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8

Mack Bolan, alias John Phoenix and lately Frank La Mancha of Washington, came away from his meeting with Jack Fawcett convinced that the homicide lieutenant was hiding a great deal.

But what?

Bolan had clearly touched a raw nerve with his "headcase" remarks. And while it was a long way from proving the veteran cop's involvement in a murder cover-up, Fawcett's reaction to that probe definitely warranted a deeper look.

The big guy touched base with Pol Blancanales via the compact radio transceiver. He raised his old friend on the second try.

"Able One," Pol's tinny voice responded. "I read you, Stony Man, over."

"What's the condition of our patient?" Bolan asked.

"Anything but," came the answer. "She's climbing the walls here."

"Keep the lid on, Able. I'm rattling cages right now."

"Uh, you may be hitting paydirt, Stony Man," his old friend said. "We just heard from the lady law, and she wants a parley with La Mancha, soonest.''

"Name the place," Bolan said.

Blancanales gave him the address of a twenty-four-hour restaurant just off Kellogg Boulevard. He said Fran Traynor had left a number and was waiting to roll when she received Bolan's callback.

The Executioner checked his wristwatch.

"Have her there in fifteen, Able."

"Roger that," Pol acknowledged. "Fifteen it is."

"Any feelings on the lady?"

After a pause, the metallic voice came back.

"Nothing firm. She sounded shaky, though. Right down to the ground."

"Okay. How do you stand with the people at Motor Vehicles?"

"I've got an in," Blancanales said. "Got some numbers for me?"

"Affirmative."

Bolan rattled off the license numbers of the chase car they had wrecked earlier that morning, and the Cadillac crew wagon he had found at Fran's residence.

"I need that soonest," he added.

"I'm on it now. Able out."

Bolan laid the little radio aside and put his rented car into a tight U-turn at the next intersection.

He wondered what had happened since their brief encounter, to shake up Fran Traynor any more than the appearance of three gunmen bent on murder in the small hours of the morning. Finally, unable to divine the answer, he quit trying.

If the lady came through with the information he needed, it might just be Bolan's turn to do some shaking in the Twin Cities. And he was ready to shake somebody at that moment, shake them hard.

Right down to the ground.


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