon Kathy had placed behind the grill and not to install it on another car. The Professor was far too street smart. He’d check Hankins’ car for beacons at the first opportunity.