54. Sloppy Joe

Interrogation Room – Hoover Building

Lance Sweets studied the interrogation room's single occupant from the darkened observation room. The small but well lit interrogation room was lined with large gray acoustic tiles. A steel table, two empty chairs, and a mirror fitted into one wall were all that kept the man company. Sweets knew how cave-like the room felt, and he knew the man within probably felt trapped. However, his body language did not communicate any such feeling.

The interrogation room's occupant sat in a third chair across the table from the empty ones and stared into the mirror. He knew it was a two-way mirror. A functional piece, rather than decorative. The man lowered his gaze slightly to view his own, which he dry washed before him, his elbows propped on the table. The orange jumpsuit created a stark contrast between his fair skin and only served to exaggerate the appearance of faint liver spots on the back of his hands. He ran a hair through is brown hair, leaned back and crossed his legs, clasping his hands together loosely in his lap while he waited. His wide-set eyes stared into his own reflection, unblinking. He knew someone on the other side was watching. Joe Watson was used to waiting. He was a patient man.

When the door finally opened, Watson blinked several times and then stilled his face, observing the new arrivals through the mirror, rather than face them directly. He watched as a slim, dark haired woman sauntered into the room followed by a taller, dark-haired man. They were beautiful people, and he knew they knew it by the way they carried themselves. Confident. Assured. He also recognized them both. He had watched Seeley Booth leave his apartment with a child yesterday. And the woman, he assumed she was Dr. Temperance Brennan, she was the one who had apprehended him.

Booth, carried a folder with him, which he tossed on the table. He held out one of the chairs for his companion and took the seat beside her once she was settled. Neither spoke. Although patient, Watson decided to end the silence.

"So good to see you both again," he said smugly.

Brennan arched a eyebrow at his greeting, but remained mute.

"Cut the wiseass act, Joe. We've got your number," Booth said.

Maintaining his calm, Watson replied, "Is that so?"

"You could say that." Booth flipped open the folder and spun it around. He tapped his finger hard on the 8x10 picture within. "Nice piece of hardware you brought to my apartment yesterday."

Watson glanced down at the glossy photo, which showed a close up of a small circuit board. He pursed his lips and said, "looks like a chip of some kind. What's that got to do with me?"

The woman let loose a throaty chuckle. "That is the guts of the bug you planted at Booth's apartment yesterday. Well, the one you tried to plant, that is. Right before I took you down." She finished her statement with a smile fit for a Cheshire cat. "Did you know that the chip manufacturer laser cuts a serial number into those tiny boards?" She paused briefly, then continued when he did not comment. "And they also track who they sell them to." She pushed the top photo aside to reveal another glossy of a number etched on the side of what Watson presumed was the bug's chip. "If you have the right resources, you can track down just about anything. And we," she said glance at Booth, "have the right resources."

"Naw, you've got it all wrong there missy. I was just looking for a few things to bag before I dashed out of your boyfriend's place," Watson said.

"Deny it all you like. It's probably not easy to accept that a woman bested you. A scientist no less. We're not supposed to be able to take down someone like you, are we? Don't you think, Booth?"

Booth shrugged, "If I were you, Joe, I'd feel like a schmuck if someone like Dr. Brennan here had put me on my knees with a hockey stick."

Brennan glanced at Booth before continuing. "So, why don't you just tell us what the CIA was hoping to find, Joe?"

"And while you're at it, why don't you provide me a copy of your directive sanctioning a operation on US soil, hm?" Booth interjected.

Watson answered with silence and stared into the two-way mirror.

"Or maybe he doesn't care that a woman bested him. Maybe it's just that anyone bested him. He got sloppy. He didn't do his due diligence on your apartment yesterday. He had no idea I was there, did you Joe? That was quite sloppy, Joe. Sloppy indeed."

Booth chuckled at Brennan's choice of words. "I like that, Bones. Sloppy Joe. I think that's a good nick name for you, don't you, Sloppy Joe?"

"Oh," Brennan commented, sounding surprised, and then chuckled, "That is rather amusing."

Watson rolled his eyes, but maintained his silence.

Booth leaned forward across the table, his voice just barely above a whisper as he spoke. "That's okay, Sloppy Joe. I'll get the info. The Agency is going to cut you loose after I get through trashing your credibility on this busted op. Your days in intelligence are over."

"Agency sanctioned. You think this is Agency sanctioned?" Watson chortled nervously. "You think that because the bug is from Agency inventory, that you've got my number. You have no idea what you're dealing with."

"No? Why don't you enlighten me, Sloppy Joe?" Booth probed. He shuffled the pictures to the back of the file and extracted another document. "Your cell records will get us there. Between you and all the others we've got in custody, there will be common numbers. We're going to figure out who is in charge of this little operation, and when we do, it will go a lot easier for you if you've been cooperative."

"I'm not afraid of any federal penitentiary," Watson said, shifting in his chair and crossing his arms across his chest.

"But you should be afraid of who the CIA, or whoever you're working for, can put in the cell with you. Bound to be someone who wants him some Sloppy Joe." Booth retorted.

Watson's demeanor was no longer relaxed. His eyes were cold and his jaw set. Booth knew he was close. "The big guys, they don't like mistakes like this. You should know that, Joe." Booth stood abruptly and tapped Brennan on the shoulder. "Let's go, Bones. We got what we need for now. Let's let him think about prison for a little while."

Brennan gathered the file materials and stood, joining Booth. "Your cooperation could mean some measure of protection, Mr. Watson. Think about it," she said.

"Protection?" Watson shook his head. "You've got to be kidding me. She's kidding, right?" Watson asked Booth. "You know what happened to the last protected witness. He's dead, and his family is likely long gone by now. Nope, I'll take my chances in the pen, thank you very much."

"Let's go, Bones," Booth said under his breath and ushered Brennan out of the room before she could give away any information about the Sinclairs.

Sweets nodded in satisfaction as he watched from the observation room behind the two-way mirror. Watson hung his head and clasped his hands behind his neck once the door shut behind Brennan and Booth. Sweets turned to Harkness and said, "That's a man who has nothing left. He trusts no one."