Fly Diamonds

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Chapter 9

Cliff walked with Adler, the uniformed officer who was helping him, across the parking lot of the building adjacent to Quayles Jewels. Ivory and Cliff were being sent on different lines of investigation by Brent, so now Cliff had to deal with a newbie officer. Tori Taka of Channel 7 News followed them, making no effort to be quiet about it.

“Cliff! Cliff!” she yelled.

He looked back and saw her, then stopped to talk to Adler before she was close enough to hear him.

“It’s fucking Tori Taka. You go on and find out if we can access the footage from that camera.” Cliff told Adler, pointing at the camera mounted over the stoop of the office building.

“OK, boss. She sure is hot,” Adler said.

“Go on, and keep those comments to yourself.”

“Sure, boss.”

“Didn’t you go to harassment training?”

“Sorry, boss, she didn’t hear me.”

“Still. Now go.”

Tori caught up to Cliff.

“Cliff, thanks for stopping. What is the scoop?” Tori asked.

“Hi, Tori. No scoop yet,” Cliff said.

“Aw, come on. Please give me something. I have nothing, zip.”

“I almost got caught last time. If I’m seen here with you, it will not further my career. I need an incentive.”

“Listen, there is this company party at Petco Park, happening during and after the baseball game, and I can get you tickets. You can come with your wife and kids. Some of the players will be there to sign autographs. Would you like that?”

“That sounds nice.”

“Tell me something I can use.”

“OK, but if you don’t come through with those tickets…”

“Relax.”

“It was a single thief. Get this: he left without the loot.”

“He escaped, but didn’t take anything?”

“He did escape, but he didn’t take the loot.”

“What?”

“We don’t know how he did it, but he managed to get dozens of pigeons into the store, and then released them carrying diamonds in tiny sacks.”

Tori listened in amazement. She was dumbstruck, but not enough to quell her investigative reporter instincts. “How do you know this?” she asked.

“I saw the birds leave, and there are countless witnesses. The store was filled with birds and feathers…” Cliff stopped himself; he needed not to divulge the capture of the one bird.

“Wow, how much was stolen?”

“We don’t know that yet.”

“Was there a getaway car waiting for him?”

“Tori, I’ve said a lot. You owe me. Capisce?”

“OK.”

“Now go away. I need to get back to work.”

“One last question. Did you see the tiny sacks on the birds?”

“They were homing pigeons. They used to carry messages in the old days. We believe they carried the diamonds.”

“Flying diamonds!”

“I need to go. Bye.”

Tori watched him head toward the adjacent building, and she couldn’t imagine why. She immediately dialed her phone.

“Jonah, are you there?” Tori spoke into her phone as she walked back to Quayles and her news truck.

“Yes, hold on.” Jonah was the chief producer at Channel 7 News, and he called the shots. After giving someone instructions, he came back on the line. “Give me something.”

“The thief stole diamonds. Get this…”

“Thief. So there was only one.”

“Yes, a single thief, and listen. He put the diamonds on pigeons and released them! They flew out the door to who knows where, carrying the diamonds! And get this, he got away. Even if they do catch him, he has no evidence on him! It is all flying through the air.”

“That’s the scoop. Stay there and find out more details. Interview anyone who saw the birds. This is going to be our lead, Tori. Good job.”

Jonah hung up and immediately popped his head above everyone in the news production area.

“Everybody! Attention! We need to get footage of flying pigeons coming out of the Quayles Jewels store this morning at 11:00 a.m. Go to adjacent buildings and get the footage. There must be something we can use,” Jonah announced.

“Why flying pigeons?” a staff member wondered out loud.

“The pigeons were homing pigeons, and they flew back to their home. So presumably, they went to the thief’s home. They were carrying the stolen diamonds. Everyone start calling, look at Google Maps, and see where there can be footage of this. Now!”

The entire newsroom was surprised with the information. It would only take about a half day before they were flooded with footage. One piece came from a Scripps Hospital building on the south side of Mission Valley, high up on the hillside and facing north. This footage showed a speck of dark matter coming out of a tiny building on the other side of the valley that grew and grew until it became a discernible flock of pigeons, and they passed right in front of the camera as they flew south. The video was so clear you could count the birds. Jonah had the perfect image for the six, seven, nine, and ten o’clock news. This image was of the actual birds, flying from the scene of the crime and carrying millions of dollars in diamonds!

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