Chapter 4 - The Man in the Beige Suit

"This lock would be easier to pick if you'd brought a light," Tony complained. In truth there was a distant street lamp desperately reaching out to them but it was impossible to stand anywhere that did not cast a shadow on the door handle.

"Shh – hold on I have a flashlight here somewhere on my key ring." McGee fumbled in his pocket.

"I thought you were a scout leader," Tony grumbled. "You should be more prepared."

"My troop is always prepared," said McGee, "just not always me…aha!"

Once inside, the two agents snuck up the narrow beige-carpeted stairway guided by the feeble light of McGee's key ring LED.

"This is not a light, Probie," Tony rasped. "It's the world's smallest LCD TV."

"LED," McGee corrected.

"Like it matters!"

They reached the bathroom door and Tony tried the handle. "It's locked," he whispered.

"Who locks their bathroom when they are outside it?" asked McGee, reaching forward around Tony. "Here let me try."

"I can do it," Tony said hoarsely, fending him off.

A general scuffling ensued and suddenly the bathroom door burst open, throwing both agents to the floor. They froze and waited in silence: nothing. They waited some more: still nothing. Finally Tony let out a breath and declared, "We're clean."

McGee crawled hastily to the bathroom cupboard, Tony hot on his heels, and opened the door. The faint LED revealed a dull collection of no-name brand shampoo, aftershave, soap and toilet paper on the single shelf but above them, in parallel loops attached to the underside of the bathroom cabinet bench, hung three pipes.

"Here," said McGee, handing Tony his key ring, "hold this." Reaching in with both hands, McGee dislodged the two ends of one of the pipes and found it was full of white powder.

"I have a gun aimed at you," said a voice from the doorway. A bright flashlight scanned the room and landed squarely on Tony's face, missing McGee completely.

"Send the SMS and stay there," whispered Tony rising to his feet trying whilst calculating how much time he had to kill before help arrived.

A shadowy figure stood in the doorway, his features indiscernible beyond the glare of his flashlight. Tony took a deep breath. "Ahh hi," he began in a whisper, "I know this must look bad but we just moved in across the street and my buddy here has sleepwalked into your house. We're renovating the bathroom and he has this sort of obsession with them. Last night I found him in our bathroom like this and tonight, we … ahh …just came in from night shift and he was saying how much he liked your red front door. Last I saw he was asleep on the couch. I went to the bathroom and when I came out, he was gone. I searched the apartment and he wasn't there then I saw him across the street at your tasteful front door."

Tony paused for breath, hoping the guy was buying it. If not, that the guy was so confused that Tony was buying time.

The suspect flicked the light switch and a fluorescent tsunami washed over the room causing them all to squint.

Tony heard the gun cock and risked a glance through half blinded eyes. Then he opened them wide in disbelief. "You are kidding me," he said. "Where could you possibly buy beige pajamas?"

"Sears," said Gibbs from the beyond bathroom door. "Drop it."

"They were invading my home," the beige man complained. "I have a right to defend my property."

"They are federal agents with a search warrant who have just found your stash," Gibbs corrected. "You have a right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, one shall be appointed to you."

Ziva stepped around Gibbs and handcuffed the perpetrator.

"Can I at least get dressed?" the man complained as Ziva tightened the cuffs.

"This outfit not beige enough for you?" asked Tony. "Tell me: does your clothing look any different to your PJs? Be honest."

As Ziva led the man away, Gibbs tucked his gun back in his belt.

"How'd you get here so quick, Boss?" asked Tony.

"I don't trust you two together for more than one night," Gibbs answered. "We were waiting in the car down the street. How did you figure out where he was hiding the stuff?"

"Actually," Tony admitted, "it was an idea McGee dreamed up."


Thanks for reading