Sunday, May 15, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 34 Astros

“Got some tickets for tonight’s Astro’s game. Thought you might like a chance to escape this place.” Vern pulled the paper carrots from his shirt pocket and slowly waved them in front of Sinclair. Vern’s smile was impossible to ignore, expressing the youthful spirit that was bottled up inside him.

“Sounds good to me; but I sort of doubt that they . . .”, leaning toward the nurses station, “ . . . will go for it.” The problems that Sinclair was having with his “reception” limited his mobility.

“I already took care of that. They made me promise to take you in a wheel chair. You can sit in a regular chair at the game, but they didn’t want to take a chance on you over exerting or falling.” A flash of white sprang from Vern’s teeth as the depth of his smile increased.

“When do we leave; before I wake up and this is just a good dream.” Sinclair was already at the edge of the bed and started to get up.

“I knew if I twisted on your arm hard enough that you’d come around. It would help if you got out of those pajamas and put some street clothes on.”

“Yea, guess your right.” Sinclair eased himself back as he kicked off his slippers. “Reach in there. . .”, nodding toward the closet, “. . . and hand me a pair of pants and a shirt. Time’s a wastin’.” Vern looked in the narrow upright closet. There was a blue terry cloth bath robe, a white long sleeve shirt, a bright red Hawaiian print short sleeve shirt, a pair of gray dress slacks and a well worn pair of blue jeans.

“We’ll be sitting in the mezzanine . . .”, quietly talking to himself, “ . . . wouldn’t want to get to too dressed up” He looked back at Sinclair, who was already pulling off his pajama shirt.

“The red one. . . “, without looking up Sinclair blurted out, “. . . and the gray slacks.” Sinclair reached up and felt the day old growth on his face. “I better not wear my Detroit Tiger’s ball cap.”, laughing just enough to require a response from Vern.

“Okay, and just why wouldn’t you want to wear the cap?” Vern looked back into the closet, “ ‘' and I don’t see it up here anyway.”

“Never had one to begin with. I figure the confusion it might cause . . . , you know. . ., all those women thinking I was Tom Sellick.” A deep belly laugh caught Vern just above the cheek bone.

“I suppose I’ll have to put up with that kind of stuff the rest of the night?”, holding his one eye shut as if a punch had landed the mark.

“What did you expect; and if your real good I’ll even let you buy the ‘ dogs.” Sinclair was arranging the material of his garments so that they reached down to the knees. Vern watched on, amused at the strange looking underwear.

“Ahhhh . . .”

“Some other time Vern. For now can you just accept that I wear them as part of my religious belief.” Vern quietly held his stare; then shook it off, realizing that he had invaded some very personal part of Sinclair’s life.

“Hey, no problem. I wasn’t meanin’ to stare.”

“They are kind of long, ‘ took a while for me to get used to them myself.” Sinclair zipped up his fly and put the shirt on, leaving the square ended shirt to hang outside.

“Forgetting something?” Vern questioned a numb looking Sinclair. “ . . . Shoes, you know, they go on your feet?”

“Oh, yea. I was thinking of getting away from here so much that I kind of . . .”

“Glad I’m driving.”

“Rats! What’s a matter; don’t you trust me?” Sinclair had to laugh himself.

“I would like to see the game. Yes; I’m driving.” Vern showed Sinclair the ring of keys at arms length and exaggerated the motion of placing them back into his pocket.

“No faith at all, none!”

“Go ahead, you’re not gonna’ hurt my feelings.” Vern took a look back to the night stand. “You supposed to take any kind of medicine or anything?”

“No, I don’t think so. Let me ask at the nurses station, just to make sure.”

“Wouldn’t want you freakin’ out on me half way through the game.” Vern pointed an accusing finger at Sinclair.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

“Your welcome.”

“Hey, I’m not the one who talks to airplanes as they pass overhead.” Vern chided a little further.

“I only listen in, and what has that got to do with the price of eggs?” Sinclair thought for a moment, looking up at the ceiling. “ Would be kind of neat to talk back, wouldn’t it?” His expression absorbed the thought as he tied the shoe laces. “This is the painful part.”

“Your just getting old.”

“There you go again, making fun of old people. Someday your gonna get yours and I hope I’m around to watch.”

"If its worth anything, I hope your around too.” Sinclair stopped for a moment as he listened to the words. Vern really was his friend.

“Comment noted and logged.” The two of them walked down the hall to the nurses station. Vern checked out a set of wheels for Sinclair and signed the book. The three to eleven crowd had just taken over and were busy checking over the paper work. Sinclair exchanged greetings in passing. Inside he was still not quite sure that they were going to let him go out of the hospital. He held his breath as Vern wheeled him to the elevator. It wasn’t until after the doors closed and they were on the way down that he felt comfortable about the escape.

“ Made it!” Sinclair breathed out cautiously. They made it across the short distance across the parking lot to Vern’s car with only one airplane winging by. Sinclair looked up, only for a moment as he tuned in on their frequency.

“Anyone you know?” Vern was only kidding as he pulled on the invisible strings.

“No, just Southwest Flight Five Seventy Two asking for confirmation on some traffic in the sector.” Sinclair let the words out nonchalantly as Vern continued to guide the wheelchair.

“Can you really listen in on them . . .” Vern studied the lines on Sinclair’s face. “ . . .or is one of my legs getting a little longer. Yes I can feel the tendon being stretched even as I walk.”

“Right on both counts. Yes I can hear; . . . or should I rephrase that . . . receive their radio messages and yes, I was pulling your leg. This time of day my reception is not at peak. Its the best time of day for me to relax. I don’t have all that excess noise getting mixed up with my conscious thoughts.”

“Well here we are; not much to look at, is it?” Vern’s nine year old Chevrolet station wagon was well on its way to being used up. The tan paint had faded and most of the fenders had small door dings.

“You must not have seen my old pick up truck yet. Maybe you have a kindred spirit hidden under the hood, we probably got some parts from the same junk yard. I recognize, . . .yes . . . the El Cheapo Deluxe hub caps.” Sinclair was having a good time.

“No, these are all original. I don’t make enough to shop at the junk yard.”

“Your pay scale sounds just like the one we have at the Police Department.” The two of them laughing at their modest income levels. Sinclair adjusted himself to fit the seat as he snapped the seat belt into place. Vern inserted the key in the tail gate lock. The electric motor whirred as the rear deck window lowered itself. He placed the wheel chair in the back and slammed the tail gate back into place. On the third attempt the latch mechanism caught hold.

“I don’t know about you, but I think we should stop by the store and grab some chips on the way. The prices at the Dome are Astronomical.” Vern was in a grove.

“Good one Vern.” Sinclair loved the challenge of coming up with one pun after another. “Having been cooped up in that hospital so long; I’ve Lasorta lost touch with things.”

“Ouch, not bad.” Vern guided the car onto the street and down to the local “Stop and Rob” store. The Vietnamese clerk looked at Sinclair as the two went to stock up on junk food.

“I know you. You are policeman who work here on nights and visit me. Where you been; I not see you in long time?” A look at the name tag, quickly enough that his poor memory would go undetected and Sinclair returned the salutation.

“Vu, yes, its been a while. When did you start working the evening shift?” Vu was hard to gauge. His smooth features made it difficult to figure his age. Sinclair estimated him to be in his late forties, possibly even mid fifties. He had rich black hair slicked back and neatly parted. It did not appear that he ever had to shave. His frame was light, topping off near a hundred and twenty.

“I got robbed too many times. The last time they tied me up with cords and put a gun to my head. I can no longer work at night.” Vu was shaking his head, not really looking up while he was talking, as if it were his fault that the store was robbed.

“I know what you mean.” Sinclair had made a few of the robbery reports. Vern had picked up several sacks of Cheetos and a large bag of peanuts, already salted in the shell.

“This ought to do it.”, laying the glutinous bounty on the counter next to the register. “You do like Cheetos, right, Sinclair?”

“Sure, they’re fine with me.” Sinclair could eat almost any kind of chips. The trouble with Cheetos was they left his fingers a funny looking orange color, but on the other hand, they were just about the only kind of real cheese product that he would eat. He could eat pizza as long as the cheese wasn’t too thick and every now and then he would sprinkle a small amount of Parmesan cheese on his spaghetti. He could hardly stand the sight of a casserole that was covered with a zig zag of melted cheese.

“Sinclair is your first name?” Vu smiled as the strange sounding name rolled off his tongue.

“It was my grandfather’s last name.”

“It is nice name. Vu is my grandfather’s name. Things are very same.” Vu continued to smile as the idea of having something in common settled in.

“Yea, I think I heard of that guy. Wasn’t he some kind of famous electronics guy or something?” Vern was wearing a grin that begged for more.

“No, grandfather was rice farmer. You must be thinking of a different Vu. It is very common name in Viet Nam.”

“This guys last name was Meter, Vu Meter.”, containing his laughter as Sinclair tried to figure a respectable way out of the pun.

“You take care of yourself. We’re on the way to see the Astros beat the Dodgers.” Sinclair jabbed quickly as Vern was paying for the snacks.

“In your dreams.” Vern just happened to be wearing a Dodger blue pull over shirt.

The ride to the stadium wasn’t too bad. They had left early enough that the rush hour traffic had not built up. Once in a while Sinclair could feel the coded information from the motors of cars that were in close; but it was not nearly as excruciating as when his reception was at its best. He reached into the bag and opened a sack of Cheetos. The first one was always the best.

“Hey! Save some for the game!” Vern snapped off then added, “How about passing a few my way.”

“That’s a good idea; can’t you get this bucket to move past these guys?” Sinclair tightened up as he shouted in the general direction of the red car that was ahead of them. “learn how to drive on your own time clown!”

“Houston’s Finest seems a little hostile towards the public today.” Vern quietly commented as he put his blinker. He looked for a way to get out of the lane.

“Your right; I should be more laid back.” Sinclair looked toward the driver of the red car who was oblivious to the rest of the world. “That jerk’s doin’ his check book.” Turning to Vern and then back at the other driver, Sinclair began to boil. “You know what you can do with that check book?” , leaning out of the window as he glared at him.

“You always this much fun in the car?”

“ Just getting warmed up. Bev says I need to ease off a little too.” Sinclair sat back as Vern managed to move on down the road far enough for the red car to get left behind.

“Hey, how many of those are you going to eat?” Vern reached for what was left of the Cheetos. “Leave me some, will you?”

“Sure.” The two of them devoured the small treat and were both licking their fingers as they entered the gates to the parking lot at the Dome.

“Three dollars.” The attendant held out his hand as one of the other attendants clicked another digit into the counter.

“Three dollars ! Cripes !”, reaching into his wallet and pulling out a five. He handed the bill to the attendant who had read the bill and was counting back his change.

“Two dollars, your change sir. Follow that row of cars ‘till you see the next attendant down on the right.” Vern drove to the next attendant and quickly judged the remaining walk to be about a quarter of a mile.

“Hey buddy, I have this guy on loan from the hospital. Is there a way you can get us up a little closer?” The attendant bent over as he listened; his hands cupped to fight off the glare of the late afternoon sun as it reflected off the roof of the car. Vern bent his body back, pointing out the wheel chair.

“Well, I’m not supposed to; those spaces are reserved for the season ticket holders.”, pausing momentarily as he tried to place himself in their position. “Just tell that next attendant down there that Joe said it was okay. If he gives you any static I’ll square it with him.”

“Thanks, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this.”

“No problem. Enjoy the game.” The attendant went back to funneling cars down the row to the next attendant. Vern parked; having to explain once more about the medical need to be close to the front. Sinclair reluctantly got into the wheel chair and let Vern shuffle him across the street. The lines at the ticket windows were longer than usual because the Dodgers were in town.

“Glad I got these tickets in advance.”

“If you hadn’t. . . I know some of the officers out here. We could have sneaked in the back door.”

“I wish you had said that before I forked out eighteen bucks a piece for these tickets.”

“I like it better with a reserved seat anyway. Sometimes I end up sitting up in the cheap seats; not that I mind. Some of the best baseball fans sit in the cheap seats.”

“Then we both qualify, this is the only time I’ve ever had tickets close enough that I didn’t need field glasses to see the player’s numbers.” They went past turn stiles via a side gate so that the wheel chair would make it through. The ramps to the mezzanine level were filled with people hurrying to their seats.

“Programs ! Get your Official Proo-Grammms right here!”

“You want a program?”, reaching into his wallet again.

“Save your money Vern. I never was much on keeping up with the line; distracts too much from the game.” Returning the money to his wallet they continued in the procession of fans.

“Programs ! Get your Proooo-Grammms folks !” The sound echoed off the concrete walls and blended with the rest of the familiar ball park sounds. Sinclair felt the peaceful arms of his favorite sport embrace him as the doors to the main corridor opened. Vendors calling out, young kids darting in and out of the pressing crowd, the lingering cloud from a fat cigar all hit his senses at once.

“This is really great. Thanks for having me along Vern.”

“My pleasure; now where the hell are our seats?”, as he tried to make out the information printed on the ticket’s edge.

“Take a right and head for the security office. I want to leave this chair and see a ball game. If you won’t tell I won’t.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Why don’t you . . .”

“Look, the wheel chair ramps are only a couple of isles away from the security office. We can leave it there where it will be well taken care of and I’ll only have to walk that little bit.” Sinclair was convincing; he got out before entering the office, not wishing to make an appearance in the chair. He had worked the Dome as an extra job for several years and did not want any of the officers to see him that way. Call it macho or pride, Sinclair was going to walk into the security office on his own legs.

“This is dumb, really dumb.” Vern was mumbling to himself as he stood close enough to catch Sinclair, crossing the beer slick that covered the entrance to the office.

“Oh be quiet, and let go ‘ my arm.” Sinclair took in a deep breath as he pushed the folded up chair into a corner behind the front desk. A red, almost a silvery red haired officer sat at the desk and eyed Sinclair as he entered.

“Dosilmeyer you old fool; how’re you doing. Heard about that deal you were in. Nice to see you getting around. Are you back to work yet?” Ned Sheffield had been working the desk almost as long as there had been a Dome stadium. He had twenty four years with the Department and hadn’t been on the street for at least the last ten. He worked up in Juvenile Division, day shift with Saturday and Sundays off. It didn’t hurt that the Dome jobs were run out of his lieutenant’s office.

“Not yet, but pretty soon if I have any luck.” Sinclair did not want to spend the evening going over war stories as he nudged Vern toward the door. “Keep an eye on it for me. We’ll come back for it when the game’s over.”

“Sure thing; good to see you up and around.”

“Yea, ‘ later.” Sinclair bit his tongue as he recalled how much he loathed the worthless excuse for a police officer. How was it possible for a man to show up for so many years and do absolutely nothing. The worst thing that bothered Sinclair was that somehow Sheffield had managed to convince the lieutenant, along with most of the Department, that he was a model officer. Maybe it was because he never got into any trouble; of course its hard to get complained on if you never do anything.

“Nice guy, you work with him?” Vern tossed in as he too waved gingerly back at officer Sheffield.

“What’s the isle number again?” Sinclair avoided Vern’s question entirely.

“Two forty one, row C , seats one eleven and one twelve.” They were standing next to one of the “Red Suits” who glanced at the tickets. Taking the tickets in hand as he walked down the short blocked steps to row C ; he pointed to a pair of bright orange seats and asked the occupants to show him their tickets also. The two simply got up and left via the next isle, not having any tickets to show him.

“Those are your seats.”, handing back the stubs as he continued to watch the young men who were searching for two more empty seats further around towards right field.

“My turn to buy; how about a soda to go along with a couple of hot dogs?”

Sinclair could hardly contain his desire to pitch in his share; handing Vern a twenty.

“Sounds like a winner. Speaking of winners, the Dodgers are coming out to take infield.”, Vern never missed stride.

“You call third place, Winners ; fine with me.”

“The season is still young.”

“So’s my Aunt Tilly; Vern, its the middle of August!”

“Plenty of time; after they win tonight they’ll only be ten games ‘back of Cincinnati.”

“How long have you been taking drugs Vern?” Sinclair chortled as he flagged down the soda vendor. Holding up two fingers and passing the money, the young man stopped and sent a couple of sodas toward them. “Before we inhale these; why don’t you run get us those dogs?”, handing Vern the change. “Glad I wore my brown shoes.”, grabbing the money as he vaulted out of the chair and up to the main corridor. Several minutes passed as Vern was waiting in line for service. He got four hot dogs; no sense in going through the line twice. On his way back he stopped at the junk stand and bought a couple of caps; a Dodger cap and a Detroit cap.

“Took you long enough. What you got in the sack?”

“Just something to cover up a genetic defect. Mind you now, it was all I could find on short notice.”, placing the dark blue Detroit cap on Sinclair’s head.

“That’s one more for you, and thanks.”

“You look better all ready.”, Vern had to swallow a chunk of hot dog to keep from choking as he began to laugh.” By the way . . . did you notice that while I was away that short while. . . that my Dodgers found a hole in your defenses. Is that a three spot? Yes, it looks like the Dodgers scored three in the top of the first.”

“How come you put mustard all over this? You probably got carried away in euphoria and couldn’t help it.” Sinclair was hard pressed for a positive response. They were bombing Knepper pretty hard. In the bottom of the second the Astros picked up a run on a solo shot from Glen Davis. The game progressed and they enjoyed salted peanuts and finished off the Cheetos. The more Cheetos Sinclair ate, the more relaxed he became. He did not understand what was happening. All he knew was that the extra noise inside his head seemed to abate. The game ended with the Dodgers on top three to one. The Astros left men in scoring position in the last three innings.

Sinclair was exhausted from the intensity of the game. Vern made sure that they were the last to leave as the stands were cleared after the game. They made a slow walk to the top of the stairs and waited a while for Sinclair to get his breath back. He was at peace within himself as he could only hear the normal sounds of life, just like anyone else. He could hear the kids stomping the empty beer cups with their feet to make the loud popping echo across the great spaces of the Dome. He could here the officers blowing their whistles as they herded the last remnants of the crowd out the doors. He could not hear the radio transmissions of passing airplanes or the microwave carrier waves that emanated from the announcers both. It was wonderful as the night air greeted him outside the doors and on the short trek to Vern’s car. He caught his second wind and was alert the entire way home.

“How about a burger, fries and a shake before we get back to the hospital?” Sinclair didn’t want to let the night end.

“You sure your up to it?”

“Go for it. I can sleep in as late as I want tomorrow.”

“Glad one of us can; I have to work.”

“I’m sorry; here I am keeping you away from your family ‘till all hours of the night and . . .”

“Just giving you a hard time. A friend of mine is a wheel at Jack in the Box. He’s always giving me these coupons to try out the latest sandwiches. There’s one on Long Point just a few blocks from the hospital.” Vern’s station wagon panted its way toward the exit gates of the Dome parking lot. Twenty four thousand people were in front of them as they inched forward.

“Hey lady, I know you probably spent a lot of money to get through driving school. I just want to know on what planet you got your license?” His voice bellowed as he sarcastically attacked the woman in front of them.

“Here we go again.” Vern breathed out slowly as he avoided telling Sinclair exactly how irritating it was becoming.

“Your right; I’m being an asshole again.” Vern smiled as he ignored Sinclair’s childish lashings. Fifteen minutes later they were on the Loop and breezing along. Traffic was heavy, but moving along at a good clip. It wasn’t long before they had made the Katy exit.
“Take Wirt, if you would.” Sinclair wanted to show Vern the edge of his police beat on the way.

“No problem guy.”, finding his way over another lane as he set up to exit the freeway. Sinclair pointed out the chicken shack where he had caught a burglary suspect many years before. Vern was enjoying war stories as each location held a memory, a tale of embellished un-glory. Sinclair would have made a great fisherman the way he lavishly recounted even the simplest events.

“Burger alert, Jack in the Box coming into range.” Vern turned the bill of his ball cap up as he simulated looking into a submarine range finder scope.

“Only thing better than a late night snack is a late night snack that’s free. What’re you waitin’ on?” Vern pulled up to the drive in speaker and placed the order while Sinclair looked all around the area that he was so familiar with. He could feel the street, not some weird vibration or anything like that, but he had a working knowledge of the area. He was at home working the night shift.

“Here’s your sandwich.”, handing Sinclair an old fashioned patty melt.

“ More cheese! Jeezzzzz!”

“What’s a matter, I thought the way you scarfed all those Cheetos down that you liked cheese?”

“I guess it will be okay. I’m just not used to so much of it at one time. I guess I shouldn’t complain; my head hasn’t been this clear in months. Maybe the cheese has something to do with it.” Sinclair was just spouting words, not really putting any stock in them as he shrugged his shoulders and took a bite out of the sandwich. “Not bad, not bad at all.”

“So how long have you worked this area?”

“It will be seven years this September.”

“All of it nights?”

“Yea, I was downtown for several years before coming out here. I like this much better; its more relaxed.”

“Except when your falling off balconies.”

“Yea, except when I’m falling off balconies. It happened just a short way from here. I haven’t been there since the night of the fall. Would it be all right to drive by so I could . . .”

“No problem, I would like to see the place myself.”

“Take a left at the light; its the first group of apartments on the right.” Sinclair sat alert in the passenger seat as the old station wagon approached the scene. It was all changed. There was a large chain link fence surrounding the whole complex; it had never been there before. All the apartments were vacant; there were no lights on, not even in the court yards. About the only thing that remained the same were the piles of trash that lined the shallow drainage ditch as Vern parked the car next to the hastily erected fence.

“I wonder what’s going on here. None of this used to be here.” Sinclair looked around for a way into the complex. The chain link had been poorly fastened to the upright standards; it was easy to pull it away and slid through the gap. “Wish I had my flashlight.”

“Hold on a sec’, I have one in the glove box.” Vern went straight away and found the old two cell Ray O Vac. Sinclair was accustomed to the ten thousand candle power beam from his police flash light; he had forgotten that most of the world was still using the antiques like Vern had.

“So when are you gonna’ turn it on?”, a faint yellow beam apologized quietly into the darkness as Vern handed it to him.

“Very funny, just hold the wire back so I can get in too.”

“What’s the matter Vern? Having trouble getting all those hot dogs around the fence post?” Sinclair aimed the light at Vern’s stomach and measured the opening in the fence with it.

“How about a soda?”, reaching into his pocket for some change. “ ’ Give you something to keep you quiet for a while.”

“Not from the Killer Dr. Pepper machine; anyway we just had some.” Sinclair had not told Vern the story about the machine.

“The Killer Dr. Pepper machine? Ooooookaaaaay.” Vern let the topic drop as Sinclair laughed sinfully to himself.

“I want to go around the corner and try to walk myself through. Maybe it will clear up some of the fragments that still have me wondering.” Vern was still looking back at the lifeless soda machine as Sinclair eased his way up the first couple of steps. The stillness of the night air did not have the stress hanging with his every move. It was very peaceful. There were no gun shots echoing off the brick walls, no muffled voices from behind closed doors, no chatter from a police handi-talkie mounted on his side. Sinclair was not threatened by the situation, and yet he could feel a slight desire to be somewhere safe.

“You shouldn’t be going up stairs; you want some help?” Vern awkwardly tried to assist Sinclair. The two of them made it to the second floor. Sinclair waited for the pain in his legs to ease before letting go of the rail on the last step. The night air was heavy with fog, much the same as the night that he was trying to remember. It hung lazily from the roof as the distant lights became saucer shaped blue and white dots on the morning canvas.

He walked to the door where the fight had begun and looked at the peeled veneer, just as it had looked that night. He tried to imagine the man coming out the door, pistol in hand and how he had wrestled him for it. He spun around and noticed the railing was gone. The concrete was broken where it had been anchored. He looked back into the apartment. He remembered seeing another figure, a husky male come out and . . .

“What’s the matter? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. Are you okay?”

“I think we were pushed off that balcony. I remember seeing a man come out of the apartment just as I was getting control of the gun. We didn’t just lean up against that
railing and fall. I can almost see his face.” Sinclair closed his eyes as he concentrated.
The crow’s feet accentuated the intensity of Sinclair’s attempt to reconstruct portions of
the incident.

“Do you know what you’re saying? That makes it murder.”

“Yea, it does.” The two stood silent for a moment as the significance of the idea sank in. Sinclair looked out over the barren lot as he pondered the implications. Half a block away on the Moritz street side of the complex a car was parked, backed in. Sinclair hardly noticed at first; it was an ordinary car, nothing conspicuous. Once in a while there was a brief glint of light that would sparkle from the darkness that cloaked the general area.

“What ‘ you looking at?” Vern watched as Sinclair peered out into the darkness searching for the source of the light.

“Over there, see; there it was again.”, pointing towards the dark blue Buick. “I think we’re being watched by who ever is in that car. The light reflecting from his binoculars gave him away. There is was again; did you see it that time?”, still pointing.

“Yea, now that you mention it. Who do you suppose it is?” Vern studied the car; its lack of chrome, black wall tires and the tell tale wire on the back fender.

“Three guesses and the first two don’t count.”

“You think its a cop; but why?”

“You tell me.” Sinclair waved and smiled, a big toothy smile that reeked of sarcasm.

“Who ever it is must have seen all he wants.” Vern cackled as the two continued to wave. Off in the distance a temporary blur of red leaped from the tail lights onto the wall behind the car as the break pedal was tapped. The back up lights winked for an instant as the shifter passed from one gear to another. A splash of bright light broke through the night air and the car sulked off down the road.