Duncan: Out Of Exile
Copyright © 2020 Juju. All Rights Reserved.
When we arrived at our destination, I wasn’t sure I was ready. The funeral home was two miles past the bank we were in earlier. I asked Dan to pop the trunk and I broke one of the bundles of hundreds and stuffed it into my coat in the large interior pocket. Dan said nothing and we went in. The man behind the desk was nice enough, and I picked out an Asian style urn for Mom’s ashes. I asked about the bill, and including the urn and shipping it to Nevada, it was just north of thirty-four hundred dollars. I told him I would pay cash. He replied that the state of Utah would pay for most of it and I barked, “No,” rather forcefully. I didn’t want anyone in this shitty state paying for this but me.
I counted out the money as the man watched. Then I watched as he recounted it and got the same figure. He apologized for all the small bills he gave in change, but they didn’t usually deal in cash. Dan supplied the address and the man stated he would get it packed and shipped that afternoon.
Back in the car, I told Dan, “You know that’s not my mom, it’s just what’s left of her body she used here on earth. She told me that the energy that combined to make up her ethereal being was subject to the laws of physics. It cannot be destroyed. She once told me she would probably like to go and check out Sirius or maybe Vega once she was free of her body. I bet she didn’t plan on making the trip this soon though. She told me we’re all part of the same whole and all of our energy is needed to keep the universe operating. We still celebrated Christmas but for the fun. It was the same with Purim and Diwali and Tet. When we lived in the Valley it was easy because they were all right there. Mom loved a good party.”
Dan had to chuckle remembering her. “That’s one of the reasons we all loved her. Cheryl thought of her as a sister and so did I. When she asked us to take care of you if something happened, we didn’t hesitate. Moira loved you so much I can’t even begin to explain. But I think you have a clue in there somewhere.”
We pulled back into the bank parking lot and found a black Crown Vic idling leaving a plume of steam rising in the frigid air. Dan shut off the Charger and stepped out. He popped the trunk and dug out the envelope with the flash drives. The lone occupant of the Ford stepped out wearing an Armani suit and a Burberry overcoat. Definitely not a local. He held out his credentials for Dan to inspect; Dan snorted derisively and held up the envelope and handed the man a pen. He signed and Dan pulled a copy of the evidence control tag out and took his pen back. The man turned without saying anything and got back in his car.
Dan climbed back into the Charger, cranked up the engine and slammed the door. “If he’s FBI, I’m the king of the fuckin’ Moon men!” he groused. “Oh sorry Duncan, those guys just irritate me. Did you see the way he was dressed? If you ever meet a guy dressed like that who’s really FBI, he’s crooked and you should walk away fast.”
I waited to see if he was done and asked, “So if he’s not FBI who is he with?” Dan buckled up and put the car in gear. He’s one of Worrell’s spooks, either he didn’t trust the Feebs or they were anxious to get their hands on the data. Probably the latter,” he said.
I mulled it over. “Is Feebs another word for FBI guys and how did you know he wasn’t one, I mean besides the clothes?”
Dan chuckled, “Okay, yeah that’s what we call the agents, it’s like Jarhead or Grunt or Squid with the military guys. It’s acceptable from peers, but not from the general public. To answer your other question; his credentials were brand new.” He reached in and pulled his creds from his vest and handed them to me. I opened them up and looked.
“I think I get it; these ones look like they’ve been around awhile.”
“Bingo, we all hate it when they attach one of these guys to our teams because there’s no accountability if they screw up and shoot an unarmed suspect or get one of us wounded or worse. The Feebs feel the same way for the same reasons.”
I absorbed that information and said, “I understand, he’s a Langley based spook who’s not supposed to do domestic work without FBI handlers right?”
Dan blinked, “Er, right, how did you know all that?”
I chuckled, “Everybody who reads Tom Clancy knows that, but I didn’t know they really did that. I’ll bet it’s on the list of shit I shouldn’t talk about, too.”
Dan grinned at me and said, “You’re a perceptive lad, I’ll give you that. And if you do slip up and mention it you can say it was inspired by a Jack Ryan story. Clancy’s a great writer, I loved Red October. But I gotta tell you, you will never get me into a submarine even at gunpoint, too tight for me.”
I thought about that and said, “I wouldn’t mind getting a look at one but actually living that way would drive me freaking nuts.”
After an hour’s driving Dan spotted a good place to eat.
As he started through the intersection a Prius with California plates blew through the intersection in front of him. Dan waited for the county cop at the opposite corner to come through after him and then completed his turn.
We pulled up to the diner and locked the car and I went in as Dan held the door open for me. I saw a man walking around the far end of the counter and the next thing I knew Dan had shoved me to his left, drawn his weapon and was ordering the man to the floor.
“I’m not kidding, Carlos, on the floor now!” Carlos looked longingly at a backpack on one of the stools.
“I can’t miss at this range, Carlos, last chance!”
Carlos dropped to his knees and proned out on the floor, spreading his arms and legs wide apart, like he had done it many times before. “Duncan, are you okay?”
I told him I was.
“Okay, get your phone and call 911, tell them a U.S. Marshal is holding a fugitive at gunpoint at Bumpy’s diner on B avenue.”
I did as I was told, and the lady said there were officers on the way.
I told Dan they were on the way. “Come pull my panel down like before please and then head over to the corner booth and sit down.”
It didn’t take long for the parking lot to fill up with cop cars. Two men in blue uniforms and arctic hats were first through the door.
The first one said, “Jeez Dan, can’t you go twenty-four hours without getting into trouble.”
I recognized the voice and yelled, “Hi Max!” Max waved and let his partner swing around and handcuff Carlos.
“Use both sets of cuffs on him, Carlos probably has a key in a pocket in his mouth. You’ll want to X-ray him when you process him. Let’s get his boots off and see what other surprises he has for us,” Dan advised.
By now there were half a dozen guys in brown county uniforms and even an FBI guy. It wasn’t one I had seen before but he walked up and patted Dan on the back and said, “So you got Montoya, outstanding!”
Dan greeted him and walked to the counter and held up the backpack. When you get a warrant, you’ll find one or more Glock 17’s in here, loaded and ready to go, right Carlos?”
Carlos glared up at Dan and sneered, “It would have been different if I could have gotten to my bag.”
Dan shook his head ruefully, “Yeah, you would be bleeding out about now without a paramedic in sight, Merry fuckin’ Christmas.”
Dan grabbed a French fry from Carlos’ plate and dialed his phone.
After a bit, someone answered and Dan said, “Hey Lonnie, you’ll never guess who I’m having lunch with.”
Max laughed and Carlos cussed and I ran for the bathroom, right past a startled deputy who was going the same way.
I got to the first stall just in time to lose what was left of breakfast. It wasn’t a lot but the spasms continued for a bit. Then I realized I had to go.
If you’ve never used a toilet in bib overalls, and I hadn’t, there is a procedure for keeping your shoulder straps from getting all nasty from the floor. The restroom was clean enough but it was still a public restroom and people were constantly tracking snow and mud in. It turns out you undo your straps in front and reach back and stuff them into the inside of the overalls and then lower them and well, you get the idea. You also have to tuck the bib in and be careful when you stand up. I heard a voice say, “You okay kid?” I told him I was fine and he let me be.
I rejoined the party in the diner and only three cops and Dan remained. Carlos had already been taken to the Sheriff’s station for processing.
“Okay,” I declared, “that’s it, one more of those and I’m taking the bus to Carson City.”
Everyone laughed and Max said, “You have had an exciting couple of days haven’t you?” He one-arm-hugged me at the shoulders and told us that he had to go do paperwork. Dan said he would file his when they came in for my statement. Dan turned to the Sheriff’s sergeant and said, “There’s probably a Ford pickup in the parking lot with a camper shell. If you run the VIN, it’ll come back stolen in Reno. Be careful with that bastard, he shot a cop in Kansas City during his last escape.”
Once things calmed down the lady behind the counter asked if we came in to eat. I said, “Yes, but I would understand if they weren’t ready to start cooking again. She said, “No problem; have a seat and I’ll bring some menus.” We both ordered steak and eggs and it was pretty good. When we were ready to go, she wouldn’t bring us a bill.
“It’s on the house boys, that guy was rude as they come and I enjoyed watching him get taken down a bit.” Dan got up and headed to the restroom and I pulled out two one hundred dollar bills and put them under our plates. When Dan came back I walked out with him and when we got to the car I told him to move out quick. I told him what I did. “We ruined their day’s business and two hundred is a drop in the bucket.” I said.
Dan reached over and patted my shoulder. “You’re okay Duncan, I’m proud of you.”
We returned to the hotel and Dan called agent Manning to see when they would be ready for my statement. They agreed on a time the next morning.
I remembered Tim’s note and dug through my stuff and tried his number. He answered and I told him it was me.
“Duncan? It’s great to hear from you, I guess you got my note.” Tim said.
“I sure did, thanks for getting me the hell out of that place. I suppose you saw the news about the thing at the airport?” I asked.
“Yeah, I was afraid that was you, they really tried to sell you?” He asked.
“Yeah, they did. But they’re all in jail now man. I’d like to come over and see you but I don’t know how close we are. I‘m at the Quality Suites on Briarwood; how far is that from you?” I asked.
“Not too far, I can come over there and we can go over to the arcade if you want. Cody will walk over with me.”
“Cool,” I replied.
“Cool, see you there.” Then he hung up.
I cleared it with Dan and went to the lobby to wait. It only took half an hour for them to get there so they must be close.
Tim hugged me and introduced me to Cody, who was nearly two years older than Tim.
I suggested we go to the Rec. room and talk before we headed for the arcade. The Rec. room was deserted and we decided to play eight ball with the one reasonably straight cue.
“Timmy says you had a tough time the last few weeks, I’m sorry about your mom. But thanks for how you treated Timmy. It was nice of you to give him your shirt,” Cody offered.
I had to smile at the way he spoke about Tim and the way his eyes glistened when he said, “Timmy.”
“Tim’s a good guy, and you guys are a cute couple.” I declared.
Cody looked at me very hard, “Did Timmy tell you we were a couple?” he asked.
“No, he mentioned he had a special friend that he had feelings for and I figured it had to be you.”
“I don’t get it, what do you mean?” he asked.
I paused for a moment and then said, “The way you look at him tells me you care, you hold the door for him, and he lets you call him Timmy. I think it’s kind of cool.”
Cody relaxed a little and took his shot scratching on the eight ball. “I suck at pool,” he complained. “You’re right though, I love Timmy. He’s really sweet and it’s nice to be with someone who understands and doesn’t laugh. We aren’t public about it; this town isn’t gay friendly so we have to be careful.” Cody explained.
“I understand, but we’re okay here,” I assured.
I filled them in on what happened when I reached the hospital and about contacting my Uncle Dan. I told them about Lyka and how cool he is. And then about the kidnapping and crap at the airport. I left out the bit about that day’s activities.
We decided to walk over to the arcade and played games until Cody said they had to head back. We all walked back to my hotel and Tim kissed my cheek, Cody gave me a hug and I hugged them both back. I told them to keep on loving each other and be careful.
I told Tim I would call and gave him my email. I watched them walk down the street and saw Cody steer Tim inside the sidewalk while he walked next to traffic.
I hustled on up the stairs and entered the room quietly in case Dan was sleeping. He was stretched out on the bed reading.
I lay down next to him and the next thing I knew he was rousing me for dinner. We went to Rowdy’s SteakHouse. I liked the place immediately. There was a cool sign over the entrance in very plain view.
It read, “Management reserves the right to throw your ass out if you can’t act like a decent human being.”
There were indicators all through the place that made it clear that whiny, kale eating assholes wouldn’t like it here. One sign borrowed the PETA logo but the acronym was translated as People.Eating.Tasty.Animals. The food was great and generous. I couldn’t eat everything, but I tried.