The Music in the Painting

Chapter Twenty

Before dawn Bobby felt a gentle shaking, it was Grampa letting him know that he and Jock were leaving to see a few people and he would be available if paged. His Grampa kissed his cheek and patted Drew and kissed his cheek as well.

Bobby drifted back to sleep but not for long. His bladder dictated that he should get out of bed. Once up, he decided to visit the horses so he dressed and walked to the stables. Sherpa was very happy to see him and he and Bobby exchanged greetings. Bobby fed him an entire apple, one slice at a time held in his lips as the horse gently devoured the slice.

He visited the rest of their horses and toured the stables to see that all the boarders’ horses and saddle horses were all looking okay. "Pug" the little cob that Polly had ridden the day before looked a little down. Bobby walked in and checked her over. He found what looked like a short chunk of wire poking straight into the quick of one of her hooves. It looked a little infected but not bad. He realized that Drew had put Pug away after combing her out and feeding her. He wouldn’t have recognized the symptoms if she’d had any. He left Pug to get what he needed to treat her and ran into Dolly. He explained what he found. Bobby returned to Pug’s stall and removed the wire, he squirted in an antiseptic that foams. Pug gave a little twitch at that. "It probably smarts a little" thought Bobby. After that he placed a bee’s wax plug in the hole where the wire had been. Pug would be fine in a day or two and Bobby would check on her before she was ridden again.

After he was done with Pug, he talked with Dolly a bit and discovered that she was going into town and if he and Drew wanted to go in and see a movie she would take them along.

Bobby said he would talk it over with Drew and they would let her know.

By the time Bobby returned to the house Drew was up and dressed and hanging out in the kitchen. Bobby locked him in a hug and kissed him hard.

"Aah, kisses in the kitchen, my favorite."

It was Davey’s voice. He and Polly had just arrived in the kitchen as Bobby had pulled Drew into the hug.

"Mine too." said Bobby unfazed.

Between them they came up with a respectable breakfast.

The boys opted to join Dolly and take in a movie. Davey had more research to do and Polly was in no mood for a theater full of kids. Bobby called to let Dolly know that they would take her up on her offer. The boys joined Dolly in her old fifty-four F100 pick-up truck. Bobby took the door seat because he had a key and knew how the gate worked.

When they reached the gate Dolly let out a curse, "Shit! What’s this pinhead doing parked backwards across the gate."

A clapped out fifty-three Chevy sedan was parked facing south on the northbound side of the road. A weasel faced man was looking south intently. When Bobby stepped out of the truck Dolly honked the horn and the man almost did a sitting somersault. He locked eyes with Bobby and a look of terror crossed his face. Bobby knew he had seen that face before and it didn’t have a positive association.

Dolly honked again and yelled at him, "Git! You dopey bastard, you’re blocking my gate. The old Chevy wheezed to life and the gears ground as the man tried frantically get out of the way. He kicked up a huge rooster tail of gravel and dust and very nearly pulled out in front of a northbound hay truck. As the dust settled Bobby unlocked the gate. He examined the place where the car had been sitting. There were fifteen or more fresh cigarette butts on the ground next to where the driver’s window had been. This made Bobby’s neck itch, a sure sign that something was screwy. He locked the gate again after Dolly pulled through. As Dolly headed south into town Bobby watched the mirror carefully.

Two miles from their gate, the Chevy pulled onto the highway from a side road. He hung back behind a station wagon but Bobby spotted him all the same. "Dolly check your mirror; do you see him?" Bobby tried very hard to remember what Grampa and Walt had talked about the other evening when Walt had dropped by. He usually tuned out the police work as boring.

Walt had said something about "Our friend Leonard" being caught with a gun in his car. They decided not to book him for it because it was rusted to the floor under the seat."  Walt had said.

His Grampa had replied, "Leonard’s a cowardly little weasel but not the gun toting type." 

"Leonard!" Bobby thought; that’s the guy.

"Dolly, I need you to drop us off at the Woolworth’s. After that head over to Maggie’s and page Grampa, tell him Leonard followed us and where we are. I know the manager at the Woolworth’s and I’ll get Captain Pete from there."

Dolly looked worried "okay Hon, I’m guessing you know more of what’s up than I do. Be careful, I don’t know what I’d do if you got hurt."  




       Something else caught Bobby’s eye, it was a tan 61’ Chevy sedan. It looked like an ex-cop car. It had spotlights and a radio antenna. A man with sunglasses was sitting behind the wheel as it sat at the curb.

       Bobby hustled Drew into the Woolworth’s and brought him up to speed. Drew looked pale, "we’ll be okay won’t we?" 

       Bobby hugged him tight to reassure him, "I’m certain of it, the manager here is a reserve deputy and he’s a friend of Grampa and me."  He led Drew to the back stairs where they encountered Myra, she was Mitch’s sister-in-law and a miserable individual, and she didn’t seem to realize she was twenty or more pounds overweight and her clothes were always too tight. The expression three pounds in a two pound bag came to Bobby’s mind, and she had a strong dislike for Bobby.

       "Where do you think you’re going?" Myra stepped in front of him effectively blocking him from the stairs.

       "We need to see Mitch, its important!" Bobby was trying to be diplomatic but Myra wouldn’t have it.

       "Mitch is busy, why don’t you go play somewhere else."

       Bobby’s expression turned hard, "Just move Myra, I don’t have time for you today. That was enough to make her mad and she grabbed his arms by the biceps.

       "Take your hands off me or you will regret it!" he warned. Myra started to tell him to shut up but only got as far as "shut" when Bobby used his index and forefingers to deliver a punch to both ulnar nerves in Myra’s elbows and she let go like she had grabbed a live wire.

       Myra howled, "you little shit, what did you do to me?!" Bobby pulled Drew past her bulky form as she ranted and swore revenge, her flabby arms dangling uselessly at her sides.

       The boys raced up the stairs and Bobby knocked on Mitch’s door who looked up from his desk and waved them in. Bobby cut right to the chase and told Mitch that he should report a shoplifter in custody and then he told him why.

       "Grampa err Captain Mac is working that thing at the county museum. I think the bad guys are watching the house. Dolly is paging Mac and she’ll bring him up to speed. I need a line so I can talk to Captain Pete; he knows what’s up with the case and will keep us covered. Oh and I saw a car on the street that matches one that Walt said got away from the surveillance team.

       Mitch grasped the plan immediately, if the bad guys were monitoring the police calls they would know to clear out if there was an emergency call. A shoplifter would get a beat car on scene quickly and not arouse undo suspicion.

       Mitch made the call. Then he pointed Bobby to the other desk "push the third clear button and dial your number." Bobby studied his little address book, He had always thought Grampa worried to much when he gave Bobby all these emergency numbers but now he knew why. Bobby dialed the direct number for Captain Pete MacLean. His Sergeant answered and when Bobby identified himself he was passed to the Captain.

       "Hi Uncle Pete, we have a problem. We were followed by a guy Grampa called Leonard; he was camped out watching the house I found a pile of butts where he was parked. He’s in an old crappy Chevy."

       The Captain interrupted briefly, "I know who you’re talking about, where are you now?"

       Bobby told him the location and that Mitch had made a call to get a couple uniforms on scene, and then he told him about the other car and the guy behind the wheel. "

       "Let me get a team headed your way and I’ll call you back in a few minutes."

       Bobby dialed again, Grampa had told Jock about Dr. Rigsby the Headmaster at his school. So he called just on the chance they were visiting.

       Marilyn answered and indeed they had been there but his Grampa had received a page and had just left in a big hurry. Bobby thanked her and relaxed for a moment.

       As he leaned back there was a knock at the door behind him. He turned to see the man who had been in the tan Chevy, he recognized the he forehead and the sunglasses were hanging from his sport coat pocket.

       "Are these my shoplifters?" the man sneered as he spoke.

       "Who are you?" asked Mitch. The man introduced himself as Sergeant Johnson and flashed a badge that didn’t even come close to looking like a Pasadena shield.

       Mitch was a good guy but a lousy actor and the fake cop knew it was to pointless to continue. He pulled a Colt 1911 .38 super automatic and yelled down the hall, "Leonard, get your ass in here." 

        A sweaty rat faced man in a rumpled grey suit appeared in the doorway. "Which one?" The man with the gun asked.

       Leonard pointed at Bobby and said, "him Art, he’s the one."

       Bobby glared at the man, "You’re the scumbag that was watching our house, hah, you about shit your pants when she honked at you."

       Leonard being a coward punched Bobby in the gut doubling him over. Neither of them had been watching Drew, Art was covering Mitch with the gun. Drew had edged back and seized the handle of a baseball bat. Leonard went behind Bobby and pulled a length of cord from his pocket. Bobby was playing possum and was getting ready to take Leonard’s knee out and go for the gun.

       "You dirty fucker, leave him alone!" Drew screamed; there was a loud crack and Leonard toppled from a blow to the back of his head. Drew stood there, bat in hand ready to smack him again if he moved. 

       Art shifted his gun over to Drew’s direction. Using the butt of his hand Bobby struck the muzzle of the automatic driving the slide back interfering with the trigger mechanism. Art pulled the trigger but the hammer didn’t fall. Bobby’s left hand had crossed over and grabbed the man’s thumb and peeled the weapon from his hand tossing it in Mitch’s direction.

       Art knew he was in trouble and used his left hand to reach for a second gun. Bobby dislocated Art’s right thumb and kicked at his left knee as he pulled away. Art back handed Bobby spinning him towards Drew. Art had managed to raise the small revolver and he got off a shot which passed harmlessly between Mitch and the boys. Mitch had gained control of the Colt and put two rounds in Art before he could fire again. He noise had been deafening and Bobby, Drew and Mitch had ringing ears.

       "Are you guys okay?"  Mitch was still pointing the gun at Art even though he was bleeding profusely from two wounds.

       Bobby could see arterial flow pulsing through the jacket. "He needs an ambulance right now" yelled Bobby, mostly because he couldn’t hear all that well himself at the moment.

       He grabbed the phone and then dropped it and seized Drew who was trying to make his way to the wounded man.

       "No!" Bobby screamed and pulled Drew towards him, "He’s still a threat, and we don’t know where that other gun is. He could be trying to get one of us over there to use as a hostage!"

       He held Drew tight and pulled him towards the phone and dialed the police department. He explained to the man on the phone that things had changed and an ambulance was needed and that a wounded suspect was being held at gunpoint by a sheriff’s deputy.

       Shortly after Bobby put down the phone a voice identified itself as belonging to a Pasadena police officer.

       Mitch shouted back at him "Code four, come on ahead. I have one at gunpoint!"

       Fortunately it was an officer from the beat car and he recognized Mitch and his somewhat shaky voice.

       "I put two in his left shoulder and there’s a gun outstanding so be careful.

       The officer’s partner stood out in the hall covering the suspect through the window while the first retrieved the small revolver from the floor in front of Art. Then he holstered his own weapon and did a preliminary search to see if he had any other weapons. He handcuffed Art's good arm to Art’s own belt.

       Mitch was finally able to set down the automatic and relax.

       After a few deep breaths he picked up the Colt again and told the officers that he would make it safe. He removed the magazine and cycled the slide and locked the action in the open position.

       "You’ll need to bag this, it came from the suspect."

        The officer looked puzzled but nodded, "what about this guy?" nodding towards Leonard’s inert form.

      "He needs to be cuffed, he was with the shooter."  Mitch informed him.

       "If you’ll toss me some cuffs I’ll hook him up while you cover, Bobby told him.

        A large hand held a pair of handcuffs in the officer’s field of view. He handed them to Bobby who applied them to Leonard’s wrists.

       The officer turned to see the Captain of the Sheriff’s homicide bureau with a finger to his lips as he watched Bobby cuff Leonard.

       Mac dropped his hand and the Officer asked him "Do you know these boys Captain?"

       Mac smiled broadly; "yes", he said "yes I do."