Archive for March, 2010

Chapter 43

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Back up the hill Green and Fontana were engaged with two uniformed LAPD guys and an FBI team. i signaled Fontana and he split from the group to see what I wanted.

“You want to let the FBI pull the rug out from under Homeland Security action here?”

“What can we do? Colonel Cassidy says let them take over, we let them take over,” he said.

“You see the job they’re doing. I think I know where Colletta and Mr. Grey Hair made off to,” and told him about the house down the hill that the neighbor told me about. I also told Fontana that Robbery-Homicide knows about the house, but the FBI’s not sharing with anybody was cutting off any info coming back to them from the PD.

“Hollywood Division Dicks are rolling on the two kills inside, and they won’t put this together with the Robbery-Homicide investigation for a couple of hours. You have their card, give them a call/ You and Green would be better off working with RHD. But you’re a big boy, play it any way you want,” I said, and got in my car, waiving for Nerd to follow in his.

Around the corner Agent Monroe formed up a caravan and led us down to Sunset then west toward Sepulveda and the Fed building that housed the FBI Task Force the Special Agent-in-Charge formed over the weekend. I guess to impress Homeland Security, but I’m a cynic who never had a corner office until he went into business for himself. In Westwood I pulled to the curb in front of a Baskin Robbins icecream parlor to placate my daughter. This almost caused a four car pile up, but I had my priorities.

Monroe came rushing in as the young lady behind the counter was scooping a strawberry cone for my girl and a black cherry for me.

“And what would you like, Agent Monroe?”

She took a deep breath and I watched as she ordered the tension to leave her body. She smiled at my daughteer then looked me in the eyes.

“Strawberry works for me,” she said, keeping the smile working too.

I paid the six and change and we went back to our cars, making it to the Fed building in less timethan it took to finish our cones.

Monroe asked my permission to question my daughter without me being present. I agreed, stipulating the questioning would end and I would be summoned anytime my daughter asked. While Monroe conducted the interview at her desk with a couple of sodas for her and my daughter, her partner took me to an interview room. No soda for me. I guess he was playing hardass.

I ran it down for him, the call from Nerd, the trip to Romanov’s. the snatching of my daughter at her school, the tail to the Major’s house and the FBI’s intervention. I played down the pistol whipping of the two Russians, they probably had videos anyway. My interrogator’s lack of note taking led me to think it was all being recorded, although he hadn’t advised me so.

We were done in ten minutes and so were Monroe and my daughter. I got my two handguns back after they did and AFIS check. Like not advising me of Miranda or the recording of my interview, the return of the guns was not in keeping with FBI protocol I knew the drill, they knew I knew, so what was up?

“We’ll be in touch, Michaels,” Monroe said, leading us to the lobby where Nerd was waiting. I turned to her, and once again, the eye contact, as if staring into my brain to read my thoughts. She had nice eyes.

“Agent, Monroe,” I said, offering my hand, “I’ve been a jerk. Thanks for the pass.”

She held my hand firmly, still with the stare. “Oh the FBI doesn’t hand out passes Rollo. Get you daughter home to her mother.” She turned toward the elevator after saying a goodbye to my daughter.

In the parking lot I instructed Nerd to contact Clancy and Linda and fill them in on what had gone down the past few hours.

“Meet up with Linda, take her to dinner or something, but don’t let her out of your sight. Tell Clancy I need him to babysit my Ex and kids again tonight. And get a gun out of the office safe,” I added.

“Yes, Bwana,” he said, pulling out his cell, getting all over it.

I got into the car and handed my cell to my daughter.

“Call your mom,” I said, heading out to the Valley to face the music.

Chapter 42

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

We watched the LAPD units arrive, only to leave a few minutes later, probably buffaloed by the FBI. A second unit showed up some ten minutes later, an old-salt Patrol Sergeant with an armful of service stripes running up his left sleeve. He gave us a long look as he drove by, en route to the scene. After another very long ten minutes Fontana was ready to shoot out the windows of our vehicular cell. Over a half hour of confinement allowed him plenty of time to plot the death of his partner.

“I have to go to the bathroom Daddy,” my daughter said.

“Me too,” was Fontana’s contribution.

“In a few minutes Sweetie,” I said.

“I’m not your sweetie,” Fontana shot back, getting a giggle from my little girl, easing our collective angst.

Another LAPD unit arrived, then two more. The Sergeant had pulled down to the intersection and looked to be setting up a Command Post. Units reporting to him recieved instructions and scurried back down Crescent or back up Lookout Mountain, making me think they were trying to set up a containment perimeter, meaning somebody got away, meaning another FBI clusterfuck of the first magnitude.

Then we spotted Green come around the corner and head our way. When he opened the door to our little prison Fontana got all over him, grabbing him by the lapels to spew venom in his face. I took my daughter’s hand and slid out behind them as Green tried to explain he didn’t realize he had left us locked in. The people at the corner house had came to the street, checking out all the excitement. I walked my daughter over to them.

“Can my daughter use your bathroom? She really needs to go.”

“Rosa, show this nice little girl to the bathroom please,” the lady of the house said to a young Latina in a maid’s outfit I thought was only worn in adult films. Turning back to me she said, “So what’s going on here?”

“My daughter was snatched outside her school in the Valley and the FBI followed the kidnappers to that house around the corner,” I said.

“Some detectives were here yesterday, asking questions about the people who live there. The only thing I could tell them was they had another house down the hill from here,” she said as my cell started vibrating in my pocket.

I turned away to answer. Caller ID confirmed my status as a world class screw up who was running true to form. My Ex was calling. It was three minutes to five and my daughter wasn’t there when her mother got home from work at 4:15. I wanted to vomit, a basketball sized knot forming in my gut.

“Rollo, she hasn’t come home from school. I’ve looked everywhere, checked with all her friends, called the school, nothing. I’m waiting on the police now….”

“She’s with me,” I said, interrupting her in midsentence.

It seemed she must have counted slowly to ten before letting me have it, both barrels, in the chest, I had it coming.

“You no good son-of-a-bitch. How can you keep doing these things to me? Do you find pleasure in scaring the shit out of me? You are a self centered bastard, Rollo. I’m taking you back to court. You’ll be lucky to see the kids once a year. My lawyer will fix it so that….”

“Let me explain, please….let me tell you…..Candy, I’m sorry, please Candy…let me…” i said, trying to talk over the barrage she was firing. She didn’t miss a beat, her rage not letting her hear anything I said. Her rant went on as my daughter returned.

“Your mother’s on the phone, she wants to talk to you honey,” I said, hoping my Ex would register that part of my conversation. I handed the phone to my daughter to save my ear from further punishment, immediately feeling guilty for using her in this way.

Special Agent Monroe walked up, interferring with my self-loathing. She looked a little frazzled. A tight lipped grimace and knotted brow said her “I got it all together” image had been badly shaken.

“We need to go to our office and get statements from you and your daughter,” she said.

“And my friend?”

“We got his statement and he’ll get kicked loose as soon as the LAPD gets his personal info,” she said. “You can follow me in your car, okay?”

I nodded and told her I needed Nerd to come in too, along with Agents Green and Fontana, but only if she filled me in on what happened with Grey Hair, Colletta Meyers and her crew. She briefed me and it wasn’t pretty. The FBI’s Entry Team found Colletta’s two bodyguards face down on the living room floor, head shot with a small caliber weapon. Grey Hair and Meyers were gone, apparently escaping on foot through the back yard and down the hill to the street below.

“Can you keep an eye on my kid while I run up the hill?”

She looked to the heavens before answering, “Sure Michaels, why not.”

I walked over to the Sergeant’s CP. His name tag said Ryan, his nose and cheeks said Jack Daniels. He looked me up and down through rheumy eyes, one squinting because of cigarette smoke rising from the filtered job he clenched in his teeth.

“Hey Sarge, Robbery-Homicide would probably appreciate a heads-up on this,” I said.

“Do I know you?” he asked, in a “Who the hell are you?” tone.

“Rollo Michaels,” I said, offering my hand. “Used to be on the job.”

“Used to be, has been, pretty much the same to me,” he said, not taking my hand.

“Whatever Sarge, but you’d be doing yourself a favor on this one,” I said, counting up his service stripes, doing the math. “How the hell did you last thirty years on this job?” my parting shot as I headed up the hill to get the crew.

“Kiss my ass, Rollo Michaels,” was the best he could do. But hey, he got the name right.

Chapter 41

Monday, March 1st, 2010

My two favorite FBI Special Agents put me and my daughter in the back seat of the car, while other agents cuffed up the two bleeding Russians and my man, Nerd. They gathered up all the guns, including my Ex’s .38 revolver. My daughter recognized two of theagents from Sunday’s aborted baseball game and waived them a hello. Unbelievably, she was oblivious to her own victimhood, caught up in this game of cops and robbers.

My Homeland Security buddies, Green and Fontana came over to the car. I noticed there were no handles or buttons on the inside of the back doors when I tried to open either a door or window to talk. I was basically a prisoner of the Fed, but Fontana opened the door and stuck his head in.

“You guys okay?”

“You kiddin’ me? Get the Nerd cut loose, get my guns back and let me take my daughter home.” I said, trying to get out of the back seat. But Fontana restrained me with a hand on my shoulder.

“Whoa there Rollo, slow it down some,” Green cautioned. “This is now and FBI operation. Cassidy will have our asses when he find out we’re here with these people. He sure didn’t like the heavy handed way they jumped this case.”

“You have got to be shittin’ me,” I shouted, alerting the FBI agents. Special Agent Monroe came over to see what all the shouting was about. She got in behind the wheel and told Green and Fontana to get in too. Green assumed shotgun and Fontana pushed in beside me.. She fired it up and drove us around the corner, parking under a big old oak. The shade was a welcomed relief from the ninety degree sun. The A/C was trying to kick in, to no avail.

“Let’s hear it Michaels,” she said, like she really expected me to tell all.

I watched an FBI Entry Team in helmets and flack jackets drive toward the house while I tried to figure out what to say. Surprisingly, Agent Green interceded on my behalf.

“Listen Agent Monroe, this is no place for Rollo’s daughter to be…”

“Thanks good buddy,” I said while pulling out my cell phone. I flipped it open with a dramatic flourish and punched up 9-1-1. “My daughter has been kidnapped and I’ve followed the two kidnappers to Lookout Mountain Lane and Crescent Drive. I’m holding them at gunpoint. Hurry…” closing the phone.

The three federal agents stared at me in disbelief. My daughter took hold of my arm. “I want to go home now, Daddy.”

“Damn it Michaels, I need to know what you and your friend are doing busting into our stakeout,” Monroe whined.

“You didn’t see Colletta Meyers pull up in the Lincoln with two black porn studs and a guy in a grey suit with hair to match? Some stakeout, Agent Monroe. But not to worry, I called the real police. They’ll gladly take a murder suspect and two kidnapping assholes into custody. And they’ll do it without screwing over the victim’s father and the friend helping to rescue a little girl. Is this how they teach it at Quantico?” I said, immediately regretting sticking it in too far. But there’s no way to take back ill chosen words.

She got out of the car and slammed the door hard enough to make my ears pop. We sat there watching her storm back up the street. Fontana was the first to speak.

“Nice going Rollo. You think that’s the way to win her over to our side?”

Green jumped out and ran after her, leaving me, my daughter and Fontana locked in the back of the car. I could hear sirens rolling up the hill. It would be another hour before someone would let us out of the car.