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Part Three

Fairy Tales

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I took a deep breath to calm myself. "According to Walt, a drug bust had gone sour about an hour before we walked in. The dolls slipped the net with about half a mil in cash. As luck would have it, the only description Walt got was 'one, dark-haired, about 20, in a red dress. The other, a classy red-head, maybe early 30's, in a suit.'" I gestured to my auburn-haired partner, dressed in an elegant chocolate brown skirt and jacket, and then waved at my own attire, and shrugged.

Paul had grabbed a straight-backed chair and was sitting on it backwards, his usual contemplative position. "So what happened next?" he asked, after a thoughtful chew on his thumbnail.

"We showed the officers our licenses, gave them your names, and spent the rest of the morning answering questions in the Security Office." I grimaced. "We got airline food for lunch and then hustled downtown to spend the rest of the afternoon at RCMPHQ."

"What did you tell them," Jake demanded.

I sighed. "Name, serial number and your phone number, Jake. Over and over and over. I told them to get in touch with you for particulars on our assignment."

Paul stared at Jake. "The RCMP called you and you didn't tell me?"

It was Jake's turn to shrug. "I wanted to get it sorted out first. That's why I took a long, early lunch," he explained. It sounded reasonable.

Paul worried his thumbnail again. "Anything else?"

Sally and I looked at each other. It was time. She gave me an encouraging nod. Clasping my hand to stop their trembling, I finished the tale. I knew Paul wouldn't be pleased.

"Walt and I had a long talk in the Security Office. He knew about our blown covers, all the operatives. He'd done some checking and noted four other rather unusual things about our stakeouts."

"You mean, aside from your incompetence?" Jake asked sarcastically.

That tore it. I pinned Jake to his seat with a furious look, and held him there as I spat out the rest of my report. "No, Jake, not incompetence. You set us up. Every time we were on a blown stakeout, there'd be a drug bust go sour not far away. You always knew where we were, Jake, and when we'd be there. Some days, we'd be there hours before our target did anything, and the next, our cover would be blown. And every time, Jake, every time, you'd be the one to come down to 'rescue' us."

Jake laughed. "It's my job, remember? I'm the boss?"

I continued. "It's funny how you'd always manage to get there after the operatives had been released, Jake. Every time. Walt checked it out. You called the cops, too, every time our cover was blown. All those other times and again today. You phoned Airport Security to warn them that 'someone' was planning on moving prostitutes into the airport. I've heard the tapes, Jake. Sally and I identified your voice, independent of each other."

Jake just sneered. "I don't take your ranting seriously you know. No professional would. You're just afraid you're going to be fired, and you're looking for an excuse to avoid it. It won't help, by the way. You're history around here."

I smiled at that. Mad clear through and knowing he was bluffing. "You see, I know you saw me leave my apartment this morning. You knew what I was wearing because you saw me from Hilary's front window. She's got the corner apartment at the end of my block." I shook my head in mock dismay. "Not only do you have a distinctive silhouette, boyo, but your license plate is easy to remember. It happens to work out to your birth date, JAN 668." I sniffed. "Next time you want to hide, don't park next to a bus stop."

"Paul," I said, marginally calmer, now, "Walt's known about this for about six months. He's known since I got tagged the second time. I would have told you, but, among other considerations, Walt threatened to yank my license if I told anyone about 'RCMP business'.

Paul nodded, and motioned for me to continue.

Jake stood up. "I've had enough of these fairy tales. Paul, I've still got a lot of paperwork to do, so if you could take this to your office?"

"Sit down, Jake. I'll say when we're done listening to 'fairy tales'," Paul ordered.

Jake sat down, more in surprise, I think, than in compliance.

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