Chapter 42

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.

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