Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 8

Wake Up Call

Mildred had spent the day making lasagna for dinner. It was full of flavor, and after a long day of work, it hit the spot. Angus went back for seconds, before he quit. He took a piece of garlic bread with him into the living room, and he sat down to listen to the news.

After doing the dishes, Mildred sat with him, and Angus told her about his day. He left out the part about Tony holding a gun on him. There were parts of the stories Angus told his wife, that he left out. While he'd received awards for valor several times as a Chicago detective, the version he told his wife sounded like a walk in the park.

He didn't fool his wife, but he tried not to alarm her.

The stress filled day meant a good nights sleep, until he got his wake up call. It didn't come as a surprise. The surprise would have been, if it didn't come. Angus knew a man like Tony, used all the weapons at his disposal. Instead of doing the job himself, he got someone else to do it for him.

The knocking was unmistakeable. It woke both his wife and him.

"I've got things out. Go back to sleep. I'll only be a few hours," he said.

He patted his wife's butt and swung his feet onto the floor.

It was 6:03.

He pulled on his sweatpants, slipped the shirt over his head, and got into his loafers. The banging persisted. It was meant to disorient the person they were there to take into custody. Angus knew, whoever they sent to his door was aware he was a private cop. He didn't expect to see any guns drawn.

This was a gentle roust. It was by the book once they got the arrest order. He'd call Wes from the cop shop. Wes would have him back on the street in time for breakfast. He might not make his 9a.m. Court appearance, but lawyers were often shuffling their schedule.

"Angus McCoy," a young cop in uniform said. "You're under arrest for first degree burglary. You'll need to come with me."

Angus straightened his shirt.

"You know who I am?"

"Yeah, they told me you'd be a barrel of laughs. I'm no laughing. It's too fucking early. You aren't going to be any trouble, are you?"

Angus held up his hands.

"No way," Angus said, presenting his wrists.

"You know this is SOP?" The young cop said.

"What's your name, kid?" Angus asked.

"Officer Simon Webb," the officer said, putting the handcuffs on Angus's thick wrists. "They'll take 'em off at the station. I know they're their tight."

"I've been expecting you," Angus said. "As for first degree burglary, his wife gave me the key to the house," Angus said.

"I'm just the guy making the pickup. Tell it to the judge."

" Just so you know, it's a husband and wife deal, and I'm in the middle. One wants something done, the other doesn't."

Angus knew he was wasting his time, but he never knew how these things would turn out. Webb knew what he needed to know before he was dispatched to the McCoy house.

"How's Jack doing these days?" Angus asked, as he got into the backseat.

"Jack?" Officer Webb asked, as he sat behind the wheel.

"Jack Webb. All cops know who Jack Webb is," Angus said.

"Oh, you mean the television cop," Officer Webb said.

"How old are you Webb?" Angus asked.

"Twenty-two," he said.

"Hell, Jack Webb lived and died before you were even born. I think I saw every episode of Dragnet at least ten times," he said.

It was going to be another beautiful day in paradise, but Angus wished he'd been arrest after his first cup of coffee.

It was a quarter to nine when Wes came for his client.

They didn't put Angus in a cell. He'd been there for five minutes, when they took him into an interview room, taking off the handcuffs. Two detectives let him tell his story. They both shrugged and took him back to where they picked him up, handcuffing him to a bench.

Angus stuck to his story, no matter who asked.

There was no point in putting Angus in a cell, they'd just need to go get him when Wes came. He'd already called and had a release from a judge Wes got out of bed. A half hour after being placed on a bench in the hall, the morning shift began to arrive. Angus mostly knew cops on the daytime shifts, which is when he did most of his business these days.

"Hey, McCoy, if I take the cuffs off, you promise not to make a break for it?" A friendly voice asked. "What have you done now."

"Detective Watson, I haven't seen you since you busted up that stolen car ring in San Ysidro. I see you haven't wised up and gotten a real job yet," Angus said.

Detective Watson leaned to unlock the cuff that held Angus to the bench. He handed him a cup of coffee.

"You look like you need this more than I do. I'll get another cup. I just poured that. I drink mine black too," Detective Watson said.

"Yeah, that's the one thing about getting locked up first thing in the morning. You often miss your morning coffee," Angus said.

"I thought you went straight, McCoy. Whose ox did you gore?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Watson," Angus said.

"Try it out on me. I can take a joke," Watson said.

"I was in Mad Anthony Wade's house when he came home last night. I'm working for his wife. His kid is missing. We went in to get a look at his computer. The Mrs. says Tony will be at a meeting all evening. He wasn't. He walked in on me and my computer expert. I think you can say, he wasn't pleased," Angus said.

"Mad Tony, huh. He didn't shoot you. Sounds like your attorney will need to straighten this out for you. Mad Tony's kid is missing? It's a newsflash I should know?" he said.

"You'll love this. The wife came to Matthews late last week. He's the attorney I do investigations for. The kids been gone four days. She wants us to find him," Angus said. "She waits four days."

"Four days. What, they thought he was sleeping in? Four fucking days to start looking for her kid. Tony's kid. Do you think he New Jersey family snatched the kid? It's the kind of shit they pull if you piss them off. Send you an ear. Ask if you'd like the rest of your kid. You've got to be careful with your answer."

"No. It's a family deal. Mrs. Tony moved out. Sonny boy's gone. Tony's all alone in that big house."

"Keep me posted on this, McCoy. We have an ongoing case open on Tony's West Coast activities. He's definitely a person of interest in crimes in our fair city and especially in Jersey. Even the FBI is looking at him from the time he did back there. He's not a nice man," Watson said.

"You know, I've heard that," Angus said in mock surprise.

"Matthews is coming in for you?"

"Yeah, he's busy tickling a judge to get me released. He should be here soon. I've got a lot of work I need to get done," Angus said.

"I'll get your paperwork moving. Did they print you or mugshot you, McCoy?"

"No. The first two detectives listened to what I said, and they brought me right back to the bench where they got me. You're the first friendly face I've seen. They've been OK. Doing their job."

"That's good to hear. I'll see if things up. Get you booked, expedite your paperwork. I'll have you ready to go by the time your attorney shows up," Watson said. "You need more coffee, just yell Watson. Keep me posted on the Wade kid, will you."

"I'll do that. This is a gift from the Gods," Angus said, savoring the strong brew. "Time for me to get to work. You take care of yourself, McCoy. Stay in touch. We've always been able to help each other," Watson said, walking away.

They had, and Watson was a man of his word.

Wes came with the papers to get Angus out of the pokey.

"You've been released in my custody, McCoy. What the hell did you do to Tony Wade. I told you not to cause trouble," Wes said.

"Never laid a glove on him. He had a gun on me, and I took it away from him. He was offended, and he came at me. I stepped to one side. He went down on top of the cutest little antique coffee table you've ever seen. I'd say the table is a total loss. Tony, well, the only thing he hurt was his ego. The fall took the fight out of him."

"Yeah, and now we're going to need to appear in court and go through a trial if I can't make this go away," Wes said.

"I did what I was supposed to do. Mrs. Wade said he'd be at a meeting in town until later. He wasn't. He came home while Terry and I were in the house. You can read the rest on the arrest form and I haven't been to my office to make my report for you yet."

"I already have. It's thin. He's just harassing you for the sake of it. He didn't like you being in his house," Wes said.

"I got that. I am hoping you'll drive me home," Angus said. "If you don't, you'll need to put up with at your office all day, until you take me home."

"No thank you. I'll take you home immediately. Then I'll have just enough time to find out who the prosecutor is, and I'll go to tell him our tale of woe. They might refuse to prosecute," Wes said. "Since we're going to share this time together. Give me your report on last night and don't leave out anything."

"Mrs. Wade waited outside her house until I opened the front door and went in to disarm the alarm. She gave me the code. It was the second time I was in the Wade house yesterday afternoon and the only time I encountered Mad Tony. He lived up to the title. I didn't expect the gun, and I don't carry one on a missing person's case. I expected more fight than Tony gave me. He charged me, after I disarmed him. I let him keep charging, until that little table stopped him. I did step to one side to give him a clean shot at that table."

"He said you destroyed property inside the house. That's the table in question?" Wes asked.

"That be the one," Angus said.

"After that there was no fight left in Tony. He did insist I leave his house. I did that, and this morning I got a wake up call from San Diego's finest. I wanted to call you from the house, but they made me wait. I know how you love getting up early, Wes."

"Remember, one day the shoe will be on the other foot, and I'll be calling you at five in the morning," Wes said.

"I know that's a lie. You've never been up at five in the morning," Angus said.

"You're probably right. Not since law school anyway. Since you've been arrested and charged on a B&E and assault, did you get what you needed, before Tony came home?" Wes asked.

"I did. Terry should have something by this morning. She planned to work late last night. She'll get a list of contacts and hopefully their names and addresses," Angus said.

"Let me know what she finds out. I'll have to call Dolores with the news about Tony. She'll want to know he caught you in the house before you were finished," Wes said. "I don't see her reasoning with Tony at this point, so the prosecution will stand for now."

"I did and if Terry is true to her word, she'll have a printout waiting for me at her shop by now," Angus said. "I'll get her to run you off a copy too, so you know where I'll be, once I follow the kid."

"You were thinking Tony did his kid in," Wes said.

"That remains to be seen. If we pick up a trail, that takes us beyond last Monday, it means Cory left the house alive. If there is no trail after Jessie left the house last Monday, Tony's the guy I'll be looking at. He's a bad man. I don't know if even Tony is that bad."

Wes dropped Angus off at his house.

As soon as Angus showered, had breakfast, and kissed his wife goodbye, he drove to Terry's shop. He stopped down the block to get two of Terry's favorite pastries and two large cappuccinos.

"You're a dear, Angus. Thank you. Take a seat and I'll explain what I have and how I'll get the information you want," Terry said, making a pleasant sound as she tested the pastry. "Oh, you are so bad. I tried to call you earlier. It went straight to voice mail."

"Yes, well, the police didn't allow me to take my phone with me,"

"Last night?" Terry asked.

"First degree burglary. I told them about Cory. They were good about it. They know I'm a private cop, and they know Tony is a bad guy. Anyway, I was booked and Wes got me out around nine," Angus said. "In case you're interested, your name never came up. I'm sure Tony never saw you. He was busy falling down while you were leaving the house. No need to mention that you were my partner in crime. I do have a history with the District Attorney, and he'll squeeze me if he thinks he can. It has nothing to do with you."

"I appreciate that. You know how I hate courtrooms," Terry said.

"I do and it will be best you stay away from them for a while longer. Even though the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and you've done what the court told you to do, judges have long unforgiving memories if they think you've violated the agreement. First degree burglary is frowned on."

"By the way I put an app on Cory's computer. If he attempts to access it from off site, my computer will make a record of anything he does," Terry said. "With that said, I found an off site entry into that computer one week ago. I ran a check on where he was at the time he accessed his computer. I called a local service provider where an old boyfriend works. He came up with a name, address, and the phone number where Cory accessed his computer from. The email account was for a Mr. Johnn Lee. I thought it might help," Terry said.

"You are a genius," Angus said, kissing the top of Terry's head as he looked over her shoulder.

"I wrote the information on this card. It is a residence, and someone answered the phone when I called. I said I had gotten a wrong number."

"You've proved Cory is alive. Good show. I'll be making a visit to Mr. Lee's residence later today," Angus said, reading the information on the card.

"It's an apartment building in Hillcrest. It's a pretty gay section. Is Cory gay?"

"According to his boyfriend, probably so. It's not the kind of thing I need to know in most cases," Angus said. "You got this information off that little gadget you showed me last night? It's amazing what you can do."

"It's all on the flash drive, and I checked the computer for time stamps. It told me he'd been on his computer a week ago today. The app won't tell me what he did while he was on, but if he logs on again, I'll see what he does."

"Neat. I won't ask how it's done. I sometimes have trouble answering my phone. You don't understand that people like me were born in the Stone Age. Anything that goes beyond an on and off switch is likely to confuse me."

Terry laughed.

"I have the email address of people he's been in touch with on that computer. The most interesting servers are clustered in the San Francisco area. I've got a couple of calls in to some hackers I know, and they're busy getting the street addresses and phone numbers for those email addresses. It'll take until this afternoon to complete."

"From here, I'll go to Wes's office, and I'll let him know we are making progress. He'll call Mrs. Wade. I need information on the domestic help at the Wade house. I didn't pick up my phone before leaving the house. I'll stop for it before I go to call on Mr. Lee. If you have a final printout on Cory's contacts before you go home, that would be OK too."

"I'm sure I'll have something by three or four," Terry said. "I'll be sticking with it until I have what I'm able to get. You can take it with you if you come by after three today. I'll also let you know if Cory tries to get on his computer from a location other than at his house."

"That's great. You don't know how much help you've been," Angus said.

"You got my number. Any time you need me, just call."

"The big guy in?" Angus asked Peggy.

"He is. He's with a client. Grab a cup of coffee and a donut, I'll let him know you're here. Oh, by the way, here's Mrs. Johnson's address and phone number. This is the Wade's cleaning lady. Wes said you needed it."

"I do," Angus said, sticking his donut in his mouth and leaning over to take the 3x5 card out of Peg's hand.

"Peg, I never thought of that. Is this how you keep him quiet?" Wes said as he came out of his office to grab a donut and refill his coffee cup.

"Very funny," Angus said. "They're hardly the best donuts I've had. You can afford to spring for Winchell's deluxe box of donuts."

"Come on back. You been rooting in the weeds, Angus? You look like hell."

"Thank you, Wes. You don't look so well yourself."

Wes sat down behind his desk and looked at the papers in front of him.

"You see Terry yet?" Wes asked.

"That's part of the reason why I'm here. Cory was alive and on his computer a week ago today. Terry somehow got the name of the guy who lives where Cory was, when he got onto his computer. The guy lives in Hillcrest. Cory was there a week ago. Terry has some gizmo on Cory's computer that records what he does if he gets on his computer from another location."

"I've heard of that," Wes said.

"I'd have asked her to do that, but I didn't even know you could do that. Anyway, Peg gave me the address I need for the Wade's maid. I'll be going to Chula Vista to talk to her after I leave here. I'll ask her if she's seen or heard anything suspicious. Then I'll go to Hillcrest to see what Mr. Lee knows about Cory," Angus said.

"Bet he says he's never heard of him," Wes said.

"Evidence definitely points in a different direction," Angus said. "The rest of what Terry has in the way of Cory's contacts seems to lead to the Bay area. She's working on getting their addresses. It looks like I might be spending the weekend in the city by the bay. It's Thursday; I'll check the leads in my pocket, and maybe have Peg book me to San Francisco late tomorrow afternoon, Wes, depending on what Terry comes up with."

"Peg, Angus is going to need to fly to San Francisco on the Wade case. Book an evening flight for tomorrow and have a rental car waiting when he arrives," Wes said.

"I'm on it," Peg said.

"Didn't the cops warn you not to leave town?" Wes asked. "That's what they always tell guys on TV."

"No such restrictions on San Diego's ace detective."

"Ace?" Wes said. "That would make an excellent ad for a phone book. I'll certainly keep you in mind now that I know you are an ace."

"They no longer make phone books. Have you looked for a phone booth lately?" Angus asked.

"I keep my handy dandy phone with me at all times. I don't really need it. Peg takes all my calls. You do know that ace detectives should avoid being arrested. It would save their ace attorney a lot of trouble. You did say Mrs. Wade stayed until you were in her house?"

"She even waved at me as she split the scene," Angus said.

"He can pursue it, but he'll need to buy a judge to get a conviction out of it. It'll require two or three appearances in court. The states attorney may drop it, but Tony has money, and money buys him sway. He may insist on taking the prosecution to its natural conclusion, which will go in our favor."

"Yes, I can see Tony doing that just to give me grief. He really didn't like me being in his house," Angus said.

"As long as we're searching for Cory, Mrs. Wade will be more than happy to stand up for you in court. I'll call her to give her the good news about what you found on the computer. She'll be tickled by that. Not so much the plane ticket to SF and the rental car, but she'll get over it. I haven't broken any laws. I cost five hundred a day, plus your expenses. Find Cory and all will be forgiven," Wes said.

"Since when do I make five hundred a day, Wes. Did I get a raise somewhere along the line?" Angus asked.

"Your four hundred, plus expenses, and my hundred a day commission," Wes calculated. "You are working for me on this case."

"And I'm the one they charged with a crime," Angus said. "Sounds like highway robbery to me."

"Yes, but remember, because you work for me, I'm your attorney. There is no charge for my services. I pay the freight because you work for me. You get to keep your four big ones a day, not to mention your license," Wes said.

"You always have all the answers," Angus said.

"I do and if you start at the beginning and tell me what went wrong that brought you face to face with Tony, I'll have those answers," Wes said. "Feel free to start at the beginning. As your attorney I need to know everything."

"I was born in a log cabin in upstate Indiana," Angus said. "Not far from Interstate 80, and they called me honest Angus."

"Not that far back. You told me what happened in the house. What did Dolores tell you? You were going into the house at a time Tony "would be busy. That's what I don't get," Wes said. "Tell me what she said that led you to being in the house at that time."

Angus went through the details of meeting with Dolores Wade to plan the entry into her house, and then he went into the events leading up to his arrest Thursday morning.

Wes jotted notes as Angus explained how he coordinated with Mrs. Wade to enter the Wade house.

"Wes," Peg said on the intercom.


"Angus flies out at four. He lands at seven on Sunday. He's booked for a National midsize sedan. The woman said, 'You get to pick any car on the aisle,'" Peg said. "I bet that keeps the creeps from hitting on the help."

Angus laughed.

"Thank you, Peg," Wes said, releasing the button on the intercom. "You've got work to do before you fly the friendly skies."

"I do. Nice to know you have my back. I'll keep you posted."

"Yeah, I won't tell Mrs. Wade where you've gone until you know you're heading in the right direction. For now, I'll tell her that her son was alive and in Hillcrest a week ago," Wes said. "That will keep her happy, until she receives the bill on your travel expenses."

Angus left by the door that put him in the hallway outside of Wes's office.

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