Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 18

It took Monroe a little while, but she rounded up the hostages, who were eating their dinner in the plaza, and me. She needed statements, and was determined to get them immediately. I poured her a coffee, handed her a cinnamon roll, and sat down with her and Rowena, while Jake worked the truck. As far as she knew, he wasn’t involved. I noticed my pals had stuck around, doing very subtle crowd control, aiding the police without them even knowing it.

“What were you thinking?” Monroe asked me again.

“That someone needed to do something proactive. By the book is fine, ma’am. But this guy wasn’t a by the book criminal. He was impulsive, scared. He had no idea what he was doing.”

“You made that evaluation, how?”

“Ray sounded nervous. His demand for forty million dollars was bizarre. He didn’t give nearly enough time for it to be collected and he didn’t care who paid? Sorry, but that’s just stupid. A professional would know about how long it would take, he’d allow time. Since money is the primary goal, he’d wait it out. He would also have a target in mind. No one says, Just get me the money, I don’t care who pays. That’s dumb, too.”

“You watch too much TV, Mr. Doyle.”

“Maybe so, but you have to agree that it makes sense.”

“Do I?”

“Get over having your feelings hurt,” Rowena snapped. “He’s right. I spent a lot of time watching him, and Keir’s telling the truth. He was shocked to see us there. He had no idea we’d be in the office. A real pro would have it all figured out. He didn’t have a clue.”

“What was he after?” Monroe asked.

“It had something to do with the mail,” Rowena replied. “I’ve been investigating the company for mail fraud. Someone was shipping and receiving illegal goods through the mail room. I haven’t figured out what yet, or how they were doing it, because the process is very slick, streamlined. I was just getting a handle on the drops and pick ups, after being there nearly a month. Then Bob the Bozo walked in, and started swinging his cod.”

I nearly choked on my coffee. Monroe’s eyes widened.

“His…um….” Pressing her lips together, she stifled a laugh.

I didn’t stifle. It was such a relief to laugh at something, I let it go. Rowena smacked my shoulder, since she hadn’t intended it to be funny. But being the one person at the table with a cod to swing, I felt it was my right.

“And, what did he demand?”

“He wanted all the mail brought in. The mail had already been gathered for the day. It was in the basement. There was no way we could retrieve it. One thing I did do, I contacted my boss by text, before he took our phones, and told him to divert today’s mail to a secure facility. If it’s that important to Bob, then it should be to us.”

“His name really is Bob?” I asked.

“Shit, I don’t know, sugar,”she let her Southern show. “He didn’t give a name, and I didn’t ask.”

“So, where is the mail now?”

“The trucks left, but my boss will have sent them to the holding center. It’s more secure than Fort Knox.”

“I thought that was the best security in the country,” I said.

Her eyes cut at me like a knife. Somewhat taken aback, I knew she was telling the truth. This place would be a fortress.

“Even if he could find the place, he couldn’t get in, or more importantly, out. I can’t tell you the security measures.”

“But it’s tighter than a nuns knickers,” Monroe supplied.

I detected a little flavor of the South in her speech, too. Was the haughty captain a Dixie Darling?

“Can we go home?” I asked after a pause. “I don’t know about Rowena, but I’m beat. I need a shower and a beer.”

“Yes, you can go. Thank you for your help, Mr. Doyle. I was madder than a hen in a hurricane, but you were right. And if you ever quote me, I might have to deny it.”

“I apologize for going behind your back. Just couldn’t let it continue.”

Nodding, she rose, extending her hand to us. “Keep your phones off, and don’t answer your doors.”

“Why’s that? Are we in danger?” Rowena asked.

“Press,” Monroe said. “Sooner or later, they’ll get wind and track you down. The food truck is kind of a dead give.” She winked, gave a saucy salute, and walked over to her car.

Her driver waved and nodded as he let her in. I waved back. Once they were gone, Rowena threw her arms around me again, gasping.

“Will you take me home, please? I don’t think I can drive.”

“Yeah. We’ll see if we can find someone to drive your car back, and I’ll take you in the truck.”

Jake’s Army buddy volunteered to drive the car. I told him the address, and he led the way. I tried to give him a tip when he handed us the keys, but he wouldn’t take it.

“What you did today, it was a really heroic thing. Thank you.”

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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