Community General Hospital –
“Hondo answer me; what’s going on?”
He didn’t know where to begin but he wasn’t leaving without telling her the truth and afterwards, asking for her forgiveness. Hondo pulled a chair closer and sat down.
“What about him, Hondo? This is the second time you’ve brought him up.”
“I think he had something to do with Buck’s death.”
“Buck Spivey? I thought his death was a suicide!”
“Nia, Buck left me a file…it has all sorts of…”
Hondo’s phone began to ring; it was Commander Hicks and he knew he couldn’t send this call to voicemail like the other calls he’d gotten earlier from Luca and Chris.
“Hey Commander…I’m sorry…I… yes, yes…I’m on my way!”
Hondo turned toward Nia he saw the questions and the fear; she saw his too. His was in trouble somehow and now he’d drawn her into it with him. Her mind took her back to their trip over a year ago to Arizona when getting pulled over by a Sheriff’s deputy sent him over the edge. Now that same fear and anger was in his eyes again. It was more than she could handle back then and whatever was underneath it all scared her because it was brewing, and he hadn’t dealt with it like he’d promised; he hadn’t dealt with it at all.
“Nia, that was my boss; I didn’t call in and he’s looking for me. I have to go but I promise, I’ll be back, and I’ll tell you everything.”
“Nia, I’m sorry I didn’t mean for you to get hurt but I’m going to make him pay…”
He was halfway to the door before he turned back.
“Be careful.” She pleaded.
He nodded and then he was gone.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Hondo rushed through the doors and down the long gray corridor towards Ops, nearly running into Cmdr. Hicks who was waiting for him with arms across his chest and a familiar scowl on his face.
“Look Commander, I should have called but a friend of mine…”
“Save it we’ll deal with that later! Right now, we have more pressing things to talk about; follow me.”
Hondo was surprised to see the entire team in Ops with the monitors active. Hondo stopped dead in his tracks; Herman Lauder’s picture was one of two pictures on the screens.
“Guys, what’s going on?”
“Luca here seems to believe the team may have a stalker or better yet, you Sergeant, have a stalker.” Hicks answered.
“Yeah, this guy, Maurice Jamison; he’s the gentleman on the left has been at our last 3 crime scenes.” Luca began.
“So what maybe he lives in the area.”
“I think it’s more than that; he’s watching us, you like he’s planning, taking mental notes.”
“Come on Luca.”
“Hondo, you know Luca and you know he’s not paranoid.” Deacon began.
“Didn’t you tell us to trust our instincts, Hondo?” Chris asked.
“The man on the right is…” Tan began.
“Herman Lauder.” Hondo finished.
“You know him?” Street asked.
“I know of him, but…”
The warning to stop looking began ringing in Hondo’s ears. He wasn’t sure how to tell them what he should have told them days before. Besides, who would believe him; they’d all watched how Buck’s death had affected him and how he was nearly suspended for insisting that everyone, the detectives, the coroner had gotten it wrong. He’d come dangerously close to accusing the department of covering up Buck’s death. Now here he was again.
“You have something to share Sergeant because if you do, you better start talking!” Hicks commanded.
“Last week I got a call from Jeannie Spivey…”
“Yeah. She said she’d found a file among some of Buck’s things and it was addressed to me. She wanted to meet and so I went over to Buck’s old place and she handed me this large envelope filled with notes and stuff; pictures and a flash drive, all about Herman Lauder.”
“Hondo, why would Buck have a file on this guy? From what we can find, he’s some big shot real estate developer and community do-gooder.” Luca began.
“He’s known for donating big bucks to local charities and some people say that he’s considering a run for mayor in two years.” Chris added.
“I’m just telling you what I saw. I’m not even sure what it all means, but whatever it is, I think it’s what got Buck killed.”
“Not this again! Hondo, Buck committed suicide! We’ve been here before, remember? I almost had to suspend your ass because you were insisting there was some sort of cover up!”
“I know, commander but I’m telling you, Buck was murdered and this file he left me proves it!”
“Then we need to see that file.”
Office of Herman Lauder –
Now Maurice was nervous, he had sent a message to the brother in blue warning him to stop poking his nose in his boss’s affairs. The battered body of his lady friend should have been enough to get him to back off, but it hadn’t. In fact, by all indications, he had stepped up his efforts to find the well-hidden dirt on Herman’s operation.
Herman entered his office to find his friend pacing the floor. It was odd to see the normally calm man nervous. Herman had come to rely on his employee’s calm but clearly something had him upset.
“I paid good money for that rug you’re insisting on wearing a hole in.”
“Hey boss.” Maurice continued to pace.
“What’s got you going?”
“I paid Harrelson’s lady friend a visit last night. I made sure she knew that I was there because of him!”
“It didn’t stop him! He’s got his whole team involved now! I’ve gotten alerts on my computer that he’s looking and he’s using some pretty high-tech software; we’re not going to be able to hide much longer!”
“Relax, I’ll make a few phone calls; I have some people who owe me some favors. Whether he likes it or not, Sgt. Harrelson’s search into my affairs are over!”
“I hope you’re right, because if he doesn’t stop, he’s dead!”
“Don’t worry, now get out of here I have dinner plans with a beautiful brunette and who knows I might come in late tomorrow if all goes well.”
“Herman you old dog; my man! Don’t let me stop you, enjoy yourself!”
“Oh, I plan to; I plan to!”
The two shared a hearty chuckle while Herman prepared to leave, and Maurice headed toward the door.
“Why don’t you pay the good sergeant a visit; get to know him up close and personal.”
Maurice smiled a toothy grin and nodded knowingly.
“That sounds like a great idea. I think I just might do that.”
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Three official looking men walked into Ops. They arrived to see the team busy working on something that was not an active case; they’d received a call to make sure this investigation came to a halt immediately. Hicks was the first to notice the three suited men and he was visibly irritated by their presence.
“Can I help you gentlemen?”
The older of the three flashed his badge and nodded to the others to do the same.
“Agent Walters, Department of the Treasury, Special Investigations Unit.”
“Wow, normally we get a call before the feds pay us a visit.”
“Well, we were in the neighborhood.” Walters responded sarcastically.
“Again, how can we help you?”
“You and your team are being ordered to stop your investigation into Mr. Herman Lauder’s affairs.”
Hondo and the others exchanged glances as they approached standing around Hicks.
“We’re not looking into Mr. Lauder’s affairs, were merely reviewing information that was brought to our attention…”
“Information that is beyond SWAT’s scope of operation.”
“Says, the director of the treasury department and about a dozen other folks that out rank you, commander!”
“Oh, well when you put it that way.”
“You can’t just shut us down!”
Hondo was not about to stop, especially when he’d finally gotten someone else to consider that Buck’s death may not have been a suicide after all.
“But we can, Sergeant. You’re also being ordered to turn over all of your information; everything that the late Buck Spivey gave you.”
“I don’t like it either Hondo, but I’m afraid we don’t have a choice.”
Hondo was fuming and if he thought he could get away with it he’d wipe the smug grin from Agent Walters’ face. Hicks was right and whether he liked it or not, there was nothing he could do but hand over the file. He didn’t like it and if the feds thought this was over, they were sadly mistaken. He was going to bring Herman Lauder down if it was the last thing he did.
“I hide in the shadows waiting to be called; but I am also impatient, and I’m known to speak out of turn when I’m tired of waiting. I love surprises because the joke is never on me. I am the truth.” Cynthia Carlisle Fields
(photo credit: TVLine)