“Shades of Justice” Chapter Twenty-five

As Buck was descending into the Philadelphia Airport through a light rain, Jack was staring through the mist, admitting to himself that he was an action junkie. Two days in an overly solicitous luxury environment tried his patience. The call he got from Captain Shorer cheered him up. When the authorities got their act together and a warrant, they raided the freighter and after a hard search a Coast Guard officer found a hidden compartment. When they broke in they found 23 young women in varying states of health and drug addiction. The ship was impounded and the entire crew under arrest without bail.

Kathy told Jack to stop pacing around like a tiger in a cage. Sally had needed the rest and eventually she snapped back to her previous outlook on life, but there were shadows. Not fear, but a looming question: What was she doing with her life? What she was doing before her kidnapping now seemed petty. She had long talks with Kelly who finally had to tell her that she was not at liberty to tell anyone what she was doing and to please stop asking. Kelly’s response shocked Sally. Kelly, seeing the shocked embarrassment, told her to talk to Kathy but warned her under that polite exterior, Kathy was a hard, tough warrior.

When the Lear touched down and taxied into the private plane section of the Philadelphia Airport, Jack told Kelly and Sally to either stay with the plane or wait in the clubroom. Buck or his co-pilot would show them. Jack told Buck he and Kathy would be no more than three hours and he wanted to leave for Pittsburgh when they returned with the new puppy.

Having a police badge certainly made traveling by air easier. Especially if you owned the plane. Their limousine was allowed to come up to the airplane. Jack suspected Buck’s longtime buddy chain of friends also helped. Shadow jumped in the back seat with Kathy and Jack. When the driver turned in shock to look at his canine backseat passenger, Shadow stared at him and yawned, showing off his massive jaws. The chauffeur asked Kathy if the dog was safe. Kathy said with her best impish smile, “The dog is safe and you will be too if you don’t upset him. He is very smart and knows if you like him. He prefers to ride up front. If he bothers you back here, I’ll tell him to jump up front.”

The chauffeur said, “No! He’s fine back there. Has he ever bitten anyone?”

Kathy was going to give the chauffeur another smart remark, but Jack stepped in and said, “Only on command unless he sees someone attacking us. Then he does his thing.”

Jack handed the chauffeur the address of the breeder’s kennel and said, “I want to be back here in no more than three hours. Can you meet that schedule?”

“Sure, unless you stay longer than an hour at the kennel.”

Jack had expected the address he was given was to a kennel. Instead the limo pulled into a driveway of a private house in an attractive suburban community. The chauffeur moved the limo around to the back of the house. A woman came out and introduced herself as Cynthia Morgan and invited them inside but suggested that Shadow stay in the car. Cynthia said, “Your puppy is in the house with his mother and she doesn’t like other dogs around her pup. She barely tolerates other people handling her pup. She is upstairs but would set up a tremendous brewhaha if she picked up your dog’s scent.”

Cynthia asked Jack and Kathy to wait in the living room and she would bring the pup down. Kathy nudged Jack and nodded at the sheets and covers over all the furniture. Jack shrugged. They both looked up as they heard sounds of a dog charging down the rug-covered stairs. Kathy was expecting a puppy still in the pick-me-up-and-hold-me size. Instead, a 40-pound bouncing bundle of brindle-coated Bouvier slid around the corner and leapt upon the couch while wagging his stubby tail. From couch to arm chair to floor and back again the streaking pup hit every piece of overstuffed furniture in the room before pausing and grinning at the two open-mouthed humans. Cynthia arrived and said, “He has show-dog manners but not much of any other training. I call him Tory, short for tornado, but you can give him a new name. His registered title is too long to remember. If you change his name put that on the form I’ll give you to send to the AKC. His shots are up to date. He is very healthy. I had the pick of the litter. He was the smallest but the heaviest. He has excellent conformation and loves the show ring. Unfortunately, the failure of the second testicle to drop disqualifies him for competing beyond the age of six months. Tory was on his way to be a great champion. Winning Best-in-Breed at the National Show for four- to six-month-old Bouviers when he was only four months, the youngest dog in the show, is no small thing. It breaks my heart to lose him, but my dogs have to pay their way.”

Cynthia was basically talking to Kathy. Jack was down on the floor bonding with Shadow’s son. Only Shadow didn’t know it yet. Jack stood up with Tory in one arm struggling to lick Jack’s ear. Kathy said, “Does he ever stop moving?”

“Only when he’s sleeping.”

Cynthia was very organized and had feeding instructions, health records, pedigree records, and her phone numbers. “If for some reason it doesn’t work out, I want him back. You come with very high recommendations so I doubt there will be any problems. Get him to a very good vet if you’re going to have him neutered. But not before he is a year old. The papers enclosed here explain all that.”

Jack asked Cynthia if he could take Tory out to meet Shadow. He had brought a collar and leash for him. Cynthia said, “My place is fenced in when the driveway gate is closed. But Tory can’t even spell ‘recall.’ So he will come back to you when he is done running as fast as he can for as long as he can.”

“I’d like them to meet off lead. I’ll close the driveway gate.”

Jack came back to get Tory after the gate was closed and Shadow was loose, checking the local scents. Jack put Tory down and he charged Shadow, who turned his shoulder and took the charge. Tory bounced back and Shadow, using the Bouvier hip maneuver, knocked Tory down and put his huge front paw on the wiggling pup. After a few seconds, Shadow backed off and let Tory come over and lick his face and then run off as fast as he could. Shadow ran after him and the two Bouviers played the age-old game. By the time Kathy came out, they were lying down side-by-side watching their human pack members. Cynthia came out and stood still in shock as Shadow and Tory walked up together to meet them. Cynthia said, “Your Bouvier is huge with show-dog qualities even with his graying muzzle. I’ve never seen Tory so calm with another dog. Shadow looks to be seven or eight years old.”

Jack said, while rubbing both dogs’ heads, “Shadow is close to eight. He’s serious about manners. He’ll help me train Tory. Before we go I’d like to see the bitch. I’ll put Tory and Shadow in the car.”

“Okay. But be careful with her. She’s very protective.”

The bitch was as standoffish as Tory was in your face. Kathy hoped the “puppy” would be somewhere in the middle. Tory’s father was a champion many times over.

Jack sat up front on the trip back to the airport. Kathy wanted to sit in the back with the sleeping dogs. Tory had his head in her lap and was sound asleep. She thought, I’ve only known this dog for 40 minutes and he’s already stolen my heart.

Jack said, “If we are going to change his name, the sooner, the better. Do you have one you like?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. My parents had a wonderful German shepard that I grew up with. His name was Gideon, it means warrior. Is that okay with you?”

Jack put his hand on Tory’s head and in his deepest voice said, “Henceforth, your name will be Gideon. Carry it well.”

“That sounded more like a baptism than a name change. But thank you.”

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

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