Ramada Inn Santa Rosa
Kathy was ready in a few minutes and the two headed down stairs. As they got off the elevator, Jake saw the large officer from the day before get up from a chair in the lobby and start walking towards them. Jake leaned towards Kathy and whispered in her ear, “Stay close and don’t say a word unless he asks you a question ok?” she nodded her agreement.
“Good morning officer Johnson. What bring you here? Are we under arrest, or did you just come to have breakfast with us?”
Smiling officer Pete Johnson said, “Nothing like that Mr. Hammond. I just thought you should know what has happened since last time we spoke.”
“Please call me Jake. In that case why don’t you join us for at least a cup of coffee?”
“Well I suppose I could use a cup. If I am going to be calling you Jake please call me Pete. How are you today um um?”
“It’s Kathy. I am doing much better than I was when we met yesterday. Thank you for asking.”
The three headed for the restaurant. “Jake I tried to call both of your rooms and got no answer. Then I asked the front desk for the room number. When I went up I knocked and there was no answer at either door.”
“Is there a question in there somewhere officer?”
“Please call me Pete. This is all off the record, and the question is where did you two stay last night, and why?”
“We stayed in a two room suite. I had a friend get it for us so it would be harder for however sent those guys yesterday to find us. I really didn’t want to have to shoot anyone else. It is hard on my stomach.”
Officer Johnson eyed Jake sideways without turning. “Ok, I think I understand.”
There wasn’t much conversation until they were seated and had ordered coffee from the waitress. Then Pete turned to Kathy and asked, “How did you sleep last night?”
“I slept ok. I think the drain from so much adrenaline in my system kind of knocked me out.” She grinned at Jake over her cup.
“So Pete, you said you wanted to tell us of developments. What’s happened to bring you down here?”
“Well it is sort of weird to be honest.” He paused, and then went on. “Last night in the early hours some men arrived at the morgue with a document and took possession of the four men you killed. At about the same time two men were at the police station. They had a court order and removed every piece of paper on the case, even the court order and our notebooks. They further ordered that no one was to speak further of this. They went into the captain’s office for a few minutes then left. This morning we, meaning everyone who had anything to do with the case, were ordered to drop the case, and we were to have nothing more to do with it. Your house is no longer a crime screen. You can go back whenever you like.” He took a deep drink of his coffee and watched Jake for a few minutes.
“Well thank you. “Jake said. “Did the men identify themselves?”
“Thank you? That’s all you have to say? No they never said where they were from.”
“Look, I don’t know any more then you do. I am scared, confused, and want to put this behind me.”
“Jake please, you know something more than I do. I seriously doubt if you are scared. I have never seen anything like what happened at your house. We both know those guys were professionals, and you went through them like a hot knife thru butter. Where did you learn that, by the way?”
“Ok, Pete. I was a ranger in the army. That is where I learned how to do what I did. I think this may have something to do with a computer I bought recently. The problem is, I don’t have the information that was on it when I bought it. I got a little nosey and they wiped all of my machines and then came for Kathy and I. From what you just told me I would guess that they were one of the alphabet soup boys’ font companys. That is truly all I know.”
“What do mean by alphabet soup boys’?”
“You know, CIA, NSA, FBI, DIA. Those guys.”
Pete’s face was starting to turn an ashen color. He took another deep drink from his coffee as the waitress came to the table.
“Good morning are you ready to order?”
“Yes I think we are.” Said Kathy with a smile on her face.
“Pete you know what you want for breakfast,” after a second past Jake asked again, “Pete.”
“I’m good thank you just coffee.”
“Look Pete I’m buying. Kathy and I are celebrating. We got engaged last night and after breakfast we have to go get her a ring. So please share a meal with us?” the statement shocked Pete right out of the trance he had been drifting towards.
“Well, congratulations to you both said the waitress,” she kept glancing sideways at Pete. She was probably trying to figure out why the cop looked like he did.
“I will have the Country biscuits and gravy with two scrambled eggs and some cheese please. I want the gravy and cheese in a bowl though please.”
“Sure thing, how about you dear,” she asked Kathy.
“I want the healthy start. With the grapefruit half,” Kathy paused thoughtfully. “You know, never mind I want the pancake and eggs with a side of strawberries.”
“Full or half stack?”
“Um, Full I think.”
“How would you like your eggs today?”
“Over easy please. Can I get a glass of orange juice too, please?”
“And what can I get for you today Officer?” she asked Pete.
“Eggs Benedict, with a side of white toast I guess.”
The waitress smiled again and went to place their order. The three of them sat for several moments before anything was said.
“Why would you think it was one of those agencies?” Pete finally asked.
“Because, who else do you know that has the power to come in and seize four dead men, their personal effects, and all records of the events? It just makes sense”
“I guess so.” Pete replied. “Congratulations by the way.”
“Thank you.” Both Kathy and Jake said at the same time.
“What are you two going to do now that you know this? Do you have a plan?”
“I’m not sure. I will have to think about it. I don’t want to get dead, and I’m not sure if we are safe or not yet.”
“Did you tell all this to the DA when you talked with him?”
“No I didn’t have it worked out yet who or why. I figured it out last night. I didn’t know about the bodies be picked up though. That really compounds things.”
“We had planned on telling you, or the police at least about what we had thought of last night, after breakfast.” Kathy added, giving Jake a tread carefully look.
“But now, I just don’t know. Have any suggestions now that you know all the details?” Jake asked.
Pete looked Jake hard in the eyes, and asked, “You figured this out last night. That is why you changed rooms right?”
“We didn’t want to take any chances. In the movies, you always see someone finding the room number from a clerk. You’ve seen it. He slips the guy a twenty and goes upstairs to kill someone.”
“Yea.” was all Pete said.
They talked very little throughout the remainder of the meal. As they were leaving Pete said, “Jake, look I think you did exactly what you had to yesterday. I think you probably have some really interesting war stories, you know what I mean?” Jake only nodded at this. “I have no further duties here. I don’t think I want to have any more to do with this.”
“I understand Officer.”
Pete grinned at the change back to the formal greeting. “Well congratulations to you both again. I hope you have a happy life together.” He walked out through the doors to the parking lot.
Jake turned and headed to the front desk. “I am sorry I had trouble figuring out the message thing on my phone. Is the any way you could transfer my messages to a loby phone for me?”
“Why of coarse sir” responded the clerk.
Jake and Kathy walked over to a plush couch and coffee table. As the phone rang he picked it up. There was two messages from Pete, one from a very nervous ADA, and on from his office.
“Anything interesting?” Kathy asked
“Just one very nervous sounding ADA who said basically the same thing Pete did. Without all the extra advice of course. The office also called to say he called. The ADA.”
“Now we head upstairs and pack we aren’t coming back here.”
Fifteen minutes later they were back down stairs. Jake had used the TV to check out of the suit and was checking out of the two rooms they had never entered.
As they walked to their cars a police car rolled up. Pete rolled down the window, “Say Jake if you need anything here is my card.” He handed it out the window to Jake.
“Pete you got a piece of paper and a pen.” The cop handed them to Jake and he wrote something on it and handed it back. “That is sort of an answering service for the boys from the green machine. If you need to get in touch with me call.”
“Thank you again for sharing breakfast with us Pete,” Kathy said.
As they were walking off Jake called out “Hey Pete, if you ever need any help call that number. I think I owe you one.
Officer Johnson nodded as he drove off. Jake and Kathy turned and walked towards their cars.
“So where we heading to now?” asked Kathy.
“Well, first we have to drop this off, then into the office for a bit. We have to run those errands I told you about too. I’m just not sure what order to do them in.”
“Want me to follow you to the shop in my car?”
“Yea I think that is a good idea.”
They both went to their cars and headed out of the parking lot and across town to Wheel Tunes. The shop was not what one might expect. It was located in the industrial part of town. Wheel Tunes took up entire warehouse. There must have been at least 50 cars in the lot with numbers on them waiting to be taken into the shop. From the lot you could see they had 15 different bays, doing everything from car stereos to fancy rims and custom pain jobs. Jake motioned for Kathy to park in the outer parking lot while he drove his Explorer into the service area. Steve came out of the office to greet him.
“Hey man how is it going?” asked Steve.
“Ok, I suppose all things considered.” Jake said as he climbed out of the truck. “Looks like business is good mate.”
“Yea we do ok.” He said as the two walked back towards the office. Jake stopped him about half way there.
“Let’s wait for Kathy. She is parking in the other lot.”
“Sounds good, who is Kathy?”
“My fiancé, so keep your hands and eyes to yourself mate.” They both laughed as Kathy came thru the gate heading towards them. Jake introduced the two as they finished their journey to Steve’s office.
“Take a seat please.” Steve said pointing out two nagahide chairs. “Ok, now what is it you need Jake you were a bit vague on the phone?”
“I need both of our cars swept with a fine tooth comb. I have reason to believe that there may be both ears and sniffers in them.”
“What is a sniffer?” Kathy asked.
“It is short hand for tracking bugs. The newer stuff has GPS in it connected to cellular technology. They can transmit to anywhere in the world your location down to about 2 feet.”
“Really, and you think that our cars might have something like that in them?” she phrased this question to Jake, who only nodded.
“Look all I really want is to know if we are tagged. No removal, well sort of reconfigured. I want to be able to debug us easily.”
“No problem.” replied Steve. “Oh, I have your loaner car in back. It is as clean as can be man”
“Thanks, how long do you think before you’ll know?”
“I think we can have you sorted out in about 2 hours.”
“I need one more thing mate.”
“You name it and it is yours.” Steve said smiling.
“I need someone to drive my car later with a tape player running, we’ll make the tape today. That way I might be able to get a line on who ever tagged us.”
“Like I said you got it. It is the least I owe you.”
Steve opened the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a set of keys. “Like I said parked around back Green Escalade. Please be nice to it?”
“Of course we will.” said Jake taking the key and handing them to Kathy. “She is the one who will be doing most of the driving after all.”
“I will take good care of it Steve you have my word.” The two rose and headed out the back door of the office.
“I will call you. Wait, what number do you want me to call?”
“My office number you have it right?”
“Yea I have it.” Steve said loudly from the back door as two climbed into the Cadillac.