Darwin's Pocketwatch

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Two Roads In A Yellow Woods


Bailey Reeves unbuttoned his dress shirt and rolled up his sleeves as the piercing heat of a mid day Texas sun sweltered on his furrowed brow, he regretted not bringing his ten gallon but felt corny wearing it sometimes. Most of his itinerary consisted of being told where to go and what to do by politicians more than his Chief, in fact, he could not recall the last time he got an assignment folder that was a physical copy on his desk in Louisiana. Maybe it was February, three years ago, when his ex-wife still wanted to be with him.

The money did not hurt, but he questioned why his department had changed so much in the past three years so quickly. He could only assume it was all the corruption, there was always boots to lick and asses to kiss so everybody gets to keep their jobs.

So when he made it to Laredo at the request of a republican senator whose niece was murdered in the Phoenix night club that previous evening and saw how this entire department was being conducted to the whims of a private investigator that was only twenty six years old, well it certainly piqued his interest. Maybe the corruption in LEO could be circumvented. The way the entire police station moved reminded him of a time when it was still cool to be a police officer, there was something different in their eyes and Bailey knew to take notes. Something was happening here and Bailey could feel it.

Bailey watched as the three officers Graves tasked to tail him to the junkyard got into their sedans, the Fed insisted on coming along to help with the paperwork, which made Bailey’s job easier. His name was Waters, and he was sweating profusely in his standards.

“I...uh. Printed out the transfer docket for the Rio Grande parole board. Instant revocation due to cutting his tether right?” Waters asked getting into Bailey’s truck with a coffee in one hand and a clipboard in the other.

“Sure. Sign it as non compliant, on the checkbox beneath his P.O.’s signature, the tracking device number is on my laptop there. The judge will need it to see where he was at when he cut the ankle monitor.” Bailey told him as he slid into the front seat and put on his Aviator Oakleys, he pulled out his Sig Legion and slid the receiver back to make sure one was ready to fly, started his engine, and pulled out of the lot with the three units in tow.

Bailey pulled up the GPS while remembering the name of the junkyard.

“Sunny Isles Junkyard Laredo Texas,” Bailey said aloud as the quickest route to the location was tracked instantly. “Waters could you reach in my glovebox and give me those cuffs?”

“Yeah,” Waters opened the glovebox and grabbed a pair of black wrist lock cuffs that were encased in a leather holding clip and handed them to Reeves. “so what do you suppose is up with this kid?”

“Dunno’ sounds like maybe he’s a new breed.” Bailey said, turning onto the main strip to get to the outskirts of the city.

“New breed...,huh? Funny you should say that, Detective Graves makes him sound like a combination of Robert Langdon and Sherlock Holmes with a hint of Serpico. Kind of sounds like trouble to me.” Waters implicated.

“Nah. We both seen departments run cases into the ground simply cause they don’t want to deal with let them go cold. Who can blame them? Too much is asked of most officers on the force these days. I say if we can get a new generation of field operatives capable of making a board go black quicker than SWAT detail does in a year we’d have the numbers we need to get rid of all the legacy contracting that keep the filthy rich safe. Privatizing everything may be where we need to head in the future but social security and pensions are still in effect. By contracting entire private militias to keep the peace officers with families who put decades of work into false promise making them go corrupt out of necessity.” Bailey firmed gripping the wheel and pressing the button on his dispatch talkie.

“Makes sense. I have several family members that would agree...Jersey district. Hairdo don't help much either federal funding went to some South American meat company. Legacy contracts.” Waters said taking his jacket off to reveal a Ledman under pit with a .380 in the holster he quickly chugged the rest of his coffee and got out of the vehicle walking up to the cherry red Stingray.

“1090 Officers Welling, Smith, and Depaupe. Each of you need to find the hole in the perimeter on each compass point, our consultant informs us this is why Blumpkin chose this area to escape to. SA Waters and I will attempt to detain him but in case he slips he will most likely exit from one of these holes he made. Attention OPERATIONS this is Federal Marshal Bailey Reeves badge no. 0102. We have a 10-77 who has severed his ankle monitor, our consultant one, Daniel Ivers is certain he will attempt to evade authorities in his prior locale of employment Sunny Isles Junkyard. Be advised.” Bailey told the operations board, disconnecting the walkie from the control monitor and placing the clip on his belt turning down the volume before hearing the uniforms disperse.

The junkyard’s gate was significantly smaller than the fencing surrounding the stacks and rows of vehicles inside, Bailey could tell right away that the kid must be right there was no way a 5′ 8″ 210lb. man was going to quickly climb an eight foot barbwire corrugated fence. It explained the escape route in the fences.

Waters turned back to Reeves wondering what was going on after peeking through the Stingray window, the main building’s front door opened and Daniel Ivers walked through as Bailey took off his Aviator sunglasses and pocketed them in his slacks.

“Hey fellas’ I was right, his boss has a CCTV and he’s been sneaking in his rape kit, rope, plastic rolls, he even wore his mask, a plasma tv...dvd player, laptop, there is a station wagon in the middle of the yard that leads to an underground cubby hole. Proprietor has eight cams, four out, four in. Ronald made his way in through the North hole only one camera caught him entering. I just tapped the router and two devices have been added in the past three days one is using an onion router.” Daniel told them.

“A what’s that now?” Bailey asked Daniel shaking his hand.

Daniel started talking and Waters interrupted.

“A layered internet protocol that scatters information across multiple shared servers to prevent tracing to any one source. In other words he’s looking for kiddie porn using the junkyard’s router.” Waters provided.

Daniel just shook his head with a look of surprise.

“Interesting. You don't carry?” Bailey asked Daniel, who held up a clenched fist.

“Aren’t you worried about getting shot?” Waters walked up drawing his 9mm.

“Always, but the only way I would need a gun is if I am being shot at. I’d like the opportunity to try and talk him into giving himself up.” Daniel suggested.

“What’s your experience with negotiations?” Reeves asked.

“Well, I have had one other experience and it ended pretty good,” Daniel shrugged. Reeves and Waters cocked their heads in an almost synchronized quizzical expression. “I knocked him out, he was dragging his wife around by the hair and kept kicking her down, threatened to snap her neck. I was able to get close enough to hand him a beer and knocked him out.”

“I don’t know, he could have a hostage down there, I’d feel much safer doing a sweep and trap.” Bailey protested.

“Your call, your case, Marshal.” Daniel conceded.

“We will lead, you can follow, but keep a five foot reach from Water’s heels, if Blumpkin slips by you can show us that famous cannon. Sound good, kid?” Bailey turned to the junkyard gate entrance.

“Beep us through, Jim. Make sure no one follows until we get him out of here, thanks again, I’ll be back on Friday for that catalytic convertor.” Daniel spoke to the middle aged man through the window.

A metallic click and buzzer followed by a steady click until Reeves opened the large steel door, the hinges squeaked, and Daniel followed behind Waters.

“Third lane has the wagon about 200 yards out, the cam that caught him is on that halogen.” Daniel pointed at the largest of the poled lights.

“So what can you tell me about Blumpkin, is he timid, reckless, is he likely to be armed?” Reeves asked Daniel.

“My friend Andrew and his crew caught him, a small trader ring running on an old yahoo server, says he did have a shotgun with blanks, but was soft for the most part when caught. Prison might have changed that. He did rape a little girl multiple times and had lye in his basement suggesting he may have premeditated to kill her. He’s only a danger to kids I guess is what I’m getting at. Hey, do you guys know how long a tetanus shot lasts?” Daniel asked looking at a Plymouth Fury shell with no engine and tons of rust.

“Ten years without a booster.” Waters said following Reeves into the third lane.

“Alright guys peel your bananas and get ready to throw some shit,” Bailey asserted. “something my CO used to say when we did rounds in Fallujah. It kept the men on their toes for some reason.”

“You were 4th infantry?” Daniel asked instantly.

Bailey ignored the question and moved forward a bit more slowly at the sight of the wagon raising his Sig, he could hear something rhythmic beneath it. A steady thudding sound. To either side of the station wagon stacks of crushed vehicles stood like pylons to a chamber entrance.

“This doesn’t seem right,” Waters whispered preceding Bailey’s own foreboding. “he may have traps set up if he had the ambition to create escape routes.”

“That’s what I was thinking.” Bailey added.

“Now that you mention it, the entrance does look like some kind of cave of doom.” Daniel whispered pulling his tactical flashlight from his pocket and walking ahead of Reeves, who almost stopped him.

Daniel ducked down to his knees slowly and shined the flashlight above the plywood box inside the bed of the station wagon, got a bit closer and made a affirmative grunting sound.

“What is it, kid?” Bailey asked in a hushed tone.

Daniel gestured him to kneel down too and handed him the flashlight, Waters also huddled and looked beneath.

“See those two pulleys with chains? I’m betting if we lift this box it will bring those stacks down on us, but if we push it...” Daniel whispered pushing the box further inward revealing steps going down into a poorly lit tunnel.

Bailey panicked and ran back towards the lane shadowed by Waters as Daniel pushed the box looking upwards at the two stacks as they wavered slightly. This kid is a fucking lunatic Bailey thought, though he couldn’t help but feel excitement despite the intensity. He looked back at Daniel who had a blank expression and smiled disappearing into the tunnel.

Bailey looked at Waters.

“What the fuck?” Waters almost laughed the sentence out.

“Hey kid, Ivers, wait a minute!” Bailey Reeves had just been ousted by an unarmed P.I. and was beginning to wonder if Daniel had a death wish.

Bailey shook his head, turned the volume on his walkie all the way down and followed Daniel down into the tunnel.

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