CLUE

gps unit

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. Staying a step or two in front of his federal brothers and sisters, our Texas Ranger keeps the mission on track.

From my recently released crime novel, GROUND EFFECT:

They waited until it was no longer possible to hide the surveillance cars in the dim morning light. After the TBI agent fumbled and stammered trying to talk to Trish, Gerry stepped in and “suggested” they get busy on the Impala, before their federal help arrived.

“But it may be rigged to blow,” the TBI agent offered.

Gerry looked at Trish and said, “Expert in explosives agent here will check it for us.”

Trish wrinkled her mouth and then moved to the passenger side of the car. She could see two small, over the shoulder travel bags in the back seat. Both were pushed to one side. She used her small flashlight to look at door edges and the shut lines. She even dropped down and looked over the bottom of the car.

Gerry watched this for a few minutes and then spotted the shiny sedans driving into the far end of the lot from the street. He said, “Shit,” and pulled on the driver door handle. It opened and didn’t blow them all up. The federal sedans were closing on them. Gerry reached in and when the TBI guy was watching Trish’s bottom squirming on the pavement, popped the GPS unit from its holder on the windshield. It went into his pocket and he stood back with only the slightest of grins on his face.

“Looks okay, but…” Trish went to a knee and looked up at her former “interest” looking at her. She spotted the open door next to Gerry when she heard the approaching cars. She got up brushing bits of parking lot from her pants. “Fun’s about to begin.”

The cars stopped thirty feet away and disgorged four FBI raid jackets with four serious faced agents inside. Two were just shy of middle age men and the third a woman about the age and size of Trish. The fourth was an older guy and the only one wearing a tie. He led the others to the Impala, eyes locked on Gerry’s white hat.

The tie spoke, “Gentlemen and lady. What have we got?”

The TBI agent said, “Hey, Sid. We think this is the car from San Antonio. No terrorists yet but we put out the alarm for the car they’re probably in now. Oh, this is Trish Gillespie from ATF and this is, well, a Texas Ranger, Santos, Gerry Santos.”

The tie pulled up short with the other three raid jackets standing in a semi-circle behind him. He scowled and then said, “Who opened the car?”

Gerry stepped to the tie and held out his hand, “I did, Sid. It was left unlocked. Didn’t figure they’d blow themselves up at least not on purpose. You folks had breakfast yet?” Sid took Gerry’s handshake and winced at the power in it.

“Sidney Glazer, I’m the ASAC in Nashville. Shouldn’t have touched it, Ranger. Not how we do things around here.”

Gerry held the grip a moment longer, then released the older man’s hand. “Well, Sid, these fellas ain’t on file anyway so the prints won’t matter. We need to look through this thing and see if we can figure out where they are or where they’re headed. Couple of bags in the back seat. Let me pop the trunk.” Gerry turned to reach into the car.

Glazer yelped, “No!” and the three behind him all straightened. “Don’t do anything else. You’ve helped more than enough already. We want to process the vehicle. Our evidence recovery team will be here before noon. Nothing gets touched until then. And what is a Texas Ranger doing here anyway?”

Gerry smiled and put his hand on Glazer’s shoulder. “Well, Sid, I got a dead trooper back in Texas that was the first stop for these creeps before they blew up all those folks at the golf course. Just so nobody forgets his wife and kids, seemed the right thing to do. You can have ‘em after I’m finished with ‘em.” Gerry turned to Trish, “Old Sid here ain’t gonna let us have a look inside so we might as well go get some eggs, ready?” The Texas drawl was oozing out thick.

Trish just stood silent not knowing which way the wind was blowing yet.

Gerry started toward the Tahoe, “We’ll be back before noon when your people get here, Sid. Can I bring you back something?”

Sid was in deep conversation with the TBI agent who was casting glances at Trish as she walked away.

Trish fell in with Gerry and quietly said to him, “What are you doing, we are so close.”

Gerry said, “A lot closer than they are,” and patted his pocket. “You drive, I’m beat.”

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