Chapter 9 Page 2 of 5

Scared, I sat alone in the room, thinking. I was in over my head. With evidence of institutional crime by a major United States bank, clearly my next course of action should be to call on the FBI. What was the name of the agent in the phone calls I had tapped between the FBI and First Chicago? Agent Carter. I should contact him.

Instead I called Lisa. I’m not sure why. When last we has spoken, she had been distant and somewhat cold with me. She did not seem to find me threatening… only repulsive. She viewed me as a hacker, with the full set of negative and unseemly connotations that the contemporary use of that term carries.

Still, it was Lisa that I phoned. Maybe it was because she was the only other person that knew of my involvement. There simply was nobody else to call. I needed to talk to somebody.

I used my meeting with Rudy Levinski as an excuse, telling Lisa that I needed to brief her and asking if she could come to my apartment immediately. Thankfully she did not ask any questions other than to ask for directions to my apartment. She sounded relieved that I had spoken with Rudy and that the meeting had been productive.

I did not have to wait long before Lisa arrived. In that time I turned up the lights and turned down my paranoa. Lisa walked in, cast a quick look around my living room without commenting, and asked about my meeting with Rudy. I explained the entire situation. After I finished my story, Lisa stood up, stretched, and asked, “What do you have in the way of food Carl? I’m starving.”

Oops. It was almost 7:30 and I still had not had dinner. I was too embarrassed to let her look through the barren contents of my refrigerator in search of a reasonable dinner, so I suggested pizza delivery. She opted for Chinese carry-out instead. There is a small carry-out restaurant down the street from my apartment. There isn’t anyplace to sit, but the food is good and it is within walking distance. It is a long enough walk that when I leave immediately after ordering, the food is ready just when I get there.

Lisa made the call and we prepared to leave the apartment. It had started to drizzle lightly shortly after Lisa arrived so I grabbed a jacket from the hall closet. Lisa hadn’t worn a jacket when she came so I searched for something she could wear. All of the coats I had were either too warm for July or too big to fit Lisa. The best I could find was an old track-team jacket from my college days at Berkeley. It was a bit too big for her, but it was lightweight and water resistant. Given the stylishly casual manner in which Lisa dressed, it actually went quite well with the rest of her outfit.

As we exited the front door of the building I noticed a light-blue sedan parked immediately across the street. The only reason I noticed it was because it was parked in a spot that is always empty, due to the fire hydrant located there. A large burly man in a trench coat was sitting at the wheel but the engine wasn’t running.

I didn’t bother opening the umbrella I’d brought along with us, as the rain was little more than a mist. I turned right and headed down the sidewalk with Lisa falling in step beside me. The air had the smell of burnt ozone that it takes on after a light rain in a hot city. I’ve always found that smell to be a pleasant one and I breathed it in as we walked. Neither of us said anything for a time. We reached the corner still in silence and turned left. After we had gone about half a block a light-blue sedan passed us. There was a man in a trench coat at the wheel. Hmmm.

“See that car?” I asked, as it reached the end of the block and turned right.


“It was parked right outside my apartment. Looked as if the guy at the wheel had been sitting there for a while… maybe waiting for us to leave.”

“Maybe he was waiting to pick up a friend,” she suggested.

“If he was then the friend didn’t show up because he is still alone in the car,” I replied.

“You think he was following us?”

“I’m not sure. I will confess that I’m becoming more and more nervous about this whole affair. It is starting to grow into something larger than I’m prepared to deal with.

“Let’s see if the car continues to follow us to the restaurant. If we don’t see him again then I will concede that I’m being crazy. But if he is just circling the block and passes us again then I think we may have cause to be worried.”