From last time ...
"I guess once I open those envelopes, there's no turnin' back, huh? Ten more people are gonna die. Ten more. I don't know, Ma."
Ma slid the envelopes over to Sarah's side of the table.
"They killed Jake. Shot him down like a dog. Kill 'em all, Sarah. Kill every last one of those fuckers."
And now ...
Sarah ate her eggs and toast, but her eyes kept returning to the stack of envelopes at her elbow. When the waitress took her plate away, Sarah slid the envelopes over, so they sat on the table, directly in front of her. Her fingers played up and down the stack of envelopes, lightly touching each one, as if she could sense, somehow, the contents.
She tore open the top envelope and slid the contents out onto the table. At first she was puzzled by what she saw, but then, as she looked closely, she began to understand what all these sheets of graph paper were: schedules. Collection schedules.
"These guys work in teams of two. One guy is the 'Collector' and the other guy is 'Muscle'. They had 5 teams - Chico ran the Collectors and Sully was Vito's Number Two, but Chico had his own collections to make and this guy Herrera was his Muscle. Apparently, Herrera stepped up when Sully and Chico disappeared and became Vito's de facto Number Two and also took over Chico's job of running collections. So that leaves them with four teams doing collections. How the hell did Jake get this stuff? What's in the next envelope?"
Sarah took the next envelope, opened it, and slid its contents out. It was full of newspaper clippings about the State Police investigation into the Las Vegas police department, instigated by a series of anonymous letters to the State Police detailing some of the graft and corruption surrounding Vito Giamatti's operations in the protection rackets. There was also a strong suspicion, unproven at this point, that Giamatti's organization was responsible for the daring holdup of one the casinos and the subsequent murders of the four suspects who allegedly perpetrated the crime. There was a page from one of the Sunday papers, with a series of mug shots of every one of Giamatti's people, all of them having been arrested, at one time or another, on some charge or other.
"Damn, Ma. What was he doing? Following these people? Writing letters to the State Police? What else is in these things?"
"I don't know, baby, but I gotta get going'. I wanna get ready. I'll see you when I get back."
Sarah stood up and gave Ma a hug. A big hug.
"Listen, see if you can get Two Feathers to bring you back. I want to look at the stuff in the attic - and I want to figure out just how much help he's gonna be - if any."
"Okay, Sarah. I will. And Sarah?"
"Don't thank me yet, Ma. We haven't even started."
"Yeah. But we're gonna. And right now? That's all that counts."
Ma walked out of the diner and Sarah sat back down to work her way through the rest of the envelopes, which were full of personal information on each member of Giamatti's organization. Sarah worked her way through all the envelopes and several cups of coffee. She went to go to the bathroom when she became aware of the man standing next to the booth.
"Excuse me, please, I need to get up."
Sarah looked up into the clear blue eyes of Sgt. Mackey.
"Mackey, if you don't get out of my way I'm gonna pee my pants. What are you doing here, anyway?"
Mackey stepped back and let Sarah out, and she hurried to the back of the diner, and the restrooms.
"Never could hold your water", he said, to Sarah's retreating back.