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the DOG of theHunter


     Mad Dog wasn't what I had expected at all.
     I found this mysterious individual in Gary, Indiana at the public location Keia had set up. She was still in a 'safe' hotel someplace operating under deep cover and I checked in with her via a voice mailbox. According to her instructions I was supposed to go into a slightly ratty bar and order a beer. OK. I could do that. Then I was to wait until a man came in and hung an Alabama letterman's jacket on a vacant stool and left in a few minutes.
     I was to pick up the jacket and follow him out to tell him he forgot his coat.
     He would take me to Mad Dog.

     Simple enough. I had done things like that involving everything from house cats to garbage cans.

     Except one thing.
     A guy comes in wearing an Alabama jacket and hangs a Wisconsin jacket on the stool. He drinks a beer and leaves. The Wisconsin jacket still on the stool.
     Playing a hunch I pick up the jacket and follow him out saying "Hey buddy, you forgot your jacket!" I figured if it wasn't him and just a coincidence, I'd go back in and order another beer.
     He thanks me and turns to leave.
     "Seen any mad dogs in the area?" I say looking down the street.
     "Nah, not a lot of dogs around here." He answers and leaves.
     I let him go and went back in the bar.

     Half an hour later a short, older guy comes in and sits down next to me. His opening line almost made me laugh.
     "I can't believe I lost my 'Bama jacket."
     "Oh?" I answer.
     "Some dog screwed everything up and brought me back a Wisconsin jacket."
     "A mad dog?"
     "Say, do you know what time it is in Hawaii?" I said in passing.
     "I thought it was the same as Alaska."
     We talked about Notre Dame sports for a bit then spilt up to meet outside in a few minutes.
     "So who was the other guy?" I asked him as he lit a cigarette and waved at a car down the block.
     "My brother. Don't be upset. At least he found you."
     I nodded and waved at his brother now driving an ancient station wagon with curtains of an unidentifiable color around the back windows.
     "We may be followed." I said. "How are you going to get away from them in this?" I said as a car pulled out behind us.
     "There's an art to it." Mad Dog said.
     His brother drove on. I glanced out a gap in the back curtain. There were lights behind us. But I couldn't tell yet if they were actually following us.
     Then his brother drove into a shopping center and went around the building a couple of times. Then he pulled into a parking spot. We took down the curtains and ducked out of sight.
     In the center I saw at least a dozen comparable cars. The lights that had been following us went through the center. And kept going, back around the building.
     "Clear." The brother said.
     With them, I jumped out of the old wagon and into a van. Then we drove out smartly and off into the town.

     Mad Dog turned out to be very a very streetwise cop that had backed into dealing with the Bishop and his people. He told stories half the night about incidents on the college campus, with a lodge that had gotten a little out of hand more than once. Then he described his on line games with Keia, and how he had to bail a naked Conga out of jail in Indianapolis one time, and the time an agent named Seal13 had his car towed away and didn't know how to explain to the police that its trunk contained enough cash to buy a small country.
     We didn't get down to business until midnight.
     Mad Dog was to take the information I had on the 81's and relay it to somebody that would clear it through to whoever the Bishop had designated.
     Then Mad Dog would get me out of town without a tail and I would work my way home.
     An idea that didn't appeal to me since somebody had followed me here from Seattle where I had left Falcon and spent a couple of days on a train.
     Evidently somebody thought I was most interesting.
     "They're watching the house." The brother said coming into the kitchen.
     "Good." Mad Dog said. "Let's give them something to watch. Comeon."
     We went into the living room, with its huge window, and sat in a couple of chairs to watch TV. Plainly visible from the street and whoever was watching us.
     The brother was up and down and back and forth.
     In about an hour a rather young man stood in the kitchen door, out of view of the windows.
     "Did they see you?" Mad Dog asked him.
     "Nope. I am a shadow in the night." The young man smiled.
     "Yeah. Whatever. Hunter, this is one of the department's rookies. Calvin."
     "Good to meet you." I said to the man.
     "Now forget he exists." Mad Dog said to Calvin. "Get to the bathroom and change."
     Then the brother, standing in the middle of the room while talking on the phone, ordered a pizza to be delivered.

     Two hours later I was riding in the cab of a tractor trailer on my way to Toledo compliments of Mad Dog's brother's day job.

     As far as the eyes in the street knew, I was still in Mad Dog's chair, eating pizza, watching TV.
     Buying a car in Detroit was simple, so was taking my time and staying away from prying eyes to get home.

     But getting to my house wasn't that easy.
     I had parked in the wildlife area information center and hiked toward the house.
     It was being watched. I couldn't even get close.
     Leaving them to their business I drove into Baltimore and called Keia's contact number with my brand new celphone. She returned my call in a few minutes.

     "Oh Huntie. You make it."
     "Not yet. Our house is being watched."
     "By who?"
     "That's what I was hoping the Bishop could tell me."
     "I send him message. You stay safe Huntie." She said, all business.

     I was watching sightseeing boats in the harbor when my phone rang, I expected it to be Keia.
     "How many are watching your home base?" A voice asked me.
     "Unknown. I saw at least four."
     "This is getting ridiculous. My phone was even tapped for crying out loud. Somebody has forgotten we are the good guys."
     I recognized the speech pattern as Bishop42, and his voice was undisguised this time. "What can be done about it?" I asked him.
     "I still have some favors to call in. Stay out of that sector for today. How are your local resources?"
     "Excellent. The area should be clear by tomorrow."
     Then it went dead.
     I wandered around downtown for awhile, then checked into a hotel.
     Later I walked back downtown to pick up my car and park it in the hotel's garage when a couple of young punks stepped out in front of me.
     "Yo. Give me yo money man." He said trying to sound mean.
     I almost laughed, but managed to keep a straight face.
     "Hey man. Give me the money." He pulled a very small pistol out of his pocket and pointed it at me.
     "OK man." I said and raised my hands. "You got it."
     I left my right hand in the air and reached behind me like I was going for my wallet. "No problem man." I said trying to sound scared.
     Then drawing the .454 from its holster and dropping to one knee I told them to drop the gun.
     "DAMN! Don't Shoot! Jesus Christ!" Both of them screamed at once.
     They seemed to do several things at once. They dropped the gun, one of them pissed his pants, then they ran like track stars down the street.
     Laughing I picked up the small .25 semi auto. It only had four rounds in its magazine and none in the chamber. Evidently they had not taken an approved firearms training course.
     Thusly the .25 became the smallest caliber firearm I owned.

     The next day the Bishop got a good online laugh at the story.
     Bishop42: I do not believe that is what they mean by 'Take a bite out of crime'.
     theHunter: it worked
     Bishop42: Your sector has been declared secure, your wife is being brought home. She has acquired many new toys she will show you upon her return.
     theHunter: I thought she was in a safe hotel.
     Bishop42: The safe hotel was the site of a business technology show over the weekend. You're not the only one with neat toys my friend.
     theHunter: so how did you call off the dogs here and untap your phone?
     Bishop42: A grateful client was more than delighted to assist us.
     theHunter: ok... then who was watching us?
     Bishop42: A jealous rival.
     >>>theHunter shakes his head and sighs in resignation.
     Bishop42: Oh, by the way.
     theHunter: Now what?
     Bishop42: Your day job is secure and they eagerly await your return come bright and early Monday morning.
     theHunter: I had almost forgotten about that
     Bishop42: Which is why I made a call or two on your behalf, and I found your car. It's in the county impound lot. Awaiting your signature to be released.
     theHunter: Thank you oh great and noble master of the game.
     Bishop42: Sarcasm doesn't become you.

     When Keia arrived she had boxes and crates and bags of all sorts of stuff.
     I spent a long time warmly welcoming her home. Then spent some time joyfully perusing the new equipment.

     Next week I went to work. I hadn't even signed in when I was called into my boss's office.
     "OK, tell me the truth, how did you get the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to ask me to take you back?"
     Evidently the disbelief on my face spoke volumes. He slid a letter on court stationary hand signed by His Honor across his desk.
     "I know. You can't tell me. But whatever happened. There was a whole bunch of people around here for a long time looking for you. Is it over?"
     "Yes sir. I think so."
     "Did you win?"
     "I think so."
     "And you were a good guy right?"
     I gave the letter back to him. "Evidently."
     "Welcome back." He said. I nodded and turned to leave. "Hunter."

end 34 Dog

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