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The Voice - Part 23

Updated on September 4, 2016

From Part 22

Something was eating at Chief. He didn’t want to hear anything about a search warrant even if it might break the case. “Now, look! You know as well as I do the judge will never grant a search warrant on such flimsy evidence. Get me the evidence. Evidence. Got it!

“Who is this Frommson, anyway?”

“We didn’t follow up on that one yet, Chief.”

“Did you ever stop to think that maybe if you did you might find enough evidence to obtain a search warrant? Now, all three of you – get out of here!”

Chris led the way followed by Bobby, then Lance. All three walked single file out of the office with their heads down.

“Okay,” Lance started. “Bobby, Chris, get over to Donald Frommson. Here’s the address. Keep an eye on him, but don’t reveal yourself yet. Let’s just see where he might lead us. I’m going to finish some paperwork. Let me know what you find out. Tomorrow is another 12th. Lance looked Bobby’s way. “You stay on Frommson. The rook and I will stake out Kepler and Bonard. There should be another transfer of funds.”


The morning broke bright and clear. The freshness of the air greeted Lance as he ran to the morning briefing. He ran, but as always, he was running late. The other officers were dismissed to the streets. Bobby, Chris, and Lance were on ttail detail as planned. Bobby headed over to the west side to stake out the Frommson residence. Lance took Kepler, and Chris headed over to the hospital to keep a watchful eye on Bonard.

The plan was for Bobby to write his daily report and leave it on Lance’s desk while Chris would meet Lance at Doctor Kepler’s office parking lot at 4:30, just minutes before the office closed. At that point, Lance and Chris would approach the doctor. With the new found evidence, maybe the good doctor would be ready to talk.

Chris arrived at 4:32. The doctor wouldn’t be out for another twenty minutes or so. Lance thought this would be a good time to talk to Chris about his eternal soul.

“Hey, Rook. Have you thought about some of those questions I asked you?”

“You, uh, referring to those religious questions, I assume.”

Lance nodded.

“Look, Lance. Meaning no disrespect, I just don’t have that kind of pie in the sky philosophy. I’m more practical, and we have a job to do. I don’t want to talk about it, okay.”

“Hey, we’re all free to make our own choice.” We’ll talk later. Like you said, let’s get back to work.”

It wouldn’t be long. They were sure another envelope would be passed containing Kepler’s withdrawal or Bonard’s deposit, depending on how one wanted to look at it.

Bonard’s Mercedes pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of the main door. So far, the plan was working perfectly.

The envelope was exchanged as Chris and Lance jumped out of the car. Chris would take his post in front of Bonard’s vehicle while Lance would approach the doctors. As the two came close to the Mercedes, Chris noticed a sharp movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned just fast enough to see a masked gunman aiming at Lance. Without a moment’s hesitation, Chris shoved Lance to the ground

Chris, Where Have You Gone?

A stunned Lance crawled to his knees. “Hey, Rook. You saved my life.” There was no response. “Rook . . . Rook, hey come on. Chris!” Lance dialed 911. Chris lay on the hot asphalt with a bullet wound in his neck. Lance’s last words to him would haunt him for the rest of his life – “We’ll talk about it later.”

In the confusion, Kepler and Bonard both disappeared along with the masked gunman. No envelope. No confession. Just a lost comrade.


The Black "B"

On the way back to the station, Bobby passed Kepler’s black BMW. Making a quick u-turn, he was in hot pursuit but kept his distance. He parked in front of the courthouse, and within minutes, Powers approached the vehicle and hopped in the passenger side. Bobby continued to follow them to an ATM where Kepler withdrew an amount of money.

Bobby couldn’t see what he did with it. He didn’t know how much he withdrew. All he could do was to follow The Black B as it had become known as. Marissa was dropped off back at the courthouse and Kepler continued home. All Bobby’s report showed was that Frommson wasn’t home all day.

The funeral came and went. Lance knew he had to get back to work, but his heart wasn’t in it. The gunshot that took the life of his partner continued to ring in his mind. He pounded his desk.

“Enough is enough. I’m going to get him, and while I’m at it, I’m going to get Kepler and Bonard, too. Oh yeah, and that Marissa Powers.”

Lance bounded out of the building and headed for his car. Within minutes he was parked across the street from the Frommson residence. It was obvious from the living room light that someone was home. Lance would have to be patient and wait.

Nearly two hours passed when the garage door opened. A familiar looking man backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. Lance followed from a distance. The drive ended at the Bi-Lo Grocery Outlet. Lance parked in a stall where he could see both the vehicle and the front door of the store. Lance determined this man would not get away.

“Bobby! Bobby! Lance here. Meet me at Bi-Lo ASAP. I’m on Frommson like a bee on honey. And I’ll tell you something else. This guy looks terribly familiar.”

“I’m on the way, Lance. I’m just around the corner.”

Bobby parked the cruiser and joined Lance in his vehicle. They waited only a few minutes when Frommson resurfaced from the store. As he walked to his car, he turned and faced Lance and Bobby head-on but they both were unnoticed. The sun showed his distinctive features.

“Get ready for the chase, Bobby. We know who that is.”

Lance opened the car door and stepped out. He yelled across the parking lot, “Hey Alex – Alex Barto.”

Barto looked back, surprised to hear his name. Seeing Lance and Bobby, he hurried to his car and took off like a lightening bolt. Lance was right. The chase was on. But on this particular day, Alex won.

“So Lance, who is this guy? – Roger McClanahan? Ronald Thompson? Donald Frommson? Or Alex Barto?”

“He’s Alex Barto. Think about it. Ronald Thompson and Donald Frommson are just rhyming names. They mean nothing. He isn’t a McClanahan. I showed Margie a picture. She never saw him before. When I was at the airport tailing him, he answered to the name of Alex Barto, just like he did now.”

“You know what I think? I think he’s your gunman. I think he’s the one that shot Chris. He was protecting Kepler and Bonard when they were making the exchange. Possible, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, you might be right. But if he’s here, how did he get here? The portal’s been destroyed. He was on the other side. I saw him enter just a few moments before Peter. Neither came out. Anyway, he’s our number one target at this point. If we can nail him for Chris’s murder, that’s just icing on the cake. Let’s get back and let Chief know what we’ve found.”

The long day ended, and Lance found himself back at the McClanahan residence. He needed to get Margie up to speed with all that had happened. He felt so much at peace when he was in Margie’s presence. He wished it could last forever.

He began with the usual small talk, then launched into his review of the bank withdrawals, the telephone calls, the stakeouts, Alex Barto, the whole nine yards. They talked late into the night.

Lance seemed to fidget more than Margie was used to. She had to know why.

“Lance, are you hiding something from me?”


A Must See Video

Love is in the Air

Lance reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. He looked directly into Margie’s eyes as he opened the box. “Margie . . . Margie . . . will . . . will you . . . marry me?” He finally blurted out.

A stunned, but delighted Margie gazed back into his eyes. “Aren’t you going to get down on your knee?”

“Oh yeah!” Lance raised from the couch to kneel before her.

“Stop that! Of course, I’ll marry you. Then she whispered in his ear, “It’s about time.”

Lance danced off on cloud nine, and Margie headed for her own dreamland. Tomorrow would be here soon enough and there were many plans to be made. Still, both knew the investigation must go on.

Chief called for an afternoon meeting with the boys and Amy. Lance wanted to check one thing before that meeting took place. He googled the name Ronald Thompson, FBI. The search uncovered the fact that Ronald Thompson worked for the FBI at one time, but had been missing for over two years. He was working on a case involving theft of the FBI’s time portal development. Lance made the obvious conclusions.

As 2:00 rolled around, the group gathered in the conference room. The importance of the meeting was known to all, but a sense of sadness filled the room. Chris’s chair was empty. So were the hearts of his fellow officers. Because of that, there was even more of a reason to wrap up the case.

Chief led off. “This case has been going on too long, but I believe we’re almost to the end. You men have done a fine job of gathering evidence. We’re still not ready to get your search warrant, though, so put that from your minds.

“We’ve identified the culprits in this case. We just have to tie them to the crime. I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure what the crime is, but I know something bad is going on.

“Amy, we want to get you on the same page. Maybe you can give us some new light. We know the following are involved in some way. We need to find out how. There is a corrupt tie between Raymond Kepler, Cloyd Bonard, Marissa Powers, and Alex Barto.”

Amy stopped Chief in his words. “Wait a minute. I’m confused – Alex Barto? You mean Ronald Thompson.”

“Oh, I see you don’t know. Alex Barto was masquerading as Ronald Thompson. He had been getting handouts from Kepler as well.”


“No, that can’t be. I checked him out myself. He showed me his badge – had all the correct credentials. I cleared him to work on the case. His name was Ronald Thompson.”

Lance could feel what Amy was feeling. Humiliation for allowing a killer to work the case. “Amy, it’s okay. Any one of us could have done the same thing. There was a Ronald Thompson who worked for the FBI. He was working on a case involving theft of the time portal information.

“My guess is Barto had him killed and then he took on his identity. Not only was Barto guilty of stealing the time portal plans, but he was also guilty of murder. We can’t prove that, but it makes sense. I think that’s at least part of the puzzle.”

“Oh guys, I’m so sorry. I feel like I should resign. I can’t . . .”

“There will be no talk of resigning as long as I’m Chief of Police, Amy. Let’s just continue to piece together what we can in the least amount of time. A witness would be nice, right Lance? Find me one.”

© 2016 William Kovacic


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