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A Man Corrupted
It had been a while since their last case, so Inspector Burrow invited Jack to lunch at a small but excellent seafood cafe, Le Cafe de Poisson.
They both ordered and sat down, and having done that, ordered tea. It was raining like crazy, and the hot beverages were soothing.
About halfway through the meal, which was quite good indeed, something across the street caught Jack's attention.
“Inspector, didn't that man coming out of the coffee shop, who, as you will recall, entered there about ten minutes ago, not have a limp when he entered, whereas he does now?”
“Uhh...” The inspector, it appeared, hadn't noticed the man ten minutes earlier.
“Well, as I recall, he didn't...” The two, after a pause, looked at each other, and simultaneously jumped up. One slammed a one-pound note on the table for the meal and tip. They bolted out the door, and agreed that Jack would pursue the man, and that the inspector would investigate the coffee shop.
Jack ran hard to catch up with the man, who had gotten a good head start, and was walking quickly, despite the limp. He struggled to keep a visual on him, with the rain impairing his vision. But, having indeed eliminated the distance between them, Jack slowed to a pace that met the man's, and tried not to make a scene any more than he had already. Fortunately the man hadn't as of yet noticed that he was being pursued, despite frequent glances back over his shoulder, at which times Jack would look away, into a shop or something.
He phoned the inspector, during which call he quietly instructed him where to drive to in order to catch up with them. After a couple minutes, when they were crossing over a street, Jack saw the inspector's familiar police car approaching them. Having reached the other side of the street, Jack advanced and gripped the man by the shoulder, saying,
“Sir, if you'll excu-” but the man spun around, carrying with him a fist with such power it knocked Jack to the ground. The man bolted up the sidewalk, defying the pain it must've brought him from his leg wound. Jack heard Burrow hesitate, then floor it, having made the turn.
Jack leaped up, and again ran after the man, who was shouting people out of the way. The inspector, having attained a good distance, slid his car around to the right, up over the curb, and onto the sidewalk, and jumped out. He and drew the Glock pistol in his belt holster, and stayed on his side of the car, with the weapon pointed to the other side. The man just kept going, though, but dodged over to his left, and leaped up onto the back of the car, to continue running on the opposite side. He was hindered from this, however, by a shot from Jack's was-concealed weapon, to the man's lower left leg. (Jack always, when out in town, had a handgun on him of some kind.) The fugitive was in midair above the police car at this point, and fell forward to the sidewalk. Inspector Burrow searched handcuffed him at once, and helped him into the car. Jack then came up panting, and felt his jaw, grinning. He enjoyed a stimulating run once in a while, all the more so in the rain.
At the police station, the man's scrapes from falling on the concrete in that manner were cared for. He was brought to trial some weeks later, Jack and Inspector Burrow having investigated further. The charge was, “attempted and near murder of a government official” and “theft of government property.”
As it turned out, the man had met a businessman at that coffee shop, by plan of both parties, to discuss a matter of a large sum of money, and, the conversation having not gone the way the first man had intended, shot the other man from under the table and took the bank notes that man had been entrusted with, by government. The second man shot the first in the leg, before collapsing to the floor (though he did make it, barely). The first then escaped with the money in his overcoat.
Jack was sitting in the front row of the courtroom during the trial. The prisoner was standing there, sullen, mumbling answers to the judge's questions. But toward the end, when the judge was gathering the papers that were strewn about his desk, a powerful shot rang out in the room that sounded as if it came from a rifle with a suppressor. The judge fell forward on the desk. A general cry of astonishment broke out among the audience and jury. Looking to the back of the courtroom, the person they knew had been there wasn't. Jack and several policemen, including the inspector, ran to the back double-doors. The four police officers that had been on guard in the lobby lay unconscious, and one of the two, big double-doors of the main entrance of the building stood partially open.
Jack didn't stop running. He just ran right through the door, banging it fully open with his fist, and took a long, single stride down the four small steps, pulling the Ruger LCR pistol from the holster on his belt, that was concealed beneath his jacket. He, along with three of the officers, ran left, while the others ran right. “Do what Mason says!” Inspector Burrow shouted at the officers going left with Jack, while running right himself.
Now, the courthouse was located on a long, straight road, with no parking garages, or anywhere really, to pull a car into, save the courthouse itself, within around 100 meters. And there wasn't a car on the street. The parking lot for the courthouse was roped off with several guards, who were standing around the perimeter, conscious and well, totally oblivious that anything was going on. So the assassin couldn't have escaped in a car. And there wasn't anyone within view that was toting around a rifle, or anything big enough to put one in. So a thought occurred to Jack, after they had covered around 50 meters of ground up the sidewalk: There's bushes in front of the courthouse... He turned halfway around, slowing his pace, and saw someone, with, indeed, a rifle with a suppressor, bolting away from the courthouse, heading to an alley.
“There!” Jack shouted to the officers, who were now a few paces ahead of him. They altered their course, and ran harder still, to the alleyway, Jack waving two of the three officers down a nearer alley, so as to try and block the man off. Jack and the other policeman reached the alley the man had gone down, shortly before, but it appeared vacant. There was no way he could have made it to the other end already. No way. And, as far as Jack could see, there were no doors along either of the walls that comprised the alleyway. So, they would have to some how find the man from amongst the dumpsters and loose garbage, without getting shot in the process.
Jack motioned for the other officers, now on the other end of the alleyway, to stay there. He then got out of the possible view of the man they were after, so as to avoid being sighted in the scope of the man's rifle, and motioned for the officer next to him to do the same. Next, he had that officer radio the others, on the other end of the alley, to get out of view as well, but to stay sharp, in case the man tried making a run for it through their end.
He called the inspector, told him what was going on, and requested additional men.
Shortly after, Burrow indeed arrived with the men. Two of them with rifles were posted a fair distance from each end of the alleyway, lying prone, in some bushes across the street. Burrow, with two others, went to the top of one of the buildings that made up the alley, sending three more to the top of the other building. From there, they scanned the alley floor, using binoculars, but, after ten full minutes of scrutiny, radioed down that they didn't see him. So, keeping the men with the rifles posted, Jack and the rest of the officers began the search, with the same amount of men approaching from either end. As the search progressed, they received regular reports from the roof:
“Nothing.” 30 seconds later,
“Nothing.” 30 seconds later,
Now there were around five dumpsters in the alley. At each dumpster, the policemen would surround it, have someone open it, and two of them would get in and rummage around.
The other group of men were two dumpsters over. Someone in Jack's group had lifted the lid of the one at hand, and Jack and a sergeant were jumping over the edge, after having peered in. Suddenly one of the policemen in the other dumpster yelled, as he was pulled down into the garbage. Jack and the sergeant leaped back out, and ran after the others, who were already bolting up the alleyway. When they got there, the man they were after was half out of the dumpster, being pulled out by three officers. The man he'd pulled under was fine, and standing nearby.
They loaded the assassin into a cruiser. As they were about to leave for the police station, a policeman approached the inspector and said sheepishly,
“Sir, uh... t-the man on trial, he... he escaped.” Burrow just caught himself from shouting. Barely controlling himself, he said,
“Any idea where he went? Which way? Anything?”
“No. No sir. Sorry sir. He just.......... he's gone.” The inspector slowly exhaled with clenched fist.
“Well, hey, we got the only real murderer in the case, Burrow.” Jack smiled, but the optimism was deflected by a severe glare. Burrow walked away.
Jack was little put down about the situation, and studied anything that might help in finding their man.
But there was an immense wall of difficulty that lay before him. How on earth would he find this man, now that he had escaped? Vanished. Ah, well this is exactly the thinking that he didn't let enter his mind. He deliberately pushed it aside. What good would it do to despair?!
He researched and researched all he could on the man. The fellow's name, he had found through the unfinished case, was Edward J. Black. He had had some small influence in government in recent years, but had been thrown out. He'd brandished his greed. This recent act of nearly killing a governmental official, and stealing the money he'd had on his person, again showed his corruption.
Two full weeks of researching this man may have brought some interesting information on him, but brought Jack and Burrow no closer to finding him. But, after, indeed, two weeks, Jack found something. He had been receiving, upon request, three major Scottish newspapers. In one was listed the new members of the Conservation Agency, based out of Edinburgh. He glanced through them.
“Well waddya know...” He smiled.
“Edward J. Black” was listed among them.
Inspector Burrow was home on a holiday, but Jack called him anyway. They agreed to meet at the police station. Through the long, difficult process of working with the English and Scottish government to get permission of arrest of someone in Scottish government, Burrow finally received that permission, and he, four of his men, and Jack, headed for Edinburgh.
They had discovered that there would be a celebration of the newly elected members of the Conservation Agency in one of the city's large buildings. They went right to it.
“Looking for a Mr. Edward Black, if you please.” Burrow and his men had dressed undercover, and were now, along with Jack, standing at the front desk of the building.
“But, uh,” Burrow added, “if you'd be so kind as to not let him know the man asking for him is English.” The lady at the desk looked somewhat puzzled, but proceeded anyway.
A few minutes later, the young man that had gone looking for Mr. Black returned, followed by the fellow himself, who was laughing heartily. But as soon as he saw Burrow, and Jack standing by him, his expression went through such an extreme change, he nearly looked a different man. But, as if something had occurred to him, he now put on a smug look, and defiantly walked up to Jack and pointed his finger in his face.
“What are you going to do now? Can't have me arrested here.” His dark smile grew.
“Forgive me for correcting you,” Burrow began, sarcastically, “but I must say, you're mistaken.” He held up the permit of arrest. The man's expression again changed, now to one of incredulity.
“Mr. Edward J. Black, I hereby arrest you for the near murder of a government official, theft of government property, and purposely evading trial for those actions.”