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The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Fourteen)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Last week’s entry can be found here.

 

Chapter Fourteen: Looking for Cole King

 

            I started my search by doing the sort of things you can do from a computer. I looked up a lot of public records, a few private records and sent feelers out to a few sources of information. I gathered a fair amount of information, but it didn’t come to much.

 

            What does it help to know that Jill Piper was currently in a private school in California and that she was slated to go to UCLA in the fall? Okay, it means she got out and was probably safe for the time being. I made a note to make sure she was doing all right though, go out there and see her or something.

 

            It was interesting to note that because I’d said that Cole didn’t shoot me, he was released. I know that Alice pulled strings and shifted situations to let him out, but I thought the stories would be better than just dropping one charge and letting him go. I sort of hoped that the federal government would be better at lying than that. However, he was in trouble again because he failed to contact his parole officer. The suggestion was that he was going to head south again, maybe back to Banbury Cross. I doubted that though, since he was supposed to have a place in Texas. Of course since the Texas cops were probably also looking for him he couldn’t go there either. I wrote down a few things, but for the most part that would be a foot flattening job.

 

            He was the one to find though, because going to rough up Peter Piper wasn’t something I felt I could just go do without an army. It might be that he wouldn’t be expecting me, but I would have the name of the firm to worry about if I kicked his door down and slapped him around while demanding answers.

 

            No, I was going to have to be a little more subtle than that, or at least I was going to have to smack someone that wasn’t a millionaire agriculture magnate. That seemed unfair and would sort of go against my working class roots. However, since I was pretty much the epitome of a class traitor and snob, I decided not to let it bother me too much. It would be easier to go after the smaller fish first. When, afterall, has a member of the true working class ever gone and done the hard thing when the easy thing was looking them in the face? Of course, I don’t get asked to hang out with the parts of the family that are still union members.

 

            I picked up my phone and dialed Alice’s number. She wasn’t answering though, which either meant she was busy or mad at me. I was sort of thinking it could go either way since she had sort of insinuated that I should just stay in DC with her but I came back to Michigan anyway. It could also be that having had me at peak form she decided that I wasn’t what she really wanted. It was possible, but it didn’t sound very likely.

 

            A man with a healthy ego would have just said she was away from her phone, or couldn’t answer it at the moment. A man with a monumental ego would have suggested that his raw sexuality was so powerful that she was intimidated by the idea of even talking to him. I was personally of the belief that she was currently gathering all the men, and probably a good number of the women, in her building together so she could tell them that she was forsaking them all for the best damn lay south of the North Pole.

 

            I left a message, not mentioning any of this speculation, just asking her if she could call me back on a professional matter. I hoped putting in the professional part would mean she’d call sooner rather than later. If it had been personal, I’d expect her to wait until the day was done and she could devote some real time to talking to me. I wanted to talk to her, see how her day was, but I also wanted to get this idea I had talked through.

 

            She must have been in a meeting or something because it was an hour later that the outer office phone rang and then the phone in my office started to ring. I looked at the phone and then my cell phone. I picked up the office phone and decided not to try and second guess the world. If I’d tried to give some salutation that would be just for Alice, then it would turn out to be someone else. Besides, I’d just called her on my cell phone, she’d see which number it was.

 

            “Jack Collier,” I said.

 

            “Hey Jack,” Alice’s voice was clear and relatively cheerful. “What’s going on?”

 

            “You doing anything at the moment?”

 

            “I’ve got a few things going, nothing boiling over though, why?”

 

            “Well, I know I asked you to let him go, but I really want to find Cole King.”

 

            “So would a lot of people,” she said. “He vanished after his release.”

 

            “In my defense,” I told her, “I was high as a kite when I asked.”

 

            “Yeah, and I was stone sober,” she said. “Mostly anyway. It made sense if he didn’t shoot you and I sort of thought they’d keep better track of his movements than just putting him on the honor system. I was hoping he might be tracked back to a larger network. However, it seems everyone has decided to fuck that up for me.”

 

            “So why not find him?” I asked.

 

            “We’ve got warrants,” she said, “and we’ve been sort of looking for him, but a parole jumper isn’t really Osama Bin Laden, is he?”

 

            “Well, if I found him, I might be able to tell you if he’s in contact with anyone,” I offered. “I mean it would come dangerously close to cooperating with authorities, which would go against our company charter, but I’m willing to over look that part if I can convince my manager that I’m doing it in hopes of getting laid.”

 

            “You have a manager?” she asked.

 

            “There is a little voice in the back of my head that I promoted from being a feeling in my gut,” I said. “When I’m doing something I shouldn’t it speaks up.”

 

            “And it doesn’t like you cooperating with federal agents?”

 

            “Did you meet any of the agents I dealt with before you?” I asked, thinking of Agent Smith.

 

            “Fair point,” she conceded. “What about sleeping with them then? No problems there?”

 

            “He’s seen you,” I said.

 

            “Oh your voice is a he now is it?”

 

            “Well I’d hate to think that sort of talk might come from a lady,” I told her, which elicited another of those tinkling bell laughs. I sort of thought I could spend an appreciable amount of my time making her laugh like that before I’d get bored with it.

 

            “How would you go about finding him?” she asked after she stopped laughing.

 

            “Find his priors, and then I would go look in the places where he’s had priors.”

 

            “We did that,” she said. “He’s got aggravated assault in Texas, weapons charge in Georgia.”

 

            “Have you got his file open in front of you?” I asked.

 

            “Well it’s on the computer, but yeah.”

 

            “Could I have a copy?”

 

            “That would be very naughty,” she suggested. “I would get in trouble.”

 

            “What is there under sexual crimes.”

 

            “Besides Jill Piper?” she asked.

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “Well, there isn’t anything in here,” she said. “Hang on.”

 

            “It wouldn’t be obvious, otherwise they would have slapped him with something on top of something long ago,” I suggested. “What about a youth record?”

 

            “Those are sealed.” She said.

 

            “Yeah, but was he ever a patient of a state sponsored shrink?” I asked.

 

            “Sealed Jack,” she said, “shat means I can’t get at them without way more court orders than we can get right now.”

 

            “What about relatives?” I asked.

 

            “That’s sealed up too,” she sounded surprised. “They’re only admitting an aunt, deceased, and her daughter, which I assume would be his cousin. She’d be about seventeen now I think.”

 

            “Do you have the address?” I asked, on automatic. I had a sudden, unshakable idea that where I found the cousin I would find Cole.

 

            “They live in Texas,” she said.

 

            “That’s fine,” I said. “I’ll go investigate a bit on my own.”

 

            “All the way to Texas?”

 

            “I sort of have this idea he’s in Texas,” I said, not wanting to explain the further feelings I was having.

 

            “What gives you that idea?” she asked.

 

            “I just do,” I said. “If I try to explain it, you’ll either have me committed or you’ll want to come along and I wouldn’t get what I wanted.”

 

            “What are you thinking?” she asked.

 

            “Who knows that I’ve actually said he didn’t shoot me?”

           

            “Well, officially you don’t remember and the Piper girl’s fingerprints are the clearest ones on the gun,” she said. “Mostly we let the lawyer know that and he did the rest without our help.”

 

            “So I could remember and get him back in,” I said.

 

            “No, I don’t think so,” she said. “There are legal problems there.”’

 

            “Yeah, but he wouldn’t know that,” I told her. “Cole’s as dumb as an exceptionally large box of hammers with a sack of rocks piled on top of it.

 

            “You’ll find him and threaten him with a return to incarceration?”

 

            “No,” I said. “I’ll find him and tell him I can put his ass back in the slammer. It means roughly the same thing, but my way puts real threat there.”

 

            “And it sounds less pretentious,” she commented.

 

            “Well, mildly.”

 

            “Okay,” she said. “You’ll be looking for Cindy Eller. That’s the cousin. She’s supposed to live with her father David, but according to reports for her high school’s truant officers he claims she’s run off.”

 

            “Not out of state I’ll bet,” I said.

 

            “Big state though.”

 

            “I’ll find her,” I said. “And he’ll be there when I do.”

 

            “You’re sure about that?”

 

            “Yes,” I said, softly musing to myself. “There is no where else he can run. His friends all abandoned him. No one spoke for him, not even a little.”

 

            “But are you sure about finding her?”

 

            “I’ll find her,” I reassured her, and then became as repetitive as I’ve been accused of being. “I’ll drive down there and I’ll find her and through her I’ll find him.”

 

            “You’re not going to use her, are you?” she asked with a surprising amount of sympathy for someone working in the government.

 

            “How old is she?” I asked.

 

            “Sixteen.”

 

            “I’ll be saving her if I’m right,” I said. “And I become more right with every word.”

 

            We said goodbye, and I hung up. I then looked at the phone for a while, listening to Debbie click clacking on the keyboard writing whatever the hell it is she writes out there. It all seemed too damn pat, too easy. It made me a little mad, to think that everything should just be nice and neat like this. I wanted to pick something up and hurl it across the room, but I didn’t because I’m not actually four anymore. What I did do, was get up from my chair and walk to the door to tell Debbie I was going to leave town on a costly errand.

 

            “I’ve got to go out of town for a few days,” I announced as I opened the door and stepped out.

 

            “What’s her name this time?” she asked.

 

            “What makes you think there’s a she involved?” I asked, and she just turned her head and fixed me with a glare I’d rarely seen on her face before.

 

            “Because you are leaving the office for a while,” she said. “You didn’t say where, or why, so there is a woman involved.”

 

            “She’s sixteen,” I said. “I’m just going to get her out of some trouble.”

 

            “I’m going to get you a breastplate for your birthday.” 

 

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September 25, 2010 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment