The cops didn’t like him.
Four responding officers in patrol uniforms had showed up in two separate cruisers. Then five more rolled in; three of them were wearing bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and were carrying shotguns and rifles. It was as if they had intended to bring the short-lived crime to a quick halt by leveraging their high level of firepower. And seeing that there was no longer a crime in progress, they stood idly by wondering what had happened. And when they found out, they didn’t like Scarr for how he had handled things. Someone could have gotten killed. Emergency medical personnel had appeared with the responding officers, and the technicians moved the injured robber and the elderly man who was bleeding through his nose onto an ambulance for treatment. The short robber had come to and had been arrested. The restaurant had been cordoned off.
While the other witnesses were being identified and questioned, Scarr had been taken aside to a cruiser because he was carrying the Eagle on him. He was asked whether he had a license for it. He had one. The officers gently requested to see it, and they allowed him to fetch it from the Audi. Scarr handed them the paperwork along with his driver’s license. The driver’s license was registered under the name Ellis Mann. They asked him what he was doing for a living.
“Private security contractor,” Scarr told them.
They didn’t ask him how he had gotten the scar on his neck. After all verifications were made and the name and everything seemed in good order, the officers who had been on Scarr’s case handed him back his credentials. Another officer joined them and informed his colleagues that, according to the elderly woman amongst the witnesses, one of the robbers would have shot her dead if the man they had just identified as Ellis Mann had not interfered. She was thankful. And so was her husband.
“She’s lucky you were around,” one of the officers jokingly said. But even then he still didn’t like Scarr. Since he wasn’t a city resident, they also asked for an address and phone number where he could be reached for further questions, if the need arose.
The whole time he had been questioned, Scarr had made a car, a black Mustang, which was parked back a little ways from the clutter of law enforcement vehicles. He had made the quiet man sitting behind the wheel who was looking intently in his direction. He had made some of his features. A pudgy beardless face where was assembled together, a flat nose, a strong brow furrowed deeply by age, an oval chin lost in a fat neck, and predatory eyes set closely to inflict a certain amount of unease on whomever met their stare. And now these eyes were looking at Scarr. And even though they failed to elicit uneasiness in him, they sure as hell elicited inquisitiveness.
At last, Scarr and the other customers were given permission to leave. Scarr got back to the Audi. As he stood by it, he saw one of the cops in uniform approach the Mustang, lean in through the driver’s window, and talk to the man. There was familiarity in the way they were conversing, as if they were both from the same board, the same line of work. No doubt the man in the Mustang was a plainclothes cop, a detective maybe. And no doubt, Scarr thought, their paths would cross again, sooner rather than later.
Scarr was about to go back into the restaurant for his scarf when he saw Etel come to him in her blue jumper shorts. She had the scarf with her, all folded up. She came to him with her head turned towards the restaurant. And it was only when she was within high-fiving distance of him that she looked at him, allowing him to see that the brightness of her eyes had returned even though the fear of him was still inside her. She tentatively held out the scarf as if it were some kind of priceless offering she was giving despite herself. Then she looked over her shoulders again. And when her eyes flashed back to Scarr, she said with a friendly-sounding voice, “Excuse me, you forgot this back there.”
“Thanks,” Scarr said after taking the scarf from her. Then he climbed inside the Audi, taking no more notice of her.
The girl went away, her arms crossed over her chest. As she went, she risked one last glance toward the Audi. Scarr didn’t make anything of it until he found a note on a torn piece of paper hidden inside the folds of the scarf.
IF YOU CAN, COME BACK HERE AROUND 9:30 P.M. TONIGHT
Scarr didn’t know what her game was. But he figured that at 9:30 p.m. he would find out.
Kish called him right before he ignited the Audi. Apparently, the dagger had resurfaced. And one of Kish’s sources had given him the address of a fence to whom the dagger had been taken two days ago. Kish told Scarr to hurry over there and work the fence to find out the identity of whoever had brought the dagger in. He gave him an address and hung up.
It was the address of a boat scrap yard over in San Pedro. It took him quite a while to have the trusty Audi shuttle across seventy-five blacktopped miles of intercity tracks and barely wear down the tires’ rubber. And as he rode along with the sun sliding back and forth across the windshield, he thought about Mr. Windsor Sr.’s reaction after he phoned him to let him know that he had found and taken care of one of the guys. Mr. Windsor Sr. had been pleased, indeed, to hear that. However, he had reminded Scarr that the call should have come before the culprit was ‘taken care of.’ The old man reminded him what he had said at their first meeting. He wasn’t using a figure of speech when he said he wanted to see those bastards nailed to a cross. The old man had a lot of gumption about him. And so Scarr never told him that Dwayne Blanchard had been a personal score.