The Bust

by Mary Ann

Thanks to beta - Melissa

Buck Wilmington, acting as a bodyguard was trying to stay calm. His lips were clamped in a thin line and he fought to keep his hands still against his legs as he watched Elliot Standard, aka Ezra Standish confront the large man in front of them. Ezra's fine Armani suit was flawless, but his left hand was tucked into his pants pocket and Buck could hear the jingle of coins. Buck kept his stare vacant as he watched the two bodyguards beside the man who was glaring down at Ezra. The two men's eyes were closely watching every move he and Ezra made. He could hear the old house creak in the wind that was blowing and hoped the storm held off until this was over. He mentally shook himself and brought his attention back to what Ezra was now saying.

Ezra spoke harshly to the gunrunner, his words ringing out in the crumbling room.

"Mr. Mead, we are here per your command to come out to this godforsaken decrepit building on the outskirts of nowhere. Now you want us to move to another location before we can talk business? That'll never work! This is not the way I do business. I will not continue this any longer. I want the merchandise; I have the money, a considerable amount by the way; let's get our deal done and stop playing games and wasting all of our time."

Jack Mead, resplendent in a brushed dark grey silk suit, looked at the shorter man and curled his lip in arrogance. "Mr. Standard, if you want these arms, you will do as I say. We will meet in three hours. Then I will talk business. If you don't show up, it is no matter to me. I'll just contact the next bidder. I don't need your business nor to put up with your outbursts. You've got three hours." Jack turned, nodded to his bodyguards and they walked across the room then out the front door.

Buck finally exploded; hissing in Ezra's ear as they slowly followed the men. "You've got to be kidding! Mead can't keep yanking our chains and making demands like we are his trained dogs."

The two undercover agents stepped over the missing board in front of the door and onto the porch that wiggled under their weight. For an instant they wondered if the crumbling wood would hold their weight. They watched the black Cadillac disappear down the dusty drive. Buck gave it a one fingered salute.

"Mr. Wilmington, he can do anything he desires, and he cannot see the bird you are sending to him. If we wish to do our duty then we have to be his lap dogs. Let us withdraw from this dead house; it is quite unsettling to me, and I fear it will be falling down around us in this wind. We will inform our esteemed boss and coworkers of the new meeting place."

Buck slid into the driver's seat of the dark Jaguar parked outside the rickety picket fence. Ezra collected his cell phone from where it had been hidden as they'd driven to the dilapidated house. As professionals they kept their cover, knowing that Mead spies could be anywhere.

Ezra knew their boss, Chris Larabee, wouldn't be pleased, since they had to shift the whole operation to another site, for the third time. He only hoped that the new meeting place had plenty of cover for his teammates. He wanted this bust done; it was beginning to be a pain in the ass.

Chris answered his cell phone. He watched the dark green Jag drive away from the house. Chris moved away from the falling down garage where he had been hiding. He was frustrated. Ezra and Buck couldn't wear microphones. Mead had handheld devices for detecting any kind of electronics. He shook his head and motioned to Vin.

Vin surveyed the area from his perch in the maple tree, then spoke in his microphone an all clear signal. The others came forward from their concealed places.

Vin, having been concealed in the tree for several hours before the meet, had alerted the team that none of Mead's men had come in earlier to set up a perimeter around the house. He hadn't been able to let Ezra and Buck know there was no one backing Mead outside. He didn't have a cell phone on him, just the required mike.

Chris snapped, "What happened?" He paced around in the raising wind. They waited for JD to arrive. He had been in the surveillance van that was hidden in the brush and trees near the end of the driveway.

"Sorry Mr. Larabee, Mead has changed the meeting. We have three hours to prepare. He knows it is the last time I will meet with him. We are to reconvene at Stanley Lake Resort, on the north side, by the marina. There are usually at least twelve boats there; you should have plenty of time to set up. Mr. Wilmington and I are stopping for some sustenance before we head to this last encounter."

"There's no way in the world that we are doing this again. We'll be set up. If he wants to change venue again, leave." Chris growled running a hand through his messed blond hair. JD stopped the van beside Chris and the other men converged around them. JD bounced out of the rig and stopped beside Josiah as they watched Chris talking to Ezra. All of them could hear half the conversation and knew Chris was not happy by the furious look on his face.

"I concur Mr. Larabee; he might be setting up to steal the funds. We will no longer play his games," Ezra stated then closed his cell and said to Buck, "Shall we go get lunch?" With a grin, Buck turned the car towards town and an expensive restaurant.

Three and a half hours later, there was a commotion by the marina. A Denver news van arrived just after the arrest and departure of Jack Mead. The reporter and her cameraman quickly set up and began recording the event.

"This is Mari Parker, reporting to you live from Stanley Lake Resort, where an alleged gun running ring was broken up with the arrest of Jack Mead, a well known Denver businessman, and several other men with him. We arrived to see a canopied truck being checked out and then taken away by the Denver PD. As you can see behind me this was a combined effort of the DPD and ATF agents, who are now in clean up stage. A visitor reported seeing the men taken into custody, without any problems, and a large grey haired man with ATF letters across the back of his jacket opening a box that they thought held guns. Another witness commented that there was no gunfire or anything to alarm or alert passers-by of what was happening almost under their noses," Mari paused and glanced behind her to see the police and ATF agent's mill around for a moment before dispersing to their vehicles. She spotted one long haired man and had her cameraman zoom in on him. The man kept his back towards them as he crossed to a dirty looking van and quickly disappeared inside. Her eyes had spotted what he was carrying.

"I see that one of the agents is carrying what looks like a rifle case, I am sure the other agents were similarly armed." Mari's head tipped as if she was listening to someone off screen. A smile crossed her lips and she looked back at the camera. "I have just received word from the chief of police, Chief Dale Harrison, that this event has taken almost five hundred thousand dollars worth of guns off our streets. That is a lot of firearms. It looks like this is over and I for one was happy to see this happen without any danger to the people here enjoying their vacation. I want to thank the coordinated effort of the ATF and DPD for making our city a little safer. This is Mari Parker, with this special report from Stanley Lake Resort for KCNC TV news. I'll send you back to the station now."

Mari looked once more behind her as the camera was shut off. There was no sign of what had taken place at the north edge of Stanley Lake marina's parking lot, even the witnesses had left. She breathed a sigh of relief as the rain that held off began to fall. She hoped that this Mead would be in jail a long time. Walking to the news van she got into the passenger seat and moments later the van left the area.


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