Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. - Abbie Hoffman


The Great Escape - Chapter 12
(c)1999-2001 KSH


They were approaching a stoplight, and traffic had already started moving across in front of them. Jonathan pulled up to a stop, checking the mirrors and looking around at the traffic around them.

"The ultimate driving machine..." he muttered under his breath.

"What?!" Neal demanded. "You said you were going to drive because you didn't want to get killed, and you're about to start a car chase with the mob?!?!"

"We're not going to get killed. Stacy, tell me as soon as the light turns yellow going the other way. I'll just jump the start, turn right here..." He broke off as he realized the Bentley had pulled up beside them, and the front passenger window was coming down. A goon straight out the Godfather leaned out and waved at them.

"Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" Stacy said from the backseat.

Jon rolled the window down, trying to pretend he wasn't nervous. Neal leaned forward slightly so that he could see what was going on.

"Excuse me," the man in the other car said. "I thought that was you, Guido. Mr. Velardo has been trying to reach you. If you could, please give him a call sometime today."

The window of the other car rolled up, and and started to pull away as the light changed. Jon and Neal exchanged a what-the-hell-just-happened look.

"The sunglasses," Stacy answered. "You had sunglasses on, and they thought you were Tim."

Neal shook his head. "I still don't think I look like him."

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They arrived at Stacy's apartment a few minutes later. She too had hidden the cereal box in plain sight, in the cabinet with her other groceries. She fished the key out and handed it to Jon. He turned it over in his hand several times.

"It does look like a safe deposit key," he finally said.

"I told you! I told you!" Neal was almost bouncing.

Stacy rolled her eyes. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while."

Neal scowled at her.

"Okay," Jon jumped in before they could start arguing. "We've got to figure out what this goes to. And I'd say the best way to do that is to go back to Tim's place."

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They weren't as worried about being seen this time, so they parked in front of Tim's apartment, and all went in through the front door.

"The most logical place to start looking would be his office," Jon said. "We might as well all start there, and if we don't find anything, we'll figure out what to do next."

"What are we looking for?" Neal asked.

"Are you familiar with the expression 'I'll know when I find it'?" Stacy answered.

"A reciept for a safe deposit box, or something like that," Jon interrupted. "Maybe a personal safe. I don't know, but this key has got to go to something."

Jon started going through desk drawers, while Stacy took one drawer of the filing cabinet and Neal took the other. They had only searched a few minutes when Jon shouted and jumped to his feet.

"What is it?" Neal asked.

"A receipt for long term parking at the airport from a couple hours after my suburban disappeared."

"Great, but that doesn't tell us what the key fits," Stacy said.

Jon put the receipt in his pocket and went back to the desk drawer. "No, but it makes me..."

"Got it," Stacy interrupted.

"Got what?" Neal shook his head and threw up his hands.

"A file folder marked 'Safe Deposit Box'. Duh. Tim has always been too efficient for his own good. The box is at a bank a few blocks from here. So now what?"

"We brought Tim's wallet, right?" Jon asked. Stacy nodded. "Well, Neal puts on sunglasses, goes in the bank, and gets whatever's in the safe deposit box. We'll have to hurry, because the bank will be closing in an hour or so."

"That's too easy. There's got to be a catch." Neal argued.

"Well, you fooled the guys in the Bentley, and they apparently knew Guido fairly well." Jon replied. "The people at the bank probably won't know him any better. Besides, at a distance, even I couldn't tell which one you were."

"This isn't the bank where his checking account and all are," Stacy added. "He probably doesn't go in this one very much."

Neal looked from one to the other and sighed. "Okay, I'll do it. But what if it doesn't work?"

"It will."

Neal wished he was as sure as Jon sounded.

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At the bank, they agreed that it would look suspicious if Jon and Stacy went inside with Neal. They walked next door to a fast foos restaurant and picked up three take out orders, since none of them had had lunch yet. About as soon as they got back to the car, Neal came out of the bank.

"Well?" Jon asked.

"It was too easy. I just said I needed to get into my safe deposit box, showed them Tim's driver's license, and they let me in. I got all the stuff." Neal held up the briefcase they had found at Tim's apartment and brought along.

"What was in it?" Stacy sat the drinks down on the roof of the car.

"Some notebook and more damn computer disks."

"We need to go somewhere and have a look at all of it. Tim's place is the closest." Jon was already unlocking the car doors. "Don't look at me like that. He's back at the cabin. We're in his car. Nobody's going to think anything about it."

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They ate on the way back to Tim's apartment. When they got there, Neal brought the briefcase into the home office and laid the contents on the desk. There were two computer disks, neither labeled, but with Tim's initials on the lower corners.

"I'll start up the computer and see what's on these," Stacy offered.

"You don't have to. I already know." Jon told her.

"Did you call the Psychic Friends Hotline while I was in the bank?" Neal asked.

"No, they're the account number and password of a Swiss bank account. I've seen a set before."

"Okay, so Tim was hiding money. Not what you would expect on a cop's salary. But this notebook better have some more incrimintaing evidence if we're going to convince the police he's the bad guy." Stacy reached over Jon's shoulder and flipped through a couple of pages.

"Holy shit," she said softly.

"What?" Jon and Neal both nearly shouted.

Jon looked at the page Stacy was staring at. The entries consisted of a date, some sort of code, a name, another date, and a dollar amount.

"This day," she pointed to the first date on one of the entries. "That's my parents' anniversary. We were having dinner with them when Tim's pager went off and he had to leave. We had plans two days later and he called and cancelled at the last minute. That's the second date. Do you think that's when he killed that person?"

Jon turned on the computer, signed onto the Internet, and searched for the man's name.

"Yeah," he answered quietly. "He was shot that night. No witnesses, no suspects."

"We knew he was a murderer!" Neal exclaimed. "I saw him pull the trigger on Leroy!"

"We didn't," Jon replied. "Knowing something is one thing, being smacked in the face with it is another."

Stacy took a deep breath, and looked at the floor. "Now what?"

"We take this to the police, go get my suburban, and go home. The adventure's over." Jon stood up and headed for the front door.

"I still think it's been too easy," Neal muttered, following him.

Jon opened the door, and stopped in his tracks. On the porch stood a little old man in a dark suit, flanked by two huge guys in sunglasses.

"Could we step inside and talk?" the old man asked.

*Holy shit, the Godfather's here!* Neal thought.

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