Chapter 2 Page 2 of 4

I turned my attention to the cars running along Michigan Avenue. Would I be able to tell if the same car went by more than once? Not likely. I did try to make a mental note of the cars as they went by, but there were far too many to really remember any of them. At that moment one car in particular caught my attention. This car was different only because it was moving slowly enough that it was interfering with the otherwise unimpeded flow. Traffic was heavy, but not heavy enough to cause congestion. The average speed appeared to be comfortably over the posted limit of 45 mph. But this particular car, a black Caprice with two men seated in the front, was moving considerably slower than the other cars. The result was that a long queue had formed behind it. A couple of the cars directly behind it were weaving left and right to catch a glimpse around it and honking occasionally. The two passengers in the Caprice were probably in their early forties and well dressed. Hmmm… FBI?

The Caprice traveled down the street for two blocks and then turned right. I decided to walk a bit more slowly to give them time to circle around… if that was in fact what they were up to.

As I slowly plodded along I was passed from behind by a man trotting at a light pace. He was not running for exercise but rather was in a hurry to get someplace. He was wearing a dark-blue work uniform; probably a plumber or repairman of some sort.

I stole a glance at the woman wearing the yellow skirt and the sunglasses as she swished past me. It was hard to determine where her eyes were directed, but she certainly didn’t have the air of somebody paying much attention to her surroundings (and she showed no interest in me whatsoever (too bad too because she was quite attractive)).

I was down to number 49874. Number 49870 was a flower shop. There was a small table in front of the store with an elderly woman standing behind it unhurriedly cutting and arranging flowers. She smiled as I walked by.

I looked at my watch (3:30). I glanced at the street. Aha! The Caprice was back. There was no question that it was the same car. And it was behaving in the same way (the people stuck behind it this time were no happier about it than the last pack had been). I watched it as it once again crawled along and turned right at the same corner.

This time I reacted by quickening my pace. I wanted to be inside building 49812 before they came by again. Darn! Why hadn’t I thought to time the interval? Then I would know how much time I had before they showed up again. I really should have timed them… why didn’t I? I answered my own question: because I really had not expected them to circle around; I had been looking for undercover cops as a diversion to pass the time and amuse myself. I was quite surprised (and pleased with myself) to learn that my caution had paid off.

Not happy with my rate of progress, I broke into a trot. I was getting closer: 49860, 49856, 49854. Why are street addresses so unevenly distributed? 49852, 49848, 49840,… I quickened my pace. 49832, 49818. Huh? I did a double-take and then checked the next number carefully, slowing down to do so. It was 49816. Good, almost there.

I barely broke stride when I got to 49812. I made a quick left and ran up the steps. There was a set of outer glass doors, which I quickly entered.

“You are not out of view of the street yet,” I thought to myself. I quickly scanned the street but saw no sign of the Caprice. Then, on impulse, I quickly looked up and down both sidewalks but did not notice any pedestrians watching the building. I suddenly realized that if anybody had been watching, or if anybody was sitting in a parked car and watching me now, that my arrival had not been the most circumspect, racing up to the door-way as I had. Too late; I’d just have to hope that the Caprice was the full detail for this assignment.

There was a panel of buzzer buttons on the wall, with the apartment number associated with each button indicated by little strips of tape beside each one. I quickly scanned down the list of apartment numbers, absently noting that some numbers were missing. Did this mean that those apartments were empty or what? I went ahead and pushed 2E, still not sure exactly what I would say.

“Yeah?”, came the curt, almost bored, reply.

“Hello, Ms. Cryer?”

“Yes, who is it?”

“My name is Carl Raymond. You don’t know me but I would very much like to speak to you. If you are uncomfortable ringing me in, could you at least come down and speak to me for a moment. This concerns the confusion at First Chicago.”

“OK, hold on a sec. I’ll be down.”

So far so good. At least she was willing to talk to me. I had been worried that she would dismiss me as either a nut or a pushy salesman. If I could just have a chance to explain the situation I felt that there was a good chance that she might be understanding. I had been dreading the coming conversation for several days now. How do you tell a total stranger that you are responsible for causing her to be the prime suspect in a bank heist?