Good Morning Ted and Jody:
According to the sonogram, yesterday, Alexander (Ann Marie’s little boy) is going to have a baby sister. The proud father already knows about the extra expense of having a daughter rather than a second son—fingernail polish alone will require a second mortgage on the apartment they rent (figure that out). Little girls eventually object to hand-me-downs when the hand-me-down is from a big brother (then too at some point they fail to fit into hand-me-downs). And, little girls object loudly. However, push come to shove, little girls are delightful and a major asset to every family. Big brothers need one if for no other reasons than to learn humility, tenderness, and how always to be wrong. I personally would not have missed being the father to a little girl for anything in the world; and, I was a father to two of them.
The parts supplier send the wrong oil filter yesterday morning for the Hyundai, so Fred had more time to talk than usual while he waited for them to bring the right one. His adventures would make a good book. For example, a couple of teen boys got stuck on a logging road in the foothills of the Cascades and manage to call for him to come pull them out. The car needed some attention after before it was fit to drive (the headlight were broken out so it could not be driven at night). So he parked it in his lot until the father could come and get it. The father never showed but called and wanted access to the car to get possessions out. The guy still did not come and called with more abuse. Fred finally looked in the car and found the only thing in it was a pretty little wooden case of drug pipes. The car has been sitting in his lot for several weeks now. That gets expensive as there is a state rate for towed car storage by tow truck operators (otherwise they would accumulate).
Nancy traded in one of her sewing machines over the weekend (the serger event was the catalyst). So most of the morning involved finding all the pieces that go with the machine she was trading in on the new one. I can’t see the point, none of these machines does dishes, windows or takes out the trash. But, all of them seem to sew without her having to sit at the machine all the time, particularly when she is doing embroidery on one.
I trust this finds you happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
Warmest regards, Ed
002 Captain Batan Meets Himself
Fiction in 1336 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Captain Batan was holding an enlarged and sharpened photo of the license plate of the Black SUV that Andy Kellog snapped. “I see what you mean Eddie. This plate shows the color that the DMV will use for the year tab on plates two years from now—Green. The kidnappers got the year right. But the plate has not been issued. How do you suppose they fabricated the plate.” He looked at the photograph with a magnifying glass. “It certainly looks real.” He focused on the small amount of trim showing over the plate where the door release should be. Pointing to it he said, “I do not recognize this trim on any current SUV. Do you have a photo that is not enlarged?”
Detective Eddie Philipson handed the Captain another photo. “There isn’t much more detail in the shot that isn’t cropped and enlarged. Andy really focused in on the plate.”
“Anything from the camera’s in the Credit Union?” asked Captain Batan.
“The cashier says they turn them on from Mrs. Calkins’ office when she gets in” replied Detective Philipson. “No images from them.”
“Have we put out a list of serial numbers yet?” asked the Captain.
“The FBI has that under control and has the lead in the case,” replied Detective Philipson.
“Yes, but we still need to pay attention,” said Captain Batan. “Their responsibility, ours. It makes no difference. When we have someone taken hostage and threatened with death, all of us need to be alert and run it as if we were the only ones who could find her. I know Mrs. Calkins. She is the one who signed me up for my account with the Credit Union when I got my first job out of High School. She is a nice lady and we need to find her quickly. FBI or no FBI.”
Detective Philipson picked up the enlargement of the plate. Using the magnifying glass he held it at various angles and then said, “Hang on, I’ll be right back.”
Twenty minutes later Detective Philipson came in holding his cell phone. Without asking he used a cable to connect the cell phone to the printer next to Captain Batan’s desk and pushed a few buttons. The printer made sounds and spit out three prints. Leaning down, Detective Philipson picked up the prints and put the bottom one on the Captain ‘s desk. “I tried to get the same angle on a plate in the parking lot that Andy Kellog got from the getaway SUV. I then took shots of the plate with more and less of an angle.” Pointing to the middle print, he continued, “As you can see this one shows that the plate has a thickness similar to the shot Andy took.” He paused for a moment, “I would almost bet next month’s overtime pay that the plate is real.”
Captain Batan opened a drawer on his desk and took out what appeared to be a small lead soldier. “If that plate is from two years from now, we need to find out.” He twisted the head on the small figurine. “Maybe they will be able to help us figure that out.
“Captain, Batan,” said a female voice from the door.
The Captain looked up and Detective Philipson turned and saw a tall, striking woman with a credentials folder hanging from her neck. “I am Special Agent Cynthia Simpson.”
Captain Batan looked at the soldier figurine in his hand and said, “My that was fast. ATI is really tuned into these beacons.”
Special Agent Cynthia Simpson frowned and said, “I’m with the Bureau, what is ATI?”
Captain Batan rose, stuck out his hand and said, “Pleasure to meet you Special Agent. My name is Mohammad Batan. I’m probably the captain you are seeking.”
Special Agent Simpson shook his hand and said, “I think we need to coordinate our efforts on this kidnapping and bank robbery. But, first what is ATI?”
“It was a credit union, not a bank,” replied Captain Batan. “ATI is a specialized agency we work with from time to time. It would take more time to explain than we have at the moment. But, I . . . “
Captain Batan was interrupted by Agent White materializing behind his desk. “You rang?” she said.
“Where in the hell did she come from and who is she?” Special Agent Simpson said.
“Agent White is with ATI,” replied Captain Batan. “Special Agent Simpson of the Bureau, meet, Agent White of the ATI.” He turned to Detective Philipson, “Eddie will you please explain ATI to Special Agent Simpson while Agent White and I go check out those vehicle plates.” Then to Special Agent White, “I know you need an explanation, but could you take me forward two years to right outside this, err my office door?”
Agent White nodded and she and Captain Batan vanished.
Detective Philipson turned to Special Agent Simpson whose mouth had dropped open and who was both puzzled and nearly in a state of shock and said, “I know that takes a bit of getting used to. It hit me hard the first few times I saw it. However, once you have done it yourself, it, well, it sort of grows on one.” He looked at her and led her to the Captain’s chair, helped her sit down and said, “Now where to begin. . . “
Agent White and Captain Batan materialized outside of the Captain’s office.
“While I should know I am coming since my coming here today happened in my past and I assume I would remember, it is probably best if you announce us,” said Captain Batan.
Agent White knocked once on the Captain’s door and said, “Captain Batan, Agent White here. Are you sitting down?”
They could hear a chortle from inside the Captain’s office. “Yes, Agent White, bring me in.” The two entered and the seated Captain Batan said, I remember when I came here and I was seated. I must say I look a bit different from this angle, Taller, I guess,” He chortled again. “You know I have thought about this meeting for two years. Not all the time, mind you, but off and on. What strikes me is that if I were to write an autobiography and try to describe this scene of meeting myself I would be hard put to put tags on the dialog as to whom was speaking me or, err, the younger me. ‘Captain Batan says’ simply would not tell the reader who was speaking. I remember the, shall we say, event, very clearly. I, that would be the younger me now, did most of the talking explaining what you needed. Well, here,” pulling a file folder out of the top drawer of his desk and handing it to his younger self “is what we have. The plates still have not been issued. The serial numbers on the year and month tabs show they were issued to a nice elderly woman who owns a 1960 red Mustang. It, by the way, has not been out of her the garage in five years. We found the black SUV. It is clean. No trace of the preps or Ms. Calkins. My best guess is we need to check further along the timeline.”
The younger Captain Batan smiled. “I figured you would remember and have the information we needed when we got here. What do we do now, shake hands?”
The seated Captain Batan said, “We didn’t before. I think it is a bit unnatural, but what to heck.” He stood and stuck out his hand and said, “I wish us luck.”
Agent White smiled and said, I get the drift. When we get back we’ll see if we can map out a strategy for working this out.” She and Captain Batan vanished. The older Captain Batan opened his desk drawer, picked up the figurine and thought “If I am still on the job when this ends, I should probably give this back.”