Canon explained the problem.
"If we don't know, I doubt Oats does. I'd better not do a search from here. And don't call from your phone."
"Because, God forbid Oats has it bugged."
"How could he? He's in jail."
"He got messages out, arranged all this from jail. And someone helped get those guns, and the equipment smuggled out. He didn't do that himself. My advice, get a burner and use it to call. And take the battery out of your phone before you do any of that."
Following Cage's advice, he called Don Winthrop. Don didn't answer, which he didn't expect at this hour. He left a message. "Mr. Winthrop, Lieutenant Canon. I'm temporarily using this number. I believe my other phone may have been compromised. Can we meet?"
Five minutes later, his phone rang.
"Lieutenant? It's Don. What the hell?"
"Can you meet me at City Park by the duck pond?"
"Yeah. Give me about thirty, I'm out of town."
"I'd offer to come to you, but I think that should be a secret right now."
"You think my truck could be bugged?"
"If it were, they'd probably be there already. But take out your phone battery. I have a burner for you."
"Be there soon."
"Be careful, kid."
Anton took care of his phone. He ran a wand over the truck, but didn't find anything. Satisfied, he drove to the City Park. He saw Canon where he said he'd be, by the duck pond. Canon told him what had happened at the station.
"I heard. Were any of your people hurt?"
"A couple. Not seriously. But a hell of a body count."
"And you're sure Oats is behind it?"
"Why go after me?"
"He blames this on you."
"What can I do, sir? Am I safe?"
"I hope so. As long as no one knows...."
"The doctors do. We were having a party when all this went down. They got called in."
"A dozen? More? The doctors set up the house for CV. They donated a lot of their time to help."
"I'm not running. I can't run anymore. It gets me nowhere. This isn't your problem, sir. I can take care of myself."
"Beg to differ, son. This is exactly my problem. Oats was under my command when he attacked you. He arrested you, on my orders."
"You didn't order him to do what he did."
"Of course not, but I'm responsible for the actions of my people. I'll be lucky to have a job when this fiasco is over. If you think I'm going to let that little f**k win, and not go down swinging, you're mistaken."
"I can't let you...."
"He blew up your f**king trailer, Donald. What if it had been near the house? Or, God forbid, you were in it?"
Anton hung his head. "Before I let you do this, I need to tell you something." Squaring his shoulders, he looked Canon in the eye. "I stole the rubies. I kidnapped Tabitha."
"I figured that out. I don't give a f**k. No one was hurt, the rubies are back. We have a perp. From what I hear, he's bad news."
Confusion and relief filled Anton's heart.
"You do it again," Canon said. "I'll make it my mission to take you down."
"I'm done. I promised myself that if I got through this, it was behind me. I've got an amazing woman, now. I'm not f**king that up."
"Good. Now, here's what I propose."
Newton and Bailey took turns keeping watch. They were going to be spotted later in the day, after Canon vetted replacements. He'd been on another team a few years ago, and trusted several officers who were still there.
The family and Bailey were asleep, so Newton was drinking coffee and doing push-ups to stay awake. He heard the floor creak and reached for his weapon. Rivera walked in, hands up.
"I'm sorry to bother you, Officer Newton. I'm too wired. I can't sleep. Thought maybe you could use company."
©2021 Dellani Oakes