The Favor

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Chapter 18

A bleary-eyed Jane poured a mug of coffee and joined her parents at the table in the kitchen’s eating area. “Morning, Mom. Dad.”

They responded in unison, “Good morning.”

“I saved a serving of breakfast casserole for you. There is also a bowl of fresh fruit.”

“Thanks, Mom. I had planned to speak to Agent Burke before the FBI agents showed up at the club, and instead I overslept.”

Her dad lowered the newspaper he was reading. “Rough night, kiddo?”

She took a sip of coffee, then put the mug on the table. “You could say that. I tossed and turned most of the night.”

“I would think your sleep would be more peaceful knowing that the FBI is going to pick up that SOB today.”

“That’s just it. I think he will slip through their fingers the same way he has every time he has been investigated. He’s always a step ahead of the police and the FBI. I hate to be so negative, but I’ve watched the man manipulate his employees, his business associates and law enforcement officers.”

“Let’s hope you are wrong. The FBI didn’t want to rush this operation. The agents have spent months accumulating evidence. And, more importantly, this time two reputable people are willing to testify.”

She shook her head. “When I was in Gardner, I made it a habit not to let my life in New York creep into my thoughts. Last night, the pent-up memories crashed into my dreams like monstrous waves thundering to shore during a storm. When I woke up, I was drenched with sweat. My first thought was that the FBI agents were going to have to think outside of the box if they want to find him.”

“Criminals make mistakes. Let's hope he does.”

“Despite his criminal tendencies, he has a few positive attributes. For one, he’s a brilliant planner. If Plan A doesn’t work, he will have Plan B and Plan C in reserve.

"Unfortunately, police officers and FBI agents are somewhat handicapped because they are sworn to follow procedure. Springer could care less about the law. He takes great pride in outwitting law enforcement’s brightest. Believe me, Dad, if Springer was an easy man to outsmart, I would have walked away years ago.”

Perplexed, her parents watched her stand and head toward the office. She turned and said, “Don’t let anyone eat my serving of the breakfast casserole, Mom.”

Simon and Agents Burke and Martin were huddled around Agent Burke’s computer engrossed in the video conference that was taking place. As she scooted behind Simon, she heard the speaker say, “The owner of the construction company, a man named Grady O’Neill, is handling the club’s renovations. O’Neill phoned him this morning and claimed to have an emergency that needed Springer’s attention. Springer told him that he would be unavailable for several days. He instructed the owner to handle the emergency as he saw fit. He threatened to give the job to another construction company if the owner couldn’t handle the job.”

Agent Burke asked, “Agent Simmons, were you able to track the call?”

“We were. Agents Salter and Whitaker are enroute to Clayborn Street as we speak.”

Kathryn didn’t listen to the rest of the conversation. She crossed the room and poured a cup of coffee. When the session ended, she rejoined Simon and the Agents. “Don’t be surprised if the location doesn’t pan out.”

Agent Burke frowned. “What do you know that I don’t know?”

“When Springer is suspicious, he’s flexible. He will reverse or modify his plans if need be. I’m betting that he and the owner of the construction company came to an understanding for handling emergencies before the contract was signed. There’s another possibility. If he was in his car when he got the phone call, he could have thrown the phone out of the window as soon as the call ended. He changes phones as often as other people change their socks.

“It wouldn't surprise me if the location mentioned turns out to be a fake. I can almost guarantee that it won't be his residence or a second business location."

Agent Burke scolded, "Don't be a pessimist, Kathryn."

“I learned to deal with reality a long time ago, Agent Burke. There's another issue I'm concerned about. Everyone here is getting edgy. Free time is highly overrated when strangers are forced to spend time together.”

“What are you trying to tell me, Jane?”

“I fear that Springer destroyed any evidence that his illegal businesses ever existed. If that’s the case, my testimony is not worth beans. If I hadn’t been such a coward, I would have turned over the documents and photos to the FBI four months ago.”

Agent Burke held up a hand in a stop motion. “Stop right there. Four months ago, the police and FBI didn’t have the evidence against Springer that they have now. There is an excellent chance you would have been questioned and sent on your way. If he had learned that you were responsible for the charges, you wouldn’t have made it out of the city. Stop blaming yourself.”

“Thanks for the reminder, Agent Burke. I have a habit of second-guessing. Am I allowed to make a suggestion?”

He raised an eyebrow “At this point, why not.”

“If the location isn’t connected to Springer in any way, I suggest you ask Ethan a few more questions. It’s possible he overheard rumors about a move. As in most businesses, there were leakers at the club. Springer’s plans for major changes were always leaked before the changes were implemented.”

Burke raised an eyebrow, but he pressed the intercom. “Ethan, please come to the office.”

Moments later Ethan hustled into the room. “I hope you have good news.”

Burke motioned him to a chair. “Sorry. Not yet. I have a question for you. Before Springer's renovation project began, were there rumors about a possible move?”

“As a matter of fact, there were. I didn’t mention the rumors because I assumed, he decided on a renovation project in lieu of moving.”

“By chance, was a location mentioned?”

“Not an address. The person who started the rumor said that Springer purchased a facility that had been used as a warehouse for an electronics company in Brooklyn.”

“That should be enough information to locate an address. Thanks, Ethan. If this turns out to be the lead we need, I’ll let you know.”

“Damn, I sure hope so. As much as I appreciate the security, this place is driving me nuts.”

Burke laughed. “Just so you know. You aren’t the only one who is suffering from cabin fever.”

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