“Peter, I know you took it where is it?” John screamed as he shoved his older larger brother. “Where is what little brother? I am not interested in any of your petty high school crap.” Peter feigned a lack of knowledge, but he knew he would reveal the truth. There were no secrets between the Thorn boys and there never would be.
“Peter, I know you have my Jordan rookie card. If anything happens to it I’ll kill you. I don’t care how much training you get I’ll kill you. And I've watched enough crime dramas to get away with it.” John pored through the things in his elder brother's room like a thief urgently searching for jewelry. Ultimately finding nothing.
“John, come here.” Peter whispered.
“Why are you whispering?”
“Little brother I had an assignment this weekend. To steal something and hide it. The point of the exercise is learning how to conceal important items and intelligence without it being detected. The best place is in plain sight. People are always blind to the familiar.” Peter turned toward John and revealed the location of his prized card. "Look under Dad’s signed Hank Aaron ball.”
He continued, “John, I am going to pass this course, and when I do I am gonna have to keep a lot of secrets. You gotta remember to always trust me. You’ll always be the only one I really trust. I should be back for graduation but I don’t know after that when I’ll see you. Take care little brother.” After a quick hug, Peter grabbed his bag he and walked out of the room.
For a few minutes thereafter there were the obligatory goodbyes to mom, dad, and the few friends in the house and then he headed off into his car. This was the last time John saw his brother in person. His body was so badly wounded, John opted not to view it one last time. In the intervening years, it was hit or miss an email here a congratulatory phone call there. Work and life had separated them more often than not. Peter didn't even make it to John's wedding. John never faulted him for that, it didn't take after all.
Ashley paced the Gate. Gate 13, the scene of my first crime she thought. I have lied to multiple federal officers thinking of the TSA agents, an odd seeming cop and I don’t even know if John is telling the truth.
The ongoing wildfires were not helping matters. If her plane wasn't cleared soon, her trip would certainly end before it began. What would become of John then? Is he even worthy of my trust?
Trying to ease her worry Ashley headed to the Home Turf Sports bar. Looking in the mirror at the bar she thought even with this sweat box of a wig, I am looking good. She ordered a burger and some fries and focused her attention on the TV screen. The Heat lost handily earlier in the day. “Take that LeQuit! You won’t be winning another championship this year!!!” After her rather loud outburst Ashley realized that when on the run perhaps she should keep a low profile. Of course, with four rowdy brothers, she was used to make her sports feelings known even if loudly.
“Your right about that, this year Kobe’s gonna tie Jordan, gettin’ number six!” the tall Asian bartender replied. “Need a refill on that rum and coke?”
“No thanks and I’d like to get that burger to go.”
The five minutes that passed seemed like an eternity. When the bartender finally returned with her burger she again saw Silent Man.
How could he know I am here? Then looking down, she realized she still had her purse. He told me not to bring anything. Ok, relax, slowly head toward the bathroom.
Fortunately it wasn't far and Silent Man was facing the opposite direction. He was directing several police looking types in plain clothes. In the bathroom, she pulled her purse out of the one the courier provided. Should I be taking another leap of faith for John? Dumping all my stuff and running for God knows how long? Pausing she thought about the day they met, and the eternity it seemed to take for him to notice her. Her thoughts moved to the time they've spent together, and how much she loved him. Caution to the wind. I'm in I love him. If he's lying, I'll kill him. If not, I'll die for him. Quickly she dumped the old purse in the trash can and casually and headed to the mirror and began primping. As she turned to the right another woman headed out of the stall and toward the door. Gross! She tossed something into the trash quickly headed out. Moments later a third woman, obviously a cop of some kind entered.
Play it cool Ash they don’t know you, just head for the door.
Lady Cop looked around and turned to the trash can. “Hey you, did you put anything in this can?” Trying hard not to panic, Ashley turned and said, “No. Must have been the gross non-washer that just walked out.” Lady Cop rifled through the other can until she saw what she was looking for. Packages from shop-lifted goods. Immediately she bolted out of the bathroom and sought after the shoplifter.
That was close, too close. I need to keep it together. I hope John is worthy of my trust.
“Now boarding Flight 2286 to Las Vegas, Zones 1 and 2 you are now able to board.” Suddenly the obnoxious PA system wasn't so obnoxious. Welcome words. At last, only an hour away from answers.
Five minutes after takeoff one of Silent Man's female cronies found the discarded purse and informed him that Ashley was indeed there. He cursed at the news and prepared to report back to his superiors.