“I received a page from my beeper,” Gregg yelled. “They spotted Sally alone off Market Avenue!”
So Gregg and I piled into his 78 Buick Regal and sped off northbound into town. “What are we gonna do when we catch her?” Gregg asked.
“Just gonna ask her a few questions,” I said.
But before we reached Market Square, a black SUV rammed into the side of us. The Buick crashed into the side barrier then went over the edge into the Cuyahoga River.
Thankfully the river wasn’t on fire at that particular moment.
Gregg and I were individually strapped to a chair in an abandoned warehouse. We were revived by a blinding flash of light.
“Well well well,” a voice said from behind the light. “If it isn’t disgruntled Ohio BCI agent Jack Hardcock and local Cleveland gangster Gregg Poppovich. You two make strange bedfellows.”
“By the authority of Jesus Christ, I demand to know what’s going on here!” I exclaimed.
The light shut off and in front of us were three FBI agents. I recognized one of them. “Peter Tucker,” I said.
“Jack, how’ve you been?” Peter replied.
“Pete, untie us now! I don’t know what Sally told you, but I am not the killer!”
“Yes I know,” he said, “I just wanted you to know that I am in charge here.”
“What do you mean?”
Pete lit up a cigarette. “You see,” he stated, “we know that Sally and her minions are the ones that killed Art McGarth and many, MANY others.”
“If you have something to say, Pete,” I said, “spit it out. We don’t have all day.”
Pete took a long exhale as smoke billowed out his mouth. “Sally is a vigilante, Jack,” he continued. “We’ve keeping a watchful eye on her. She’s been executing pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, stoners, plumbers, hipsters, Hoobastank, and anyone she deems a menace to society. She’s gone renegade, Jack. She thinks she’s above the law.”
“My God!” I said. “That means…”
“Yes,” Pete interrupted, “that means you were next.”
An agent came up and cut Gregg and me loose from our chairs. “Since you’re in charge,” I said to Pete as I massaged my wrist, “what happens now?”
Pete put out his cigarette and stepped out from behind his desk. “Jack, you can fool BCI but you can’t fool me,” he said. “I know you want back into the Federal Bureau. Cleveland’s a toxic wasteland. It’s Ohio’s toilet for fuck’s sake. It’s no mistake that the Browns are perpetually terrible. This city is cursed! I know that you don’t want to spend the rest of your career here.”
He handed me my .38. “All I’m asking,” Pete concluded, “is that you help me catch Sally. If you can do that, we can forget that time you accidentally burned down a retirement home and shot up a Denny’s. You’ll be back in the Bureau. What do you say?”
I looked him square in the eye.
“Pete, if I help you do this and you go back on your word,” I said, “you won’t have to wait on the Second Coming. I’ll send you straight to hell myself.”
TO BE CONTINUED…