Measure of a Mann

Chapter 9

Measure of a Mann

Chapter Nine

Mary, Stan, Eleanor, and Faber were all gathered in Mary's living room. Night had fallen and they no longer wanted to stay cooped up in the office. Instead they had decided to go to Mary's house to continue digging, while they ordered pizza. None of them had eaten much since Marshall went missing. They had been busy talking with Maryanne Lawson, who was staying in a motel, about everything she knew about the day of the warehouse explosion that had allegedly killed two US marshals, a dangerous criminal, and his girlfriend. After they finished, the retired marshal went to the motel to check in to her room.

Mary's sister, Brandi, and her boyfriend, Peter, were also there at the house. They had just finished making dinner and were currently sitting down at the kitchen table. Everyone else was sitting in the living room, going over the case files again.

Eleanor was sitting with a computer open on her lap, reading the case files that had been filled out by Marshal Lawson and the rest of the marshals that worked with her on that case. Maryanne had given her access to do so. Eleanor had called in a few favors to also get the results of the autopsy reports on the bodies from the warehouse.

As Eleanor continued reading, suddenly she turned to Faber who was currently stuffing a slice of pizza in his mouth. She asked him to do a background check on the coroner who had done the autopsies while she told the others what she found.

"I was looking for the coroner's results of the bodies to see if there was a real confirmation that the bodies were actually who he told the marshals they were," Eleanor said. "According to one of Maryanne's old case files that I had read, Marshall's father was in a fight with a few ex-cons, along with his partner Tony Combs, Maryanne, and her partner. They were in a bar and somehow, Richard Mann ended up losing two fingers that day. When I checked the pictures of the bodies from the explosion, each body had all ten fingers. The coroner would have known that none of the bodies was Marshal Mann. I believe that he falsified the reports and was involved with helping Mann fake his death."

Mary looked at Eleanor and asked, "How on earth does that help us to find Marshall? So there is another traitor, big surprise."

Faber spoke up saying, "According to the FBI database, the coroner's name is Robert Peterson and since the explosion he has gotten himself quite a pretty rap sheet. Apparently, he disappeared about a month after the explosion. I did some digging into the man's financials and found quite a few nice deposits into his bank accounts."

"I agree with Mary," Stan replied. "How does this help us to find Marshall?"

"It helps us because our guy is standing next Richard Mann in the photo we have of him from the gallery," Faber answered. "And according to the computer, Peterson was arrested last night for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer. I think that we should go pay a visit to the jail; he is still there. I think that a date when this is all over would be a great way to say thank you, Mary. What do you say?"

"What did I tell you about hitting on me, Faber," Mary said. "As I have said before, it is not going to happen, but I do appreciate your help right now. Let's go."

Brandi and Peter walked into the living as everyone was getting ready to leave. Mary told them that they were going out to talk to someone about Marshall's disappearance and that they were welcome to have what was left of their pizza. Just as Mary was about to open her front door, her phone rang. When she answered it, the voice on the other line was the last voice she expected to hear right now and she practically fell over.

"Mary, I need you to listen to me," Marshall spoke forcefully. "I don't know where you are right now, but you need to find your Mom and your sister and get someplace safe. You're…"

"Marshall, thank God," Mary shouted frantically as she put the phone on speaker for everyone else to hear! "Are you all right? Where are you?"

Marshall responded, "Mary listen to me, the men who kidnapped me are coming to kill you and your family. I don't know how they know where you are and I don't have time to explain anything else, just please get somewhere safe now!"

From the sound of his voice, Mary could tell that Marshall was hurt and in pain. He was trying to hide it, but his voice was weak. She yelled to Faber and told him to put a trace on the number that appeared on her phone and then told Stan to make a call to her mother to make sure that she was all right. Both Stan and Faber did as they were told.

Just as Mary was about to speak again, gunfire erupted through the windows as Mary grabbed her sister and Peter and pushed them down to the floor. Stan did the same with Eleanor and Faber ducked as well. Anyone with a gun pulled them out as Mary crawled over to the wall next to the windows in her living room. When the gunfire stopped, she took a quick look out her window and saw that whoever it was that had shot at them, had suddenly taken off and were speeding down the road.

Mary turned to Brandi and said, "Squish, I need you to call the cops and have them come here right away. Stan, did you get a hold of Jinx?"

Stan replied, "I am on the phone with her now. She is at the dance studio and I told her to wait there for the cops to come."

Mary sighed, looked down at the phone in her hand, and quickly put it back up to her ear. She couldn't hear anything except for heavy breathing and a few coughs. This reminded her of the time that Marshall was shot; only this time she wasn't there to help him. He was alone. She looked over at Faber, who spun his finger around, telling her that he needed more time. She began to try to talk to Marshall again.

"Marshall, if you heard that, we are all fine now," Mary said. "I need to know about you. What is wrong? Where are you?"

Marshall answered, "I'm in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea where. I wasn't even sure if it was still in Albuquerque, but it must be since they left here a little over an hour ago. I am in some kind of abandoned jailhouse with one jail cell. It kind of reminds me of one of Clint Eastwood's westerns. There are no cars outside; no way to for me to get out of here. I killed one of the guys that kidnapped me, but there is still another one unconscious. I don't know when my dad or the rest of the others will get back. I'm just glad you're all right. They might come back and try again."

Mary could tell that the more Marshall spoke, the weaker he was becoming. Tears began to fall down her cheeks as she continued to listen to him. She kept looking at Faber, waiting for him to give her the thumbs up. He was doing everything he could, as fast as he could. Marshall stopped talking and stayed quiet before Mary spoke again.

She said, "Marshall, I need you to hang on. We are tracing your call right now. We are coming, just please don't give up on me. Not now. We found the case file about your father that you left for us to find. We know that your father is lying about why he faked his death. He is to blame for all of this and I promise that we will catch him and the men who work for him. Don't die on me, please!"

Faber finally gave the thumbs up and he, Mary, and Stan ran out the door and began to drive toward wherever Marshall was. Stan had told Eleanor to stay with Brandi and Peter. Mary wanted to drive, but she knew that she needed to stay on the phone with Marshall as long as she could. Faber drove and Mary saw that he understood the urgency of getting there as soon as possible because he was driving as fast as she would have.

Marshall spoke up finally asking, "Mary, did you get my email that I left the night I was taken?"

Mary answered, "I haven't had the time to check personal emails Doofus, why?"

He replied, "Just promise me that you will read it when this is all over no matter what happens. There is something that I want you to know."

"I promise," Mary said.

The phone became quiet and Mary could no longer hear anything on the other side. As Mary looked at the screen of her phone, she saw that the call had been disconnected and that his phone must have died. Mary panicked and told Faber to step on it.

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