Tuesday, May14, 2024 – Chapter Twenty-four “The Bad Seed”

Jay got the call at 11:30 in the morning. “Hello Gus, this is Cheeto. I have the place for the meeting picked out.” Cheeto gave Jay directions and Jay wrote them down. It was a flat place out in the desert surrounded by low black brush, creosote and yucca plants, near the end of a narrow dirt road. It offered little cover for hiding vehicles.

Cheeto had picked out a place that he thought was advantageous to him for the deal to go down. He told Jay and gave him a time for the meeting. The meeting was set for midnight. “No reason to be fool hardy” Jay thought. The cover of night was good for both Jay and Cheeto. Jay made a call after he talked to Cheeto.

David sat int he public library reading old newspaper accounts of Jay’s exploits when he was a cop. It was a team effort of course, but it seemed that Jay was in on all of the big busts for years. His career was unblemished, except for one incident.

After spending a few hours on Jay and finding nothing a miss, David then went into Susan’s history. He started with the funeral notice of Susan’s husband that ran in the paper and then worked backwards. The history of Susan’ life played out for him to see in the paper. At least the years during their marriage. He read about children being born, Susan leaving the military and her husband ending his time after nearly forty years. The part before that was vague at best. It only stated that both had been in the military for several years and that they had been posted to many countries.

David tried to read between the lines as only a soldier can. The locations of the deployments were always in political hotspots around the world. That seemed unlikely at best. There should have been a few deployments to back water bases every now and then. But no, the family always seemed to be in harms way and had somehow survived, time and time again. This seemed odd to David and highly unlikely.

Now all three members of this unlikely team had tried to learn something about their teammates. Two members had results which made each one more willing to go deeper into this adventure if necessary.

Jay was still waiting for the chief to come back with his search results on Susan. Jay was content with who he thought David was. His only concern was with Susan. She seemed to be more than capable, but he wondered how that could be. He wanted to know some of her secrets. Around ten in the evening the chief called Jay.

“Hello Jay, how are you holding up?” “We’re fine. I’m just anxious to get this over with and go back to my normal life.” “That may be more difficult than you might have thought. It seems that Susan’s husband always pulled embassy duty and his wife was near by. She worked inside many U.S. Embassies early in her career but then was given advanced training and soon was doing more field work. She has gone to several special schools and is well versed in martial arts, electronic warfare and other interesting skills.” “How did you find all of this out?”

“I have several sources and I was in the military as well. I still have a few contacts of my own. I will never reveal them of course. Just let me say that you are in good company with Susan. She’s probably retired CIA, if there is such a thing.

The work on getting info on David was easier. His clearance level was much lower. He is a hero in his own right but he had some tough times and left the service earlier than he might have wanted. He was working on a long career path until an unfortunate accident had him injured very badly. He nearly died. He was cut loose and he was not happy about it.”

“I see. It sounds like a pretty good team then, as far as I can tell.” “Yes Sam, these people and you have all seen bad times and come out on top. I think you will all be fine. By the way, that gun in Sam’s car was the murder weapon of the guard at your sisters place but Sam’s prints weren’t on it.

Thomas’s prints were the only ones on the gun. It has been traced back to a residential burglary. We are still doing more ballistics work. It may have been involved in more crimes. If so, that makes Thomas’s future all the worse. He may talk if we can get enough charges put on him.” “Great chief, thanks for your help. We’ll see you later.” “Yes, you can depend on us.”

Cheeto and Jason loaded the van and headed out to the meeting point. Jay did the same. David would ride with Jay tonight. Susan would be deployed else ware with binoculars, a rifle and a pair of cell phones, just in case.

After twenty minutes of driving, Cheeto left the asphalt and headed into the desert. It was dark but Cheeto had been down this rutted path more than once this year. Only the torrential rains changed it’s character. If the weather remained dry the road was passable for months.

Susan sat on the edge of the highway with her binoculars resting on the hood of her long white Cadillac. A rifle with a powerful scope and silencer leaned against the car next to her. It was her own gun and she was very familiar with it and it’s capabilities. It wasn’t the first time one of her long shots might change the course of an event.

Cheeto sat in the van on a small hill watching Jay coming his way in the darkness. Jay’s headlights were getting larger and closer as each minute passed.

The chief was on his phone with the mayor getting the final go ahead for their part of the operation.

Two men from Panama checked into the Palms Hotel, using their false passports as ID. They carried little luggage. They paid in cash for their room. The clerk smiled as he accepted the money. “We don’t get many foreigners coming in here.” The two men only grunted. They didn’t speak much English and had no desire to spend any more time with the clerk than necessary. He would become a witness and a loose end, perhaps.

Julie lay in bed sleeping. She was a retired police officer’s wife and was used to sleeping alone.

Bret was at work, as usual.

The moving headlights brought back a long buried memory to Susan.