by Melinda Holley
Beta Read by Dotty and Yvonne
Written for PetFly by Robert Bielak
internal thought in italics
ABANDONED WAREHOUSE 3PM
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?
Ive been clean for three years, Borders answered.
Do you know why youre here?
Borders shrugged. Sorta.
The job I have for your is very special. It required a high level of expertise your sort of expertise.
Whats the payoff? Borders asked.
Youre here to answer questions. Not ask them. Ill tell you what you need to know.
Borders shrugged again. Whatever you say.
OUTSIDE J.D.S 24 HOUR PHARMACY & VIDEO STORE 7:30 PM
Lindsay Conkle stuffed the small prescription bag into her purse and pushed the stroller out of the pharmacy. Sinus problems werent something shed 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 patrolmans attention.
Whats the trouble, miss? The young patrolmans eyes quickly checked the surrounding area.
Theres a man following me, Lindsay nervously explained, pointing over her shoulder.
The patrolman got out of his car and looked around. Im sorry. I dont see anyone.
Lindsay whirled around to find the man gone. He was there. I swear. Hes stalking me.
CAPT. SIMON BANKS OFFICE 8:02 PM
I was scared, Lindsay explained, wringing her hands. I live alone. Well, its 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 Blairs curly hair.
Ow..ow easy, little guy. Blair quickly but carefully detached Tylers hand and checked the fingers for strands of hair.
The baby giggled and kicked his heels. Then reached out again for Blairs hair.
Did this man say anything to you? Make threats of any kind? Jim Ellison asked, trying to repress a smirk at his partners antics.
Lindsay shook her head. He never got that close.
Why did you tell the officer that hes stalking you? Simon Banks gently asked.
Lindsay hesitated. I havent 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 FBIs 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 youre 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 Tylers fingers from his glasses. Folding the glasses, he put them in his pocket. Tylers little hands reached for his shirt pocket.
Blair laughed. Youre a persistent little thing, arent you?
Jim exchanged a glance with Simon. Both men smiled in amusement.
Tyler, no, honey. Lindsay patted her sons arm to get his attention. Dont bother.
Its okay, Blair happily replied. Hes 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.
Harrys changed. The man I knew as I child wasnt capable of killing anybody, Lindsay sighed, looking back at Simon.
You havent 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 Blairs 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 didnt care if I hung up on him or didnt answer his letters. He was going to see us one way or the other. That scared me.
Simon stood. Ill have a patrolman take you home, and well arrange for around-the-clock protection, Miss Conkle.
Lindsay sadly nodded. Hes not my father anymore. Hes 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. Thats okay. Tylers 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? Shouldnt 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 Conkles house.
Yes, sir. Jim nudged Blairs arm. He gently pushed his partner into the bullpen.
Hey, Jim. Blair looked over his shoulder as they walked towards Jims desk. Can we stop at a toy store on the way? Id like to get a little something for Tyler.
Let the testing begin, Jim sighed.
ACROSS FROM LINDSAY CONKLES APARTMENT 11:27 PM
Blair sat in front of a darkened window, staring at Lindsays apartment through binoculars; a bag from Gibsons 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 youre working on, Chief.
Blair glanced at the desk and sighed. Ive got to get that ready for tomorrow. He hopefully looked back at Jim.
Thatll teach you to make one comment too many about my dinner. Jim crumpled the burger wrapper and tossed it into the nearby bag. Youre not going to practice that lecture out loud, are you?
Maybe. Ill let you think about that for a while. Blair looked back through the binoculars. You dont 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 didnt have the best relationship in the world, but you never thought hed 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 isnt too bad.
Puzzled by Blairs 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, Shes put Tyler down for the night. Hopefully. And shes heading for the shower.
Jim took the binoculars from Blairs 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. Were supposed to be watching out for her. Dont you remember the shower scene from Psycho?
Jim reached out and pulled Blair up from the chair by the window. I dont recall Norman Bates using binoculars. He placed the binoculars on the windowsill.
Oh, I get it now, Blair chuckled. Some of us dont need binoculars. He picked up a pencil and some papers from the desk.
Work, Sandburg. Jim pointed at the desk.
ACROSS FROM LINDSAY CONKLES APARTMENT 6:09 AM
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 Blairs backpack. Lets go, Chief. Time to let somebody else have all the fun.
Youre 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 FBIs 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.
Itll take twenty minutes to get back there, Jim protested even as he eyed the on-coming traffic.
Ive got to do that lecture at nine! Blair anxiously pleaded.
Jim sighed. What the hell. I should have known better. You cant 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 Lindsays apartment. Maybe therell be a leftover biscuit or something. He eyed a smiling Blair. And I dont want to hear a word about it, either.
Blair held up his hands in silent agreement.
LINDSAY CONKLES APARTMENT 6:27 AM
Lindsay smothered a yawn as she reached down to get a squirming Tyler from his bed. You cant 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. Ive had a lot of practice getting past locks, remember?
ACROSS FROM LINDSAY CONKLES APARTMENT 6:45 AM
Hey, guys. Its 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. Henris 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. Theyre out cold, he said as Blair returned. He tossed Henris cell phone to the younger man. Get an ambulance and back-up here ASAP! Im going to check Lindsays 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.