Disclaimer: I tried to contain myself, but I escaped.

The Great Escape, chapter 2
(c)1999-2001 KSH


The hitman slowly turned the gun toward Neal. As if snapped out of a spell, Neal turned and ran. He gave a shove at Ethel's computer as he rounded the desk. Something hit the floor, but he didn't look back to see what it was. He reached the front door just as a bullet splintered the doorframe. The door still had a house-type locking doorknob, which Neal turned just before slamming the door behind him. He vaulted over the hood of the car Starsky-and-Hutch-style, silently thanking someone upstairs that he had left the car running. With a squeal of tires he didn't know his car could manage, he pulled off just as the hitman opened the door of the building. He made several unnecessary turns to be certain that no one was following him before forcing himself to slow down and obey the traffic laws.

Neal was actually surprised when he turned into Jon's driveway, because he didn't remember how he got there. He thought for a moment, and then backed out of the driveway and parked down the street. Jon's neighbor had a car the same model and color, so the average passerby would think the car belonged at that house. Neal started to get out of the car, and realized for the first time that the disk was still in his hand.

Jon looked up as Neal burst into the home studio.

"Neal, what's wrong?"

Neal stumbled to the nearest seat and fell into it. By the time he looked up, Jon was kneeling directly in front of him, shaking him slightly.

"Neal, what is it? Talk to me."

Neal handed Jon the disk, and started telling the story. He didn't make any sense to himself, but somehow Jon got it.

"Ok," Jon said thoughtfully. Something about the look on his face made Neal even more nervous, if that was possible. "Leroy on his knees, shot in the back of the head... I agree with you. Definately a professional. The shadow you saw must have been the hitman. Leroy didn't want you to leave, so he either knew the guy was there, or was at least expecting someone. Since when has he had any interest in the band? But somehow, I just don't think him giving you the disk was an accident."

"What the hell is it and why would he give it to me? And where have I heard that name before?" Neal was starting to fidget while he talked, a sign that the shock was wearing off and being replaced by aggravation.

Jon smiled, but there was no humor behind it. "Bayside Family Holdings? On the news a while back. They were being investigated for Mafia connections, but I don't think anything ever came of it."

Neal was stunned again. "You gotta be kidding."

Jon shook his head.

Neal threw his hands in the air as he got up and began stalking around the room. "Absolutely damn wonderful! Not only can I identify a mob assassin, but he knows I have a disk that belongs to them!"

"It all points back to one thing." Jon suddenly looked smug.

"What?!"

"You should never trust an accountant named Leroy."

If Neal had had anything in his hands, he would have thrown it at Jon. They looked at each other for a moment, and burst into giggles. When they finally calmed down, they both had tears in their eyes from laughing so hard.

"Seriously, my friend," Jon said. "We have to find out what's on that disk, and decide if we call the police. Liz and the kids aren't home. Let's go in the house and put this thing in the computer."

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A few minutes later, they were more confused than before.

"What is it?" Neal asked, staring at the computer screen.

Jon frowned at the computer. "It looks like just random ledger entries from someone's business books. But without the entire ledger, I have no idea what these mean. There doesn't seem to be any kind of category or pattern."

Just then, the announcer on the radio broke in with the story that the body of a local accountant had been found in his office. Foul play was suspected.

"Ok, they found Leroy." Jon said. "This murder has mob written all over it. I'm sure it won't take long to identify your prints at the scene. Since they'll be on the front door, which has a bullet hole next to it, I don't think you'll be a suspect. But do you really want to be a wtiness? I mean, we have no idea what this disk is. And since the killer knows you saw his face, you don't want him to know who you are before the police know who he is."

"I guess when we find out what this disk has to do with anything, we'll have the answer to that one." Now the look on Neal's face was starting to worry Jon.

"If Leroy saved client ledger's on his hard drive, I bet my neighbor's kid could break into it." Jon said, shaking his head. "But he's just a teenager, and I hate to get anyone else involved."

"Then there's only one solution." Neal concluded. "We go to Leroy's office."

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