Cracking of a Fragile Eggshell Mind

a tale spun by Mayor Tokey

Rating: R

Summary: The local police have all but given up finding the evidence necessary to put Mort Rainey in prison. That doesn't mean the CIA doesn't have plans in store involving a young rookie named Sheldon Jeffrey Sands.

Impatience is a Virtue

Mort sat as his desk staring at the flashing insertion point on his monitor. He sighed with frustration, and reached for the pack of Pall Malls to the left of his keyboard. He tapped one out and stuck it in the corner of his mouth frowning. It was the last one. He looked at his new watch to see what time it was. If he hurried, he could make it to New London before the convenience store closed.

He quickly shut down his computer, and left his house. He shivered a little in the late evening chill, and slid into his trusty old Jeep closing the door firmly behind him. The ride to New London went uneventful as usual. He reached the convenience store on the outskirts of the town about 20 minutes later. His eyebrows furrowed as he noticed a flashy sports car out front. Most people in this part of the country had SUV's or trucks, it was unusual to see something as flashy as the bright red corvette with black racing stripes down it. He pulled up to the front door, and killed the engine. Pocketing his keys, he hopped out.

He made his way to the door, peering in the windows trying to get a glimpse of the owner of the car, but he could see nothing between all the advertisements for beer and cigarettes. He went in with, and was announced with a jangle above his head. He looked around curiously, but saw no one although he heard the voices of muted conversation.

He heard the occasional giggle of the young girl who worked there, and a deeper voice of a man. Mort ducked his head a little, so that he was hidden behind the shelves of items, as he made his way closer to the counter. As he got closer, he could make out the words the man was speaking, and froze when he heard his name come from the man.

"That's right. Morton Rainey. Do you know him, or do you not?" The man sounded as though he were ready to reach across the counter and grab the girl by the throat in the hopes of wringing an answer out of her. His dark eyes sparked in the filtered light of the supermarket and there was a line building up behind him. He either didn't notice or didn't care.

"Morton Rainey? Isn't he that... author? That writes stuff?" the girl asked. The stranger's teeth were about to be worn down to nubs from the constant grinding.

"Yes. Morton Rainey. The author. That writes stuff. Do not make me say this again."

"Yeah, I think I know him. Kind of scruffy." She was searching the store for an example of 'scruffy'. "Sorta like that guy over there," she pointed. By sheer, dumb luck, she'd found the real Morton Rainey.

"Uh..." Mort was a little surprised to be caught eavesdropping, but it didn't seem as if the clerk realized that that's what he'd been doing.

When Mort saw the man's face who'd been talking to the girl, he felt himself begin to grow nervous. He gave the man a timid smile, and came out from behind the aisle. He stuck out his hand, and introduced himself.

"Morton Rainey." As he spoke, his eyes began to dart around the store which now seemed very small.

The man didn't respond, just looked at him with an odd grin on his face making Mort all the more nervous. Mort started to step away towards the counter, but was stopped by the man's firm grip which still held his hand. The "handshake" was growing firmer. Mort swallowed hard.

"Uh...if you'll excuse me...I've got a story I need to work on..." His eyes full of apprehension met the hard ones before him. "W-would you let go of my hand?"

"I would if you weren't such a hard man to track down, Mr. Rainey. You wouldn't be averse to a walk, would you?" He lifted his arm over Mort's head without releasing his grip and settled it around the other man's shoulders. "Not that I'm giving you a choice in the matter. Thanks, sugarbutt. You're a doll," he called back to the cashier, a tight smile on his face.

"Now Mort... you don't mind if I smoke do you? I've been dying for a smoke all fucking morning." Without waiting for an answer, he had gotten out some rolling paper and the tobacco pouch he kept in his pocket for such occasions. He released Mort, banking on the instinct that the writer would be too curious to bolt immediately. "The name's Sands. S. J. Sands. Do you have any idea why I'd be looking for a Morton Rainey?"

He stopped in front of the slick roadster and turned to face Mort, leaning against the side. Sticking the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, he lit it while waiting for Mort to reply.

Mort looked longingly at the cigarette dangling from the man's mouth.

"I-uh, have no idea what you'd want me for. I don't know who you are." He squinted his eyes, which made them look tiny behind his glasses.

He looked around them nervously, listening to Sands taking long drags on his cigarette. He looked longingly at his Jeep, but made no move to go towards it. He felt as if he were trapped, as if this man had some sort of invisible restraint on him-he didn't like that, and he knew there was something that could be done about it. He felt a bit more courageous, and finally met Sands eyes again, and gave him an eerie smile. He then proceeded to twist his neck. He opened his mouth wide, and cracked his jaw loudly.

He blinked, and when his eyes opened again, it seemed as if they were somehow lazy, drooped a bit lower than they were moments before.

"Why I do believe I know what yer after Mister Sands. You think I have somethin' ta do with Amy and Ted's disappearances righ'?" He grinned broadly, but it wasn't at all friendly. "Well yer wrong mister-I ain't never heard from Amy or Ted goin' on a month now. But if you hear something from Mort's purdy lady, you tell her to give her husband a call. Her disappearance has rattled his brain so..." He looked down at his watch. "Well if you'll excuse me, there's some work I need to be tendin' to and I've got to be getting' Morty his Pall Malls or he'll go crazy." He cackled dryly, and turned to go back into the store.

"Morty? Well, this wasn't in the file, was it?" Sands sighed. They never told him anything. Christ on a fucking cracker. He did something very stupid. He reached out and snagged the other man's arm. "Listen, guy, you don't walk out on me. I walk out on you, savvy? Now you're going to talk, or I'm going to have to make you talk. You're not going to like this. And who the fuck smokes Pall Malls, anyway? They taste like shit."

Sands didn't grab the other man's arm strong enough to hold him, but he did stop. His entire body went rigid with anger. He turned around to face Sands.

"Jus' who do you think you are mister? Get yer filty cotton pickin' hand off me-or I'm a haff ta do somethin' bout it-ya hear?" He wretched his arm out of Sands' grasp with a strength that his body belittled. "I dun know who you are come prancin' into town in yer fancy lil' car, but you don' play games with me. And you certainly' don' play games with Morty."

He was getting tired of this foul man. He turned back around once again, his eyes scanning the expanse of parking lot. "Too bad thar' ain't no shovels around." He spotted a broom up against a trashcan by the door. "I s'pose that will work jest as well."

Sands moved on autopilot. There was no way in hell this loon was going to lay a hand on him if it could be helped. He dropped to a crouch and swiped the other man's feet out from under him and didn't wince when 'Mort's head hit the pavement.

"Threatening me was a no-no. You see, I work for the government and an attack on me is a terrorist act. So, if you're going to act be a pain in the ass, I'd like to know ahead of time. I like to keep ahead of the game."

He took a deep drag on the cig and tapped the ashes on the other man's chest. "My hands don't pick cotton, fuckmook. Who are you?"

'Mort' glared at the man above him, a frown crossing his face at the throbbing that was beginning at the base of his skull.

"Mah name's Shooter, John Shooter, and jest what the hell do you think yer doin?" He shook his head ignoring the sharp pains shooting through it. "I told ya, ya don' wanna mess with Morty. Dangerous things happen—things out of his control. But you're a tough cop-eh?" He grinned once more before shutting his eyes, and once again cracking his jaw.

"That, sir, is an insult. I'm not a fucking 'cop'," he exhaled smoke into 'Shooter's' face. "I'm a secret agent man. Now you're going to get up and get into my car before I beat you with my billy club. You understand, Cotton-Eye Joe?" He slapped the fallen man's cheek lightly for emphasis.

Mort's eyes blinked open, and he looked up at Sands in somewhat of a dazed expression. "Excuse me?" He asked softly, the heavy southern drawl gone.

He grimaced in disgust at the smoke blown in his face. Hand rolled cigarettes-he despised them. Remembering why he was at the store, he tilted his head back and looked behind him to see that the girl was locking up the front of the store.

"Shit..." He muttered to himself. He needed some cigarettes.

The girl saw them and waved out jovially oblivious to their position, Mort on his back, and Sands crouched over him. Mort couldn't help but roll his eyes at her naïveté, which caused a sharp pain to shoot through his head. "Shit!" he cursed again.

He pushed Sands aside to sit up much to the agent's annoyance. He sat there his head cradled in his hands, fighting back the nausea. He needed a fucking cigarette!

"Oh, well, sucks to be you, Shithead," Sands smirked. He didn't really delight in other people's pain. Or that's what the Company told him anyway. He was just an efficient worker bee. He sucked the last of the cigarette before flicking the butt away, savoring the last bit.

"You ready to go? Or do I have to do some more convincing?"

He blinked, and looked up at Sands through the mess of his hair. "What? Go? Where are we going?" He was absolutely dumbfounded as to why this man would want him to go anywhere with him.

He didn't want him to have to "do some more convincing" though, so he slowly stood to his feet dusting off his back. He fought the nausea that rose in his throat as he stood with dizziness. He wanted more than anything to go back home to his cabin, and the comfort of his couch. He looked over his shoulder at his Jeep not far away. Then he looked back at Sands, who was looking at him pointedly.

He let out a resigned sigh, and nodded. He watched the man very closely as he turned to unlock the passenger side door. As soon as his back was turned, Mort got a rush of adrenaline, and dashed for his Jeep. He unlocked his door, and made it in before Sands had gotten to the drivers side door.

By then Mort's entire body was shaking, as he looked at the infuriated agent through the window.

Shit, shit, shit, stupid, stupid, stupid. Okay, you had your chance. You blew it. Stop being an idiot and get this fuck where you need him. Whoever he is this time.

Sands nodded slowly, feeling his jaw muscles twitch ever tighter. The man had a weakness. Pall Malls. Sands didn't have Pall Malls, but his did have cheap store-bought shit sticks when the hick store in Tashmore Lakes neglected to stock the tobacco he liked. But he'd have to get to his glove compartment to get them and the Jeep was made for hauling over any terrain. Sure, the roadster would catch it on a straightaway, but the undercarriage was already shaken to bits from the dirt roads. It looked like his astounding power of negotiation would have to suffice again.

"Look, Shooter. Morty. Whoever the hell you are. I bet that you aren't going to like this but I've been told quite forcefully that I'm to find you by any means necessary. I assume that means by force if applicable." Sands raised his government-issued Glock into view. "I'd say this was applicable. You're either going to step out of the car, or I'm going to nail you. Unlike my colleagues who are more qualified for a job like this, my superiors know I'm insane enough to do anything to get my man."

His mouth quirked into a feral smile as he watched for a reaction, no matter how slight. He didn't have to search for a reaction on Mort's face. The other man's complexion immediately paled, but he remained steadfast for a few more minutes, until Sands once again raised his firearm. Mort swallowed hard, his eyes darting around the interior of his Jeep. A thought came to mind, and his eyes lingered on the glove compartment, then slid over to the armrest compartment. Which one? he thought to himself. He began to chew on his cheek.

He turned to see if Sands had miraculously gotten tired of waiting for him to come out and play. He was still standing there staring at him, his Glock in full view now. Well, this is it... He thought, and with one last glance at Sands, he dove across the seats praying that it was in the glove compartment, and not the armrest.

"Ahhhh!" He heard himself scream and covered his head with his hands as his window shattered.

He didn't wait another moment. He flung open the glove compartment and grabbed his screwdriver. He turned and faced the agent, armed with the weapon only Shooter knew as lethal.

Sands snorted. "Unless you know how to throw that thing, you're fucked. Just admit it. It'll make life easier for both of us. And Christ, do you know how bad bullet wounds are? I refuse to take you to a hospital if I shoot you and that means I'm going to be stuck babying your sorry self." He gestured with the gun. "Come out of here now before I shoot you for real."

Mort just stared at him, frozen to the spot. His eyes were open wide, and he just shook his head. Left and right, back and forth, causing the dull ache in his head to throb some more. His breathing was erratic, and his eyes began to narrow. Then they rolled up into his head.

His eyes flew open, and Sands' gaze was met with one of rage. Mort lunged taking no mind of the gun other than to aim his stab at the hand holding it.

"Ugh!" he made some sort of sound as he used all his energy to thrust the screwdriver into Sands' hand.

"Owwww!" He moaned as the screwdriver came only into contact with the metal of the Jeep, scraping the paint off, and causing a metallic sound to rip through the air.

Mort clamped his hands over his ears, dropping the screwdriver to the ground outside his Jeep. His eyes were wide and unblinking. After the ringing in his head had died down, he was distracted by a movement out of the corner of his eye.

He turned, and frowned with disbelief. The clerk was getting into her car-and waving at them! Was the whole fucking town nuts? There was a guy with a gun pointed at him! He watched as the clerk's carthe last in the parking lot besides his Jeep, and Sands' roadster, sped off into the sunset.

Sands took the opportunity the clerk had given him on a silver platter. With the window shattered, he had no problem reaching out and decking Mort on the side of the head with the butt of his pistol. Mort went down instantly his forehead landing on the horn of the Cherokee. Sands winced at the noise and shoved the heavier man back into the seat.

"All right, Sleeping Beauty, c'mon," he sighed. Sands opened the door and hefted Mort over his shoulder. He got to the two-seater and unceremoniously dumped him into the seat. He almost stopped to roll another cigarette, but decided the farther he was away from the store he was when Mort woke up, the better off he'd be. He slid into the roadster and turned the key, taking a moment to buckle the other man up. A little restraint never hurt anybody. Sands then eased off the clutch, nudged the gas, and they were on the road to... somewhere.

Mort awoke, to the sound of Nirvana blasting, filling his head. He opened his eyes slowly, unsure about what exactly had happened since he saw the clerk leaving the store. All he could see was darkness. He could feel movement beneath him, and lifted his head wincing in pain. He was in a car, the stretch of dark pavement sliding past at a very fast pace.

He turned to his left to see Sands looking straight ahead smoking one of his horrid cigarettes. He moaned with a mixture of weariness and pain, making Sands aware that he was now awake.

"Why me?" Mort whispered, directing the question not to Sands, but to himself, to Shooter. You cain't do nothin' yerself-you need me Morty. You need me ter take care of this man like I did Ted and Amy, you need me to protect you. Mort did not want to hear this, so he did his best to ignore the hick that was trying to once again take over his body. "Why me?" Mort yelled over the blare of the radio. He turned to glare at the man driving who'd turned to look at him.

Sands turned the radio down slightly, sparing an amused glance for his outraged passenger.

"Feeling a bit melodramatic, are we?"

Mort let out a strangled cry. He made an attempt to get his safety belt undone, at the same time pulling at the door handle. He was beginning to feel claustrophobic, what with Shooter's musings, and Sand's calm amusement. He began pulling at the seatbelt frantically, unable to steady his hands enough to release it.

"Oh my Christ." Sands yanked the wheel of the vehicle to the left, narrowly avoiding clipping another car with the rear of the roadster. He muscled across the 4 lane traffic of I-95 South and managed to get into the breakdown lane before Mort's fingers could undo the seatbelt. He jammed the stick into Neutral and pulled the handbrake. He had a gun pointed at Mort's head in no time.

"Now you're going to cooperate with me, Morty, or I'm going to blow your head off. I have no problems with this. My partner would agree if he were around to tell you. You just sit tight, Morty, and we'll get to my little backwater cabin before you know it. Capiche?"

As soon as the car began to veer, Mort's breathing had grown erratic. The car spun off to the side of the road, and he continued to pull at everything within in his grasp, no longer focused enough to pull on just the safety belt. He had pulled at his own clothes, and then he'd somehow ended up pulling on Sands' t-shirt.

As soon as the car came to a halt, Mort was face to face with the gun that'd shot out his window. His tugging on the man's shirt ceased at the voiced threat and the gun in his face. He gripped Sands' shirt for another moment before releasing it. Mort met Sand's cold eyes which glittered in the lights from the lights off the interstate, and cowered away. He pressed himself against the passenger side door, and curled into a fetal position and began rocking, muttering to himself insanely.

"Oh stop whining," Sands sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Mort's rocking ceased, and his mumbling trailed off. Then he turned to look at Sands.

"Excuse mah?" He drawled in the thick accent of Shooter.

"Jesus, not you again." Sands was beginning to catch on. It was either MPDMultiple Personality Disorderor this guy was a hell of an actor. Sources leant towards the former. "What the hell do you want?"

"Jus' where the hell do you think yer takin us?" His lips pursed as he stared Sands down through half lidded eyes.

"Ah'm takin' you tuh where Ah c'n keep 'n eye on you. Can you dig it?"

"Oh I believe we can most certainly dig it Mister Sands." Shooter smiled sardonically, as he chuckled.

His chuckles were cut short by another voice.

"Why do you need to keep an eye on me?" Mort looked at Sands nervously. "I didn't do anything! I'm innocent-I didn't do what they say I did!" His cries grew louder, and he looked around the car frantically. He turned away from Sands and started tugging on the door handle even though he couldn't get the door unlocked. He began to shake again.

"Please let me out." He whispered almost inaudibly.

"Oh I don't think I want to be doing that, amigo. It'd piss off the high ups. Or maybe I do," Sands replied thoughtfully.

Mort stopped tugging on the door at his words. "The high ups?" He asked turning around to look at him. "Wh-who do you work for?"

"That's on a need to know basis, sugarbutt," he smirked before rolling another cigarette. This was a long day. So much for the whole cutting back idea.

Mort wrinkled his nose in disgust as the acrid smoke wafted toward his nose. "Well I at least expect an explanation as to why I'm wanted..." He raised an eyebrow questioningly.

"You don't know?"

Mort frowned and looked at him quizzically. "I don't know? I don't know what? That I'm being taken against my will for some story that's most likely all bullshit? Listen here buddy-I don't like people making me feel inferior. I want to know who sent you and why the hell you're after me!" He'd moved away from the door and was nearly on top of the center console, his face turning red.

"Easy, down boy. Don't have a stroke," Sands shoved Mort back into his seat. "If you don't know why you're one of the most wanted men in America, it's probably better you don't know. Easier to plead innocence."

Mort glared at him as he pushed him away, but soon he was puzzled. One of the most wanted men in America? He sat silently musing this over for a moment, analyzing it for all he could, but he still came up with no logical answer.

"Well then there's nothing to worry aboutI'll just go home and when they set the court date, I'll show up. Now if you don't mind I'd like to return to my cabin-I've got a story to work on." His mind thought back to earlier that day when he'd sat staring at the blank screen. Damn. Why had he left his cabin in the first place? For cigarettes. Oh...right...

"Are you always this bitchy when you're being taken against your will? There are some cigarettes in the glove compartment. I wouldn't smoke them all at once. I don't buy those often."

At the mention of cigarettes, Mort's eyes widened, and he lunged for the glove compartment eagerly. He threw it open almost ripping the door off, in his haste. When he spotted the familiar packaging of a brand that was vaguely familiar to him, his eyes bugged even wider, and a broad grin swept across his face.

He quickly tore open a pack, and had one in his mouth in no time. He began patting down his pockets hunting for his lighter. His mouth began to droop in a frown, the cigarette dangling from a corner. He turned to Sands who'd been watching the whole time.

You wouldn't happen to have a lighter would you?" He asked sarcastically.

"I don't smoke," Sands tossed his Zippo at Mort.

Mort looked at Sands oddly before lighting up. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the nicotine coursing through him. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the seat relaxing a bit. He opened one eye while remaining reclined, and looked at Sands.

"Tell me what you are again, if not a cop."

"I already told you what I am, chico. Or maybe I told your better half. I'm having a hell of a time telling you two apart." He paused to take a drag. "So how the hell did he come about anyway? I'm curious."

Mort glared at him. "Don't call me 'chico'! That bastard killed him..." He trailed off remembering. "Shooter. Shooter killed my dog. Stabbed him straight through the chest with my fucking screwdriver!" By now Mort was down to the butt, but was smoking it just as furiously as he would a fresh one.

"Tell me you weren't a Chico and the Man fan," Sands groaned, his head leaned back against the headrest. This man was the epitome of bad taste. The argyle, the gray tones. Christ, it was as if the man wanted to blend in or something. "Chicoooooo, don't be discouraaaaaaaaged."

Mort frowned and tossed the butt out the window. "Hey like it's any better than the Love Boat!" he retorted bitterly. He sighed with annoyance. "Are we just going to sit here all night having a little pow wow or are you going to take me wherever the hell it is you plan on holding me?"

"I liked the Love Boat," Sands frowned. Then he glanced in the mirror. "Shit."

"What?" Mort asked as he turned around in his seat. All he saw was a couple of state highway patrol cars, nothing to worry about if he was an authority himself. He turned back to Sands questioningly.

Sands was grumbling under his breath, chewing the end of his cigarette like gum. He hated it when the locals had to poke their asses into his business. Not the Company's business. His business. As far as he was concerned, this Mort scandal was his project now. The blue lights flickered behind the still quiet roadster. A fat cop was heaving himself out of the patrol car.

Sands leaned over to eye Mort. "What do you say we have a little fun?"

Mort's eyes widened a bit as he looked from Sands' psychotic smile to the overweight patrolman heading towards the car. He swallowed a lump that had formed in his throat; it was all too close to home to him.

"W-what do you mean?" He asked nervously although he was sure he had an idea.

"Just let me do the talking, sugarbutt," Sands grinned. The cop was outside the door and knocking to get their attention. Sands blinked with wide eyes and shrugged dramatically at the gestures. The cop mimed rolling down the window.

"¿QUÉ?" Sands yelled. "¡NO SÉ DE QUE SE HABLA, SEÑOR!"

Mort's eyebrows furrowed and he tried to hide it behind his horn-rimmed glasses. He watched the cop's reaction to the "fact" that Sands didn't understand what he was saying. After a few more minutes of the patrolman attempting to gesture at Sands, Mort had to bite his cheek to keep from laughing. At one point he let out a snort only to receive a death glare from Sands.

After about 5 minutes of gesturing and yelling, the cop's face was bright red with irritation. Just when Mort thought the man would spontaneously combust, a female officer stepped up to Sands' window. Female she was.

Sands rolled the window down, exhaled the pent up cigarette smoke in the red pig's face and smiled amicably at the girl.

"Hola. ¿Qué pasa?"

Mort shook his head and rolled his eyes as he watched Sands' demeanor change. He wondered how long the charade was going to last; he was rather bored with the whole affair. He needed another cigarette. He reached for the glove compartment, to be stopped by the cocking of a gun, and the female officer's hard voice.

"Just hold it right there amigo! Don't move another inch or I'll be forced to blow your brains all over this lovely car. Comprendé?" She smiled sweetly at Mort who just gaped at her.

Good Lord! She's this man's feminine equal! Mort thought to himself. I'm really in deep horse manure now.

"Hang on, hang on a sec. You can't just go blowing my buddy's head off here. That's not very nice. Guy probably just wants another cigarette, doesn't he?" Sands glared at Mort. Didn't the little fuckmook know not to move for hidden objects in front of a small town cop?

"I thought you didn't speak English?" the woman sneered.

"Well, niña, I'm an asshole," Sands smirked.

Mort backed away from the glove compartment, and tried to hide behind Sands' back. She still hadn't put the gun down.

"Step out of the car sir." The lady hissed.

Mort decided it was time to say something. "Um-listen...I don't know this guy he just uh..." He didn't want to get the guy in trouble, he just wanted to go back home to his cabin. "He just met me up at a store and was giving me a ride to uh..." he looked around at the flat expanse of highway. "He was giving me a ride to the next town. But I've changed my mind and if you would be so kind as to take me back home-"

He was cut off by the other cop who was now rapping on his window. Mort jumped and looked at the man's sweaty face glaring at him through the window.

"Open the door 'Farmer John'," He sneered.

Mort's face hardened. "I can't!"

His anger about not being able to open the door turned from Sands to the stinky, sweaty patrolman.

Sands rolled his eyes. Christ on a cracker. He knew it would fizzle. Time to wrap this bad operation up before someonenamely himselfgot hurt.

"Listen, chica. Vero cabrón," Sands smiled tightly at the pissed off cop. "We were taking a break. I-95 isn't the most hospitable of roads, you see. However, if one of you fine cop folks would like to be our escort... make sure we don't swerve all over the place-"

"Get out of the fucking car." She hissed keeping her gun steady between his eyes.

Mort meanwhile was beginning to grow increasingly nervous as the sweaty cop was getting more and more pissed off as well.

"Uh...Sands..." Mort wrung his sweating hands.

Sands held his hand up, holding Mort's protests back. His smile was all but frozen in place, staring the hard-assed girl down. He flicked out his badge, making sure she caught a good look, before sticking it back in the confines of his pocket.

"That suffice, niña? I still require a police escort."

She glared, but said no more to Sands. She kept the gun pointed for a few more seconds before she replaced it in the holster on her hip.

"Let's move." She called out to the other cop. "If you'd be so kind as to escort Agent Sands here, I'll pick up the rear." She gave one last cold start at Sands before she disappeared into the second vehicle, shortly followed by the obese cop who waddled to his car.

Once they had left, Mort let out a relieved breath. As Sands started the car, he thought about what the woman had said. After he'd buckled up once again, he turned to question him.

"So-what are you? Some sort of spy or something? Agent Sands?"

"Sure, sugarbutt, whatever you say," Sands had effectively tuned Mort out. He had focused his attention on the one following cop and pulling onto I-95 without smashing up the car. For a state full of SUV's and mud covered trucks, they sure moved pretty damn fast. Sands spared a squint in the mirror for the cruiser that had turned its lights off to follow him up to the lake cottage he'd rented for his operation. It looked like the pig. It didn't much matter to Sands though. The sooner he got his wicked deed done, the better.

Mort sighed and decided to leave it at that, he had a feeling that was all he was going to get out of the man. He opened the glove compartment and retrieved another cigarette. As he lay back smoking, he began to relax a little. It had been one hell of a day, and he was exhausted. He didn't know if he was more physically or mentally exhausted, not that it really mattered at that point.

He fell into a fitful sleep, only to be woken a few minutes later by a searing pain on his palm.

"Oh SHIT!" He yelled jumping up as high as he could with his safety harness on. He'd fallen asleep with the still burning cigarette between his fingers.

"Nice one, John Wayne, you do that often?" Sands snorted with laughter. He'd seen the trouble coming, but it didn't seem to pose any threat to the upholstery so he'd waited for the inevitable. He wasn't disappointed either.

Mort was now as pissed off as he thought he could be. "Fuck you!" he spat! "I'm tired of all this 'Whatever you say' bullshit-I want to know the truth and I want to know it now!"

He was fed up, and he felt the last threads of his sanity slipping away quickly. He knew the only way he would get any answers would be to take things into his own hands-or at least attempt it. The worst that could happen is that he would be taken into custody by the fat cop.

In a rush of adrenaline, he reached out and jerked the steering wheel all the way to the right, and held it there. Before Sands could hit the brakes, they were doing a doughnut in the middle of I-95.

"Shit!" Sands swore. Instinct took over before his brain had a chance to rightfully react. He tore the gun out of its holster and brained the other man on the head. By the time he had the car under control, the roadster was aimed squarely at the oncoming traffic and specifically, the pig in the blue cop car. He felt his heart stop as the squeal and crunch of metal on metal assaulted his ears.