The story so far...Mark is watching a baseball game in a bar outside Toronto. He has several choice loads lined up on a run to the West Coast and back again. Best of all, when he returns to Toronto, h...
Mark is watching a baseball game in a bar outside Toronto. He has several choice loads lined up on a run to the West Coast and back again. Best of all, when he returns to Toronto, he has a ticket to a Blue Jays’ game against the New York Yankees. In the bar, Mark is met by Randy Reynolds who knows Mark. Mark, however, doesn’t remember Randy very well. They talk for a while and it’s obvious to Mark that Randy is a lazy bum. Mark does his best to ignore the man and eventually he goes away. Later, Mark gets a call from Bud, who asks him why he’s driving so erratically on the 401. Mark thinks Bud’s mistaken, but it turns out that Mark’s truck, ‘Mother Load,’ has been stolen.
Mark reports the theft to the OPP. He’s put on hold, then told to contact Peel police because the truck was stolen in their jurisdiction.
Eventually the OPP does send a cruiser out after his truck, but by then its gone from the highway. The thief has gotten away with ‘Mother Load’. Mark files a report with the Peel Police and afterward wonders what Randy Reynolds might do with his truck.
He figures he’ll try to steal his first load, which is a truckful of consumer electronics. Mark comes up with a plan.
Mark is in a rented car outside the warehouse where his first pick-up was to have taken place.
He waits til well after 10 that morning, then finally goes in to ask about the load. It turns out that Randy Reynolds was by earlier in the morning and picked up the load. Mark figures Randy will sell off the load, then pick up his second load, which is just as valuable as the first. Mark goes to the location of the second pick-up and waits.
Hours later he’s called by Bud and told the police have found ‘Mother Load.’ Mark finds the truck to be in good shape on the outside, but the inside is a mess with garbage everywhere. Randy has also stolen everything of value from inside the truck, including Mark’s Blue Jay ticket…which gives Mark an idea.
It took a bit of convincing to get the Toronto Police to accompany Mark to the Blue Jay game. When he’d first called them and explained the situation, he hadn’t known his ticket number, so looking for Randy Reynolds in the crowd of people in the area near first base would have been a big waste of time and resources.
Luckily, the trucker he’d bought the ticket from was a season ticket holder – or at least the company he worked for had season tickets – and he’d been able to get the ticket’s exact section, aisle and seat number – Section 116, Row 4, Seat 5. Prior to the game the police discussed how they might approach whoever sat in that seat and decided not to apprehend anyone in the stands during the course of the game. Instead, the police would have the person in the seat come to the police.
And so in the fourth inning Stadium announcer Murray Eldon called for the person sitting in Seat 5, Row 4, Section 116, to come to the 100 level behind home plate to pick up a special Blue Jays Prize Pack.
Mark had staked himself out at the Jays’ merchandise booth on the 100 level and pretended to be sizing baseball caps when a large, but attractive woman appeared with ticket in hand looking for anyone affiliated with the Blue Jays to help her claim her prize.
“What did I win?” she asked.
“We need you to come to the business office to collect it,” said one of the officers decked out in Blue Jays staff shirt and pants.
“That good, huh?”
The officer nodded. “That good.”
The officer, along with a stadium security guard and someone from the Blue Jays front office, escorted the woman away.
When Mark reached the office, he was led into a room where he could listen to the woman being interrogated by police through an opening in a sliding window that adjoined the two rooms.
“I assume,” said the police officer with Mark, “that her name isn’t Randy Reynolds.”
Mark nodded. “That’s right.”
“Any idea who she is?”
“Maybe it’s his girlfriend. I don’t know.”
The officer nodded and the two of them listened in on the interrogation underway in the other room.
“What’s your name?”
So, she is his girlfriend, thought Mark.
“Enjoying the game?” asked one of the officers.
“Jays’ pitching sucks,” she answered.
“We’re curious where that ticket of yours came from.”
“It was issued by the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club,” she said.
One of the officers laughed under his breath.
“I mean, how did it come to be in your hands?”
“A friend at work gave it to me.”
“Where do you work? Can we have this person’s name?”
A pause. “Oh, no, that was last game. This game I bought it from a scalper out in front the stadium.”
“Someone gave it to you, or you bought it from a scalper. Which is it?”
“You remember what he looked like?”
Silence. Mark figured she was shaking her head.
“You remember how much you paid?”
“Too much, I’ll tell you that.”
“You know anyone by the name Randy Reynolds?”
Silence for a moment again. “Am I getting a prize pack or what?”
“Randy Reynolds,” the officer repeated. “Name ring any bells?”
“Isn’t he a third baseman?”
“No, he’s a trucker who might have stolen that ticket you have in your hand.”
“Wow, you mean he stole it, then sold it to a scalper, and then that scalper sold it to me?”
The police didn’t have an answer for that.
But they did start asking questions all over again.
“Where’d you get the ticket…”
Mark wondered what the score in the game was.
They held her in the office until the bottom of the eighth inning. It was obvious to everyone she was lying, but she was doing it well enough that the police couldn’t arrest her, or even detain her any longer. When they did let her go, the Blue Jays staff gave her a prize pack – which included tickets to another game – as a gesture of goodwill.
‘And who says crime doesn’t pay?’ Mark thought.
But as much as he hated to see the woman walk, Mark knew that the police were powerless against her…for now. They’d keep their eye on her, perhaps put out a warrant for Randy Reynolds, and in time the law would catch up with both of them.
It was inevitable.
But that didn’t do anything to soothe Mark’s need for justice now. Justice today!
And so he decided to administer a little of his own brand of justice, which in the end would be sweeter than anything that could be dished out by the courts.
He hurried out of the office, picked up an empty drink cup from a nearby garbage container and made sure his and Mary’s paths would cross before she left the stadium.
He caught up with her at the 200 Level.
“Mary!” he said. “Is that you?”
She looked around and saw him approaching. The look on her face was one of confusion.
“It is you, isn’t it?” He held out his hand.
“Yeah, I’m Mary… who the hell are you?”
“Oh, my name’s Walton…Dirk Walton.” He looked at her strangely. “You mean Randy never mentioned my name?”
“That’s funny, he talks about you all the time.”
She smiled then, and Mark had his first chance to take a good look at her features. She was pretty enough, but she looked as if hard living had aged her beyond her years. If Mark had to guess, he’d say mid-40s even though he knew she’d have to be mid-30s to run with the likes of Randy Reynolds. There was a hint of grey at her temples and her fingers had been yellowed by years of cigarette smoke. Her arms and legs were wiry, but had a look of strength to them. He couldn’t picture her using her fists against Reynolds, but he imagined she’d picked up a frying pan or two in her day. And she looked as if she had a mean streak to her that would explode full-born at a moment’s notice. No wonder Randy had been so afraid of the woman.
“He does?” she said with a smile. But instead of being a warm and comforting smile, her eyes had narrowed and her mouth had cracked open slightly, exposing two rows of jagged brown teeth. And all at once, Mark was afraid of her too. Still, he wasn’t going to let that stop him from exacting his revenge on Randy Reynolds…the bastard.
“Well, he did in the past. But not so much lately, because o
f, well, you know…”
Mark wasn’t exactly sure what the best way to play this was, so he decided just to make a suggestion and see how far she’d run with it.
“Because you and Randy, broke up!”
“First I heard.”
“Someone named…” He acted like the name was on the tip of his tongue.
“Is it Amber?”
“That bitch!” she screamed.
“That’s a good name for her,” Mark said. “Worst of it is, he says she’s already given him, you know…the bug.”
“Oh, just recently, but you know how Randy is, he said he wasn’t going to let that slow him down any.”
She was turning red with anger and looked as if she wanted to hit something with her new Blue Jays tote bag. Obviously Mark had struck just the right nerve. Randy Reynolds might be able to hide from the police for a while, but Mary…now that was a whole different matter. She’d hook up with him sooner or later – maybe even tonight – and she’d make him pay. Big time.
“Good game, huh?” Mark said, raising his empty cup like he was going to take a drink.
She didn’t answer him. Instead she spun around on her heel and headed for the exit, not even bothering to return to her seat and find out how the game turned out.
As Mark watched her leave, he thought about letting the cops know she was leaving, but decided against it. The police would be checking her and they’d catch up to them in due course.
Eventually, they’d both be punished for their crimes.
But until that happened, Mark wanted to give Mary the chance to spend as much time with Randy as possible.
She looked mad enough to do some real damage. And that was the sort of justice that suited Mark and Mother Load just fine.
– Edo van Belkom’s latest book is Be Very Afraid! To order it, or any of his other titles, visit www.vanbelkom.com. Meanwhile, Mark Dalton returns next month in another adventure.