Wednesday afternoon at two P.M. Tina walked into the Las Vegas Metro Police Department sub-station on Windmill Lane and asked to speak to Detective Geeting.
The officer behind the information desk asked what it was about and Tina replied, “My name is Tina McFarland and Detective Geeting is expecting me.” She didn’t mention that Junior had called Geeting earlier that day and advised him that she was coming in to turn in her ex-boyfriend in the Stormy Weather case.
After Geeting talked with Junior, he made a phone call to the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas and told his source that he would give them a fifteen-minute notice on a really important story that they had been following.
The TV crew was parked about one mile from the station and they would be ready to roll when Geeting gave them the word.
Tina didn’t have to wait more than three minutes before an older man with a wispy little snow-white mustache, potbelly, and pink cheeks walked out of a backroom and called her into his office.
The first thing that came to Tina’s mind when she saw Detective Geeting was that he would make a good Santa Clause next Christmas. He introduced himself as Walter Geeting and asked how he could help her.
Geeting already knew what this was about, but he went along with the game in case the Detective Lieutenant might be eavesdropping on him again.
Geeting wrote the address where Charlie Bargalo was holding out, Tina’s full name, address, and contact information in his notebook and how she knew that the man in the sketch was Charlie.
“I was shacked up with him for the last four years before I kicked him out. Charlie is an ex-con and petty criminal, and when I saw that sketch on the internet, I knew that it was Charlie,” she told the chubby cop.
Geeting wrote the address that she gave him for Charlie’s brother in his notebook, handed her his business card and picked up the keys to his city-issued car as he escorted Tina out of his office, telling her he would be in touch.
When he was out of sight of the sub-station, he called the news reporter and told her that he was on his way to arrest a suspect in the Stormy Weather case, gave her the address and told her not to get there before him.
Ten minutes later, Fox News filmed Detective Walter Geeting leading Charlie Bargalo out of a shabby little house in Blue Diamond, wearing blue jeans and a black wife-beater shirt. The cameraman knew his job, as he zoomed in on Charlie with the words “Born To Lose” in bold black ink on one shoulder and “Death Before Dishonor” tattooed on the other shoulder.
Charlie Bargalo played it for all it was worth when he looked directly into the camera and said, “This is a bogus arrest. I don’t know what this fat man is talking about.”
“Geeting, in my office,” the Detective Lieutenant yelled as he watched TV and print reporters file into the sub-station. “What the fuck Walter, did you consider running this by me before you took off and arrested that punk? You didn’t even bother to get a warrant for his arrest, because you knew that the D.A. wouldn’t approve it.”
“To tell you the truth, Lew, I had to move fast. My source told me that this guy was getting ready to split town.”
“Bullshit, Walter, you’re a fucking loose cannon. You always do your own thing and I’m getting real fucking tired of this happy horseshit. Now get out of my office while I call the D.A. and run this humbug arrest by him.”
Half an hour later, the Lieutenant called Geeting back into his office and ordered him to release the suspect.
“The District Attorney told me that the statute of limitations had expired and that he didn’t believe the bullshit porno attorney’s story anyway. Now get the fuck out of here and stay out of my way.”
On the following Friday at ten A.M., Tina and Junior walked into the Los Angeles office of Stormy Weather’s attorney. Junior was wearing his dark blue power suit, the only suit he owned, as he handed the blond lady at the reception desk his business card and introduced himself as Ted Duncan.
He then introduced Tina McFarland as the lady who would be picking up the reward money. The receptionist looked at the card with his name and Esquire written under it in a fancy scroll type of lettering. She picked up the intercom and told the attorney that Mr. Duncan was here to see him.
The receptionist apologized, saying that Mr. Avondale was at a very important meeting, and he had asked her to give the cashier’s check to Mr. Duncan.
“I understand, I’m a very busy man myself,” Junior explained as he examined the check and carefully placed it in the inside pocket of his jacket after showing it to Tina.
They waited until they were out of sight of the law office to high five each other and Tina grinned as she leaned over and kissed Junior on his cheek.
Junior spotted the bank that the check was written on, and they pulled into the bank’s parking lot to cash it before leaving Los Angeles.
Charlie had been waiting for them for two and a half hours when Junior pulled into the parking lot of the Route 66 motel on Main street in Barstow.
Charlie looked around, making sure the press had not followed them as he walked out to the car to greet his partners in crime.
The car radio was on a local oldies-but-goodies station and Junior said “Check it out,” as he pointed to the radio. An old song called “Stormy” was playing and they all chuckled as they listened to the song.
Junior didn’t plan on sticking around. He wanted to get back to Vegas and still had to drive for two more hours.
“So, where you guys headed?” he asked as he slipped the shifter into drive.
“San Diego,” Tina told him as she nudged Charlie.
“Nice town. Maybe I’ll get down there and hang out with you guys when I get a chance.”
“Sounds good,” Charlie told him. Tina agreed with Charlie.
Junior headed east on old Route 66 while Tina and Charlie walked back to their motel room. He turned the radio volume up as the song “Kentucky Rain,” came on and tapped his foot on the floorboard while Elvis sang.
“Where are we really going, Charlie?”
“I don’t know yet, unless you have any ideas.”
“I’ve never lived anywhere except Vegas Charlie, what do you think?”
Charlie opened a road map of the eastern United States that he had purchased at the gas station across the street from the motel, and taped it to the wall of their room.
He found scotch tape and a set of darts at the General Dollar store while he was looking for cookies to eat.
They stepped back as far from the map as they could and Charlie handed Tina a dart and said, “You pick it.”
The dart landed on the state of Kentucky and they both agreed that it would be Kentucky until things settled down and maybe they could get passports and go to some island in the South Pacific.
It didn’t take long to pack and Charlie carried the canvas bags, one for each of them, out of the room while Tina closed the door behind them.
Charlie was almost at the car when he tripped in a pothole in the parking lot. He let out with a scream and said, “Fucking shit, I think I just broke my ankle. I’m going to sue this shithole of a motel.”
The motel clerk saw the accident from the lobby window but did not rush outside to ask if Charlie needed help.
“Get in the car, Charlie. I saw an emergency room off the freeway and we can drive over there. We don’t have time to sue anyone.”
“What the hell, Tina? I am a slip and fall artist, alright.”
About The Author
Leroy B. Vaughn’s short stories and essays have been published in print, e-zines, anthologies and podcasts.