I got behind the construction trailer and waited for Gallagher. After a few moments of ducking in and out of cover he finally got to the car. I leapt out from behind the trailer like a lion, pouncing on him.
We started fighting like animals. You'd think he'd be tired out after tussling with Max but he was a bull.
I could hear the gunshots becoming fewer and farther between. I hoped that meant Harrigan and crew had almost polished off Gallagher's men and not the other way around.
Gallagher and I were beating the hell out of each other...
I yelled as I saw Gallagher shoot Max, who went flying back and landed on the concrete slab. I was about to shoot at Gallagher when I came under fire and had to duck into cover. I was trying to keep my eye on Gallagher to see where he went. He was weaving back and forth in and out of cover, heading for one of the construction trailers. There was a car parked in front of it and I was sure that was where he was trying to get to.
Gallagher still had a few men on their feet, shooting...
Gallagher and Max were now rolling around on the concrete slab, punching and kicking each other, each man taking out seven years of frustration on the other.
I popped a guy that was about to shoot Aristotle and he nodded his appreciation before getting back to the fighting.
I slipped around to where two of Gallagher's goons were hiding behind some crates and shot one of them. The other quickly returned fire and I had to take cover. He retreated to a car, rolling behind it.
I looked back to where Max and Gallagher were fighting.
Gallagher pull a gun...
Max jumped on Gallagher and the two of them started wailing on each other as gunfire started popping everywhere. It was as chaotic as a battlefield in a warzone.
I saw Harrigan, Nelson and Aristotle emerge from the shadows and take cover, returning fire at Gallagher's men that seemed to have crawled out of the woodwork. I figured Eddie must have stayed in the shadows with Katie. I hoped, at least.
I pulled the small pistol, a .38, that was strapped to my ankle that Gallagher's goons had missed when they frisked me and crouched behind a stack of lumber...
"They must be on a coffee break," I said to Gallagher as he turned to one of the two goons standing by and told him to check it out.
I saw smoke start coming out from under the trailer that Katie had been in and I knew Harrigan had gotten her out of there.
The goon turned and yelled, "Boss, it's on fire!"
"Shit!" Gallagher yelled as I lunged for the other goon, falling on top of him and pinning him to the ground. I punched his face until he was unconscious.
In the next moment all hell broke loose...
"Judging by the way you tortured Rucksack and the others seven years ago I can only imagine what depravity you have in store for us, Gallagher," I said.
He shook his head.
"Nah, I've given all that up. I'm afraid I don't have the stomach for it anymore," he said as he chuckled.
"Duncan, please let my daughter go. She didn't do anything to you. She wasn't a part of this," Max pleaded.
"But I thought you wanted to be reunited with her, Maxie."
Gallagher snapped his fingers again. Only this time, his goons didn't come out of the trailer...
Gallagher looked down at the jewels, smiling.
"Well, that's been a long time comin'," he said as he looked at Max, who I could tell was about to snap.
"Okay, Duncan," Max said, "give me my daughter."
I closed the case of jewels, "That's not going to happen, Max. Is it, Gallagher? Loose ends and all that?"
Gallagher smiled, "You're pretty sharp, Randolph."
"What's the plan?" I asked. "Toss us off the edge of that cliff out there to a watery grave below? Or is that too close to home for you?"
"No...we're going for a little drive," Gallagher said...
Gallagher motioned me to some wooden sawhorses, on top of which was a large piece of plywood that the construction workers were apparently using as a makeshift table. I raked the sawdust on to the floor and set the case down. I didn't know how easily Gallagher would be able to tell that the jewels were fake, so I had to be ready to move as soon as I opened the case. I just hoped Harrigan could get his hands on Katie soon. The signal was going to be a smoke bomb lobbed somewhere near us.
I opened the case...
"Let's see the jewels first," Gallagher said. "Didja really sit on these jewels for seven years, Maxie?"
Max nodded, "Yeah. I had them hid here but couldn't get to them. Then I got pinched in Oregon and did a stretch in prison. I haven't been back long."
Gallagher looked around and then said, "You wouldn't be after tellin' 'ole Duncan a fib, wouldja, Maxie?"
Max started getting antsy. I knew he was about to blow it. I saw movement in the shadows to my left. Harrigan was making his move.
"They're right here, Gallagher," I said, holding up the case...
"Why did you double-cross me, Maxie? Why did you take those jewels? If you had told me you needed money I would've helped ya," Gallagher said. He genuinely looked like he was hurt by Max's betrayal. But then again, Gallagher was nuttier than a Baby Ruth, so it was difficult to tell if his pain was real or not.
"Duncan, I had a daughter. I needed to make a way for her. I couldn't keep living that life," Max said.
Gallagher nodded, "Well, it's a moot point now, isn't it?"
"I suppose, Duncan. Can I have my daughter back?"
"Rucksack called me after you paid him a visit, Randolph," Gallagher continued. "I hadn't heard from him in years. He was in a panic. People who panic make mistakes. I knew the next calls would be to Donovan and Richmond. So I sent some men to pay them a visit. But thanks to you I only got two of them."
"Better luck next time, Gallagher," I said.
Gallagher looked Max over.
"You're looking well, Maxie."
"You too, Duncan," Max said, trying his best to resist the urge to jump on Gallagher and twist his sorry head off.
So was I...
"Of course I am," Gallagher said as he snapped his fingers. The goon standing outside the construction trailer opened it up and another dragged Katie out briefly and then took her back in. I hoped that Harrigan was in place and saw where she was. I now just had to stall until I got the signal from Harrigan that he had secured Katie.
"Tell me something, Gallagher, why did you kill Rucksack and Donovan?"
Gallagher shook his head, "Bad business, that was, I know. But I needed to tie up some of these loose ends that have been plaguing me."
The door to one of the construction trailers opened and Gallagher exited along with the two goons that were with him at the golf course. He was dressed a little less goofy this time, wearing a white sweater, black slacks and black loafers. He stepped up on to the concrete slab that would one day be the floor of the Cape Point Club. He waded through the stacked lumber and stopped about ten feet from us.
"Well," Gallagher said, looking at Max and the case, "you're a man of your word, Randolph."
"I just hope you are, Gallagher," I said...
We walked to the club, which had a roof and a concrete slab for a floor but only a couple of partial walls up. There were giant stacks of lumber all over the floor and nails strewn everywhere. Out behind it were construction trailers, wheel barrows, more lumber, stacks of bricks, and mortar mixing equipment. I saw several more men patrolling out there, but so far hadn't seen Gallagher or Katie.
Max and I stood there waiting. There was a cool breeze blowing.
I had a sense that whatever was going to happen that night was about to take place...
There were lights on all over the construction site but apparently no work going on. Two men with guns stopped us as we pulled up and told us to get out. We complied and the men frisked us and took our guns. I learned years ago that a lot of these guys are sloppy, and if they find a gun they'll think they're done and stop frisking. That was their mistake.
They motioned for me to open the case of jewels, so I laid it on the hood of my car and opened it. They nodded and I closed it...
"Okay," I told everyone as we stood there looking at the construction site, "Katie's probably in one of those construction trailers that are behind where the club's being built, if she's here at all. Max and I will go in and try to keep Gallagher distracted. The rest of you listen to Harrigan and follow his lead. And whoever finds Katie tell her Jake Randolpe sent you. You got that? Jake Randolpe."
They all nodded and Max and I got back in the car and started toward the construction site.
"Keep your cool, Max," I said as we drove up...
It was over an hour's drive to Laguna Beach and it was just after 10 pm when we left, so we were cutting it pretty close to the midnight deadline.
Just before we got there we stopped on a hill above it and looked down. The club was being built on a tongue of land that jutted out into the Pacific Ocean. It was a tall bluff, looking like it was about a two-thousand foot drop to the craggy rocks below that the Pacific was pounding angrily against.
It would've been a beautiful location if not for Duncan Gallagher...
Whistling Eddie directed me to his office where no one on the other end would hear all the commotion in the flower shop. I called the number and the receiver picked up but no one said anything.
"Hello?" I said. "I'm calling for Duncan Gallagher. This is Jake Randolph. Hello?"
There was a pause and then a voice with an Irish accent said, "Cape Point Club, on the ocean at Laguna Beach. You can't miss it. It's under construction."
They hung up.
I went back into the flower shop.
"I've got the location," I said. "Let's go and rescue Katie."
"Now you're talking!" Ari said as he pushed a case up onto the counter beside the jewels and then climbed up in a chair.
He popped open the case and it was full of explosives: grenades, smoke bombs, and a couple of things I didn't even recognize.
"I've also got pieces for everyone, minus Jake and the Johnny Law which I'm sure have their own," Ari said as he winked at me.
"Grenades are out," Harrigan said, "because we won't know where Katie's being held, but the smoke bombs could definitely be handy."
"I better call Gallagher's number," I said...
Harrigan spoke up, "The rest of us will have to do some reconnaissance from a distance and see what we're up against. The number one priority is getting Katie Dolan to safety, then we'll worry about dealing with Gallagher. Randolph, you and Max will be on your own inside until we can get our hands on Katie."
I nodded as Aristotle said, "I gathered up a few party favors that may help us, but..."
He looked at Harrigan warily and Harrigan said, "I'll turn a blind eye to any illegal hardware until the duration of this mission has been completed."