Archive for July, 2009

Chapter 33

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

There were more emergency vehicles there than the closing scene of a ‘Lethal Weapon’ movie. I expected Mel Gibson to stick a gun in my face as I wiggled out the back of the Hummer and gimped toward the hotel entrance. A uniformed security guard placed a hand on my chest, ” Hold on Rollo, I’ll take you in through the side entrance.” I recognized him as the man who transported me on his golf cart to Darla’s back lot trailer five days ago.

“What happened?” I asked as he led us around the crowd. An ambulance was pulled up to the front door, a KTLA news van and two black and white police cars blocked off the portico. I spotted Clancy inside the lobby, talking to Bob McMeakon, head of hotel security.

“I’ll let Bob run it down for you,” our escort informed me as a gurney emerged from the elevator with two paramedics propelling Meeks to the awaiting ambulance. Two of my FBI friends came through the front doors like they owned the place, making a bee line toward me. Clancy and Nerd ran interference while Bob and I got on the elevator.

“Everyone’s okay, your wife and kids are in your suite and I have a man outsdide their door. Your Lieutenant Meeks exchanged rounds with this guy trying to force his way into the suite. What the hell was he doing with your wife?”

“How’s Meeks?” I asked.

“She took a hit to the shoulder, thinks she got one into the guy. A couple of blue suits are across the hall in your other room. They have Linda and Darla in there, waiting on the Detectives. Clancy gave them the slip. What’s going on? I heard you were shot and in the hospital.”

“Escaped. I’ll fill you in after I check on my family,” I said as we arrived at the tenth floor. Bob’s man was talking with an LAPD officer as we stepped from the elevator. I nodded to both and entered the suite I had left about eight hours ago.

“Daddy,” my daughter shouted rushing into my arms. The boys looked up from the TV, the little guy waving a hello, then they both refocused on the screen. My Ex sat on the chair next to the bed, anger all over her face, gearing up for the confrontation I was sure was coming.

“Jesus Rollo,” she said, bursting into tears, “I thought you might’ve been dead.” She rose from the chair and threw her arms around me and my daughter. Then my daughter started crying and I started to choke up. The boys stoically focused on the television, only clenched jaws betraying their emotions.

We calmed our daughter and left her to tough it out with the boys in front of the TV. We went to the sitting room and I filled her in about her date and she went off on me for filling her life with crap and endangering our children. I had no defense for her accusations and the truth forced me to retreat under the pretext of finding out what was going on, like that was something I was capable of doing.

Across the hall Darla and Linda gave me their version of Boris and my Ex showing up demanding to take the kids home. Darla gave Meeks a heads up about Boris being a bad guy, which he confirmed by producing a handgun. Meeks blew him out the door and closed it. The bastard put one through the door, wounding her in the shoulder. Linda dialed 911 and hotel security came up the elevator, passing the escaping Boris, who was in the ajoining on his way down. I asked Darla if she knew where Boris might go and she told me she didn’t know the address but could show me his apartment, only a few blocks from his Ventura Boulevard restaurant. Trouble was I couldn’t get her out of police custody until the detectives were done questioning everyone. The police were following up on all known addresses for Boris.

“Call your uncle and tell him Boris has been shot and the police are looking for him. Make it sound good, that you are afraid and need him to get you out of here right now,” I said and she did, at least I think she did, not understanding Russian.

“He’ll be here in twenty minutes,” she said after closing her cell. I went down to the lobby to hook up with my partner Clancy and fill him on the latest plan, knowing he’d be thrilled to see my hubris was immune to the many setbacks I’d suffered over the past week or so.

My two friends from the FBI were busy butting heads with Agents Green and Fontana, Clancy was engaged with Bob McMeakon, and two Robbery-Homocide Detectives were coming through the front doors as I stepped from the elevator. They all wanted a piece of me and my guess was the FBI would demand first dibs. I made a hard right, putting them all behind me as I headed toward the Security Office, two doors past the Night Auditor’s office and stepped inside. The young lady working the secrity monitors was startled.

“Tell your boss Rollo is here to see him and his friend Clacy,” I instructed, feeling a warm ooze trickle down my leg. Not good. She tickled his ear with my message via the radio and I watched him and my partner on one of the lobby monitors head toward the office. “Thank you,” I told her, eyeing a chair in the waiting area as Bob and Clancy came through the door. I looked down at my feet and saw blood pooling around my shoes and the floor begin to spin. They each grabbed an arm and led me to Bob’s office, setting me on his leather couch.

A lack of sleep, a certain amount of pain medication and twenty hours without food was causing me to be a little goofy. There was no blood dripping down my leg, my shoe was perfectly dry, as was my mouth. I knew then and there I couldn’t trust my judgment.

“Get Fontana in here,” I told my partner, and he went to get him. Bob got me a Dr. Pepper from the mini-bar behind his desk. It was one of the many things we had in common. I reached for the pills the doc gave me and threw them in the trash pail next to the desk. “Anything to eat, Bob?” I asked and he gave me a package of peanut butter crackers from his stash in the top drawer of the credenza. I was washing two down when Clancy returned with Fontana and Green.

I told them of having Darla call her uncle and con him into coming to the hotel so I could snatch him up and get a line on that bastard, Boris. They were game and in for depth and distance. We wound up waiting untill sun up for Uncle Vladamir to show, only to discover his niece Darla had slipped out of the hotel after the Detectives had interviewed her. That was enough for me. I went to my room and slept for four hours, awakening to a room service breakfast with my Ex and three kids. Linda went to the Burbank Hospital to check on Meeks and Clancy drove my Ex home. I resolved to let the Russians all go to hell and headed to Dodger Stadium on the hotel shuttle. Me and the kids had a game to catch.
* * *

Around the third inning the Dodgers had gotten to Bronson Arroyo for a run on a hit, error and sac fly. I was waiting for my daughter on the concourse outside the ladies restroom when I spotted my friends from the FBI. They headed towards me wearing serious faces gained through years of practicing in front of a mirror.

“Rollo, we need to talk,” the distaff member of the team announced.

“Not now we don’t,” I replied, then spotted my Ex approach, accompanied by another suit.

“We found Major Batakin with two holes in the back of his head. We’re betting on one of your clients being responsible,” said her male counterpart. “Your wife will look after the children and you will come with us.”