I don’t own a car. I know that sounds strange, and I suppose it is, but after my last car was beyond repair I discovered that I didn’t really need one and never bothered to replace it. That was three years ago.
It seems to me that the two primary uses for a car are to commute to work and to run daily shopping errands. Neither apply to me; I live about two blocks from the small room I rent for office space, and I am not much of a shopper.
Using my usual mode of transportation, I took the bus the afternoon of Saturday, July 15th. After transferring near the Aquarium, I took another bus to the 52000 block of Michigan Avenue. I was still groggy from lack of sleep the night before when I stepped off the bus. I consulted the scrap of paper upon which I had scrawled the address. It was a small piece of paper, torn off the corner of a larger sheet, with only the number written on it. I had scribbled it down as I listened to the president of First Chicago Trust speaking on the phone to a member of the FBI. The FBI agent, a man who identified himself as Mr. Carter, had informed the bank president that Lisa Cryer, a customer of the bank, was the prime suspect in the July 11th “incident”. It was Lisa Cryer I was now on my way to meet. My arrival at her doorstep would be unannounced and uninvited. After hearing the phone conversation between Mr. Carter and the president of First Chicago Trust, I came to realize that Lisa Cryer would bear the burden of a problem that I had helped create.
I hadn’t heard all of that particular conversation, as it took me longer to set up the wire-tap that day than it usually does (the trunk line I usually use was down for maintenance). Nonetheless I had heard enough of the phone call to learn about an appointment between Lisa Cryer and the bank security officer. After spending very nearly all of Thursday night trying to unravel the mysterious events of the previous Tuesday, and making no progress, I had arranged to be at the bank at 9:00 AM Friday. I was standing in the lobby when Lisa Melinda Cryer kept her appointment. She appeared to be in her late twenties. An African-American with light-brown complexion, perhaps her most striking feature was her hair. It was extremely short, little more than a smooth fuzz that covered her head. It was just long enough to curl a bit, lending some texture. After her hair, her next most striking feature was her gate and general bearing. Her legs were long and shapely, and she walked with a slight bounce or hop in her step. Her walk was care-free and confident, with a slight hint of a skip. Her whole manner exuded self-confidence and good humor. And this was on her way to a meeting with bank security to discuss irregularities in her account transactions. Hers was the sort of face that breaks into a smile at the slightest provocation. She was not overly athletic; she was physically fit yet still shapely in all the right places.
Now, a little over 24 hours after watching her at the bank, I was on my way to her apartment. I had been unable to gather much information from that meeting, as I had no way of knowing what transpired in the meeting itself. However, simply by being in the bank lobby at 9:00 when Lisa Cryer kept the appointment allowed me to put a face with the person being blamed for my tinkering. As the bus coughed and wheezed away from the curb behind me, I checked the paper again. Number 49812, apartment 2E. I looked up. The first number I noticed, on the building just across the street, was 51081. I was on the correct side of the street at least, but it looked like I had a bit of walking to do.
It was a pleasant day, probably about 78 degrees, and sunny. It was the nicest day we had had in two weeks, with a cool breeze to keep me comfortable as I began walking south, noting the street numbers as I went. This was a residential area; the majority of the buildings were high-rise apartments. Still, there were occasional smaller buildings mixed in, particularly near the street corners.
After I passed number 50008 I began to pay close attention to my surroundings. I had suspicions that Ms. Cryer might be under surveillance.
There were several pedestrians on the sidewalks, and of course a steady stream of cars filled the street. There were also cars parked along the curb at metered spots, with very few empty spaces. I checked each parked car on both sides of the street as I walked. So far they were all empty. I had no idea what an undercover cop might look like but I dutifully studied each pedestrian I passed on the sidewalk. I wondered if the guy in the white T-shirt loitering in the door-frame of the party store across the street was a spook. More than likely he was the proprietor, lamenting the lack of business. What about the woman with the over-sized sunglasses walking down the sidewalk towards me? She seemed to be walking too fast to be conducting surveillance, unless she was one of several people and only had to cover a limited area in her immediate vicinity. I doubted there would be too many undercover cops on this assignment. More likely it would be less than three people (and quite probably zero). The woman approaching me wore a tight yellow skirt with a matching jacket (or blouse, she was still too far away to tell which). Her hair was about shoulder length, brunette.