“Don’t forget your Winchester ammo, Uncle Jack,”Klyde reminded me before I boarded the Greyhound bus.
I chuckled a bit. “You must mistake me for some stupid moron, Klyde,” I replied, “I never forget that!”
Thankfully he did remind me because I forgot.
“Well Brother Jack,” Pete said as he slapped me on the back, “don’t you be enjoying California too much. If you come back as a Democrat, I’ll strangle you with my bare hands and hang your corpse in the front yard.”
“Heh, good luck getting passed my .38,” I said as I pulled out my gun.
We laughed and exchanged hugs before I took my seat on the bus bound for Oakland, CA. When I arrived 12 days later, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. So I grabbed my bags and checked in at the La Quinta Inn in Alameda.
“Name please?” the clerk asked.
“Hardcock. Jack Hardcock.”
I laid the .38 out on the desk.
“Ah yes, Mr. Hardcock. Welcome to Alameda,” the clerk said. “Room 213 is ready for you.”
I threw my bags on the bed and began checking the room for bugs and wiretaps. Nothing. Then there was a knock on the door.
“Room service,” the voice said.
I drew my weapon and cracked open the door. “What do you want?” I asked.
“I’m here to bring you more toiletries, Mr. Hardcock,” the housekeeper replied.
I opened the door and invited her in. She pushed her cart in front of her and started dispensing soaps and shampoos on the nightstand and skink. When she was finished, she parked her cart in front of me.
“Is there anything else I can get you?” she asked.
“Yes, just one more thing…”
I punched her in the face and wrestled her to the bed. As I had my knee to her back, I ripped off the wig.
“Nice try, Peter Tucker: FBI agent!” I said.
I released my knee and Peter started laughing as he rolled over. “Nothing gets passed you,” he said, “you’re as sharp as a tack!”
“What the fuck do you want? Why are you watching me?”
Peter sat up in bed and began wiping away the makeup. “Now now, settle down Jack,” he explained, “I know you’re after the missing Huffington girl. I promise to not interfere with with your investigation, the only service my office will provide is protection.”
“Protection from what? There’s nothing on the streets that I can’t handle myself. Remember, I spent six months in Cleveland?!”
“I know that! But things operate a little differently here.”
“Well, for one thing, I’m in charge.”
I let out a huge guffaw. “Don’t tell me the FBI put you in charge of the San Francisco field offices!”
“You better believe it, bucko,” Peter replied. “Furthermore, I don’t you running around here with that puny ass peashooter fuckin everything up! So you play by the rules or I’ll have you locked up in San Quentin! Do we have an understanding?”
“Peashooter? You mean this LETHAL weapon?”
I then pulled out the .38 and shot Peter’s makeup sponge right out of his hand.
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Jack!”
“Alright Peter,” I said as I placed the .38 back in its holster, “I’ll play it your way. But what’s with the disguise?”
“Disguise?” Peter asked. “This is how I dress.”
TO BE CONTINUED…