LEADING FROM BEHIND

conference room The bad guys are out there, somewhere. Disappeared into the sparsely populated mountains. They could be anywhere. Sam’s team is joined by a Texas Ranger and an ATF agent that have chased the terrorists north from the Rio Grande and no one has a clue why. Least of all the feds.

From my recently released crime/detective novel, GROUND EFFECT:

The conference room was filling and Ozzie made sure everyone was introduced to the trays of pastry he had the kitchen prepare for the crowd. Sam made a less than one minute welcome speech and turned the meeting over to Ozzie. Sam had a call to make to the little blonde major.

Ozzie passed out photos of the shooters and what little they knew about the Honesdale connection, along with a sheet of everyone’s cell number and radio call sign. Gerry had the white hat, Ranger badge and gunbelt on and somehow managed to get his jeans and white western cut shirt cleaned and pressed. Trish looked rested and her hair had a bit of a flip on the ends. She wore her ATF raid jacket but what was underneath was of interest to most of the room’s occupants. The only other female was a Dunmore crime trooper who looked frumpy compared to Trish but didn’t seem to care. Ozzie gave Gerry the floor.

Gerry talked about the young Texas trooper and some of the chase north. The Honesdale crime corporal interrupted and, with his phone to his ear, walked to the television mounted on the wall and turned it on.

Assistant Director Garvey appeared behind a podium with an FBI logo. Behind him were the grainy blow up images of the terrorists, “…our investigation has led us to northeastern Pennsylvania in pursuit of these terrorists. We are asking the public to call the FBI number that appears on the screen with any information that will lead us to these men…” An 800 number rolled under Garvey as he spoke. He went on for a few more minutes and then the station cut away to B-roll footage of the scene in San Antonio. The Honesdale corporal shut off the television and the room was very quiet.

Gerry said, “Our friends have once again led from behind.”

Sam was finished with his phone call and was watching from the doorway. “Try not to let them get in your way. I’ll try to make peace with them sometime today. I’m not real sure how successful I’ll be.”

Trish watched the television for a few moments and then found a space for her laptop on one of the tables. Her special USB device was plugged in and she was tapping as Sam spoke. Ozzie began handing out assignments to the teams and Gerry motioned Sam over to join him looking over Trish’s shoulder. “As soon as they enter the tips into their database, we’ll have it too. Make your peace but don’t grovel too much.” Gerry grinned at Sam and put a gentle hand on Trish’s shoulder. Signals seemed to be flowing in both directions and Trish stopped typing, her fingers suspended.

Sam excused Calvin and Tim to run over to Clarks Summit with the understanding that they hot foot it back if anything broke. The room emptied except for Sam, Gerry and Trish. Sam put a state police portable radio on the table next to Trish and said, “Do you mind sticking around and playing headquarters until we see what comes in on the database?”

Trish said, “No problem. I’ll use the cell phone unless it’s something crazy though.” She turned to Gerry and said, “Be careful.”

Gerry said, “Why of course, darlin’. I always aim center mass.”

Gerry drove and Sam made another call to the major asking her to watch their backs. They started by driving west to the interstate exits and stopping at every gas station and fast food joint. It was going to be a long day unless they got lucky.

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