The Resolution

Simon trudges off the train, not even hearing the name of the city the conductor announces. They were all the same to him. He maneuvers through the crowd out of the train station and flags a taxi. The yellow cab pulls up and a short man rushes out. He quickly grabs the bags and throws them into the trunk. Simon bends low and groans in pain as he falls into the squeaky back seat. He rubs his lower back and pulls the pain pills from his briefcase popping two back without water.
“Where to sir?” the taxi driver’s thick accent floated back to him through his fog of pain.
“The City Side Inn please.”
“Are you sure you want to go there? A man of your stature might want to stay at the Ritz. It’s only a couple blocks from here and would be much nicer for you.”
Simon, used to the response to his pressed suit, shiny black shoes and name brand briefcase, doesn’t bat an eye as he responds, “The City Side Inn is much more economical for a family man like myself thank you.”
The driver shrugs and wordlessly drives on through winding street after winding street until they pull up to a motel that had seen better days. The faded yellow paint was chipping in several locations. Many shutters had fallen from the window and the remaining ones were tilted in one direction or another. The lit up sign reads “ ity S e in” instead of City Side Inn as several light bulbs must have burned out. Simon pays the driver and drags his luggage inside to a dimly lit reception desk where a bored looking middle-aged woman sits clicking at the keyboard with one finger.
“Can I help you?” she murmurs without looking up.
“Checking in under Simon…”
“Gotchu right here.” She clicks on a couple keys then opens a drawer and hands him a key. “Room 105 out these doors to the right 4 doors down.”
Simon finds himself in front of room 105 and pushes open the door, bending his tall frame to get inside. He sits on another lumpy bed, his back already protesting. He looks at the clock hoping it isn’t too late. He grabs the motel phone and dials out.
“Hello?”
“Hey it’s me. I got here safe.”
“Simon, you don’t need to tell me that anymore.”
“Sorry Mary, old habit.”
“Which is why we’re no longer together. You’re too late, I just put the kids down.”
“Please Mary, I’ve had a long trip, can I just tell them goodnight really quick?”
Silence. He holds his breath hoping she doesn’t hang up on him. He hears muffling then two sleepy voices answer the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey kids! I just wanted to wish you goodnight.”
“Where are you daddy?”
“We haven’t seen you in so long daddy.”
“I know guys, I’m on another trip I’ll be home soon.”
“Dad, don’t forget about my soccer game it’s on Saturday.”
“And, and, and don’t forget about my dance recital! It’s on Friday!”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Ok daddy. We miss you come home soon! We love you!”
“Love you both. I’ll be there I promise.”
“Simon, you need to stop making promises you can’t keep. I won’t allow you to talk to them anymore. This was our biggest problem and the biggest reason why we broke up.”
“Mary, I’m tired of this. I promise I’ll be there. This is going to be the big sale I’ve been looking for, so I don’t have to travel anymore. I should have been a better husband, I should have been there. This time is different. I’ll be there, I’ll make it up to everyone I promise.”
“You always say that.” Click.
Simon hangs up the phone and lay back down on the lumpy bed. He clenches his fists as hot tears streak his face. He sits up quickly and grabs a pad of paper writing furiously notes and plans. After an hour he smiles at his plan and lays back down. This was it. He was going to make this sale, but it was his last one with his company. He was going to strike out on his own and become his own boss. No more traveling all the time. No more bad back and sleeping on lumpy beds. He wanted to sleep in his own bed and be with his kids every night.
Simon smiles as he falls into the first peaceful sleep in a long time.

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 10

Elaine pressed against the brick wall behind the magazine stand. She closed her eyes praying that he didn’t spot her.  She heard footsteps crunch on the gravel nearby.

“Excuse me sir.” Jose’s deep voice carried on the wind. Elaine peeked through the slats of the stand. Jose motioned toward the elderly man who was rearranging the magazines and newspapers. The man looked up expectantly at Jose. “Hello there, my name is Officer Jose Sanchez and I am looking for someone in the area who might have come by this way. Do you think you can help me?” Jose held out a picture of Elaine that he must have gotten from the case file on Nick. The elderly man leaned in squinting his eyes at the picture. “I am looking for a woman in her late 20’s about 5 foot 5, dark curly hair, light eyes and olive skin. Have you happened to see anyone fitting this description?”

“I’m sorry Officer; I would remember a pretty girl like her if I saw her but so many folks pass by it’s hard for an old man like myself to keep track of who walks by. I wish I could help you but I don’t recognize that woman.” He hunched his shoulders in regret and Jose gave him a stiff smile.

“I understand but thank you for your help anyway. If you happen to see her could you please give me a call immediately? She could be in danger and need our help.” Jose handed over his card and the man took it and nodded his head, placing the card in his back pocket.

“I will keep an eye out sir, you have a good evening.” Jose tipped his head toward the man and made his way across the street. He rapped on the back door of the building and when it opened he slid inside with one last backward glance.

“Miss?” Elaine jumped as she came face to face with elderly man. He was hunched over, making him slightly shorter than herself but his eyes twinkled behind his bushy grey eyebrows. “It’s ok miss, he’s gone.”

Elaine nervously stood to her full height. “I’m not sure what you mean.” She faltered.

The man’s wrinkled face broke into a knowing grin. “I saw you hide behind my stand and I watched you stare at him from behind here. I figured there was a reason for a pretty girl like you to be hiding. Are you trying to get away from your boyfriend?”

Elaine laughed. “No he’s not my boyfriend.” The man’s bushy eyebrows rose into his ruffled grey hair. “No, no I’m not in any trouble, it’s just…well…it’s complicated.” The man continued to give her a look that made her feel like he was reading her mind. “Look, it’s just he thinks he can help me but he can’t so he is just being unnecessarily overprotective and I just needed some air…ya know what I mean?”

The man took Elaine’s hand in his leathery one and patted it. “Don’t worry miss, I won’t rat you out to your boyfriend.” Before Elaine could protest, he handed her the day’s newspaper. “This will help you out if you need another place to hide and my stand isn’t around to help.” He chuckled to himself before shuffling back to his stand.

Elaine smiled, amused by the old man. She looked at the paper and flipped through it. She noticed an article with the name of a familiar building on it, Scorpion Tower. She looked across the street at the back of Scorpion Tower. She couldn’t believe her luck. A charity gala was being held there tomorrow night. If she could score a ticket she could sneak around and find where Nick’s hideout was. It was her best chance to get as close to Nick as possible without blowing her cover. But how would she get in? Elaine smiled to herself as a plan formed in her mind.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 6

Jose’s black sedan rolled to a slow stop in a vacant parking lot underneath an overpass. He shut off the engine as he squinted out the foggy window to his left searching for someone.

“Ok Elaine. I need you to stay low. Don’t get out of the car for any reason do you understand?” Elaine nodded her eyes wide with curiosity. A few silent minutes later a blue small pick up truck cautiously pulled into the parking lot across the street. Jose threw his badge into the consol and shoved his cell phone in his pocket. “That’s him. I’ll be right back.” He slipped out of the car and strode across the street.

A tall lanky man nervously exited the blue truck and craned his neck around, glaring at Jose’s silent car. Elaine ducked down despite the car’s tinted windows. She peeked up to see Jose put his hand out to the man to shake. They began to talk, heads bent low and without Elaine being able to hear anything she easily became bored. She blew on her hands as the car cooled to the surrounding winter temperature. She glanced at her cell phone noting they had spoken for approximately 15 minutes. When she looked up again she saw that the windows were fogging up and she couldn’t see as well through them. She let out a snort of frustration as she tried to inch closer to get a better view.

If I can just get a good swipe I could see better, she thought to herself. Carefully she leaned over and using the sleeve of her wool jacket she wiped away the fog to get a better view. That was when the tall lanky man looked in her direction and noticed the gesture. She held her breath as he began to point at the car and yell animatedly. Jose looked back and put out his hands trying to calm the man down. The man reached into this back pocket and pulled out a gun pointing it at Jose.

Elaine gasped as Jose put his hands up, using slow gestures to keep the man calm. Elaine glanced down and noticed Jose had left his gun in the front seat. She grabbed it and jumped out of the car aiming it at the man.

“Drop your gun!” she called. She inched around the car steadily moving closer to the men.

“Look lady, I will not hesitate to shoot your friend here so I suggest you put your gun down.” The man snarled at her.

“Mack, look, she’s with me. She’s not a cop; she just came along for the ride.”

“She looks like a cop to me.” He stared at Jose. “I told you man, you bring anyone else along the deal was over and you’re dead.”

“Trust me Mack. She’s not going to rat you out, I promise.”

“I trusted you….”Mack glanced at Elaine then paused, recognition dawning on his face. “It’s you. You’re the one he’s after.” Mack made a noise that sounded like the mix between a laugh and snarl.

He stared at Jose. “You’re helping her? Oh this is real good man.” He shook his head and backed slowly away still steadily holding the gun to Jose’s head. “Lady, you want a piece of advice? Run. Get as far away from here as possible. I don’t know how much that will help you because Nick, he’s got people everywhere.” He looked back at Jose. “And I mean everywhere.” He smiled wickedly at the both of them as he opened the truck door and climbed in, never dropping the gun.

“He’s got this whole city in the palm of his hand.” Mack’s laughter was drowned out by the roar of his engine. He sped off into the night, tires squealing in his wake. Elaine dropped her arms; they felt like lead after tensely holding them up at Mack for so long. Jose was immediately at her side, his hands on her shoulders rubbing her arms.

“You ok?” he asked.

She looked up at him, her cheeks red with embarrassment. “Sorry I gave you away. I shouldn’t have tried to wipe the fog off the windows. I didn’t think he would see me.”

Jose sighed. “Yea you did make me lose my lead.” His smile broadened. “But not before he gave me some great information. Come on we can discuss it over some hot chocolate.”

Elaine shook her head. “Unless he told you where Nick is secretly hiding out and how we can get in to him there, I doubt his lead could help.”

Jose stopped, his smile broadening more until his dimple winked at her. “It was something like that.” Elaine’s mouth dropped in surprise. “Come on I know the perfect spot that has the best hot chocolate and apple pie. We’ve got to devise a plan if we’re going to catch Nick.”

To Be Continued…