Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Good Guys Catch a Break ...

Lieutenant Colonel Juan Ramirez heard the tap on his door, "Come on in, Jeff."

He sat up and turned on the lamp next to the bed. He rubbed his face, couldn't be too important or Hildesheim wouldn't have tapped gently, so no one has died. But it was important enough to warrant waking him up at, he glanced at the clock, four-thirty in the morning.

"Cap'n Jackson called, might be something, might not be. There was a crash to the east of here, one dead, one injured and transported to the hospital here in Cumberland. The crash survivor kept muttering something about contacting 'the bureau.' Our trooper ignored it at first then realized that with everything going on lately, what if he meant the FBI?"

"What's Jackson think?"

"The trooper who called it in, an experienced guy named Wallace, is a man Jackson says is one of his best. Wallace is going to go to the hospital and get a picture of the guy, he'll send it to us over his cellphone."

"What tweaked Wallace's suspicions?"

"The crash victim has three sets of ID, one of 'em Federal ..."

Ramirez sat up straight, "FBI?"


"Bring the car ..."

"It's waiting out front, Sir."

Johansen was drifting in and out of consciousness, the pain along his left side was very intense, they'd given him something for it, but it was slow in taking effect. He looked down at his left foot, he couldn't see it, but he sure as hell felt it.

He looked up as a State Trooper came into the room, holding up a cellphone as if he was going to ...

The bright flash hurt his eyes, then it struck him, the cop had taken his picture, but why? Then he nearly vomited as he realized, they had to have searched him and the rental car. The three sets of ID he carried could be explained away, possibly. Maybe they would contact the Bureau, they'd cover for him, he hoped.

Johansen looked up again, this time it was a team of medical people.

"Sir, we're going to prep you for surgery. The injuries to your hip and upper torso are painful, but not as bad as we initially thought. But your leg ..."

"What about my leg?" Johansen turned as he felt the IV go into his right arm.

"We'll try and save it. Now count backwards from a 100."

Before Johansen could panic, he was out.

They had moved Rossi to the interrogation room, the man looked and smelled like shit. He hadn't slept much, they kept the lights on in his cell, and made sure that it was noisy outside, but the guy had actually managed to drift off a couple of times.

"Guy's ex-Navy right?"

Burt Anderson nodded, "Spent a lot of time aboard ship in the Persian Gulf. Probably used to getting sleep when and if he could."

"Thanks Burt. Colonel, you want to start this?" Jackson handed the photo that Wallace had sent them to Ramirez.

Ramirez nodded, "You guys wait outside for the moment."

Jackson nodded then turned to Anderson, "I'm expecting a fax with more information from DC. Bring it to me as soon as it comes in."

"Roger that, Cap'n."

Then Jackson went to the observation room to watch the show.

Rossi was groggy as hell, they had him chained to the table, he felt like a criminal. Then he realized, technically, he was a criminal now. He felt a pang of shame, he'd once been a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the world's greatest Navy. Now here he was, chained to a desk like some common street thug.

The door opened and the little State Police colonel walked in, sliding a piece of paper across the table at him. He glanced at it, trying to remain casual, but when he saw who the picture was of, his face betrayed him.

Morgan dead, now they've got Johansen in custody. Jesus, from the picture the troopers must have really worked the guy over. He looked up when the colonel spoke.


Ramirez had seen the look on Rossi's face, he knew they had something now.

"His name is Ephraim Johansen, he claims to be seconded to Homeland from the CIA, but he's got ID showing he's FBI as well. He's the guy who set up the ambush of those Park Police last month. He also killed the guys who manned the machine gun."

"Jesus, Senior Chief, stop talking, don't you want a lawyer or something?"

Being called by his old rank shook Rossi to his core, Ramirez thought it looked like someone had just gut-punched the man.

"Look, Sir, I'm in over my head, I know that now. I betrayed my oath, I betrayed my shipmates, and damn it, I betrayed my own core beliefs. I don't want a damned lawyer. I want to cooperate, see if we can't stop this shit before it's too late."

Ramirez shook his head, this guy was no common criminal, he'd known guys like this during his own stint in the Corps, a thousand years ago. He made a decision, he nodded at Jackson behind the two way mirror. They had their opening into what was going on. But how much did Rossi really know?

"I'll be back." Ramirez said to Rossi, "You hungry?"

"Yes Sir, you guys got coffee?"

"Black, right?"

Rossi gave him a look, a look he'd seen many times from senior non-commissioned officers.

"I'll see what I can do."

Ramirez came out of interrogation, looked at Jackson and said, "I think the guy is a patriot, of all things."

Jackson raised an eyebrow, "I've got a dead trooper, the Feds have over twenty dead agents and you say this asshole is a patriot? I know he's pretending to cooperate, probably to save his own ass, but a patriot?"

Ramirez nodded, "I know Leroy, I know. But you didn't see the guy's face, he acted like he has betrayed everything he ever believed in, for money. I think that's what bugs him the most, he didn't get involved with this because of his beliefs, though part of that applies, he jumped in for money."

"So what do we do now?"

"Get some people on the guy in the hospital, no one gets near him, he talks to no one. Second, get a stenographer and a video camera in there. Get him some coffee, black, and a sandwich or something. My gut tells me we're onto something, something huge."

"Like what?"

"I don't know, yet. But this guy had Federal credentials, so did the dead perp, so does the guy in the hospital and ..."

"My guy at the Bureau denies all knowledge of any of these three guys. He thinks they're CIA." Jackson told his boss.

"CIA? Damn, how high does this shit go?" Ramirez exclaimed.

Then, in a calmer tone, he continued, "We'll find out soon just how high this goes, baby this Rossi guy, I want to know everything he does. I need to make a phone call or three."

"Okay, Johnnie, we're on it."


  1. Into a den of vipers I must wander, blindfolded.

    Unknowns abound, I'm doing the law enforcement thing in the middle of a coup and know not who might decide I'm the problem to disappear with all that embarrassing information.

    Playing with the CIA is often a one way ticket to hades.

    Good story line, sir.

    1. Now if only Maryland's finest can pull it off!

  2. Your Muse has hit her stride Sarge..........Happy Father's Day to all Fathers!

    1. She was inspired by a week on the Eastern Shore!

  3. Back to it. Once more into the breach, Sarge!
    Boat Guy

  4. I can't see a cop telling a guy chained to the table to stop talking but all I have to go on is TV & movies... but it is good writing!

    1. Ramirez is very senior, he knows how to preserve a possible court case. TV cops are not cops, nor are the writers, in many cases. (Pun intended.)

  5. "Look, Sir, I'm in over my head, I know that now. I betrayed my oath, I betrayed my shipmates, and damn it, I betrayed my own core beliefs."

    I really wish people would ask themselves these kinds of questions more before they go off doing things or supporting things. It is something I am constantly struggling with: Is my support really in the right place? Am I really thinking things through?

    1. I struggle with that as well. Especially these days.

  6. Alway, the questions are, "Who can you trust, and how muck?" Muse is soaring. Thank you.

  7. "That small voice that yells at you that you effed up when you thought nobody was looking." The sense of, the outright knowledge, of self-betrayal must be crushing. That repudiation of self.

    Well done, Sarge.

  8. So, where will the pigeons roost? Only the Muse knows, and she may or may not tell Sarge the answer!

  9. Hey Rossi, a little late for a come to Jesus moment. You're gonna fry.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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