Wednesday 4 – Saturday 7 November 2015
Lonnie Corwin decided he couldn’t wait for the perfect moment to announce his presence to Rockwell Jr. He was no longer in need of any element of surprise that he’d been cultivating up to this moment. A satisfying end to the whole Rockwell situation was within his reach, and regardless of what happened to him, Lonnie had made provisions for Beth, and finally, his name would be cleared.
Relinquishing that element of surprise, Lonnie stepped forward from behind the bales of hay, and into Rockwell Jr.’s line of sight. The sargeant spun around, and fumbled wildly for his sidearm before yanking it from his holster. He set the gun sights on Lonnie’s head, right between his eyes. It would take a miracle to make a shot like that, Rockwell knew, especially with his failing eyesight, and poor recent weapons testing results, but the promise of a threat might be enough to subdue Lonnie Corwin.
Lonnie submitted immediately to the sargeant’s demands. He stepped out into the open, dropped to his knees, and put his hands behind his head. Now standing, Rockwell Jr. threw a leg out towards Lonnie, and his foot connected with Lonnie’s lower jaw. Lonnie landed uncomfortably on his side, his face landing just shy of pile of horseshit. He reached up to cradle his broken jaw but Rockwell planted a police issue boot on his hand.
‘Stay where you are, Lonnie Corwin. Or should I say, stay where you belong? On the ground like the piece of filth you are.’ Rockwell Jr. spat in Lonnie’s face.
‘I like it when idiots like you fall for my ploys, and basically hand themselves to me. All those years that my father was after you, busting his ass trying to get you put away for all that shit you did, and all it took was for me to plant a few little morsels here and there, and you walked right in, and gave yourself to me.’ He ground Lonnie’s hand into the dirt of the barn floor.
‘I didn’t do half the stuff that your deadbeat old man tried to pin on me. Most of it was him.’ Lonnie nodded towards Bart’s corpse dangling from the rafters. He bit back the pain shooting through his jaw. Rockwell, neither senior nor junior, would ever see him weak or vulnerable.
‘Whether you did or didn’t perpetrate those crimes is irrelevant now. I guess it always was.’
‘I never understood why your father hated me so much, and why he spent so much time trying to frame me. At least do me the courtesy of explaining why he had it in for me . . . if you know.’
* * * * *
The story she was being told was almost unbelievable. Almost. But then again, anything to do with her biological father seemed somewhat mythological.
‘So he’s been working for you since the beginning of all this? And the Paulson murder, that was the sarge too?’
The weedy man in the well-cut black suit nodded. ‘Yes, Detective Corwin, that’s correct.’
‘And you’ve known about this for how long, but you didn’t think it was important to let me or my partner know?’
‘Detective, your sargeant is a criminal. It’s entirely possible that he’s tangled up with some incredibly dangerous organised crime figures. Whilst the FBI has undertaken extensive research, profile analysis, and anything else we could funnel great wads of money into in order to provide our agents with the best possible data and information about what’s been going on in this county, our methods and research isn’t flawless. We couldn’t be sure that you or your partner weren’t in Rockwell’s pocket.’
She met the agent’s gaze, and shrugged. ‘Yeah, still no excuse. You could have pulled us in, interviewed us. Hell, you could’ve just had a conversation with either one of us, and you would’ve known what we thought of Rockwell. But hey, you federal guys, you don’t necessarily think about taking the logical or obvious path, do you? That’d be too easy. You’re more into the clandestine, undercover op kinda shit, right?’
‘We do what we have to do to get results . . . just like you and your partner.’
‘Sounds to me like you’re implying that Gates and I follow the same path as Rockwell, with that comment.’ Beth wanted to push the argument further, to agitate the FBI agent but it was not to her advantage to do so. Nor was it helpful for Lonnie to irritate the agent who had set up the whole operation.
‘I understand your concerns for Lonnie. It’s only natural that you’d feel protective of your father –’
‘We have the same surname, that’s all. He’s been no father to me.’
‘All the same,’ he said, ‘he’s in safe hands. He’s miked up, there’s a contingent of cars around the perimeter of the farmhouse, I’ve got agents all around the farm, and surveillance in and outside of the barn. I’ve got eyes and ears everywhere. He’ll be perfectly safe. We just need Lonnie to get Rockwell to admit to what he’s done, and my agents will go in, pull Lonnie out, and arrest Rockwell.’
‘And yet, Agent Dunham,’ Beth said with an air of concern, ‘I’m not convinced of anyone’s safety in all of this. So, you better take me and Gates out to the farm as back up.’
* * * * *
Dunham, Martin, and Beth arrived at the gates to the farmhouse where Rockwell Jr. had holed up. The last Dunham had heard, Lonnie was still alive, and his microphone was transmitting clearly. Every word that Rockwell spoke served only to further incriminate himself, and his deceased father, in heinous acts of corruption, and perverting the course of justice. Lonnie Corwin and a number of others would come out of this situation well compensated for the criminal actions of the Rockwells. They’d made the approach to the barn with caution, and crept over to a group of agents who’d taken cover to the east of the old building.
‘Heard anything?’ Dunham asked an agent who had a severe crew cut, and an irritated expression.
‘Corwin’s close to getting him to confess, but Rockwell’s just skirting around the edges of it. Corwin needs to push him harder.’
‘Well, that would be nice, but it’s not like we’ve got any way for us to communicate with Corwin. Someone thought that would be a stupid idea, and that Rockwell would pick up on it.’ Dunham spun around at the sound of movement. ‘Shit! Somebody stop her!’
Gunshots echoed around the farm, and Beth dropped to the ground, only having covered half the distance between where the agents were standing, and the barn door. She quickly looked behind, and indicated to Gates and Dunham that she was okay. She feverishly pointed in the direction of the barn door, and mouthed ‘in there’. Gates shook his head in objection to her foolish idea, but Beth had already turned back, and was crawling on her belly towards the barn door.
Lonnie Corwin stumbled through the barn door, covered in blood, and gripping his stomach. He fell forward, and onto his knees directly in front of Beth. Rockwell stumbled out after him.
‘You’re a dead man, Corwin,’ Rockwell shouted, apparently unaware of the agents flanking the barn, handguns at the ready.
‘You’re mistaken, Rockwell. Look around.’ Lonnie coughed out the words, and then rested his head on the ground waiting for the penny to drop for Rockwell – his career was over.
. . . The end . . .