Epilogue- 3 months later
"Ed, can you come in here? I need to talk to you." The sheriff had yet to make an announcement either way about the election and it was getting down to the wire. If he didn't give me the go ahead in the next few days, we were both going to be screwed because the deadline to file was approaching.
"Shut the door, will you?" I shut the door behind me and sat down in the chair across from him. He looked every day of his 65 years, weary and stressed, but cagey as well. I knew something was up and it probably wasn't good.
"Ed, you haven't been yourself lately. Frankly your work has been off and there have been some serious problems with missing reports. I have gotten some intel that you have even been observed with the odor of alcohol on your breath while in the office."
Sir! You know that is not true! I would never drink while on duty!
I had been set up. I knew it and there was little I could do except listen to him as he listed out all the allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer that had been laid against me. It was an overwhelming mess that could destroy my career with any agency if the charges were officially filed.
"We have a couple of choices here. I can bring you up on charges and you can answer them with counsel, risk exposure and all that would bring, or you can resign your commission effective immediately and get the hell out of here before this place eats you. I will be able to give you an outstanding reference and I am willing to bet you could even lateral in someplace far away from here."
But what about the case?
"Ed, right now, its dead in the water. We have managed to eliminate all his buddies and he's alone and a slick sleeved road dog again. He knows he's being watched and that is the best we can do until we can find something on him. I don't want to see you destroyed along with Whitlock. Just take the offer, get the hell out of here and go find him. Don't end up caught in a trap like I am. Gunny has shit on the city council and mayor that I don't even want to contemplate, so I am really between a rock and a hard place with this. Please? Think of yourself and sign the resignation and go. I will forward your packet via private mail and I will do my best to keep you up on what is going on, and as soon as I get anything on that bastard, we will take him down hard, but in the mean time we can hope he meets up with a badder guy than he is in some dark alley.
I looked at the packet of papers in front of me. I hadn't heard from Jas in months, didn't even know if he wanted me back, but it was a chance I had to take. I reached out and signed the papers, and walked away from that department a free man.
One month later.
Moving was a huge pain in the ass. I ended up leasing the house to one of the Feds who had ended up stationed in the area, and he bought most of my furniture and even the stock equipment. My guns, clothes and collectibles fit into the trailer I was taking and after I stripped the truck out and returned all the gear to the department, I was feeling naked. I had forbidden Emmett from telling Jas anything. I wanted the decision to be his and his alone without time to sit and mull it over. I didn't have a way to call him because we had figured out that he was being tracked, along with me, by his cell phone, so it had been tossed onto the top of a South bound semi while mine went swimming in the stock tank on the property. I bought a new Iphone in of all places, San Diego, and then I headed North, hoping like hell he still wanted to see me.
The trip seemed to take forever, and though it was warmer, it was still quite the adventure pulling a trailer. When I arrived in Portland, I contacted the local feds and had the truck scanned to make sure I wasn't being tracked, and once cleared, I headed to his street, not even knowing if he was home. Pulling up in front of the house, I saw his ratty old truck sitting there, sporting a monkey sticker on the tailgate and a 'Keep Portland Weird" sticker across the back window. He must have been finally trying to fit in. I felt almost guilty and definitely nervous as I walked up to the door. Before I could even knock the door flew open and there he stood, wearing a fucking monkey t-shirt, wearing a pair of ratty sweats and looking like he had seen a ghost with his hair sticking up all over the place. He had a wispy attempt at a beard and mustache going on and I wanted to reach out and touch his face as he stared at me, but then all of the sudden he launched himself into my arms and I was being kissed like I hadnever been kissed before. Fucking Emmett never could keep a secret.
A/N So this is the end of this part of their story. You are probably wondering about the bad guys and how they could let them get away with it, but I can tell you for a fact, the bad guys do quite often get away with the horrible things that they do and those that suffer just have to find a way to move on with their lives and hope for brighter days. Sometimes the good things come in time, and some times they dont.
These boys live on in the other storys I have cited in previous notes and maybe, just maybe, justice will be found.
Thanks to my readers and reviewers for putting up with my mistakes and all my rookie writing weirdness. Maybe someday I will find an editor that will fix me and this story. Thanks to the boys who inspired me to write again, they know who they are.