Sam paced; watching as the clock on the wall tick off minutes while he waited for news about Officer Sands. Knowing that Maven’s “gold ticket” show was the last of the evening did nothing to quell the panic gnawing at his insides. Each time the phone rang, Sam’s heart leapt into his throat.
“Turns out, the only thing they found in Jersey was a stolen car with a beat up pair of size eleven boots in the back seat. The shoes belong to Sands but there’s no trace of him anywhere.”
Sam muttered a curse and racked his brain for a way to track down their MIA officer. A dicey plan rattled around in his head for a few moments before he finally decided to pick up his phone. Please let her be able to talk, Sam silently prayed. On the third ring, a tentative voice said hello.
“Tina, it’s Sam. Can you talk?”
“For a few of minutes, yeah, what’s up?”
“I’ve got a couple questions….First; do you know if Maven’s lackeys sweep his tent for bugs, meaning transmitters, before each performance? Second, how cooperative is your boss, BT, with the police?
“Hmm, I don’t think anyone sweeps Maven’s tent because they don’t let anyone in there unsupervised…ever. I guess if someone got in they might but it’s pretty well guarded. As for BT, he really is a stand up guy. He’d do anything for local authorities without complaint, why? You’re not planning on getting him into any trouble are you? Seriously, that’s not cool, Sam. Leave BT alone. He’s a good man! He’d never hurt a soul and he sure as hell wouldn’t get involved with anything illegal!”
“Whoa, calm down, Tina.” Sam interrupted. “I have no intention of getting BT into trouble. I was just thinking…suppose a concerned citizen called the local PD with a tip that they saw a wanted criminal sneak into the carnival to hide. That would be just cause to search the place from top to bottom. If nothing turns up, they could always drop some bugs in Maven’s tent.”
“That’s brilliant, Sam!” Tina squealed. “BT will gladly let them in, now we just have to hope they can catch Maven red handed.”
Sam relayed his plan to Mike and his superiors. They weren’t as enthusiastic as Tina.
“Look, I know you want to catch this creep but we’re bound by these little things called Constitutional Rights and upholding the law. We can’t pretend to receive a phone call that we haven’t received.”
“I understand completely,” Sam replied, pulling his cell phone from his pocket. “Hello, police? Yes, I just witness a strange man breaking in Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival. He looked like one of the criminals from the wanted posters in the Post Office.”
Both Mike and his supervisor tried not to laugh. They failed. Within minutes they were prepping the men and getting their paperwork in order.
“I gotta hand it you, Sam,” Mike laughed. “Not too many people can manage to get our supervisor to crack a smile, let alone laugh. You’re something else.”
Sam smiled but, in his heart, all he cared about was catching Maven and finding Officer Sands before someone got hurt.
All available patrolmen and detectives sped across town to the site of Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival. Despite Sam’s desire to go along and help, he feared one of Maven’s minions might recognize him so; instead, he took Jenny and her cousins out to eat. Mike had promised to call with any news but that didn’t make it any easier to sit out on the action.Just like Tina said, BT was more than cooperative. Even though they were supposed to open in just a couple of hours, BT had the entire ensemble drop everything and assist the officers. Mike and his team paid special attention to Maven and the lackeys. While everyone involved in Maven’s show was being questioned at the main gate, Officer Bauer had slipped, unnoticed, into Maven’s tent and planted the transmitters. He casually made his way back to the others without drawing any attention to himself. By the time BT asked his employees to give the officers a guided tour, Bauer was back and not even Maven noticed that he’d gone. Controlling the tour of his own tent, Maven had no reason to be suspicious. Tina and her friends hoped it would stay that way. If Maven discovered the bugs, their plan would be ruined but, even worse, if he suspected someone was on to him; he might become desperate.