Fly Diamonds

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Chapter 22

Leo was a stickler for detail, and this included his attire. He was fastidious about color coordination and perfectly pressed suits. He also wore different ties almost all year round. His tie collection numbered in the hundreds, and this made him feel special. Some people are just happy with themselves, but Leo was never happy. His whole appearance emulated a happy, successful individual, and this could have been the case had he not measured himself against such high standards. He was never good enough, there was always a better route to take, a better path to achieve, a luckier individual than he, a better-dressed man. He sat all alone that evening in his office, poring over the police reports and the video images of the crime. It was perfect—the perfect crime.

He read the account about the GPS that was placed on the bird, and how they had flown a helicopter, tracking it all the way to San Felipe. It was a good report, but something about it was nudging his subconscious. He was a seasoned police investigator, and his instincts almost never failed him. Any discrepancy had to be investigated, and so far, nothing about the case was breaking his way. Except the GPS report. He picked up the phone and called the precinct.

“Captain Brent Argus, please,” Leo said.

“He is not available. Whom may I say is calling?” Cliff said, recognizing Leo’s distinct voice.

“Leo. Leo Stephens, working for TIPCO.”

“Oh. Yes, Leo. I will let him know you called.”

“Is this Cliff?”

“Yep.”

“Cliff, it is you I am looking for.”

“Really? How can I be of service?”

“Well, I am going over the account of tracking the bird into Mexico.”

“Yes, and?”

“Well, I was wondering if I could get the raw data.”

“I don’t know what that is. Can you be more specific?” Cliff was breaking Leo’s balls, because he hated that Ivory had taken a liking to him.

“I need the name and number of the IT guy who tracked it. Is that clear enough?”

“Crystal.”

There was a pause during which Leo actually thought Cliff would help him.

“I don’t have that information,” Cliff lied.

“May I speak with someone who might have it?” Leo asked, now frustrated.

“Brent is out.”

“You already told me that. My question is, may I speak to someone who knows who the IT guy is? Maybe your superior?”

“I am the most senior person at the station right now.”

Leo hung up.

“Hello?” Cliff spoke into the click.

Cliff knew he’d gone too far, but he didn’t care. It was better to ask for forgiveness than to help the SOB.


Meanwhile, Leo knew he would get the skinny in a few hours when he met Ivory for dinner at the Outback in Mission Valley. Their dinner date was set for 6:00 p.m., and he was more than ready and actually overdressed for San Diego. Anyone with a tie was clearly overdressed anywhere in San Diego and probably in all of California.

He arrived at the Outback and found Ivory waiting for him in the reception area, wearing a beautiful summer dress and looking great. The simple fact that she was not in pants and carrying a weapon and all the other gadgets made her light and cheery.

“You look amazing!” Leo said from the heart.

“Thanks.” Ivory looked down shyly as she said this.

They sat in a two-person booth by the bar area, and both found that looking at the other was a pleasant experience. Ivory had the preconceived notion that someone as good-looking as Leo was a setup for disaster. As it happened he was more like a Clark Kent than a James Bond, and she found him to be likable. Leo was truly unaware of his good looks and did not know how to profit from them.

“We saw the birds flying out of the store and thought it was a curious thing. Like a fireworks show or a quick circus trick. It was so fast. But we had no idea they were carrying the loot!” Ivory said with much excitement.

“Do you know how one bird was trapped behind?” Leo asked.

“That was entirely Elliot Quayle’s doing. He dragged himself over and pushed the door shut before the last bird flew out of his office.”

“Do you think that was suspicious? I mean, it feels as if Elliot might have known what was going on?”

“Well, he did know. He saw the perp placing the diamonds on the birds one by one. So he knew they were leaving with his fortune. He tried to stop them but only succeeded in stopping one.”

“Yes, yes, it makes sense. But let me tell you that in my line of work, insurance, the number one suspect is always the owner.”

“Elliot? I don’t think so. Why?”

“Well, they get paid twice, you see. If they steal their own jewels, they get paid for them in full. Plus, they still have the jewels. A very high percentage of these thefts are tied in with an owner. More so than the employees.”

“Wow. That is interesting.” Ivory looked in his eyes, bedazzled, although she knew all that he explained.

“Nah. It’s boring, and I know it. Insurance conversations always are. Let me ask you one last question, and we can leave the theft behind.”

“What is that?”

“Do you know the name of the IT guy who tracked the bird?”

“Dick. You mean Dick from the IT department. He went on the helicopter with Brent.”

“Yes, do you know his full name?”

“Dick Greyson; he works at our office. A bit geeky but efficient.”

Ivory said this as Leo wrote something on his telephone. He was already texting an e-mail to Dick—using the precinct’s employee format, first initial, period, last name, @ symbol, and pd.sandiego.gov—by the time she was finishing her statement.

“Thanks. Now to you. Where did you grow up?” Leo asked, sending the e-mail at the same time. The familiar flying sound of the iPhone was heard.

They spent the evening relaxed and having a good time. Ivory liked Leo, and his presence took her mind off all her other suitors. She could easily see herself fitting in his neat and precise world, but the question was more complicated in the reverse. Upon his bringing her home, the moment of truth arrived, and she was ready as she stood in front of her apartment complex in Tierra Santa.

“Well, I had a lovely night,” Ivory said.

“So did I,” Leo said and moved closer.

They both moved slowly toward each other and when their lips touched, it happened for Ivory. She felt a tingling sensation that rushed as if on a superhighway throughout her body. The kiss was wonderful, and Leo sensed that he had done something right. She grabbed his shoulders and pressed her body closer to his. Leo kissed her again and again. They moved into her place without another word and made love in her bedroom.

About an hour later Leo raised on one elbow and leaned over her.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I need to get back to my place,” he said.

“I didn’t invite you to stay,” Ivory said.

“I know. I am being presumptuous; it is just that I would love to stay. I just don’t have the time. I am buried in reports to finish reading and need to find the flaw in the case.”

“What if there is no flaw?”

“That is the first rule of law enforcement—the crime is always flawed. Always.”

“I looked, you know. This crime is exceptional. We closed the case, because we have no leads. Nowhere. Zip. I mean, we even asked the bums on the streets, to see if they’d noticed something, but talk about unreliable witnesses!”

“I have a hunch, and that is why I need to go.”

“What is it?”

“I got this e-mail from your IT guy with the information I asked for.”

“Dick? He responded so soon?”

“You know geeks, they are always online. I need to pore over this data.”

Leo went home, and as he got into his car, he felt a pang of emotion run through him. He couldn’t resist and went back up the single flight of stairs and down the open corridor, back to door number 209. He knocked, and Ivory opened the door.

“What is it? Are you OK?” Ivory asked.

Her lips were met with a kiss. He kissed and kissed her. Then he turned around and left again. He didn’t say a word. He left all communication to the kiss. Ivory was stunned. Was this really happening? She was so happy being left alone to ponder the significance of a kiss. And what a great kiss it had been!

Leo spent the evening looking at all the data from the GPS and finally found what he was looking for—two important discrepancies. First, the time of the trip from start to finish was too long. According to the data it took the pigeon over four hours to travel to San Felipe and these animals manage seventy miles an hour. According to his calculations, the trip should have taken only half that time. The second was the path of the bird, which ignored all roads until it hit Tijuana, and particularly southern Tijuana. Then the path followed roads religiously. Of course nobody cared to look at the path itself, but only at the starting and stopping points. He found two flaws. Maybe the GPS fell onto a truck, but it was a starting point. He carefully noted the location where the GPS began to follow the road. That would be his destination tomorrow.

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