Bob Brantly spent most of the morning cleaning up the mess resulting from a violent row he and his wife, Jill, had over what was supposed to be a pleasant breakfast. It was the usual fight over money that left the kitchen of their small apartment strewn with scrambled eggs and shards of broken dishes. The last Bob saw of his wife was her back as she stormed out the door saying that if things didn’t improve she was filing for divorce, as if their cash flow problems were all his fault.
Yes, money was tight. Bob’s work, if you want to call it that, as a freelance writer with a bad case of writer’s block was not going well and Jill was not generating much in the way of billable hours as a freshly minted lawyer working for a small law firm.
“Hi Sarah,” Bob said as he approached the desk of the receptionist at the law offices of Singer and Singer with a bag of take-out lunch sandwiches and some flowers he had picked up from a street vendor all in the hopes of smoothing things over with Jill.
“Good afternoon Bob,” Sarah acknowledged.
Bob and Sarah knew each other from the several office parties he had attended with his wife.
“Is Jill in?” Bob asked.
“You don’t know?”
“Your wife hasn’t worked here in several weeks.”
In an instant Bob went from feelings of hope to confusion and despair.
“Can you tell me where she is?”
“Sorry Bob, Jill just up and left in a hurry one day. No two weeks’ notice, no nothing. Just walked out. It was all rather strange and not typical of Jill.”
“Here’s a new case for you. This one should be easy,” Jesse said as he handed Jill a folder with the paperwork for another skip.
Jill had met Jesse, owner of Jesse’s Bail Bonds, at the courthouse and he convinced her to hire on with him as a skip tracer. The pay could be good if you brought the skip in and it sure beat office work. Her only problem was keeping her beater of a Toyota on the road long enough to track the skips. Oh, and then there was Bob who she was sure would not approve but how long could she keep this new job a secret from him?
Jill knew that she acted in a hasty rage leaving the law firm, burning her bridges as it were, but maybe she could use this job to round up some clients and open her own practice.
Breakfast at the apartment had been a disaster and she was still shaking. Reviewing the case file on Elmore “T. Blue” Owens as she relaxed with her latte at a local cafe she had to agree with Jesse that this would be an easy one grand bounty and today she needed easy.
T was a small time gang banger and drug hustler with a long rap sheet who lived with his mother in a rundown broken windows kind of neighborhood. Jill had to pick him up for failure to appear in court.
Driving up to T’s house Jill parked her beater on the street, walked up to the house pretending to deliver a package and knocked on the door.
T opened the door wearing a dirty white tank top shirt and baggy pants hanging so low that they would have fallen off if not for being held up by his gentiles.
T was about to turn and run, not from Jill, but from the fast moving car coming down the street its occupants spraying his house with automatic rifle fire.
Bob answered his phone hoping that it would be his agent with a writing contract offer instead of the usual annoying bill collector or telemarketer.
The voice at the other end of the line identified himself as Detective Sam Pederson from the police department.
“Mr. Brantly I have some bad news. Your wife has been shot in a drive by shooting and I need you to come to the morgue to make a positive ID. Sorry for your loss.”