Copyright © 2019 Juju. All Rights Reserved.

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I hopped up and walked with all the composure I could muster to the library entrance. I spotted him coming down the hall in a Tactical jacket with a gun belt and a ball cap that had the U.S. Marshall logo embroidered on it. I ran right out of my hospital slippers and headlong into his arms.

Here’s a little tip, never run full speed into a guy wearing a police tactical jacket. They are covered with zippers and other pointy stuff that can actually do some damage. I survived however without serious injury and hugged Uncle Dan as hard as my skinny arms would allow. The coolest part was how hard he hugged me back.

“How are you holding up there Duncan?” Dan asked.

Much better now Uncle Dan, I’ve been a bit of a zombie for about a month but I’m feeling considerably more human now. I’m only eating one human brain per week now. I believe that’s the Zombie Surgeon General’s m.d.r.”.

“Damn kid, I forgot that sense of humor you have. You and Trev are going to drive me nuts aren’t you?” He joked and then he bent down and kissed my forehead and hugged me again.

That’s from Cheryl and this one is from me.” And he did it again.

“Could you bend down a little Dan?” I asked. When he did I kissed his cheek and hugged his neck. “That’s for you. I’ll deliver the other one personally.”

“Man! I can’t get over how big you are now. I’m sorry we haven’t been up to see you for a while. Damn, it must be a year and a half. It’s been hectic with moving out of L.A. and all the stuff that goes with it. And we couldn’t seem to get your Mom to keep in touch.”

“Where did you move to?” I asked.

“A little town in Nevada called Gardnerville, it’s near Carson City southwest of Reno by about eighty miles. I wanted to be close to Carson City because I’m running that office now. Is there somewhere we can speak privately?” He asked.

“Sure, I have a little office in the Library,” I informed him.

“Your own office, do you have a secretary?” Dan joked.

“Not yet, I’m still interviewing. Really though; they have office space that you can request if you’re a patient or staff here. It’s a really nice amenity for a hospital.”

“I would swear you and Trev were blood relations when I listen to you speak. He never talked like a kid either.”

“Oh I talk like a kid, but only to other kids, just like you probably don’t talk to me like one of your peers because there’s stuff I don’t need to know just yet. I corrected.

Dan stopped walking and turned to look me in the eye. “That’s very true, I hope you won’t feel like I’m babying you, but you’ll find out soon enough.”

“I’m in no hurry, and I know I’m still a kid.”

Just as we reached the library a voice called out “Dan?!”

Uncle Dan spun around. “Max?! Max Peele?! What brings you here?” Dan asked.

“Him” said Max pointing at me. Now both men were looking at me.

“You guys know each other?!” I gasped.

“Absolutely” said Dan “we worked together on a fugitive case in Salt Lake a couple months back.”

We all reached the library door and as we went through I told Sarah, Sorry babe, they’ve got the goods on us. She of course dissolved into laughter, much to the annoyance of the impatient person standing in front of her.

Dan and Max were quite amused with my nonsense. I put the key card in the slot and the door clicked and in we went. Dan and Max removed their coats and sat down. I sat at the terminal. Max went right to work telling Dan that something was way off. I should have been at Anderson weeks ago and he said and I could have made contact long before now. I let them get up to speed and then told them what I found on the flash drive. I told Dan about the contents of Mom’s purse and as I did, it occurred to me that Max had never said what happened to the actual purse.

“It’s in the trunk of my unit in a plastic bag. I didn’t think you would want to see it in its’ present condition.” He declared grimly.

“You’re right I probably don’t but someone needs to check the lining and bottom of the purse. I think there is something that my Mom wanted me to see or have. Then I showed them the letter in the hard drive.

I knew Max meant that the actual purse had Mom’s blood on it and he was right, I didn’t want to see it.

“Uncle Dan, do you think you and Max could search the purse and look for whatever might be hidden in there?”

“I think that’s a very good idea. I need to get my laptop from the truck and I need to call Cheryl and let her know we’ve made contact.”

“Hold up Dan, I’ll walk over with you and we’ll see what’s in the purse if anything; plus you need to turn off your light bar, we’ll be back shortly Duncan.”

Not long after Dan and Max left; Dr.Chandler tapped on the door of the cubicle. “Hi Doc, come on in, it’s open.”

“Hi Duncan, how are you doing, did your visitors leave?”

“Nope, they went to look for something but they’ll be back in soon. Oh, I wanted to ask if you’ve talked to Jerry, I mean in a session you know?”

“Yes I did but I can’t really discuss his case with you, any more than I could discuss yours with him.” She answered.

“I understand the whole privacy thing; I just meant does he seem a bit more like he should be?” I said.

“Well yes he does seem a bit more like one would expect but that’s as far as I can go, except to say you had a lot to do with his current state of mind.” She said.

I could feel my face getting hot and knew I was blushing.

“Are you uncomfortable with praise Duncan? She asked.

“Isn’t everybody, at least a little?” I said.

“I suppose so, but how one deals with praise or for that matter criticism reflects their self-image.” She said.

“Wait, are we having a session?”

“No Duncan, just a conversation.”

“Hmmm, can one ever have just a conversation with a psychiatrist?” I asked, grinning.

“You have a point there kiddo, that’s why it’s so hard for us to date. But I have to ask, is there anything um…romantic between you and Jerry?” she asked and then sort of winced like I might yell of something.

“No, Jerry’s a sweet little guy but not my type. Although I’m not sure what my type’s going to be but I know they’ll need to keep up with me intellectually or maybe vice versa. Geez; does that sound pompous?

“Did he say…oh you can’t answer that can you?” I started to ask.

“That’s a no to both questions and thanks for understanding. Sometimes the whole privilege thing can be a pain,” she grinned at me.

Another tap at the door startled us both. I waved at Dan and Max to come in.

“Uncle Dan this is Dr. Chandler and Dr. Chandler this is my Uncle Dan McCann and you’ve met Max.”

Both of them shook hands with her and we all sat down. “Do either of you know of any reason for Duncan to be held so long at the detention center?” The Doc asked. “He was essentially in solitary confinement.”

“No,” said Max “and it’s way off standard practice. Can you keep him here until we get this figured out?” We all looked at her.

“Well short of a court order or my approval he won’t be released. So pretty much, the answer is yes.” She replied.

“Excellent” said Dan; “If someone does show up to take him; please don’t mention us two. We’re not sure what we’re up against here. And that goes for you too Duncan, don’t tip them off about us if you are taken out of here.”

Uncle Dan looked at me and smiled. “If you weren’t so sharp I’d take you to a federal safe house right now, but you’re probably just as safe here.”

Dr. Chandler interrupted to say that she had a session with a patient to attend, but she would check back with me later. Once she left, Uncle Dan put a case on the desk and said, “Duncan I want you to wear a GPS ankle bracelet until we get this figured out, are you okay with that?”

“I’m fine with it, but will it interfere with the RFID tracking they have here?” I asked.

“You know about that? Silly question, sorry.” Dan chuckled.

“Wait what?” said Max.

I explained to Max about the tracking system.

“I’ll be damned” uttered Max “how did you figure that out?”

“Easy, I’m a major nerd. I live for that sort of thing.”

I looked at the case that Dan had opened. It had four ankle monitors inside, two white and two black. “Uh why are they different colors?”

“We put white ones on dark skinned people and black ones on light skinned people. It’s a matter of visibility.” Dan explained “Except you get the small white unit because I don’t want it spotted if you get yanked out of here. If they take you back to custody it won’t set off the metal detector. It’s a good thing Lonnie had the kit in his Tahoe, he and I traded units because his has the full on light bar. He’s behind me and we’ll swap units later.”

“It’s kind of scary, but I guess we need to do it,” I agreed. Um…who’s Lonnie?

“He’s my Chief Deputy or second in command. We’re also longtime friends and I’m grooming him for his own district post. I suppose we should get busy with the ankle monitor. Before we do that, I have something you need to see.”

Dan held up a small device resembling a flash drive but it was gold colored. When he passed it to me it was a lot heavier than it should be.

“It seems awfully heavy for a flash drive.” I said.

“It’s a bit more than a flash drive, it’s an Oracle IV. It’s a nano-computer. I can’t tell you how I know about them so don’t ask.

They’re used by the SEAL teams and diplomats and others. They have a phone home program built in. So don’t plug it in to that desktop. I’m going to buy a laptop and pull the Wi-Fi card out so it can’t make contact until we know what’s up. I don’t know why your Mom would have one of these.” He said as he hoisted my ankle to table level.

“What if we disabled the LAN and pulled out the cable?” I asked.

“It would leave a breadcrumb that would send the next time the LAN was enabled.” He answered with deliberate certainty.

“If they come for me I don’t want them to get hold of my Mom’s stuff, so would you mind keeping it for me?” I asked.

“No problem, I was going to suggest that but you beat me to the punch, that’s good thinking, and it tells me you’re taking this serious.” Dan praised as he continued attaching the GPS.

A terrible thought crossed my mind, “Do you think she was killed for that thing?” I asked as I choked up a bit.

Dan hugged me close and told me, “I don’t know son, but until I’m sure what’s up you will be under surveillance. So don’t pick your nose or scratch your nuts in public cause I’ll hear about it,” he warned trying to lighten the mood.

Max waded in at that point, “there’s no reason to believe it was anything more than an accident. The Driver of the truck will probably not survive his injuries and there were no other vehicles in the area at the time of the accident. I hope that puts your mind at ease.”

There was a long pause before anyone spoke and then Dan mused absently as he continued the installation of the GPS unit, “I think we should look at her employer, if she was pulling info out of a place like that they might not like it.”

“I didn’t even know what she did there. She never talked about work, and if I asked she’d change the subject pretty quick.”

“Max and I are going out there this afternoon to find out what we can. Do you have any attachment to your Mom’s work badge?” Dan asked.

“No why?”

“We might not be able to get it back if I show it to them. Technically these things are the property of the employer and it will be up to them whether or not you can have it. I think Max can tell them that it’s evidence but that only works until the accident case is closed,” Dan explained. “Speaking of which, we better hit the road so we can get there before the people we want to talk to go home,” Max suggested.

I put all the stuff back in the shopping bag and handed it to Dan.

“Okay Duncan, I’ll be back in the morning and we’ll see what we can find out.” Dan said, and then he hugged me tight and paused, “look, I can’t tell you not to worry. Keep your eyes open and carry on like you were. And don’t say too much to anybody including your Doctor. I’ll do a little research on her tonight and I’ll let you know if she’s on the up and up tomorrow, Okay?”

“I’m sure she’ll pass your background check, I can’t see her being a bad person.”

Max stepped over and gave me a hug as well. “We’ll see you tomorrow,” He added. And then they left.

I diddled around on the internet and watched a few music videos on You Tube. I went to the desk to give Sarah the key card.

“Why don’t you hang on to that? You’ll probably need the room when they come back tomorrow.” She suggested.

“Thanks, but how did you know they’d be back tomorrow?” I asked guardedly.

“Easy, they said see you tomorrow, so that’s a fairly good indicator.”

I had to laugh; already I’m seeing intrigue in every innocent sentence.

“Okay then, I’ll see you tomorrow also.” I supplied.

“Bye Hon’ take care of yourself,” She said and then turned to help a man with his question.

I lay on my bed and thought about a lot of stuff and my mind drifted to Mom’s letter. Sure she had helped me learn a bunch of stuff on English history for school but I’ve never been interested in Manga or Anime either one. Manga cartoons was redundant and Mom was always precise. It’s the reason I talk like I’m thirty. She spent a lot of our time together passively teaching me new vocabulary, grammar and concepts. Her methods were insidious; she would get me interested in something and then tell me where I could learn more about it. If I asked a question I had to phrase it correctly or I wouldn’t get the answer I needed.

She said I was a true “Autodidact” and I would understand things better when I took the initiative to seek out new things to learn. I must have dozed a little because next thing I knew Jerry was poking me and asking if I wanted to go get dinner with him. I realized I was pretty hungry and told him I would join him. We raced to the elevator and hit the cafeteria.

 

Published August 13, 2019