Everything had happened too fast. Bullets ricocheted through the room as Dorian grabbed Noelle from the floor. “We gotta go! We have to go now!” he screamed at her. He never released her hand as he began to run through the pane glass window and down into the icy river.
It took Dorian a split second to react to Noelle standing at his front door. His arm whipped to his waistband and seized the gun, swinging it to her face. She grabbed the muzzle and forced his arm down, sending the gun flying. Dorian grabbed the thief by her lapels and dragged her into the apartment. She used her forearms to break his grip and block his strikes as he came at her full force. She was the reason he was out of a job & under investigation. She had seduced him, made his drop his guard for one minute, and outfoxed him, something he could proudly say didn’t happen often. Dorian hated to admit it to himself, but he had a point to prove.
Deputy Director Dorson signed the last of the paperwork as she waved Agent Sanchez into her office. “You said you have an update for me on the Trevant case?”
“Actually, it’s about Agent Shaw,” Sanchez said as he sat down. Dorson’s brow furrowed and she stopped her task. “What happened?”
“I think you mean ‘What hasn’t happened?’ Shaw hasn’t shown up to any briefings in 3 days now. Security puts him in the building, but I have yet to see him coming or going.”
“I’ll admit, he’s been a bit reclusive since he was reinstated but that’s nothing to be worried about.”
“Yeah, well, you won’t feel that way when you see what he’s been up to,” Sanchez said, before he placed the files onto her desk. She flipped open the first few and was puzzled. “What is this?”
“I think he has a ‘lead’. According to these and his web of delusion in his office, he believes the thief is a bounty hunter of sorts, contracted from the Dark Web to steal priceless items. He researched EVERY high value item stolen in the last 5 years and its history. How many times it was almost stolen, tips and rumors about those who would pay for these items, etc.”
“So…he’s tracking the criminals who could have paid this thief?”
“”Exactly and the last four thefts have been within a 100 mile radius of the Trevant case…”
“Meaning a local contract,” Dorson said.
Sanchez produced a different folder from Shaw’s office. “All the items that have been taken have been on the assumed radar of one Li Yiao.” Dorson’s skin crawled when she saw the dated mugshot of the mobster. “We’ve been after this guy for years. He’s untouchable. How did he get this information?”
“I have no idea. Like I said, he’s working all this out on his own.”
“Does he have anything concrete?”
“Nothing. It’s all circumstantial, and frankly, a little crazy.”
“Well, we can’t go after this guy again because he likes expensive things. He has the best representation money can buy and the Bureau refuses to go after him until they have enough to put him away for good.”
“Don’t think Shaw cares about that. Also on that web of his, he’s planning on catching the theft in the act. Tomorrow.”
“Jesus Christ,” Dorson said before she picked up the phone.
“What you’re asking for is impossible,” Noelle said, tossing the invite back onto the table. She was at her wit’s end with the mafioso, especially after the incident at the train station. “You’re a professional. The best money can buy, or so I hear,” Yiao said. He shuffled a pair of cards behind his desk, the clacking of the plastic cards reverberated around the circular room. “I’m the best because I don’t get caught. Robbing the house of the most affluent man in the city in a crowd doesn’t exactly resonate that.”
“A thief is a thief,” Yiao said passively.
“The building hasn’t been cased. I don’t know ANY of the security protocols AND it will be filled with security guards, police officers and hundreds of witnesses, INCLUDING the Mayor.”
Yiao seemed unperturbed by her concerns. He pushed a black folder across the desk with his index finger. Noelle grimaced before she picked it up. “I took the liberty of doing all the legwork for you. Consider it a parting gift.”
“And the video?”
“All evidence against you will be surrendered upon completion of the job. We’ll be done.” Noelle narrowed her eyes suspiciously. She didn’t trust him but she had very little choice in the matter. He had too much dirt on her and one anonymous murmur from him could lead to a lifetime in a hole under the Pentagon. She snatched the file from the desk and Yiao’s face spread into a sickly sweet smile. “Relax. You’re holding the ticket to your freedom.”
Outside, the busy street was humming in the unusually warm weather. Noelle turned towards home and began maneuvering through the bodega traffic when someone slammed into her, throwing her back against the wall. “Jesus!” she yelled after the stranger, whom had continued walking. She straightened herself when she noticed a piece of paper tucked between her and the folder. She opened it and nearly lost her breath.
In a familiar hand, she read:
THE MAYOR’S GALA IS A TRAP. DON’T GO.
She peered down the street but the stranger had disappeared into the sea of people.
“I’m not comfortable with this, Dorian,” Davis Shaw whispered to his son. He didn’t want to alert anyone to his son’s plan to play Cops and Robbers during the biggest event he would probably experience. The great hall was swarming with decorators and local volunteers, readying the space for the following night. “Dad,” Dorian said. Davis stepped closer to his son and hissed into his ear. “You’re asking me to let a criminal steal a precious valuable in the home of the most respected figure in the city. Surely, you can understand my apprehension.”
“I promise, I have everything under control.”
“How come someone hasn’t come to, I don’t know, debrief me or the mayor? What kind of security measures are being taken?”
“Dad,” Dorian said, turning to face his father and grabbing him by the shoulders. “Relax. Everything is already in place. The sting will be handled swiftly and with such care that you or the guests will know it ever happened.”
The lie seemed to placate the senior Shaw, who went off to double check the rest of the arrangements. In reality, Dorian was flying solo and blind on the mission. He had alerted security of a credible threat and (after showing his credentials) insisted on coverage for all the exits for the entire evening. As he made another walkthrough, his phone buzzed in his pocket; upon first glance, he saw it was Deputy Director Dorson’s fourth call. “Not now,” he whispered to himself as he silenced the phone. He turned around to see Dorson, standing before him, phone in hand. “Seems like an important call,” she said sarcastically. Dorian felt as if his stomach had dropped down to his feet. “Deputy Director…”
“Can I speak with you? Alone?” she said before walking towards the alcove beneath the grand staircase. “HOW DARE YOU SET UP A STING OPERATION WITHOUT INVOLVING THE AGENT IN CHARGE OR YOUR COMMANDING OFFICER?!” she hissed, nearly pinning him to the wall. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I…” Dorian began before she held up her hand to stop him. “Never, in my tenure at the Bureau, have I seen such blatant disregard and disrespect for authority, even after a slew of warnings and second chances. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t suspend you WITHOUT PAY upon review and recommendation of termination,” Dorson continued in a low voice.
“I know this is complete unorthodox but….”
“Unorthodox?! This is completely unprecidented!”
“I’m going with my gut here. You know I wouldn’t jump headfirst like this without being absolutely sure.”
Dorson scoffed as he tried to reassure her. “I’ve done all the pertinent research. I’m 100% sure that something is going down tomorrow night. You know I’m a bloodhound. I just need you to trust me.”
“You WERE a bloodhound, Shaw. Now, you’re a loaded gun in the hands of a child. I don’t know what to expect out of you anymore and frankly, I cannot stick my neck out any farther for you.”
“Ok, I’ll make you a deal. If I don’t make an arrest tomorrow, you can take my badge and put me on leave. Fire me, stick me in a padded room, if that’s what you desire.”
“You’re that confident?”
“I am,” Dorian said. Dorson thought for a moment, before pointing a finger into his chest. “I’m sending backup, Sanchez and his team. One fuck up, ONE and you’ll be praying for that padded room.”
Dorian had to admit: it was the perfect excuse to keep him busy.
It felt as if they had been sitting together for hours, but 17 minutes had only passed since Dorian walked into the room. Dr. Wilhemina Harris stared at him through her cat eyed glasses, legs crossed at the knee and a notepad balanced in her lap. Dorian was, what she defined as, a textbook pessimist; he never believed in therapy or “shrinks”. Culturally, Dorian was raised to believe therapy was a waste of money. If you couldn’t “pray” your problems away, you bottle them and push them down until you developed an ulcer. He cleared his throat loudly and dramatically, as he silently prayed she would just give up the stalemate and let him leave. “So…tell me about the case you’re on,” Dr. Harris said as she patted her notebook. “That’s classified,” he said flatly. “I’m actually qualified to any information involving case files. I do work for the FBI as well,” she said. Dorian folded his arms, subconsciously on the defensive.