below him. Here he was at the top of the city.

She squealed and jumped off the fender. Her uniform equipment rattled. 'No lie?'

'No lie,' he said. 'Cleaver got the okay from the Chief today.'

'Hooray!' she said, jumping up and down. 'No more chickenshit parking tickets! No more traffic accident reports! Ultrabitchin'! Dynamite!' She continued to bounce up and down like a cheerleader.

Travis Bailey stared with an amused smile at her reaction. He reminded himself that she was only twenty- two years old. He grabbed her Sam Browne belt and pulled her to him. She was still giggling as their mouths met. As they kissed, he found the zippered fly on her uniform trousers and pulled it down.

'What if somebody comes up here?' she said.

'Then they'll find a policewoman getting fucked doggie style,' he whispered. He unfastened her belt buckle. The belt, with its heavy equipment, dropped to the ground. He tugged on her trousers, then panties.

'You're so gross,' she said, kicking off her trousers.

He spun her ample hips around and pushed her against the police car.

L.A.'s permanent layer of smog was hidden by darkness. Looking through binoculars, Charles Carr stood at the window inside a dark and bare-floored apartment. He knew that the black woman standing inside the bay- windowed apartment across the courtyard couldn't see him. In his line of work, he mused, invisibility was an ideal condition. His feet certainly didn't feel invisible. They were tired to the point of numbness. The stakeout was in its tenth hour.

A fit man, Carr was dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt, off-the-rack trousers and wing-tip shoes; attire that was neither fashionable nor particularly becoming, but served the Treasury Agent's Manual of Operations requirement 'to be dressed in business attire at all times while on duty except when acting in an undercover capacity.' Without the weight of a gold badge, handcuffs, revolver and bullet pouch on his belt to sag his trousers, he looked like most other middle-aged men with graying temples.

In the corner of the room, Carr's partner, Jack Kelly, lay on his back on the hardwood floor. A bear-sized man with enormous ham-hock fists, he had his arms folded across his chest like a cadaver. He was snoring.

Charles Carr adjusted the binoculars to get a better view. The lanky black woman lit a marijuana cigarette and took a puff. She was dressed in a pink velour outfit two sizes too small and had a foot-high brillo-pad hairdo. The woman fiddled with a stereo set. The muffled sound of rock music came from the apartment. For the next few minutes she lollygagged about the room puffing smoke, picking things up and putting them down and adjusting her frizz in a mirror over the sofa. At one point she answered her telephone and, having said a few words, hung up. Back to the mirror. More picking at her frizz.

Because of fatigue, Carr's mind wandered. He remembered being on a similar surveillance over twenty years earlier when he was a young special agent still on civil service probation status. As he'd been taught in Treasury Agent School, he had kept a surveillance log and dutifully noted everything the suspect did and the time. During the trial, he had learned that such logs were nothing more than cannon fodder for defense attorneys. 'Agent Carr, your log shows a notation that the subject read the newspaper at ten fourteen the lawyer had said. 'How do you know that the suspect read it? Couldn't he have been just looking at the pictures in the paper?' From then on, he had prepared only the most concise of reports. This habit, among others, was a source of constant consternation to his superiors, few of whom he respected, either then or now.

Perhaps that was why he was still a GS-12 special agent rather than agent in charge or a squad leader, as most other agents in his peer group now were. His frequent duty transfers, rather than being part of the Treasury Enforcement Career program (the Manual of Operations used the term career path) resulted from his ceaseless disputes with supervisors. The Agents in charge invariably handled threats of civil suits by criminal defendants and other bureaucratic headaches per the Treasury custom, by placing his name at the top of the most-eligible-for-transfer list. What the hell did he care? He was single. He had never looked at eighteen months working the streets of Miami or Detroit as a fate worse than death. The only hard part about leaving L.A. now and then was saying good-bye to his longtime girl friend, Sally Malone.

As a matter of fact, he hadn't been able to get his mind off her all day. After much musing, he had decided that the next time she brought up the subject of marriage he would not automatically shrug it off. He would not make a commitment (her word), he said to himself, but would try to have more of an open mind about it. God knows he was sick of restaurant food and Laundromats.

A black man carrying a briefcase approached the door of the woman's apartment. He knocked. A tall man, he wore white, skin-tight trousers and a purple long-sleeved shirt. The woman sauntered to the door and opened the peephole. She unlocked the door and let him in. Inside, the man and woman talked animatedly in front of the window.

Carr pulled a mug-shot photograph out of his back pocket. He moved to the corner of the room and pulled the penlight flashlight out of Kelly's shirt pocket. In its small beam of light Carr examined the photograph. He returned to the window. Using the binoculars again, he focused on the man's face.

'It's him,' Carr said.

Kelly snored.

Carr tossed the tiny flashlight, landing it on his partner's barrel chest. Kelly scrambled to his feet, rubbed his eyes.

'What happened?' he asked in an urgent tone as he staggered to the window.

Carr adjusted the binoculars again. The black woman opened the refrigerator and removed what looked like a sack. She and the man sat down on the sofa. Because of the angle, Carr could not see what was taking place.

'She's dealing,' Carr said.

Kelly snatched his suit coat off the floor and put it on. 'How do you want to work it?'

'He walked in carrying a briefcase,' Carr said. 'It'll be loaded with fifties when he leaves. Let's grab him first.'

The telephone rang. Carr reached down and picked up the receiver. 'Carr,' he said, keeping his eyes on the window.

'Travis Bailey here, Beverly Hills P.D. Your office gave me this number. Can you talk?'

'For a second,' Carr said. He continued to watch the apartment.

'Do you have a bank president who lives in Beverly Hills that is supposed to be a major witness for you in a counterfeiting case?'

'Yes,' Carr said. 'His name is Hartmann.'

'I have solid word that he's going to be hit. We need to talk.'

'Hartmann is out of town right now,' Carr said.

'I know. He's going to get hit tomorrow when he comes back. My informant is reliable.'

'Can you meet me at Ling's in Chinatown in about three hours?'

'See you there,' Bailey said.

Carr knelt and hung up the phone, again without taking his eyes off the window.

'Who was that?' Kelly asked.

'Bag-of-Wind Bailey from Beverly Hills.'

'Only the biggest bullshitter this side of Burbank…'

As Kelly spoke, the door of the woman's apartment opened and the man walked out, carrying a briefcase.

The T-men exited the vacant apartment and followed the black man down the sidewalk. Hearing their footsteps, he turned to face them.

Carr held out his badge. 'U.S. Treasury agents,' he said. 'We'd like to talk with you for a moment.'

The man tossed the briefcase into the street and ran down the sidewalk. Carr and Kelly chased him at full speed. The man vaulted a low fence into a backyard. In the middle of the yard the man suddenly slammed backward to the ground. The T-men grappled with him until Carr was able to snap on handcuffs.

Kelly laughed and tried to catch his breath at the same time. 'Ya gotta watch out for those clotheslines in the dark, brother.' The prisoner missed the joke.

Carr jogged back to the spot where the man had tossed the briefcase. It had broken open and counterfeit fifties in inch-high stacks were scattered in the street. Carr picked up the broken case and stuffed the money back

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