two-bit hooker got herself dead. Somewhere along the line, LaGrange got the idea that some of us might have been involved, so we decided to distract him a little. That about the size of it, Henry?'

Henry Lightstone said nothing.

'And this Bobby LaGrange, I take it, worked with this fellow here?' Paul asked, looking over at Lightstone.

Kleinfelter nodded.

'I see,' Paul said calmly. 'And tell me, uh, Henry,' the man went on, seemingly unfazed by this latest bit of information, 'how much time does Brendon face if he's charged for your friend's unfortunate, uh, accident?'

Henry Lightstone decided he had nothing to lose by going along with this man's game. If nothing else, it might buy him more time.

'If Bobby recovers, three to ten,' Lightstone said.

'And if he doesn't?'

'He'll fry.'

'Only three to ten years for nearly beating a police officer to death? That's incredible. Don't you think so, Carl?'

'Hell of a deal,' Carl nodded in agreement as he continued to rummage through the ivory statues.

'Especially when a person could get ten years and a ten- thousand-dollar fine just for selling one little carving,' Paul went on, holding up the statue of a walrus. 'African elephant ivory. Loxodonta africana. Absolutely prohibited. And, of course, Lord knows what he might get if there are any more like this.' He gestured toward the pile of ammo crates.

'Ten years for that?' Henry Lightstone said, astonished.

'At least one more,' Carl called out as he held up a carved seal.

'Oh, good,' Paul said. 'That makes it twenty and twenty. Oh, and did I happen to mention,' he said, turning to Brendon Kleinfelter, who had a thoroughly perplexed expression on his bearded face, 'that Carl and I are federal agents and that you and your associates are all under arrest?'

'What?' Kleinfelter blinked in disbelief.

'Arrest,' Paul repeated. 'You know, hands above your head, you have the right, and so on and so forth.'

'You are out of your fucking mind,' Brendon Kleinfelter said softly.

'Like I told you, I'm with the federal government,' Paul said agreeably. 'Now, if you'll all just put your hands above your heads..'

Henry Lightstone was still looking back and forth between Paul, Brendon Kleinfelter, and the ex-Raider bouncer with the bat when the outlaw leader suddenly came alive and reached for the shoulder-holstered 9mm Smith amp; Wesson under his black leather jacket.

Henry Lightstone was already lunging at Kleinfelter, and he barely saw the bat in time to duck. The hulking bouncer caught Kleinfelter square in the middle of his bearded face, knocking him head over heels in a spray of blood and broken teeth.

The biker closest to Lightstone was still fumbling for his own automatic, but now Lightstone was back on his feet, kicking him hard-first in the knee and then in the neck- seizing his gun, then spinning around with the 9mm Ruger semiautomatic pistol in both outstretched hands.

He was too late. A noise like a dozen coconuts cracking together ripped through the warehouse and signaled the end of the fight.

Before Lightstone's astonished eyes, six of the bikers lay sprawled out on the concrete floor, while two of the bouncers, down on their knees, were checking pulses and applying handcuffs. Two other bikers were dangling from the huge hands of the ex-Raider-turned-bouncer, who dropped each to the concrete with a loud, hollow thunk.

Henry Lightstone looked up at the hulking giant in disbelief.

Paul nodded to Lightstone. 'Dwight Stoner. Ex-offensive tackle for the Raiders.' He glanced at the sprawled figure of Brendon Kleinfelter. 'Also, fortunately for us, a special agent of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.'

Chapter Two

Sunday, September 26th

At eleven o'clock on the same morning, seven hours after the Alaska White suspects had been booked into the Anchorage Police Department jail, Mike Takahara opened the door of the penthouse suite in the downtown Anchorage Hilton.

'We were about ready to give up on you two,' the muscular agent said cheerfully as he motioned the two men inside, then firmly pushed the door shut. 'Hey, guys, we've got company.'

The three men seated at the dining-room table looked up as U.S. Attorney Jameson Wheeler and Henry Lightstone entered the room.

'Hey, Jameson!? Que pasa, hombre? And Lightstone, mah man.' Larry Paxton grinned widely.

'Yep, it's that crazy fellow all right.' Dwight Stoner, the huge bouncer-agent nodded, then went back to work on his dinner-plate-sized omelet.

'Ah, don't know, man, maybe he ain't so crazy after all,' Paxton observed. 'Dude brought a gawdamned lawyer with him this time.'

'Yeah, but he didn't bring a very good one,' Carl Scoby said, giving Wheeler a broad wink.

'I keep telling them that I'm either going to start being more selective about my clients or up my already outrageous fees, but they just won't listen,' U.S. Attorney Jameson Wheeler said to Lightstone as he shook his head sadly. Then he yelled out toward the kitchen, 'Hey, McNulty, how's a guy supposed to get anything to eat around here?'

'About time you guys showed up,' Paul McNulty said as he poked his head through the kitchen door. He came out wiping his hands on his grease-stained apron. 'Thought you might have decided to have brunch down at the jail instead. What'll it be? The McNulty Special?'

'I'll have whatever Stoner's having, only make it normal human size,' Wheeler answered.

'You got it,' McNulty said agreeably. Then he turned toward Henry Lightstone, who was still standing in the entryway of the spacious four-room suite.

'So, what do you think, Henry?' MeNulty asked, a thoughtful expression on his relaxed face.

'I'd say this place looks more like a drug dealer's hideaway than the command headquarters for a federal undercover operation. It's also a lot nicer than where I spent the evening,' he finally said.

'Yeah, I understand the PD's a little stingy on its accommodations,' MeNulty smiled.

'Did it ever occur to you guys,' Lightstone went on, 'that you could have told them I was a cop before you had me booked?'

'Shit. Knew there was something we forgot to do,' Larry Paxton said to Dwight Stoner.

'Told me you were gonna do that,' Stoner said, mumbling the words through a large mouthful of omelet.

'Me? Ah thought you-'

Lightstone turned to Wheeler. 'Of course they did remember to tell the cops that I'd been pinched for buying illegal walrus ivory, so they'd be sure to announce it to the world when they put me in the tank with about a half- dozen shit-face-drunk Eskimos.'

'Oh, yeah, we definitely remembered to do that,' Stoner nodded with a cheerful smile.

'So how'd the brothers react when they saw you get bailed out a few hours later by some sleazy lawyer?' Larry Paxton asked as he winked at Jameson Wheeler.

'I'd say it probably confused the hell out of them,' Lightstone said. 'It confused the hell out of me, too. The way I understood it, I was supposed to dig at them a little deeper while Kleinfelter and Popper were still in the hospital.'

Paul MeNulty came up alongside the tall police officer, patted him on the shoulder and motioned him over to a chair next to Wheeler at the head of the large kitchen table. 'Believe it or not, Henry, there really was a purpose to all of this. Why don't you sit down, have a cup of Martha's coffee, and let Scoby here fill you in? I'll whip up a couple more omelets for you and Jameson.'

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