by Melinda Holley
Beta Read by Dotty and Yvonne
Written for PetFly by Robert Bielak
Rated PG
internal thought in italics

Act I


John Borders squinted at the bright light that shone in his eyes. All he could see was the form of a man sitting behind a table perhaps thirty feet away. He was startled when the man spoke with an electronically altered voice.

“Are you still drinking? Drugs?”

“I’ve been clean for three years,” Borders answered.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

Borders shrugged. “Sorta.”

“The job I have for your is very special. It required a high level of expertise…your sort of expertise.”

“What’s the payoff?” Borders asked.

“You’re here to answer questions. Not ask them. I’ll tell you what you need to know.”

Borders shrugged again. “Whatever you say.”


Lindsay Conkle stuffed the small prescription bag into her purse and pushed the stroller out of the pharmacy. Sinus problems weren’t something she’d wish on her worst enemy…maybe. She hurried down the street, glad she only had four blocks to walk home.

Her baby son, Tyler, made gurgling noises as the cooler air hit his face. Lindsay stopped and reached down to adjust the blanket her son insisted on trying to push away. Finally tucking it around the now-irritable infant, she straightened up. Startled, she saw a man in a trench coat and fedora hat pulled low across his forehead staring at them from across the street.

Lindsay quickly turned around and walked back towards the pharmacy. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the man pacing her but staying on the other side of the street. Reaching the corner, she saw a police car approaching. Waving her arms, she caught the patrolman’s attention.

“What’s the trouble, miss?” The young patrolman’s eyes quickly checked the surrounding area.

“There’s a man following me,” Lindsay nervously explained, pointing over her shoulder.

The patrolman got out of his car and looked around. “I’m sorry. I don’t see anyone.”

Lindsay whirled around to find the man gone. “He was there. I swear. He’s stalking me.”


“I was scared,” Lindsay explained, wringing her hands. “I live alone. Well, it’s just me and Tyler.”

There was a sudden squeal of laughter from the infant in the stroller. Blair Sandburg sat cross-legged in front of the stroller, making faces at the baby. Tyler reached out one chubby little hand that immediately grabbed a handful of Blair’s curly hair.

“Ow..ow…easy, little guy.” Blair quickly but carefully detached Tyler’s hand and checked the fingers for strands of hair.

The baby giggled and kicked his heels. Then reached out again for Blair’s hair.

“Did this man say anything to you? Make threats of any kind?” Jim Ellison asked, trying to repress a smirk at his partner’s antics.

Lindsay shook her head. “He never got that close.”

“Why did you tell the officer that he’s stalking you?” Simon Banks gently asked.

Lindsay hesitated. “I haven’t seen him in fifteen years. Then he started calling.”

“Who?” Simon asked, exchanging a look with Jim.

“My father,” Lindsay quietly answered, clasping her hands on her lap. “Harry Conkle. The Harry Conkle.”

“Number nine on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.” Simon leaned back in his chair. “Wanted for killing two policemen a couple of years ago in a Colorado bank robbery that he masterminded.”

“I can see why you’re worried.” Jim grimly nodded.

Tyler squealed again, pounding one little hand on the tray of his stroller.

“Not the glasses…not the glasses.” Blair quickly unwrapped Tyler’s fingers from his glasses. Folding the glasses, he put them in his pocket. Tyler’s little hands reached for his shirt pocket.

Blair laughed. “You’re a persistent little thing, aren’t you?”

Jim exchanged a glance with Simon. Both men smiled in amusement.

“Tyler, no, honey.” Lindsay patted her son’s arm to get his attention. “Don’t bother.”

“It’s okay,” Blair happily replied. “He’s so alert.” He smiled encouragingly at the baby.

We better get that baby outta here before Sandburg wants to do some testing on the poor kid. Jim gave his partner a warning look that the younger man ignored.

“Harry’s changed. The man I knew as I child wasn’t capable of killing anybody,” Lindsay sighed, looking back at Simon.

“You haven’t seen your father in…what?…fifteen years?” Jim asked. “Then he just called?”

Lindsay nodded. “A few months ago. Just after Tyler was born. He wrote first then started calling. Said he wanted to see us.”

Blair looked up from where he was letting Tyler bend and twist his fingers. “Nothing strange about that. I mean, he wanted to see his daughter and grandson.” He looked back down, smiling with delight when he saw that Tyler had folded Blair’s fingers one over the other. “Good boy,” he praised.

“Harry Conkle? A family man? Give me a break.” Lindsay bitterly shook her head. “I was ten when he left us. Never got so much as a cheap birthday or Christmas card after that. My mother died two years ago. You think he even showed up at the funeral? No.” She took a breath to control her emotions.

Blair exchanged an apologetic look with Jim and then went back to playing finger games with Tyler.

“Anyway, when he called last week, he sounded so angry,” Lindsay continued. “He said he was coming to Cascade and he didn’t care if I hung up on him or didn’t answer his letters. He was going to see us one way or the other. That scared me.”

Simon stood. “I’ll have a patrolman take you home, and we’ll arrange for around-the-clock protection, Miss Conkle.”

Lindsay sadly nodded. “He’s not my father anymore. He’s just a stranger. Can you understand that?”

Simon silently nodded. “Say good-bye to your little playmate, Sandburg.”

“Oh.” Blair looked embarrassed at he got to his feet. “Sorry.”

Lindsay smiled. “That’s okay. Tyler’s very friendly.” She rolled the stroller towards the door where Jim opened it for her.

“I want you two on the first shift,” Simon ordered.

“Captain? Shouldn’t we be out on the street?” Jim questioned.

“We have a chance at nailing one of the Most Wanted.” Simon shook his head. “And that best chance is covering Miss Conkle’s house.”

“Yes, sir.” Jim nudged Blair’s arm. He gently pushed his partner into the bullpen.

“Hey, Jim.” Blair looked over his shoulder as they walked towards Jim’s desk. “Can we stop at a toy store on the way? I’d like to get a little something for Tyler.”

Let the testing begin, Jim sighed.


Blair sat in front of a darkened window, staring at Lindsay’s apartment through binoculars; a bag from Gibson’s Toy Store sat by his feet. Books, paper, and several chewed-on pencils littered a nearby desk. On the other side of the room, Jim finished his double-bacon cheeseburger and triple thick chocolate shake from Wonderburger.

“I hate stakeouts,” Blair muttered. He irritably glanced over his shoulder. “Man, that smells!”

Jim slurped his milkshake through his straw then looked at Blair. “Could be the material you’re working on, Chief.”

Blair glanced at the desk and sighed. “I’ve got to get that ready for tomorrow.” He hopefully looked back at Jim.

That’ll teach you to make one comment too many about my dinner. Jim crumpled the burger wrapper and tossed it into the nearby bag. “You’re not going to practice that lecture out loud, are you?”

Maybe. I’ll let you think about that for a while. Blair looked back through the binoculars. “You don’t think Lindsay and Tyler are in any real danger, do you? I mean…why would a father hurt his own child? His only grandchild?”

Jim shrugged. “It happens,” he bitterly pointed out.

Blair hesitated. “I mean…you and your dad didn’t have the best relationship in the world, but you never thought he’d kill you or anything.” He looked over his shoulder when Jim remained silent. “Right?”

Jim forced a smile. “You never know. I imagine I drove him crazy more than once.” Then he genuinely smiled. “Actually, more than once.” Slurping the last of his milkshake, he tossed the empty cup into the Wonderburger bag and walked into the kitchen to dispose of it.

Frowning, Blair turned back to the window and looked through the binoculars. He saw Lindsay undressing through the shades. “You know…sometimes this stake out stuff isn’t too bad.”

Puzzled by Blair’s sudden increase in heart rhythm, Jim walked back into the living room. Then he glanced through the window towards the apartment across the street. “Uh-huh. Just what have you got there, Junior?”

Still watching through the binoculars, Blair answered, “She’s put Tyler down for the night. Hopefully. And she’s heading for the shower.”

Jim took the binoculars from Blair’s hands. “You know we have Peeping Tom laws in this city, Sandburg. Go work on your lecture.”

“But, Jiimmm,” Blair mock-whined with a grin. “We’re supposed to be watching out for her. Don’t you remember the shower scene from Psycho?”

Jim reached out and pulled Blair up from the chair by the window. “I don’t recall Norman Bates using binoculars.” He placed the binoculars on the windowsill.

“Oh, I get it now,” Blair chuckled. “Some of us don’t need binoculars.” He picked up a pencil and some papers from the desk.

“Work, Sandburg.” Jim pointed at the desk.


Jim nudged Blair awake at the sound of a knock on the door. Hand on his gun, he eased the door open. “Hey, Rafe. Henri.”

Henri yawned and waved a hand as he sauntered into the living room. “Morning, Hairboy.”

Blair yawned from where he sat on the couch, rubbing his eyes. Blearily, he looked up at Henri and then sleepily waved in return.

“Anything going on?” Rafe asked, sitting a breakfast bag on the table. He carefully removed his coat and hung it over one chair.

“Nothing.” Jim grabbed his jacket and Blair’s backpack. “Let’s go, Chief. Time to let somebody else have all the fun.”

“You’re all heart,” Henri grumbled as he opened the bag of food.

The two were silent as Jim drove back towards the loft on the other side of Cascade. Finally, Jim shook his head. “Must be tough growing up with your old man on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.”

Blair nodded as he searched through his backpack. “Maybe I was lucky not knowing who my father is. I might not like what I find out.” Grimacing, he looked through his backpack again then groaned. “Oh, man…noooo…”

“What?” Jim looked over in surprise.

“My notes for the lecture,” Blair grumbled. “I must have left them back at the stake-out.” He pleadingly looked at his partner. “I really need those this morning.”

“It’ll take twenty minutes to get back there,” Jim protested even as he eyed the on-coming traffic.

“I’ve got to do that lecture at nine!” Blair anxiously pleaded.

Jim sighed. “What the hell. I should have known better. You can’t remember anything when you first wake up.” He saw a break in traffic and turned left. Cutting through a deserted parking lot, he headed back towards Lindsay’s apartment. “Maybe there’ll be a leftover biscuit or something.” He eyed a smiling Blair. “And I don’t want to hear a word about it, either.”

Blair held up his hands in silent agreement.


Lindsay smothered a yawn as she reached down to get a squirming Tyler from his bed. “You can’t be a baby who likes to sleep in, huh?” she ruefully asked. Turning around, she gasped and clutched her baby close to her chest. “How did you get in here?” she demanded.

Harry Conkle smiled. “Hello, Lindsay.” He held up a lock pick. “I’ve had a lot of practice getting past locks, remember?”


“Hey, guys. It’s us. Sandburg and Ellison. Open the door.” Blair softly called as he knocked on the door.

Jim frowned, his nose twitching. “I smell some sort of gas,” he identified. He cocked his head to one side, listening for heartbeats inside the apartment. “Their heartbeats are slow.” He pulled Blair back and to one side. “Watch out.”

Bracing himself, Jim kicked in the door. Immediately drawing his gun, he looked inside to see Henri and Rafe lying unconscious on the floor. Henri’s cell phone lay by his outstretched hand.

Blair covered his mouth as he opened the window in the living room then ran into the kitchen to open that window.

Jim coughed as he checked both unconscious men. “They’re out cold,” he said as Blair returned. He tossed Henri’s cell phone to the younger man. “Get an ambulance and back-up here ASAP! I’m going to check Lindsay’s apartment.”

Running across the street, Jim found the front door unlocked. “Lindsay!?”

Gun extended, Jim quickly checked the small apartment. Idiot. You should have checked for heartbeats! Muttering to himself, he headed back across the street.

Act II