Archive for June, 2010

Chapter 45

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Twaeji Koki Pinun Pop is Mister Kim’s Korean version of fried rice. A generous use of spices seperates it from the Chinese version. I asked Linda for a spoon since the chopsticks just couldn’t keep up with my appetite. I shovelled the contents of the two pint container down in record time , Nerd looking on in amazement. I was washing it down with the last swallow of Asahi beer when Art showed up with Darla in tow. It was time for some serious questioning of our client.

I had learned all the rudimentary questioning skills during my tenure with the LAPD and had taken a couple of college courses on Interrogation Techniques while stilll believing I had a promising career witht he department. But I became an expert on the subject when I was once a ‘person of interest’ in a Sheriff’s Homicide investigation shortly after leaving the PD. That experience moved to the point that I sat through a two week seminar taught by ex-Mossad personnel on how to resist enhanced interrogation.

I had long ago reduced the height of the visitor chairs in my office by removing the casters from their legs. My oversized desk was jacked up by thick coasters placed under the feet, and my executive chair sat high enough to make any monarch happy. The carpet in front of my desk made anyone seated there incapable of sliding their chair in any direction. And finally, one one of the chairs i had the front legs further shortened, giving the person sitting in the chair the feeling of sliding off. This chair now sat directly in front of my desk, a scant five inch spce allowed Darla Mason to squeeze into the hot seat.

Art sat in a chair directly to her right and slightly behind. Linda flanked her on the other side, also back a bit, a steno pad perched on her lap, a pen poised to take it all down. Nerd filled up the doorway, effectively blocking ingress, and more importantly, making egress appear impossible. I stared at Darla, a serious stare, not saying a word. Art and Linda did the same. The twenty seconds must have seemed like twenty minutes to the girl. When she averted our stares and focused on her clasped hands I knew she was ready.

I hit the foot switch to the recorder hidden in my desk and pushed the pen set toward her so the mic would get every word.

“Darla, Darla look at me,” I said. When she looked up I laid it on. “People are getting killed because of bullshit and you cluld be next,” pointing my finger at her accusingly. “We are good at what we do here Darla. We know that Anatoli being your uncle is bullshit, he’s you father,” caused her to blink. “So, for starters, who the hell is William Meyers?”

“He’s my mother’s brother, my uncle,” she said and started to cry. “Could these people leave so I can speak to you freely?”

“But I’m your lawyer,” Art said, “you can say anything and I…” I held my hand up, cutting him off and waited for him to follow Lina out of my office. Nerd went out behind them and closed the door.

As she told it, the pieces seemed to fall into place, fitting in with what I knew and what I surmised. Her story was too complex for her to be making it up on the fly. William Meyers’ Adventures in Hollywood were financed by the Russian Mafia with KGB money stolen with the collapse of the old Soviet Union. His untimely death left Anatoli holding the bag for his fellow share holders, some of them very heavy hitters. William Meyers Productions was a serious profit center for these guys and provided a convienent means to launder their gambling, narcotics and prostitution income. And, when none of them could fathom their front man dying in a boating accident, Anatoli was dispatched to La La Land.

Anatoli pressed the mob’s claims, but Colletta balked, refusing to honor her husband’s obligations, either ignorant of the real setup, or too stupid to fear the consequences. Anatoli also felt her story about the fishing trip as a birthday present for her husband smelled fishy too. And the more he thought about it the more he his suspicions grew that Colletta had her husband killed.

When Colletta threatened him with lawyers and the American legal system, Anatoli concocted the scheme of the long lost daughter’s claims to the bulk of the William Meyers estate. And that’s where Investigations by Clancy came in.

Darla’s agent, the dapper Chauncey Sturdevant, is in the bag for Anatoli and his ganster friends. So he was directed him to our doorstep to make Anatoli our puppet master. Anatoli also used his old KGB comrade. the Major, to monitor our doings. Thus the breakin of our office to bug the phones and computer. But when the Major’s guys started showing up dead, the Major got suspicious of his old comrade, thus squeezing me by snatching Linda. Is it any wonder these guys lost the Cold War?

When Anatoli showed up to straighten out Colletta by explaining all the different ways she could be killed, she ran to the Major, offering him half of everything to take care of Anatoli. Seems the Major’s suspicions allowed him to think about it for a day or two. However, our response and Anatoli’s reassurances brought him back into the fold, that and a fear of dying. It’s too bad the Major’s ego couldn’t recognize evil when it wore a skirt. It cost him his life.

Darla had no idea who Grey Hair was or why he was involved, guessing he was a friend of Colletta’s.

“Fontana on line one,” Linda announced on the intercom, violating our ‘Don’t Interruptan an Interview’ rule. I pushed the blinking button.

“Speak.”

“We got your Grey Haired friend,” Fontana said.

“And Colletta too?”

“No, she was GOA. The Russian was taking a shower when we kicked the door,” he said.

“Did he give up Colletta?”

“The only thing he would say was ‘Diplomatic Imunity’. Cassidy wants him turned over to the Bureau forthwith and Green is making the call as we speak.,” he said.

“I need Anatoli, any luck?”

“Maybe. Colomel Cassidy says he’s real proud of us field agents, and told us not to mention Anatoli at the Bureau. Means he’s still in the building. The bosses in D.C. want the phoney gun deal buried with your dead Major, so I guess they want Anatoli to spin it that way to the Bureau. Everyone can live with that is theot theory. More interagency crap if you ask me,” he said disgustedly.

“Fontana, how come Homeland Security wants to make these guys ‘my’ Major and ‘my’ Grey Hair?”

“What’s up with your cell? Tried calling from the scene, no answer, no voicemail, tried text, same results”, was his non-response to my question.

“I was on the thing ’til the battery went tits up. It’s on the charger now. I don’t do voicemail and I don’t text,” I replied.

“I should have something on Uncle Anatoli in an hour,” he said. “Call you on the cell, okay?”

“Okay. By the way, it’s Daddy Anatoli, not Uncle. Later.”

“Is my father safe?” Darla asked as I hung up the phone.

“Yes.”

She rose from the hot seat. “I need to use the bathroom,” she said, wiggling around around the chair that seemed nailed to the floor.

“Down the hall around the corner from the elevator,” i said walking out of my office into the reception area. “Linda, go with Darla please.”

I stood in the doorway, standing guard as they turned the corner. After a minute or two the phone rang and, like the dummy I am, I went to Linda’s desk and answered it. “Hello/”

“Hey Rollo, me and Sylvia are at your Ex’s house. The lights are on but nobody’s home.”

“What? Did you go inside?” I asked, knowing it was a stupid question to be asking a pro like Clancy.

“What do you think,” Clancy was saying, “you…”

“Quick,” Linda shouted from the hall, “she’s getting away!”

Nerd flew past me, heading for the sairwell as Linda frantically pushed the elevator call button.

“What do you want me to do?” Art asked, in need of a command decision.

“Look out my window, see which way she goes and let Nerd know on his cell,” I said.

“Rollo, what do you want us to do here? Her car is still in the driveway, must have left with somebody, any ideas?” Clancy sought my directions. Things had suddenly spun out of my control in a matter of seconds. I stood there, staring at the phone in my hand, wishing this was a dream. I wanted to wake up in my bed and find everything and everybody lined up, neatly arranged in an orderly fashion, comfortably encased in the boxes i had put them in. Rollo, wake up!

Chapter 44

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

It would have been easy just to drop my daughter off in the driveway and beat feet, avoiding the ass-chewing I knew was coming. A black and white police car was parked at the curb and an equally obvious plain clothes car was parked behind it. I also recognized the Lexus I helped buy for my Ex’s attorney. I’m sure he was in the driveway to squeeze another payment or two out of me.

“Look Dad, more police cars,” my daughter said, her grasp of the obvious inherited from her mother. She held my hand as we walked in, probably to protect me from what she sensed was waiting.

Candy sat at the dining room table, her lawyer to her right, a yellow legal tablet getting abused by his ostentatious pen. A uniformed officer sat across from her, flanked by a detective who looked familiar. Our entrance put everyone in motion, my Ex running to our daughter, her lawyer two steps behind. A police wedge seperated me from the hugfest.

“Let’s go outside and talk, Michaels,” the detective said while the uniformed officer nudged me toward the door I had just entered.

“Gleason, isn’t it?” I asked as they herded me to the sidewalk.

“I didn’t think a big shot like Rollo Micheals remembered us peons.”

“What is it you want, Detective Gleason?”

“You out of the house, for one. What’s going on here Micheals? Your old lady is fit to be tied. She wants that bloodsucker in there to put it to you, restraining order, more child support, monitored visitations. Basically, she wants your balls cut off,” seemingly enjoying the telling.

“You know our daughter was kidnapped from her school this afternoon?”

“Jeez Rollo, how come we don’t know anything about it?”

“FBI…Suspects in custody…RHD advised…film at eleven.”

“Your dughter alright,” the uniformed officer asked.

“She thinks of it more as a movie than a real happening,” I said.

My cell rang. “I’ve got to take this,” I said, turning and walking away from them.

“Yes Pard,” I said to Clancy, “Can you and the misses keep an eye on the family for me again tonight?”

“How’s the girl?”

“Wiser than her years. How long before you can get here?”

“About an hour, give or take.”

“Nerd fill you in?”

“Roger that. You thinking Grey Hair is after Uncle Anatoli?”

“No doubt. He’s grabbing anybody he can to get leverage. Homeland Security has Anatoli stashed and Colonel Cassidy won’t even tell Green and Fontana where, or so they say. I sent them looking for Grey Hair and they’ll let me know if they score. In the meantime this guy can make a run at any of the players. I’m worried about our little Movie Star too. If she is really Anatoli’s daughter, she would be the best weapon for him to use against Anatoli. And he knows I’m his best bet to get to her.”

“Where is she now? I left her with Art and her agent at the ploice station,” Clancy said.

“I’ll get hold of Art now and see if she is still with him. I’ll head back downtown and hook up with her when I locate everybody, maybe stash her with Linda.” I yawned in his ear. “Man, I got to get some sleep sometime tonight, my ass is starting to drag. I’ll keep you posted Pard.”

“Later,” he said, allowing me to hit Art’s number on my list.

“Yes?” he answered on the third ring.

“You with our client?”

“Right across the table from me. You want to talk to her?” he said, saloon noises in the background.

“No. Bring her to the office when you finnish your drinks. I’ll be there in forty minutes,” I said, getting into my car. I drove away from my Ex-home, leaving Gleason looking very pissed. Speed dial got me Linda before I got to the freeway.

“What’s up Rollo?”

“You with Nerd?”

“Yes,” she said, “we just got our food. You okay?”

“Doin’ good. I’m on my way to the office to meet up with Art and our Movie Star. Listen, when you guys are done, meet us there. I want to circle the wagons for tonight. Has your date filled you in on all the excitement of today?”

“How’s your little girl?”

“Tougher than a cheap steak. Probably grow up to be a beat cop on the boulevard. Don’t you two run up a big tab on the old expense account.”

“Bring you some eats from Mr. Kim’s?”

“Yes. Some pork fried rice and a cold beer sounds great to me. Can’t remember if I ever ate today.”