10:30 p.m. I parked on the far side of Walgreen’s in the shadows of a large shrub. I opened the envelope and dumped the tape in my lap. Using a tissue I rubbed the cassette free of any fingerprints. My arms did it again… that strange sensation of growing a mile long. I put my head on the steering wheel and tried to slow my racing heart. I could be an accessory to Leslie’s murder, but if I did nothing he might come after my family again.
A dark limo backed into a parking space up on the far side of the lot. The driver cut its lights. It had to be Sunglasses. No movement from the car. I waited ten minutes and then with my lights off and engine purring, I slid next to the car, nose in. It seemed like forever until a window rolled down. Sunglasses was not a pretty sight at night. Holding the tape cassette with the tissue I leaned out and tried to hand it to him.
“Park your car.” He said.
My legs were shaking so hard I couldn’t keep them on the car pedals. I considered stepping on the gas to run away. I wished I carried pepper spray or bug spray or something. I looked in my backseat. All I had was an umbrella – not too effective against a gangster in a limo – maybe I could pull a Mary Poppins.
He’s not going to kill me. He needs me. I repeated my mantra while I parked my car, slipped the tape into pocket of my jeans and stepped into his car. Sunglasses was in the backseat with one of the Tweedles, the other was at the wheel.
“We followed you from your daughter’s. Nice baby.”
I put my hands on my thighs to hold my quivering legs to the seat. What had I done to my family? I offered up the tissue-wrapped tape again. “Leslie’s confession. It’s what you wanted.”
“You and your daughter and the baby went to the FBI today. Was that – a social call? You think I’m stupid?”
“I filed a complaint against Leslie. He sent some clowns to threaten my daughter. I figured the only way to stop him was to turn him over to the FBI.”
Sunglasses’ lips twitched. I thought he was hatching a smile, but then he turned nasty. “Check her.” he nodded to the backseat Tweedle. The goon came at me like a blind date in a drive-in. With his full body weight pinning me down, his huge hands grabbed me lingering in places they shouldn’t have been. Instinctively I kneed him. He doubled over in pain and then swung his right arm back ready to deck me. His fist hit the car window with a crack. He fell off me, howling.
“Stop.” I said to Sunglasses. Rather than endure another round of heavy weight petting I unbuttoned my shirt. I slid it off and turned around. “I’m not wearing a wire. Take a minute to listen to this tape.”
I still had enough of my fractured wits about me to wipe the tape on my shirt corners. I passed it to him using the palm of my hand, and then put my shirt on. Tweedle-in-the-front passed him a small cassette recorder with earphones. Sunglasses’ expression went from anger to satisfaction. He got what he needed.
I didn’t go home that night. I shut off my lights and cruised into Dana’s driveway. I stayed up all night watching her house.