Those Golden Eyes
(Thanks to Sara, who is still dissembling, I have rewritten this chapter. If it leaves you on the edge of your seat it's her fault. Thank her. She's the one who taught me. Jack)
Tim had been on duty just over three hours. He looked up from his desk and saw Dave Gates approaching across the street. He looked at his watch; it was eleven minutes after six. He stood up, stretched and walk around the desk to greet Dave. Tim enjoyed his little chats with Dave every evening. Dave treated him as an equal, made him feel like he was important. He insisted that Tim call him Dave, not Mr. Gates. Even Mr. Paolini had insisted that he call him Joe after Dave had moved in with him. Tim felt a great affection for these two men.
He heard a car come to a screeching stop outside. He ran to the door just in time to see Dave being forced into the car at gun point. Tim pulled his gun and started running toward the car. The abductor threw a manila envelope towards him, ran around the car, jumped in and peeled out, leaving Tim in the smoke and dust.
Tim holstered his weapon, pulled out his cell phone and called 911. He gave a full description of the man, the make and year of the car and the licence number. He told the operator about the envelope laying in the driveway.
Within two minutes there was an officer on the scene. Within ten there were six including Joe's brother Det. John Paolini and his partner, Det. Paul Varner.
Joe saw all of the police cars in front of the Tower as he drove in to the garage. He parked and hurried into the lobby to see what had happened. He saw his brother standing just outside the door talking to Tim. He rushed over to him. When Tim saw him he started apologizing.
"I saw it happening and couldn't get out there in time. I'm so sorry, Joe I really tried."
"What are you talking about? What happened, Johnny?"
Johnny squeezed Tim's arm to quiet him.
"Dave was abducted, Joe. They left a ransom note. The guys from evidence have it." He pointed at an officer holding a manila envelope. Joe walked over to him, followed by his brother.
"I'm Joe Paolini, Dave Gates is my partner. May I see the note, please?"
The officer looked at Det. Paolini who nodded consent. He handed the envelope to Joe. Joe's hands were rock steady as he took it, but Johnny knew that it was just a matter of time before Joe started coming apart. Joe extracted the note.
if you want to see your lover again
Have $2 million in a plain suitcase
ready to deliver.
Stay by your fone for more instructions.
Dave read it and passed it to Johnny.
"It was supposed to be me. Stupid jerk got the wrong man."
His hand was quivering, his color ashen, Johnny quickly read it and passed it back to the officer. He could see that his brother was on the edge collapsing. He looked around and located his partner.
"Paul, I'm taking Joe upstairs. Follow or wait down here."
Paul hurried over and accompanied them to the private elevator. Tim keyed them in. As the door closed Joe's quivering turned to the shakes. Johnny hugged him to his chest.
"It's going to be okay, Bro."
"Tim had a complete description of the man, the car and the licence plate. An APB was put out before he could have been three blocks from here. We'll find him."Paul said as he rubbed his hand up and down Joe's back."
"What if they kill him? She hates him enough to have him killed. I heard her threaten to get him one way or another. God, she's mean enough to have him tortured first. Johnny they've got to find him before that happens."
The elevator opened and the three men walked into the living room.
"Who are you talking about, Joe?"
"Edith Way. She was Dave's deceased partner's mother. She hates Dave. She accused him of making her son queer."
"I know who she is, Johnny, I gave her chauffeur a speeding ticket when I was still on patrol. Man is she a battle axe." Paul said.
"Call that in for investigation, Paul. There could be something to it."
"Could you guys check out the Chauffeur too?" Joe asked. He's a real slime ball."
"Sure. Do you know his name?"
"Mrs. Way addressed him as Jeffery."
"Jeffery Joiner." Paul injected. "I'll never forget that hokey name. He's the one I gave the ticket to."
Joe stood up hugging himself. He had gotten past the shock. His color had returned. He felt had to do something to busy himself.
"I need a drink. Can I get you fellows something."
"We're on duty. How about some coffee." Johnny said.
"Of course, it won't be but a couple of minutes. I guess I'll have coffee too. It could be an all night wait."
The two detectives followed Dave into the kitchen. He occupied himself measuring the water and the coffee and putting it into the maker. He stood there watching the machine. There was nothing to see but he could hear the water gurgle as it was heated. He looked at the clock. It was just after seven.
"You guys hungry? It is dinner time."Joe asked as he set mugs on the counter and got out the cream and sugar. He set them on the table.
"What have you to offer?" Johnny asked.
"Dave made a big pot of paprikash last night. There's enough for at least two helping each."
"Chicken or veal? I love Chicken Paprikash. There's a great Hungarian restaurant over on Jefferson Blvd. You gotta try it some time." Paul said.
Joe grinned. He had gone to high school with Paul, played football with him. He'd been known for his appetite after a football game, especially if they won.
"You're in luck, Paul. It's chicken."
Joe had it in a pan heating on the stove. Johnny propped his butt against the counter ledge and crossed his ankles. He was getting a kick out of his sidekick. Paul had his head nearly in the pot sniffing in the aroma.
Paul was a big guy but he wasn't fat. He'd been a defensive line backer in highschool and college. Joe had been the Quarterback those same years. Johnny reminisced about sitting on the bench watching the two of them play. It wasn't until the two had graduated that he got his chance to play. He taken over Joe position as the team's quarterback.
Joe stuck a bowl of buttered egg noodles in the microwave to heat. He got out two bowls and spoons and set them on the table.
"Aren't you going to join us?" Johnny asked.
"I couldn't eat right now, not knowing where Dave is."
The microwave dinged. Joe took the bowl of noodles to the table and then the pot of Paprikash.
"You guys eat all you want. Don't let it go to waste."
"You sound like Mom, Joe."
Joe shrugged. He filled the three mugs with coffee and set them on the table. He pulled out a chair and sat down with a big sigh. He stared in to his steaming cup.
He came out of his thrall realizing that Paul was talking.
"What I can't figure out is why such a large amount of money. I mean Dave is only a bookstore owner. Where would he come up with two million dollars?"
"Dave could used two million to light a cigar and he wouldn't miss it."Joe mumbled.
Johnny laid his fork down.
"I don't understand. What are you saying?"
"Simply that Dave has lots of money. You know, Edith Way is the only person other than myself that knows about the money that he inherited from Bill. Oh, and that chauffeur overheard the discussion Dave had with Edith Way when she threatened him. So he would know, too."
"Okay. So how are we going to get the ransom money if they don't find him right away?"Paul asked.
"I can get it. No sweat."
"How? How can you get that much, that fast?"" demanded his brother.
"Simply write a check for the amount. However, it may take the bank awhile to come up with cash."
"Both men gawked at him. He didn't notice it
"God ,I hope it doesn't come to that .Why couldn't they have gotten the right man. Why my Dave. We've just started our lives together." Joe laid his head on the table and covered it with his arms.
"Hey, I've got a feeling your going to see Dave home and safe tonight, Joe. Just hang in there." Paul said, patting Joe's back and then filling his bowl a second time. Johnny's phone buzzed. Joe and Paul watched intently as he put it to his ear.
"Paolini here." Pause "You did? Where." Pause. "We'll be right there." He pocket the phone. "Come on, Paul, they located the car at a rundown motel on the east side."
"I'm going with you, Johnny." Joe said pushing his chair back as he stood.
Johnny turned and looked at the desperation on Joe's face.
"Yeah, sure. Bro. Come on."
Paul looked longingly at the bowl he had just filled, got up and followed the brothers to the elevator.
Dave studied his captor. He was in his mid-twenties. He needed a haircut. His pale blue eyes looked like he was unsure of what he was doing. He sat on the edge of the bed with the pistol between his legs.
Dave sat on a straight chair. His hands were cuffed behind the chair back and each ankle was cuffed to a chair leg.
"You're new at this, aren't you?"
The kid looked at him.
"Yeah, how d' ya know."
"Well, let's just say that the abduction didn't go as cool as one on TV."
"We all know the one's on TV aren't real. Shit, it's a lot of hassle doin' this."
"What's your name kid."
"I'm not a kid and you don't need to know my name."
"I didn't mean to offend you. So can I call you Bob?"
"Yeah. Yeah, Bob'll do."
"So who's supposed to come up with the money for my ransom, Bob?"
"Some rich dude named David Gates. Why would he pay for you, anyway?"
"Well, probably because he's my best friend."
Dave wondered what the man's reaction would be if and when he discovered that he had abducted the wrong person. He thanked God that the kid had screwed up and gotten him instead of Joe. He also was thankful that he had Joe sign those bank signature cards.
"Must be nice to have a best friend that would pay that kind of money for you."
"Bob, how much do you get out of this. I mean you're not the brains behind this kidnaping. What's the man paying you."
"I'm beginnin' to think it's not enough."
"So how much is it? Five hundred thousand? Half a million?"
"Shit! You kiddin me? That tight wad sonamabitch is only giving me five thousand."
"How much was the ransom note for?"
"You're taking all the risks and he's only paying you that piddling amount?"
"You're askin' too many questions, mister. I'm beginnin' to get pissed off."
"Don't get mad at me. I'd give you a lot more if it were me getting two million dollars while you do all the dirty work."
"Hey. Jus'fuckin'shut up an' let me think."
Dave shut up and watched "Bob." He sat there with a dark scowl on his face, his eyes darting back and forth as he thought. After a few minutes Dave broke the silence again.
"Bob, would you tell me if I guessed who got you into the mess?"
"You think you know?"
"Well, I'm positive it's my mother in-law that's behind the whole thing. And I'll bet you the man that contacted you was about five foot ten, a little taller than you with thin brown hair. He has a belly that sticks out in front of his skinny body, like he's wearing a volley ball. He also has a thin little mustache."
"Bob" didn't respond yes or no to Dave's description, but his furtive glances told him that he had poked the pin into the gnat's eye. He waited a few minutes to see what his captor would do. He just sat there and fidgeted.
"I'll be honest with you, Bob. I don't think you have a chance in this caper. I'm quite sure the guard got a good look at you and I think he also got your license plate number. If that's true then the police know exactly who they are looking for, and are looking for you even now."
He paused to let him think about the implications.
"I'll make a deal with you. You let me go and I'll give you five times what Jeffery was offering you."
It took a few minutes of deep thought for "Bob" to make a decision.
"How do I know I can trust you?"
"Well, you know how to find me. Do you know how to find Jeffery, other than by a phone number? If he gets the money and leaves you holding the bag, how do you get your money from him?"
"Shit, I never thought about that. I bet the weasel will make off with it, too."
"I'll make you another offer. I know one of the detectives on the police force, his name is Det. John Paolini. If you'll turn your self in to him and agree to testify against Jeffery, I'll not press charges against you."
"I'll have to think about it. There's no phone in this cheap room. I'm going to go make a call on a pay phone. You sit there and behave your self while I'm gone."
Dave nodded his consent. Bob peeked out the window. The coast looked clear. He stepped out pulling the door closed. Dave quickly tilted his chair back and freed the cuff from the right chair leg. And then did the same with the other cuff. His legs were free.
Before Bob could remove his hand from the door nob a policeman stepped onto the walk from the side of the building.
"Hands in the air." He had his pistol leveled at him with both hands.
Bob raised his free hand while turning the doorknob with the one still on the knob. He fell backwards against the door and rolled into the room. A bullet split the edge of the door frame. He kicked the door closed.
"Shit, how the hell did they find me?"
He lay there with his gun pointed at the door, expecting to see it burst open any second.
"The guard on the door was right there, when you grabbed me. They knew who to look for, didn't they?" Dave said.
"Shut the fuck up. Who's asking you. Damn, what am I going to do now."
Before Dave could answer he heard a voice yell outside.
"Throw your gun out the door and come out with your hands up."
Bob got to his feet and started pacing.
"O god I didn't expect this. Joiner said it would be really easy money. What am I going to do?"
"Take my offer and give yourself up."
"Shut the fuck up." he screamed again. "I wasn't talking to you."
"I thought you were ,being I'm the only other person in the room. You don't have to be a total loser, ask for Det. Paolini. He'll help you."
"You don't understand English do you?" He swung the pistol striking Dave's cheek. Dave kicked backwards hoping his head didn't strike anything. He landed painfully on his arms and rolled side ways.
"WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED. TOSS YOUR GUN OUT. AND COME OUT SLOWLY WITH YOUR HANDS OVER YOUR HEAD."
The loudness of the megaphone caught Bobs full attention. He didn't notice Dave wiggle free of the chair. He rushed to the window and peeked out the side of the curtain.
"Shit! There's at least six patrol cars out there."
Dave was on the other side of the bed. He had doubled his legs up against his chest. Struggling, he managed to slide the cuffs over his butt. It was even more difficult to get his feet through the loop that his cuffed wrists made. Once he got one foot through it was a little easier to get the other one freed. Bob wasn't paying any attention to him. Dave stood and looked at Bob who was still peeking out at the cops.
Dave eyed the distance to the bathroom door, glanced at Bob and then lunged for it. He slammed the door closed and locked it. Bob ran to the door and pounded on it.
"Open this damned door before I put a bullet through it."
"You shoot that gun even once and the police will assume you've shot me and they will rush this place. You'll die, Bob, you'll die." Dave yelled back at him. He felt it was a little melodramatic, but that seemed to be something that Bob understood.
Bob backed away from the bathroom door. He looked at it and then at the front of the room. He was so angry and confused that he didn't know what to do. He aimed at the bathroom door and put a bullet threw it. 'Fuck,' he thought, 'now I don't have a hostage what am I going to do?'
Paul pulled the old beat up Plymouth into the parking lot and stopped next the two cruisers. The police were using them as a barrier. Johnny turned to Joe.
"Get out on the other side and keep your head down."
Paul slid out and scurried bent over up to the police that were kneeling with their guns pointed at a door across the lot. Johnny slid across the seat and followed Paul. Joe looked toward the door that they were all watching. He saw the curtain in the window next to it move slightly. He wished to heaven that he was a sharpshooter with a rifle. He'd take that stupid bastard out in a heart beat. Not knowing how Dave was fairing in all this, ate at him something fierce. It should me in there, not my Dave, gnawed at the back of his mind.
He heard some yelling inside, and then a gunshot. Joe wanted to scream his agony. The bastard had shot his Dave.
The door to the motel room flew open. A scrawny young man stepped out with his gun raisedand pointed at the police cruisers.
"You'll not take me alive." He yelled, waving the gun back and forth.
A policeman with rifle stepped out from the side of the building, aimed and fired. The pistol flew out of the man's hand as he screamed in pain. He crumpled to the ground nursing his injured hand. The police swarmed him.
Joe was right with them. He rushed into the room yelling for Dave. There was no answer. He tried the bathroom door. It was locked.
"Stand back, Mr. Paolini." A young policeman said.
He stepped up to the door and kicked it next to the knob, with the flat of his foot. The jam shattered as the door flew open. Dave lay, covered on blood, unmoving on the floor.
End Chapter 5