“Shades of Justice” Chapter Eight

Kathy and Kelly got back to the hotel at 6:30 PM. Jack came back from a workout in the hotel gym a few minutes later. He announced he was the bartender and took orders. Everyone settled on a tall gin and tonic with a slice of lime. Gathered around the dining table, Jack listened to the account of their day. Kathy told him about their approach.

“The guy Kelly described came in Starbucks. She described him perfectly. I watched him when Kelly came in. He definitely recognized and watched her closely. I believe he was relieved to see that she was alone. I left first. Kelly came out behind our suspect and we followed his car to a boarding house in Schenley. We saw him use a key to go in a side entrance. We got pictures of him, his car, his house, and jotted down his license number, which we should run tonight.”

“Good work. We may have a break here. My instincts are to pick him up immediately and interrogate him. If he won’t cooperate, we have a disposal problem. We’ll deal with that when we have to. I’ll run the plates now.”

Five minutes later, Jack was back with the information from running the plates through Captain Shorer. Shorer had mixed the plate search with a couple of others his office was running.

“The plates were stolen three weeks ago,” Jack reported. “It’s more than likely the car was also stolen. Kathy, rent us a panel truck. Kelly, find a site where you watch either his car or the entrance to the boarding house. I assume you are carrying your SOCOM .45?”

“After that attack on your Charleston house, I’m never without it.”

“On your way to the guy’s house, pick up three gallons of water, a bucket, several towels, a box of latex gloves, some kitchen trash bags, three small high-intensity flashlights, and a roll of duct tape. Don’t buy it all in one place and pay cash. We’ll interrogate this thug in the van Kathy’s renting. We may have to dump him in the river if he doesn’t cooperate. Are you okay with that?”

“We’ll know if he’s part of the kidnapping gang by the time you finish with him. If he doesn’t help us, then he can try swimming.”

“Okay. Be on your way. Stay in touch with your cell. When we are on the way to Schenley, we’ll call.”

An hour later at 8:30 PM, Kathy called and told Jack she was in a dark brown Ford panel truck. “Turn left out of the hotel and walk a block and a half. I’m on your side of the street in a short-term parking place. I bought some masking tape to block the interior lights. By the time you get here I’ll be done.”

“I’m on my way. See you soon.”

Much to Shadow’s disgust, he saw Jack leaving again without him. He whined once and Jack told him it was okay and he would be back soon. Shadow provided too much of an identifying mark for this operation. Jack knew he had skilled, experienced people in Kathy and Kelly but things go wrong easily when you’re pushing the envelope this hard. His goal was to get enough information so he could give direction to the retired cop agency tomorrow morning.

Jack found Kathy waiting patiently. He tapped on the passenger window and when the door unlocked he got in and said, “Now, ain’t this fitting for a honeymoon adventure?”

Kathy said, “Lover, you forget I’m not the live-on-the-edge junkie, you are. I’d sooner be back in our suite. But I do hate these bastards in the human trafficking business. They ruin hundreds of lives for money they soon waste, while these poor girls become playthings for the rich perverts of the Middle East and Asia. So let’s go bring some misery and fear into one of them.”

Jack said, “If we can break him or turn him into an informant, the information we get will result in a number of these pigs feeling the pain of retribution. Kelly’s picking up some stuff we’ll need. She’s probably waiting for us now from a position where she can watch the house and the side entrance. I’m going to call her now. What are we, about 15 minutes out?”

“Make that 10 and I’m taking it easy. No tickets.”

Kelly picked up and said, “Go.” Jack told her they were less than 10 minutes out and asked if she had seen any action.

“No. I’m parked in a good spot and there is another place right in front of me that will take a panel truck. No one has been in or out the side entrance. Lights are on in what I believe is the apartment or room he’s staying in. There is a dim light over the door. The streetlights here are partially blocked by the many trees. I saw a few people on the street earlier but no one in the last 30 minutes. The neighborhood is old, rundown, and quiet.”

“When we pull in, come and get in the panel truck.”

Right on schedule 10 minutes later, Kathy said, “I see Kelly’s car and the parking space in front.”

When Kathy cut the lights, Kelly climbed into the back of the truck. Jack said, “Here’s how it’s going down. Kathy, this guy doesn’t know you. Go ring his bell or knock on the door. If no action, pick the lock and pretend the door was open. When he sees you, tell him you’re sorry but you scraped his car and you don’t want an insurance claim on your record so you want to give him cash for the damage. Ask him to come out and look at the damage. Leave your cell open to my number. I’ll be able to hear what’s going on. Any trouble or if he won’t come out, keep the door open and I’ll be there in a few seconds to bring him out and load him in the back of the truck. Put the bag over his head when I’ve got him under control. That should do it. Kelly, when I put him in the back, take him down, duct tape his arms and legs. No prints. Wear your gloves. Put all waste in one of the trash bags. I’ll jump in behind him and help.

“Give Kelly time to move her car several blocks from here. Follow her and pick her up. Then drive around while Kelly and I convince him to talk. If he doesn’t, he gets water boarded. All clear. Any questions?”

Kelly asked, “Are we trying to avoid putting any marks on him? Like abrasions on his wrists or ankles or bruises?”

“Yes. Use your soft skills. Nerve points, joint locks, come-along holds. I’ll put him out if necessary using pressure on his carotid arteries. Okay? Let’s go!”

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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