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Date nights. Surprise delivery irks Ally.

But I was all in one piece! I took a deep breath, maybe the first full breath I'd taken since I parked at the police station. Then I pulled my knees up close to my chest and somehow wiggled into a normal sitting position with my left hand on the dashboard and my right hand still holding my pistol. I gulped another deep breath and rasped out the emergency code word, and added, "I'm Jack. Who are you?"

The driver gave the correct reply and said, "Hi, Jack. I'm Pete. Jerry's boss."

"Any more of your cars coming?"

"Two. One's just coming up behind us now."

I lowered my head to look in the side mirror, and saw a gray Dodge with flashing red and blue lights in the grill. Pete pushed a button and a siren started to wail. Boy, could he make that Dodge fly! We roared through intersections, drove on every lane there was on the street, even the curb lane on the left side, and wove our way out of the business section and into a residential neighborhood. Pete shut off the siren then and I could see the flashing lights go out on the car behind us. We slowed down to the speed limit, stopped for stop signs, and finally parked in front of a regular-looking house. The front door of the house opened, and when I looked up I recognized Jerry. I slid my pistol into its holster and threw the car door open. My right foot hit the ground a foot from the curb, and the left must have landed five feet beyond, as I raced up to the open door and ducked inside. Jerry was laughing at me. "How's the old adrenalin pump working, Jack?"

* * * * * * * * * *

Pete came up onto the porch, strolling as if nothing had happened, and stepped through the open doorway. I could feel the tension in my body easing off, and my knees started to shake. I flopped down on a sofa and looked from Pete to Jerry to another agent who was just coming into the living room, wearing a white shirt and tie with a shoulder harness neatly displayed where his suitcoat would cover it when he went out. I saw that he had a towel in his hand, and he came over to me and asked, "Where are you hurt?"

"Hurt! Am I hurt?" I asked.

"Just hold still." He held the towel up to my right ear while he looking me over. "I think you got a cut on your ear and that's all. You hold this towel up to your ear and we'll get you patched up right away." As he stood up another man, older than the rest, came into the room with a big, and I mean really big, first aid kit. He fooled around with my ear and a few minutes later I was wearing a big bandage that covered the whole right side of my head. My ear was getting numb underneath it. Pretty soon I could hardly feel a thing there, and the only discomfort was from adhesive tape pulling on my cheek and neck.

Jerry pulled up a dining room chair and turned it around so he was riding it like a snowmobile. Pete sat in an upholstered chair across the room from me. Jerry began the conversation. "How did this thing start?"

"Some guy jumped onto the hood of my car. He probably wanted to make me think I'd hit him, so I'd stop."

"Could you recognize him if you saw him again?"

"I think so. Trouble is, the most obvious thing was a scraggly beard, and if he shaved I might not remember the rest of his looks. Wait. There was a scar that started in his forehead and ran down into his left eyebrow. If that's still there I'd know him."

"Okay. We've got him. He got hurt a little when you threw him off your car, and then his friends in the Toyota bumped into him as he stood up, and that's when he really got hurt. He's in the hospital under guard. What about the guys in the Toyota?"

"They were a blur. The guy with the gun, the one I shot, I know he had dark hair and bushy eyebrows, but that's all I remember. The driver I didn't get a good look at. Well, just his profile. Had a curved beak of a nose, like Barbra Streisand. That's all I saw."

"Well, that's pretty good, considering what was going on. How do you feel?"

"Pretty washed out now. Can I call Trudy?"

"Let it go till you feel a little stronger.

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