CHAPTER FIVE: SAVOIR-FAIRE
Kay must have wanted to get my attention, she crossed her legs and gave me a look at her shapely thigh that darted out of her designer culottes. “You like what you see?”
I arched my eye brow, “Is that a trick question?”
“Are you sure you haven’t been drinking?”
“You wish. What am I staggering or something?
“No, you’re NOT staggering. That’s how I can tell.”
“You can actually be funny sometimes. You do have a big behind for a white girl.”
“Daniel McAllister, I told you before we left not to ruin this trip for me.”
“Okay, what’s going on? Why are you so uptight?”
“Are you going to be serious. Can we have a real talk?”
I swallowed hard. “The last time I agreed to that I was sent to Podkamennaya Siberia. Okay shoot?”
“Are you, I mean do you still find me attractive?” She slouched on her seat. “Just be honest.”
After a moment, “You still got it.”
“You’re such a liar,” She poked out her ample chest. “You just like these.”
“You got me on that one.”
“You better, they cost enough. If you really mean it then why won’t you touch me?”
“You know what I mean.”
I smiled at her and said, “The truth is I don’t trust you and I’m afraid to be hurt.”
“What is that supposed to mean.”
I pulled an envelope from my jacket pocket and poured out the contents of sand next to her feet.
She looked at it strangely. “What is that?”
“Must I remind you. This is what’s left of my heart.”
“You’ve waited all day to do this, haven’t you? Don’t you ever get tire?”
“Oh hell no. What’s the old saying? Fool me once I’m an ass.”
She sighed and gave me her famous doe in the headlight eyes. “It won’t happen again, I told you that.” She said woefully,
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Must you continue to be a childish imbecilic schoolboy, paranoid about every guy I talk to.”
“Not every guy, just the smooth-talking, French-Canadian ones who happen to be world famous violinists. What’s his name again, Savoir-Faire? Savoir-Faire is everywhere.”
“But Daniel, you never said anything?”
“I’m sorry, I guess I’m old school. The action speaks louder than words club.”
“Why don’t you just say what you mean.”
“Remember me, I was the fool who was there by your side after your accident, but where was he. Still you jumped back in his arms when he finally did show up like nothing had happened.”
“Then why the hell do you keep me around?”
The loud speaker boomed again: “WE ARE ABOUT TO CLOSE THE SHOW OUT WITH THE FINAL SCHEDULED ATTRACTION, SO EVERYONE HURRY BACK TO YOUR SEATS;”
“Finally, I’d been waiting for this part of the show,”
“IT’S LOUD, IT’S FAST, AND IT’S CAPABLE OF LANDING
VERTICALLY, IT’S THE HARRIER!”
CHAPTER FOUR: BLUENOSERS
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW
“Say, aren’t you the Black Lobster?” The man was burly with grey hair but none on top of his head. I was sitting on a stool drinking a draft of beer at the only liquor refreshments to be found at the place.
“That’s the Black Lobster guy, you know from the TV commercials.” The bartender confirmed.
“Hey that’s where I’d seen you before?”
I rolled my eyes, “Da guys tryin to drink his suds here,” Some other guy said coming to my rescue. “Give’em a break dere for cryin out loud. Gee fella, sorry abot tat.”
“Nice accent, it ain’t from Maine?”
“I’m from Brooklynn.”
“The Bronx.” I admitted, “Now I live in Wells, Maine.”
Before he could say another word, a woman stepped in. “It’s the Black Lobster,” She said frantic.
Another man pulled out his program from his pocket. “Can I get your autograph? The kids’ love your commercials.”
I signed it and then handed out coupons I keep in my fanny pack for just such occasions. “Free clam chowder with your meal. Good all year around. Come on by when you’re in town.”
“Please say your spiel just once for us?” The lady asked. but she was so thrilled how could I refuse.
“AS THE LOCALS SAY, LOBSTAH’S A MAINAH STAPLE, YA BOIL IT AND EAT IT UP WITH TONS OF BUTTAH! COME ON IN AND SEE WHAT I MEAN. AT THE BLACK LOBSTAH RESTURANT.” Everybody laughed as I finally get to down my draft.
I finally made my way back to the spectator section of the outdoor stadium stands where Lady Kay was sitting. When she saw me she looked at her watch? I suspect this was a sign that I’d been gone too long. “What, did you get lost?” She sneered in her New England accent. Kay took the tray from me, so I could climb on the raised bleachers.
“I got arrested.” I laughed,
“What?” I sat down next to her and handed over the items she had been waiting for. “Finally, I’m famished.”
“I guess they’re not used to seeing black folk around here.” Kay wasn’t even listening to my rant as she devoured her sandwich. “They were about to haul me away when someone recognized me as the guy from the Black Lobster commercials.”
“Up here. Be serious.”
“What, you don’t believe me.”
“Have you been drinking?”
“What? They don’t even sell booze at these things.”
She stared straight at me suspiciously. “Don’t lie to me, that’s never stopped you before,” She said sarcastically.
“It’s true,” I agreed with her.
“You have been drinking?”
As if the announcer was on my payroll he came on the speaker. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A LOCAL CELEBRITY WITH US TODAY. LET’S GIVE A WARM NOVA SCOTIAN WELCOME TO THE BLACK LOBSTER.”
The place went wild. They started chanting YA BOIL EM AND EAT EM WITH TONS OF BUTTAH. I stood up and gave them a double Nixon type peace signs. When I sat back down Kay looked on dumbfounded.
“Sometimes, you’re such an asshole.”
Habiba landed on top of me, causing an awkward moment. We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. “You okay?” I finally said.
“Ever watch MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?”
“NO, never heard of it.”
“How about GET SMART?” She gave me a blank gaze, “Well I guess they missed us by that much.” I said showing with my fingers.
Hearing the blast Vernon rushed to see what had happened but he ran right into a woman running from the opposite direction. They met at the stairwell. “Who are you?” Vernon said as he pulled his gun and pointed at the woman who walked slowly backward “Okay young lady, who are you and what are you doing here?”
I looked down from the top of the stairs. When I saw who it was I was just as surprised as Vernon was. “Her name is Freya. We met recently.” I looked at her, “What are, you doing here?”
“I always accompany the new girls to their first job to give them support, because this is a dangerous job you know. When I heard the gun fire I hid.”
“So, you are?” Vernon inquired.
“I’m an escort from Portland.”
He looked at me and his eyebrow went up. “And you were with her recently?”
“You need to get out of here,” I said to her, “and right now.” We came down the stairs and I handed Freya one of my cards, “If I find out anything I’ll call you and you do the same.”
“Will we keep it discreet.”
Habiba looked on disgruntled, “You’re going to let her leave?”
“For her protection. I’m convinced whoever the killers are they’ll make her a target if word got to them that she was here.”
They both agreed, and Freya left out the back. It turned out to be just in time because moments later FBI Agents arrived with a full contingency and surrounded the place.
Vernon looked surprised. “Habiba did you call these guys in?”
“No not me.”
“Well, neither did I.” Vernon went to greet them. “Mac, stay put until I find out what’s going on.”
Before I could say another word, I heard a familiar voice shouting. “What the hell is McAllister doing here?” Agent Michael Carmichael stood in the doorway.
“I called him in.” Vernon answered,
“Oh really,” Carmichael said with glee in his voice. “Then I’m ordering you to get him off the crime scene.” He stepped into the house and got in my face, “You can inform your friends at the CIA we’re not allowing any part of them on this investigation. As far as you’re concerned this case is closed.”
THAT WAS JUST FINE WITH ME
CHAPTER 2 THE BIG PEN
“I suggest we look around for other clues.” Habiba noted.
“it doesn’t look like Tommy was expecting trouble.” I mentioned, “he probably didn’t have time to stash evidence.”
Vernon agreed, “Sounds like a good idea,” He turned to Habiba. “Keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn’t steal anything.”
We did a tour of the place like a couple appraising a house, especially impressed by the spaciousness. we found what appeared to be a home office and what might be Hughes’ laptop on an oak desk. “I’ll try to break into his system, maybe we can find out what was the last program Hughes was on.” I said eagerly.
“Absolutely not.” Habiba protested, “This is evidence.”
“I understand that, but I need to make sure there is no classified information on it. That’s the reason my cousin called me in on this.” That was basically a bunch of BS I just wanted to see what Tom was into.
It took longer than it usually did for me and I was displeased with myself, GETTING OLD. For all that work I only found one secured file, it was a series of old fashion blueprints from the 1960’s or 70’s possibly of a missile base. The pages were stamped “OPERATION SORE LOSER”
“How’d you do that?” Habiba said astonished,
“Well, I was a spy,” I shrugged.
“Did you find anything classified?”
Disappointed I told her NO. “Maybe that girl was the target after all.”
Suddenly the large thingamajig that looked like an enormous ballpoint pen on a nightstand started ringing. Habiba grabbed it but not sure what to do with it handed it to me.
“MY BIG PEN” was printed on it, well within Tom’s sophomoric sense of humor. I pulled off the pen cap and found what looked like a receiver.
“OPEN CHANNEL D.” I said with a smirk.
The voice on the other end was yelling in Russian. I could make out he was asking why I’d entered a restricted file without permission. “My Russian isn’t that good, who is this?” Realizing I was not Hughes he hung up and less than a second later a hum started to emit from the laptop.
“This would be the part during Mission Impossible when something will self-destruct in five seconds,” I grabbed Habiba and flung her out the door and leaped after her.
CHAPTER 1 MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS
LOCATION: CAMDEN MAINE
Duty always seems to call in the middle of the night. Case in point; The FBI Agent calling me at 3 A.M. just happens to be my cousin Vernon Tibbs and he thinks nothing of asking for my help with an investigation at that hour. He’d like me to come to the home of a Murdered victim who needs to be identified.
Why me? The victim had my private number in his cell phone and had attempted to reach me several times. The poor bastard picked the wrong person to call for help. I am not a cell phone person having accidentally dropped mine over the side of a sightseeing boat trying to get a picture of a Blue whale and never bothering to replace it.”
I got on Route One and hurried to Camden. I double checked the address as I entered the home. Yep, this was the place. I was welcomed by stunning hardwood floors that led to the large family room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace. Damn white folk sure know how to live.
“Good you’re here,” Vernon greeted me. “You made good time.”
“There’s no traffic at 3 in the morning.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. This is one I’m sure you want to see. This guy looks like he was one of yours.”
“One of mine?”
“Yeah, a spy. And he was trying to contact you.” Vernon led me into the back room. “Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice. The entire room resembled a hip pad from the 70’s.”
The smell of pot permeated the air. I quickly located a bong shaped like a face hugger from Alien sitting on the table. “That’s different,”
A young woman with long black hair dressed in Indian garb was standing in the room. I was immediately taken by her haunting dark eyes and Vernon had to regain my attention. “This is Agent Habiba Samara, my partner. This is Daniel McAllister.”
“I’ve heard so much about you Mr. McAllister.”
“All good I hope.”
“No, not really,” she gave a wry smile. “Really, I’ve heard nothing but good things. Your cousin is quite fond of you.”
“The feelings mutual.”
“The bodies are over here.” She said with little emotion.
I recognized the male victim, “Tom Hughes; CIA.”
“We found him in bed with the dead girl, both were naked,”
“So, I assume they weren’t playing checkers.”
“The FBI has had their eye on this girl.”
“Her trade name was Lolita Heater, she was from Russia and she pretended to be an underage call girl.”
“Well she sure looks the part. Russian, you say.”
“The slave trade has made inroads in both Canada and the US.”
Vernon sighed, “Along with it come the weapons and drugs.”
“As far as I know Hughes was less than a couple of years from retirement. He spoke Russian which is where his mother was from so he was assigned to Moscow. I had no contact with him over the last five years.” I scratched my beard, “and, this property is more than he should have been able to afford.”
“You think he may have been moonlighting on the side?’
“It sure looks like It.”
“It’s possible the girl was the target.” Habiba noted.
“Unknown at this point.” Vernon admitted, “We lost track of her about a week ago.”
“One thing’s for sure they were shot execution style by professionals.” I added, “He was caught with his pants down, literally, but from the look of things he came and went at the same time.”