Archive for August, 2009

Chapter 34

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

The Major’s body was found by the FBI agents returning to his Fairfax resturant at noon to follow up on last night’s shootings. The front door was unlocked and the place deserted, except for the Major face down on the floor behind the bar. When the team assigned to fetch me ushered me passed the body, FBI forensics were all over the scene. I wondered if these were the same techs who were in the place twelve hours ago. I was taken directly to a back office and presented to another agent. I didn’t catch his name, only the Deputy Director part.

“Sit down Michaels,” he directed, living up to his title.

“I can’t,” I said, “one of your people shot me in the ass last night.”

He wasn’t amused and went off on me. His riot act included the threat to deprive me of my freedom if I didn’t fully cooperate with the Bureau’s investigation. I raised my hands in mock surrender and sat in the offered chair, turning the other cheek, so to speak.

“Thank you,” he said, returning to civility. “I wish to apologize on behalf of the Bureau. We will be picking up your medical expenses and reimburse you any reasonable expenses incurred as a result of our actions. We need your help is sorting out all that is going on in this case. We understand that you have been doing some work for an associate of the dead man in the bar. Just what is it you are investigating?”

“Actually I work for the associate’s attorney, and am not able to divulge any particulars of the case without the attorney’s approval.”

“Damn it Michaels, don’t play games with us!” he shouted.

“I want to talk to my lawyer now,” I replied, sending him storming from the Major’s office to be replaced by my two FBI friends, tag team style. I knew the drill.

“Jeez Michaels, what did you say to the Boss?” the lady agent asked, warming up to me, I guess. My shrug caused her male counterpart to turn on the CCTV security system to display four views of the interior of the restaurant: the entrance, the dining area, the hall leading to the office and restrooms, the bar. A digital clock showed the date and time in the lower right quadrant as SUN 081608 0149. Colletta Meyers came in the front door and joined the Major at the bar. The bartender poured them drinks and left the premises. We fast fowarded to 0220 hours and join in an animated conversation. She got in the Major’s face and he slapped hers. She took a gun from her purse and put two in his head as he tried to duck away. She gathered up her stuff, smashed her glass on the floor, wiped the bar of her prints with the sleeve of her blouse and left the way she had come in. The time showed 0224 hours.

“One cold bitch,” my lady agent said. “A client?”

“No, she’s a suspect in another murder I’m looking into. She’s a porn star named Colletta Meyers. I’m surprised your partner didn’t recognize her.”

“Funny,” he said.

“Where can we find her?” she asked.

“I’m sure you can look her up in the phone book. I’d like to go now,” I said, straining our new friendship.

“Not until you tell us all we need to know,” she snapped like a woman scorned.

“I asked for my lawyer and it bummed out your boss. Give me a ride home and I’ll fill you in along the way.” It was their turn to storm out of the office, probably to seek directions from the Boss. I picked up the desk phone and dialed my daughter’s cell.

“Hello?”

“Hey Sweetheart, what’s the score?” I asked.

“I don’t know, Mom made us leave. Two men are driving us home, we’re just pulling up to the house,” she said.

“Let me talk to your mom,” I said as my FBI friends returned to further sweat me.

“Get off the phone Michaels,” ordered the Boss.

“Put one of the agents on the phone, now,” I instructed my Ex, holding up my hand to slow the advancing Deputy Director. Then to him I said, ” I will tell you all that I can if you tell your men to stay with my family until I can provide for their safety. There has already been an attempt to snatch them last night. Trust me on this, we’re dealing with some dangerous people here, five people are already dead and I don’t think the body count will stop there.”

He took the phone from my hand and did what I asked. I then spent the next forty-five minutes telling them how I fell into the rabbit’s hole. The lady agent wrote it down with a fury, while the Deputy Director guided me through my story. Inturrupting only for clarification and allow his note taker to catch up, he shook his head in mock disbelief when I was done.

“I need a ride back to the Universal Hotel to pick up my car. I’ll give you my suspicions on the way,” I said. The Deputy Director rolled his eyes and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. “I’ll call my lawyer NOW,” reaffirming my hard ass.

“Get him out of here,” he told his troops and we headed into a hot Sunday afternoon on a trafficless Fairfax Boulevard in the City of Angels, in route to the make believe of Universal Studios. I had a hunch. I popped two codeine-fours and the pain in my wounded cheek went away before we pulled under the hotel’s portico. As promised, I gave the two agents the location I expected Colletta Meyers to be tomorrow morning: Probate Court, 10:00 AM. Armed with fresh clues, they left me at the entrance, convinced of their superiority.

I went strqaight passed the front desk to the security office. Bob was off for the day, probably resting up for all the flack the hotel GM and a bunch of studio bigwigs would rain down on him come the morning. Bill Staub, Bob’s number two, greeted me as I entered.

“What, you work here now Michaels?”

“Take me to Darla Mason’s trailer on the back lot, Bill,” I said.

“You’re nuts Rollo. You’ll probably get Bob fired for bringing all this crap into the hotel, and get me fired if I don’t throw your ass out of here right now.”

I held up my room key, “Hey man, I live here. If you’re a little hinky, call Bob up and get the okay. You do know that Miss Mason is a client of mine and she is in danger. Think what will go down if something happens to her because you wouldn’t take me to her.” Bill was number two for a reason. Afraid to act on his own, he called Bob and, after a brief conversation, handed the phone to me.

“In for a penny, in for a pound, whatever that means,” Bob said. “Please don’t shoot anybody.”

“What difference could it make now? Tell Bill to give me the key to the trailer too,” I said and gave the phone back to Bill. A five minute golf cart ride had him dropping me off next to Darla’s car, parked in front of her trailer. I waited for him to drive away, then turned the key in the lock and went in. Shit!