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©02 The Media Desk

the TIME of theHunter

ch 23


     On stakeout.

     If I drank any more coffee I'd need a kidney transplant.

     I never thought I'd get tired of Internet surfing.

     I unplugged the TV, heavens I hate that thing.

     Every radio station in range seems to be populated by brain damaged DJ's that only play annoying music.

     I know the little Chinaman that delivers from the deli around the corner by his first name.

     What a way to spend a four day weekend. Sitting in a small hotel room watching a car. I got here right after work on Thursday. Sat up all night, waiting.

     Watching a CAR!

     Well. A minivan.

     The bad guys had dropped it off Thursday morning, to be picked up by the guy we were after in the next day or so. We needed to link him to a ring that imported and laundered hot foreign securities, then sent them back to their countries of origin.
     This had been in the works for months. The paper trail was well known. The documents, bonds, and other paper of value was in the van. Boxes of it.
     The van had been dropped off in the long term airport parking lot across the street. I got a room with a good view of it. The contact notified the laundry man. And so I waited.
     At first I thought the laundry man had gotten wind of our operation. I checked through channels. Bishop42 said no, as far as anybody on the inside knew. The pick up should be going down any time now.
     I waited. Cameras at the ready. Cop radio on to call for backup to make the bust.
     It was nerve wracking.
     With my high powered binoculars I could see the copier paper boxes in the van. Some had notes written in marker on the side, 'Lima, Peru. Stocks.' I could make out on one. Another just said 'Egypt' on it.
     I could also clearly see some flight attendants standing outside a terminal at the airport smoking. I divided my observation time carefully.

     I waited. Through the second full day.

     I won a multi-player adventure game by playing for eleven straight hours.

     I wasn't supposed to sleep. But I did, catnaps, twenty minutes, wake up in panic, the van was still there.

     Another agent relieved me for six hours. I slept like the dead. Then he wakes me up, he has to go.

     The van is still there.

     I go through files, looking at the records of past operations. I smile at the memory of Thunder on her island shopping spree. I smile more remembering her in the airplane bathroom with me on the flight back. It is real easy to get close in one of those lavatories. They are barely big enough for one person in there, put two in it and things get interesting in a hurry.

     Halfway through day three.

     The Bishop thinks something may be wrong. I get very sarcastic. He is checking into what's going on.

     I get excited. Somebody is down by the van.

     I start taking pictures.

     It's an airport parking cop. The van is over time. He puts a ticket on it and leaves.

     I take a long shower and call the deli. The Chinese guy brings me something his boss said is so spicy it'll change my religion.

     I begin going through Japanese web sites.

     The room is getting cluttered. Deli boxes, empty cans, a freshly emptied bottle of pink stomach medicine goo, newspapers.

     I took two rolls of film of a flight attendant making out in a car with some guy in a uniform.

     The van is still there.

     Day four.

     I have to go. I got to work tomorrow. I get on-line and tell the Bishop he has to get somebody else in here.

     Bishop42: I've got an incoming priority message. Hang on.

     I wait. Something I have gotten very good at in the last seventy some hours.

     Bishop42: You are not going to believe this.
     theHunter: try me
     Bishop42: One Mister Simon LaBeurn was killed in an auto accident on his way to the airport Friday afternoon when his taxi was hit by a dump truck.
     theHunter: Let me guess, the late Mr. Simon was the laundry man.
     Bishop42: One in the same.
     theHunter: Nobody else is going to pick up the van?
     Bishop42: The FBI will impound the vehicle as soon as they can get there.

     I sighed.
     Then I started packing.
     I looked out at the van. A truck was backing up to it. Must be the FBI guys. I watched.
     They looked awful nervous. And there wasn't anybody in a suit with an ugly tie anywhere around.
     Instinct took over. I ran through another roll of film on the guys and the truck. I sent the Bishop a note saying I thought some opportunists had boosted the van with the vital statistics of the truck and the guys. Then I went to my car, packing for a war.
     I smelled like a herd of goats, I hadn't shaved, and my backsides hated me for that napalm stir fry I had eaten. But I followed that truck.
     Outside a car dealership I called for backup.
     "Gently." I told the dispatcher.
     A big limmo pulled up to the same door the rollback had gone in with the van.
     No, I mean a Big! limmo. This thing was almost absurd. I ran the camera as some people got out. The first two were body-guards of the pro football reject style. Then a couple of bimbo's got out. Then two stuffed suits that looked nervous. Then it had to be Mister Big. Whoever he was. They went into the building through the small door.
     The backup arrived. I nodded to the FBI guy that had spelled me at the motel.
     "You got something?"
     "You bet. Unless you guys bring impounded vehicles here."
     "No, sir. If the van's here. It's not us. We use the city police wrecker to tow cars."
     I grinned. My wasted weekend was going to pay off.
     He called for uniforms.
     In a few minutes we had a small army of cops. The building was surrounded. And we went in.
     And caught Mr. Big as dirty as you could want. He had both hands full of Greek bearer bonds while his flunkies were taking stuff out of the boxes that had been in the van and were putting them into boxes labeled for the chain of car dealerships he owned.

     Later I cleaned out my hotel room and left town. I felt like freeze-dried buffalo manure. But I was satisfied.

     Mr. Big had only been a minor player initially in the international securities operation. But when he heard about the accident, he decided to promote himself to the big time.

     Except he didn't consider when you run with the big dogs, you also run with theHunter.

     Bishop42 appreciated my efforts. And for a consolation prize, he sent me an alarm clock in the big yellow envelope. Inside was also another sticker.

     'Right on Time!!!'

end 23 Time

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