"What's Ed doing in here?" John asked Frank. "He's going to blow this for us."

"I don't know. He's supposed to be outside waiting for my signal."

The officer turned and walked back outside. Tammy kept the conversation going but it never quite got back to where it was when they first started talking. John assured her they would keep recording, anyway.

"Well, this was a dead end," Frank stated. "Didn't get what we wanted. At least not yet."

"You kidding. He said there's a cop helping him out. And he said it pretty darn easy. We got a lot here to work with."

The lieutenant shook his head and finished off his drink. "I just don't see it. The man's obviously is trying to impress your lady with big talk."

"Or it's the truth and he feels like he can trust her."

***

The drive back to John's office where he had met Tammy and Frank earlier was uncomfortable. John felt that he saw something that Frank didn't with the conversation between Tammy and her manager. He did not want to step on the lieutenant's toes, but there was something here worth researching. It there was a dirty cop on the payroll action had to be taken. John put together a simple plan while driving in silence. He would keep investigating on his own. Unfortunately, it was clear that Frank had already made up his mind.

When they parked, Frank got out and walked around to his car. John stepped out and smelled the aroma of the Atlantic Ocean - his old friend. It filled his lungs.

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"Don't buy into it, John," Frank yelled over from his car.

"What?"

"What that guy said. Don't believe it. No cop would get into something like that. I'd drop it if I was you."

John was stunned.

"Just drop it. We'll think of another way." The sports car pulled away in a flash of red.

He could not figure out why Frank was so quick to give up on the whole thing and start in a fresh direction. Unless, he thought, the lieutenant had something to do with it. But that was too crazy to even think about. He was, after all, the investigator on the Michael Gallager case and had been helping John all along. There was no way he was involved.

A mast on some anchored sailboat clanked and John stood for a while and listened to the calming sound. He let the steady sea breeze wash against his face. It felt good and cool after a long hot day.