Raven’s Run 131

“There is a regular complex of buildings right in the center of that three hundred acres.”

“His processing and storage facility.”

“What else?”

“You didn’t notify anybody official, I hope.”

“Don’t talk dirty. But I can in five minutes, if the senator gives the word.”

“Don’t do it. We need to talk first. And don’t contact Cabral.”

“Why not?” Ed was instantly suspicious.

“Because he has to think about moral consequences and political consequences as well as Raven’s welfare. There are things he wouldn’t do. You and I don’t have to be so careful.”

“There are things I won’t do, too,” Ed said.

“How soon can you get to Garberville?”

“Maybe four hours?”

“Meet me at my motel room at noon.”

*          *          *

I spent the morning wandering around the marina, enjoying the yachts and fishing boats, and drowsing in the sun. I tried not to think about Raven. Sometimes I succeed for ten minutes at a time. Then I headed back toward Garberville. It was a nice drive. Midweek traffic was fairly light and the road wound through heavily forested hills. I was in a pretty good mood. 

It didn’t last.

*          *          *

I pulled into the motel parking lot, braked, put the Pinto in reverse, and backed out again, all in one motion. Good reflexes made it look like I had only used the place for a U turn. 

The cops who were gathered in front what what had been my motel room only glanced up, and I mentally thanked Joe Dias for keeping such dull and unlikely cars in his stable.

The place had been firebombed.

The motel rooms had been strung out in a row, single story, along the parking lot. I had only had a brief look, but there wasn’t much left of the unit I had been staying in, and the units on either side had been badly damaged as well.

If I hadn’t taken a day off to recover from my pot hangover, I would be dead.

*          *          *

Because he was FBI, Ed Wilkes had a phone in his car, so a pay phone call to Cabral’s headquarters rerouted him. I waited at the first off ramp south of Garberville, parked in the meager shade of a live oak and listened to the endless rubber hissing of the freeway. Within ten minutes, a tan Buick took the exit and rolled in beside me. I motioned to Ed to follow and went back south down highway 101. It took twenty miles to satisfy me that we were not being followed. Then I took an exit and we went into a roadside restaurant for lunch and a council of war.

I brought Ed up to date on the details of my investigation. He raised an eyebrow at my breaking and entering. The FBI can’t do things like that. At least, they can’t admit it. Finally, he said, “I don’t understand your hesitation. We have what we need. Let’s call in the troops and put him away. Him and his whole family.”

“And then what?” I asked. more tomorrow


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