â€śThere he goes. Thatâ€™s the one.â€ť
â€śHe doesnâ€™t look dangerous. Looks like a salesman.â€ť
â€śNo. Thatâ€™s him for sure. My source canâ€™t be wrong.â€ť
â€śThen letâ€™s go do it. What are we waiting for?â€ť
â€śThe right moment.â€ť
Jimmy Sullivan walked out of the bank. He didnâ€™t get the loan. It was cold but he let his overcoat rest in his arm. He stood at the edge of the snow covered sidewalk and started searching for something in the pocket of his overcoat.
â€śWhatâ€™s he doing? Is he reaching for his gun? He knows weâ€™re here.â€ť
â€śRelax he just lit a cigarette. Iâ€™m telling you he doesnâ€™t look like our guy.â€ť
â€śMy source canâ€™t be wrong.â€ť
â€śI mean look at him. Heâ€™s fat and short and bald. Just doesnâ€™t look like a spy. Iâ€™ll bet he couldnâ€™t even kill a mouse. Probably just a loser applying for a loan to start another business or something.â€ť
â€śWell thereâ€™s no way to find that out now is there.â€ť
â€śThereâ€™s one way.â€ť
â€śHey where are you going? TED! God damn it.â€ť
Ted put his gun in the holster and got out of the car. He wrapped his overcoat tight around himself as he made his way across the quiet street. Jimmy was standing there lost in his own thought frantically trying to finish the cigarette. Bob looked on from his car and realised he had his hand wrapped tightly around his gun. His instincts told him that they had the right guy. But he also knew Ted wonâ€™t go ahead with it unless he was sure. He looked on as Jimmy lit a cigarette for Ted.
â€śExcuse me. Do you have a light? Sure is cold as hell today.â€ť
â€śYeah. Cold as hell.â€ť
â€śSo you work at the bank?â€ť
â€śNo. No. I just came to apply for a loan. You know start my own business and all. Start over.â€ť
â€śI know what you mean. So didnâ€™t like your last job or got fired. You know for sucking at it.â€ť
â€śNo. No. I didnâ€™t suck. I was very good actually. But there comes a time when you just have to move on, you know. When you just get tired of doing the same thing over and over again, you know.â€ť
â€śYeah I know what you mean. So what business were you thinking?â€ť
â€śThatâ€™s right. Tomatoes. You know growing them, packaging and transporting them to markets. The whole thing. Like a tomato factory.â€ť
â€śYeah I didnâ€™t get the loan though. I guess Iâ€™ll try some more banks.â€ť
â€śYeah you do that. Donâ€™t give up. Listen I gotta run. It was nice talking to you.â€ť
â€śSame here. Take care now. Let me know if you need any tomatoes.â€ť
Jimmy watched as the cop walked away and got in his car. HeÂ couldn’tÂ believe what kind of detectives they were letting into the force now. That guy looked, spoke, even smelled like a cop. He might as well have been wearing a board around his neck saying Iâ€™m a cop. As soon as the anger and frustration over that cop went away heÂ realizedÂ what might have happened if that cop hadnâ€™t been stupid enough to come to him. He lit another cigarette and started thinking of ways of killing these two idiots.
â€śWhat the fuck were you doing? You could have got both of us killed.â€ť
â€śRelax Bob. Heâ€™s not our guy. The idiot wants to open a tomato factory. Can you believe that? And heâ€™s wondering why he didnâ€™t get the loan.â€ť
â€śAre you sure? Coz my source has never been wrong before.â€ť
â€śOf course Iâ€™m sure. This guy is a total loser man. Letâ€™s get out of here and get something to drink. I froze my fucking balls out there talking to that loser.â€ť
â€śHey I donâ€™t know man. I say we at least follow him and make sure whether heâ€™s the one or not.â€ť
â€śFine. Letâ€™s follow him. But if he goes into a bar weâ€™re going in for a drink as well.â€ť
â€śFuck. Where did he go? Did you see him?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know. Why werenâ€™t you looking at him?â€ť
â€śCoz I was fucking arguing with you.â€ť
â€śOkay letâ€™s go check him out. But I still donâ€™t think heâ€™s the one so relax.â€ť
â€śFuck you man. Take it seriously or we both will be dead by morning.â€ť
Jimmy held the cigarette lightly from his lips as he put his overcoat on and tuck the file of documents between his side and arm. He was looking straight ahead but was seeing the two cops argue in their car. His mind was concentrating on the escape routes. The two cops looked at each other for a moment and that was all he needed. He felt his body diving towards the corner before he thought about going that way. In a second he was out of their view, standing with his back against the wall. Once again he felt that rush of adrenalin that drove him during his young days. He counted to ten, instead of three, coz he knew those two idiots would argue a bit before coming out of their car.
â€śYou take the right side of the bank and Iâ€™ll go from the left. He must have gone that way.â€ť
â€śWhat are you talking about heâ€™s just a tomato farmer Bob. Relax will you. Come weâ€™ll both go this way and Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll see him getting into his car. If the loser has a car that is.â€ť
â€śTed Iâ€™m telling you I donâ€™t feel good about this.â€ť
â€śAlright alright. Letâ€™s go.â€ť
Ted and Bob walked to the right corner of the bank. There was no one there or in the alley beside the bank. The snow on the sidewalk had too many foot prints and it was hard to make out which oneâ€™s belonged to the tomato farmer. The cops decided to split up and see where he went. Ted searched the alley and went all the way around the bank but he was nowhere. Bob had searched the streets in front of the bank and there was no sign of him there either.
â€śDid you see him Ted?â€ť
â€śNo. I think he might have gotten into a cab or something.â€ť
â€śDamn it Ted. Somethingâ€™s not right. I mean look around you. Itâ€™s so fucking cold there is no one out here. How can we lose a fat guy on these empty streets?â€ť
â€śWell where did he go then? He couldnâ€™t have just disappeared. Maybe he went back in the bank?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know man. Somethingâ€™s not right.â€ť
â€śLetâ€™s get in the car. Itâ€™s so fucking cold.â€ť
Jimmy counted to ten and heard the cops slam their car doors. Amateurs. He walked briskly around the bank shuffling his feet in the snow, spreading snow everywhere, so that no foot prints were left. He reached the front of the bank from the other side and the two cops had split up. He knew one of them was coming around the bank and he had only a few seconds to cross the street and reach the cops car. He waited, crouching behind a car, watching the other cop. As soon as he turned around, jimmy made across the street, crouching all the while. He hid behind the copsâ€™ car and took a paper clip out of his file and threw the file under the car. He picked the lock on the door and got in. Opening the glove box he found what he was looking for, a gun. The other cop had come around the bank and the two of them were discussing what to do next. As they made their way towards the car, still arguing, Jimmy got in the back and hid behind the passenger seat.
â€śSo what are we going to do now?â€ť Bob said as he turned the ignition on to get some heat flowing in the car. Before Ted could answer Jimmy had seized him from behind and had the 45 pressed hard into his temple.
â€śNow we are going to go some place quite and have a chat.â€ť Jimmy said even as Bob turned around and seeing what he saw, almost jumped out of his seat.
â€śGo straight and take the first right. That will take us out on route 66. Not much traffic out there at this time of the year. That will give us some peace and quite to talk about our present situation.â€ť Bob still pressed hard against the door looked at Ted.
â€śGo on Bob. Do as he says.â€ť Ted said trying to hide the panic from his voice.
Bob put the car in gear and drove out into the wilderness.
â€śSo! Bob is it? And whatâ€™s your name?â€ť
Ted thought about lying but realised it was of no benefit to him, â€śTedâ€ť he said.
â€śBob and Ted!â€ť Jimmy said almost laughing. â€śYou two could not be any more stereotypical cops! Well Bob keep driving straight. I am just going to reach into your side and grab your firearm. No sudden movements there Ted or youâ€™ll die of your own bullet.â€ť He took their guns one by one and threw them out of the window.
â€śWhatâ€™s your name then?â€ť Ted tried to be bold and start a conversation.
â€śYou donâ€™t even know that?â€ť
â€śI mean what do you call yourself right now? We know your real nameâ€™s Dan Thomas. From Iowa, played college football, had a heartbreak and joined the army. 20 years doing missions for CIA. Till you went rouge, stole a whole lot of government money.â€ť
â€śWell well so you donâ€™t suck completely at your job. Know a lot about me. But you donâ€™t need to know my name. Just call me Jim.â€ť
â€śOkay Jim. I can understand why you went rouge. A spy has no life and I know that. I understand why you stole that money. A life on the run needs a lot of money. But what I donâ€™t understand is what you are doing right now.â€ť Ted said gaining more confidence. â€śI mean you were off the grid for a long time. Then a few weeks ago we get a tip that you are in town visiting local banks. I mean are you seriously going to farm tomatoes?â€ť
â€śStop the car right here Bob.â€ť Jimmy said without seeming flustered by Tedâ€™s questions. They got out of the car and headed into the forest. Bob, Ted and right behind him Jimmy, holding a gun to Tedâ€™s back. Bob realised this was way out of hand now. The chances of them being dead by evening were very high. He cursed himself for not listening to his intuition. Ted on the other hand was still trying to make something happen. He continued to taunt Jim, â€śYou must have been desperate to come back here. Trying to get a loan to grow tomatoes!â€ť More than annoying Jim he was making Bob nervous.
â€śShut up Ted.â€ť
â€śWhat? I mean you have to agree itâ€™s really pathetic. From a spy to a tomato farmer!â€ť
â€śShut up Ted. Obviously he didnâ€™t tell you the truth. Thatâ€™s not what he was doing in the bank.â€ť Bob tried to make sense, â€śwere you?â€ť
Jimmy stayed silent and tried to find the perfect spot. They reached a little opening in the forest at what looked like a small frozen pond. He told both the cops to get on their knees right in the middle of the pond. He moved behind them and placed the gun behind Bobâ€™s head. Bob started breathing heavily and felt like he was loosing consciousness even before he had been shot. Ted tried to say something to delay the inevitable, hoping that theyâ€™d catch a break from somewhere but before he could say anything Jim had pressed the trigger.
Bob fell forward and Ted threw himself at Jim screaming â€śNooooooâ€ť. They both fell on the ice and skidded a few metres. Ted was now on top of old Jimmy and flying punches at his face. Jimmy let go of the gun and tried to block his punches. Ted was confused at why he had let the gun go but jumped on the ice and grabbed the gun and skidded a turn and fired three times at Jim. Nothing happened as Jim got up slowly holding his face.
â€śItâ€™s empty Ted.â€ť Bob said getting up on his feet having regained consciousness now. â€śI remember now I took the bullets out a few weeks ago when my son found the gun in the glove box.â€ť
â€śOh thank god you arenâ€™t dead; wait, why you didnâ€™t tell me earlier that the gun was empty. You let him bring us all the way out here?â€ť
â€śYeah I totally forgot about it man. Iâ€™m sorry man.â€ť
â€śOh youâ€™re sorry! I thought you were dead. I thought I was going to die and you are sorry?â€ť
â€śWill you two shut up!â€ť shouted Jimmy who was in a lot of pain because of the fall and Tedâ€™s punches. â€śAll this time Iâ€™ve had an upper hand because of your arguing. You waste so much time on that. Even now I could have disappeared into the forest while you were fighting.â€ť
â€śWell why didnâ€™t you?â€ť Bob asked.
â€śBecause Iâ€™m tired of running. Look, you were right; life on the run needs a lot of money. A whole lot more than I stole. I ran out a few years ago. Thatâ€™s when I came back. I just wanted to be home. Since then I have been working minimum wage. At first I was waiting for someone to find me and kill me. Actually I was hoping for that. But you guys donâ€™t bother about minimum wage America. And then I started dreaming of a life. I started saving. What I told you was right. I wanted to farm tomatoes. I needed a loan to buy the land and farm equipment but no loans for us poor folks. And as soon a guy starts making regular visits to banks he comes back on the radar. I start making a little bit of a life for myself now you want to kill me.â€ť Jimmy sat down on the ice exhausted. Ted and Bob looked at Jimmy and then looked at each other. They walked over to him and sat down by his side. The three of them sat there without saying a word for some time.
â€śI am sorry about your face.â€ť Ted said after a while. â€śBut in my defence you were trying to kill us.â€ť He added. Jim tried to laugh a little through his swollen lips.
â€śItâ€™s so fucking cold today!â€ť Bob said after some time.
â€śYeah letâ€™s get out of here.â€ť Ted said.
The three of them got up and walked back to the car.
â€śWhat a day huh?â€ť
â€śYeah. What a day!â€ť
Ted and Bob had decided to let the old pro off the hook. They understood his story and felt sympathy for him. This was an old case and nobody bothered anymore. Thatâ€™s why they had gotten it even though they were not so experienced. They could go back and easily report that the tip had been a dead end. Jimmy thanked then by giving them some pointers on stalking. They dropped him off near his home and drove off.
â€śLetâ€™s go to a bar.â€ť
â€śWhat? We need to go back to the station and file our report.â€ť
â€śCome on Bob donâ€™t tell me you canâ€™t use a drink right now.â€ť
â€śFine letâ€™s go to a bar. I need to drown the fact that you almost got me killed today.â€ť
â€śWhat? You are the one who forgot that the gun was empty.â€ť
â€śHey I told you to be careful from the beginning but you never listen to me.â€ť
â€śHe turned out to be a tomato farmer, didnâ€™t he?â€ť
â€śOh shut up Ted.â€ť
â€śJust shut up.â€ť
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