By Debra Baschal
Beta Read by: Mary Shukes Browne and Kelly W
Written for PetFly by: Gail Morgan Hickman
~~~~~~~~~~ Act I ~~~~~~~~~~
Jim Ellison felt irritated as he maneuvered his truck through the darkened warehouse district towards his rendezvous.
He couldn’t believe Sandburg sometimes. When he had picked him up from the university earlier that evening, he had told him about self-defense classes and getting qualified, not only on how to handle and shoot a weapon but to receive a license to carry one while he was riding with him, that Simon had suggested. Blair had adamantly refused to carry a weapon.
Sighing in frustration as he turned the corner and pulled up to the rendezvous point, he decided to try again.
"All I’m saying is that it would be nice to know if I got into a jam, that you can cover my back."
"Uh-un." Blair shook his head. He had been over this with Ellison several times since they had met. He was getting ‘real’ tired of this same argument over and over. "No way, man. I’m not going around packing. My deal is that I’m here strictly — strictly — as an observer."
Ellison sighed in frustration again as Sandburg repeated his position. He glanced around as the sound of an engine reached his ears. Motioning to Blair for quiet he announced. "Somebody’s coming."
No sooner had the words left his mouth than he realized the noise was coming from an approaching motorcycle. Both he and Sandburg watched the side-view mirrors as it appeared around the corner behind them.
The motorcycle passed them and pulled to a stop in front of them.
"It’s him," Jim informed his passenger as the black clad figure started shutting down his bike.
Leaving Sandburg in the truck, he moved over to the rider who had dismounted and removed his helmet revealing a young man, in his early 20s, of Asian decent. "Does your mother know you look like this?" he asked as he took in the other man’s appearance.
"Screw you," was the answer.
Both men seemed awkward for a long moment before Jim cracked a smile and pulled the younger man into hug as they both laughed.
Pulling back, Jim continued to smile. "It’s good to see you, Danny."
Danny returned his grin. "Good to see you, too."
Knowing how dangerous this meeting was for the younger man, Jim got down to business.
"So, O’Toole took over another waterfront trucking firm?"
"S.K.B. Freight, run by a guy named Ray Kaminski. Word is he told Mickey O’Toole to drop dead. Then one morning he walks into his four-year-old daughter’s room and finds somebody’s cut the heads off all her stuffed toys." Danny looked angry. "So now Kaminski’s got himself a not-so-silent partner, twenty-five percent of his business profits, but he gets to sleep nights and not worry about his kids."
"Yep." Jim nodded, having seen the same scenario dozens of times before and still hating the thought of it. "Got it." His expression softened fondly. "You okay?"
Danny shrugged nonchalantly. "I’m cool."
"You double back on your way over here?" he asked, his care and concern obvious.
"Yeah, yeah," Danny moaned in a put upon teenage way.
"No calls home. Right?" Jim searched his face for reassurances.
Danny grinned. "Look, you’re not my big brother anymore. I can take care of myself."
Jim returned his grin. "All right." He pulled him into another hug.
"I’ll talk to you next week." As Danny pulled on his helmet he couldn’t resist adding, "Watch your back."
Danny grinned saucily. "I always do." He snapped down the visor on his helmet and climbed on his bike.
He turned back towards his truck as the undercover officer jump-started the bike’s engine. As Danny rode off, a tiny red light in an upper floor window of the warehouse at the end of the block caught Jim’s attention. Coming to a stop, he concentrated his sight on the window, and recognized a rifle with a laser sight.
Turning quickly, he started running as he yelled at the receding figure of his friend. "Danny!" a single rifle shot rang out before he could complete the name.
As if in a dream, he watched as his long time friend toppled from his bike and collapsed on the ground. Realizing that the laser dot was still targeting the fallen man, Jim grabbed his arms and quickly pulled him behind a dumpster. The sparks of metal hitting metal dancing in front of his eyes.
Glancing back around the side of the dumpster, he spotted the laser dot moving across his truck towards Sandburg, who was climbing out of the door on his side.
"Blair, get down!"
Blair ducked below the level of the door an instant before the window was shattered by another bullet. Keeping low he ran over to the cover of the dumpster.
As Blair reached his position, Jim again concentrated his vision on the shooter, who, realizing he no longer had a target, had lowered his rifle and pulled back out of view. For one moment his face was in plain view.
"Juno," Jim murmured in recognition.
Realizing he was gone, Jim turned towards Danny. Setting him down, he carefully removed Danny’s helmet. Looking towards Blair, panic in his heart he ordered. "Call an ambulance.
As Danny’s face came into view, both men saw that his eyes were blank in an unseeing gaze.
"Oh, God," Blair murmured in despair.
Jim felt for a pulse. "It’s going to be all right." He bent close trying to hear if he was breathing as Blair reached forward to check Danny’s pulse also.
"He’s gone, man." Blair’s voice was choked. "It’s too late."
"No, it can’t be," Jim groaned as he opened Danny’s leather jacket.
"Oh God!" Blair exclaimed in horror as what was left of Danny’s chest was revealed. The bullet looked as thought it had exploded before exiting the young officer’s chest. Only the jacket had held most of the blood, gore, skin and bone fragments in place.
"Nooo…" Jim moaned, his eyes unfocused.
20-year old college junior Jim Ellison walked out of the director’s office of the local Boys and Girls Club chapter. Before him was a scrawny, 12 year-old, dark haired Asian boy. At first glance, he looked like he was auditioning for a part in either a preteen remake of ‘Hell’s Angels’ or for a place in a junior sized punk rock band. Looking closer, Jim realized the boy had a lost but defiant look to him.
Walking over, he stuck out his hand in greeting. "I’m Jim Ellison. You must be Danny Choi." He shifted uncomfortably as the boy continued to stare at him. "Director Reynolds thought we might make a pretty good team. What do you say?" he coaxed.
"Why would some rich white boy like you want to hang out with me? Slumming?"
Jim grinned self-defensively. "Look, Chief. I thought we could spend some time together. I hear you lost your dad a few years ago."
"Yeah, so?" Danny sneered.
"So, my old man and I aren’t close, so I know a ‘little’ how you feel." He shrugged. "I thought maybe we could try help each other."
Danny looked off to the side with a sigh. "Yeah, I could give it a try," he muttered indifferently.
"Good." Jim smiled slightly.
Numb, Jim entered Major Crimes. In a slight daze he headed for Simon’s office. It had been three hours since Danny’s murder. Once Blair had pulled him back from the pit of grief he had tried to fall into, they had called the murder in. As backup had arrived, he had been able to leave immediately to look for clues as to who Juno was working for, or anything to tie him to the hit. He had come up empty on both counts. He had come back to the station after sending Blair home with a couple of uniforms he trusted.
"Jim." Simon’s voice broke into his thoughts from where he was sitting on his desk he continued. "I think you know Assistant DA Beverly Sanchez." He nodded towards an attractive Latino woman.
Jim glanced at her and nodded. "Yeah. We’ve met."
"We’ve got one hell of a mess here, guys," she complained with a slight New York accent. "Two months’ worth of undercover work with Mickey O’Toole right where we wanted him. But, without Officer Choi’s testimony, our case is dead."
Jim’s temper started to flare, causing his voice to drop. "In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Sanchez, there’s a lot more that’s dead here than your case."
Suddenly realizing how tactless she had been, Beverly backed down. "I’m sorry. You’re right."
"Well," Simon stood, picking up a file folder. "The good news is we have a positive I.D. on the shooter." He handed the file to Beverly and walked around the desk towards his chair. "Tommy Juno."
"You’re kidding." Beverly looked like she had just been given a $100 bill as change for a $20. "Do you know how many times Juno has walked without so much as an arrest?" Her excitement was slowly building.
Simon as he sat down. "Yes. He always has an ironclad alibi."
"But not this time," Jim insisted. "The man I saw was definitely Tommy Juno and I’ll swear to it."
"This changes everything." Beverly’s expression, which had been slightly dazed with excitement, started taking on a determined glint as she worked through what had happened aloud. "O’Toole must’ve hired Juno to hit Danny Choi. We nail Juno, tie him in to O’Toole. We could still make our case. Hold on." She snatched the phone handset that Simon was reaching for. Quickly dialing, she obviously reached someone immediately. "Lisa, wake up Judge Perlman. I need a warrant."
Tommy Juno climbed out of his fire engine red ’57 Corvette Roadster in front of the Cascade Sandeemi Hotel where he was staying. As he helped his date for the evening from the car, they were quickly surrounded by almost a dozen officers. Some whom had arrived by car, while others had burst from the hotel itself.
"Freeze!" one of the officers who ran from the hotel yelled.
"Tommy Juno, you are under arrest for murder," the officer continued as he holstered his weapon and proceeded to frisk and cuff Juno. Another officer gently pulled the woman several feet away.
"You’re wasting your time. I spent the whole evening at a benefit party. I’ve got witnesses," Juno insisted calmly in his Irish brogue. "Careful of the car; it’s a classic."
The officer pulled a small card from his breast pocket and proceeded to read it. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
"You’re wasting your time," Juno repeated.
"You have the right to be speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense. Do you understand these rights as they’ve been explained to you?" the officer asked.
"At least put the top up. It’s going to rain," Juno insisted.
"Yes, I understand!" Juno yelled as he was led to a patrol car.
Jim, Simon and Beverly had all watched the arrest happen from across the street where both Jim and Simon had parked.
"Nice job, gentlemen," Beverly congratulated the two men, grinning. Upset, Jim walked off. Beverly looked at Simon confused and asked, "Did I say something wrong?"
Simon sighed. "Danny lost his dad when he was a little kid. When Jim was in college, he became his big brother. They were real close. Jim was the one who helped Danny get into the academy."
Beverly suddenly felt like a heel. "Excuse me a minute?"
She followed Jim to his truck. "Detective, I didn’t realize you had a history with Officer Choi. I know I was a bit cold earlier. I’m sorry." She looked ashamed as she apologized.
"No problem," Jim replied some what icily.
"I’d like to try to make it up to you. Maybe I could buy you a beer," she offered.
Jim shrugged. "It’s getting kind of late." All he really wanted to do was go home.
Disappointed, but understanding, Beverly nodded. "Some other time." She turned to leave.
Suddenly, not wanting to be alone anymore, Jim offered, "Uh… maybe a beer would be a good idea."
Surprised by his about face, Beverly accepted his offer. "Okay. You pick the place."
20 minutes later Jim and Beverly were at Jim’s loft.
"Sandburg’s always trying to get me to take up meditation or some such thing, but I figure with this place who needs it, you know?" After lighting a fire in the fireplace, Jim rejoined Beverly on the couch, where they had taken up residence. Their conversation made easier thanks to the relaxed atmosphere and a beer. "Carolyn never seemed to like it though. She thought it was too quiet," he admitted.
"Oh," she scoffed. "That’s the best part."
Beverly started to take a sip, then stopped and asked, "Who’s Carolyn?"
Jim blushed slightly. "My ex, Carolyn Plummer — head of the forensics and tech labs."
Beverly frantically tried to think of something to say. "It must be hard working with her down at the station."
"Sometimes," Jim agreed, wishing he hadn’t brought his ex-wife into the conversation.
Beverly smiled in understanding and confessed. "My ex was a cop, too, back in Tacoma. But he was a good guy. So why the hell didn’t it work out?"
Jim looked thoughtful. "I asked myself that more than a few times."
Glancing at the doors to the balcony, Beverly mused, "Must be great on Sunday afternoons, watching all the boats out on the bay."
"Yeah," Jim replied thoughtfully.
Concerned, Beverly turned back towards him. "What is it?"
Jim felt his eyes start trying to tear. "I was just thinking about Danny, how much he loved to sail. He used to say there were two things in life that made him feel really alive." His voice deepened as his throat started to close on him with emotion. "Sailing and being a cop."
The Next Weekend
Jim led Danny down the pier at the marina to slip 23.
"What is that?" Danny asked.
Jim grinned. He enjoyed introducing his ‘little brother’ to new experiences. "That, Chief, is a sailboat. A friend agreed to loan it to us for the day. I thought I might teach you how to sail, if you’d like?"
Danny’s face broke out into a huge smile. "I love sailing. Me and my dad use to go all the time…" His face fell. "I haven’t been out since a couple of weeks before he died."
"If you’d rather not…" Jim began.
"No way, dude. I wanna go. Me and my dad always had a blast when we went out." He started laughing. "One time we took my mom with us and the boat almost capsized. She refused to ever go out with us again, unless we were on a ferry or something bigger."
Jim laughed also, thinking how good it was to see his new young friend enjoying himself.
"In that case, you can be first mate."
"Why can’t I be captain?" Danny objected.
Jim grinned. "Because I’m bigger than you."
Danny stood toe to toe with Jim and looked up. Realizing his older friend was almost two feet taller than him, he shrugged. "Ok, dude. But that excuse is only gonna work until I out grow you in a year or two."
Jim’s eyebrows raised in surprise. "Oh, you think you’ll be taller than me in a year or two?"
Danny nodded his eyes filled with mischief. "Even if I have to stand on the mast to do it."
Grabbing the boy around the waist, Jim turned him upside down. "You think so?"
Both were laughing hard when Jim finally set the boy down and they boarded the sailboat.
Seeing Jim lost in thought, and realizing just how hard the last few hours had been on him, not to mention how hard the next few weeks were going to be, Beverly spoke softly. "I should go."
Startled out of his thoughts, Jim looked at his guest as he tried to remember what she had said. After a long pause, he agreed, "Right." He led the way to door. "I’m really glad you came."
They moved closer together. Jim reached for her, but Beverly pulled back.
"What’s wrong?" Jim asked confused.
"This isn’t right," Beverly told him miserably. "You just lost someone who meant a lot to you, and we’re going to be working on this case together. I think we both just need some breathing space, and to take, whatever this is, slowly. I messed up once, I don’t want to do it again. OK?" Her look begged for him to understand.
Sighing, though he wasn’t sure if it was in frustration or relief, Jim nodded his agreement.
"You’re right. On both counts." He smiled gently at her as he opened the door.
"Maybe some other time?" she asked. At his nod, she smiled and left.
Jim closed the door behind her, wondering why he had tried to kiss her so soon after Danny’s death. It had to be the grief. As he walked back over to the couch, images of the time he spent with Danny flashed through his mind. Sailing, fishing, working on a motorcycle together, teaching Danny how to ride a dirt bike.
Sighing, he picked up his beer, took a sip, then frowned.
"This sure lost its taste." He took several more sips, but still could not taste the flavor of the beer. As he concentrated on his drink and it’s lack of flavor, Beverly walked back in. Jim didn’t hear her.
"Jim…? Jim…? Jim…?" She finally got his attention by touching him. Thinking he was alone, Jim jumped. Realizing that he couldn’t hear either, Jim watched silently as Beverly got her coat and left again.
~~~~~~~~~~ Act II ~~~~~~~~~~
Entering the precinct building the next morning, Jim was in a suit and tie. Blair was arguing with him.
"You should have called immediately," Blair complained as they stopped at the front desk. Jim showed his ID, then pulled Blair’s observer’s pass out and showed that also. "For what?"
Blair was incredulous as they walked on. "You lose your sense of hearing and taste for almost an hour and you don’t think it’s any big deal?"
Jim pulled Blair to a stop. "I’m fine. Would you just lighten up?"
Blair started getting upset, trying to get his point across. "No. We have got to go get you checked out ASAP. This could be some side effect that we don’t know about."
Jim rolled his eyes, then growled, "Would you just forget it? I am not going to be some human lab rat for you to prod and probe every time something goes wrong. You got that?"
"I’m just trying to help," Blair tried to defend himself.
Before he could continue, Carolyn called out from down the hall.
"We’ll talk about it later," Jim growled at Blair.
"Hi," Carolyn greeted them as she joined them.
"How are you?" Jim asked, happy for the distraction.
"Good." She showed Jim a letter. "But I got this in this morning’s mail. It’s from the IRS. Apparently, we owe a penalty on some back taxes from when we were married."
Jim looked at the paper and was shocked. "$4,000!?"
Beverly walked up before anyone could comment.
"Jim… Good morning."
"Hi, Beverly. Good morning." Jim greeted her, but was too distracted by her presence to go on.
"How are you?" she asked, just as distracted as he was.
"Fine. How are you?"
Beverly smiled. "Great. Nice tie."
"Oh… thanks," Jim answered, still unable to think completely coherently.
Realizing Jim’s condition, Blair introduced himself. "Uh….I’m Blair Sandburg."
Jim blushed. "Oh, I’m sorry…"
Beverly smiled again as they shook hands. "Beverly Sanchez, Assistant DA. Nice to meet you."
Becoming angry with her ex-husband, Carolyn put out her hand. "Lieutenant Carolyn Plummer."
"Oh, of course. Plummer." Not wanting to make a worse enemy of the woman, Beverly went on. "Well, I guess I should be going. Nice to meet you both. Jim, I need to see you both. . ." she motioned to include Blair in her statement, "in my office in an hour to go over your statement before the arraignment."
Jim, still distracted, nodded in agreement. "Great. Yeah."
Beverly smiled at him and left.
"So, about the IRS penalty?" Carolyn decided to give her ex a chance to redeem himself.
"Right." No longer distracted, Jim turned his attention back to his ex-wife. "That’s a lot of money. I guess the only fair thing to do would be to split it."
"Look," she was seething now. "As far as I’m concerned, I’m not paying for your screw-ups anymore." Carolyn stormed off toward her department.
"Whoa!" Jim was surprised by her reaction. "What..? What was that about?"
Blair was stunned at his friend. "You know, for a guy with hyperactive senses, you can be pretty dense."
"Anyone can tell there was enough heat between you and Miss Beverly Sanchez here to incinerate a football stadium," he informed the clueless cop.
Jim snorted. "Oh, that."
"Yeah, oh, that," Blair responded, feeling like he was talking to a backward 12-year-old.
Jim shook his head. "Carolyn and I have been divorced for nearly two years."
"It doesn’t matter," Blair informed him. "Anthropologically speaking, a relationship never terminates and homo-sapiens resist change."
"Thank you for the science lecture, Teach." Jim was getting fed up with the younger man’s attitude. "What’s the short version?"
"The short version? Carolyn’s jealous. And you’re dead meat," he said in a ‘duh’ tone of voice before walking off. Jim stood still for a second, feeling like he had missed something before following him.
"Thank you, Mr. Sandburg. I appreciate your going through what you saw with me before the hearing. I don’t think I’ll need to call you…" Beverly said as she shook his hand.
"But it’s nice to have a back up," Blair finished for her. She nodded her agreement.
"If you’ll wait out in the hall while I go through what Detective Ellison saw, we won’t be too long," she told him as she led him to the door. Blair grinned and moved out the door after Jim entered from the hall.
"Have a seat, Detective." She instructed Jim as he closed the door. Jim moved over to one of the chairs in front of her desk.
"OK, Jim. Let’s go over what you said you saw." Beverly looked slightly upset.
"What’s wrong?" Jim asked.
Beverly tossed a newspaper at him. "Here’s a copy of this morning’s Cascade Tribune. Check out what’s on page seven of the Arts and Entertainment section. There’s a story there about a benefit last night at the Cascade Art Center. Check out the picture. The one with the caption that reads ‘Among last night’s black-tie partiers were Samantha Parks and Mr. Thomas Juno.’"
"It also says the benefit started at 8:30. Danny was killed at 11:15. It would have been easy for Juno to have his photograph taken and still have enough time to get across town and shoot him," Jim pointed out.
"Oh, really? I have statements from no fewer than 11 witnesses establishing that Mr. Juno arrived at the benefit at 8:45 and did not leave until 11:45." Beverly’s anger started showing in her voice. "Now, Detective, Officer Choi was shot and killed at 11:15 p.m. in front of the old Delmonico Cannery on Grand Boulevard, between 10th and 12th streets. Is that right?"
Jim nodded. "That’s correct."
"Where was the shooter when he fired?"
"In an abandoned warehouse down the street — Koppelman Van and Storage," Jim told her. "I saw the shooter at a third-story window. He had short dark hair and wearing a black turtleneck. It was Tommy Juno."
"What kind of gun did he use?" she asked.
Jim shrugged. "He was armed with a Knight .30 caliber sniper rifle, starlight night-vision scope with laser sight."
"Exactly how far down the street was that warehouse from where you were?"
"I’m not sure."
"You can describe the clothes Juno was wearing, the color of his hair, the weapon he was using, but you’re not sure how far away he was?"
"Not exactly. You see…"
"Detective, are you aware that the distance between the Delmonico Cannery and Koppelman Van and Storage is over 200 yards?" Beverly’s voice could have frozen a fire. Not giving Jim a chance to answer she continued hotly. "It was 11:15 at night. The killer is the equivalent of two football fields away and there are no lights on the streets. How could you possibly be certain it was Juno? Not to mention the way he cut his hair, the clothes he was wearing, the weapon he was using, or in fact, anything at all?"
"I saw what I saw, Beverly," Jim insisted.
Beverly whirled towards him, her eyes on fire. "What you saw was impossible! Unless you’re trying to tell me you can see things nobody else can." Jim remained silent clenching his jaw in anger. "I don’t buy it."
Jim’s voice dropped to a low, dangerous tone. "Well, why don’t you buy this? Tommy Juno is a stone killer. Now, I say we nail him."
Beverly glared at Jim angrily. "Based on what I found out about your being a so called witness, I had to drop the charges. Juno’s attorney is already threatening to sue for false arrest. I want you to leave Tommy Juno alone, Detective. You so much as go near him and I will personally go to the Chief on this. Now get the hell out of my office."
She turned her back on him, appearing to be engrossed in a file from her desk. Jim glared at her for a long moment, then stormed out of the office, slamming the door behind him.
Jim met Blair at the courthouse’s front desk, where the younger man was trying to pick up the office manager, who Jim knew was married.
Once outside of the courthouse, they realized that Juno’s attorney was talking to media. They stopped at the bottom of the steps to listen.
"The District Attorney’s decision to dismiss the case should come as no surprise." Juno’s attorney said. "My client never should have been arrested in the first place. The charges were total nonsense and the authorities knew it. That’s why they were dropped without an arraignment."
One of the assembled reporters asked, "Are you suggesting they conspired to manufacture evidence?"
Defense Attorney continued, "What I am suggesting is there should be an investigation into the reason why my client was arrested in the first place if they were going to release him less than 12 hours later."
Leaving his lawyer to do his damage, Juno walked over to taunt Jim. "Tragic, your friend, dying in your arms like that. All you could do was watch. That’s a real sad story. Wish I could have been there."
Jim made a grab for Juno, but Blair grabbed him and pulled him away before he could touch him and do something that would end up all over the news. He knew that Jim was unaware, in his rage and grief, of all the media and cameras watching them.
"Come on, Jim," he cautioned. "Not here. It’s not worth it. He’s not worth it."
Ten minutes later, Jim was in Simon’s office, sitting on the edge of his desk, talking to him.
"He’s standing there smug and I tried to grab his…" His tirade was cut off as Beverly slammed into the office.
"Unbelievable!" she fumed at Jim.
Misunderstanding who she was mad at, Jim nodded. "I know what you mean. I mean, how the hell does he manufacture these alibis?"
Beverly glared at him. "I am talking about you, Detective."
"Captain, I’m filing a formal complaint." Beverly turned to Simon, seething " Do you don’t think I know what happened? A cop gets killed, but your detective didn’t have a case so he decided to help it along."
Jim looked confused. "What are you saying?"
She continued on as if he wasn’t there and hadn’t spoken. "Only he got caught. He could have made the entire police department and judicial system look bad."
"Just one damned minute!" Simon growled at her. "I vouch for the honesty of any man on my team, so don’t you just come in here…"
"What he saw was impossible!" Beverly interrupted him.
Jim stood and got into her face. "Tommy Juno is a stone killer. Now, I say we put him under 24-hour surveillance and we nail him."
Beverly shook her head. "I want this department to leave Tommy Juno alone. And that includes you, Detective. You so much as go near him and I will personally go to the Chief and the Commissioner on this." She stormed out of the room.
"Why the hell didn’t you tell me Juno was 200 yards away?" Simon asked in resigned anger.
"I didn’t realize it," Jim replied earnestly. "You’ve got to understand, with this sentinel thing, I can see things other people can’t. We’re not going to let Juno walk on this one, are we, Simon?"
Still upset, Simon let it show in his voice. "There’s not much we can do about it now, is there? By the way, where is Sandburg?"
"He had a class he had to give," Jim answered.
"Ok. You do know, even if you came forward and told the truth now, no one would believe you." Realizing Simon was right, but not liking it, Jim walked out of the office.
Less than forty-five minutes later, at O’Toole Trucking, Juno was talking to Mickey O’Toole.
Juno looked annoyed. "What do you want from me, O’Toole? I’ve got an appointment with my auto mechanic."
O’Toole shrugged and said with a brogue. "Maybe I wanted to congratulate you on a nice piece of work."
"You could have left that on my voicemail."
"How’d you manage to be at the art museum at the same time you whacked Choi, anyway?" O’Toole asked, plainly curious.
Juno smirked. "Trade secret."
"Okay, I got another job for you. Someone who’s been giving me a lot of trouble lately." O’Toole handed Juno a newspaper with Beverly’s picture on it.
"This one I’ll enjoy," Juno commented as he walked off.
Two hours later, Jim sat in a rental car, using his enhanced hearing to listen in on Juno’s hotel room. He heard Juno dial the phone.
"Stanley Boyle," the voice at the other end answered.
"It’s me," Juno informed him. "How you doing?"
Boyle sounded slightly relieved. "Tommy! I’ve been trying to get a hold of you."
"I had some business to take care of."
"Is everything okay?" Boyle sounded concerned.
"Yeah, sure. Everything’s fine," Tommy assured him.
Jim jumped as Blair got into the car. "Hey, man, got your message." At Jim’s shushing motion, he asked, "What?"
Jim held his hand up, asking him to wait a minute.
"Did you think over what we talked about?"
"Yeah. I don’t want to press a lawsuit for false arrest," Juno informed him, then hung up.
"Juno just made a phone call to his lawyer," Jim told Blair.
"You’re listening to Tommy Juno’s phone calls?"
"You got a problem?" Jim asked.
"Without a warrant?" Blair looked uncomfortable. "Isn’t that illegal?"
Jim grinned. "Only if he finds out. Besides, I’m not using any wire tapping equipment, so they can’t prove anything. If I couldn’t have possibly seen what we both know I saw, then I can’t possibly hear what’s going on in there without the equipment." Jim finished looking a little smug and a little irate.
Blair didn’t look happy. "Jim, isn’t this over the line, man?"
"Listen, boy-scout. Juno killed Danny and he’s going down for that."
Blair nodded. "Yeah, but the Assistant DA said not to…
"This has nothing to do with Sanchez. Now, either you want to be involved or there’s the door. Your choice." Blair didn’t look happy, but he stayed.
Several minutes later, Juno exited the hotel and drove off in his car. After he got over a block ahead of them, Jim started the car and followed.
Being careful to stay at least a block behind him, they followed Juno across the city to the docks.
Both Jim and Blair were perplexed as Juno went into a warehouse.
"What’s he doing?" Blair asked as Jim parked the car.
"I don’t know. This warehouse is a suspected front for several… questionable enterprises," Jim answered. "I don’t know why Juno’s here but we’re going to find out."
Jim and Blair cautiously entered the warehouse, using a different entrance than Juno had. It’s pitch-black inside. Trying to be careful, but not being able to see, Blair bumped into a pile of junk.
"Ow! I can’t see a thing," Blair complained.
"Don’t worry about it. I can," Jim assured him as he opened up his sight to see in dark as they walked. Seeing a red light he stopped and aimed his gun in that direction.
"What is it?" Blair asked.
Before Jim could answer, the area was flooded with lights, blinding Jim. A reporter and camera crew popped out from their hiding place.
"It’s not enough that the police arrest my client and attempt to falsify testimony against him. Now they’re stalking him like he’s some kind of animal. On top of that, they’re bugging his private telephone without a warrant," Juno’s attorney announced.
"Is this true? Does the police department have a personal vendetta against Tommy Juno? Detective, we need an answer." the reporter demanded, waving a microphone.
Jim glared at Juno and his lawyer. "No, there is no vendetta against Mr. Juno. Perhaps it’s the other way around."
"What do you mean, Detective?"
"How else would you explain their presence, and yours, at the site of an on- going surveillance that has been in place in this section of the docks for months?"
"What about the allegations of an illegal wire tap?" the reporter asked.
"You have my permission to examine my vehicle, " Jim announced. "If we really did follow Mr. Juno, I wouldn’t have had a chance to dump the equipment. I don’t have any either here or in the car."
"Why do you think…" the reporter began again.
"You are going to have to take this up with Mr. Juno and his lawyer. Since this is an on- going investigation, I’m going to have to ask you all to leave. I’m also going to have to ask you to not air this story. You could tip off the wrong people. Thank you."
Jim motioned towards the door. The reporter shot a filthy look at Juno and his lawyer and muttered as she and her crew left. "That is the last time I’m ever listening to that shyster. No way I’m gonna let him get me charged with interfering in an investigation. Should’ve known better."
"This isn’t over," Boyle insisted.
"It certainly isn’t," Jim agreed. "You’ll be hearing from the Department about this little stunt here, especially if this circus of yours scares them off." He nodded towards the door. "Come on, Chief. We need to report this." He grinned as Tommy and his lawyer were left in the dark.
Simon grimaced at his telephone as he listened to the Chief of Police orders.
"I don’t agree with you there, sir. Detective Ellison did not have or use a wiretap on Mr. Juno’s phone lines… No, sir, the surveillance team that was on duty at the time searched his vehicle… No… He is in charge of our end of the investigation into the activity down at the docks… I think that’s a mistake, sir…Why punish the man for doing his job? … In my opinion, sir, that whole business with Juno’s lawyer AND the reporter waiting inside the building smells like a set up to me and should be investigated… Yes, I am formally protesting both the IA investigation and suspending both of them… No, sir, I’ll attend to it, however, there is nothing that says that I have to like or agree with it." He hung up the phone, hard, just short of slamming it. Picking it up a moment later, he punched the button for Rhonda’s desk.
"Get a hold of Ellison. Tell him I want to see him and Sandburg immediately."
~~~~~~~~~~ Act III ~~~~~~~~~~
Half an hour later, Jim and Blair were in Simon’s office. Simon had been chewing them both out for several minutes.
"You could have violated his civil rights, for God’s sakes! You know what that would make this? A federal case! Thank god, it didn’t go that far." He turned to Blair and glared at him. "And you. I can’t believe you went along with him on this."
"It’s my fault, sir. Blair had nothing to do with this," Jim interceded.
Simon included him in his glare but softened his tone. "Damn it! I know you haven’t been thinking straight since Choi was killed, but this… I’m sorry. Pending an Internal Affairs investigation, you are off the streets until further notice. All your cases are re-assigned. I’m sorry, I can’t countermand them." His voice gentled even further as he spoke to Blair. "They’ve also decided that your access to this department has been revoked until this mess is cleared up. I need your credentials. Now get out of here, both of you."
Blair looked stricken as he pulled off his observer’s pass and handed it to Simon before hurrying over to the elevator.
"This is exactly what Juno wants," Jim stated before he left.
"And you almost played right into his hands," Simon muttered before going back to work.
Blair waited outside the building, near Jim’s truck, as he came down the sidewalk.
"Don’t say it," Jim growled.
"Say what?" Blair asked. "That you’re an arrogant, self-destructive schmuck? I say it to you I got to say it to me, too. I mean, I went along with you."
"I guess you’re going to have to find another thesis subject," Jim announced.
Brand-new Detective James Ellison watched the young man approaching his desk in Vice in pleased surprise. Smiling happily at the young man, he stood and greeted him with a warm hug.
"Danny, what brings you here?"
"I’ve decided what I want to do after I get my AA at the end of the semester." Danny told him proudly.
"You’re going for your BA," Jim stated.
"Not quite," Danny admitted. "I do intend to get it, but through night classes. I want to be a cop. Like you."
Jim was flabbergasted. He had never guessed that his former Little Brother would want to follow in his footsteps. "What did your mom say about your decision?"
Danny smiled. "How could she refuse? First Dad, now you, both of my heroes. She understands. ‘Sides, Dad died in a car accident while we were coming back from Seattle, not from being a cop." He shrugged and looked proudly at his friend. "She knows the dangers, so do I, we both accept them."
Seeing that the younger man had thought his decision through, Jim smiled widely. "How about if I ask a couple of the Captains to give you a recommendation for the academy?"
"That’d be great, dude." Danny’s grin grew into a full-blown smile as the two of them hugged.
"Jim?" Blair’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts.
"This thing is not over until I get Tommy Juno locked up," he insisted as he pulled his keys out of his pocket. A sudden numbness in his hands caused him to drop them. Unable to pick them up again, he looked at Blair.
"What is it? Jim, what’s wrong?"
"It’s my hands. I’ve lost all the feeling in my hands," Jim told him.
Blair quickly moved to his side and picked the keys up from the sidewalk as he pulled Jim to his feet.
"We are going to the hospital and get you checked out. Right now, man," Blair ordered, steel in his voice.
Stunned, Jim could only nod and get in to the passenger’s seat of his truck.
Jim and Blair walked down a hospital corridor two and a half-hours later. Both looked discouraged.
"That was a big waste of time," Jim grumbled.
"Just ’cause the numbness went away doesn’t mean it’s not serious." Blair tried to find something good about it to point out to the other man. "At least, now we know it’s not some traditional medical problem, which means it’s probably some sentinel thing that I don’t understand," he finished with growing frustration.
"In other words, we spent half a day trying to figure out what I already know, you haven’t got a clue," Jim sniped back as he pushed the elevator call button.
Blair felt disgusted with himself for not being able to have helped his new friend. "I don’t know. And it was only two and a half-hours. Maybe it’s related somehow to the "zone-out" factor — you know, when you get so focused on one sense that the others get tuned out?" Realizing how far off base he was he countered himself. "No… that wouldn’t explain it." He started grasping at straws. "Maybe it’s got something to do with your diet. You been eating anything weird lately?"
Seeing a chance to yank the younger man’s chain, Jim hid the twinkle in his eyes. "Well, I have had these cravings."
Falling for it, Blair eagerly encouraged him. "Yeah?"
Knowing he had the younger man’s attention, Jim delivered the punch line. "Last night I ordered pizza… pepperoni and 30-weight motor oil."
"Oh, come on! The only way we’ll figure this out is if we go at it scientifically," Blair complained as the elevator arrived.
"Not now. Too busy." Jim tried to blow him off.
"Nailing Juno," Jim stated as they got into the elevator.
"Oh, man, are we back on that again?" Blair groused.
"We never got off of it. We just took a brief detour to the Sandburg zone," Jim informed him as he pushed the button for the lobby.
Jim drove his truck through a suburban neighborhood just after sunset that night, Blair beside him. They turned a corner and slowed to a stop in front of a house with a detached garage.
"So who is this guy?" Blair asked as he buttoned his coat up again.
"Ray Kaminski," Jim replied. "Danny told me that Mickey O’Toole was using threats against Kaminski’s family in order to strong-arm him into making O’Toole a silent partner."
They got out of the truck and headed for the garage where a man and his young daughter were in the driveway working on her bicycle.
"Good evening," Jim called as they approached.
Eyeing them with dread, Kaminski’s first thought was to get his daughter out of the direct line of fire. "Pauline, listen, you go inside and wash up for dinner, okay?" The girl nodded and went inside. "Can I do something for you guys?" he asked as he stood.
Showing his badge and ID, Jim addressed him. "I’m Detective Ellison, Cascade P.D. This is Blair Sandburg. We’d like to ask you a few questions."
Relieved they weren’t from O’Toole, Kaminski shook his head slightly. "I’m kind of busy right now."
"We know of your involvement with Mickey O’Toole," Jim said trying to make it easier for the obviously scared man to talk to them.
Kaminski started getting irked, feeling as if he were caught between a rock and a hard place. "Well, if you do, then you also know why I decided to cooperate. That means there’s nothing you can threaten me with that’s going to make me talk to you."
Jim shrugged. "You want to spend your life under the thumb of Mickey O’Toole? You cooperate with us, we can make sure he gets put away some place where he can’t hurt you or anybody else," he offered.
Making a quick decision to trust the men before him, Kaminski started talking. "This morning, Mickey O’Toole came to see me to get his… salary. He asked if I’d heard about the undercover cop being killed. Then he says I might read in the paper tomorrow about somebody else who got in his way and thought she could make trouble for him, legally." He turned back toward his garage.
"Did you say ‘she’?" Jim asked, concerned.
Turning back, Kaminski nodded. "That’s what he said, yeah." He walked into the house.
"She?" Blair repeated.
"Beverly Sanchez!" Jim put it together as they ran for the truck and drove off. Grabbing his cell phone, Jim dialed the direct number for Beverly’s office as he drove.
"Beverly Sanchez’ office," a female voice answered.
"Is Beverly in?" Jim asked, trying to keep the anxiety out of his voice.
"I’m sorry, she’s gone for the day."
"This is Detective James Ellison," Jim identified himself, his anxiety growing. "Can you tell me where she’s gone? It’s an emergency."
"I’m sorry, sir. I’m not allowed to give that information out over the phone."
"Dammit, her life is at stake. I just got a tip that there’s been a hit put out on her," Jim growled into the phone.
A second later a different woman’s voice came on the line. "Who is this?"
"Detective Ellison. Do you want my badge number?" he asked, happy someone was taking him seriously.
"That won’t be necessary, Detective. I know who you are. This is Judge Perlman."
"Can you tell me where Beverly Sanchez is?"
"According to Lisa, she said she was going straight home."
"I need her address."
"955 Brooksbank. Apartment 351."
Unaware of what was going on, Beverly let herself into her apartment. Going through her mail, she decided she wanted a shower to help her relax before she dealt with her bills and junk mail.
Crouching on the roof of the building under construction across the street, Juno quickly put his gun together.
Jim quickly dialed his cell phone, not really paying attention to where he was going. Blair started to panic as he realized they were headed straight for a semi-truck. Feeling the man next to him tense, Jim looked up in time to swerve the truck out of harm’s way.
Blair nervously looked at Jim as he listened to the phone. "Why don’t you let me dial for you, man?"
"I can handle it."
The phone rang at Beverly’s place. However, she couldn’t hear it in the shower.
Jim closed the phone. "Damn! There’s no answer."
Beverly turned off the water just as the phone went silent.
Jim pulled up next to Beverly’s building. Both men jumped out. Glancing around, Jim spotted Juno partway up the unfinished building. "Oh, no."
"What is it?" Blair asked.
Jim pointed towards Juno’s position. "He’s up there. Go get Sanchez. I’ll get Juno."
Blair nodded. "Right, right." He hurried across the street.
Juno checked his shot, conscious of the fact he couldn’t see Beverly. He pulled out a cell phone and dialed her number.
Blow drying her hair, Beverly barely heard the phone ring. Deciding it wouldn’t go away, she rises to answer it.
A floor below the shooter, Jim saw the laser sight targeting Beverly in her apartment and hurries up the stairs even faster.
Blair pounded on Beverly’s door. He had run up the flights of stairs when the elevator had been stopped on a higher floor.
"Beverly!" he yelled as he broke down the door. He tackled her just as the first gunshot shattered the window. "Stay down!" he cautioned her as more bullets riddled the room.
Jim cleared the top of the stairs and yelled, "Juno! Freeze! Cascade PD."
Juno turned and fired at him, missing as Jim ducked and fired. Juno dropped as the bullet impacted with his chest. He was unconscious before he reached the floor.
Two hours later, Juno was in ICU barely hanging on. The bullet had lodged in the wall of his heart. The doctors had decided to wait until his condition had improved enough so he might have a chance to survive the surgery.
"How’s it look?" Simon asked as the doctor came out of the room.
The doctor shook his head. "In simplest terms, the bullet nicked the main artery to the brain. The blood supply was cut off for at least 20 minutes. The bullet is also in a bad place."
The doctor sighed. "We’ve had virtually no brain activity since he was admitted. Combined with the bullet, frankly, we don’t expect him to recover. We can’t operate until he’s stronger. However I don’t think it’ll make any difference. We’ll run another EEG and brain scan, but I’m afraid he’s brain dead." He shook his head and walked off.
Simon moved over to where Jim, Blair and Beverly were waiting at the nurse’s station. "Look, Jim. I, uh, talked it over with the Chief and as of tomorrow morning you’re officially back on full duty. Of course, there’s still going to be that IA investigation into the shooting, but you should be able to pull through that with no problem."
Jim nodded his thanks.
"I wanted to thank you," Beverly added. "I know I owe you an enormous apology. I just hope that you can forgive…"
"It’s late. I really got to go," Jim interrupted her. He touched Blair’s back as he walked passed him. "We’re out of here." Blair shrugged at her and followed Jim.
Later that night, Jim stopped by an outside sushi bar.
"Hi. A spicy tuna hand roll and two hamachi, please," he ordered.
Jim and Danny walked into a Japanese restaurant. Jim looked a little nervous.
"Isn’t this the place where someone died from eating the fish?" he asked, looking ready to bolt.
"They ordered Puffer fish. We’re not gonna order that." At Jim’s skeptical expression, Danny dragged him in, "Come on, dude. My mom and grandparents want to meet you."
Jim laughed as he allowed himself to be pulled into the restaurant.
Noticing that his customer seemed to be lost in thought, the vendor asked, "Something to drink? Would you like something to drink?" Realizing that Jim couldn’t hear him, he began to yell. "Would you like a drink? Tea or… pop or some thing to drink?"
Having gotten an idea what he was saying, Jim shook his head almost panicking. "No, no. No, no."
The vendor shrugged. "$5.20, please." When Jim didn’t respond, he tried again. "Uh, five dollars… five dollars twenty… You speak English?" Losing patience, he grabbed a pad of paper and wrote the amount on it and showed it to Jim. "Okay. Here. $ 5.20."
The vender saw the car as it pulled up behind Jim. As a gun came out, he dove behind his pushcart.
Jim turned as a gun began firing. He dove out of the way, taking refuge by a wall. He aimed as the car went by again; firing several shots he recognized the driver as Juno. In shock, he watched as the car sped away.
Back at the hospital, Jim and Simon hurried down the hallway.
"I don’t know how, but somehow he managed to fake his coma and walk right out of here." Jim couldn’t believe what had happened.
Simon shrugged. "Maybe he took some kind of drug that slowed down his metabolism."
As they turned the corner, they saw a covered gurney being wheeled out of Juno’s room.
"Hold it," Jim requested. He lifted the sheet to see Juno’s body.
Seeing the doctor in the room, Simon called him over. "Doctor? What happened?"
The doctor looked at the body before him. "He was declared brain dead. Since he wasn’t connected to any life support, he died from massive heart failure."
"How long ago?" Simon asked.
The doctor checked his watch. "Mmm… half an hour."
~~~~~~~~~~ Act IV ~~~~~~~~~~
Back in the bullpen, Jim handed Blair, who was working on his computer, a cup of coffee. Blair nodded his thanks as Carolyn joined them.
"There you are," she stated. "My forensics team found a blood splatter on the street by the sushi bar. It was fresh, so it must have been from the gunman you wounded."
Jim looked interested. "Yeah."
"So we ran a DNA test and compared the results with DNA from Tommy Juno’s corpse."
"And?" Jim prompted.
"The DNA’s the same," Carolyn continued.
Blair stood up in surprise. "What? No, no. That is impossible."
Carolyn could understand his feelings, however, she had the proof. "See for yourself — the bands are identical."
Jim examined the DNA film, mystified. "There’s got to be some mistake. Maybe the sample was mixed up or contaminated somehow." Carolyn shot him a withering look.
"Yeah, it’s got to be," Blair agreed. "Unless…" he sat back down at the computer and quickly began typing.
"Would you see that it gets run again?" Jim asked his ex-wife.
"Of course," Carolyn said sarcastically, but not meaning it.
"We got to go to the morgue for Juno’s autopsy. Let’s go, Chief."
"While that’s normally something I’d really look forward to, we don’t have to."
"Why not?" Jim and Carolyn asked together, then exchanged half grins.
"Because I think I know how Juno pulled this off, being in two places at the same time," Blair answered.
"How?" Jim asked.
Blair grinned. "I’m putting in a request about Juno’s birth. What if he were one of twins?"
"They would share the same DNA," Carolyn mused as she caught on to what he was getting at.
"I’ll go fill in Simon." Jim moved towards the captain’s office.
"Jimmy?" Carolyn’s voice stopped him.
She looked sheepish. "Listen, the other day, the thing about the tax penalty? I’m really sorry. I guess I got jealous. I know I have no right to be. It’s just that, um, Well, sometimes… You know, it’s hard. Anyway, I wish you both well."
Jim smiled lightly. "Well, thanks. There’s no reason for you to be jealous though. We’re barely on speaking terms."
Carolyn shook her head. "Her loss. Why is it that we’re better friends divorced than we were married, huh?"
Before Jim could answer his cellphone rang. "Excuse me. Ellison… Are you sure about that?… All right. I’m on my way." He hung up and looked at Carolyn and Blair. "That was the morgue. They ran a test on fingerprints taken from Juno’s corpse through the F.B.I.’s computer, and guess what?"
Carolyn and Blair glanced at each other, knowing they weren’t going to like it.
"The dead man is not Tommy Juno," Jim announced.
Ten minutes later they were in Simon’s office comparing information.
"According to what I found," Blair explained, "Tommy Juno was born in a little town in Northern Ireland called Dungiven. In 1967, a woman named Sara Juno died during childbirth at home. Her husband was IRA and wanted by the police, so there was no hospital and no birth certificate. But all the locals remember that Mrs. Juno gave birth to identical twins."
Simon looked surprised. "Twins?"
Jim grinned. "Identical."
"Named Tommy and Dylan," Blair added.
"It’s not uncommon for identical twins to have matching DNA gene strands but they’d have different fingerprints," Carolyn explained.
Simon looked impressed. "I’ll be damned."
"In 1968, the boys’ father was killed in a shootout. The brothers were adopted by different families. As adults they managed to track each other down. They moved to the United States to begin work as free-lance hit men after that."
"But they kept their double identities a secret so Tommy always had an ironclad alibi for his hits," Carolyn finished.
"So the dead man was really Dylan Juno." Simon shook his head in amazement. "That’s one hell of a gimmick."
Blair nodded. "Yeah, only now the gimmick’s history and Tommy wants to kill the man who killed his brother."
They all looked at Jim who just shrugged.
Juno was sitting at a table in O’Toole’s office getting patched up by a doctor as O’Toole came in with several men.
O’Toole, turned to the men with him. "Go wait by the door." He turned to Juno. "How you doing, Tommy?"
Juno nodded as the doctor finished. "I’m all right."
O’Toole grimaced slightly at the wound. "Looks pretty messy."
The doctor as he gathered up his equipment said, "I offered him pain-killers. He didn’t want any."
O’Toole chuckled evilly. "That’s ’cause our Tommy’s a real tough guy, aren’t you, Tommy?" Tommy just ignored him.
The doctor continued. "The bullet tore up a lot of tissue. At least no bones were broken. It’s going to hurt for a while but he’ll survive."
"Take off." O’Toole handed several bills to the doctor, who took them and left.
O’Toole pulled a flask out of his coat pocket. "I must admit, the twin brother thing really took me by surprise. Who’d have ever thought?" He took a swig from the flask. "My sources are telling me the cops are looking everywhere for you and this time you don’t have an alibi."
Juno grabbed his coat. "I don’t need one. I got one more piece of personal business to take care of, and then I’m going to disappear."
O’Toole took another pull from his flask as Tommy tried to move past him. "One problem. It’s only a matter of time before the cops connect you to me."
Juno shook his head as he put his coat on. "They’d never get a word out of me, Mick."
Juno grinned at him. "I’d die first."
"I’m glad to hear it."
Juno tried to leave, however, O’Toole’s men came in with guns and blocked his way.
"You bastard," Tommy spit at him as the men led him away.
O’Toole chuckled again. "Sorry, Tommy." He started to take another drink as a gunshot was fired. He knew he was a dead man as he heard several more follow it. A moment later, Juno re-entered the room holding his gun.
"I fired your help, Mick." Juno shot O’Toole.
Looking at O’Toole’s body, Juno smiled then moved over to the phone. He had the perfect way to kill the man who had murdered the other half of his soul.
Blair hurried towards the bullpen where Jim was reading a file at his desk.
"Jim, we got to talk about these sensory blackouts."
"Not now," Jim’s said, his voice bordering on a growl.
Ignoring him, Blair continued. "This all started after Danny’s death, right? So what I think is happening is some form of post-traumatic stress."
"In other words, it’s all in my mind?" Jim scoffed.
"Danny’s death hurt you," Blair pressed. "It made you feel like you failed. So your emotions are all out of whack."
"My emotions are just fine." This time Jim did growl.
Blair shot him an irritated look. "Right. That’s why you’re having these flashbacks. You broke the law, got suspended, you’re self-destructing and you don’t realize it."
Jim raised his hands. "Whoa, whoa, since when did you become my shrink?"
Blair’s voice took on an edge. "I’m not trying to be your shrink. If I’m right, the only one who can stop these blackouts is you."
"And how is that?" Jim asked skeptically.
Before Blair could answer, Simon hurried through heading for the elevator. "Jim! We just got a tip there’s been a shooting at O’Toole Trucking. Let’s roll." Both Jim and Blair followed the captain out of the bullpen and into the elevator.
Less than ten minutes later police vehicles arrived at O’Toole Trucking. Jim parked his truck near the corner of the building, and Jim and Blair headed toward the office. They met Simon along the way.
Simon noticed Blair’s intent look. "Look, Sandburg, this is a crime scene. I don’t want you touching anything."
Blair started at the words. "I know. I’m an anthropologist. I’ve been on excavations before."
Simon glared at him, not reassured at all. "On second thought, you stay out here." He turned to rest of the officers assembled. "Let’s move!"
Blair shook his head in disgust as he headed back towards Jim’s truck. Arriving there he remembered that Jim had the keys, so he was locked out.
"Great, just great," he groaned as he leaned against the truck.
"You’re right. It is just great." Blair jumped as Juno grabbed his arm. He didn’t struggle as he saw the gun with a silencer pointed at him. Juno smiled. "It was so nice of Ellison to provide me with a hostage to bring him to me." His smile vanished. "Let’s go."
He dragged the younger man around the side of the building into the alley.
"It’s not far," Juno told him conversationally before slamming him into the side of the building, stunning him. Before Blair’s head could clear enough to fight back, Juno had his hands tied behind his back.
Juno grinned. "Now I know you won’t give me any trouble."
Blair felt ready to panic, knowing he was going to be used against his friend. Suddenly, a cat screamed and a pair of them raced out of the darkness right in front of them. Juno was so shocked he dropped his guard. Seeing this, Blair rammed his shoulder into Juno’s stomach, causing him to fall. He then ran back the way they had come. Juno grabbed his gun and squeezed off a shot. However, Blair had already turned the corner of the building, so the bullet impacted on the side of the building.
Cursing under his breath, Juno hurried down the alley towards his stolen car, a dark green sedan. He reached the street just as a car pulled up in front of him. Juno leaned down as the window opened.
Beverly smiled before the face of the man came into view. "Could you tell me where I can find O’Toole trucking?" Her smile faded as she recognized Juno pointing his gun at her.
"Of course I can. However, I think you’re gonna be coming with me instead," Juno ordered.
Beverly shook her head as he got into the car. "I never should have turned on the police band. I should’ve waited for them to call me into the station."
Juno pointed the gun at her and motioned forward with it. "Enough of that. Drive," he ordered.
Jim, Simon and several officers entered the office to find O’Toole’s body on the floor in a pool of blood.
Seeing that they were alone, Jim put his gun away as he informed the others. "We’re clear."
Simon examined the body. "Mickey O’Toole."
A uniformed officer joined them. "Captain?"
"We’ve got two more bodies around the far side of the building," the man reported. "Looks like a couple of O’Toole’s guys."
Simon nodded. "All right. You’d better call the coroner and the forensics."
Simon said to the others as the officer left. "The rest of you guys, take a look around out there. See what else you can find. But be careful." He turned to Jim who was checking out the debris on the table. "What do you got there, Jim?"
Jim moved the debris gently with a pen from his pocket. "It looks like somebody was playing doctor to a gunshot wound. Ten-to-one that wounded man is Juno. Looks like he came here for help and something went sour."
"Captain Banks! Detective Ellison!" a voice yelled.
Both men raced for the door, only to have a still tied Blair and two officers stumble into the room.
"My god, Blair. What happened?" Jim asked as he and Simon helped the observer over to a chair and untied him.
"I was waiting by the truck when Juno came out of nowhere and pulled a gun on me." Blair winced as Jim checked the bump on his forehead. "He forced me into the alley, then threw me into the building and tied my hands. He said he was going to use me to get to you, Jim."
"How did you get away?" Simon asked.
"A couple of cats appeared out of nowhere. While he was distracted I bumped him and took off running." His face paled. "I think he shot at me."
Before anyone could comment, a cell phone rang. They looked around for it; the sound seemed to be coming from somewhere near the body. Jim went over and reached into O’Toole’s pocket. He pulled out a ringing phone. Taking a chance, Jim flipped it open. "Hello."
He recognized Juno’s voice at the other end. "Yeah."
"Damn you for what you done," the assassin said, grief evident in his voice. Jim looked up and mouthed ‘Juno’ to Simon and Blair. "He was more than just my brother. He was the other half of my soul."
"What do you want, Tommy?" Jim asked.
"You say hello to a friend of yours." He held the phone to Beverly’s head.
"Jim?" The fear could be heard plainly in her voice. "It’s Beverly. I was just…"
Juno yanked the phone away from her. "Enough. I think you get the point. We’ll be in touch." He hung up the phone and forced her to drive away.
Jim closed the phone. "That was Juno; he’s got Beverly Sanchez."
"Damn. She must’ve been on her way here." Simon sighed.
Jim nodded, then looked at Blair and asked, "How are you doing?"
Blair shrugged. "I’m OK. How are we going to get her back?"
"First we wait until he calls back, then make a deal," Jim explained
"If we can’t trace him first," Simon stated as he dialed his own cell phone. "This is Captain Banks. I need to put a trace on all calls coming into a cell phone number…" he glanced at the read out on the phone Jim held out to him, "…555-1447. It’s registered to Michael O’Toole. No, that’s too long. This is an emergency. He could be calling back any minute." He paused as O’Toole’s cell phone started to ring. "Hold on."
Jim activated the phone. "Ellison." He held it so both he and Simon could listen.
"Be at the amusement park near the Tilt-a-Whirl in 30 minutes. I’ll trade Sanchez for you. I’d have preferred your partner, but she’ll do. If I see any cops, she dies."
"Forget it." Jim thought fast as Simon glared at him.
Juno looked at the phone in his hand incredulously. "What do you mean, "forget it"? You think I won’t kill her?"
"I’ve got a different deal for you. There’s something you don’t know. Your brother, Dylan, isn’t dead," he said, ignoring the inquiring looks both Simon and Blair were giving him.
Juno shook his head in disbelief. "I don’t believe you."
"We released that report to force your hand," Jim told him. "We’ve been keeping him in a guarded ward at the hospital. He’s pretty sore, but he’s very much alive. Now you want to trade? Your brother for Sanchez."
"You better not be lying to me," Juno threatened. "And you better not screw with me or what’s left of your friend won’t fill a matchbox." He grinned evilly. "Then I’ll go after your partner."
"Ok, I just need a little more time." Jim tried to stall. "Give me an hour."
Juno shook his head. "Forty-five minutes." He hung up before Jim could argue.
Jim closed the phone. "He took the deal. The amusement park near the Tilt-a-Whirl in 45 minutes"
"Great," Blair said. "Now all we have to do is find a way to bring a body back to life."
"You know," Simon started with a glimmer of an idea in his eyes, "Daryl and I have been going over to that RC center near the park when ever we can."
"RC center?" Jim looked confused.
Simon nodded. "Yeah, it stands for Radio Control. We go there and race RC cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats. Maybe we can use that to move Dylan. Put him in a Remote Control wheelchair."
A grin grew on Blair’s face. "I have a friend over in the Electronics department who’s been working on several different types of chairs. Adapting them so someone can use them from a distance, or with voice command. It’s for his master’s thesis, and his brother who’s a quadriplegic," he added as an explanation.
"Would he be willing to lend us one?" Simon asked.
Blair grinned. "Yeah. His brother was a cop in Seattle before he was paralyzed. I think Glenn would insist."
"What if he wants to talk to Dylan?" Jim asked.
"Wasn’t Juno’s statement made on tape? I’m sure we can find what we need on it," Blair suggested.
Simon nodded. "Good idea. Get on the phone with your friend and arrange it. I’ll have them meet us at the amusement park with Dylan’s body and the tape." He started dialing as Jim handed Blair the office phone off the desk.
~~~~~~~~~~ Act V ~~~~~~~~~~
Jim walked into the area near the Tilt-a-Whirl forty-five minutes later. Looking around, he spotted Juno holding Beverly. Both were standing on the other side of the ride.
"Juno." Jim yelled, informing the other man that he had been seen.
Juno pulled the bound and gagged Beverly closer to him. "Throw your gun away," he ordered.
Jim tossed the gun away from him.
"All right now, where’s my brother?"
Jim looked to the side. He whistled and waved. "Bring him in."
Blair drove a wheelchair accessible van into view. He hurried around, opened the doors and lowered the tommy lift. As the wheelchair came out with Dylan propped up in it, he hurried back around to the driver’s seat. Inside the van, Simon was operating the chair by remote control. Blair picked up a tape recorder and speaker.
Seeing his brother, Juno called, "Dylan, is that you?"
Blair pressed play and Dylan’s voice said "Yes."
Relief flooded Juno. "Are you okay?"
Blair kept the volume low as he played through a voice saying. "Is there anything I can get for you? Are you alright?"
Getting concerned, Juno tried again. "Dylan, are you okay?"
Finally getting the tape advanced to where he wanted it, Blair turned the speaker back on so they heard Dylan’s voice again. "I’m fine."
Satisfied, Juno nodded. "All right. You send him over."
Jim shook his head. "Uh-uh. You send out Sanchez and I’ll send Dylan over at the same time."
Juno glanced at his hostage then agreed. "All right. But just remember, you try anything, and she dies."
Simon moved the wheelchair forward as Beverly walked through the ride. As she cleared the ride, the front wheel of the chair became stuck in a pothole. As Simon tried to work it loose, the balance of the body shifted and Dylan’s head lolled forward.
Realizing that he’d been tricked, Juno screamed, "Dylan!" as he fired at Beverly. However, Jim had seen what was happening and had rushed towards her. He tackled her and got her out of way.
"Stay put," he told her as he grabbed his back up gun then took off after Juno, who was trying to escape.
As they ran through amusement park they exchanged several shots. Then Juno tried to turn the tables and go after Jim.
"You know what they say, Ellison, you can run, but you can’t hide." He taunted. Seeing him, Jim fired, putting Juno back on the defensive.
Starting to remember a game of hide and seek with Danny, Jim’s senses started to act up.
Jim growled at himself in annoyance. "Come on, damn it. Not now." He pushed the thoughts out of his mind and his senses straightened out.
He followed Juno onto the roller coaster. They both ran up the first incline, where Juno grabbed a wrench and knocked the gun out of Jim’s hand.
Jim managed to kick the wrench away from Juno.
As Juno tried to run again, Jim tackled him. The two threw punches back and forth until Juno managed to throw Jim off of him. Grabbing the wrench again he ran at him, trying to bash his skull in. At the last moment, Jim twisted out of the way. Juno broke through the guardrail and fell to his death, sixty feet below. Breathing a sigh of relief, Jim walked back down.
By the time he reached ground level again, the area was secured by over a dozen officers.
Blair met Jim as he exited the ride. "Are you OK?" he asked.
Jim nodded, as he saw Simon helping Beverly in the distance. "You were right. It was me. It was the weirdest thing. I was chasing Juno and everything started to blur. I was remembering a game of hide and seek Danny and I played over at the school, and it was as if I was standing outside myself looking at myself. I realized what was happening and forced it out of my mind. Everything cleared up after that."
Blair grinned in relief. "The most important thing here is that you took control. You see what I’m saying?" He noticed Beverly coming their way. "Well, knowing that the faithful companion’s most important job is knowing when to get lost, I’ll see you later, man." He walked over to Simon.
Beverly smiled shyly at Jim. "You know, that’s the second time in two days you’ve saved my life."
Jim grinned. "Yeah, Sandburg’s insinuated that I have an addictive personality."
"I spent the last couple days thinking about you and me."
"And?" Jim prompted.
I thought that maybe we should just try being friends."
"Friends?" Jim sounded amused.
Beverly nodded. "Yeah. What do you think?"
Jim nodded his agreement. "I think I could handle being friends."
Beverly grinned again. "Good."
The day of Danny Choi’s funeral was a rare beautiful day in Cascade. Jim stood beside Mrs. Choi, trying to comfort her as Danny received full police honors.
After she was safely ensconced in the limo that would take her home, and everyone else had left, Jim stood in front of the gravesite for a long while saying his good-byes and remembering his friendship with both the boy and the man.
Hearing a slight sound behind him, Jim turned to see Blair leaning against his truck, which the student had parked almost two hundred yards away. Realizing that his senses weren’t acting up while he was thinking about Danny, Jim was surprised to discover that he had relinquished most of his guilt over the young man’s death.
Jim joined Blair at the truck.
"How you doing?" Blair asked. "It was a beautiful ceremony."
Jim smiled. "Danny would’ve been honored."
"What about you?"
"I’m doing good," Jim told him. "I haven’t had a spike since we got Juno. I think I’m going to be OK."
Blair smiled in relief. "Great." His smile fell. "But I think you might want to talk to someone about this. The last thing you need is for this to come back when you least expect it."
Jim nodded. "I know. I have an appointment with the department shrink tomorrow," he confessed as they got into the truck.
Blair looked at him in pleased surprise.
Jim laughed at him. "Did I ever tell you how Danny and I met?"
Blair shook his head no.
"I had some extra time when I was a junior in college. My roommate had been working with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Club for several years and convinced me to give it a try. The first time I saw Danny, he looked like… Do you remember the movie ‘Hook’?"
"He looked like one of the extras for that movie." Jim drove out of the cemetery, telling his new friend about his old friend.
Please remember to send feedback to our authors. Feedback can be sent to: [email protected]
Next week’s episode: The Debt by Renegade