CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN

"Uh, guys, I don't know but maybe this is something..." Frankie held up a small cell phone. "There's a message, but it doesn't make any sense. It's just a bunch of numbers." He grabbed a pen and pad, replayed the message, writing down the numbers. "474206, then 915624."

BA grabbed the phone while Murdock studied the paper. "This ain't Hannibal's phone. It's Face's."

"Okay, so obviously he's telling us this has to do with Face. But where is he?"

"Exactly where Hannibal told us. It's all in the numbers, Frankie, my boy." Murdock was grinning wildly. "Latitude, longitude. We can drop right in on them."

BA scowled. "Whadda'ya mean, 'drop right in on them', fool?"

"Just an expression, BA. Just an expression..."


*****

Hannibal stood up, carefully, watching his lieutenant. He shook his head and turned, glancing at Randy before heading toward the door.

"Where you going?"

"I've got two men waiting outside. I don't know if you remember them or not. Kurt and Daryl. From before."

"Yeah, I remember. Whose side are they on?" Suspicion, caution, hope.

"Sam's, I guess. And yours, as far as not wanting you to get hurt." He took hold of the door handle. "You okay with that?"

"Yeah, sure. Not that I could keep them out for long, anyway."

Hannibal stepped outside without another word, signaling to the two men. They trotted up, questions on their faces. Quickly, Hannibal described what had happened inside.

"I don't know how he'll react. He might not even recognize you. Randy's not all that sure about you, either. Frankly, I think he's desperate."

"Well, let's see what we can do, Colonel." Daryl stepped forward, almost eagerly, leaving Hannibal and Kurt standing. Hannibal looked at the other man, questioning.

"Oh, uh, Daryl started out in the medical field. Hit some hard times and ended up with Stockwell. But he's never completely gotten away from it."

"Medical field?"

"Research." Kurt gave him a warning look. "You don't have to worry about anything, okay? My word on it."

Hannibal looked at him coolly. "I wasn't worried, Kurt. You've both proven yourselves to me, or I wouldn't have asked for your help."

Kurt nodded, and followed after Daryl, Hannibal right behind him.


*****

"He's gonna be mad, Murdock."

"I know, Frankie."

"He's gonna be really mad."

"He always is, Frankie."

"So, who's he gonna hit first, Murdock?"

"I know how to duck, Frankie."

"Great..."


*****

Daryl smiled at Randy, extending his hand. Randy hesitated a moment before taking it.

"Good to see you again, Randy. I wish circumstances were different."

"Yeah, me, too, Daryl. I'm glad it was you two, though."

Daryl looked into the living room, watched Sam for a few minutes. "He's been drinking a lot?"

"Continually. Plus he won't eat. Before it was sporadic, but the last few days, nothing. I screwed it up, bad."

"We don't have to go there, Randy. You did what you thought best at the time. How much alcohol is here now?"

"None." Daryl looked at him, surprised. "Some things happened. I decided it was time he went on the wagon. When he's done with that bottle, that's it."

"Hmm. Well, we've got our work cut out for us, then." Daryl turned to Kurt, who had stepped up behind him in time to catch the conversation. "You and I better talk to him alone first, Kurt."

"You're the expert."

Randy and Hannibal instinctively moved back, heading into the kitchen. They wouldn't create a distraction, but would be close at hand. Just in case.


*****

He shouldn't be here. Why was he here? Who brought him? Randy? Why would Randy bring him? Why? Why?

Randy didn't believe in him any more. He knew that. He'd realized that a long time ago. Shit. Shit. He was losing himself again. Like before. Had to remember. Had to remember who he was, where he came from. Don't lose it again. Never. Never. Don't give in to them.

Don't let them steal me again.

My father was an accountant. Remember that. Remember that. My mother was...a secretary. Keep remembering. Keep it. Keep her. My mother was a secretary. Remember.

My father...my father...my father was an accountant...


*****

Daryl sat down on the couch, closer to Sam than Hannibal had but still giving him his space. Kurt sat in the chair Randy had vacated earlier. They watched and listened for a few minutes, but it was hard. Kurt couldn't believe this was the same man they'd known. It scared him. And he didn't like that.

"Sam?" Daryl spoke in a normal voice, calmly but unhesitant. "Hey, Sam? How you doing, buddy?"

Sam stopped talking. Sat very still.

"Can't even say hello to old friends, Sam?"

Sam looked over at him, suspicious. "You know me?"

"Sure, I know you. Hell, how could I forget the guy I ran over?"

Sam looked closer, squinting his eyes, frowning.

"Daryl?"

"Yeah, who else? And Kurt's over there."

Sam's head swiveled slowly toward Kurt. Sam stared. Looked back at Daryl.

"Who am I?"

"Who are you? Well, Sam, of course."

Sam's body relaxed, only slightly. He looked down at the bottle in his hands, looked inside, dropped it on the floor.

"I need a drink."

"Oh, sorry, Sam. I think we're out."

Sam looked up quickly, anger rushing over his face. He stood, staggering as he straightened, glaring. He took a step toward the kitchen. "Randy! Randy!!"

"Hey, it's okay, Sam." Daryl stood, keeping his voice calm. He'd been taken by surprise by the sudden outburst, had to diffuse things. "Don't worry, Sam. Hey, you and me and Kurt, we'll make a beer run. No problem. Okay?"

Sam, still angry, looked at him. "I can't."

"Can't? Why not?"

"I...can't." Sam suddenly sank back onto the couch. "I can't leave here."

Daryl sat down again. "Why, Sam?"

"Stockwell. Stockwell's out...there..." Sam was starting to sweat. He looked at the floor. Closed his eyes. "My father..."

"Your father was a very good man, Sam. An excellent accountant."

Sudden stillness.

"You knew my father?"

"Not personally, but I knew his reputation."

Sam digested this. "My mother?"

"I met her. You had two wonderful parents, Sam. You were very lucky."

Sam smiled, still keeping his eyes closed. "Yes. Yes, I had two wonderful parents."

"You look tired, Sam. You must be awfully tired, after all this time..."

Sam didn't say anything, just nodded his head, still smiling.

"Why don't you go in and lay down for a while, Sam? Rest for a while...get a good night's sleep..." Daryl kept his voice calm, quiet, monotone. "Bed would feel good now, wouldn't it?"

"Yeah..."

Daryl stood, nodding to Kurt. The two of them gently helped Sam stand up and then maneuvered him into the bedroom. He had a hard time walking, and made no protest when his two friends held his arms, supporting him.

A few minutes later, Daryl and Kurt joined the other two men in the kitchen. Daryl exhaled, deeply.

"Damn, I wish I had one of those beers, Randy."


*****

"Just let me handle it, BA. Face and I used this scam so many times I could do it in my sleep."

"You better not mess up, sucka. We ain't got a lot of time."

Murdock gave BA an exasperated look before heading toward the small grocery store. Frankie stepped smartly behind. Both were dressed in drab business suits. Just before entering, Murdock reminded Frankie to be quiet and semi-menacing.

"Remember, the guy can't have any doubt we're serious and on the level. Got the sketches?"

"Yeah, right here, Murdock. I told you staying in touch with that Diane would be handy, huh?"

"Sure, Frankie. I'm just not sure Stockwell would appreciate you staying in touch with a woman who illustrates erotic magazines for a living."

"Stockwell won't find out...will he?"

"Never mind, Frankie. It's show time."

The two men stepped determinedly into the store and up to the counter. The old man behind it eyed them suspiciously.

"Morning, sir. Special Agent Rupert, this is my partner, Agent Santiago. We're looking for some men who might have come up this way. Show him the sketches, Raoul."

Frankie solemnly pulled the drawings of Kurt and Daryl from his pocket and placed them on the counter. The old man looked disdainfully at them, then did a double-take. Looked up at Murdock, trying to hide his surprise.

"What'cha lookin for them for?"

"These are what are commonly referred to as 'hit men', sir. We have reason to believe they're after another man who may have come this way." Murdock nodded at Frankie, who pulled another drawing, this one looking very vaguely like Face.

"I knew it. I knew that guy was trouble."

"So you have seen these men?" Murdock tried to keep his excitement professional.

"Oh, yeah, all three of 'em. These two, they were here just yesterday. Said they were lookin for a guy owns a cabin out on the lake. I knew better." He looked at the drawings again. "They're dangerous, eh?"

"Very. Can you tell me how to get to this cabin, sir?"

"Oh, you betcha. You get those bastards."

Murdock smiled grimly. "We'll do our best, sir."