Authors: C.L. Swinney
He continued. “I’ve been asked to figure this out and keep Pedro alive. However, if the bosses don’t tell me where Pedro is; I can’t do my job, plain and simple. I’m working this case as a favor and I’m a long way from home.”
“Oh they’ll come around, let’s see what the youngsters found out,” replied DG as he patted Dix on the shoulder.
They walked into the lobby of the hospital and found Romero and Wally standing near a group of SWAT guys. It appeared an interesting discussion was taking place and Romero and Wally hadn’t noticed them walking up to the group.
One of the SWAT Deputies sarcastically remarked, as Dix and DG joined the group, “Look, it’s the ‘Jurassic Narc’ and one of his old buddies.”
Before DG could fire back, Dix looked the SWAT deputy square in the eye and said, “Son, I call bullshit. I’d say a little physical test is in order. You want to see if you can match me in push-ups or pull-ups?”
All the guys in the group were “ooing” and “awing” and the young SWAT Deputy looked stunned and red in the face. “You serious old man? I’m sure I’m going to smoke you on either of them, but let’s go with pull-ups.” Although the SWAT deputy was feigning confidence, Dix could see the poor guy was nervous as hell.
Everyone looked at Dix, but he intentionally waited to reply in order to build suspense.
“Okee Dokee, pull-ups it is, you got a pull-up bar in your fancy black truck over there,” Dix asked as he pointed to the SWAT Bearcat.
The SWAT Deputy nodded. The team leader held his hand up and said, “Don’t ask why, but we have one in the Bearcat.”
A few friendly wagers were placed as the pack of men sauntered over to the Bearcat. Dix was enjoying himself and knew the little act was working well to break the ice and give everyone a little breather. He trained cross-fit five days a week, was retired military, and in phenomenal shape. Even though the SWAT deputy was half his age and built like an Olympian, he was pretty sure he would win the friendly competition.
The SWAT team leader ran ahead and pulled out a pull up bar that could be affixed to a door way. The SWAT truck was large enough to accommodate the bar and give room for Dix and the SWAT deputy to hang and do their repetitions. The group formed a half-circle around the back of the truck to get a good view of the competition.
Dix looked at his competitor and smirked. “Well sport, you want to set the number I have to beat or should I?” He was sure the SWAT Deputy was so pumped he would want to go first.
The youngster nodded and replied, “Oh I got this old man. I’ll go first.”
Dix was happy to let the man go first. He wanted to see how many pull-ups he’d have to beat. He guessed 18-20 max.
Dix replied, “I figured as much. Beauty before age I guess.”
The SWAT deputy grabbed the bar and cranked out 15 pull-ups without slowing down.
, thought Dix.
After 10 more, Dix’s competitor began slowing down. His final total was 25 pull-ups. Last time he had done pull-ups he was able to manage 20, and he almost gave himself a heart attack.
The SWAT deputy came down from the rack and proudly strutted over to Dix. There was a lot of laughter and hooting and hollering. The SWAT Deputy raised his hand to silence the audience and said to Dix, “You won’t even manage 20. It’s a shame you old timers never get it. It’s a young man’s game now.”
DG looked over at Dix and said, “Dix, you sure you want to do this?”
“Oh I am sure and I got this in the bag. You want to make a little extra spending money, find someone who will give you odds, I’m going to do at least ten more than him.”
Dix walked over to the pull up bar and pulled himself up. He cranked out 20 pull-ups without stopping. His arms and shoulders felt good and already knew he had the kid beat. He started show-boating a bit by doing pronounced pull-ups, one at a time, quite deliberately. Then he looked over to see if DG had made a little wager. DG smiled at him and slightly nodded indicating he’d made a bet.
Dix could see some concern in the face of the SWAT deputy when he was at his 24th pull-up. To mess with the SWAT deputy a bit, he began making it look as though he was struggling mightily and wasn’t going make it to twenty-five. The roaring of the crowd that had amassed was deafening. Finally, Dix felt he was beginning to get tired so he ripped out five more pull ups quickly while winking at the SWAT Deputy. For good measure and to send a message, Dix managed to do twenty-nine pull ups.
He came off the bar and his arms were like Jell-O and he was light headed.
I’m going to pay for this tomorrow
, he thought. He knew the kid would be embarrassed and that was okay, but you don’t build camaraderie like that. He walked right over to the beaten opponent, shook his hand, and slapped him on the back.
Dix hushed the crowd and said, “Son, you surprised me. You learned a lesson today, never judge an old Narc by his appearance, and never assume you can beat him because you’re half his age.”
The SWAT Deputy shook Dix’s hand and replied, “You’re still an old fart, but I respect you for sure now.”
The group talked amongst each other and decided when this was all over, they’d all head out for drinks. The tension and frustration everyone had been feeling prior to the fun was temporarily forgotten, which was Dix’s plan all along.
Dix, Romero, DG, and Wally chatted a bit more with the fellas trying to extract any updates they could. Dix was impressed with Romero’s tenacity as he asked every single person amongst them if they knew where Pedro was. Unfortunately, no one knew his location. Dix decided it was time to place a call to Doug Kovach and find out what was really going on.
As Dix dialed Kovach’s number he looked up to see Kovach’s Ford Crown Victoria speeding through the lot directly toward their location.
Kovach’s facial expressions made Dix think he was extremely upset. He climbed out of his car and made a beeline toward Dix. Dix felt whatever he had to say probably wasn’t good. He broke away from the group to meet Kovach away from the stragglers.
Kovach angrily said to Dix, “These assholes don’t have anything better to do than a bunch of pull ups with you?”
Dix fired back, “Doug, why don’t you tell me why you’re really mad. I’m too old to deal with anyone’s BS.”
“Okay, I will. My bosses moved Pedro without telling me or anyone else. To make it worse, I don’t think he’s even in San Diego anymore. They told me they didn’t believe anyone could protect Pedro, and that I needed to focus on getting these cartel members in custody ASAP or I’d be transferred… maybe even fired.”
“Well that makes sense, Doug. Two deputies are dead and the cartel almost had Pedro for the second time. There’s someone close to this investigation feeding them information,” replied Dix.
“If we don’t find that someone soon, this is going to spiral out of control, if it hasn’t already,” Kovach replied as he nervously tapped his fingers on the hood of the car.
Dix was no stranger to chaos. In fact, he thrived in it. The situation was bleak and he found it very odd that no one supposedly knew where Pedro was. Since he and Petersen were asked to protect Pedro and were not told where Pedro was, Dix surmised the higher-ups agreed there was someone leaking information to the killers.
He tried to reassure Kovach, “Listen, we’re going to hit the streets to see what we can find out.”
“Ok, please find me something, I’m getting hammered
by the brass,” replied Kovach. The pressure from his superiors was slowly crushing him and he was worried about Pedro.
As the agents and officers headed out to their cars, Kovach asked Dix to stay behind for a second. The two exchanged a few words and Kovach jumped in his car and sped away.
As Dix got into the car with Romero he mumbled and tried to get his cell phone to power on. Romero noticed he seemed pissed off and thought about asking him about it.
Dix was able to dial Petersen, but got no answer. He left a message that simply said, “Steve call me ASAP.”
Dix looked over at Romero and said, “I hope you have some great informants. Kovach isn’t concerned with Pedro any more, he believes the cartel is coming for the thirty-million dollars that was in Pedro’s car.”
Romero felt his heart accelerate, yet caught his initial reaction, which could indicate his involvement with all this.
Romero flatly replied, “You bet I do, head toward the border.”
Kovach grimaced as he dialed a man he loathed…Jose Calderon. It reminded Kovach how fake he was and what a disgrace he had become to his profession. Their relationship had begun on the legal side of things. Calderon was an informant for Kovach, but Kovach allowed him to get too close. Eventually Calderon set him up during a significant buy-bust operation. Kovach made the decision to save himself and work for the cartel instead of going to prison because the place was full of people he’d put away and he wouldn’t last five minutes on the inside. It was a damned if you do, and damned if you don’t situation. He turned to alcohol as a means to deal with his depression. Over time, he became a functioning alcoholic.
Jose Calderon looked down at his cell phone and noticed Kovach was calling him. He chuckled as he recalled how he played the Homeland Security Investigations supervisor years ago and now he owned him.
Calderon answered the phone. “This better be good.”
“We have two problems. First, Pedro has been moved and I have no idea where.”
“We don’t pay you for more questions, we pay you for answers. You need to locate Pedro immediately. What’s the second problem?”
Kovach hated being talked to like a two year old child. He reluctantly tried to provide Calderon answers to stall him.
“The money has been bagged and stored. It will be moved in three days to a bank. You’re going to need a small army to retrieve it.”
Calderon was already made aware of the situation by a janitor he paid for information who worked at various law enforcement facilities including the warehouse in question, and El Hefe had given him the update. Nevertheless, he needed Kovach to get schedules, blueprints, camera positions, and other details in order for his crew to make a successful attempt on stealing the money back.
“I expect the details in six hours. We’re coming in two days for the boss’s money. Do not mess this up Kovach.”
Every word out of Calderon’s mouth stung.
he told himself.
“I’ll get you what I can. I’ll meet you at the same spot in six hours,” said Kovach. He hung up his cell phone and shattered it on the pavement.
You got me once bastard, never again
Petersen had Sullivan drive because admittedly he knew nothing about San Diego. Plus, it gave him time to check his voicemails. He got to the one from Dix and immediately dialed Dix back.
Dix answered right away. “Steve, before you guys left Kovach told me the scoop. The superiors agreed there is a leak and moved Pedro. They told no one where he is. Kovach also told me three informants close to the cartels in the area told him the guys trying to kill Pedro are more interested in the thirty-million dollars. He thinks the cartel will come soon to get the money.”
“Are you serious?” Petersen did not believe the cartel would be foolish enough to try to steal money from a law enforcement facility.
“I’m afraid so. Romero and I are trying to identify some guys to help us find them before they can group up and plan the attempt on the warehouse.”
Petersen considered this for a few moments. He felt it was eerily similar to the situation back in the Bahamas a few years prior, accept this time, the bad guys wanted money not cocaine.
Petersen said, “The leak had information on Pedro quickly, he or she is going to have all the details on the warehouse as well. The cartel may just be able to pull it off. If nothing else, they’ll make an attempt that’s for sure,” he whistled, “I mean, it’s thirty million dollars, who could pass that up, right?”
He was about to share his thoughts with Dix on how to protect the warehouse when Sullivan slammed on the brakes and turned the car down an alley. She stepped on the accelerator and Petersen could see a group of guys shooting dice in the alley in front of them.
Petersen told Dix, “I’ll call you back. Dig up something useful would ya.”
Sullivan said to Petersen, “These guys are going to split. My CI is wearing the red jacket. He’s going to fake an injury and allow us to catch him. Just follow my lead.” Petersen caught himself admiring her aggressiveness.
However, he looked at her as though she was crazy based on the way she was speeding down the alley. But, he liked the little ruse Sullivan had worked out with her CI and he was curious to see how it worked out.
The car came to a screeching halt. Without warning, Sullivan sprung out of the driver seat and gave chase to the men who were huddled together shooting dice. She was half way to the group before Petersen even got out of the car.
Petersen noticed the CI gave Sullivan the slip by doubling back. He hid behind a dumpster and waited. He heard footsteps getting closer to him. One, two, three, he jumped out and tackled the CI. As the two wrestled on the ground, Sullivan caught back up and helped Petersen handcuff the CI. She was out of breath and cursing at the CI.