Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Retro Diary Part VIII

Retro Diary, Part VIII


 This is a serial mystery thriller. Look for a new installment every Wednesday! 


Chapters 30-33

Chapter 30
 Franklin and the Amateur

"Well who the hell are you, anyway?" Franklin yelled as he wheeled the car out of the building's parking lot. He did not look to be the slightest bit worried. It was a special gift that Franklin possessed because he did not care whether he died or lived. He would be glad to join his wife and babies.
“But I have two other people to care for and I can’t jeopardize their lives. Otherwise this clown and I would be off the first cliff I can find,” he thought.
"Who I am is less important than where you are not going with my money! Did you think that I would let you take my money?" The man spoke excellent English, but with an annoying and indeterminate accent. Was he a Belgian?
"I asked you a question, you short little puke! You greasy dirtball! You are going to die for this, you trashy foreign motherfu...”
Franklin collected himself and took a rapid change of course. He knew that rapidly changing course worked well with desperate amateurs... that is if it did not get everyone killed.
“Look.  You may as well start talking to me so I can tell people what to write on the baggie that will hold what is left of you!" He flashed his right hand out  and punched the man in his ribcage.
The kidnapper’s eyes widened and he howled in pain and outrage. He grabbed his side and stared at Franklin as if he was looking at a crazy man. His eyes filled with tears of pain and his face became a mask of shock. The man was shocked that anyone would speak that way to a gunman, let alone punch the gunman in his ribs. This never happened at the cinema or on television. This large, Black man did not appear to care about life or death!
"Let's... just... say that Honey Barton tried to steal from me," He said when he recovered himself. "Larry Barton stole my money and Larry Barton took it from him! He gave it to Honey and I want it back. That is all.”
“Well, you are out of luck. Just let me throw you out up here. You can call a cab and go home. How about that?”
“You are mad! You have two more stop signs and then you will turn onto Freeland road. That will take us to the Interstate 5 motorway. We are going for a long ride, all of us."
"Then put your seat belt on, asshole." Franklin growled like an animal. He was twitching oddly, as if he was under the influence of a drug. His head was leaning to the left and his glittering eyes never left the road.
"Don't make me tell you again!" He screamed realizing that the man had no idea about how to kidnap a car full of people. But that did not mean the man did  not know how to shoot the passengers in the head. Franklin hoped that Jenny had some ideas.
He turned the radio up to full volume and yelled at the top of his lungs, "You Belgian?"
The little man reached for the radio and turned it down. He screamed, "How dare you talk to me like that! No, I am not a Belgian! You are approaching our turn! I will shoot one of the women if you do not turn!
Franklin rolled his eyes. He had been driving on a fairly straight and empty stretch of road, edging the speed up in small increments. He was searching for something to drive the right side of the car into and he saw a built up area ahead, but it came after the turn. He slowed down for the turn and executed it. Then he sped up again, starting over with a new search for a structure on the right. After about two  miles, he saw what he was looking for.
Jenny Daniels was a quick study. Franklin glanced into the rear view mirror and saw her hugging Honey Barton and pulling her to the left side of the car.
"I'm wearing mine!” He screamed, “You will wear one, too! It's the law, Damnit!" This was actually a signal to the women in the back to hit the floorboards. Jenny Daniels went down immediately and dragged Honey with her.
Franklin was back up to speed at 45 MPH. He edged the car up to 50 MPH.
"What if I just shoot one of these women, Eh?" The red faced man squirmed around to point his gun at the women. His rage caused him to take his eyes off of  Franklin. Would that make you show some respect? Do you realize..."
"I told you to put your seat belt on, asshole! Now do it!" Franklin was screaming at the top of his lungs, flinging spittle, wild eyed and out of control. He actually reached over and slapped the man!
"I will shoot one righ..."
"AND I'LL JUST DO THIS!!!" Franklin screamed. He swung the car off the road and hit the corner of a cinder block wall. The right front corner of the car crumpled and tore as it impacted the wall at exactly the right angle. Both front airbags deployed. The little man’s body was crushed, then partially torn out of the vehicle. Franklin punched down the airbag and opened his door, but something was wrong.
Jenny hauled the driver side door open, pulled out a knife and cut Franklin's seat belt. She looked around and picked up an old board. She slipped it behind his back and used her belt to secure the board to his chest. She pulled off her scarf and tied his  forehead to the top of the board.
Then she and Honey tried to haul him out of the car. "He's a huge man!" Honey yelled. The little man was choking up blood. His right arm and torso were almost severed from his body. Three carloads of FBI agents screeched up to the scene and emptied out.
Three men dragged Honey, Jenny, their purses and Honey's suitcase into a SUV and sped away from the scene. It took two men to remove Franklin from the car and get him into an SUV. Two more attended to the passenger and called for an ambulance. It was not a good sign that the little man was no longer screaming.
The SUV went for about twenty yards, screeched to a halt and backed up to the scene. An agent got out, sprinted to the car, dove in from the driver's side and rifled through the unknown man's clothes. He yanked the first wallet he could get his hands on and found the man's gun, too. He sprinted to the SUV and the process was repeated.
"Thanks!" Franklin yelled through his tears. "Call this in to the Don, will you? I'm going to pass out  now. And he did pass out.

Chapter 31

Don Padre Places an Order for Ankle Monitors

"I will keep those two on ankle monitors from now on!" Don Padre screamed in fury. "Franklin what? I will be there in two hours. What? Well that is good to know."  Don Padre ended his call and looked for Franklin’s father. He grabbed Inspector Marsh and told him,
"Franklin is on the way to UC Med. He got taken by a kidnapper who forced forced him to drive at gunpoint. Are you ready for this?”
“Yes. Don’t hold back anything, Don Padre!” Franklin’s father, Inspector Marsh, was furious.
“Your son rammed the car into a cinder block building. The impact ripped down the right side of the car and killed the kidnapper. Franklin was shot in the leg, banged up by the air bag and broke a clavicle. I am going down there to end this. Do you want to ride with me? Can you travel? I can FBI you on the way down."
"Hell yes I can travel right now! I want to know what's going on down there!”
 "We will take you now. We will go by jet from Oakland." Don Padre quickly filled Sir William in on the dealings and swept everyone out of Kevin's penthouse.
“Frank Marsh here. Yes. I need to go to Taylor County and straighten some things out. My son was injured. I'll be back tomorrow. It's the Percival Windsor case. I'm going with the FBI. They had a little dustup down there and my son is...Yes? Good. I'll check in with you whenever I find out what's going on. Thanks, Mike. Thanks." Inspector Marsh ended his call and said, "That was my commander. He gave me a free hand to mix it up down there. Either Percival or his look alike are under investigation in San Francisco, so I have limited jurisdiction. We had two murders here, which is enough to get me some authority. I pulled those cases out when this whole mess started. I knew there was a connection to Taylor County!”
“First Kevin, now Franklin,” Don Padre said. “and just when I get those two under my command! They are the best we have and they just started on this case, so how did anyone know what they were doing down there in Taylor County?"
"I think I know who it is. It’s That punk, Brendan O’Donnell. He is back running around San Francisco. He tried to take over from Franklin this afternoon. I talked to his Superior and the superior recalled him to Utah. I suspect Brendan, because no one else would be that stupid, Don Padre.”
“There is more to this case than anyone could have conceived and it looks like there was help from inside. Percival did not have extensive criminal connections, and I suspect he was working for someone else! He presented himself as a lone wolf, a one man crime spree, but he had powerful friends...
“... and enemies."
"Why am I thinking that Diana is involved in this, Donal? Why?"
"I do not believe that Diana did this one, Franklin. I think that her boyfriend, Billy Mantoin is the ringmaster. We cannot touch Billy Mantoin, but we can find out if Percival had any meetings with him. I have a team analyzing his credit card and other records."
"I will find out if they met in San Francisco. Billy's where? In Atherton?"
"I have some connections down there. When I get my boy home and my blood pressure back to normal, I will make some calls."
Two hours later, Don Padre and Inspector Marsh barged into the Taylor County hospital and were promptly escorted to the traumatic surgery wing where Franklin was being prepared for surgery. The area was packed with FBI agents, doctors, a U.S. Marshall, Honey Barton, her suitcase and the county Sheriff.
A bossy little nurse immediately barged up to Inspector Marsh, reacting to the obvious resemblance shared by father and son.
"Sir? I'm nurse Parma. I have some information for you and the doctor would like to speak with you." Inspector Marsh dealt with paperwork and answered questions, occasionally wiping tears away. A doctor and a surgeon approached and told him what the situation was.
"Your son took a gunshot wound to his right upper thigh and suffered a broken clavicle." He pointed to two x-rays. One showed Franklin's clavicle, cleanly broken. The other showed a bullet lodged in his upper right thigh.
"He will need two surgeries, one to remove the bullet and one to set his clavicle.  If you want to move him to San Francisco, he is in good enough condition for the move, but he will need to go straight into surgery as soon as he arrives. This is a very difficult trauma to treat because two areas of his body are involved. It will be a crowded room."
"What do you recommend, doctor?"
"I recommend you let us do both surgeries right now. He lost quite a bit of blood and we don't want to wait on that bullet."
"Let's go ahead. We can move him tomorrow, once he's stable."
"Good choice, Inspector. Nurse Parma has some documents for you to sign, then you can see  your son. Don't give him too hard of a time, Inspector. He's quite the hero here in Taylor County. He got the last of that gang."
"Just keep my boy alive, Doctor. I'll be fine. It's his boss here who probably wants to kill him."
Inspector Marsh did not know it at the time, but it was his decision, not the surgery, that saved his son's life that afternoon in Taylor County. He saw his son taking up most of the hospital bed. His face was flushed and his neatly trimmed knaps and curls were damp from sweat. He put his hand on Franklin's cheek and looked into his son's golden eyes.
"Daddy?" Franklin mumbled. "Why you here? I’ll be fine..."
"Yes, son. I'm here. Don't worry. I'm right here with you."
"They going to do surgery? I'm shot up and broke up but I got that Sum bitch.” Franklin tried to laugh but could only smile a little.
"They will do the surgery here. They have one of the best trauma units in the country."
"All those gang bangers and kids... They said that for Kevin. How's he?"
"He's home! Maybe we'll put you there too. then we can keep you two troublemakers on ice!"
"I'll be fine, Dad. I have a big case coming up with the firm. I can work from home. How's Honey Barton?"
"She's fine. She has her suitcase and says she’s not leaving without you, tough guy. Don't worry. We'll get you set up just fine. You rest now... any pain?"
"No, I'm having a lovely high right now. Very mellow. You get some rest, Dad. It was crazy here. It was crazy. Nothing made sense until the crash."
"How, son?”
“The little man who kidnapped us....”
A loud nurse barged into the cubicle. “You have to get out now. We’re going to prep him...”
“WAIT! Inspector Marsh yelled. “NOW! Go ahead Franklin. What about the little man who kidnapped you?”
Franklin was dozing. He woke a few seconds later. Don Padre had come into the cubicle and had his hand on Inspector Marsh’s shoulder.
“What about the little man, Franklin?”
“He wah... he wasss Percival Windsor! He and Honey were... Honey played it all... crazy, Dad. Crazy...”
It was clear that Franklin would not be speaking clearly until after his surgery.

Chapter 32 

Franklin Solved the Matter

 “Fine, Franklin. Fine job, son! Don Padre is here for you too. See him? Good. They’re going to move you now. We’ll be here.”
Inspector Marsh got up and said, “Sorry folks. That was critical information. Someone needs to move on that now. We need to know that the body at the coroner's is Percival Windsor. Confirm that he is dead.”
 Don Padre was already on his radiophone, ordering Honey Barton taken into custody. He finished his call and said, “We just confirmed that, Franklin. It was Percival Windsor. He is dead.
Let us talk to Honey Barlow. Then we will figure out who was doing what and to whom. I am sure I know.... "
Heads turned. Franklin was awake again. He was yelling as the team wheeled him down the hall. "No, Dad! Don Padre... The kidnapper didn't know what he was doing... not a pro. He was Percival. The other one in the lumberyard was a pro. He’s your SFPD case, Dad." Then Franklin fell asleep for good.
As they headed down the hall after Franklin, Donal andFranklin’s dad engaged in a heated conversation. "Donal! There is a theme that runs through this! Pros and amateurs! Larry and Percival were both amateurs.
“The chief is lying. He is a pro. He was here to kill Percival Windsor if he got out of line. He mistook Henry Barton for Percival at the lumberyard. He went there to kill the man he thought was Percival. He thought that Percival had gone crazy, but he shot Kevin Ap-Rhys instead. Percival Windsor was laundering someone’s money. He was working for someone big.”
“Percival Windsor used Honey Barton to launder the money. Honey Barton used her cousins, Larry and Henry Barton, to do the dirty work. The cousins did everything that Honey wanted. She wanted a big distraction that night. They gave her a distraction and they both died doing it. There’s one loose end, Donal.”
“Honey Barton."
“Done.” He pulled his radiophone, ordered the arrest of Honey Barton and demanded an interview room. “Read her her rights.  I want her in an interrogation room right now!” He yelled.
Twenty minutes later, Honey Barton, minus her bulging suitcases, was sitting at a conference table. She was sitting in a deep funk until Don Padre and Inspector Marsh barged into the room. Her face instantly morphed into a tired, but more charming form.
Inspector Marsh spoke first, “Wrap it up for our lovely studio audience, will you, Don Padre!”
“Honey, you met Percival years ago when you were stripping, didn’t you?”
“No! Who said a thing like that? I never met Percival Windsor! Larry worked for him. He never let me meet Percival!”
“You and Percival were lovers long before Larry started working for him. You set Larry up to be his property manager, didn’t you? Didn’t you introduce Larry to Percival?”
Inspector Marsh repeated the statement. “Honey was already in a relationship with Percival Windsor when she got her other lover, Larry, a job as Percival’s property manager. Larry never knew about Percival and you, did he?”
Honey did not say a word.
“Larry never knew about Honey and Percival.” How novel. Honey, you were doing Percival and you were doing Larry. Did Percival know that you and Larry were lovers? Did he even care that much about you two?”
Honey decided not to talk at that point. It was clear that she was not going anywhere, and it was clear that she needed a lawyer.
“I want a lawyer!” She said in a sullen tone.
“That’s a smart girl, Honey. You are up against the death penalty and it is best that you get a lawyer. I want you to have a lawyer. Someone will be in to arrest you again and read you your rights again, then you will get your lawyer.”
Don Padre and Inspector Marsh left her sitting in the room.
“The FBI has her on federal charges because of the gun deal and her association with Percy.”
“SFPD has her on nothing. Henry Barton was our man and he is dead.”
 “Percival wanted her to launder someone’s money.  So how did she set it up to get rid of her cousins, get rid of Percival and take all of the money?”
“She put Percival’s money in a safety deposit box at the bank.”
“She had Henry Barton set up the fake gun deal and to steal even more money. She knew the buyers would bring laundered cash and would want Percival there. Henry made a very convincing fake Percival Windsor. At least he was good enough for the deal to go down.
“It was Henry creating havoc all night long, not Percival! Same height and coloring as Percival. Henry was a stone killer and I know he did those two murders in San Francisco.”
“Honey convinced Henry to run the gun deal and Henry took Larry along as a helper. Then he killed Larry.”
“Honey told Henry to kill Larry.”
“She had to so she could “inherit” the contents of “Larry’s” safe deposit box. She instructed Henry to hide the second batch of money, the laundered gun money, at the real estate office. Percival was supposed to get that money while Honey planned to keep the money that Percival gave her.
She and Percival stayed out of everything. They hid at her house while Henry went out and distracted everyone all night long.”
“Now Henry is dead.”
“And Larry is dead.”
“And Percival Windsor is dead.”
“The next morning, Honey went to the real estate office to picked up that suitcase full of laundered money. She went home to meet Percival, but he was gone and she got Franklin instead.”
“They planned to go on the run with all that money.”
“But Franklin was two steps ahead of her and tore her scheme to shreds. Franklin took the laundered money and her to San Francisco.”
“She played it cool going to San Francisco and coming back.”
“She thought she had Franklin wrapped around her little finger.”
“She came back to get Percival’s original money from Larry’s safe deposit box. Larry left her that safe deposit box in his will.”
“Franklin checked. That was never Larry’s box. It was Honey Barton’s safe deposit box all along.”
“She hid Percival’s unlaundered cash in the safe deposit box on the day he gave it to her. That money never left that box.”
So now she had the money from the fake gun sale and she had Percival’s original money!
“She wanted it all for herself and she wanted everyone else dead, including Percival Windsor!”
“Honey Barton did not need Percival Windsor. He was just another fugitive on the run. She thought she would be better off on her own. She could sit here in Taylor County, finish her law degree and move the money after all of this died down. When she picked Percival’s money up from the bank, she knew about those tracking devices. She left one of them in Franklin’s car just to be safe.”
“So she knew that Percival would find her.”
“She knew more than that. She knew that Franklin or Jenny would find a way to kill Percival. She would be the innocent victim. She would be free as a bird and wealthy, too.”
 “Two of us will be laid up for weeks because of this? What a mess! What an unmitigated mess! But how could we have done any better?”
“I see it this way, Franklin. They might be young and clumsy, but we must give Kevin and Franklin Jr. some credit!”
Franklin Sr. laughed for the first time since he left Kevin’s penthouse for Taylor City.

Chapter 33 

With all These Kids to Care For

Don Padre was tired of sitting outside of surgeries, waiting for brilliant, young men to be patched up. Inspector Marsh was arguing with someone about the complex mess that Honey Barton and the Police Chief presented. He was getting nowhere because Taylor County was closer to Los Angeles than to San Francisco. Los Angeles wanted the glory.
Don Padre’s FBI superior sauntered into the waiting area and sat next to him. He asked how the Don was holding up.
"Oh well, Kenneth. I have Kevin’s cousin fretting over him like a big brother should. I have Franklin’s father fretting over his son. I'm like the father fretting over all of them. I try to figure out where I went wrong because it would feel good to have an excuse to beat myself up, but I get nowhere."
"Donal, you and the kids did everything by the book. Franklin and Kevin were blindsided and so were we. Even with our decades of experience, we would have done the same things they did. Franklin said that this situation was bigger than it looked. I am concerned because he is so right. There is more to this and it is global, Donal."
"Well it is finished for now. I just wonder how Franklin could know that? I wonder what he was thinking. What he meant."
"Franklin understood that the main players are not in Taylor County. Kevin understood it too. These younger ones grew up with crazy as the baseline. Anything slightly less than crazy is acceptable."
"And now I can't stop thinking about Billy Mantoin in Atherton. Somehow, he is behind all of this."
"Yes he is behind it, but orders are orders. You are to stay away from Billy Mantoin. So is Inspector Marsh. The kids, too. Let them move on to other things for a few years. Keep them away from it for as long as you can, Donal. There's plenty for them to do."
"You know something, don't you?"
"No I don't know anything. Neither do you. It will be years before we can deal with the likes of Billy Mantoin. Until then, it is best to leave him alone."
"I have two kids to put back together, Kenneth. I intend to focus on that, so you won't get any trouble from me."
"Good. We have Honey Barton. The Sheriff and interim police chief will clean up Taylor County. We're taking the bodies out to Quantico tonight. Take some time off after this, Donal. Work on that American Enterprise Institute case, you and Kevin. How is Franciane?"
"My ex-wife loves me madly, Kenneth. I cannot live without her. It's my job she hates, but she and I will be fine with all these kids to care for!"

To Be Continued...

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