Hugh Don’t Know Jack! Chapter 1 The First Meeting –
Detective Hugh Horner sat in front a very angry precinct captain. “You can’t do three things to a policeman. One, kill him and get away with it. Two, hurt his family and get away it. And lastly, steal his money and get away with it.” fumed Capt. Connolly. “This … man is going to be caught. Do you hear me! He has stolen $15 million from our boys in blue and he needs to pay it back and then some.”
“Yes, Sir!” agreed Hugh. “But, the Feds haven’t found him, we have no clues, and no leads.”
“Not true! We have one. One of the bills we happened to have left over was found to have been minted at the Fort Worth Mint and was registered by a Where’s George website user by the name of TxGypsyLover. It had shown up in two locations. One was at a bar here where we know the officer went after work. Two, in a bookstore in Fort Worth. The time difference between the two events was a mere two months.”
“So, what does that tell you, Sir?”
“Have you heard of the town of White Settlement, TX?”
“No, sound’s like a racist name for a town if you ask me.”
“Actually, it isn’t. It was named after a man named White. It is attached to Fort Worth, much like Brooklyn and Queens are. I saw a news report on it years ago. It is a community noted for a small group of gypsies that are scam artists and con artists. They are called Travellers or Irish Travellers. It is a secretive community. Once I heard about where the twenty came from, it hit me that the people there would be just the kind of scam artists to have pulled this off.”
“Sounds like what was done to us, Sir! But, do you know it was them? And, since that is a secretive community and they would remain silent I would think, how can I find out any thing? Any more information about who it might be that hit us?”
“Well, we have the description of the woman who hired the men to install the ATM in the first place. Her name, she said, was Catherine Cooke. She paid them in cash. She was about five-foot-eight, maybe nine, brunette, in her late twenties. She apparently spoke with a mild southern accent.”
“That is not a whole lot to go on. Do you have anything else about her?”
“She mentioned that she was using a good accountant who was a genius with numbers in a phone conversation they overheard.”
“How does that help us?”
“Rumor has it in the White Settlement community that Macolm Hallard is the go to man for laundering money. Nobody has every been able to get close to him to find out if that is true. He has a weakness. She is Jackie Hallard who used to be Jack Hallard. He loves and protects his transgendered cousin. He won’t spend any money on himself, but will buy her clothes, jewelry, and, rumor has it, her operation.”
Capt. Connolly handed Hugh a photo of Jackie Hallard. “Wow, this was a man? You have got to be kidding me! Is she a suspect?”
“No, she was getting the surgery during the time of the scam. We think it was in Thailand because we can find no record of it being done. We aren’t sure. But, when Malcolm was investigated as the possible bag man for this scam, nothing showed up. He was no where to be found. Months later, he shows up and he is helping his cousin adjust to her new status. Here is a before photo of Jack.”
Hugh studied the photo for a moment and then compared the two. “What a huge difference! They are hardly the same person. So, the game plan is for me to get close to her. How is that possible?”
“She has a weakness or two. She loves to study the civil war. She has become a docent for a civil war museum just north of White Settlement. I have looked at their website. Actually, it looks to be a very nice museum. And, she has another weakness, which is where you come in. Jackie loves blown glass. She apparently picked it up when one of her uncles took her to a carny and she saw it for the first time.”
“I like to blow glass as a hobby. I am not very good at it, but I like it.”
“We know. We have teased you about it. But, it turns out that in Grapevine, she has signed up for a class in glass blowing. We have a spot for you. We are going to send you in under cover. You are have a few oil wells you inherited and you have moved from the east coast to the area to escape the harsh winters. You want to be a cowboy too.”
"Anyway, here is your ticket, your cover, etc. Go find out what you can. We want our money back and the people who did it in prison."
Hugh settled into his seat going on a redeye to Dallas-Fort Worth. Capt. Connolly knew he picked wisely. Hugh, who coincidentally was named after his mother’s favorite actor, Hugh O’Brian, looked like Hugh O’Brian. He stood six-foot-two, had amazing deep brown puppy dog eyes, a cleft chin, and a chiseled face like an Adonis. If that weren’t enough, his body was like that of Atlas. He had a ripping six pack and a strong physique. In a neighborhood of immigrants from Mexico, the senoritas started calling him Senior Dos Equis because of walking through the spray one day of a fire hydrant, his shirt clung tightly to him so they could see his six pack.
His work in the Hispanic areas gave him the ability to speak a little Spanish too when he had too. Hugh had been on the force for eight years and rose quickly in the ranks to Detective and plain clothes man. He hadn’t married yet. Although, having just turned thirty, he was beginning to think about it. He had a driver’s license, but no car. He lived with his brother’s family in Hicksville saving money for his home. He understood family.
“Sir, Sir, wake up please!” the attendant shook him by the shoulder to let him know that they were landing at DFW airport. He got out of Terminal A and took a cab to his hotel and checked in. After getting into a hotel room, he made a call to CarMax and arranged to buy a car using the phony ID and credentials that the Captain gave him. He purchased a nice used Mercedes E they happened to have on the lot and drove it back to the hotel. He perused the choices he had for a furnished corporate home that the Captain had found for him. He called the owner and made arrangements to see it the next day.
“Hello, Mr. Tolson?” The two men shook hands. “Can I see the home now, please?”
They looked through the home in the Texas Christian University section of Fort Worth and it met with Hugh’s liking. “I can have a check for you for the whole year provided you give me a deal on it.” Mr. Tolson gratefully agreed and now he had a place to stay. He checked out of the hotel and moved everything in right away. Then, he headed over to the DMV and got tags for his car. That was important since he would have to make sure he didn’t have temporary plates on the car when he met Jackie. Last thing he did was to get a toll tag for driving around what they called the Metroplex. He was surprised to find that Texas had tolls.
On Monday, he went to his first glass blowing class in old Grapevine. It was a nice little historic area that had the feel of the old west. He sat down to listen to the instructor when he saw her walk in. She was dressed for doing glass blowing. Jackie had cowgirl boots on, jeans, a nice belt, and a good honky tonk button down shirt that she filled out nicely. Oh, and her smile. When she saw him, he could tell the attraction they felt for each other. He was surprised that he felt this way. There was no way she could have been a she. Not looking like that, he thought.
To his delight, Jackie sat next to him. “I am surprised a nice looking gentlemen like you is here taking a glass blowing class. You look like you should be playing football or wrestling a bear.” she cooed.
“Thank you. This is a hobby of mine, really. I did some reenacting in college at Williamsburg in Virgina while I went to college there at Williams and Mary. I don’t know why, it just fascinates me to see something so beautiful come from sand. How about you?”
“I like to see the transformation process too. I don’t want to do glass blowing, but I like to see things remade and recycled to become something they were meant to be all along, but weren’t.” Jackie looked away longingly as if she was thinking about something. Then she caught herself, “Where are you from, I think I hear a little New York accent.” She smiled at him inviting him to reveal more about himself.
“Good ear. I live here now, but grew up in the Bronx. My uncle had a bunch of oil leases he left me when he died and I moved here recently to learn about them and decide what to do with them. I have a lot of number crunching I need to do in order to understand them. Classic rich uncle story.” Hugh tried not to sound too business like, but he knew he needed to have cover. She seemed disinterested in that which was unusual.
“Oh, oil is a messy business. I prefer house flipping, which is what I do.” Then with a wry smile she said, “When I am not blowing it.” She looked him in the eyes and the attraction returned to Hugh. He was being enticed into her web.
Hugh laughed, “Oh, I don’t think you could blow anything.”
“Oh, you would be surprised.” she suggestively flirted back and slowly licked her lips.
At the end of the class, Hugh escorted her out of the building. “All this just so you can restore door knobs. Amazing.” He laughed.
“Yeah, well, I like to restore old Victorians to their original condition.” She lingered in the parking lot. Hugh spied a dining establishment across the street.
“Mind if I buy you dinner, Jackie, so I can learn more? That seems like a nice restaurant there.”
“Sure, I would love to take advantage of a handsome man’s chivalry.” Jackie put out her arm for him to take and he did. Hugh wasn’t sure what to make of the whole thing. He was falling for this Pygmalion creature and her charms. After they crossed the street, they were seated at a nice table.
“Do we have a limit? I don’t like taking advantage of a gentleman too much.” she asked politely.
“Yeah, how very long I hope we both shall live.” he retorted. But, he was also pleased with her innate frugality.
“Oh, that sounds nice. Break out the expensive champagne.”
“Not yet, lets leave that for the second date.”
“How do you know there is going to be a second date, then?”
Hugh confidently said, “Because that is when I will feel like celebrating the best dinner of my life.”
“I wonder what our third date will bring?” Jackie buried her face in the menu because she was blushing so much.
“Certainly not disappointment on my part.” Hugh responded.
At the end of the dinner, Hugh escorted her back to her car. “You know Jackie, what do you get when you take away the last letter in my first name?”
Jackie blushed and looked down. She began to smile. “That’s easy, a hug.”
Hugh gave her a hug and said, “I knew you were a smart girl!”
She acted a little haughty and nice. “All because I can spell?”
“And you know how to cast spells too.” Hugh winked.
“Okay, you got your second date.” Jackie reached into her purse and wrote down her cell number and her address. “Speaking of spelling, you do know how to read, don’t you?” she playfully teased.
“If I don’t, I will if it means another date with you.” Hugh was falling for her. He could tell. She was delightful. How could she have been a man?! He opened her car door and she got in behind the wheel.
“Thank you, I had a wonderful evening I didn’t expect.” Jackie finished with her southern charm.
“You are welcome. Maybe Texas manners will rub off on me and I will forget my New York ways.” Hugh put one hand behind him and another on his stomach and politely bowed.
As she turned on her car, she looked into her mirror as she prepared to back up and then she turned to him and said, “I think you have made an excellent start. I think I am going to enjoy driving that New Yorker out of you.” And then she drove off. Hugh stood there weak at the knee. No woman had ever made him feel like this. This was unreal.
Hugh watched her tail lights turn on to the main street.
He raised his arm to his nose and drank in the lingering traces of her intoxicating perfume.
Hugh knew he was lost. He didn't care about being a cop because his being a man was inflamed with passion.
He did the only thing he could do at that point. He went home and took a long, shivering, cold shower.
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
[Author's Note: In this series, all the chapters are going to be short. Enjoy! -- AuP]
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