Sound Of Silence
Author: Rose Hala

Chapter 17
Sound Of Silence by Rose Hala

CHAPTER 17

 

Peter was a bit disgruntled as he got out of the car. Mac wasn’t surprised at the few phone calls he had made during the night and that he had left first thing this morning to get the warrant.

What was surprising was that he looked so pissed. He wasn’t gloating like he usually did over small victories like shoving the warrant in Mac’s face.

Since was only 7AM, Mac wouldn’t see his team for a couple of hours. He told them to take the morning off. Sleeping in was a rarity for them so, when the opportunity arose, they jumped on it.

Cathy B was the only exception. In all the years he had known her, she had never slept in…ever.

Peter had left for Denver at 4.30AM and the sound woke Cathy. She had a key to the study herself now, thanks to Maggie. While she’d gone over the evidence in Peter’s absence yesterday, it was still handy having a key none the less.

“What’s up Peter? You look a bit upset.” Mac was alone on the front porch and Peter just brushed past him without answering. Whatever is was, it must be serious if there was no insult, no smart remark, or the token finger gesture.

“What up with him? He looks like he just dropped a $100 note and picked up a $5,”

Cathy said, walking up behind Mac. She had just seen what had happened from a window.

“Something. He didn’t insult me once and he was unusually quiet about the warrant.”

Cathy pulled a phone monogrammed with “C.M.” out of her pocket. The initials piqued Mac’s curiosity. He knew she wouldn’t use her own and compromise her location. But she didn’t offer an explanation as to who’s is was and so Mac knew not to even ask.

Cathy walked as she talked, the phone in one hand and her cup of coffee in the other. Between sips, she nodded a few times then hung up.

Mac saw her persona change completely. She had shifted into “agent” mode.

“We’ve got trouble, Mac. Peter’s angry because he has been called to Vegas. A body was found in New Mexico with a Nevada I.D. and they shipped him back home before the ink was dry on the paperwork. They traced him to Mickey. All he was carrying was a marker, $150 grand ‘Paid In Full’ from Mickey’s casino. He had been shot through the skull, execution-style, probably by one of Mickey’s goons”

“How do they know Mickey arranged it? We’ve been after him for years. Every time we get close, our witnesses disappear or evidence goes missing. He’s as slippery as an eel. Those lawyers around him are probably courtesy of The Ring.”

“ There was an anonymous tip about stolen money circulating round the casino. A gas station near Grand Junction was robbed and the owner identified the guy from a picture taken at the morgue. When the Feds went to question Mickey, they found blood stained notes in his office. The type matched. The guy hadn’t been dead twenty-four hours so that put Mickey in the thick of things.

Anyway, Peter’s been called back to take Mickey down and he’s taking everything with him. Personally, Mac, I don’t think the merchandise is any where near here. This isn’t any more than a smoke screen; a damn diversion. Someone high up knows our forensic procedures. They know what type of evidence we have and how long it takes to bag and tag. I hate dirty cops, Mac. I’d like to shoot the whole bloody lot of them.”

“I hear you. Nothing smells worse than a crooked cop. Do you think the drugs are still in Vegas?”

“I don’t think the drugs are anywhere near Vegas. We’re not sure where the stash is. And we’re not talking about the usual stuff. Cocaine and marijuana are old news. They’re risky because they’re bulky and hard to shift unseen. Most of the profit went out in bribes and a lot of people were required to look the other way. From what Narcotics are saying, this is ‘P’ , the amphetamine-based drug.”

“P? I’ve heard of it but haven’t come across any yet.”

“It’s similar to heroin, highly addictive and easy to manufacture from over-the-counter cold and flu medications which is why restrictions have been placed on amounts purchased at one time. Pharmacies keep their orders small.”

It resembles rock-salt after it’s cooked so it’s easy to hide. That’s how it makes it through Customs. It doesn’t take more than a few of those to keep a whole skyscraper of businessmen high for a week.”

“Businessmen?” Cathy nodded her head.

“Kids and hookers aren’t the targets. These are designer drugs and they’re for designer clients; well-to-do businessmen and their bored housewives. They’re expensive. If a deal goes bad, they blow it off. They can afford the monetary loss and they get to keep their little secret from their friends and neighbors who don’t know they’re taking the drugs.

Some of them are in the business of Law and Order, they’re breaking the law and can’t afford to be exposed, or ,there goes their careers . I don’t know Mac,” Cathy shrugged her shoulders and sighed, “Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we’re supposed to be on the side that’s winning.Mac nodded.

 “ No arguing with that, ” he thought with a grimace.

Just then, Peter came out of the house carrying a box that looked like it weighed a ton. He opened the trunk with a button on his key ring, and hoisted the box inside.

“Peter, do you want a hand?” Peter hesitated. “Come on, man. You’ll get done a lot faster.”

Peter nodded. He might as well take advantage of the offer. Ten minutes later, was on the road with a car full of what Cathy described as “a shit load of nothing to be analyzed.”

With all the evidence and the head of the FBI gone, the heat was off the Mason Homestead. The focus would shift to Vegas with Mickey’s arrest.

 

Surprisingly, Samuel was up before Rachel. Usually, it was the other way around. As much as he was enjoying this mandatory holiday he missed having music in his life. He was born sing; born to be on stage. There was no better job in the world. He missed his guitar. He would borrow one of Daniel’s later today. He needed to do something creative. Usually, with the Choir Boys schedule there was such little free time, often he longed for a day off. Now he had all this time off he was itching to work.

When he heard the shower, he turned on the coffee pot, and went out on the balcony to wait for it to brew.

Rachel had learned from Maggie that deliveries from town were made to the homestead twice a week. If she wanted anything, she could put her order on a credit card and it would be on the truck.

Rachel’s gift for Samuel had been hidden under the bed since it had arrived two days ago. Things had been hectic around here but now, with them having the morning off, it was time for the surprise.

That morning Rachel pretended to be asleep until he left the room. Once he was gone she showered, dressed, made the bed, tied a blue bow around the case, and laid it on his pillow before she joined him outside. Samuel handed her a cup of coffee.

“ Sam, what would you say if I told you that Christmas came a little early this year?”

“Honey, I’m not sure what you mean.” She put the cup down and took his hand.

“I brought you a present.” Rachel tugged on his hand, “Come, I’ll show you.”

Since she led him in the direction of the bedroom, her gift was a no-brainer until he saw the case. She had gotten him a guitar! She then let go of his hand and gestured towards case.

“ Make some music, Sweetheart.”

His eyes were moist when he looked at her but he didn’t care. That she could do such a wonderful thing in the middle of nowhere was just amazing. He had no words.

He held her face in his hands and kissed her with the utmost tenderness.

His kiss was soft, barely touching, simply; it said

 ‘I love you’ without the words.

Rachel answered the kiss in kind and, for a moment, they hugged each other until she pulled back and gave him a cheeky grin.

“Ok, Frenchman, do you remember how to drive one of these things?”

Slowly Samuel opened the case. It wasn’t the best quality but he knew he would treasure it above any others he would own for the rest of his life.

He strummed a bit and a broad smile lit up his face. It was in tune and it sounded great.

He looped the strap over his shoulder and followed Rachel back to the balcony.

She had missed the music, too, and she loved hearing him play. He began with warm-up chords then segued into something she recognized.

The Choir Boys version of “Amazing Grace” was one of her favorites. He played through the introduction and started to sing. He sang right through his part and onto the next when suddenly heard a cough behind him. Three Choir Boys were standing there with their arms folded.

“I think Frenchie is trying to hog the limelight again.”

“Excuse me, but I believe the next line is mine.”

“What’s the matter? Did you forget where to stop, Brother?”

They had heard from Maggie what Rachel was doing this morning and were looking forward to sharing Sam’s excitement.

They, too, had missed working.

Smiling and feeling pleased with herself, Rachel quietly slipped away, leaving them to their music.

“Man, that’s some girl you got there.”

“Yeah, Sam, you lucky dog. You struck the jackpot with her.”

“She’s terrific.”

“Yes. Yes, she is.” Sam patted the guitar. “I’ll treasure this forever. Now, where were we?”

 

Mickey was pissed. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way. Someone was setting him up; following orders, no doubt. But what were they setting him up for? It sounded like they had decided to find a fall guy to take the heat off them. Damn those bastards. He was Mickey, not a fall guy. He hired fall guys, for Christ’s sake. He even owned a few in the pen.

From the way this was going south, it looked like he had better take matters into his own hands.

 

The three women looked at each other across the breakfast table. None of them had slept well. Visions of what they had seen at the swimming hole had come back to haunt them.

They decided a ride this morning would clear their heads. Mac didn’t need them for another hour.

Three Choir Boys were also on their way to the stables and waved. Sue elbowed Angie in the side when she saw her sidelong glance.

“Will you stop that? For goodness sake, look at his face.” Angie looked at Sue, who had blushed again. They both grimaced. If any of them had been the Swiss’s girlfriend, they would be chained to his side, especially after what they had seen of him yesterday. The man was a walking temptation.

“Good morning, Ladies”

“Buenos días, las Señoritas.”

“ Morning, Girls”

“Good morning,” the girls answered simultaneously.

“No Samuel today?” Sue thought Utah was hot, but that French accent was a killer.

“No. He’s got a new toy. Rachel brought him a guitar to replace the one that he lost on the plane. We won’t see him all day.”

Utah was ready before the rest. The other horses were getting blankets and saddles but his didn’t need either.

“ Can you ride like that?” Angie asked.

“It’s how I learned. There were three saddles and five kids, so I often rode bareback.”

“I’ve never done it but I‘d love to try.” It was a bold faced lie. Angie had been raised on a cattle ranch.

“It can be a bit tricky if your not used to it. Come on. Climb up in front of me.”

Angie leaned against his chest, feeling the steel strength of his muscles against her back. His thighs gripped hers. The smell of horse, aftershave, and male was intoxicating and Angie filled her nostrils again and again. The heady fantasies from the night before were back to tease her but his arms around her would most likely all of the fantasy she’d get since he was already taken.

Stan had woken up stiff and sore this morning. He hadn't ridden a horse in years but most of the discomfort was from lugging the stuff in the truck. The stage sets had been bulky and awkward and the boxes of lighting and electrical equipment were almost as bad.

Debbie was working warm oil into his muscles giving him one of the massages he had ever received. He groaned when she got to his lower back and she paid extra attention to the area.

“That feels soooo good. Where did you learn to do this? You’re better than some of the professionals.”

“I learned from my mother. She was a physiotherapist who specialized in sports injuries and she started teaching me when I was seven. She thought I would do it professionally and, so did I for awhile, but my first flying lesson changed all that. Now I just do this for my friends and lovers,” she added, kissing his shoulder.

With agility that belied his pain, Stan turned over and reached for her.

“You’re playing with fire, you know.” He put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed sensuous circles on her neck with his thumbs.

“Promises and more promises,” she sighed.

He lowered his hands and, with his thumbs, rubbed her nipples till he felt her quiver. They came together like a volcanic eruption. It had been like this from the start; smoldering, passionate, and full of heat. It wasn’t long before the explosion led the way to another.

 

A knock on the front door brought Cathy and Mac out of the kitchen. Maria was a second behind. She had forgotten her coffee. Maggie didn’t recognize the visitor but Cathy did and smiled as she held out her hand.

“Everybody, this is Shontih. Maria, this is the lady I told you about. Say hello to your co-driver.” Shontih was one of the most exquisite woman Maria had ever seen. She was tall and slender and her straight black hair nearly reached to her waist. Maria guessed her to be part American Indian.

“I’m looking forward to having you with me. I’m just not sure when that’ll be since I have a brake line that needs to be fixed.

“I can take a look at it. It won’t be the first one I’ve replaced.”

Mac had been watching from the perimeter and he liked what he saw. Underneath that beauty was a no nonsense woman with a lot of savvy; just what the agent ordered.

“Remember, Maria, that Stan can fix anything with an engine and Debbie is a plane mechanic. With all this expertise, you’ll be on the road by tonight.”

 

The guy on the phone was in silhouette as he in the stood on the balcony overlooking a city skyline.

“Yeah, he’s in custody now and the Feds have the evidence we fixed. Of course Mickey will roll over. He knows the score. Look, the most he’ll get is two years, less if he keeps his nose clean. And, with the heat turned down we’ll retrieve our stuff without any problems.

“What if he doesn’t? Not even Mickey’s got enough contacts to hide form us. He’s not stupid. Dead men don’t run far. Keep me informed.” Back inside, overhead illumination glinted off his gold cufflinks as he poured himself a drink. He wasn’t aware that another conversation that had started just as his had ended.

“I’m in a holding cell in Las Vegas and this is my one phone call so just shut up and listen. You’re the legal eagle and there’s stuff to be done so get here ASAP. And bring me a damn cigar.”

 

 

 

 

 

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