Thursday 9 – Saturday 11 July 2015
‘The look on Monroe’s face was priceless,’ Darcy laughed. He chanced a quick look at Phillipa before returning his full attention to battling the freeway traffic. Regardless of the time of day, the traffic out of the city was hellish this time of year. Darcy weaved the car in and out of lanes in an attempt to flee the scene of the crime as fast as he could.
‘I’m still trying to get my head around what you’ve just done, Darcy. Are you completely insane?’
‘Come on, Pip, we talked about this.’
‘Yes, we talked about doing something, but not this. You’ve cost us our jobs. We’re going to end up in prison for this. How can you think that I’d sanction this?’
There was no doubt in Darcy’s mind that Phillipa was pissed about him finally taking action on a plan that they had discussed more than once.
‘Pip, we can retire on this. We’ve got the paintings, and the money. We can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone we want. This is the start of something big for us.’
‘This is the start of a criminal life for us, Darcy. Being a fugitive is not something that I want. You have to turn the car around, go back to Duncan, and tell him that we made a slight change of plans hoping to get Monroe to make a big move. If Hineman and Moore have already reported in, and Duncan knows that we’ve fled the scene, we have to convince him that it was all done in case Monroe sent someone to follow us. Then you’d better pray that Duncan believes your lie.’
Darcy ignored her plea, choosing instead to accelerate, and leave the city behind as quickly as he could.
‘DARCY! STOP THE CAR! NOW!’
Darcy slammed his foot on the brake, and steered the slowing vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
‘Have it your way,’ he snapped.
* * * * *
Head in his hands, Carlton Barlow couldn’t believe his ears. Albert Monroe was safely stashed away in an interrogation room waiting for him, but according to him the two useless agents from Duncan Stirling’s team were AWOL with two priceless paintings, and two briefcases full of cash. In a turn of events that Barlow thought was ironic, Stirling’s two agents had ripped off Monroe.
‘Well where the hell are they, Hineman? Moore, how about you? Do you know where these two dipshits have disappeared?
Neither agent replied. When they had entered Moore’s office to arrest him, the man had been alone and sitting at his desk. The Entwhistles had managed to slip out of the office unnoticed, but that hadn’t been a problem, or so Hineman had thought. After all, they were also Federal agents.
‘Find out where they are. I want them and Duncan Stirling in my office by 5 PM.
Hineman and Moore simultaneously leapt from their seats, and were out of Barlow’s office before he could issue any further instructions.
‘What do you think Stirling’s people are up to?’ Moore asked his partner.
‘Not sure, Matty, but if we want to keep our asses firmly attached to the rest of our bodies, we need to find them and bring them in.’ Hineman slapped the elevator call button, and leaned his back against the wall as they waited for the car to arrive from the lobby of the building.
‘We should hit up Stirling first. See if he knows where his chumps are.’
‘My thought exactly, Matty.’
* * * * *
With an empty cab, and happy to be heading home after a long shift, the last thing Vinnie Palladino wanted was to be flagged down by a potential fare. Had it not been a woman, and had she not looked like she’d just gone a few rounds with Manny Pacquiao, he would have driven straight past her. As it was, the woman could barely stand. He pulled the cab over just as the woman collapsed.
‘Hey, lady, are you okay? Lady?’ He knelt next to her, and gently patted her cheeks to try and bring her round.
‘Duncan . . . Stirling . . .’ she gasped. ‘Call . . . him . . . number . . . in phone.’ She weakly held out her cell phone.
Vinnie grabbed the cell phone from her before her arm fell back to the ground. He slipped his arms under hers and lifted her to her feet. Propping her against the car, Vinnie slowly guided her to the passenger’s side. He struggled to keep her upright whilst opening the car door, but managed to lower her to the seat, swing her legs into the car, and put the seatbelt on her.
‘Don’t you worry, lady. I’ll get you help.’
‘Call . . . Stirling . . . please,’ she whispered.
‘Now . . . important.’
‘Okay, okay, I’ll call him now.’
* * * * *
Duncan ended the call as confused as he was when he answered it.
Stirling looked at the concerned agent standing in his office doorway.
‘Strangest thing, Lee. I just got a call from some cabbie out on the freeway, says he picked up a woman fitting Phillipa Benchley’s description. She’s had the crap beaten out of her, is barely conscious, and keeps rambling about missing paintings, briefcases of cash, and Darcy Holmes. Where the hell are Phillipa and Darcy at this exact moment? Find out for me, will you? Then call my cell. I’m heading out to the location this guy gave me. See if I can figure out what’s going on.’
. . . To be continued . . .