The Music in the Painting

Chapter Six

 "Hello Jocko" the Captain said jovially. Bruno sends his love. He’ll be so pleased to hear you’re coming back to him." The prisoner sighed and looked at the Captain with desperation.

"Gentlemen meet Giacomo Tuttini a onetime L.A.P.D. man. He’s a walking cautionary tale. Back in Chief Parker’s early days, he was working a scam and his partner didn’t want any part of it. So Jocko hired a couple Whitefence gang punks to do a hit on his partner. But being an idiot he paid the punks in advance with half a pound of heroin. The punks got busted while engaging in a little quality survey and rolled on him. Jocko drew a dime in Folsom by rolling on Sgt. Bruno Pitkin. He was one of ours, working the jail, he ran the drug trade at County. About a third of the staff went down with him but Bruno didn’t have anyone to roll over on that wouldn’t kill him straight away."

They were interrupted by a meek voice. "Sir, are you Bobby’s Grampa." 

"Yes I am, and who are you, young man?" 

"My name is Litton Raemer, Bobby’s my friend and that man dropped his orange peels and Bobby got hurt because of him." 

Litton held up a small notebook, "He dropped this too, he drew the museum in it, and I saw him. He didn’t measure very well; he’s way off on some of the distances but it’s the museum."

The Captain looked up at one of the Metro officers and said with a bit of theatrical flair "Jack, may I have the envelope please!?"

Jack was a twenty year LAPD man of about forty with a gray Marine Corps flat top, he chuckled and handed a large manila envelope to the Captain who in turn placed its open end under the notebook and asked Litton to drop it in.

The boy complied and the Captain said, "Thank you Litton, you’re a very observant boy to know that book was important."

The Captain handed the envelope back to the Metro detective saying," I don’t suppose I need to remind you to get a warrant before you look at it?"

Jack nodded.

The Captain turned to Leo and said, "Could you round up Michelle and Dean Rigsby." 

"Sure thing Mac, I’ll go get them now," said Leo relieved to get away from the smelly suspect; he had the Adrenalin shakes from the prospect of having to shoot that walking turd.

The Captain turned back to Litton and said: "Son, we’re going to need a bit more help from you". Before he could finish Raemer interrupted and said "You need my fingerprints now don’t you? You know, so you can tell mine from his." 

"That’s it exactly said the Captain, and then I’ll need you to show an officer where he dropped it. We’d also like to get your statement for our investigation. Is that okay with you?"                              

"Yes sir", the boy said, "but you need to get the Dean’s permission first don’t you?" 

"That’s correct Litton, we have to follow procedure.

My Bobby said you were smart." 

"Yes sir, "Litton replied "I’m sure the Dean won’t mind."

Litton probably didn’t know how to make a fist but he could get back at this ugly man who caused his friend to get hurt. Up till now, he had always been the one needing protection. But now he thought perhaps he could help strike a blow for his hero if only in a small way. He also vowed to be very careful with his own orange peels.

Leo returned with the two men as requested and then excused himself to find Mike. He found him chatting with Todd and several of the boys and the Assistant Curator.

Dr. Muriel Fluke was an elegant looking woman in her sixties; she had also been Mike’s thesis advisor when he had been working toward his own Ph.D. in art history.    

"Hello Leo," she said warmly and taking Leo’s hand to shake. "How is the boy that was hurt?" she asked with concern. 

"He’s doing better and seems to have returned to himself, they’re taking him to Cedars to be checked over for a concussion. You do know" he continued looking directly at Muriel "that he’s Captain Mac’s grandson."

Muriel’s eye’s popped. "Well, I wouldn’t want to be in that man’s shoes, even if it was an accident." 

Leo looked to Mike and asked how the boys were doing.

"They’re a bit restless and Todd’s been shepherding them to the restroom in groups," said Mike.

"Mac said they would be cutting the patrons loose, Metro wasn’t getting much out of them during the canvas but a little guy named Litton gave Mac a notebook the suspect ditched. The kid said there was a layout of the museum in it. And get this; he then proceeded to tell Mac that he would need to print him for exclusion." Leo told the small group.

Litton Raemer?!" interrupted Todd, He doesn’t usually talk to anyone, and even then it’s one or two words at best."

"Well he was pretty chatty when I left them," said Leo.

Todd turned away with a puzzled look on his face. 

Leo turned to Todd and said "We should get the boys ready to go since the museum is closing for the day they won’t be performing. So they can round up their gear and instruments after the patrons are all out they’ll have the vans pull up out front and the boys can head back to the school. Metro will have a car shadow them back to Pasadena at Mac’s request." 

Todd nodded and walked back to the group of boys.

Mike snorted a bit and said, "How are the Metro guys dealing with taking orders from a Sheriff’s Captain?" 

Leo replied that the orders were coming from Jack at Mac’s suggestion. "You know they served in Korea together, don’t you? Besides; most of the Metro crew admire Mac because he’s more interested in getting the work done than which agency gets the glory."

"Well while we’re waiting,  the cafeteria staff is bringing up croissants, apples and fruit juice and some cheese for the boys," interjected Muriel.

"I guess you two are stuck until the loading dock reopens, and that won’t be for a while. You could lock that instrument in the prep room, it’s very secure and you wouldn’t have to babysit the thing until you can leave. You could even walk around and enjoy the exhibits before we start removing the Vermeers." 

"Thanks, Dr. Fluke," once the boys are on the road we’ll take you up on that," Leo said. 

"Excellent, and that’s Muriel." She smiled.

"Hello Reg," Mac said to the Dean while shaking his hand. "Good to see you too Michelle" taking the security chief’s hand as well.

"Michelle that was a great response given what we know about the crew taking down museums. If what I believe is correct we may have just got their legman. I think he’ll spill just for a chance to go to Lompoc instead of Folsom. The gun charge alone is enough to send him back and he has some old friends there that he’d probably like to avoid."                      

The Captain turned to the Dean and said "Reg, one of your boys named Litton can be of help to us here, we need your permission to interview and print him for exclusion. He found some evidence that will make a lot of difference. Will that be okay or do you need to check with his family?" 

"Oh I don’t think that will be necessary" the Dean replied I have a Loco Parentis document on file for each student in our care, it is usually for medical treatment or travel but I think it will stand for this event as well."

"Thanks, Reg, that will help expedite things a bit." He turned to Michelle and said "Jack is having his boys block all the driveways here save one. We’ll get the patrons out by that exit and the rest are blocked to keep the keep the press out." He turned back to the Dean and asked "Reg, are your vans plain or do they have the school’s name on them? Either way, you should call your security people at the school, alert them that the press may come sniffing around.                        

"I’ll do that very thing straight away!" Reg said with some alarm. "We don’t need their sort tromping through the Azaleas trying to get a peek." 

"Oh, and the print tech may take a while to get here so Jack will bring your boy to me at Cedars and I’ll see he gets back to the school."  

Michelle spoke up "If you’ve nothing more for me, Mac, I’ll show Dr. Rigby where he can make his call."

The Captain started for the exit but paused long enough to talk to the group of boys in the atrium. He watched as they munched on the food delivered by the cafeteria staff.

"Gentlemen, your attention please." He called. "First I want to tell you that Bobby appears to be in good shape according to the Doctor who checked him out here. He’s at the hospital now getting an X-ray and he’ll have to stay over because he was unconscious, it’s kind of a rule that Doctors have.

Second and this is important if you see strangers on your campus in the next couple weeks don’t talk to them, run and get a proctor and let him deal with them, and pass that along to all the other students, please. Okay?"  He got a chorus of assent, then he waved goodbye and headed out the door.

Mac asked Leo to walk with him to the door.

"That was good work spotting Jocko back there; if you get tired of the good pay and decent hours you should come and join our little outfit." Mac faced Leo and stuck out his hand. Leo shook it and said, "well I’ll think about it, I’ll be calling to check on Bobby soon."

Mac shook Mike’s hand as well and said, "That offer stands for you as well."

When he emerged his partner Walt joined him as they walked to the car. "So what have you been up to Walt?" the captain inquired. "You look like the cat that ate the canary." 

"Well I had a notion," Walt said and then stopped as a man leaped out in front of them from behind a car with something black and shiny in his right hand, the man raised his hand and Mac and Walt went for their weapons. Mac had weights sewn into the corners of his jackets to make it easier to flip the coat out of the way and draw his revolver. He got as far as unsnapping the holster and grasping the grip and stopped, he put his hand on Walt’s arm to stop him. The shiny object was a microphone and the man was a reporter named Leonard Griffin.

"Leonard you fucking idiot! Walt shouted, don’t you know better than to jump out at people who carry guns? You’re really lucky you aren’t leaking from twelve different holes right now.

Leonard, who was now in the classic cover-up pose; cringed and said," sorry guys, I didn’t mean to startle you; but hey what’s going on here? All I heard on the TAC channel was that somebody was injured here. C’mon what’s the skinny Mac?" Leonard whined.

"That’s Captain Mackenzie to you shitbird" snarled Walt.   

"Now Walter, there’s no need to abuse the fourth estate. But would you be so kind as to confiscate Leonard’s Tape Recorder," said Mac in a gentle voice "And let’s try not to damage it or Leonard in the process." He cautioned.

Leonard’s eyes became saucers as he yelled:" Hey you can’t do that that’s protected under the first amendment!" 

"Not anymore," Mac replied menacingly, you just recorded yourself admitting to a Federal offense, its evidence now. But I’ll do this, if you get your ass back the other side of the Police barricade straight away we’ll only impound the tape itself and send you along your way. We’ll let the Feds decide whether or not to prosecute you after they review the tape."

Leonard sounded like a motorboat as he protested, "But, but, but I didn’t commit any offense!" he blustered. 

"Well actually, you did. You see it’s illegal to for a third party to listen to the radio communication of others for commercial gain. You do get paid to be a reporter, don’t you?" Mac smiled cheerfully.

Knowing he was cooked, Leonard chose not to argue the point any further.

Walt removed the tape carefully from the machine and then placed the reels in a manila envelope and wrote a note on the outside. Leonard would have been incensed if he had been able to read it.

Mac told Leonard to put himself out on the sidewalk and if he ventured back to the scene before it was released he would have L.A.P.D. handcuff him and put him in the back of their most foul smelling patrol car and let him sit in the warm June air.