A Dubious Device

 ADubiousDevice (7)

 

A Dubious Device

Chapter One

“S

tand up!”

Colton Banyon was sitting in an uncomfortable plastic molded chair, reading an outdated magazine, when he heard the order. Are they talking to me? He peeked over the top of the periodical and saw two pairs of expensive running shoes standing in front of him. As he scanned up the legs, he realized that the men were actually policemen in running shoes. Both appeared to be under thirty years old and in fit condition. They didn’t seem to be happy.

“What’s going on here?” Banyon asked politely.

“I said stand up,” one of the officers repeated a little louder. He raised his arms upward. The heads of several people in the lobby suddenly snapped up. No one in the small business front wanted to hear a policeman give harsh orders.

“Why?” Banyon questioned.

“Stand up and turn around, now,” the police officer said. His tone was more threatening this time. Banyon could see that the officers were serious and tense. Both had their hands on their guns.

Banyon casually tossed the magazine onto the table next to his chair and stood up. “What’s this about?” He didn’t want to show any fear. The other people waiting in the lobby area suddenly seemed very nervous and pretended to be invisible.

The second officer grabbed him roughly by the shoulder and spun him around to face the wall. He pulled his arms behind him and suddenly Banyon could feel plastic handcuffs capturing his wrists. Once that was completed, he was once again spun around to face the law enforcement officers.

“You are under arrest, Colton Banyon,” the first officer announced with a predatory smile on his face.

“Under arrest for what?” Banyon chocked out with alarm. He was beginning to feel the first stages of panic now. He had been arrested once before. But he had proven his innocence that time.

“The charge is multiple murders,” the second officer replied without emotion as he frisked Banyon for a weapon.

“Multiple murders?” Banyon was now in the second stage of panic. His blood pressure immediately shot up. “There must be some mistake.”

“He’s clean,” the officer said as soon as he was finished. He took up a menacing pose just to the right of Banyon.

“Read him his Miranda rights,” the first officer ordered.

The second officer began to speak. “You have the right to remain…” But Banyon interrupted him.

“I know my rights. I want to call my lawyer right now,” he quickly said.

“You can do that at the station house later wise guy — you’ll be there for some time. Let’s go,” the first officer said as he grabbed Banyon’s arm an attempted to pull him towards the front door.

“Who have I supposedly killed?” Banyon had in fact killed several people, but they had been bad guys and it had been sanctioned by the President of the United States. Are some of those killings coming back to haunt me,” he wondered with dread.

“They’ll answer that at the station house. Now are you going to go easy or are we going to have to persuade you,” the first officer threatened. His hand went to the wooden night stick that hung from his waist.

“I’m not going anywhere until you prove that you are really the police,” Banyon said as he dug his heels in. The thought occurred to him that this might be a kidnapping. “Show me your badges.”

The first office produced his badge. It said that he was Detective John Marino of the Las Vegas Police Department. “That good enough?” The detective asked.

The woman at the reception desk quickly added, “Oh, they are the police alright buddy. They are often here to pick up deadbeats like you. It’s a sting setup to catch crooks. The criminals come to them.”

“I’m not a deadbeat,” Banyon yelled back at her. “This is all a big mistake.”

“That’s what they all say,” she replied sarcastically.

“Why the running shoes then?” Banyon questioned as he looked down.

“We get a lot of guys who think that they can out run us when we come here,” the second officer remarked. “You saved yourself some pain by not running pal.”

Suddenly, Banyon began to feel that this was not going to be a good day.

Chapter Two

T

he morning started out like it would be a fine, fun, day. Banyon and his live-in girlfriend, companion, and business partner, Loni Chen, had flown to Las Vegas to spend some quality time together at their winter condominium home in Summerlin, Nevada. It was located in a suburb of Las Vegas, high in the mountains, in the western part of the city. It was over one thousand feet above the strip, which was about twenty minutes away. They had only arrived the night before and were anticipating a day of relaxation and golfing at a local club.

They were dressed for the occasion in matching outfits.  They both wore green golf shirts and white shorts. His shorts were long and hers were not.

They had recently solved their last mystery, but the pace had been frantic — they were worn out. They were looking for some R&R. Spending sometime in Las Vegas seemed like a good idea, but then came the phone call.

Banyon had just finished breakfast when his cell phone rang. The woman on the other end of the phone explained she was from the department of the government that handled security clearances. She informed him that there was some sort of issue with Banyon’s fingerprints on file and he needed to be reprinted immediately if not sooner, or he would not be able to work for the government.

Because of Banyon’s work, he was required to have a top security clearance, which included having his fingerprints on file. Banyon told her that he would take care of it that morning.

“Who was that?” Loni asked as she threw the breakfast dishes into the sink. Loni didn’t do dishes, she didn’t clean, nor did she do laundry. She was, however, very curious and Banyon seemed perplexed.

“It appears that there has been some sort of muck up and I have to be fingerprinted again right away,” Banyon replied.

“But you were just fingerprinted a few years ago back in Streamwood, Illinois,” Loni reminded him with a moan and flapped her arms in frustration. She was looking forward to having Banyon all to herself and now that would be delayed.

“Yes, I remember,” he replied. The fingerprinting had been the result of a charge against him for leaving the scene of an accident. In the end, the charge had been overturned as the accident had been proven to be a part of an insurance scam. It was also part of a much bigger mystery. It was the first mystery that Colton Banyon had solved.

Loni looked at him for a second and then asked a question, “And what else happened at that time?” The always demanding Loni asked the question, even though she knew that he remembered. She now had her small hands planted firmly on her hips. She just wanted him to say it.

“It was when I first met you, sweetie,” he offered. He knew that she was always looking to remind him that she was the best thing to ever happen to him. He did agree.

“Well, you won a kiss for remembering,” she announced cheerfully as she pranced over to him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and dragged herself up his body to plant a kiss on his lips. Colton Banyon was six feet tall, with a muscular build, but the diminutive Loni was much shorter.

“I’m going to have to get the fingerprints done this morning before we go golfing,” he told her as he grabbed his cell phone. He began scanning the web for the nearest police station. Loni placed her delicate hand over the screen.

“Stop Colt,” she said. “In Las Vegas, you no longer go to the police station to get fingerprinted,” Loni quickly pointed out.

“What? Where do you go then?”

“It’s really cool now, Colt. You go to a private contractor that works for the police department and various other companies here in town. Don’t forget that the Casinos need to have people fingerprinted too,” she explained.

“That actually makes sense,” Banyon agreed.

“Also, they don’t use ink. They scan your fingers and can spit out your print card in a matter of minutes.” Loni loved to show off her knowledge about police work. She was a former FBI agent.

“That sounds easy enough. Where are they located?”

“The storefront is down on Maryland Parkway, near UNLV.”

“It shouldn’t take too long,” Banyon said. “I’ll run down there and be back in a jiffy, then we’ll go golfing.”

“You have a habit of getting sidetracked,” Loni quickly replied. “I’ll go with you, but I’ll wait in the car.”

Chapter Three

A

s the two policemen dragged Banyon out the door, Loni noticed and bolted from Banyon’s rented Jaguar. She sprinted to his side.

“What’s happening?” She asked the officer named Marino. “Why are you arresting Colton? He belongs with me.”

“Back up and stay out of the way, little lady,” Marino replied with authority. “This man is under arrest. We are taking him to the command center.” The officer immediately put his hand on his gun as he assessed whether she was a threat. He had been attacked before when trying to make an arrest.

“What’s the charge?” She managed to ask the officer.

“He is being charged with murder,” the veteran detective replied. “You need to stand back now.”

Loni Chen was only 5’1” and a hundred pounds soaking wet. She was 100% Chinese, but was born in Hawaii to parents who wanted a boy. They had treated her like a male growing up. As a result, she reached adulthood not knowing that she was a stunning woman. She believed that she was a cute tomboy. But her beauty was ageless. She was actually around fifty years old, about fourteen years younger than Banyon, but could easily pass for twenty-five. She spent countless hours in the gym working out and keeping in perfect shape. She looked like a lovely little Asian girl, but her looks were deceiving.

Loni was actually an expert hand to hand fighter and a skilled martial arts devotee. She was also a top marksman with most guns. It was all learned during her ten years with the FBI. She readied herself for a fight. She knew she could easily subdue both policemen if she wanted to, but she could see Banyon shaking his head no. Instead, she flicked her long black hair. It got the attention of the policemen.

“Where are you taking him?”

“The address is 9850 W. Cheyenne Ave. But it will be some time until you can talk to him,” Marino added as discouragement. “He will be in an interrogation.”

“Can I at least have the keys to the car,” she then begged in a sweet singsong voice. “I have no way to get back home.”

The officer believed that she was no threat once he scanned her diminutive body. While it was not protocol, he did have some sympathy for her. “Where are your car keys?” He addressed Banyon in a malicious tone.

“They are in my front right pocket,” he replied. The officer quickly dug his hand into Banyon’s shorts and tossed the keys to Loni.

“Loni, call Bart — it appears I need a lawyer,” Banyon yelled to her as the officer pushed his head down out of sight into the police cruiser.

“Okay,” she replied anxiously with an edge of foreboding. “Good luck,” was all she could think to say.

As soon as Banyon was secure, the officer slammed the car’s door and jumped into the front seat. The cruiser took off and headed for the station, leaving Loni standing by herself in the parking lot. She felt very alone and very worried. This day is not turning out as we had planned it, she thought.

Before she called Bart, Loni decided to find out anything she could about Banyon’s arrest. She turned and sprinted into the fingerprinting storefront. When she entered through the door, she saw several people sitting in the small lobby area, trying to look invisible. A receptionist stood behind a flimsy counter about halfway to the back of the building. The place was very no frills and rather spartan. She noticed several work stations setup to scan fingerprints. All the employees wore plastic gloves.

Pointing her finger towards the door, she quickly addressed the receptionist. “Can you tell me why that man was just arrested?” She nodded humbly, Asian style, as she spoke to the young woman behind the counter. The receptionist was also Chinese.

“Sorry, we can’t give that information out,” she calmly replied.

Switching immediately to Chinese Mandarin, Loni screamed at the girl. “That is my boyfriend, you idiot. I can’t let anything happen to him. Do you understand?”

The girl did understand. Many Chinese women came to America to find a husband. Once they found a good one, they became very protective. The girl understood Loni’s plight, she would have done the same thing.

“He was arrested for murder,” she replied in Chinese so no one else would understand.

“Murder!” Loni exclaimed also in Chinese. A swell of panic suddenly filled her body. She knew that Banyon had killed several bad guys over the years. She had killed some too and the rest of Banyon’s team had also been involved. It was necessary and unavoidable in their line of work. Will we all be arrested, she wondered.

The girl continued. “The police are here several times a week arresting people. Sometimes, it is kind of a scam. They call the people up and tell them they need new fingerprints. When the people show up they are arrested. Some people are so dumb,” she added.

“Can you tell me anything else?”

“The policemen were a little more nervous than usual. That’s all I can tell you,” the girl replied with a shrug.

“Thank you,” Loni said sincerely and headed out the door to call Bart.

Bart was Bart Longwood. He was the managing partner of Dewey & Beatem, Attorneys at Law, where Banyon was employed. He actually worked for the President of the United States, but so did Dewey & Beatem. They were a real law office, but were also a clandestine organization that handled government projects that could not be public knowledge. Banyon was the Presidents favorite operative and had a very successful track record. Bart and Banyon worked out of the main office located in Chicago.