2455 Jasper Avenue, 8:35 am
Y sipped the black coffee and placed his mug on the appropriately named table before him. He sat back on the couch and ran a hand over his newly-shaven head, searching for stray hairs. He didn’t find any, nor had he expected to. It was just habit.
He could hear X in the kitchen practicing her New York accent. It was muffled by the door he had just shut between their two rooms but he could tell it was good – she had a natural talent for it; just one of the many reasons he had chosen her.
He pulled a cell phone from his shirt pocket, flipped it open and began to tap the number pad.
Seattle Police Department, 8:45 am
Detective Munoz hung up his phone by letting it fall the last foot to its cradle. None of the men around him looked up at the noise – they recognized it as one of the many indicators of a dangerously bad mood.
Munoz took a swig of his lukewarm black coffee and read his notes for the tenth time that morning. Mr. Keller, Mr. Matthews and the Three Stooges – two men that were sure to cause him endless headaches and three men that were taking the express lane to obscurity.
He looked up to find Officer Jackson approaching his desk in a whirlwind of stress. Munoz swore under his breath and leaned back in his chair.
2455 Jasper Avenue, 9:15 am
“Samuel,” Y said with his best Russian accent, “how is New York weather? I think I come for visit soon.”
“Gregor, my old friend,” the voice crackled out of the earpiece, “it has been too long. I would love to have you stay with us but the house is full of guests already. Besides, the forecast does not look good.”
Y snapped the phone shut without another word. The only guests ‘Samuel’ ever had were the kind that tapped phone lines and preferred sitting outside his house in dark sedans over the more casual comfort of his living room.
He cursed softly and moved on to his next contact.
Seattle Police Department, 9:30 am
“What are you trying to tell me?” Munoz asked.
“That outside of her meeting with Mr. Keller,” Johnson said with poorly controlled excitement, “Mrs. Saldare doesn’t exist.”
Munoz sighed and stared at his notes again. These cases kept getting better and better.
“Maybe not in Seattle,” he said after an uncomfortably long silence, “but let’s see if we can find a hint of her elsewhere. Start checking our databases – go North America first, then Europe, Asia and save the assorted etceteras for last.”
2455 Jasper Avenue, 9:52 am
“… and one last thing Tomas – I read the papers too; if you’re coming here to take care of the boy, find another job. This one is too dangerous.”
Y listened to the dial tone for several seconds before hanging up. No one was willing to talk to him about Gutierrez and he was getting real tired of it. He only had one more name in New York and he was reluctant to resort to him.
With a long sigh, he did anyway.
Seattle Police Department, 10:09 am
Officer Jackson rushed up to Munoz’s desk and stood there breathing hard and generally making himself hard to ignore. Munoz did just that for five full minutes before finally acknowledging his presence.
“We caught a break in the Matthews case,” he said proudly, stopping just short of bouncing on his heels.
“What do you have?”
“Come have a look.”
2455 Jasper Avenue, 6:05 pm
The door to the kitchen swung open and banged noisily against the wall; X stood in the doorway and glared at him in silence.
“I thought you said there were no video cameras in those shops on Bridge Street,” X said, cold rage coating her words.
“I didn’t see any,” Y said slowly. “What’s going on?”
X returned to the kitchen without a word and Y followed, an uneasy feeling forming in his gut. On the table the evening news was playing with the volume way down. And there, between two blinking ‘Breaking News’ banners, was a still frame of Bridge Street. Y swallowed hard.
A second still frame appeared, this one showing Y in his old man disguise, looking utterly harmless. The angle appeared to be from across the street. Y cursed as the next image appeared – he was shown speaking with four young men. Then the final, damning shot came on screen: Y walking off the left side of the screen, leaving four bodies lying on the sidewalk behind him.
Y looked at X and told her the only thing that needed to be said for the moment.
“We need to get out of Seattle – right now.”