Chapter 43

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.

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