enforcement communities in their respective jurisdictions. On paper, it seemed like a good idea, but some critics saw it as part of the Bureau’s general passing of the buck on domestic criminal investigation after 9/11.
Heekin went on, “As you probably know, the DC group interfaces with all police departments in our area, including MPD. Also NSA, ATF, Secret Service — you name it. We’ve got monthly conference calls and then face time on an as-needed basis, depending on where the action is.”
It was starting to seem like a sales pitch, and I already felt pretty sure I knew what he was selling.
“Generally, police chiefs represent their departments with the FIGs,” he continued with his steady, well-paced speech, “but we’d like you to take over that position for MPD.”
I looked at Perkins, and he shrugged. “What can I say, Alex? I’m just too damn busy.”
“Don’t let him fool you,” Heekin said. “I spoke with the chief here, and with Director Burns at the Bureau before that. Your name was the
that came up in either meeting.”
“Thank you,” I said. “That’s very nice, but I’m good where I am.”
“Yes, exactly. Major Case Squad’s a perfect fit for this position. If anything, it’s going to make your job easier.”
This wasn’t an offer, I realized, so much as an assignment. When I’d rejoined the force, Perkins had given me just about everything I’d asked for. Now I owed him one, and we both knew it, and
knew that I liked to play fair.
“No title change,” I said. “I’m an investigator first, not some kind of administrator.”
Perkins grinned across his desk. He also looked relieved. “Fine with me. Keeps you in the same pay grade.”
“And my cases take priority over anything else I might have to do?”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Heekin said, already standing up to go. He shook my hand again at the door. “Congratulations, Detective. You’re moving up in the world.”
Whether I want to or not.
DENNY LED THE way, and Mitch followed like the man-child in that old Steinbeck book
Of Mice and Men.
“Right up here, bud. Let’s keep it moving.”
The tenth floor was also the top floor. Sheets of plastic hung over sections of two-by-four wall frame, with nothing but raw plywood underfoot. A stack of pallets by the Eighteenth Street windows made a good roosting spot.
Denny unrolled the plastic tarp and spread it on the floor. They dropped their packs. He put a hand on Mitch’s back and pointed to where they’d just come up.
“Primary exit,” he said, then turned ninety degrees to face another door. “Alternate exit.” Mitch nodded once each time. “And if we get separated?”
“Wipe down the weapon, dump it, and meet you back at the car.”
“That’s my man.”
They’d been over it maybe fifty times, beginning to end. Drilling was the key. Mitch had all kinds of raw talent, but Denny did the thinking for both of them.
“Any questions?” Denny asked. “This is the time to ask them. Later on, it won’t matter worth a damn.”
“Nah,” Mitch said. His voice had gone flat and distant, the way it always did when he was concentrating on something else. He’d already set the M110, fitted with a sound suppressor, on its bipod and was zeroing it out, calibrating the scope.
Denny assembled his own M21 and slung it flat against his back. If everything went according to plan, he’d never have to use it, but it made sense to have a backup. The Walther was also holstered on his thigh.
He used a compass-set diamond blade to cut a perfect two-inch circle in the window, then pulled the section away with a small suction cup. The streetlights outside sent up a glare that made the window act like a mirror from below.
While Mitch got into position, Denny cleaned another small spot just up and to the left, where he could practically look over Mitch’s shoulder and down the rifle barrel. Even their difference in height worked well.
He took his sighting scope out of its case. From here, they had a clear line to the entrance of Taberna del Alabardero. With the scope’s 100x magnification, Denny could practically see the pores on the faces of the people coming and going from the hot-shit restaurant.
“Here, piggy, piggy, piggy,” he whispered. “Hey, Mitch, you know when a pig knows he’s had enough to eat?”
“When he’s stuffed.”
“Good one,” Mitch said, in
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