Read Part One here...
I dropped to the deck, pulled the empty magazine, field stripped the rifle back down to two pieces and stuffed them back in my golf bag. I fished out Danny the security guard’s cigarette butt from my pocket and threw it on the deck at my feet.
That ought to throw off the dogs for a bit. Sorry Danny, but better you than me.
I picked up my three brass shell casings and dropped them in my bag, zipped up the pocket, hoisted the bag and headed for the roof door. I kept my golf gloves on until I was through the door. There was only one flight of steps from the roof to the top office floor. I had no idea who would be on the other side of that door. I’d just have to take a chance.
I opened the door to the top floor offices and only saw one guy far down the hall walking away from me. He rounded the corner at the other end of the hall and was out of sight. I pulled off my gloves on the way to the elevators and tried to look as nonchalant as possible as I hit the down button. My heart was still beating in spasms from the adrenaline but I concentrated on keeping my breathing under control in case I had to speak to anyone when the elevator door opened. As I waited for the elevator I looked at my watch.
Let’s see, I dropped my target two minutes ago. If I can get out of the building in the next two minutes, I’ve got a chance.
I looked up at the lighted numbers on top of the elevator doors as the elevator crawled up to my floor…4…5…6…7, then, I heard someone speaking unusually loud for being in an elevator. I heard the man’s words in a deep, anxious voice just as the bell rang at my floor.
“You go left, I’ll go right, don’t let anyone off the floor,” I heard him say through the doors just before they opened.
I hit the stairwell just to the right of the elevators as I heard the elevator doors open on the top floor.
“FBI, nobody leave this floor,” I heard the same man yell behind the stairwell door as I took the steps down two at a time.
I made it down one flight and heard the stairwell door above me swing open so hard it slammed the wall and reverberated through the concrete floors throughout the stairwell. I slowly opened the door to the seventh floor, one floor down, and walked to its bank of elevators. I hit the button and waited again. It seemed like it took the bright number eight above the polished metal elevator doors an hour to switch to a seven.
The bell rang and the elevator door finally opened. It was empty. I stepped in and hit the number two and continued to concentrate on my breathing, this time with my eyes closed. It was too nerve racking to watch the numbers count down. I opened my eyes when the bell rang and the elevator door opened onto the second floor. I walked the four steps around the corner to the stairwell door that led two more floors down to the underground garage. In the stairwell, I heard the commotion far away near the top floors and smiled as I got to the garage entrance.
Despite the commotion inside, the garage almost seemed too quiet. I hit my keyless entry button and the trunk button on my keychain. My black Ford Flex’s lights flashed as the doors unlocked and the tail gate raised automatically a few steps before I got to the car. I placed my golf bag in the back, got in, looked at myself in the rear-view mirror and smiled.
I drove over the spiked pads at the garage exit and turned right onto the street. I saw some movement in my rear-view mirror and noticed that they had just lowered the security gate from the ceiling behind me only seconds after I’d left. I was the last car out before the building went into lock down. I practiced my cover story a dozen times on the eleven minute drive to my neighbor’s storage unit complex.
My neighbor was a divorced naval officer who’d lived next to me for two years. He’d felt comfortable enough in our neighborly relationship to ask me to take his jet ski out a few times while he was gone on a six month deployment overseas so he wouldn’t have to winterize it while he was gone. I was happy to oblige. The storage unit where he kept it locked up along with a lot of his other belongings served as the perfect spot that couldn’t be directly traced to me to destroy my evidence.
About a month ago, I bought a hand-held circular metal cutting saw on Craig’s List for a hundred bucks. I plugged it in and its circular diamond blade made quick work of my M-16A4. It reduced my tool of justice (not murder weapon) to eight pieces that could fit into a can of muriatic acid I had standing by. The acid wouldn’t break down the weapon totally, but it would eat microscopic ridges in the metal, especially inside the barrel where the rifling leaves specific markings on a bullet like a fingerprint. The damage caused by the muriatic acid will make it impossible to prove it was the weapon that fired the rounds that killed Mr. Randolph. That is, of course, assuming anyone ever finds the bucket.
I put the chopped up weapon, magazine and my gloves into the bucket of muriatic acid and was placing the lid on it when my cell phone rang. I looked at my watch before I answered it: twenty-two minutes since I dropped my target.
“Special Agent Winters,” I said into my phone.
“Boss, you gotta get in here quick. We’ve been trying to reach you.”
“Oh yeah? What’s up?”
“Someone took down William Randolph outside the court house.”
“What do you mean ‘took down’?”
“Three rifle shots to the head. He’s deader than shit. They think the shooter was on the roof of our building.”
“Our FBI office building?”
“Yeah, how crazy is that?”
“Pretty crazy. Anyone in custody?” I said.
“Not yet. We’re locked down here. They’re still searching the building. How quick can you get here? They want statements from everyone.”
“I’m about fifteen minutes away.”
“You at the driving range again?”
“Well, I was on the way, I’m turning around now.”
“Okay, I’ll tell them you’re on your way in. You’re lucky you weren’t here. I’m sure it’s going to be hell for anyone who was in the building at the time.”
“You can bet on that.”
“Okay, see you soon.”
“Copy,” I said and hung up.
I put the secured can of eroding evidence in the back of my car and drove two miles to an abandoned warehouse. I dropped the can down a manhole I’d scoped out a few days prior. I washed my hands up to my elbows along with my neck and face with hand sanitizer and changed my shirt so I wouldn’t be wearing one that had gun powder residue embedded in the threads when I showed up to the shit storm at the office.
On the ride back I couldn’t stop smiling as I tried to control my breathing and prepare my mind for the inevitable questions and lie detector tests. If I was going to get away with this I had to consciously purge the words “justice was served” from my mind, even if I believed them to be true.
Todd Tavolazzi is a full-time Naval Officer stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and a part-time writer. He usually writes on his porch with a drink and a smoke. He is a frequent contributor to Potluck.