Chapter 44

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.”

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