Jimmy got in the car, so why the fuck you really still here Joe.
Joe was silent for a long time, then took a long drag on his cigarette before flicking it out of the open window.
I don't really know that much about my daughter’s life who her friends are, where she hangs out none of that shit.
I thought you might know more than me, you're her cool uncle Jimmy she actually still likes you, all I ever get her from her these days is foul language; I hate you dad, fuck you dad. Christ, it's like putting up with her being thirteen again.
Look, I'd love to tell you I know where to start looking Joe, but she ain't talking to me much anymore either. Coz one time a couple months back I called her on what a dumb bitch she was being,
Hey, watch your fucking mouth, that's my daughter you're talking about.
Yeah, sure, whatever Joe, all I was saying is she threw away a Harvard education and for what, so she could date every dead beat from Boston to Los Angeles, yeah sure this is the so called city of Angels, but Darian sure has hell hasn't dated any.
Brilliant Ace, you been working on that one long, makes me so glad I waited out here for you, so if you got no fucking idea what next.
Coz I know whatever shit she was into Darian ain't no killer, but if she did pull the trigger she had good reason, my gut tells me she didn't do it at all.
Yeah, you're right Joe, something about the scene Maro laid out to me smells funny.
If we both think something ain't right here what the fuck do we do where do we go now, Joe said, his tone a mixture of sadness and anger.
I got an idea Joe, but you ain't going to like it.
"If the next words outta your mouth are you saying the name Sarah and suggesting we go talk to her, see if she knows where Darian might be I'm gonna have to throw you out this car while we’re still moving."
"Well, you're gonna have to shoot me and toss my carcass out the door, coz your ex-wife, Jimmy said, deliberately avoiding saying her name."
"She's the only other person I can think of might have a clue where she could be."
"Fuck you Jimmy, you just had to make a shitty day even worse."
"Yeah, I'm a regular little ray of sunshine ain't I."
"Again, fuck you Jimmy."
Joe started the car driving northwest onto North Rexford Drive toward North Santa Monica Boulevard, headed for Santa Barbara, where Sarah lived now with her new fiance.
They had made it past Wilshire Blvd and onto the I-405 North via the ramp to Sacramento when Jimmy noticed how often Joe was checking his rear view mirror.
We got company I take it, Jimmy said to him.
Yeah, three cars back, from the make and model and the fact there's a man and a woman in it, in fairly nice suits I'm gonna guess it's an unmarked LAPD detective car with a couple of robbery homicide dicks in.
They were already parked up outside the office when I pulled up this morning.
My guess is they're hoping I'll be dumb enough to lead them straight to wherever Darian is holed up.
Won't they have egg on their faces when they find out, it's a mother fucking waste of time.
Joe and Jimmy kept an eye on the car as they took the south exit onto Ventura and Los Angeles merging onto the US 101 before exiting right onto Garden Street.
The car was still following as he made the left turn onto East De La Guerra Street and a right onto Santa Barbara Street, he decided against going to Sarah, just in case Darian was there.
Although he knew it was unlikely given that Sarah hadn't been able to get through to their daughter either as it happened her relationship with Darian was worse than his.
"Joe, you know they've got to know you're leading them round by the nose, how much longer, you think they're just gonna blindly play follow the leader."
"How long are you just gonna drive before you do something more proactive, more Joe like."
"What fuck does that mean, Flash."
"You know, car chases gun fire, the usual, Joe merry go around,"
"Fuck you Jimbo, I don't always go that route,"
"You got us into a gunfight on a case involving a stolen dog, ain't hard to put you goin' in guns blazin' when you throw Darian into the mix."
"Hey, I don't start the gun fights or car chases, I just finish 'em,"
"Either you been smokin' sumthin' on the downlow or damage is kickin' in from all a the times you got hit in the head,"
"Joe the last ten years; I been in plenty a fist fights, gun fights and car chases you started,"
“Ok, so I fuckin’ started a few, it ain’t who starts it; it's who is still alive to walk away at the end that matters and I walked away from all of 'em. An if I walked away it meant you did too, so I don't know, maybe if you could see if you got any good ideas in the pockets of those expensive leather pants of yours, it would mean me saving your ass all those times might have been worth it."
"Well come on flash ol' buddy I'm all ears."
Joe was stalling as he tried to think of something, or at least remember something he'd done the other dozens of times to slip a tail they'd picked up. The fact he couldn't think of a way to properly smoke them out concerned him, maybe it was due to the unusual of late situation of him being sober this early in the morning. Joe thought.
Honestly, he wasn't even hungover, it was scary to admit that he might be beginning to build up a tolerance to scotch and all the other spirits that he drank to help him get to sleep at night.
"I think better when I've had a few dozen glasses of scotch," Joe said to himself mentally.
"Still, he needn't worry, it's not as if he were drinking at the same level as 10 years ago, after losing his secret service job, but before the first time he discovered Sarah cheated on him."
"Maybe he should thank these cops, driving around like this meant he probably wasn't going to have to see Sarah which meant not getting into another screaming contest."
"All this was distracting him as he began to wonder if the people following really were L.A.P.D."
"Your boy Amaro never mentioned anything about a tail."
“He probably didn't know Joe."
"They more than likely kept him out of the loop on that because they knew that he's our friend."
“Yeah or they let him tip me off, on the warrant in the hope I'd go to wherever she was, I think your boy either played us or is being played himself."
“Either way I almost pity those poor bastards being stuck sitting there for so long all for nothing. Obviously they've got no idea how piss poor my relationship with my daughter is.”
"Look, I think you're wrong about Maro I don't think he'd play us, well not me anyway."
"Great so he's the one getting played because his bosses know he's your friend, that doesn't bode well for his career if he's being fed bullshit to feed it to us."
"Still who gives a shit, it still ain't going to do us much good, knowing whose winning some bullshit L.A.P.D internal politics, we've still got to ditch those dicks,”
"Why we ditching them Joe, that will just make them more convinced you know where she is."
"Exactly genius, while I'm jerking these assclowns around, the more chance Darian has to get away."
"Get away where, where the hell you think she's going to go they won't find her, she's hardly going to flee the country, or is she?"
"No, of course not, still it puts a smile on my face wasting some dumb LAPD schmucks time, and trust me this is a colossal motherfuck of a time waster."
"Petty grievances aside, what the hell are we going to do about the car following us now," Jimmy said.
"First those grievances ain't so petty some L.A.P.D dick’s have had in for me these past ten years, since Detective McKaskey got killed.
"Yeah, I know he was shot with my gun, but it wasn't me who did it and they know it."
"Yet, still how many times has some LA cop tried to jam us both up because they could, because of that."
"Come on man, it's been a while since we had any malarkey with PD."
"Malarkey, huh," Joe asked. Seems like your vocabulary has improved since you met your wife."
"Da fuck you talkin' 'bout Joe," Jimmy asked.
"I don't fucking know, I'm just trying to buy some time to think," Joe spat back.
"Well, right then, you had a few minutes you got anything yet."
"Yeah, I got something and for once I think you're gonna like it, it doesn't involve excessive speed, excessive violence or even bad puns,"
"Excellent, you know how often I almost got killed by bad puns,"
"Great so what's the plan,"
"We slow down," Joe told him.
"That's your plan,"
"That's my plan," Joe replied.
"You really think it's gonna work,"
"Only one way to find out," Joe told him. As he started slowing the car down and waving out the window for the cars behind him to overtake.
When the follow car was the only one behind them, but was still trying to keep its distance. That's when Joe slammed on the breaks.
As usual when he was going to do that he didn't give Jimmy any warning, as it always made him laugh seeing his friend panic slightly when he thought he was about to get sent flying forward before he would realize the seat belt would protect him.
Joe smiled as he watched Jimmy curse as usual while he stretched his arms out to brace himself against the dashboard.
That's when they both heard it and looked at each other and knew they had both heard it clear as anything a woman's voice coming from the trunk of the car.
From the language they heard her using they knew there was only one person it could possibly be.
"Darian," the two of them said simultaneously.
They were right, it was Darian she'd been hiding in the trunk since before Joe even got in the car that morning.